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I’ve long said that we need to stop “trying harder” and focus our efforts on “believing better.” For years, I tried and tried and tried to be good—sure I was going to get it right this time. Yet when I failed (and I always did), I was surprised and disappointed in myself. I looked around, and it seemed like everyone else had it all figured out … they must know something I don’t. Or maybe they are simply working harder at being good. I need to try harder. Then I’ll quit messing up so much.

Finally, I heard about grace and I stopped trying so hard to be good, and I began to rest in His goodness. And the more time I spent with Him, the more I desired more. I started actually reading Bible verses about God and realized that my view of God was way off from what His Word tells us.

“It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate” — A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!

I believe the greatest measure of spiritual growth is not how good we’ve become. The most accurate marker of our maturity in Christ is the way we see our God. If our view of Him is small, so will be our faith. When our mind’s eye sees God as small and indifferent, our heart’s cry for Him will be the same.

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us” — A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!

Yes! Yes! Yes!

These quotes are from a gem of a book— a small yet deep survey of who God is Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! . This is one of those books that would be fruitful to read yearly. There is so much that we can learn from this classic.

Here are 10 of my favs from A.W. Tozer’s The Knowledge of the Holy Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! .

knowledge of the holy

Knowledge of the Holy

“When the Scripture states that man was made in the image of God, we dare not add to that statement an idea from our own head and make it mean ‘in the exact image.’ To do so is to make man a replica of God, and that is to lose the unicity of God and end with no God at all. It is to break down the wall, infinitely high, that separates That-which-is-God from that-which-is-not-God” (p. 7).

“We can never know who or what we are till we know at least something of what God is. For this reason the self-existence of God is not a wisp of dry doctrine, academic and remote; it is in fact as near as our breath and as practical as the latest surgical technique” (p. 28).

“Need is a creature-word and cannot be spoken of the Creator” (p. 32).

“There is no reason for us to try to discover what has not been revealed. It is enough to know that God is God” (p. 46).

“How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none” (p. 47).

“The immutability of God appears in its most perfect beauty when viewed against the mutability of men. In God no change is possible; in men change is impossible to escape” (p. 50).

“God knows instantly and effortlessly all matter and all matters, all mind and every mind, all spirit and all spirits, all being and every being, all creaturehood and all creatures, every plurality and all pluralities, all law and every law, all relations, all causes, all thoughts, all mysteries, all enigmas, all feeling, all desires, every unuttered secret, all thrones and dominions, all personalities, all things visible and invisible in heaven and in earth, motion, space, time, life, death, good, evil, heaven, and hell” (p.56).

“All God’s acts are done in perfect wisdom, first for His own glory, and then for the highest good of the greatest number for the longest time” (p.60)

“God’s holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely bettered. We know nothing like the divine holiness. It stands apart, unique, unapproachable, incomprehensible and unattainable. The natural man is blind to it. He may fear God’s power and admire His wisdom, but His holiness he cannot even imagine” (p. 104).

“God is said to be absolutely free because no one and no thing can hinder Him or compel Him or stop Him. He is able to do as He pleases always, everywhere, forever” (p. 109)


knowledge of the holy

Want to study more about God? I’ve put together a reading plan with Bible verses about God. This reading plan bookmark includes 12 different truths about God put into an easy-to-use reading plan bookmark. Perfect to help you BELIEVE BETTER!

HOW TO ACCESS THE READING PLAN:

  1. Click the button below to head to the resource library.
  2. Follow the instructions to create a Resource Library account—it only takes about 30 seconds.
  3. Download the plan, print, and enjoy!

I vividly remember my first shopping trip to purchase my first “real” Bible. I gathered up all my babysitting money and excitedly entered my local Christian book store. My balloon filled with enthusiasm promptly popped when I made it to the Bibles section. There were so many choices! After staring at them all, and haphazardly picking up samples to look through, I hesitantly chose a big black leather-like Bible—mainly because it looked studious and super-spiritual. I did not end up using that Bible much. In hindsight, it was a poor fit for me for many reasons.

You see, I was a toddler in the faith—actually not quite yet walking. I crawled around desiring to grow up and become closer to God. I just knew that getting a brand-new Bible would be the answer. But the version and type I chose was all wrong for me. This particular Bible lacked the simplicity and extra helps I really needed at that point in my spiritual journey. Plus, behind the study notes were beliefs that were a far cry from my own. This led to even more frustration and confusion. If I could go back and stand beside my former self, I would help past-Katie narrow down her choices in order to find a Bible that would fuel her burgeoning desire for the Bible and arm her with the basics of the Bible she needed.

That was in 1996, and the options today are much more numerous than they were then. So if you are in the market for a new Bible today, you might be just a bit overwhelmed! Past-Katie certainly would have been. She might have just walked out of that bookstore and given up on this walking-with-God thing.

So how do you know which one is going to be the best purchase for you? Before you go dropping dough on a Bible, you need to know the answers to three questions.

Why are there sooo many different Bibles for sale in the Christian book store?

The Bible was not originally written in English. Duh, right? But I won’t tell you how old I was when that fact finally dawned on me. I guess I just never really thought about it. It is important to recognize this fact because it will help us understand why there are so many different versions of the Bible (it can also help us with Bible study later on). Specifically, it is useful to understand that each publisher that has produced a new Bible has a purpose and a target audience. Some of them want to provide an accessible Bible that is super-readable to the everyday public. Others want to remain as true to the original text as possible, providing a better version for study. Therefore, each team of translators choose between “thought-for-thought” and “word-for-word” approaches, depending on what their end goal is.

If you are new to the Bible and/or want to do mostly Bible reading, I suggest you stick with one of the “thought-for-thought” translations below.  If you want study the Bible, a “word-for-word” translation is going to be most helpful. I think a healthy mix of using both types over time is ideal. There are loads of free Bible apps and websites that allow you to toggle between translations. I’m not super-familiar with all of the translations out there, but here are several I’ve had experience with. Those closer to “word-for-word” are listed first and as we move down the list, we migrate more and more towards “thought-for-thought” translations.

Common translations of the Bible for sale in the Christian book store:

  • New American Standard Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! (NASB) – I grew up on this version and it was the primary version I used for study until the ESV came along.
  • English Standard Version Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! (ESV) – This is the translation I’ve used since 2005 for all my deep studies and most of my Scripture memory.
  • King James Version Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! (KJV) – I’ve never used this much, but it is certainly a popular version.
  • New King James Version Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! (NKJV) – I used this for a little while but it never stuck with me.
  • Christian Standard Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! (CBS) – My husband and I have several new Bibles in this version, and have been trying them out for the past year or so. It claims to be the “optimal blend of accuracy and readability.” We like it.
  • New International Version Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! (NIV) – I’ve never been a huge fan of this version either.
  • New Living Translation Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! (NLT) – I enjoy this as fresh look at familiar verses.
  • The Message Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! – This is technically not a translation, it’s a paraphrase. So it is definitely a “thought-for-thought” and can be helpful if you find yourself completely unable to understand what a passage is saying. (Keep in mind, however, this is only one man’s thoughts on the passage.)

The Mardel book store has a super-helpful chart of all of the above translations, alongside several others, and how they rank on the scale of readability and accuracy, as well as loads of other helpful information.

Why are there so many different types of each Bible version at the Christian book store?

Once you’ve narrowed down your preferred Bible versions (translations), you need to understand the different types of Bible you want/need. For each translation, you will find several different types available, thus a myriad of combinations of Bibles for sale at your local Bible book store.

The main types of Bibles for sale in the Christian book store:

  • A Bible – This is just a plain ol’, regular Bible. There might be a few textual notes in the bottom margin, but typically these contain only the book titles (Genesis, Ephesians, etc.), maybe a few headings throughout each book, and the chapter and verse references. These are often referred to gift edition, slimline, compact, or thinline Bibles. One example is this pretty “Premium Gift” teal Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! .
  • Study Bible – These are typically very thick Bibles, filled with loads of helpful information. Most include important info like the author, audience, and aim of each book, commentary (teaching and explanation by the really smart people who have studied the Bible in an academic setting and know what they are talking about), charts, and maps interspersed throughout—all geared toward helping you understand what you are reading/studying. Many study Bibles are geared around a certain Bible study method or even a theme, which often means the commentary provided will be mostly within that subject. Study Bible examples: ESV Study Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! , CSB Study Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! , Inductive Study Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!
  • Devotional Bible – Typically geared toward a certain group of people (women, men, students, children, etc.), these Bibles contain short devotional thoughts and stories throughout each book of the Bible. You can think of them like a devotional book all split up and appropriately placed into the Bible for you. Examples include the (in)courage Devotional Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! (I contributed to this one!), She Reads Truth Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! FamilyLife Marriage Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! ESV Men’s Devotional Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! , The Message Devotional Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! and many, many more.
  • Journaling Bible – These Bibles are laid out to give you white space for note-taking or art journaling. Some provide designations in the title of where the journaling space is, such as single column, double column, interleaved (where every other page is blank), and whether or not it is lined. If not in the title, you’ll want to be sure to check the description or look for an opened sample so you purchase your prefered layout. Examples:  ESV Journaling Bible, Interleaved Edition Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! ESV Single Column Journaling Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! .

How are you going to use this new Bible?

This may seem like a silly question, but it is important. Another way to ask this question is, “What do you primarily need from this Bible?” Room for sermon notes? Teaching on what a verse means? Space to record prayers and/or what you are learning? You might have your eyes on a stunning journaling Bible, but what you really need is a solid study Bible. Maybe you have a well-loved study Bible, but need room to record your study notes. You might be like me—continually forgetting to pack your Bible and favorite pens Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! —so having a Sunday morning bag like this Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!  with a dedicated Bible and pens for recording sermon notes is just what the doctor ordered.

Generally speaking, a solid study Bible is going to be a great first investment I recommend the ( ESV Study Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! ), especially if you are new to the Bible. Here’s the key though: you need to use it! Study Bibles can be pretty overwhelming at first, but the charts, book info, and study notes are invaluable guides as you begin to explore Scripture.

Though ill-fitting, I’m glad I did pick out a Bible way-back-when. It was a choice of obedience for me. A determined step in the right direction. Though it wasn’t a perfect choice, God used my frustration with not understanding what I was reading to draw me even closer to Himself and also to seek help from others. So if you are still feeling a bit stymied by all the options of Bibles for sale at the Christian book store, I encourage you to step out, regardless. His Word is alive (every version and type!), our God is in control, and He can guide you even through an eeny, meeny, miny, moe approach. Narrow it down by version, type, and something you can afford, then take action … pick one!

If you follow me on social media (here, here, and here), you know I’ve been writing a book proposal for Secrets of the Happy Soul. It will be a journey through several Psalms to see what the Bible has to say about happiness and the God in whom we find it. This is the first step in many towards (hopefully!) seeing this book on the shelves. I thought I’d share with you one of the more put-together pieces of this crazy puzzle I’m working on. 🙂


My degree is in Medical Technology. It’s a bit of an obscure field. In fact, it’s been renamed since I graduated. Essentially, it’s lab work. If you’ve had your blood drawn or peed in a cup to have it sent off to the lab, the Med Techs (now called Clinical Laboratory Scientists … because I know you really wanted to know) are the ones that analyze it.

Right out of college, I worked full time in a huge hospital. My time was split between the Chemistry lab and Blood Bank. I enjoyed Blood Bank so much more because it was all manual work, whereas Chemistry was mostly run by machines. I also had a very competent co-worker in Blood Bank (we’ll call her Sally). She already had tons of experience and, since I was the newbie, that was a great comfort to me. Blood Bank is serious business. When a patient needs a blood transfusion, we received the orders for a type and cross-match. We would figure out what blood type the patient is (A+, B-, etc.), then cross-match the bags of blood ordered with the patients own blood to ensure there would be no life-threatening incompatibility reactions. Yeah, so the whole “this patient will die if you mess this up” pressure was pretty scary for me. Thus, why I really liked working with Sally.

On the nights where we didn’t have many orders to fill, I would attempt to get to know Sally a bit through small talk. I learned that she had been in the military and wasn’t originally from Florida, but that was about all I could get out of her. I could tell she would rather be lost in her book than talk to me, so I defaulted to bringing something to keep me occupied for those slow evenings. Since that part of the lab was small, I often would move into our supervisor’s office to read, as she had previously told me I was welcome to use the space on her desk if needed.

After working about several months together, I noticed Sally had progressively become even more quiet and grumpy around me. She’d become impatient with my questions about work and stuck to as little interaction as possible. I could tell something was up.

One evening (I can’t even remember exactly what set her off), Sally lit into me about being disrespectful to our supervisor. She went on and on about how inappropriate it was that I sat at our boss’ desk night after night. Sally proceed to tell me how much trouble she would have been in if she did that while in the military, and how it was utterly despicable behavior. Then she went back into her shell in the opposite corner by the Fresh Frozen Plasma freezer and returned to pretending I didn’t exist.

Well, then.

Looking back, her lack of receptiveness to my attempts to get to know her, and the fact that she spoke to me only when necessary to get our job done made a whole lot of sense now. She was utterly annoyed by my presence and couldn’t stand to be in the same room as me! I was a constant offense to her protocol. She was furious, I was frustrated, and our work hours together incredibly frigid.

Maybe you, too, have had a situation where you could tell you’ve offended someone but you didn’t know exactly what you did wrong. You had been held unfairly to an unspoken code of conduct—leaving you in a continual state of violation. Disheartening, isn’t it?

As frustrated, annoyed, and even embarrassed I was to find out that I had been unintentionally offending Sally for months and months,it would be much more so to find out that I’d unintentionally offended the holy, powerful God of the universe. Gratefully, He has not left us in darkness. His Word has given us very clear directions for most areas of our lives. The original hearers of these opening words from Psalm 1 would have known that the instruction mentioned in verse 2 was in regards to the Old Testament Law. This includes the famous 10 Commandments as well as many very specific guidelines for how to worship God, how to treat His people, and how to interact with the nations around them.

The Psalms start out with a parallel comparison and contrast between those who walk/stand/sit with the wicked/sinners/mockers, and those who don’t. The contrast is especially seen in verse 2, with the mention of the Lord’s instruction. Without it, these verses would not make sense. Because in order for there to be a wrong, there must be a right. For something to be out of bounds, there must be a boundary.

God has been so good to us to give us instructions, and you and I have much more than the OT to go off of. We now have the full counsel of God at our fingertips. Not only that, but we live in an age of information in which commentaries and many other tools are easily accessible to us. There is no excuse for not knowing what God’s plan is for us. From how we spend our money, conduct our days, and manage our thought-life, to how we worship, talk to, and tell others about Him. His will has been made clear to us in the pages of Scripture.

This is not to say that understanding everything in the Bible is easy. It’s not. But it is available, accessible, and approachable. He is not a distant, grumpy co-worker grumbling behind our backs about how offended He is by our actions. He is a clear communicator, a gracious guide, and a merciful master. And every one of His commands is for our good. Each truth is there to light our way.

Ready or not, Christmas is right around the corner and if you’re like me, you’re still trying to get your feet on the ground from all the back-to-school madness.

I love the holiday season for many obvious reasons, but it can also be a stressful, unsettling time. Between all the extra activities, gift shopping, and traveling to celebrate with family, my time with the Lord often falls to the wayside. If this sounds like you, you’re in good company.

Busyness may be our reality but it doesn’t have to be our excuse. I invite you to join me through my Bible study, Everyday Hope, this Christmas season. If you can carve out 15 minutes, 5 days a week, you can do this!! Simply grab a few friends to study alongside of you and maybe even text one another in the mornings to add a layer of accountability.

This is a great study to set your heart and mind on the realities of all Christ came to bring us.

To jump in, all you need is a copy of Everyday Hope and to grab a few friends.

Are you in?! Who will you be studying with?

I have yet another excerpt from a fun resource for you today! My almost ten-year-old, Anna was SO excited when we got our copy of the Big & Little Coloring Devotional from Rachel Swanson. Michael, my 7-year-old, has enjoyed it as well. I’ve used it one-on-one, as well as letting both of them color while I read aloud. The devotionals give us a conversation starter to use while we color. It’s a sweet way to enjoy some quality time together. (Don’t miss the giveaway below!)

So, what makes this book different from other coloring books on the market? Rachel shares her heart behind what makes the Big & Little Coloring Devotional so special.

  1. This book is not just a “mommy and me” book, but geared for daddy’s, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or any “big” person who knows what it’s like to care for a child. Therefore, the devotionals and illustrations are carefully crafted so that boy’s and daddy’s love it too! (It’s not all flowers and butterflies.)
  2. The pages lay opposite enabling face-to-face coloring! No more elbows in the way or left-handed woes. This layout encourages eye-contact, conversation, and connection.
  3. The devotionals are SHORT! Just enough to open your mind to the context of the verse.
  4. The binding and pages are high-quality and for the price, you simply can’t beat it.
  5. The child illustrations are simple while the adult illustrations are slightly more intricate, making coloring just right for both parties involved.

Here is a devotional excerpt from Big & Little Coloring Devotional. Enjoy!


I slumped down in tears, overwhelmed.

It was just too much. All of it. The dirty house. The crazy kids. The never-ending demands, responsibilities, and non-existent thanks. I secretly wanted to run away from it all.

My phone chirped. A text from a friend checking in on my day. I laughed sarcastically, at the timing.

I lightly shared how it could be better. After a few more pleasantries exchanged, I couldn’t help but be real and let it all pour out. Instead of guilt I received elegant grace through words—the encouragement I was longing for and needing to hear.

How beautiful it is when words are spoken at just the right time. So don’t hold back, you never know when you’re random text is being received at the perfect time.

“Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.” (Prov. 25:11 NASB)


How can you see yourself using this tool? Leave a comment below to be entered to win a copy! Next week I’ll choose a random winner from the comments!

Don’t want to wait for the giveaway to end? Order your copy of Big & Little Coloring Devotional here on Amazon or wherever books are sold!

Affiliate links present – at no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks for your support!

 

Over decades of ministry I’ve noticed quite a few trends that have been true in every station the Lord has led us. From the 19-year-old college student to the seasoned 91-year-old, the area of prayer is one where many people want to pray but don’t know how. Most either remain silent or default to a string of words they’ve heard someone else utter—and I totally GET THIS! I used to be terrified when it came to prayer. I didn’t want to pray out loud, and my private prayers were short and aimless.

There is a great void for most Christians when it comes to praying specific, Biblical, and powerful prayers. I’m so grateful for my friend (and fellow Auburn fan!) Teri Lynne and this GIFT she has given us in the area of prayer. Praying for Girls: Asking God for the Things They Need Most is her earnest and engaging invitation for moms to join her — not as perfect pray-ers but as humble daughters of the perfect Father, interceding on behalf of the girls they love.

WITH TERI LYNNE AS A GUIDE, PRAYING FOR GIRLS EQUIPS MOMS

  • to identify and understand five key areas of their daughters’ lives
  • to apply biblical truth to challenges and obstacles their daughters will encounter
  • to pray with boldness and confidence using Scripture as the solid foundation for their prayers
  • to engage their daughters in understanding and applying biblical truth to their own lives

Containing 200 Bible-based prayers as well as suggested activities and conversation starters, Praying for Girls is a must-have tool in every mom’s arsenal. Though this book is for “girl-moms” there is much that can be applied to our own hearts. I’m excited to share an excerpt from this new, incredible resource.


Every morning I move, bleary-eyed and stumbling, from my bedroom to the kitchen where Scott already has the coffee brewed. In our home there are no less than six ways to make coffee. Hands down, the best coffee is from a percolator. Remember those? You put the water in and it bubbles up through the coffee grounds.  Since it takes longer to percolate coffee than it does to brew it in the coffee pot, we don’t use ours all the time. But when we do, it’s definitely worth the extra time.

As a little girl, I faithfully memorized Bible verses for Sunday school and Vacation Bible School. Honestly, I know very few of those verses today. The process was sort of like using my Keurig—quick and effective. I love my Keurig. I am thankful to be able to make a cup of coffee in just a couple of minutes because some days that is all I have.

But renewed minds are like percolated coffee. It’s a slower process than simply memorizing Scripture. The Word, like the water in the percolator, moves through our minds, touching each thought, desire, and dream.

When we allow the Word to percolate inside our mind, it saturates every part of us.

Over the years, I’ve found there are few simple ways I can keep myself on track in this area.

1. Read. It sounds incredibly basic; but, I’ve learned that there are a whole lot of women who don’t regularly read the Bible. Not because they don’t want to or don’t think it’s valuable, but because of time. But because we get busy or distracted and never sit down to do it.  Here is where technology is our friend—we can listen to Scripture on our phones while we do dishes, nurse a baby, or drive to work.

2. Rewind. If I am reading a passage and it doesn’t make sense, I go back a little farther. Reading the verses or even chapters around what I’m studying help give context I need to make sense of what I’m studying.

3. Reflect. I give myself space to reflect on what I’m learning. I don’t go from one Bible study to the next with no time in between. In fact, the deeper I’ve studied, the more time I give myself to reflect on what I’ve learned before I jump into the next study. It is important to give ourselves time to reflect. I often use Saturday mornings for this practice.

4. Repeat. One of my favorite ways to dig deep into a passage or book is simply to read it over and over. Repetition is a great way to let the Word sink deep into our hearts and minds.

5. Restart. Let’s be honest here, sometimes this is where we are. We’ve gotten off track for whatever reason and we don’t need guilt. We just need to pick up our Bibles and restart.

When we are faithful to invest time in learning the Word and to allow our minds to be renewed and shaped by what we read, our children will learn from our example.

Whether my coffee is percolated, brewed, or fixed in my Keurig, it is always good. So, on the days when you have lots of time to let the Word simmer and soak in deep, cherish it. And when you are in a grab and go season, trust the sufficiency of the Word to meet you where you are and accomplish what God intends. And for the days in between (which are really most of our days), savor the Word and allow your mind to be renewed by the truth God offers. And invite your children to grow in those same habits.

Prayers

Lord, in a culture that esteems conformity, may _________________ choose to be transformed into Your image. May she seek the renewal of mind You offer that she will be able to understand and live in Your will for her. (Romans 12:2)

Lord, I pray You will put Your Word deep inside _________________. Write it on her heart, embed it in her mind. I pray she will know the beauty of being Yours, of knowing You are her God. (Hebrews 8:10)

This excerpt is from Teri Lynne Underwood, Praying for Girls, Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2017, and used by permission.

 

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Teri Lynne Underwood is a pastor’s wife, ministry speaker, and Bible teacher. As the mother of a teenage daughter and the founder of Prayers for Girls, a popular online community for mothers of daughters, Teri Lynne is a cheerleader for girl moms and the author of Praying for Girls: Asking God for the Things They Need Most. You can connect with Teri Lynne on her blog, Facebook, and Instagram.

Order your copy of Prayers for Girls here on Amazon or wherever books are sold!

Affiliate links present – at no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks for your support!

I’ve known of Bestselling Author Tricia Goyer for years and in this last year I’ve enjoyed getting to know Tricia personally through a mutual friend’s introduction. Tricia wears a lot of hats, as a wife, homeschool mom of ten, grandma of four, writer (of OVER 60 books), teen mom support group leader, and founder of Hope Pregnancy Center in Kalispell, Montana. She lives a full and fruitful life, but what strikes me most about Tricia is her wisdom that stems from a deep and intimate relationship with God.

Tricia Goyer lives a life that will challenge readers to step up and walk out faith in our homes, communities, and the world, and ultimately experience all the joy promised when we are in His will and doing His work.

—Francine Rivers, New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty novels, including Redeeming Love

I’m excited to share with you an excerpt from her latest book, releasing October 1, 2017. In Walk It Out: The Radical Result of Living God’s Word One Step at a Time, Tricia demonstrates the powerful work God accomplishes if we are willing to step out in obedience to Biblical commands and His quiet urgings, no matter our fears or feelings of inadequacy. Through Walk It Out, Tricia shares her journey, from accepting Christ’s forgiveness and telling her story of redemption to answering the call to adopt seven children when she least expected, is filled with the exhilarating, radical, unexpected life that we experience when we walk into God’s plans for us.


I was twenty-two years old when I attended my first writers’ conference. I walked into the auditorium with my notebook and pens, hopes and expectations. No one suspected that I also carried a heavy load of heart-baggage. Not only had I had an abortion and endured a teen pregnancy, but my biological father had abandoned me, as had my baby’s father. My heart was battered, torn, and weighed down. But on the outside I looked happy and excited. I didn’t know how to deal with the pain, and so I buried it and did my best to ignore it. Before I could inspire, guide, or entertain anyone with my words, however, God had work to do in my heart.

It’s not surprising that just as I ran from the pain and conflict in my life, I avoided it in my writing. I wanted to write sweet, Christian romances. The only problem was my plots lacked conflict. Without hardship and longing, my characters had little motivation and few internal struggles. (All of which are essential to good, heart-gripping novels.) How could I write deep and impactful things when I refused to unearth and face my own deep pain?

When I first became a Christian, I didn’t understand my need for heart healing. Wasn’t it enough that I’d given my life to Jesus? Yes, that was all that mattered in terms of my eternal salvation. But I couldn’t give readers what I didn’t have: faith that God wants to meet us in our deepest pain and do extraordinary things through our healed, albeit ordinary, hearts.

Despite my loving family, I didn’t feel love—neither theirs for me nor mine for them—and acted more out of duty than devotion. When I played peek-a-boo with my baby daughter, I smiled and laughed, but the joy didn’t touch my heart. When my son fell and hurt himself, I ran to him and assisted him, but there was little compassion or concern. When I snuggled by my husband’s side to watch a movie, I knew I should be happy and content, but I felt a numbness I couldn’t shake.

Before I could open myself up to all the good things in my life, I had to open myself up to feeling all the pain, heartache, shame, and loss that came from my abortion and from being abandoned by men who were supposed to love me. It was easier to keep my emotions at arm’s length than to feel the ache of loss.

I minimized the trauma I experienced from my dad by telling myself, At least I wasn’t one of those kids who had to split her time between her mom and dad’s house. And, Maybe my biological dad wasn’t that great of a person, so God removed him from the picture to protect me. As for my old boyfriend, I told myself it was good that he abandoned my son and me because God brought John into our lives to be a husband and father.

But my rationalizations didn’t relieve the pain. And the pain confirmed my childhood belief: I wasn’t worth sticking around for. I felt unlovable and was too afraid of further rejection to share my weightiest sin and deepest regret with our Christian community. Only my parents, ex-boyfriend, and John knew about my abortion. I didn’t even tell my closest friends. When the topic of abortion came up in church or Bible study, I sank deep into my seat, especially when people spoke doggedly against it. My stomach knotted up, and I was certain everyone within twenty feet of me heard the frantic pounding of my heart.

If they knew the truth and understood what I’ve done, they’d hate me. He wouldn’t want to share a pew with me. She would turn and walk away in disgust.

Hiding from the truth protected me from the condemnation of others and from the ugliness of what I’d done, but it also blocked me from the beauty of life. My shame began to heal the day I picked up the phone and signed up to attend a Bible study for women who’d had an abortion. My hands trembled as I drove to the church, yet walking into that room and seeing other women who’d made the same choice I had was a step of freedom. When I saw love and compassion in their eyes, a weight lifted off my shoulders. They saw me, knew what I’d done, and didn’t despise me. After all, they’d faced the same pain.

That first night the leader asked us to share our stories. Telling these women the truth of my wrong choices opened my heart to healing. But deeper healing came when I began to believe God and the truth of His Word—the truth about forgiveness and how God sees me, my hurt, and my sin.

Does Tricia’s story resonate with your heart in any way? What helps you BELIEVE the truth of God’s Word? Share with us in the comments!


Women often pack their lives with family, friends, and faithful service, yet still end up feeling empty and unfulfilled. In Walk It Out, Tricia Goyer demonstrates to women that walking out the mandates of Scripture allows God to spark passion and mission within them.

Whether believers realize it or not, God intended for them to do what the Bible says: adopt the orphan, take the gospel into all the world, and care for the needy. These are mandates that point believers down the path of true living and eternal life.

Sometimes those steps are easy, but many times they require a move outside of what feels safe or secure. When women stop focusing on their own dreams and purposes, and instead focus on God’s dreams and purposes, everything changes.

Pre-order your copy of Walk It Out here on Amazon or wherever books are sold!

Affiliate links present – at no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks for your support!

I’m excited to share about the next online study for the Bible Study Hub—a thriving online community of women encouraging one another to get in the Word! This study is written by my good friend and ministry partner, Lara Williams. I would probably not be writing Bible studies today if it were not for Lara. Back in 2011, I asked her if she would co-author a book I had on my heart but felt unable to write myself (I had a LOT of learning to do about the craft of writing). She said yes and 8 months later, we published Savoring Living Water (affiliate link). About a month after that, we finally met in person. Crazy how the internet connects.

Lara is an incredibly gifted writer, but she also walks with intimately with Jesus and this is evident in all her projects. All that to say, I’m super-excited to dive into Life Giver next week and I would LOVE for you to join me. In this 4-week Bible study, Lara teaches us how we can be life givers in our relationships. Below is an excerpt from this study.


We can probably all agree that forgiveness is best. Forgiveness, even of those who wrong us deeply, proves to be freedom for us. But there’s one little thing that often gets in the way: our feelings.

I’m a girl. And let me tell you. As a girl, I’ve got lots and lots of feelings. And I’ve got feelings about those feelings and feelings about those feelings. Ad infinitum. So, when someone wrongs me, lots of feelings come to the surface and beg my attention. They typically insist that I act vengeful with fingers pointing and a few “how dare you(s)” thrown in for added drama.

But the thing about feelings is that even though they are very real, and often justified, they don’t always lead us to the right action. Remember what Jeremiah said about our hearts? “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9). In fact, I don’t think my feelings have ever told me to forgive my enemies. Ever.

Yet Jesus commands forgiveness, for our good and His glory. And He means for it to be an act of our will, not necessarily an act of our emotions.

Forgive each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. — Colossians 3:13

We have a choice. Regardless of our feelings, in Christ we have the choice to forgive even when we’re desperately hurting. And that choice will bring soul-blessing.

God gives us boundaries and commands to protect us. He loves us – perfectly and fully. He knows us – perfectly and fully. And because He designed us, He knows what will lead us to our most blessed existence. When it comes to relationships, we will give life to others when we choose to forgive, regardless.

How Do I Forgive?

The question becomes, “How do I forgive, especially when I’m hurting?” The answer? We turn to the One who forgives out of His amazing grace. We pray. We press hard into our Lord — the Forgiver of all sin. We seek refuge in Him and trust His covering. We meditate on what He says about forgiveness. We live authentic lives, allowing others to walk with us down the tearful road of releasing the debt we want another to pay. And then we believe God to do the heart-healing work that only He can do.

Feelings take time to line up with the willful forgiveness. But feelings eventually come. They will come. But until they do we command our soul towards obedience.

Forgiveness sets us free to love. It sets us free to give of ourselves without the need for others to do anything in return, because we’ve found fulness in our Lord. We see that everyone is the same — needy for a Healer and Redeemer. And when we see people through the lens of grace, unforgiveness has no place.

Moving Forward

Spend some time in honest conversation with the Lord. Confess any harbored unforgiveness. Tell God your honest feelings – He already knows. Then speak truth over those feelings. Declare the verses we meditated upon this week regarding forgiveness. You may want to seek out a trusted friend to pray for you and with you as you walk the road of forgiving another. But however you get there, release others from a debt that’s already been paid. Grace is the only road to becoming a life giver.


Join the 4-week Life Giver online study group!

  • WHEN: 9/10/2017 – 10/6/2017
  • WHERE: Bible Study Hub
  • HOW TO JOIN: Purchase your study for as little as $4.99, join the Facebook group, and dive into the conversation beginning next week!
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: If you want the physical workbook, order your copy ASAP so you can get it before the study starts on Monday!

Who’s in? Who’s excited?!

Today’s post is an excerpt from my good friend Stacey Thacker’s new book, Is Jesus Worth It: Igniting Your Faith When You Feel Like Quitting. Stacey’s had a hard couple of years. From the loss of her father, to a child with a chronic illness, and—most recently—walking through the hospitalization and recovery of her husband’s sudden, unexplained cardiac arrest. 

So, yeah, I think she might have a thing or two to say about experiencing the goodness of God — in spite of our circumstances.

Stacey is a born encourager. For years, I’ve watched God use her Scripture-filled words of wisdom to bring clarity and courage to women, propelling us toward the everyday purposes and dreams God has for us. I typically get to see Stacey once a year. We catch lunch at Panera when I’m in town and I always leave encouraged to keep following Jesus and equipped to follow that call. Reading her books are almost as good as sitting across the table from her at Panera. Please read this post and consider diving into this new book!  I know you will leave encouraged and equipped, too.

Don’t miss the giveaway at the end of the post!


My pastor usually starts reminding us in November that January is coming and he wants us to be ready. You see, every year he asks us to pray and seek God’s heart on a word to frame our upcoming year.

Sometimes I pray and wait for weeks before the Lord brings a word to me. Not this year. I knew straightaway what the Lord was speaking to my heart. But in toddler-like fashion I was busy putting my fingers in my ears, saying, “I can’t hear you, God” and singing, “Blah, blah, blah.” Mature, right? I can be. May I tell you what truly sealed the deal for me? It was Elisabeth Elliot. She was featured on a podcast marking the sixtieth anniversary of her first husband’s martyrdom. Jim Elliot and four other missionaries gave their lives while serving the Auca Indians of Ecuador in 1956. Their faith (and quite frankly, hers) has inspired countless believers all over the world to serve the Lord whole-heartedly. They said, “Jesus is worth it,” and it cost them everything.

Elisabeth Elliot passed away in 2015, so the podcast was a recording of a talk originally given at a conference held by Campus Crusade for Christ to a stadium full of college students in 1983. Yes, that’s right. God used a talk from KC83 (as it was known) to bring the final word on my word for this year. Her topic was on “endurance,” and this quote was what gripped my heart from the beginning. She said, “If it’s God’s will that you want more than anything else in the world, it’s going to mean endurance.”

I knew it. In that moment I knew God was calling my year to be about endurance. I had a feeling it wasn’t a great sign of what was to come. I truly wanted to choose another word. I pleaded with God. He didn’t budge one inch.

By the third week of February I was a mess. It started with me dropping a dozen eggs on the cold tile floor of my kitchen. The rest of the week pretty much followed suit. And I must admit I felt just as broken as those eggs. I had planned on this being a tough week. My daughter was scheduled for a brutal test on Thursday that required an entire day of preparation. She fasted. So did I. By evening we were both tired, hungry, and cranky. She was facing another phase of prep that required her to drink something she was dead set against, and it wasn’t going well. My husband came home and sent the other girls and me to Chick-Fil-A, telling me to eat something. My fasting wasn’t doing any of us any good.

I wrestled too. Here we were being reminded once again through this new series of tests that we might never be able to fix it. How do you look your girl in the eyes and tell her all the treatment, all the pills, all the food she has had to pass on, and all the tests have not proven helpful? She was only nine years old at the time. It breaks you. It broke me. And honestly, I just sat down and wept.

There I sat, trying to make peace with it all. I did my best not to lose heart. And I knew what I was supposed to do. I knew he was present with us. I knew he would hold us no matter what I was feeling. I knew this, because the last time I was here his faithfulness was not void. And the time before that time it was also true. But all those things being true didn’t make it any easier. Do you sense a theme with endurance? Easy is not part of its vocabulary.

Over the next couple of months our family went through some of the most intense times of our lives. The longer it wore on, the more endurance I felt I needed. Like a runner in a marathon, I was longing to see the finish line that didn’t seem to be anywhere in sight. What God offered me instead, in his perfect timing, was a bit of refreshment. Only it wasn’t a cup of Gatorade or a well-timed PowerBar. It was hope from his Word found on the pages of Hebrews chapter 12.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.(Hebrews 12:1-3)

See, the Hebrew readers were weary in every way. They were losing heart fast. Some translations of this verse say they were “fainthearted,” which means “cowardly, depressed, and yielding to fear.” Does it sound a little bit like you? I guarantee you, when I read that description my heart tugged a bit. Being fainthearted is not a small thing. It can sideline the best of runners. The writer of Hebrews knew it was time to call them upward and onward. It wasn’t time to quit; it was time to run. But running wasn’t necessarily going to be easy or comfortable.

I think what the writer of Hebrews was saying, and what Elisabeth Elliot was getting at as well, is that if you are going to follow Jesus you need to decide ahead of time to keep going when it gets rough. Quitting is not on the table. Enduring faith is marked by a wholehearted endeavor to run hard after Jesus. No matter what.

When have you experienced the presence of God holding you as you endure? What situation are you currently experiencing that you must chose to keep running? Share with us in the comments and enter to win a copy of Is Jesus Worth It? Igniting Your Faith When You Feel Like Quitting. Winner has been chosen and notified!


Purchase your copy of Is Jesus Worth it? here on Amazon or wherever books are sold!

Stacey Thacker is a wife and the mother of four girls. She is a Bible teacher with a passion to connect with women and encourage them in their walks with God. Her books include Hope for the Weary MomFresh Out of Amazing, and Is Jesus Worth It?). You can find her blogging at staceythacker.com and hanging out on Instagram and Twitter @staceythacker usually with a cup of coffee in her hand.

Affiliate links present – at no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks for your support!

Today’s post is an excerpt from my friend Chrystal Evans Hurst’s new book, She’s Still There. I love her down-to-earth approach explanation of how to take your thoughts captive. Don’t miss the giveaway at the end of the post!


When my kids were small, they always asked me to turn on a night-light before I left their rooms and close all the doors so the monsters wouldn’t come in. When I turned the light on, they weren’t as afraid. They could see there weren’t any monsters. The light enabled them to know their fears were unfounded and helped them to experience the freedom of thinking, feeling, and acting based on what was really true.

Now, you might be asking, “What do you mean by ‘turn on the light,’ and how do you do it?” First of all, coaching your thought life is something you can learn and get better at over time. Don’t sweat it if you aren’t good at it now. You can learn. You can grow.

The goal is to take thoughts that are negative, untrue, and destructive and replace them with thoughts that are affirming, true, and constructive. You do this by renewing your mind—transforming the way you think through ongoing acceptance of right thoughts based on what God says is true. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (NASB).

Let me show you how this works.

Let’s say I found myself thinking this way: “I will never be able to accomplish my dreams.”

That statement isn’t true. You can shine the light of God’s truth on that lie: “It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Phil. 2:13 NIV).

The truth is, as we follow God’s direction in our lives, He is the one who will do the work in us so we can fulfill His purposes for us and the desires He has placed in us. That takes the pressure off our having to figure it all out, now, doesn’t it?

Here’s another one: “I am not enough. I’m not equipped. I don’t belong.”

The truth is if God put you where you are and if pleasing Him is your aim, then you are enough, you are equipped, and you can have victory over what you face. Second Corinthians 2:14 says, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ” (NASB).

Let’s do one more together: “Since there is something wrong with my body because of illness or physical challenge, I don’t have the same value as others who have their health.”

The truth is you are more than your physical body. You have a unique soul, remember? God offers you the gift of the Spirit, which allows you to get better on the inside regardless of what is happening on the outside. Here’s the truth according to 2 Corinthians 4:16: “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day” (ESV).

If you don’t know the truths of Scripture, it’s your job to search them out. If you want to know what God thinks, you can discover His truth in the letter of love He’s provided for you to read. He has promised that when you look for Him, you will find Him: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13).

Search out the truth. Write down the verses or passages that speak to your heart, and you will change your incorrect patterns of thinking over time. Inundate yourself with the truth, and that truth will become a light that shines brighter than the dark thoughts that threaten to keep you from making progress. “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

Don’t be so busy staring into the darkness that you lose sight of the light. Even when the monster in your mind seems real and true, you must examine your thoughts in the light of God’s thoughts toward you, and then believe what He says. Even if you aren’t convinced, you still have to get up, cross the room, and turn on the light!

Your job now—and for the rest of your life—is to turn on the light in your mind, to embrace the truth, and to reject lies. Just because you think it, that doesn’t make it true. The truth is your weapon to war with the darkness that threatens to cloud your mind.

When you choose to think right thoughts, you battle against destructive patterns of thinking that threaten to keep the girl in you from emerging valiant and victorious.

In this life, there will be moments when you feel as if you have lost the ability to breathe. There will be times when you don’t know what to do. You may find yourself frozen and feel unable to move forward.

In those moments, you must choose to encourage yourself. Be your own coach. Learn to recognize the monster in your mind. Take note of destructive thoughts, then take them captive by shining on them the light of God’s truth.

What is one favorite truth from Scripture that gives you hope, stirs up joy, or motivates you to action? Leave a comment below and you’ll be entered to win a copy of She’s Still There!


In She’s Still There, Chrystal authentically shares, from one girlfriend to another, the importance of the personal process and the beauty of that path. It’s a book of “me toos,” reminders of the hoped for, and challenges for the path ahead—to find direction, purpose, and true satisfaction.

Purchase your copy here on Amazon or wherever books are sold!

Affiliate links present