Worth the Wait

By Becky Olszewski


Have you been in a position where you were waiting and you thought you were being so patient? You thought, I can do this! I can wait for the answer and trust God. I’ve been there and been able to wait. But recently, it was a different story… I was sick of waiting.  I wanted an answer from God and I wanted it now. I found myself growing impatient and battling with my thoughts.  


One side said, “Just give up, who cares? You’ll never get an answer and you’ll never be happy.”  And the other said, “God’s plan will prevail. He is faithful and will provide a path for you.” I knew God was telling me to wait, He made that so clear to me.  But I was starting to get down in the dumps about it. “Poor me.” I thought. “Everyone else has it all figured out. Why do I have to wait when they already have all the answers?”  Pity parties were becoming part of my daily routine.


I was working on my Bible study one day and God said to me, “It’s not about you”. That’s when it hit me. In my time of waiting, I was totally focused on myself.  I was feeling sorry for myself, getting depressed, shuffling through the days wishing they would speed by so the waiting would be over. In that moment, I realized God has called me to more. I was so busy throwing my tantrum that I lost sight of the fact that He wants me to love and help others.


God is so good.  He knows exactly what we need when we need it.  I was asked to attend a Bible study last summer called “Just Open the Door” by Jen Schmidt.  The study focuses on loving, serving and welcoming others into your life. In the study, the author challenges the participants each week to think of others by doing things like inviting them to something, writing a little note, or helping them with chores.  


Following my pity party, God challenged me to focus on others. So I’ve tried to do that. Each day, I’ve been praying God would put people in my path that need to be shown God’s love through acts of kindness and words of encouragement. In my free time, I’ve been brainstorming ways to reach out to neighbors or help friends.  Suddenly, I’m not so focused on the answer I’m waiting on… I’m finding my joy again. I’m still waiting but I’m not doing it with a bad attitude anymore. I’m able to see God in other ways in my life as I serve others and I know I can trust in His timing. 


If you’re in a time of waiting, or if you’re finding that you’re spending a little too much time thinking about yourself and your needs, I challenge you to reach out to others.  What are some tangible things you can do for the people in your life to encourage them or help them?

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.  Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope.  Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.  Romans 12:10-13 NLT

Reckless Love

By Pam Otto



I cozied up in my morning chair, grabbed my cup of Joe, and started to read one of my favorite devotionals. Some mornings I find a little nugget that I want to remember, so I jot it down in my journal. Other mornings I find myself going through the motions without sensing any specific direction, thumbing through the Bible, hoping for something to jump off the pages. But… I always stand amazed at the moments when I am deeply moved by the Words of God, when the verses that I’ve read countless times seem to jump off the page and into my heart! What a great reminder that the Word of God is living, powerful and active! (Heb. 4:12)


Today I “happened” upon two very familiar verses that convicted my spirit and allowed me to see into some stuck places in my own life. Don’t you love the way that God knows each of us so deeply, so intimately that He is able to gently lead us to a new place?


I ran across 1 Corinthians 13:5 which says, “Love keeps no record of wrongs.”  Then I read Romans 8:1 which states, “There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”This is when I had my ‘Aha’ moment, my personal nudge from God.


I know these verses. They are familiar and I’m in full agreement. But, my heart was telling me that knowing these verses looks different than living them out. If I want to truly love the way that God loves, I need to stop keeping a record of wrong, and that includes to stop silently condemning others in my heart. I mean, I typically don’t condemn people out-loud…that would simply be mean, right?


God was revealing to me that I need to put to death the idea that I am somehow the judge of another. He wants me to start loving those challenging relationships without keeping score, without remembering past hurts, without rehashing old wounds and without any condemnation. The love that I am to freely extend to others in those sticky places comes to me through the Holy Spirit. It’s not my imperfect, selfish love that needs to grow but the perfect, life-giving love of God that needs to increase and be on display in me and through me.


My desire is to put away my childish ways of loving others, and to invite the Love of God into each and every relationship and watch how God continues to reshape and reveal His perfect love through my imperfect heart. Since God does not condemn those who belong to Him, shouldn’t I do the same?


What about you? Are you loving those difficult, prickly people in your life well? Have you ever kept records of wrongs done in the past that you pull up from time to time and let simmer in the corners of your heart? Let’s invite God into those places and begin loving others more generously with transformed hearts.

The Spirit Comes to Life

By Dawn Santos


I recently completed the Freedom study for the first time. I went into the study very open-minded though I knew exactly why I was drawn to join this small group. I wanted to hear God’s voice and I was seeking the peace of Christ.


I was hopeful that I would complete the journey and find the freedom that comes when you surrender to God’s will. Upon completion, I understood that what we had done together as a small group of women was just the beginning of a pursuit for true freedom. It was a much needed jumpstart in embracing a new way of life and in gaining a Biblical perspective of who God is.


Even though I left this much-needed fellowship with a lighter burden, the more powerful testimony I have to share is that the Freedom experience brought the Holy Spirit to life in a tangible way. I’ve always had difficulties wrapping my human mind around the Spirit of God but when the Word of God is used to explain Him, the once-perceived mysteries are unveiled quite perfectly.



2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”


If I had read this verse before going through Freedom, I probably would have gone on a spiritual mission searching for the Spirit of the Lord. Will I find it in this 7-day devotional? Can a song on the JoyFM point me in the right direction? Will this sermon guide me toward Him? It does say that freedom is where the Spirit of the Lord is. It seemed as if my answers were always outside, hidden inside some puzzle I needed to solve with logic and academic study. 


I’m so thankful to God that I read it after going through Freedom because now I see that the Spirit is within me, alive, and transforming me as I surrender to Him daily. For as long as I have acknowledged the Spirit of God that dwells within me, I have had Freedom. I just wasn’t fully acknowledging the power of the Spirit. When I heard Kristin Bonham explain the Spirit, I realized that everything I was searching for was already available to me. God helped me look within, to pray, to confess, to empty myself of myself, and stop resisting His power and peace. I am grateful for the many revelations that were brought to life for me during this short time!


The Freedom Group may be perceived as something for those who are going through very difficult strongholds, but it would benefit ANYONE who is seeking God, His Spirit, His love, and His peace. Keep this scripture in mind: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” James 5:16 NLT

Morning Fill

By Amy Hafner

“I spend my time with God at 4:30am,” a wise pastor once said to me. “Well, morning aren’t my thing,” I replied. I went home thinking, “I want to give God my best and my best is in the evening.”   When I did study his word, or pray, or worship Him evening would be my time.


About a year later I felt empty in my relationship with God.  I wasn’t absorbing His Word, sure I was reading, but His Word wasn’t speaking to me, His Word wasn’t changing my heart. To be completely honest, time with Him was boring and I was doing it to check it off the list.


One morning, while getting ready for my day, I prayed, “Father I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, I want to know you better, I just don’t know how.” A few weeks later, in November, I went to a conference with my husband.  The theme that kept popping up for me was, if you really want to know who God is you need to know God’s word.


There was a woman speaker at the conference and she had something about her I wanted.  She could quote more scripture than anyone I had ever met. She had so much confidence, so much joy, and so much energy and I wanted it too.


I attended her breakout session and she hammered home reading the Bible and reading it in the morning. She talked about the One Year Bible Plan. I felt God convicting me. Committing to this was something I needed to do and I needed to do it in the morning.


Remember, I don’t like mornings, I didn’t want to wake up earlier.  Mornings are “ugly” for me. I needed to go back to scripture and argue this concept (in my head, I’m a pain) before surrendering.



“I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.” Proverbs 8:17


“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” Psalm 5:3


David consistently cries out to God in the morning, and in Mark 1:35 Jesus goes to pray while it is still dark although he prays in the evening as well.


Fighting my flesh confession…I mean conclusion: There is no “commandment” to pray in the morning, but God always asks for our first fruits. My study notes said, “In Hebrew,  resit [tyivaer]; this concept of first fruits derives from God’s creation work. Because God created everything that exists, all of creation belongs to Him (Psalm 24:1 ). Consequently, that which is first and best belongs to him and is to be given to him.”


I almost got myself out of it; my best was definitely not morning. Then something hit me… God’s unconditional love for us. He doesn’t care what we look like in the morning, if we have messy hair, bad breath or are grumpy.


No matter what side of the bed I roll out on, if He is on my side my day is so much better.  Before the world has a chance to distract and divert me, He fills my morning with grace, forgiveness, mercy, kindness, wisdom and love.