The Spotlight

Spotlight

It shines upon you every day –
The spotlight of His love and grace.
Do you see it? Don’t you know
That it surrounds you everywhere you go?
The Lord Most High – He is your light
Repelling the pitch black darkness of night.
His loving favor is your strong shield
To which the darkness always must yield.

Against you the darkness cannot advance,
And it’s due to more than happenstance,
For against the light, it can’t contend.
When light shines forth brightly, darkness must end.
It’s reign is over, it simply cannot go on
In the radiance of His affection that’s sure and strong.
His spotlight protects you from all harm.
At nothing need you be alarmed.

His spotlight upon you draws the ones
Who need to hear of His marvelous Son.
They see His reflection whenever they turn towards
You, His child, made in the image of the Lord.
They want what makes you who you are,
What makes you shine brighter than all the stars.
You’re the one that they’re drawn to,
Because of His spotlight shining on you.

It makes you different, it sets you apart
From those who are lost within the dark.
You’re a child of light, a child of day,
Attracting others, lighting the way.
His unmerited favor is your defense
Against the snares of the darkness.
His spotlight shines on you every day –
His spotlight of love, His spotlight of grace.

Sharing Our Heavenly Father’s Love with Holly Starr

Sharing Our Heavenly Father's Love with Holly Starr

Christian singer Holly Starr has come out with several albums filled with music that glorifies God over the past 7 years. She just released her 4th album, Everything I Need, on September 18. Her vocally-driven, pop/contemporary style songs share the powerful message of our Heavenly Father’s love for His children!

I recently got to interview Holly Starr for my ministry site for teens and young adults, generationarise.com. Click on the links below, and check out what she had to say!

Hear from Holly Starr – Part 1

Holly Starr on her music, her career as a singer, and how she desires for God to use her and the songs she sings to impact the lives of others!

http://generationarise.com/hear-from-holly-starr-part-1

Hear from Holly Starr – Part 2

Holly Starr on her favorite part of what she does, the pressure to live up to others’ expectations, growing up in a Christian home, and more!

http://generationarise.com/hear-from-holly-starr-part-2

Which of Holly Starr’s songs is your favorite? Have you checked out her latest album?

How Do You Approach Your Relationship with God?

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How do you approach your relationship with God? Do you view Him as your Heavenly Father who loves you more than you can imagine, is pleased with you because of Jesus’ perfection accredited to your account, and whose grace towards you far exceeds even your worst mistakes? Or do you view Him more as a taskmaster who has a whole list of demands that you must live up to if you want gain His approval and favor?

Does it really even matter? Yes, it does! It matters very much, in fact, because how you view God and approach your relationship with Him directly affects every other area of your life!

If you are demand-focused, thinking that God requires you keep a bunch of rules perfectly if you want to be right with Him, you will probably be demanding in your relationships with others. If you have this kind of a mindset, you will likely be stressed from trying to do everything perfectly, and walk around with a constant sense of condemnation for all the ways you fall short. If, however, you realize that your relationship with God is based on what Jesus did for you rather than what you do, you will begin to experience the peace and joy that comes with this knowledge. You will find it more easy to show grace to others as you open yourself up to God’s grace. You will feel at rest and stable as you build your life upon the solid foundation of Christ’s finished work!

Check out these scriptures that share the good news of God’s amazing grace, and allow them to impact how you view God, and how approach your relationship with Him!

  • God no longer even remembers the wrong things you’ve done (Heb 8:12).
  • He has promised to never rebuke or punish you (Is 54:9).
  • He is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in love (Ps 103:8).
  • He saved us because of His mercy, not because of the good things we’ve done to try to be made right with Him (Titus 3:5).
  • We are freely justified by His grace (Rom 3:24).
  • We have been made right with God because Jesus took our sin upon Himself (2 Cor 5:21).
  • Our Heavenly Father does not treat us as our wrongdoings deserve (Ps 103:10).

Protection in the Midst of Chaos

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Photo Credit: David Whitlow, courtesy of AFFIRM Films/Provident Films

In one of the scenes from War Room, the latest Kendrick Brothers movie to come out in theaters, Elizabeth and Miss Clara are walking along when a guy comes up to them with a knife in his hand, demanding that they give him their money. Elizabeth is super scared and about to do so, but Miss Clara refuses. She commands him in Jesus’ name to put down his knife. He responds by putting it away and leaving! When the police come, and are filing a report, Miss Clara tells them to remember to write down that she told him to put away his knife in JESUS’ name, because people leave Him out all too often. Throughout the entire situation, Elizabeth is extremely nervous, while Miss Clara remains calm because of her trust in God.

In today’s crazy world, tragic events take place quite often. How can you feel safe and secure in the midst of the chaos around you? By putting your faith in God’s protection! In Psalm 91, God promises supernatural protection from all kinds of danger to those who belong to Him. Here are a few of those promises –

  • Thousands may fall all around you, but what is affect them will not come near you. (verse 7)
  • If you make God your refuge, no harm will overcome you, nor shall any disaster come near where you live. (verses 9-10)
  • He will command angels to guard you. (verse 11)
  • He will rescue, protect, and deliver you. (verses 14-15)

God’s Word will never return to Him empty. It accomplishes what He sent it to do (Isaiah 55:11). When He promises you protection, you can be certain that you are safe!

There is power in the name of Jesus! His name is above all others (Philippians 2:9). John 16:23 promises that whatever you ask for in His name will be done for you. If you ever need someone to come to your rescue, call upon His name. He is the Savior – He wants to save you!

Because of God’s protection, you can feel safe, even in the midst of a crazy, chaotic world. With Him on your side, you are well protected!

Experience True Change

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Photo credit: David Whitlow, courtesy of AFFIRM Films/Provident Films

In War Room, as Elizabeth begins to pray, we see change take place in more than just her marriage and the life of her husband. Elizabeth herself begins to change, as well! At the beginning of the movie, she is angry and frustrated, gets into arguments with her husband when provoked, and doesn’t make the time to spend with her daughter that the little girl longs for. As the movie progresses, she begins to invest more time in her relationship with her daughter and respond to her husband in a gracious and loving manner, showing him respect even when he doesn’t deserve it. Her husband takes note of the difference, and wonders what’s going on. Here’s what happened – as she began spending time with God, she started to become more like Him!

As believers, we are to follow God’s example (Ephesians 5:1). The problem? No matter how hard we try to do this, we end up failing. Why? Because God is perfect and in and of ourselves, we aren’t. Even if we’re doing the best we possibly can, we will still fall short one way or another. The answer? Spending time with God, allowing His love and grace to transform us!

Have you ever found yourself using your mom or dad’s favorite expression, or thinking something was cool that you had previously disliked because your friends at school were into it? The people we spend most of our time with really do influence us. Spend enough time with someone, and they will rub off on you. In the same way, if you’re spending enough time with God, He will begin to rub off on you. You’ll become more like Him without even having to try hard, just by taking time to hang out with Him. You’ll be transformed effortlessly!

If you’re having a hard time living the way that you know you should, don’t give up! Instead of struggling on your own, focus on spending time with God, getting to know Him better, and experience true change in your life!

Make Spending Time with God a Priority

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Photo credit: David Whitlow, courtesy of AFFIRM Films/Provident Films

At one point in the latest Kendrick Brothers movie, War Room, Miss Clara asks Elizabeth about her prayer life. Elizabeth, who is having problems in her marriage, says that she’s busy. Miss Clara comments on the fact that in spite of her busyness and lack of time for prayer, she seems to still have time to fight losing battles with her husband.

How often do we do this – get so caught up in the busyness of our lives that we neglect spending time with God? We have so much going on that we aren’t sure how to get it all done, and praying and reading the Bible are often two of the first things we let slide. Maybe you’re wondering what you’re supposed to do about it – after all, you have certain things you need to get done, and there isn’t much time left over.

The truth of the matter, however, is that we will end up finding time for whatever we consider a priority. If we prioritize spending time with God, chances are we will be able to find time to do it. The cool thing is that instead of taking time away from us, spending time with God can actually help us out in areas in which we’re struggling, including giving us the strength and energy to handle everything else well, and wisdom in how to balance it all!

Still aren’t sure why spending time with God is such a big deal? Here are some more reasons why it’s important to do so.

  • The more you spend time with Him, the more you’ll become like Him. Hang out with someone long enough, and they’ll rub off on you. Spend enough time with God, and you’ll become more like Him!
  • He knows you better than anyone else. Spending time with God is amazing, because no matter what kind of a day you’re having, He knows what you need, and how to help you!
  • You’ll find encouragement in what He has to say to you. There are days when we are in need of encouragement, and His Word is filled with uplifting, encouraging news!
  • God can give you wisdom, and tell you things you need to know, but you need to take time to listen to what He has to say.

How much importance do you place on spending time with God? Begin to make it a priority. Take the time to read God’s Word and talk to Him, and see the difference it will make in your life!

Receive Grace, and Show It Towards Others

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Photo Credit – David Whitlow, courtesy of AFFIRM Films/Provident Films

In War Room, Miss Clara asked Elizabeth, who was struggling in her marriage, if God still loved her husband after all he’d done, and if she still loved him. Elizabeth has to admit that God still loved him, and she said that she had love for him, but that it was buried under tons of frustration. Miss Clara said that in that case, what was needed was for her to show grace towards her husband. Elizabeth wasn’t so sure she wanted to show grace to him – after all, he didn’t deserve it! Miss Clara pointed out how we all desire grace and forgiveness, yet at the same time, we don’t always want them extended to others. She told Elizabeth that God not only gives us grace, but will also help us to give it to others.

When others treat you wrongly, what is your response? Is it difficult for you to forgive them? Do you feel like they aren’t deserving of grace, and a second chance?

Do you know what the amazing thing about grace is? We DON’T deserve it, yet God gives it to us anyways! That’s what grace is – being given the blessings you don’t deserve (if you deserved it, it would be payment you’ve earned, not grace). Grace is what God’s given us, and it is what He desires for us to give to others.

How can you give grace to others – particularly when it is the last thing you want to do? Usually, when we have a hard time showing grace to others, it’s because we don’t really understand or haven’t received it ourselves. You see, God offers grace (undeserved forgiveness, relationship with Him, and blessings) to each one of us, but not everyone accepts it. There are even many believers who are trying to earn God’s love and acceptance instead of just receiving His grace. You can’t give grace to others if you haven’t received it yourself!

The answer? Understand this – you don’t need to try to be good enough to please God. He isn’t counting your mistakes against you! He wants to give you His forgiveness, love, acceptance, goodness, and blessings as free gifts, regardless of anything good or bad that you’ve done. Embrace His grace! The more you begin to do so, the easier it will become to give grace to others!

God Wants You to Rest and Let Him Go to Work

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Photo credit: David Whitlow, courtesy of AFFIRM Films/Provident Films

In War Room, the latest Kendrick Brothers film that’s currently showing in theaters, Miss Clara tells Elizabeth that it isn’t her job to fix her husband, and to let God fight for her, accomplishing what only He can. Elizabeth learns that the best thing she can do is to pray for Him, and trust God with the situation. When she does this, she sees things begin to change for the better in her marriage and family life, without her even having to struggle with trying to turn them around herself!

When things aren’t going the way that we would like them to, oftentimes we will become determined to fix them on our own. We’ll do everything we can to get them back on track, yet no matter how hard we try, a great deal of the time it just isn’t enough. What else could we do that would be more effective? How about putting our trust in God and allowing Him to do what we can’t?

Do you know what God wants us to do when things aren’t going right? Instead of going to work, He wants us to rest, and let Him work on our behalf! He knows exactly what the problem is and how to solve it, but how can He do anything about what we’re facing if we’re determined to fix it on our own, and refuse to accept His help? Sometimes, the best thing that we can do is to trust in Him, rest in knowing that He’s got our back, and then when we do act, do so with His guidance.

Ironically, resting in the knowledge that God is taking care of things can sometimes be the hardest thing for us to do. It requires us to fight the urge to just take matters into our own hands. You may actually have to work at resting (Hebrews 4:11)! Though it may feel like you’re being lazy, finding rest in God doesn’t mean that you never do anything, but rather that you’re relying on Him, not yourself, and that you’re acting under His direction instead of just doing what you think would be best.

Whatever your situation may be, God wants you to rest in Him. Trust Him to take care of it for you, and let Him accomplish amazing things in your life that you never thought possible!

War Room, and Answers to Prayer

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War Room, the latest Kendrick Brothers film, came out in theaters on August 28th. If you enjoyed Fly Wheel, Facing the Giants, Fireproof, and Courageous, you’ll love War Room, which combines familiar elements from previous Kendrick Brothers movies with some twists and turns that demonstrate the power of prayer, and how if we will let Him, God can turn around even the worst of circumstances.

Real estate agent Elizabeth Jordan’s marriage and family life are quickly heading downhill when she meets Miss Clara – a new client who  inspires her to develop a prayer strategy for every area of her life, and a “war room” where she can go to spend time with God in prayer. As she learns to seek God and trust him with what’s going on, things change drastically, and she begins to see what she’s been praying for come to pass – including a change of heart in her husband, and the restoration of their marriage.

War Room demonstrates that no matter how bad a situation may seem, if we invite God into it, He can totally turn things around. It shows that prayer really does make a difference, and has a tangible impact on our lives if we will make time for it.

Throughout the movie, Elizabeth learns that the enemy isn’t her husband, but rather the devil, that if she resists him, he must flee (James 4:7), and that her job is to pray and trust God to do what only He can do. No matter what you’re going through, know this – your enemy, the devil, has been defeated. Jesus won the victory over whatever you’re dealing with at the cross. If you believe in Him, you have been made right with God, and your prayers are powerful and effective (James 5:16). God desires to do amazing things in your life, and He has promised to answer when you pray (Jeremiah 33:3). Make time to come to Him and ask Him to do what only He can, confident that He will turn things around!

10 Verses to Speak Over Your Life Every Day

10 Scriptures

In a previous post, we discussed how what we believe and are constantly speaking about ourselves and our lives is what we will often see happen, and how God wants us to believe what His Word says, speak words that agree with it, and see His promises to us come to pass. How can we do this?

First of all, before you can believe God’s Word, you need to take time to find out what it says. Secondly, once you’re spending time in God’s Word, one way to speak words that agree with it is to actually take promises from it and speak them over your life. Take a verse with a promise from God that you love, and declare what it says about you on a daily basis!

Not sure where to start? Here are 10 scriptures to speak over your life every day!

Standing Before God – “Because Jesus took my sin upon Himself, I am the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Favor – “God’s favor surrounds me like a shield!” (Psalm 5:12)

Wisdom – “I ask God for wisdom, and He gives me an abundant supply of it.” (James 1:7)

Health – “Because of the stripes that Jesus received when He was whipped, I am healed.” (Psalm 53:5)

Protection – “God keeps me from every kind of harm, and watches over me.” (Psalm 121:7)

Success – “Everything I put my hand to is blessed.” (Deuteronomy 28:8)

Finances – “God blesses me abundantly, so that I have all that I need, and can be generous to others at all times.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

Peace – “I am not anxious, worried, or stressed because I keep my focus on God, and He keeps me in perfect peace.” (Isaiah 26:3)

Joy – “I am not depressed or downcast because sorrow and sighing flee from me, and gladness and everlasting joy are mine.” (Isaiah 52:22)

Forgiveness – “God has forgiven me for all of my sins – so completely that He no longer even remembers them!” (Hebrews 8:12)