Back To School Essentials

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  • John 6:1-15

I remember what it was like going back to school after an awesome summer. You want to show off your new clothes, your new tan and even your new pens! Trust me we understand, I found nothing more exciting than going to Wal-Mart and picking out my favorite notebooks and folders.

How will people even know who I truly am without knowing which folder I would pick? When I was in school it was all about sparkly notebooks or in my case, all things Batman.

But we want you to go back to school, excited about something else!

Motion just ended, and if you didn’t go that is okay! Here is a quick synopsis, Go forth and proclaim the gospel, God has called you and given you a purpose. You don’t have to add anything to what God has already given you, what you have is enough, offer it to our Father and watch him work!

If you are saying to yourself, “I’m not sure what my calling is or what my purpose is.” Look around you! YOU ARE CALLED! He has already given you the things you need. He can take your five loaves and two fish and change the lives of thousands. Don’t underestimate what you have been given! You are called to your school, your family and your workplace. Be the light of the world where you are now.

Go back to school with new essentials.

  • Create a list of friends that you want to be like in the context of relationship with Jesus. These people should hold you accountable!
  • Create a list of friends that you may need to cut ties with.
  • Create a list of people you want to tell and show Jesus to. The friends from the first essential should encourage you and hold you to telling these friends about Jesus.


Sit and Listen.

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  • Luke 9:35
  • John 10:4-5, 27
  • Psalm 46:1-3

If you are like me, talking is your favorite past time and not just talking but laughing and joking around in general. I am the happiest when the people I am around are smiling and laughing. You know how Buddy the Elf says, “Smiling is my favorite!” Well, I converted that and made the, Sydney the Elf version, which is, “Joy is my favorite!”

Back on subject here. When it comes to talking, I am really good at it. I should be good at it considering I have spent the last 4 years of my life studying the art of communication. But I used my gift of communicating as a crutch. I grew to hate silence. My quiet time was not necessarily quiet. When I prayed I would fill the moments up with my own ramblings and never take a moment and truly breathe and listen. If no one at small group answered a question I quickly became the person to interject and answer so the silence would be a little less awkward.

And then my thoughts on silence shifted.

I love that sometimes the biggest breakthroughs come out of the most uncommon places or people. A couple semesters back I had two classes on news reporting and interviewing. As a reporter or interviewer you have to be okay with silence. There is a technique that famous reporters and interviewers use to get answers out of the interviewee. Y’all you seriously just have a stare-down with your interviewee (in the most polite/yet stern way of course).

What my professor said next, wrecked my world. She said, “People are so afraid of silence and awkward moments that if you just quietly wait for them, they have to fill the silence with their voice. They can’t stand it.”

That was me. I was the person that was so afraid of silence that I had to interject my voice into anything and everything, even in my QUIET time with Jesus. I slowly began letting go, and listening.

And it changed my relationship with Jesus. Praying didn’t seem like a one way conversation, where I flooded the throne room with my voice and requests. I imagine Jesus was patiently whispering, “Sydney. Hey Sydney. I love you.”

Listening enveloped my entire lifestyle. In situations where I don’t know what to say, I take a step back, and I listen. No, in Sydney’s world, his voice is not an audible voice. It is more like an intuition, a feeling, and I know it is Him because it isn’t what I would normally do.

Right now it can be hard to know what to say.

Do I address this tragedy of people dying on Facebook? What can I say that will actually help the situation? Will it just add fuel to the fire? How can I do anything?

These are the honest thoughts I had. I stepped back and I listened and I prayed and prayed. Father, give me the words to say.

And do you want to know the answer?

It was simple, and perfect. “Love. I have called you to love. Love them, don’t judge them. Love both sides. They matter to me, so they matter to you. Spread the joy I have given you.”

We have the ability to sit and listen to the creator of the universe. He has your answers, He knows what is best. Not that girl’s video on Facebook, not that post on Instagram and not the hashtags on Twitter.

Listen and pray, because He is ever present and near to you.

  1. Do you refrain from sitting and listening because you worry the voice in your head is not God speaking to you?
  2. How often, in a week, do you interject because you hate silence?
  3. What steps do you plan to take to make yourself a better listener to God and for your peers?

Dear, Left Pinky Toe.

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Little nuggets of goodness:

  • Psalm 139: 13-16
  • Psalm 119: 73-74
  • Ephesians 2:10
  • 1 Corinthians 12: 25-28
  • 1 Peter 4: 10-11

We are reporting to you live from the top of a roof somewhere in Chattanooga, TN. Sydney are I were running around the town doing some sightseeing. During our rendezvous, it is always fun to bring up silly thoughts we once had. To be honest, I can make a joke of this any day of the week but it was honestly something I used to wonder as a baby Christian. Why is that people act different once they accept Jesus? Really, why does our voice change and our vernacular change?

Maybe a day or two after Jesus became my everything, I spoke phrases that I never knew the meaning to:

“God is good all the time and all the time God is good.”

“Born again!”

“Washed by the blood of the Lamb!”

“Jesus is knocking on the door of my heart!”

“I’m just guarding my heart for Jesus. Dating Jesus.”

“God really answers my prayers; I am so blessed.”

“God works in mysterious ways!”

“He’s in control.”

“I’m in a season of ________.”

“Hedge of protection!”

Not going to lie— Sydney and I had some fun inserting this list. We laugh because we have said these phrases nonchalantly and today we are healed. I can only speak for me; I said these things as my defense mechanism. I didn’t want leaders of the church to think that I was any less than they are. I didn’t want the members to think that they needed to educate, edify, and fortify me because I am so young.

I want to clarify: we are not trying to chastise anyone that uses these phrases! That will never be our intent; to hurt and to demean. We both are stating that we changed our outer appearance to fit a culture that a local church has created. Maybe you, sister, grew up hearing these phrases. Maybe you actually feel them and understand them and there is nothing wrong with expressing what God is doing in your life. There is some serous truth in some of those phrases above.

Jeremiah and Psalms are two pieces of evidence that state that God formed you. He loves you and we know that you understand that. So walk in it. You don’t have to change your vocal pitch when you are speaking about Jesus and all of His goodness. My Creator loves Bre to be Bre. I wasn’t formed in my momma’s womb to be Sydney. So, He loves my quirks. He loves my voice. He loves the way I understand His love for me. So, I speak what He is doing in me in the most organic and unfiltered way that I have.

I love my brothers and my sisters. I see them with the eyes of Jesus…most of the time. I love how one moment we are talking about embarrassing flatulent moments and the next about dreams the Spirit has given us. All the while, nothing has changed in us. I cannot view any one as more spiritual than the other, I just love them and what God is doing in them. God teaches them more about His character through me, but they should understand that is never of my doing.

So, dear one, U be you. Be all that God has created you to be. If you are left pinky toe in the Kingdom, then you be that left pinky toe! As always, we love you and we are praying for you, princess.

– Bre

  1. Have you ever felt similar feelings?
  2. What is the craziest thing you have ever said? And have you ever felt like you needed to be anything other than yourself?
  3. As always journal your feelings, your answers, and some of the thoughts you took away from the bible verses and the blog.

If you aren’t in our small group we would love to here from you, leave us a comment below!

Loving through the conflict.

Have your Bible next to you as you read this because this post is full of Scripture!

You know that gut feeling when you are in the middle of a verbal fight? It’s sickening. You know exactly what you are supposed to do, you know exactly what to say, and you just don’t do or say anything to anyone. Why? Is it because I have a fear of conflict? Do I hate admitting that I am in the wrong? What is it?!

Before I begin to answer these questions, I wanna see what Jesus would say. I know He was never the butt of any quarrels (except with the Pharisees, but Jesus was just spittin’ mad truth), but I do know He knows how to fix them. In Matthew 5, Jesus is speaking on a mountain. It’s quite famous, from it we get Beatitudes (which are just eight blessings on the Kingdom’s citizens) and we continue to revisit this conference that Jesus spoke at for days! Chapter 5: 23-24 says, “So if you are offering your gift at the alter and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the alter and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” HOW THE EARTH DO I RECONCILE MYSELF BACK TO MY BROTHER, WHOM I HAVE MADE ANGRY??? I JUST WANT TO FORGET ABOUT IT AND MOVE ON!

But then I go to my friend; I apologize and beg for forgiveness. This is when I usually hear, “Bre, you have to gain my trust back.” Quite honestly, I’ve heard those words a lot. I’m not usually the brother that was wronged; I’m usually the brother that is wronging. I am continually gaining and regaining peoples trust and hoping that I work my way into good graces. There is an amazing truth about our Father: no matter what brother you are, the Lord forgives quickly and you can do absolutely nothing to attempt to gain it back and then….He just forgets about it. He says “Bre, we start a new slate here… in this moment. You are still My beautiful child whom I love. Welcome back home, wanderer.” HOW AMAZING?! But, I’ve still wronged my brother.

Here is what I find interesting, Jesus says “brothers.” If we are brother/sisters, then they must be siblings of the Kingdom, right? So when we hurt our siblings, we hurt a little more deeply because these are the people whom we do life with. These are the people that know some deep stuff about us. These are people that you know how to cut them where it hurts. So, this isn’t some small something a brother has against you. You’ve honestly hurt them and hurt them deeply. I’m just stating the seriousness of my crimes here. As brothers and sisters we are called to love and not just love, but to love genuinely.

I’m going to tell you a quick story of one argument that turned into perfect love:

My best friend and I had our first argument over who sang Reflections in my favorite movie Mulan. I know that is absolutely the silliest thing to argue over, but it meant a lot to me in the heat of the moment! She says its Christina Aguilera and I KNOW that it is not. So, we argue for about 30 seconds before I reached for my phone and let Google have my back. And for the first time in history, I am right and she is wrong. Here is what I did to hurt her: I publicly demeaned her in front of women that we look up to and I showed no compassion or grace towards her. She got so mad that she had to walk across the room to calm down! I can’t blame her, but in the moment I could have cared less. If I was honest with myself, it would have been easier for me to end my friendship with my best friend than to admit that I was wrong and apologize. I listened to the enemy saying, “you don’t need her. She needs to apologize to you. You didn’t do anything wrong. This matters.” So, I gave in and I decided to leave without addressing the argument. My sweet friend scurries across the parking lot and decided to act in love when I was being hateful. We apologized. We cried. And then we prayed for one another. And we continue to do ministry together. No- we didn’t forget this argument, but we use it to point people back to the Father. I don’t want to say that we have the perfect friendship because we are flawed and we are selfish, but we do have the perfect friendship. When we fail each other we look to the Trinity to resolve our sins, we hold each other accountable, we love each other enough help each other grow than to care about “hurting her feelings” when we know it needs to be said, we pray for each other a lot, and that is perfection. I love you, Sydney Jean.

Back to the last question that I yelled at you: How do I reconcile myself back to my brother/sister?

Confess to the Father. Confess to your brother. Forgive yourself. Love yourself. Then love your brother.

Confess to the Father: You might as well because He knows you. Do you believe me when I say that He knew what you were going to do before you ever formed the thought behind the action? As much as I hate to admit it, He does because He made my little brain. He formed my thought processes. I have found more peace and wisdom when as soon as I committed an act against a sibling after I spoke with Him. His word says, “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance (Luke 15: 7 ESV, emphasis mine).” He also speaks about His patience with you in 2 Peter 3:9. So He wants you to talk with Him first, so do it.

Confess to your brother: This is where things get a little harder for me, I have to face conflict. But here is a disclaimer: your true brothers and sisters are going to forgive you and offer love and if not— love them anyway (Proverbs 10:12). James 5:16 says (one of my favorite verses), “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” If the Word says to love your enemies, how much more should you love your brother? Find their love language and speak it to them even when it is inconvenient for you. Trust me, trust will be regained and you will eventually move on from this with greater understanding of loving one another, but it is a process.

Forgive yourself: I’m keeping this one short. If you can’t forgive yourself then how can you forgive others?

Love yourself: That’s hard to do. We often listen to the enemy, “I’m not worthy of love. Look at all you have done— your unloveable.” That is WRONG! (James 5:7) The Lord loves you and He forgives you, that should be more than enough reason to adore yourself too. Same concept but different wording: if you can’t love yourself then how can you love others? If you believe that there is something that will keep others from loving you, then that same theory will somehow translate in your love of others (Romans 8:1. We can’t be children with dry cups, they must be overflowing.)

Love your brother: You are overcome in the Father’s love that you can’t help but to give it to someone else (1 John 4: 19-21). Paul’s letter to the church of Corinth talks about being able to perform all kinds of gifts but if you don’t love then it is all in vain. Go back to your first love and let Him teach you how to love His children.

Why is it so hard to love others sometimes? My only theory is because the enemy knows that it is the hypothetical blood that flows through the Body (1 John 4:8). I love making the enemy mad because he is dumb, so the best way to ruffle his feathers is love the unlovable, unreachable, untouchable, and the Children of the Living God. I’m not saying go tackle everyone with a giant bear hug, but loving someone may mean just listening to somebody that is hurting, taking someone to dinner, or just sitting with them.

“Hatred starts fights, but love pulls a quilt over the bickering.” – Proverbs 10:12 (MSG).

– Bre

  1. Can you recall a time where you and a friend were fighting? How did you handle the fight?
  2. What is the best way to love your friend?
  3. What can you do to love your friends better?
  4. Try to think of a conflict that you handled wrong? What have you learned to handle future issues?

Even if He does not.


To Rest On:

  • Zephaniah 3: 17
  • Psalm 91: 2
  • Psalm 18: 6

    So what does it mean when God doesn’t shut the mouths of the lions, or when I feel the flames of the fire?  God doesn’t always swoop down like Superman to save us.  In Acts 7, Stephen was stoned to death.  Tradition tells us that Peter was crucified upside down.  Paul was beheaded.  What does it mean when God doesn’t come through for me in the way I expected?  Does that destroy my faith?

    Looking back at the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, I noticed something interesting.  In Daniel 3:17, the three amigos tell the king, “’If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from your majesty’s hand.  But even if He does not, we want you to know, your majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up’” (emphasis mine).  Our God can deliver us, but even if He does not . . . Do I believe that for my life?  God can provide wisdom, healing, fame, fortune, love, a family, but even if He does not, will I still trust Him?  If my life turns out to be completely different from what I had hoped and planned for, will I still follow Him?  If my life is shortened and I suffer, will I still love Him?  If I don’t get to see my miracle here on earth, does that make Him any less God?

    How can anyone suffer, even to death, or give up everything they could or already have for an invisible God?  When He calls us into deeper waters where no solid ground exists, how can anyone have faith? How can anyone follow Him? How can anyone trust a God that may purposely let us fall?

    There . . . that’s the root of it all.  Fear.  Fear and faith are in opposition to each other.  We can’t have faith and trust in God as long as we let our fear control us.  It takes work to overcome fear.  2 Timothy 1:7 in the Amplified Bible reads, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control.”  So let’s break this verse down.

    In the Greek, spirit is pneuma which means spirit, breath or wind.

    Power in the Greek is dunamis.  In its noun form, it means “inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature.”  We know that in and of ourselves we have no power.  But this verse says God has given us a spirit of power.  Not just any spirit but His Spirit, full of power.

    Love in the Greek is agape.  It’s a Greek word for love not used by classical Greek writers, but only by biblical writers, teachers and scholars.  It is the highest, deepest most sacrificial love that God has for us.  We can only agape others when we accept God’s agape for us.  We do this by letting agape flow through us to those around us.  Agape isn’t something we can manufacture because it never originates with us.

    The last word which is translated into English in a variety of ways, self-control, self-discipline and sound mind is sophronismos.  It comes from two different words, sos meaning safe and well and phren meaning heart, mind and thought.  The only time it appears in the Bible is here.

    Therefore, we have been given the breath of God, the Holy Spirit, who lives in us.  By virtue of our new nature we have incredible power residing in us.  We have a God who loves us higher, deeper and more sacrificially than we could ever imagine.   And our hearts, minds and thoughts are safe and sound in His care.

    Wow . . . That makes me want to climb mountains, tackle giants and take over the world . . . for a moment.  But then life happens.  Friends hurt us.  We disappoint, and we are disappointed.  We cry over broken hearts and dream of something bigger.  We know that we were created for something more, but where is it?  How can we trust an invisible God when things aren’t going as we planned?

    We can’t . . . not alone, at least.  But we have His amazing Spirit who lives inside of us.  He has the ability to trust.  He has the ability to conquer giants and tame lions.  Our part is to rest in His power, His love and to trust that He will keep our hearts and minds safe.
    This leads to another question.  What is safety?  We view safety as never getting hurt and always getting our way.  But we live in nasty, fallen world.  It is full of traps and a lion roaming about seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).  What if safety is something different?

    One of the most influential stories that helped me trust God deeper is from Lee Strobel’s book The Case for Faith.  It’s about a hunter and bear.  I’ll tell the story in my own words.

    Can we agree that our ability as humans to comprehend, think and reason is greater than a bear’s?  Can we also agree that God’s ability to comprehend, think and reason is greater than ours?  Okay, with those two things in mind, imagine you are a hunter in the woods.  You come upon a bear with his foot caught in a trap.  Your heart hurts for this bear, and you want to rescue it.  However, because the bear is hurting and full of fear, he lashes out and won’t let you near.  Imagine you have a tranquilizer gun (I don’t know why, maybe you’re a catch and release hunter).  You shoot the bear with a tranq dart.  The bear perceives this as harm because he doesn’t understand.  Slowly, the medicine has an effect, and the bear lets you close enough to inspect his wound.  It’s a spring trap.  In order to release the bear, you’re going to have to push the trap tighter, just for a split second.  This increases the pressure and the pain.  Again, the bear perceives this as harm.  However, he doesn’t realize that in order to be fully and finally released from the trap, this momentary pain is necessary.  Finally, you pour medicine over the wound and carefully wrap it.  The medicine stings, and the bear thinks you are trying to harm it.  All along the way, the hunter only wants to help the bear.  Every move he makes is to release the bear from his trap, provide healing and offer freedom.  However, the bear believes that the hunter’s every move is calculated to cause pain.  The bear can’t understand the fullness of the thoughts and motives of the hunter.

    Could it be that moves of God we perceive as painful or harmful are actually moves to offer us greater freedom?  If we don’t get what we are hoped for, could it be that God is not withholding something from us, but waiting to give us the best in return?  The best may mean living in the dirt in Africa.  The best may mean living in voluntary poverty.  The best may mean being single.  The best may mean never having kids.  The best may mean a different career.  Can we trust that God knows what’s best for us, even if we can’t see it?

    When we let go of fear and trust that He has the best for us, He will change the desires of our hearts to align with His and grant us deeper freedom.  We must surrender to His spirit, then He does all the rest.

    He can, as the song says, lead you to oceans deep—to places where your trust has no borders.  In order for this to happen, you must be willing to pay the cost to seek Him to the ends of the earth and say…

    Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
    Let me walk up on the waters
    Wherever you would call me
    Take me deeper than my feet could ever wonder
    And my faith will be made stronger
    In the presence of my Savior

    He will always be present. When you’re feeling the flames or being ripped apart by lions, He is there.

    He is there—that is what you can trust.


For our questions this week I think it would be cool to journal some of the questions Jessica mentions in this post.

  • Do you trust that God knows what’s best for you, even if you  can’t see it?
  • What are the times like when you feel like the “bear”, scared and in pain?
  • Take a moment and listen to “Oceans” by Hillsong. Truly listen to the lyrics. Journal what the lyrics mean to you. Think about what your “waters” mean and what they are. Write it. Draw it. Paint it. Express what it means.

The Lion of Judah Roars in Me.


Once again, your PreScripture (10 points to the one that can name that reference) is within this post. Use this space to write comments freely and share with us what Words and songs are stirring in you.

I have always been the girl with her walls up, fearful of letting anyone close to me. Trust used to be my worst enemy. Why? Well honestly, I’ve been hurt a lot…and that was something I wouldn’t allow anyone around me to know. I feared rejection and so I became the queen of “I’m fine.” I battled my emotions and my hurt on my own. I convinced myself this was something I would just deal with for as long as my heart could bare and I put this line between me and Jesus. A line that He wanted me to cross- a line that I used to protect myself. You stand on this side, Jesus, and I’ll stand on the other. I was terrified of letting Jesus close because I feared that even He would eventually hurt me.  Here’s the truth that I had to learn, the amount of force I used to push Him away couldn’t overcome the amount of love He poured out 2,000 years ago.

Ladies, we have to understand that no matter how hard we push God away it is impossible for Him to let us go. Jesus’ work on the cross ensured this. Romans 8:38-39 states that “ Neither death, nor life, nor angels  nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height or depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” He wanted me and when I grasped that concept my life changed.

When you read that last line you probably thought I meant it changed to rainbows and constant laughter, coffee dates, and endless amount of shoes. But here’s the truth about Jesus, like anything worth having…it is difficult. It is difficult because He asks us to change.  Jesus loves us so much that He doesn’t just stop with the Cross, He pursues us passed it. He pursues us still. He pursues us because He wants more for us now. The love of Jesus is so deep, so wide, so vast that the assurance of our eternity was only a catalyst for what He would assure for us now. “I come that they may have life more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

Okay, so before that last scripture there is a sentence that many of us choose to ignore because it taints that beautiful image of an abundant life with Jesus. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” “But Jesus you promised abundant life, you promise you wouldn’t hurt me (my inner dialogue when I read this Scripture).” Jesus does this cool thing where every time I question His intentions, He reminds me of just how faithful and powerful His love is for me. So when I get scared that I would get hurt and the enemy could possibly win, He directs me to two stories in the Bible.

In the book of Daniel we find Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego- three followers of Jesus who would be cast into a furnace for their beliefs. Then we find Daniel, a faithful servant of Jesus, who would find himself in a pit staring into the face of the lion. I had to stop reading for a second because I had to ask Jesus why he was only furthering my belief that trusting Him would only get my hurt (I mean his servant is about to become a lion’s lunch). He, lovingly, told me to read further. There is always a resolve when we see past the current issue into what Jesus is doing. When you read along I saw that the three amigos weren’t burned and Daniel wasn’t eaten for dinner. Why? Because the one who came down from Heaven and walked through EVERYTHING we face knows how to guide His children out of a fire He has already walked through. Jesus had seen the fire before so he knew just how close the three boys could get before they were burnt. The lion in Daniel’s pit would be silenced and tamed for the Lion of Judah was roaring on His behalf. God’s power would prevail and shut the mouth of the lion.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the holy one of Israel, your savior.” Isaiah 43:2-3. Do you remember the storm in the Bible that threatened the disciples? Those same waters that threaten to drown us will have to listen to the voice of Jesus declaring, “Peace be still.” Trust our Father today. Trust that He will protect and love His children. Trust that He has more for you. Trust that He has overcome the world already. Trust that you will not be hurt. Listen intently because as the enemy blares deceit and death into your ear, the lion of Judah is roaring and His roar calms seas and His roar shook Heaven when it echoed “It is finished.”

– Kaitlyn

  1. Is there a storm that you are facing that you just don’t see a end to?
  2. Have you ever put up walls between you and Jesus? I know we all have.
  3. These two questions are hard, so you only get two. But, really reflect on your heart and if you are bold enough, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you out of you self-constructed lion’s den.
  4. Below, share some of your favorite verses and songs that keep you going.

Lonely Sits the City.



So… We are doing things a little different. Your verses to study are within this post. Why don’t you send us some Word that has helped you during this season!

So this word may be a little painful, because it may cause us to learn some hard truths about ourselves, but it has been my experience that I grow most in moments like this. Before we dive in, do me a favor and look up the definition of the word “lamentation.” As you can probably guess by now, this post is going to deal with our sorrow and pain. It’s not the kind of sorrow we experience when our favorite boy band breaks up, or when Starbucks stops serving pumpkin spice lattes, but the kind of sorrow that runs deep. It’s the sorrow that lasts and has to be dealt with or the result is an ugly scar. Lamentations is a book written to express the immense suffering the city of Jerusalem was experiencing due to its own sin. Basically, the city got itself into this situation by ignoring God’s will. Have you ever been there? I know that I have. I know I’ve done things my way to try to make myself happy, but end up broken, and that’s hard. So, let’s talk about how this makes us feel and how to deal with the consequences of our sin when we feel isolated, ashamed, empty, and forgotten about.

Read Lamentations 1:1-2 and 2:15-16. I used the ESV version, but you do you.

These verses set up the scene for us. The City of Jerusalem was once a “princess among the provinces” and is now a slave. We know that Christ has made us royal and that we are a light among the dark world, but sometimes we can quickly enslave ourselves. We choose to run back to the chains our Savior has freed us from. It is in these moments that the enemy whispers in our ear and says “Wow, you’re not royalty. You’re not forgiven. You’re not covered by the blood of Christ.” I am here to tell you that that is a lie. Christ’s love for you surpasses all circumstances, and let me tell you a little secret… the sin you find yourself in isn’t new news to God. He knew about all your past, present, and future sins while His perfect son was paying for it.  In verse 2, it says that “among all her lovers she has none to comfort her.” What “lover” or sin has promised you the world and left you alone? See sin has the tendency to disguise itself as a “lover” or something desirable or something that brings joy, but that is also a lie. It only breeds emptiness, and when  it is unable to fulfill whatever it promised to you, that unfaithful lover will only bring you sorrow.  Sometimes its not the enemy attacking through our thoughts, but through other people. Verse 15 says that people who pass the city say “‘is this the city that was called the perfection of beauty, the joy of all the earth?’” You see, people who do not have Christ get reassurance and gratification out of our failures because it makes them believe that there’s nothing different about us and that allows them to not have to face their emptiness. You should know this; no matter what you are going through, if you have the Spirit living in your heart you are beautiful and perfect in the eyes of our Father.  A common mistake is that people tend to believe that because we are saved we shouldn’t mess up. We are all in a process and THAT lie is EXACTLY the sort of lie that makes us give up that process. Satan is good that way, but our God is greater and continues to pursue us relentlessly.

Read Lamentations 3:21-24.

So in all this emptiness and loneliness and shame where is our hope? Our hope rests in Christ and his finished work on the cross. You may have been going back to your chains, but God’s mercy never ends and is new every morning. That’s a big deal guys! His love for us never ends and He is faithful unlike the failing promises this world makes to us. So rest your soul and let the Lord be your portion. If He is your portion, then He is enough and sin becomes less and less tempting. If we focus on His love for us we can do nothing but hope in Him. Let Him mold your heart to look like His and rescue you from this lonesome state. Remember, He isn’t angry with you… His anger subsided on the cross. His heart breaks for you, however, because He loves you deeply. Live the flourishing life He desires for you and He promises you will have everlasting joy.

I encourage you to listen to Brokeness Aside by All Sons and Daughters after reading this. I truly believe it emcompasses exactly what God has layed on my heart.

– Autumn

  1. What definition of “lamentation” did you find? Which definition do you identify with the most?
  2. Is there a particular sin that you don’t think God is big enough to forgive you of?
  3. Try writing out every lie from the enemy. Then we would like you to rip it up and believe what your Father actually says about you.
  4. Have you ever experienced a time when you thought something would make you happy? Did it make you happy or hungry for more?
  5. Share with us some verses that have uplifted you during your time of lamentations, maybe some songs that reminded you of the Lord’s love for you.


His Word:

  • Hebrews 1: 2-4
  • Ephesians 4: 15-16
  • John 14: 6
  • Hosea 2: 16-20

I don’t understand the phrase “pointing people to Jesus.”  What does this mean?  Should I carry a picture of Jesus in my pocket?  If someone is grieving the death of loved one, do I hold up my picture of Jesus and tell them, “Here’s your answer.”  If someone is struggling with depression, do I hand them a picture of Jesus, and say, “This picture will solve all your problems.”

I don’t think people mean that we literally point to a picture of Jesus as the answer.  The answer is that we are to respond the way Jesus would respond rather than merely give worldly advice.  This is because the answers Jesus provide satisfy our soul and spirit.  Worldly advice satisfies only for moment, and then leaves us wanting more (see John 4).  When someone is grieving, we weep with them, just as Jesus wept in John 11:35.  When someone is hungry, we feed them physically and spiritually, just as Jesus did in Matthew 14:13-21.

The difficulty is knowing how to respond as Jesus would in every situation.  In John 5:19-20, Jesus says, “the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.  For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel.”  So Jesus only did what he saw God doing.  Is it possible for us to do only what we see our Father doing as well?

In John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”  We usually think this verse refers to salvation, what if this is the way in which we can emulate Jesus by coming to our Father to see what He is doing?

Let’s take a closer look at this verse.  The word “way” in the Greek is hodos.  It means literally a way, road or journey.  Figuratively, it means a lifestyle or the way one lives his or her life.

The word “truth” in the Greek is aletheia.  It means truth.  That’s not very helpful.  Since John is the author of this book, is it possible to decipher what John thinks the truth to mean?  John speaks more about truth than any other Gospel writer.  He calls the Holy Spirit the Spirit of truth.  He calls the words of God truth.   We walk, worship and live in truth.  If you distill the essence of truth to its core, I think that to John truth equals love.

There are three different Greek words for “life” used in the New Testament.  The first is bios, which is our physical life.  The second is psyche which is the life God breathed into us, also known as the soul.  The third is zoe.  This is the highest life that God intended for each of us from the beginning of creation.  Zoe is the word for life used in John 14:6.

Therefore, if we walk in the lifestyle of love, we will attain the highest life God intended for us from the beginning of creation.  What is the highest life?  To love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

This leads to another question.  What is love?  Love is more than a feeling.  According to 1 Corinthians 13, love has at least 16 attributes.

  1. Love is patient.
  2. Love is kind.
  3. Love is not jealous.
  4. Love does not brag.
  5. Love is not arrogant.
  6. Love does not act ugly.
  7. Love is not selfish.
  8. Love is not short-tempered.
  9. Love does not keep score.
  10. Love does rejoice in unrighteousness.
  11. Love rejoices in truth
  12. Love bears all things.
  13. Love believes the best.
  14. Love always hopes.
  15. Love endures.
  16. Love never fails.

Putting all the pieces together, I think that pointing someone to Jesus means:

I daily walk in the lifestyle of love, patience, kindness, humbleness, selflessness, long-suffering, truth, believing the best in people and never giving up.  In doing so, I live the highest life God intended for me as a reflection of Jesus who in turn is a reflection of God.  I come through Jesus to God.  So when someone is hurting I don’t need to come up with answers myself.  Because of my relationship with my Father, I see how He views this person and their hurt, and I can respond in the same way.  Sometimes this may mean I sit silently with someone and share their grief.  Maybe it means, I open my Bible and show them how David responded.  It might mean we pray together for advice from our Father.  Maybe I need to push them out of their comfort zone or maybe I need to encourage them to see a professional counselor to deal with deep, roots of pain and anger.

Whatever our response is, it should come from a lifestyle (hodos) of truth (alethia) and love, which leads everyone involved to life (zoe).   This is what it means to point people to Jesus.  It’s simple, but not easy.

– Jessica

  1. How do you point people to Jesus?
  2. How can you apply living a lifestyle of love, kindness, patience, humbleness, selflessness, long-suffering, truth, believing the best in people and never giving up?
  3. Does the answer to that last question involves more time in the Father’s word?
  4. Can you name three people that you can show love to by truth?
  5. After learning hodos, alethia, and zoe, what does zoe mean to you?



Resting Points:

  • Psalm 61:2-3
  • Exodus 14:14
  • Matthew 11:28-30
  • Psalm 55:22
  • Isaiah 46:4

 Feeling spiritually, physically, and mentally exhausted? Worn out? Overwhelmed? Worried? Maybe even a little defeated? Wondering how it is even possible to be a Proverbs 31 woman, tell yourself you are a masterpiece, think you have a purpose, talk about how he is more than enough, all while praising him for everything?  I’m exhausted just reading that. If you answered YES to any of these questions, sister YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Let me start by saying most of these emotions are a result of burdens we were never meant to carry- anxiety, worry, fear, unbelief, exhaustion, unworthiness. This was all made perfect through the cross- we pick them up during times of full schedules, insecurities, tricks of the enemy. We begin to see ourselves as a tired crazy haired gal and we forsake our quiet time with the Lord because, honestly, we are too tired to drag ourselves out of bed in the morning and we are not allowing our spirits to be restored.

| Psalm 23:2-3 |

The good news is there is a solution and his name is Jesus.Before we dive deeper just take a few seconds and whisper his name, even in the stillness of a whisper he is there. And he longs for you to pour out everything that is overwhelming you to him.

“From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”                                                                          | Psalm 61:2 |

You might be thinking okay I have been trying this “Christian Lifestyle” for a while and it’s just to much for me, I’m exhausted. Running/Giving Up/Pulling Back is always easier, but it is time to lay our exhaustion at the foot of the cross and exalt our King. We have to push through to get more of Jesus or we will always be exhausted. When we are so consumed in Jesus and who he says we are, we always measure up… We never fall short… Because that sports team we didn’t make doesn’t define us, that load of laundry we didn’t have time to do doesn’t define us, that boy we dated but know we shouldn’t have doesn’t define us. Jesus defines us, and when he looks at us, he sees himself! Wow, we serve such a gracious God!  I think its so easy as a ladies to feel this constant burden to “do everything”, “keep everything up”, “be all he wants us to be” which leaves us exhausted and we completely forget that Jesus just wants us to “be”, be satisfied in him.

At this point you may be trying to come up with an excuse as to why this lifestyle isn’t for you? Or maybe you have been pursuing the Lord for a while now and have grown comfortable and honestly you are okay with that? Just give me a chance to guess some of the excuses you may have used before or are trying to use now:

There isn’t enough time?

I don’t have what she has?

I just cant?

Just to busy?

Where would I even start?

I am not fixable?

I’ve messed up to much?

I am scared?

How many books are even in the bible?

Majority of ladies are task oriented, we plan months out, we know who’s going where at what time before they even know it; but somehow we are always frantic for time and rest.  Life is FULL , I do not want to belittle that, BUT we have to be fully saturated in Christ or we will drown. We are like a dry sponge that hits a spot of water, we will try to “suck life” out of any area that seems to spare an inch. Which will not feed us, it will only satisfy a corner for a little while. We soon will dry out again, but if we are fully saturated in Christ we have no room to suck up anything of the world… only pour out Jesus.

Now you’re probably thinking who is this girl and why is she going on and on about being exhausted? Exodus 14:14 says, “The Lord HIMSELF will FIGHT for YOU, you need only to BE STILL.” So don’t GIVE UP because you’re spiritually, physically, and mentally exhausted it is time to GIVE IN to him. Stop fighting. You might be saying well I don’t even know where to start oyeah I am that girl that has gotten comfortable. Start with truly falling in love with Christ all over again or maybe even for the first time, seek him and he will do the rest. We spend so much time pondering the do’s and don’ts to Christianity that we miss out on the relationship that the Lord wants to have with us. When we choose Jesus he begins to make us more like him and mold us into these beautiful young ladies we’ve longed to be right before our very eyes. So my challenge to you is to fall in love with the creator of the universe all over again… Do you remember the very first time you encountered his presence? Did you know his presence could manifest in your life like that everyday? Falling in love with Jesus is the answer to any question that’s running through your head right now. It is simple, choose to fall in love with Jesus and he will sustain youAnd when you choose to fall in love with Jesus everyday becoming a Proverbs 31 woman is POSSIBLE, being saturated in Christ is POSSIBLE, believing you have a purpose is POSSIBLE.

So frazzled one, fall in love with Jesus.

– Lynlee

 1. What are some things keeping you from fully falling in love with Jesus? Write them down. Tear out the page. And rip it up.

2. Now write down what Jesus defines you as. Read the verses listed. Pray over them. And believe them.

Making Much of Him.


Some Bread to eat:

  • John 3:16-17
  • Ephesians 2: 4-5
  • Zephaniah 3: 17
  • 1 Peter 5: 6-7
  • Romans 5: 2-5

If I’m being transparent right now, I have to admit that I have been frustrated about writing this blog. I’ve been praying for about two weeks for God to reveal what He wants to say to and through me. I haven’t felt like I’ve gotten an answer. I had a lot of really cool concepts in my head but God convicted me and told me those were from me and that I am trying too hard. He told me that powerful points and eloquence had become more important to me than making much of Him. So that is what I am going to do. I am going to spend this post praising the God of the universe, the One who tells me things that I need to hear, the One who will stay with me during my dark times. He is the One who told me to stop seeking things about  the life He gives me and start seeking Him. 

Thank you, Father, for Your Son and the Gift of having conversations with You in His Name.

So in photography class this week, my professor said something about Photoshop that literally moved me. No, I wasn’t moved about how amazing of a program Photoshop is- although all of its capabilities are super cool. It revealed something about God to me that blew my mind. My professor said, “I know so much about Photoshop that I know how much I don’t know about Photoshop.”

Since all the things God says about himself is truth, I know that He is the Creator of the universe. And He is Grace. He is Mercy. He literally love. His is our Joy, our Hope, our Rescuer, our Refuge, our Redemption, our Eternity, our Purpose, our Life, and infinitely more. Just this short list will require eternity to wrap my head around.


I give you praise for who You are. I lift your Name high. You are Jesus. You are greater than I and I NEED YOU! Without You, I am nothing. Ecclesiastes says that everything is meaningless without You. It’s really easy to just name off some of the things You are and get lost in the words, but ultimately You are everything. Coming to the realization that without You, I am nothing is not easy. But, I know You are everything and You gave Yourself to me and for me.

The fact that you, Father, are all of this and so much more and still humbled Yourself for me, a sinner, is unfathomable. I am in love with who You are. I am astounded by Your love for me. I am excited for Your plans for me. My heart yearns to know You more and to be like You. Thank You for Your Son, who took my shame and my burdens. Thank You for Your Spirit who tells me when I am wrong, who I am, and speaks truth and promises to me every day. Thank you, God for even thinking to create me and literally considering me…. ME worth dying for. Worth the death of the One who Created me.I am humbled and forever in awe of You. I am honored to serve You. Father, I LOVE YOU!


P.S. This totally doesn’t come close to describing our God, but the cool thing is that even though we cannot fathom all of Him, He still gave Himself to us. So, I plan on spending the rest of my eternity unwrapping an unexplainable Gift from my Father, which is Himself.

– Autumn

  1. Who is God to you? Write that down in your journal. For added bonus, search the Word that helps your statement.
  2. Write out a prayer of praise to Him. You can pick a Psalm and base it off of that, but just tell Him how much you love Him. That may surprise you.