Day 4/30: Your Transformation Story

Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. - Mt. 5:16 (NIV)

These are Jesus’ words when preaching to a captivated crowd during the Sermon on the Mount. It’s a reminder that the difference He makes in our hearts and in our lives isn’t just for us, but for those around us, too. Whether the people you’re around are followers of Christ or not, they should be able to see the transformation taking place in your life because of Jesus. It should help them understand that:

1. Change is a good thing.
So often times people use the phrase “you’ve changed” negatively. However, in Christ, change is not negative at all but life altering in the best way. Following Jesus isn’t about looking better than others, but about shining brighter so that others can see just how life changing it is when you make the point to follow Him. So when it comes to the things that God has delivered you from, don’t be ashamed to share that part of your story. Share with your friends the story of how God healed your broken heart. Tell your little sister the story of how you learned to know what you were in Christ. Your transformation is a powerful tool that can truly bless those around you.

2. Change is something they too can experience.
When you begin to shine your light, others will take note. They will notice that you’re different and they will want to experience what you have as well. But keep in mind that this doesn’t always mean that they’re going to walk up to you and say, “wow, I really admire your life…how can I be like you?” Sometimes, they might disagree, or maybe they won’t understand at first. They may question what you do, not because they doubt you, but because they’re trying to learn what it means to let Jesus into their hearts themselves. Sometimes, they might not say anything at all. But don’t let that stop you from shining your light! You are called to be an example even when others say"you’ve changed" and even when they question you, keep on being a light and let God be the one who transforms them!

Further reading: Mt. 5:13-16
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Photo: @virtuousbeautyxo (Instagram)

Prince of Egypt

Can we discuss how, in the Bible, God says that he will harden Pharaohs heart. He says that Pharaoh will not let the Jews go.

For God to make any statement at all, it becomes fact. God is infallible, right? So to make a statement about any human action before the action occurs is a direct violation of free will. Because now the human has not choice but to perform this action. Because if they didn’t, they would prove God wrong. How is that not wrong?

So at one point, Pharoah begins to waver in his decision. He’s about to let the Jews go. But God steps in and hardens Pharoahs heart. God purposefully makes it to where Pharoah won’t let the Hebrews go. God wants the plagues to continue.

That’s so fucked up. How can People be okay with this story at all? How can they look at this and say this is a just and loving God?

Day 2/30: Your Transformation Story
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! - 2 Corinthians 5:16-17 (NIV)

Because of the transformation that takes place in our lives when we begin to embrace Jesus, we no longer run to the world when we’re looking for a change of pace or something new in our lives. We look to Him now. This is even true when it comes to relationships and your self worth! Remember that in Jesus the old has gone and the new is here, even in daily battles. Remember this when:

1. You’re tempted to lower your standards because you’re tired of being alone
2. You keep talking to that one guy even though you know he isn’t being intentional about you, but it’s something to do
3. You find yourself wishing you had certain physical assets that made you more attractive to certain kind of people
4. People you’re close to are pressuring you about dating and relationships
5. It’s been a long time since you’ve been in a relationship but the pain is still fresh
6. You’ve never been in a relationship, and you’re wondering how long this season will last

As you’re faced with these kind of thoughts and you’re wondering when you’re going to find peace or when life is going to get interesting again, remember that Jesus is the One your heart should be longing for in these moments. Don’t spend another day checking on that guy’s Instagram, wondering if there’s a good reason why he just stopped talking to you. Don’t spend another moment wondering if you should lower your standards just so your life will be more interesting according to the world’s standards. These things are only temporary and it’s an old perspective. Your new perspective on life should be Jesus. Let following Him be what you look forward to when you wake up in the morning and go to bed at night. What He provides is far more valuable than anything you’ll ever find out there in the world.

Biblical context + further reading: 2 Corinthians 5:11-21

*Sips tea aggressively* Where is the lie? Because…

Revelation 1:14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

Revelation 1:15 - And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

Burned Brass

& These pictures of White Jesus sure are pretty

Isiaih 53:2 …he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. (or be attracted to him)

Hello wonderful friends! I’m excited to announce my newest book, The Life of King David: From Stone Slinger to Royal Sinner

This is a literary dynamic journey of David, from an unknown nobody to overnight celebrity, to his dark side as a chronic doubter and a royal sinner, and how his life ultimately points to Christ. It’s in a devotional style written for those who feel a bit intimidated by the Old Testament and have always wanted to get in-depth on David. Each chapter is wrapped in theology, philosophy, psychology, application, and the genre thrill of narrative. In discovering David’s story, we find our own.

It’s in paperback here and ebook here. The Preface is here or you can preview the book on Amazon. The rest of my books are here. Be blessed and love y’all! — J.S.

Day 1/7: Recharging your desires
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. - Matthew 6:21 (NIV)

When you’re a kid, a treasure chest is something truly magical. The idea that there’s a wooden box somewhere down a narrow, winding path or at the end of a rainbow filled with valuable, secret things is a timeless enchantment that children around the world have believed in. But as we grow older, we no longer believe in treasure chests. We no longer believe that a pot of gold might await at the end of the rainbow in the sky. We no longer wonder if there will be presents or gifts for us if we follow the treasure map.

However, some kind of way, the concept of a treasure chest still finds its way into our way of thinking as adults. Even though we might not believe in a physical box that exists at the end of the rainbow, we store up things in our minds that we just have to have down the road. We start to believe that maybe, just maybe, after we follow some kind of path in life, it will lead us to something rewarding. We imagine ourselves accomplishing certain things like getting our dream job or graduating from grad school. We imagine ourselves getting married or living in a nice house in a good neighborhood. While we might not actually call these things our “treasure,” they end up being hat.

So the question is: What things in your life have you put in a figurative treasure chest at the end of the rainbow? What things have you created a mental map for that you hope to get to one day. What are your goals? What are your desires?

The reason why this is important is because Jesus is inviting us to see that what we desire should go far beyond earthly things. In today’s passage, during the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talks about this. As women who follow Jesus we have to learn to see that what we treasure has to go so much deeper than things we can tangibly touch. Our desires cannot solely be people and location based…they’ve got to be rooted in heaven. This not only leads to a much more satisfying life, but it’s what God wants for us!

Biblical context + further reading: Matthew 6:19-24

Day 6/7: Recharging your commitment

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, 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. - James 1:2-4

3 things to remember when you’re faced with trials of many kinds:

1. Don’t let it break you. It doesn’t matter if you just went through a bad breakup or you’re unsuccessfully searching for a new job–whatever it is–don’t let it break you. And you know what’s amazing? When you consider it pure joy, it cannot break you. You’re only maturing in your faith and getting so much stronger than you were yesterday.

2. When faced with difficult things, I know it may seem like you’re being emptied out day by day, becoming more and more exhausted and less and less motivated to move on, but know that God is doing a mighty work in your life and in this process, through Him, you are lacking nothing. It doesn’t matter who abandoned you. It doesn’t matter what situation just fell through, even when you’ve been thrown the most challenging, heartbreaking battles of your life, consider it joy. Consider that no matter how bad it gets, God is going to bring you through this. You’re going to be able to tell a story you never thought you would tell. God is going to reveal so much to you that you never imagined you would see. Hold onto that! That’s what it means to consider it pure joy.

3.Dig into God’s word on a daily basis so that you can be reminded just how true this is for every single thing you’re going through, no matter how big or small. This is important because even though if we had it our way, we wouldn’t have to deal with trials, we are still going to face them, but even those will make us stronger, because when we learn put out trust in God by continuing to be joyful no matter what comes, we mature in our faith, getting stronger and stronger. This is how you can become that woman that walks around with an unshakeable faith, no matter what gets thrown at her. No matter, consider it pure joy.

Biblical context + further reading: James 1:1-18

Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment. (Matthew 9:22)

The word “daughter” gets me every time. We are so accustomed to the phrases like “God’s children,” but to think in context: Jesus called this woman who came to him for healing “daughter.” Who else besides God has the authority or would even think to call someone “daughter”?

The phrase “your faith has healed you” has unfortunately often been misunderstood. I frequently hear people say “just have faith that you will get better.” While the intention is good and they may be referring to faith in God—faith itself does not heal. God does. Faith brings us to the place where God can heal us. In each healing miracle Jesus performs, He heals but always points their faith to Him. This shows us that there is a deeper spiritual need at stake. God is more concerned with our hearts than our comfort. What we think may be the greatest gift may not address the deepest needs in our lives that God sees. Without the healing of our sinful heart, healing our physical sufferings is merely superficial.

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