By Pam Otto

 

 

A couple weeks ago I started the Summer Study “Without Rival” by Lisa Bevere.  While reading through a few chapters of the book, I was reminded of some things she shared when she was speaking at our Fearless Conference this past January.  I didn’t have to read more than a few pages to be taken back once again by her phrase “God doesn’t love us equally; He loves us uniquely!”

 

What???  What do you mean He doesn’t love us equally?  How could that be?  Our God is a God who loves everyone, right?  Why wouldn’t He love us the same?  Lisa goes on to explain that God’s love can’t be measured and that His love for us is unique~ without equal or rival.  She said that there is no rival for God’s affection for each of us!  Wow!  I believe that…mostly…usually…don’t I?

 

 

As our small group began to unpack this statement, we came across some truths that challenged us to walk out and possibly re-learn some things that we once knew. Here are a few nuggets to ponder:

 

  • “God loves each of us as if there were one of us”
  • “You are the only example of You”
  • “No one can do you like you!”
  • “You are His delight”
  • “You don’t have to fight for your place at the table or win His love.  No one can take you out or replace you.”

 

Yikes! If I deeply believe and own these truths, then I’m pretty sure I can do a better job of thinking, acting, walking and living like it.  I know and believe that God truly loves me, but sometimes I get stuck with the thought that He just might occasionally prefer others a bit more.  I mean, isn’t He more pleased with those who have more noticeable talents or gifts, or are more disciplined, or those who always seem to have the best answer or who make the right choices?  Nope, that’s not the case!

 

Look what Romans 12: 5-6 says:

“So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other or trying to be something we aren’t.”

 

I love when it says, “Let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be!”  What a great invitation!  We get to be ourselves!  God wants us to be the person that He intended for us to be!

 

I don’t know about you, but I can be a great cheerleader of everyone else, building them up with God’s truths and believing the best in them.  I can declare God’s word over my family, I can pray over my friends, I can encourage those who need a timely word, but when it comes to my own identity, I can too easily get defeated by my persistent flaws and weaknesses.  This study is a good reminder to be continually aware of the love that God has for me, the unique and unrivaled affection for who He made me to be.

 

My prayer is to allow God to step into those old, messy ways of thinking and replace my faulty thinking with His unique and complete love for me.  How about you?  Are you able to hear the words of life that God is speaking over you?

 

By Lisa Crumbley

 

 

I love how God is always inviting us to know Him more personally.  It amazes me the ways He reveals Himself and that He can use any and all circumstances to do that.

 

My current circumstance is that I have been deeply hurt by a family member who has engaged me in a horrendous legal battle. I have been verbally attacked and have spent a small fortune defending these untruths. I have cried out to God. I have sought truth. And yet, here we are in this terribly hurtful situation that has the potential to bring all sorts of anger and fear in my life.

 

Without God, I would be going bananas! The “Old Lisa” would have possessed an unforgiving spirit as well as harbored bitterness, anger, and resentment. I am embarrassed to admit that this church going, Bible study teaching, Christian woman, would have also really been revengeful. But, as I have grown in my faith, the “New Lisa”, has chosen a different path… and the peace that I have is worth the choice!

 

I choose to rise above the situation, turn to God and realize that I cannot change the other person. The only thing I have control over is how I react to the lies being thrown my way. If I rise above it, I can pray for the opposition as I realize that he is in control of his choices. I have come to realize that my trials have brought me closer to my Savior who is eager to show me what He wants to teach me in this situation.

 

As I was in His Word pondering the “why”, God revealed to me all the ways he has my back! In fact, I almost ran out of yellow highlighter as I underlined all His names! He told me he was my Defender, Deliverer, Fortress, Strength, Refuge, Advocate, and Comforter. Only He can stop me from going “BANANAS” and fill me with peace in the middle of this awful fire storm.

 

I then had another revelation. What I am about to share might not be quite a revelation to you, but some sort-of-a light bulb went off for me. All the different names for our ONE TRUE GOD covers all our vast emotional needs. I am excited to continue my personal discovery of the innumerable names of God as it helps me to know Him on a more personal level.

 

God is Healer, Good Shepherd, Alpha and Omega, Rock, Bridegroom, Strong Tower, Creator, Teacher, Merciful, Counselor, Jehovah-Jireh, and Shelter. Which name for our ONE TRUE GOD are you relating to right now and why?

By Paige Eavenson

 

 

At the beginning of the year I like to pick a word to define my year and focus on. I didn’t have anything major or profound word that the Lord was giving me only the word NEW kept coming to mind. I did a quick search to find out where the word “NEW” was in Scripture and one of the first verses that stuck out to me was the verse in Isaiah 43:19, “See, I am doing a NEW thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19 NIV

 

 

Back in November, 2015, God led us to a NEW state. We moved from Florida to South Carolina. There were lots of reasons we moved but mostly there was this deep knowing of God wanting to do something NEW in our life and with our family.

 

So, we moved to a NEW town in a NEW state and you could definitely say that we are experiencing many NEW things. We are getting to make NEW friends, find a NEW church, move to a NEW to us home, find a NEW grocery store.

 

You get the point and see the pattern, much of my life is filled with change and NEW things. Even with all the “newness” however, there has still been this question in my spirit of “Lord, what is it that you are calling me to do in this NEW town? What is my assignment here?”

 

Rewind back to the Fearless conference in January and Lisa Bevere said something like this, “You don’t know what you are called to do because you were called to do something that has never been done before.” I felt like the Lord was saying don’t look at what everyone else is doing with their life, I have called you to do something NEW. Something that has not been done before. So, don’t look to the left or to the right and compare yourself with everyone else’s life, just look to Me, let Me lead your life and direct your steps. I want to do something NEW in and through you.

 

In the Message version of this scripture it says, “Forget about what happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the Badlands.”


It reminds me of the quote by Steven Furtick, “ Don’t let what’s behind you make you miss what’s before you.” I can definitely find myself wanting to live in the past and be afraid to keep stepping out in faith in this NEW season. However, I’ve come to learn faith doesn’t look or act like that.

 

Faith is taking the steps, being alert, being present to what God is doing right now. He’s bursting with new ideas, seasons and plans for our lives. We only need to look for them and see the NEW things He is doing. Then step out in faith and go after the NEW. What is the thing God is speaking to you to go do? Don’t delay, but start taking those steps today.

 

By Ashley Kuczynski

 

 

This past January I attended the first Beautiful Women’s Conference, Fearless! I played a part in planning prior to the event, a role in entertaining during the conference, and attended with an expectant heart ready to receive a memorable and impactful word from the Lord. I also thought I may leave with something that the Lord would ask me to do. I did not anticipate the bold marching orders I got!

 

At the age of 13, before God, my church, and parents, I made a commitment to remain sexually pure until marriage. While I am now 32 and have fully and wholly honored that commitment, it is one that, until now, I have deigned to speak about to others. At the conference, the Lord made it very clear that I have withheld discussing this piece of my relationship with Him with others for so long and it is now something that I am to passionately and publicly profess and proclaim.

 

Today’s society esteems promiscuity and shames modesty… and it’s EVERYWHERE. It’s no wonder that giving a shout out to sexual purity hasn’t been compelling. Recently, on a pop culture morning show, I heard a panel of co-hosts shame a fellow co-host for remaining a virgin until the age of 27. If 27 is “old” in the world of virginity then surely I am a senior citizen. Sadly, this is the common.

 

Another popular opinion is that I am still single because I have chosen purity. Love, honor, commitment, trust, security,… (and I could go on) are the components of a healthy relationship and are believed by today’s society to come after or as a result of physical intimacy. God’s design is that those things exist first and physical intimacy follows a marriage commitment.  The belief today is that what God preserved for marriage is what I must do to even obtain it. Occasionally the lies of living in a world that blatantly praises what is contrary to my commitment creep in. If I ever do start to believe them, instead, as “Sunday School” as it sounds, I choose to believe God more.

 

I’m certain that my commitment to purity is the right, best, wisest, and God-honoring choice. But, I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say that at times I feel alone or even weird for making this choice that is misunderstood and even ostracized in today’s world. I definitely have the desire to be married one day and to be physically intimate with my husband! However, I want to follow the wisdom God’s Word gives on the best way to enter into a marriage relationship.

 


1 Corinthians 6:18-20 and 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 encourage us to abstain from sexual immorality, honor God with our bodies, and remind us that our bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit and were purchased at the very highest price. I want to honor God in all I do and while I don’t get it right in every area every day, purity is a part of striving to honor Him with all of me.

 

Purity is possible… it’s possible for those who are single, it’s possible for those in dating or engaged relationships, it’s possible for those who have not chosen purity in the past, and it’s possible for the futures of growing children. I could not and would not have honored this commitment if it were not for God’s help. His presence, conviction, guidance, and love are the only things that have generated both the desire and follow through.

 

“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord”. Lamentations 3:25-26