Becoming a Slave and Gaining Freedom

Freedom is, by definition, the power or right to act, speak or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. Slavery is, by definition, a relationship where one person has absolute power over another and controls his life, liberty and fortune. As a teenager I had been engulfed in a life of sin. I was captivated by its lure and enticed by its stronghold. I was a slave to sin, until freedom pursued me and I began to allow God to draw me to Him. As I entered adulthood, I aspired to be happy. I longed for all the normal …

We Were Made for More

“We aren’t made to live on mountain tops” are the words I heard uttered from a friend not too long ago. When I first let these words penetrate my thought closet, I was in a place where I so desperately wanted this to not be true. I knew the feelings I had on the top of that mountain. I felt so close to God. I felt clothed with His Spirit…I felt worthy and wildly obedient. At this point in my life, I had spent what seemed like years climbing through thick brush (my life’s storms and trials) to get there. …

Eyes on Jesus Brings Joy!

Since it’s spring break I took the afternoon off to go fishing with one of my daughters and her kiddos. It was a beautiful afternoon. We all had our fishing equipment and we tried several spots around the lake. My daughter caught a nice bass. She cast out, almost hit the walkway with the lure, jerked it into the water and boom she retrieved her prize! No one else caught a fish, nor did we even get a bite. Did the day turn sour? Did the sun quit shining? Did we run home with disappointment and agitation that she was …

And So We Wait

Waiting: stay where one is or delay action until a particular time or until something else happens; used to indicate that one is eagerly impatient to do something or for something to happen. A few weeks ago, I was up at 4am busily getting ready to travel to a conference. I had almost forgotten about the pregnancy test I had taken that early morning, but thankfully, I happened to glance at it before walking out the door. Expecting to see only one line, I did a triple take when I saw not one, but two obvious pink lines. I didn’t …

The Lord Showed Me

A 2016 Repost from My Journey of Faith Magazine by Katie Clifton This past year, the Lord showed me that I don’t need to make plans. He showed me His ways are best and that I am strongest and most pliable when I am on my face before Him. I spent most of 2014 fighting God on church planting. I ran from it. I cried over it. I begged God to call someone else. Then, I surrendered with excitement and joy. In 2015, we launched Renew Church. It is wonderful. It is a gift. It is refreshing and reviving and …

Unshakable Thanks

We are all on a journey.  And as Paul says, we do not travel that journey as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4: 13). We know that we have a Savior sitting at the right hand of the Father who delights in us.  We have the Word of God that is living and active.  We have the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, giving us gifts to make the best use of our time here on Earth.  And we have the fellowship of other believers to offer friendship, prayer, encouragement and council.  We have hope, and …

Hearts of Gratitude

In looking up the word “gratitude” from various sources, most of the definitions were very similar and what one might expect: thankfulness, the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness; a natural expression of thanks in response to blessings, protection, or love, etc… One definition, however, significantly stuck out to me: gratitude is a joyful commitment of one’s personality to God. In researching gratitude chronologically in the Bible, it took me a while to find it, which was surprising to me! Although we don’t see a “thank you” in the first few chapters of …

And if not, He is still Good

The dictionary says thankful means “pleased or relieved” or “expressing gratitude and relief.” As I read over the definition right now, I ponder what it really means to me to be thankful?  Am I thankful?  Do I express gratitude enough in my life? When I think of gratitude or thanksgiving, the first thought that pops in my head are the people and things in my life I am extremely grateful for. Most people would agree, right? I know it was my first thought when I began to write about being thankful. I also wondered how many times a day I …

Habitude of Praise

  Far too frequently people claiming to follow Jesus find themselves in a rut. And if I am honest there are times I feel dry, sometimes even bone dry. There are times when I look at circumstances or situations around me and can’t seem to trace the fingerprint of God: Hearing about another mother leaving this life and leaving behind a husband and children, another friend mourns the loss of their child, another couple battles the heartache of infertility, another person is left aching over the heartache, disappointment and loneliness of divorce, an addict gives in to the temptation of …

Prayer-Begin With Praise

“The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” Exodus 15: 2 The bulk of Exodus 15 is a song of praise to God by Moses and Miriam. Their delight in what God had done could not be contained. The joy in their hearts overflowed into praise on their lips. They were witnesses to an extraordinary act of God: the parting of the Red Sea and the deliverance of their people from Pharaoh’s Army. If you’ve grown up in church, the …

I Was Made To Worship by April McCullough

It was at the end of the training season for the Little Rock half-marathon that I remember going to a pre-race dinner.  I was pulling up to the hotel to pick up college friends who were in town for the race. As one friend proceeds to get into the car, she noticed the radio station on the Christian station and commented “April-you still listening to your church music!” I chuckled, not having realized that I indeed was still listening to the same type of music that I listened to while in college.  Yes, even in all my mess I still …

Praise Him Through the Storm

I once thought that God didn’t give us more than we could handle but I now believe the opposite to be true…He gives us more than we can handle on our own so we have nothing left to do but cling to Him. We cannot do it without Him. I have learned that He will provide if we just let Him and He will calm us so much during the storms that all we can do is praise Him. Exactly one year ago, my family weathered some storms. The details of those few months will be saved for another day, …