Monday, May 23, 2016

It's Not Always Easy

Spring on the farm is busy...the last few days have been full of trips to the field helping and feeding my husband. The kids and I have been picking rock, Job (my husband) has been planting corn. The other day after I took him seed and helped fill the planter I watched as things didn't go right.

It can be easy to think farmers simply put seed in the equipment, drive across the field and the job is done. But rarely does that happen...especially in the first field of the season. Last year we had a new to us planter and probably entertained the will go better this year, but reality sets in when you realize you have to learn the ins and outs of the new planter. This year I had a similar thought thinking Job and his brother, Matt, had learned all the new stuff last year. That's true, but yet gauges need adjusting, equipment needs repair and sometimes things just don't work like they should.

Friend, whether you farm or not, could we tweak that last phrase a bit and apply it to your life? I know it applies mine! Things (be it literal things, plans or people) don't always work like they should. Sometimes it's my attitude that needs adjusting or plan that needs to change. Others it's my perspective that needs altering. But this recent day on the farm has reminded that it's not always easy. That "it" stands for so much more than farming.

We don't have to look far to realize life has hard times...this last week my cousin lost his 41 year old sister-in-law and neighbors said an earthly good-bye to their mom, friends are walking through illness and others are being treated for cancer, there's relationship struggles and conflict, financial problems and war in the world. My sister-in-law and her family remembered Grace's 21st birthday while she was in heaven. Hard stuff.

We'd love for these hard times to change, better yet disappear, but they don't. John 16:33 says, "I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart I have overcome the world." Jesus' words here speak to our reality...we will have trouble. Matthew 6:34b reiterates this point with this statement - "Tomorrow will have enough trouble of its own." Friends, it's a fact - this world, this life is not easy.

If you're able to read these words, I'm guessing you've lived long enough to know this for yourself, but what if we take things a step further and say, "Living a life of faith is not easy." Do you agree? Again if you've walked with Christ for awhile, I'm guessing you get it. But do you ever just wish it were easy? Are you surprised by hard times? Do they leave you wanting to quit? (Here's a prayer for when you do.) Do you expect them to disappear? I encourage you to stop for a minute and really think about this.

I'll admit last week I was surprised by a hard wasn't hard with big, life-changing stuff, but instead the daily demands and constant needs caught me off guard. After putting my kids to bed I crawled in mine and seriously wondered if I was cut out for this job. I shed some tears, beat myself up and fought off feelings of guilt while Satan tried to shame; then finally did what I'd read about earlier in the day. 

We had read Psalm 116 and I'd even encouraged a friend with verses 1 and 2 which say, "I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live." This verse came back to mind and I immediately knew what I needed to do. I pulled myself together, grabbed my Bible and opened my prayer journal. I shared my heart with my heavenly Father and His peace changed my perspective.

Truths I know, but needed to remember filled my heart and renewed my thinking. Though Jesus is my Lord and Savior sometimes I still live life on my own and rely on my strength instead of His. I not only recalled promises I need to cling to, but also recalled a teaching I must never forget.

James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

Friends, in just a few sentences there is much for us to learn. Our pastor came up with 4E's from this passage and they have been so helpful for me.

Expect - Embrace - Endure - Enjoy

I don't know about you, but I'm a planner and I like to look ahead, I'm not fond of surprises and don't appreciate being caught off guard. Since this is the case it's important to think about what I expect and as we already established one thing we can expect in this life is hard times. That doesn't mean I dread tomorrow or worry about what lies ahead, but it also means I let go of my fantasy and accept the fact that it's not always going to be easy. Remember it's not IF a trial comes, but when.

A relationship with Christ doesn't make the trials disappear any more than a different planter makes planting an easy job, knowing Jesus is with us and God has a perfect plan puts our pain in perspective. Rather than running from the hard stuff, may we learn to embrace knowing Jesus will meet us there and God is molding us as we walk through them.

Endure...what does that mean? A few Biblical definitions I found state - "to remain, to last, to bear up under pressure, to suffer patiently, to hold out, to continue to exist in the same manner." Not sure that is something you and I would willingly volunteer for, but it's something we must do and with God's help are able to do. Friends, when a child is hurt...they always need their parent - the same is true for us as believers...when we walk through trials we recognize our need for our Heavenly Father. Once we realize this need, we understand where our strength comes from and who alone provides the grace we need to walk the path we are on. These moments that are hard...they produce perseverance and as we press on we produce fruit. Sometimes that's growth in our faith and others it's the fruit others see as we rely on the Lord.

Enjoy - This last E has to be the's hard to enjoy something that is difficult, causes pain and brings tears, but that is what Scripture commands. This isn't the happiness that comes easily, but instead the joy that lasts eternally. If we truly believe God has a reason for all things and is able to work them together for good, it's possible to enjoy the events that lead to this result. It's possible, but far from easy. I know there will be moments that are hard in the future, new trials are on the horizon, another planting season will come and chances are it won't be easy. I pray I can learn from this and remember the Truth I'm sharing today.

May we join Paul in saying what he said in Romans 5:3-5, "Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces perseverance, and perseverance character, and character hope, and hope does not disappoint because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

Friend, this picture of my little guy encourages me and brings this lesson to life. It wasn't easy for him to move those bags around and he wanted to do a different job, but he did it. And he did it times even with a smile. Why? Because it's what his dad told him to do, he wanted to help like his older siblings and it needed to be done.

The next time life isn't easy I pray I remember this. The situation may not be of my choosing, but if God tells me to do it, I must obey. If it requires pain and suffering, I can remember Jesus walked through it as well and oh don't we say we want to be like Him? Since quitting isn't an option, the only choice is walking the road that God has put me on, and trusting Him while I do.

Farming is far from easy, so is marriage, parenting, faith and life. But God has us here for such a time as this and He has a purpose for all He brings us to. Join me in trusting Him today so He can produce a harvest tomorrow!

Finally a big "Yippee" to Michelle who won a copy of Mary DeMuth's book, "Worth Living" in my last post. Email me your mailing address at and I'll get it sent to you!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Prayer for When You Want to Quit

Dear Heavenly Father,
Life is hard…sometimes it’s the big stuff – death and grief, relationship struggles and conflict, financial problems and work issues, but others it’s the little, daily things – the things that never end – laundry, dishes, cleaning, things to address and work on as a wife and a mom. Today, I’m tempted to quit. I feel overwhelmed and unqualified, stressed and sometimes even a little crazy. I’m not sure I can keep pressing on.

Lord, that’s how I feel and I know feelings can lie, so now I ask You to fill me with your Spirit and guide me with Your Truth. Your Word equips and directs…lead me to passages You know I need. Your Spirit sustains…fill me with it, so I can press on. Your power is beyond comprehension…help me trust in it and depend on it, so through me You can do more than I can imagine. Your promises will be fulfilled…remind me of them and Elohim; help me believe so I can be who You created me to be.

Father when life overwhelms me help me keep my eyes on You, the author and perfecter of my faith. Circumstances may have caught me off guard, but you were not surprised and You know how You can use this, this hard stuff that seems impossible for my good and Your glory. Oh Lord, help me put my trust in You and confidently take shelter under Your wings.

Jehovah, help me be strong in You and mighty in Your power. May Your joy be my strength. In those moments, and there are many, when I feel weak remind that Your strength is made perfect in my weakness. Help me go in Your strength, so that I can do all You call me to and be a witness of the power You Lord possess.

In those moments when I struggle with the doubts and wrestle with the “I’m not good enoughs” help me remember that You take delight in me. This is never based on my performance, but because I am Your possession. May I never forget who I am and Who I belong too. With that Lord, help me remember it’s not my job to please people, but to obey You. I will never be able to do it all, but You are always present and never fail to provide. Help me be me so that You can be the Savior others need.

Lord, thank you for hearing my cry, redirecting my focus and tendering my heart. The next time I’m tempted to quit immediately remind me to run to You. Father, You alone have all I need and will provide the strength and resources to do all You call me too. Thank you for the work You’ve begun in me…I know You will be faithful to complete it. May I expect these hard times, embrace them, endure them and even learn to enjoy them knowing through them You are making me mature and complete. In Your Son’s Holy and Powerful Name I pray…Amen

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Passing it on... (And a GIVE-AWAY!!)

A BIG welcome to those of you joining me from the Encouragement Cafe, I'm grateful you are here. In my devotional, "A Role You Can Play," (Read it by clicking HERE.) I write about being a mentor and how that role is one we all play. Friend, whether someone refers to you as their mentor or not, setting an example for others is something we all do.

I've been blessed with wonderful mentors through my life, but God reminds me I can do the same for others. The ones I need to be most mindful of are the 5 "J's" who call me "Mom". My children must not just hear me talk about faith...they must see me live it out. I can share what I'm learning with them. Years ago God gave me an opportunity to do just that...

When my oldest daughter Joy was just 6 she came home from AWANA's and we shared the following conversation - "Momma, 2 girls were laughing at me." I respond, "How do you know they were laughing at you?" "They were whispering and they pointed at me. Then they said I look like a boy..." Tears fell from my eyes before she could finish her sentence but she eventually continued, "It hurt my feelings and made me want to cry, but I didn't want to cry in front of them."

That night as Joy shared her experience with me, I was determined to not let these lies and doubts take root in Joy's heart like they had done in mine many years ago. This thought of roots led to another...

Anyway my teacher mind got going and I thought - how can I get Joy (and my other children) to understand this better. So the next day the kids helped make a tree to put up on our school room wall. The entire time they were cutting and gluing, making branches, roots and dandelions, questions were being asked, "Why are we doing this? What is this for?" and on and on.

After talking about trees, I asked, "How are we like a tree?" The responses were varied with a few being quite interesting and then our lesson began.

We all gathered around our newly decorated school wall and I shared Joy's recent experience with all the kids. I asked, "Is she a boy?"

Her 4 year old sister looked at me like I'd lost my mind and said, "No!"

I responded, "Jaylyn, you are right! So were those words about Joy true?" Again I hear, "No." So I ask, "What is the opposite of the truth?"

My 8 year old answers, "A lie." And little Jaylyn adds, "They are bad!!" "Right again, a lie is bad, kind of like weeds in the garden or dandelions around the tree."

We then turned our attention to the tree that had caused so much curiosity. Only now there were words on the dandelions (as you can see art is not my strong point - they are the yellow lollipop looking things!!) and on some of the roots.

We talked how we are like a tree and our roots are what make us strong and help us grow and stand tall. But sometimes things happen in our hearts just like they do on the other side of the window - weeds creep in and mess things up.

So I asked, "What do we do with weeds in the garden?" Three little voices tell me, "We pull them out!!" "Right again! So Joy why don't you come up here and pull out this weed!!" She thought that was great!!

But there was more, I went on to share when the weeds aren't there, the roots have a better opportunity to grow. Then we focused on one root specifically, one that said, "Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor Him, for He is your Lord." Psalm 45:11

We read the verse, talked about what it meant and Joy added some construction paper so the root could grow!! I pray the one in her heart grew as well!!

Later I asked Joy what she thought about our tree or what this meant to her...this is what she had to say, "Some things that people say might make me cry, but they're a weed. I need to think about that and try not to cry and remember God made me. My roots need to grow and that's stuff that is really true cuz He thinks I'm beautiful just like you think that too."

Five years have passed since I shared this lesson with my kids and God continues to give me opportunities to relearn this lesson myself and share it with them again and again. Joy is now 11, and I'm pretty sure she hasn't been called a boy since, but this Mom knows she still struggles with words others say and in the years to come will be tempted to measure her beauty thru the eyes of the world instead of the Word. 

I long for my kids to know who they are in Christ and as mentors the same should be true for all those I know and meet. This is a longing, but I also realize I can't teach what I don't know. I understand it's important to replace Satan's lies with God's Truth and I must do this in my mind and my heart. Abiding in God's Word will help me do just that and recently I read through another valuable resource that added to my learning. 

Mary DeMuth has a newly released book that will help us as women grow deeper roots. In "Worth Living" she addresses lies we as women deal with and shares Truths we must replace them with. For example in the chapter on beauty she writes,

Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them.People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7, NLT).

God looks at our hearts, values them.

We look at our bodies, devaluing them, while our hearts emaciate.

There has to be a better way, a way of peace, where we embrace who we are and Whose we are without abusing our bodies or shaming ourselves."

Friend, if you are a woman, wife or mom who needs to better understand your worth from God's perspective I recommend Mary's book to you. It challenges and convicts, but at the same time reminds you, you're not alone and progress is possible. Her words will touch your heart while God's words will transform it.

As you grow in your faith and follow Christ others will be impacted as well. I'm looking forward to the day when I work through the book with my beautiful daughter Joy who last year had the opportunity to meet and learn from the beautiful Mary DeMuth!

Today I'd love to give you an opportunity to win a copy of this book yourself! To enter just leave a comment sharing your thoughts on one of these questions -

What lesson have you learned about your worth from a mentor in your life?

What lie about your worth do you need to replace with a Truth from God's Word?

If time is short, just leave a quick "Count me in!"

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Ministry of Motherhood

Mothering is something I often think about, which makes sense since 5 young people call me "Mom", but this week I find myself thinking about it a bit more. Mother's Day often leads me to reflect as does the end of another school year. Today Facebook reminded me of a post I shared 2 years ago about mothering being a ministry and it was a reminder I needed. God's Word truly is alive and it is useful for teaching...may His Words here encourage and remind us all of important Truths no matter where we are in our mothering. With that my post from 2014 - 

As a young adult I never pictured myself as a stay-at-home Mom and even 11 years ago when my first son was born I didn't know if that was a "job" for me. Rather than turning in my resignation I asked for a year's leave of absence...this delayed the decision, but eventually I submitted to God's plan and am now home with 5 little people who are quickly growing up.

I no longer struggle with the "What do you do?" question like I use to, but most days the role I do play is hard. More than once I've told my husband, "100 junior high kids were easier than this!!" And I'm not kidding!! Being a Mom, whether you stay at home or work outside, is hard. 

There's the daily work it requires, the stress, the noise,the questions, the being needed ALL the time...the list doesn't end and then it starts all over tomorrow. But fried, let me remind you (and me) that motherhood isn't about the work or the title, it really is a ministry.

One of my favorite Bible verses is 2 Timothy 4:5, "But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry." Years ago, God used these words to speak to my heart as He called me to write and led me into women's ministry, but lately He's been using them to talk to me about my role as Mom. 

What better advice could you give to a Mom?

Keep your head in all situations. Oh and there are situations aren't there?!?! Times of trial, fighting, frustration, worry and fear - motherhood has it all! Daily Moms are tempted to lose it, feel guilty or angry, unappreciated and underpaid, but whatever the situation we must keep our heads. Other versions refer to this as being self-controlled, keeping a clear mind and being sober. As a Mom, pray about this and try to do it!

Endure hardship. Again hardship comes with the job...motherhood is a blessing, but it includes challenges and work. There can be big struggles and daily little ones...both can cause you to want to quit or leave you thinking you're not enough. But in God's Word we're reminded trials will come and here Paul instructs us to endure them. Mom, when trials come don't avoid them, run from them or through them, endure them. 

Do the work of an evangelist. What does an evangelist do? Tell people about Jesus and as a Mom that is the most important thing we can do for our children. Remember friend, we tell them much more with our actions than our words! So read them the Bible stories, but live out your faith. Allow them to see you reading your Bible, let them read your prayer journal, ask them for forgiveness and share Christ's love!

Discharge all the duties of your ministry. Do the work, all of it. As Moms, we must persevere and be diligent. The job never really ends and if we're going to do it well we must continually be in touch with our Heavenly Father who will equip us for the task He's called us. Abide with Him with my friend!

I pray you are encouraged in your role as Mom today!! It is a privilege and truly a high calling, but friend let us remember it is a responsibility as well...may we not take it lightly or for granted! Mom, your ministry matters!!

Dear Heavenly Father, Lord thank you for creating me to be a wife and a mom. Help me see these roles the way you do...ones of eternal importance. I ask for your help in keeping a clear me stay calm in moments of frustration, focused in times of stressed and prayerful in all situations. Lord, hard days will come, difficult situations are a part of life and trying moments are daily present help me endure them all. And Father I pray for myself as an evangelist, help me live out my faith in my home, draw me closer to Yourself and help me share You, starting with those who are in my home. Lord, you have given me work to do, my ministry, help me do what You created me to do. In Jesus' Name, Amen

A few closing thoughts from I look at the picture above, I'm reminded my kids are growing up. The baby days I thought would never end are over. no longer is my most visited site...we're nearing the stage when we spend more time chasing our kids across the county for various activities than we do chasing them across the farm. I'm one who needs the reminder to enjoy the moment...these days won't last forever. The work God calls me to do, I need to do it now. And I must not forget the work isn't always what I think...God's work is sometimes stepping away from my to-do list to read that same book again and again, others it's to walk outside and help my teenager with his pigs. 

And more than that I've been reminded motherhood truly is a ministry and it's not one with a guaranteed timeline either. We often walk out of the hospital with our new little one and think: I have 18 years to prepare them for life. I, like every Mom, prays that is the case and I too look forward to watching my kids grow up and become parents themselves. But, the last couple of years have shown me that's not always the mine, my kids days are numbered and I must remember as I strive to prepare them for their future, I'm also called to help them prepare for their eternal home. 

Friend, the stark reality of that statement brings tears to my eyes and I'd rather not think about it, but it's on my heart, so perhaps it's something we need to think about. Today will you join me in mothering with this in mind? May we be diligent with our time and treasure the ones we love! This calling is hard, times can be crazy and moments can be overwhelming in ways that are good and bad, but through it all remember we have a perfect parent, our Heavenly Father, who walks with us, equips us and has a perfect plan!! Daily our children are becoming more independent of us...may we become more dependent on HIM!!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A challenge for YOU!

Friend, today I want to challenge you and if you're a Mom, I pray this post really speaks to your heart. Last week I did something I've only done once before on this blog...I shared a video. Twenty years ago, I would have never put my words out here for the world to read, but God's been working in me. That's no longer very difficult, well some of those real, transparent posts still make me a bit nervous, but in a way it's kind of easy to hide behind my computer screen. A video takes things to a whole new level for me...let's say it doesn't come naturally.

God seemed to be leading me to do just that though for the study I shared and I chose to be obedient. The whole thing...taping a video, uploading it to YouTube and sharing it on my blog is something new. I had everything ready to go and walked away from the computer. Then the worries, doubts and lies began playing in my head. If I hadn't already asked a friend to pray about this, I'm pretty sure I would have delated it.

So lesson one - accountability is important! Those hard things God is leading you to do or the crazy ideas He's putting on your heart - share it with somebody or Satan will steal it away!

 Lesson #2 - others are watching. Moms, the ones with the biggest eyes and clearest view - our children. Two stories to prove this - Joy, our 11 year old, was in the house trying to watch over our little boys while I recorded the video. Anyway, she watched my first try at the video as I previewed it. I'd messed up the volume, so I had to do it again. Afterwards she came and said, "Mom, I want to watch that." I asked, "Why? You heard it and watched the last one." Joy responds, "I know but I like listening to you." Then and there, God showed me it didn't matter if anyone else saw my video...He was using it to speak to my daughter. She may have been listening to me, but she was hearing about sin.

As you try something new, think about how you can incorporate Deuteronomy 6:7, "Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Friend we need to instruct our children on God's commands...sometimes that will look a bit like Bible study and others, well it happens as we live life!

The other Joy was watching J.D., our 13 year old, came in and watched it too. He said to me, "Mom did you see this? Why did you let Jesse do that? (He crawled onto my lap as I was talking.) It looks like you have no control." Oh he sounds quite sophisticated and his words actually surprised me because typically it seems he is not at all concerned with what others think. This gave me a little insight though and gave us an opportunity to discuss pleasing people a bit more.

I've talked about Proverbs 29:25, "Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe" with my kids and even prayed it over them, but this gave my son an opportunity to see me living it out.

Lesson #3 - it's a great reminder. Friend, as adults and especially as Moms I think it can be easy to fall into routine and do what we've always done. The older we get the harder it becomes to try something new...or am I the only one who feels that way? This has made me remember that learning, or doing, something new isn't always easy. It can hard and even scary. As I thought about this I thought about how my kids are almost constantly trying or learning something new. (OK, we have 5 kids so individually they may not be, but collectively someone almost always is.)

Learning to ride a bike, learning to read and write, learning to play softball, learning to drive the mower, raising pigs, balancing a checkbook, doing a sewing project and on and on. Graduation is nearing and even then kids are learning new routine, living on their own, making new friends, starting a new job. Life goes on and kids learn about marriage and parenting. There's always something new.

Stepping out of my comfort zone reminded me to give more grace and be patient with my kids as they too try something new. It also encouraged me to let go of any thoughts of perfection and instead focus on improving. As friends encouraged me in the days after sharing that video, I did a better job supporting my kids as we journey through this thing called life and they constantly try to learn something new.

Friend, we are setting an example - first for our families and then for those who God brings across our path. Let's try something new - we're sure to learn from it and grow through it, but it will also provide helpful reminders as we try to encourage and assist others who are doing the same!

Finally, and most importantly lesson #4, try something new may allow our lives to bring 2 Corinthians 12:9 to life. Here the Lord says to Paul, “'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." When others see us learning something new or struggling to something that does come natural, we have the opportunity to show them Jesus in us. We've all been given gifts and strengths...things we're comfortable with and can do in our own strength, which is good and are things God can work thru. But we step out in faith to do something new or that is hard, we're trusting God to work through us and for the Holy Spirit to equip us. Oh to trust Him more to be used by Him better!!

So let me ask, "What new thing are you going to do today?" It doesn't have to be BIG or newsworthy, just something new. I'd love to know...I promise to pray for you and trust I'll be encouraged by you!! Blessings to you friends...may we continue to press on towards the goal!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Something you might not want, but probably need...

Welcome friends...well the title to this post is a bit longer than normal, but I typed in "A Study on Sin" and thought, "Nobody is going to open that!" The other night our local Titus24U group met and worked through this I walked out the door to lead it my daughter asked, "What are you working on tonight?" I responded, "Sin" and she sarcastically said, "Oh, that will be fun."

I stepped out and did a quick little blog to intro this lesson with some interruptions from my little people, so please excuse that and I'm praying about appearing a bit more excited/happy as I do this next time. And I'd also like to use it as an encouragement to you...awhile back this alone could have caused me to sin - it could have made me angry with my kids or messed with my thoughts as the perfectionist in me would have tried to get it right over and over. Anyway friends, God's Word will not return void, so I trust He will use your time in it!!

Dear Heavenly Father,
We come to You now and approach Your throne with confidence. We are grateful for Your grace and sorry for our sin. As we study Your Word, help us understand this better, soften our hearts and give us the desire to live more like Your sinless Son. We come to You now prepared to learn...may we be clay in Your hands...melt us, mold us, change us. In Jesus' Name we pray...Amen

What is sin?


There are two common biblical definitions for sin – 1) transgression – to step across, go beyond the boundary or out of bounds. 2) to miss the mark or stray off course. God is the one who sets the boundary and gives us the goal to strive for – holiness. Another way to look at sin is: anything contrary to the will of God and anything that doesn’t express the holy character of God.

Let me ask you another question, “Do you sin?” Romans 3:23 - “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” gives me the answer. Though we hate to admit it, this is one thing we do all have in common...we were born sinners and will struggle with it the rest of our lives.


Remember sin is sin…we as people label it and sometimes categorize is, but in God’s eyes it’s all the same. It doesn’t matter if your sin is "big" or "small", the world sees it or nobody knows…God is aware. Take a few minutes to reflect on your day or the past week, what sins have you struggled with? Make a note of them and we’ll come back to them as the study continues.


Let’s take a minute and look at what God’s Word says about sin. Read Romans 5:15-21 and Romans 7:7-25. Also note Psalm 51:4-5. What do these words say to you?


We also see God’s definition of sin in His Word…read 1 John 3:4 and James 4:17. Here we learn sin is not only doing the wrong thing, but it’s also not doing the right thing.

Do you struggle with one of these more than the other? Why? How?


Friend, if we want to overcome and move past sin, we must know what it is and it’s also powerful to remember where it begins. Read the following verses and see if you can find two areas Scripture shows us sin gets it start. Matthew 12:33-39, Mark 7:21-23, Proverbs 23:7, Galatians 5:19-21 and Ephesians 2:3


Now that we have an understanding of sin and realize it begins in the heart, mind and flesh perhaps there is another big question we need to ask: “How can we overcome the sin we struggle with?”


I have to admit that has been the question on my heart lately. I know I’m a sinner, I know I fall short, but I long to change this and wonder how to go about doing just that. I have taken this struggle to God and believe He’s given me insight I will be using for the rest of my life. In Matthew 5:48, Jesus challenges us to “be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect”, but in 1 John 1:8 we learn that saying we have no sin is simple self-deception. As I linked these two verses together I realized God doesn’t expect us to be sinless, but He does desire us to sin less. There is freedom in that thought…I, and you, can let go of the pressure to be perfect, but there is also conviction as I reflect on my actions…especially some of the sins I tend to repeat. My eyes have been opened to this, now I need to move past it. Remember the sins you jotted down earlier? Do you feel the same? If so, let’s continue.

As we’ve already determined sin is a big, broad topic and something we will struggle with until heaven. We must continually chip away at it and get rid of everything that doesn’t look like God. This won’t happen overnight, but instead is a process we must continually practice.

It begins with abiding. What does it mean to abide?


If we look at original language the word means to sit, remain and continue. So what does that have to do with overcoming sin? Well let’s look at where and with whom we are to abide…what does John 15:5 tell us?


Moving past sin starts with staying connected to Jesus the One who was without sin. Abiding with Him, gives us an example of who God wants us to be like and staying with Him encourages us to be sinless as well. Time with Jesus, our Lord and Savior, will also teach us to resist temptation. We find specific instructions in Luke 4:1-13. What key lessons can we learn from Jesus as we strive to overcome sin?


We also must abide in God’s Word. Think for minute about your spiritual diet. How often do you eat from God’s Word? When you do is it a fast meal or an opportunity to enjoy your food? Sometimes we have a spiritual eating disorder…we can experience spiritual anorexia, where we simply stop eating, and there may also be moments of spiritual bulimia where we take in truths from the scripture only to quickly remove them from our heart and mind. Have you ever struggled with this? Do you have a balanced diet?

Friend, it’s not enough to read a chapter or short devotional in the morning, we must do what Joshua was instructed to do in Joshua 1:7-8. What was he told to do?


In order to stop sinning, we need to know what sin is…God’s Word is where we will discover it’s definition. We must remember the truth about God’s Word, read the following verses -  Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Psalms 19:7-10, Romans 7:7-13 What do they tell us about the Holy Scriptures in relationship to our sin?


Abiding in God’s Word will open our eyes to sin and give us tools to help overcome it!


Once we see our sin, there are still other things we need to do! The Bible has much to say about this as well. I’m beginning to think overcoming sin has similarities to completing a puzzle. There are a lot of pieces to the process…each piece of a puzzle is important, but we don’t always do them in the same order and some take longer than others. As you work through these steps remember the order is not important, but the process is. God will show you what to do and when you are not sure, try the next piece of the puzzle - prayer.

Friend, prayer is simply sharing our heart with God. This is something He created you and me to do…He knows our hearts, but He longs to be in relationship with us. That happens when we communicate. So first of all a few truths about prayer…read the following verses and make note of what you learn. Matthew 7:7-11, 26:41 and 1 John 5:14-15


Prayer is a vital ingredient when it comes to overcoming sin and when we pray one thing we must ask for is a filling of the Holy Spirit. John 14:16 assures us the Holy Spirit, also known as our helper, indwells us at salvation (as was predicted in Joel 2:29), but as we read in Ephesians 5:18 we must be filled with the Holy Spirit, which comes with submission to Him. The indwelling can’t be changed, but the filling of the Spirit is not always the same. We are full of the Spirit when we are controlled by it, which is an ongoing experience. The Holy Spirit will teach us (John 14:26) and convict us of sin (John 16:7-11) We should commit to doing our best not to quench Him (1 Thes. 5:19) or grieve Him(Eph. 4:30). I encourage you to pray the prayer below as you continue on this journey to overcome the sin that entangles you.

Father God,
You are holy and I am not. You’ve opened my eyes to sin in my heart. I ask you, God, to have mercy on me, a sinner. I fall short of Your glory…with my thoughts, words and actions, please forgive me. May I always remember my sin is against You and You alone.
Thank you for examining my heart and showing me my sin. Now that I’m aware, help me repent and turn from it. I don’t want to be a slave to sin Lord, but my choices and behavior sometimes contradict that desire. Because of Jesus, I should count myself dead to sin, but sometimes my flesh wins and I obey it’s evil desires. I want to do what is good, but I don’t always do it.
Help me Father – I can’t do this on my own. Keep me from willful sins, don’t let them rule over me. Fill me with Your Spirit and tender my heart to be sensitive to it. Create in me a pure heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me.

Jehovah Nissi, I know this battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities of darkness. Satan is roaring like a lion looking for one to devour, don't let me forget that. And remind me to put on Your armor and pick up the Sword of the Spirit. And Father, thank you for the victory You have already me walk in that.
Lord, help me let go of the unrealistic goal of being sinless, but please help me sin less. In the moment of temptation, remind me of your promise – You always provide a way out. Help me be humble and wise enough to take it.
God, I love you and long to bring You glory…continue making me holy and help me see sin like You do. Thank You for Your forgiveness – help me receive it and be changed by it. El Roi, You see me and You died for me while I was still a sinner…may I always remember the price You paid. Help me be willing to die to self so I can live for You.

Father, I know You are able to do more than I can ask or even imagine, so I pray You will do that in the days, hours and moments to come. I can do all things through You who strengthens me. Your grace is sufficient…may it be strong when I am weak.

In Jesus’ precious and powerful name, I pray…AMEN

God will use prayer in powerful ways…it softens our hearts, connects us to Him and opens our eyes. Once we are aware of our sin – we must confess. This means we acknowledge our sin before God and the one(s) we have wronged. James 5:16, 1 John 1:19, Prov. 28:13 and Psalm 32:5 all speak to this. What do we learn about confession from these verses?


Turn to Leviticus 5:5, what do you read here? What insight does it give you into confession?


Is there a specific sin you need to confess right now? Take some time and write a prayer of confession and ask for forgiveness.


Confession isn’t easy and it’s never fun, but it’s what we are commanded to do. This quote from an unknown source sums it up quite well, “If we cover our sin, God will expose it. If we expose our sin, God will cover it.”


Recognizing our sin and admitting we are sorry are important, but don’t stop there. The Bible has much to say about repentance. In your words, what does it mean to repent?


I found a few different definitions – to turn from evil and return to God, have a change of mind or to experience regret and remorse. The book of Ezekiel proves God’s desire for us is repentance. Read Ezekiel 14:6, 18:30 and 33:11. What do you learn about repenting here? What is? Who thinks it is important?


Jeremiah 26:1-6 also addresses repentance. Again, God is commanding the people to turn from their sin. What does He say will happen if they don’t? How does this encourage you to be one who repents?


Finally, if we truly want to overcome sin we must remember we cannot do it alone. God’s Word tells us there is power in numbers – Jesus sent His disciples out in pairs, later missionaries went in groups of 2 or 3 and Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 tells us two are better than one. Friends, we need sisters in Christ for fellowship and accountability. What do we learn about gathering with other believers from these verses? Proverbs 27:17, Hebrews 10:24-26 and James 5:16


I want to close with some verses I pray will encourage you as you press on. Read the verses and think about each one and how it connects to our sin and God’s ability to help us overcome. Psalm 37:3-5, Proverbs 26:11, Matthew 5:17, Romans 8:29, 1 Corinthians 15:56-58, 2 Corinthians 1:10, Philippians 1:6, 2:13, 4:14 and Hebrews 13:20-21

Thank you for joining me...again I encourage any feedback and would love to hear what God has been teaching you!! Feel free to leave a comment or email me at Blessings to you!