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“Get Up”

The chorus of this song came to me after a friend’s husband passed away and she could not work her way out of the valley of the shadow of death. Bitterness and grief consumed her, and for months I wanted to tell her to just Get Up. But the rest of the song never came to me.

Years later another friend was going through a difficult trial with her young son. He had been gripped by sin and darkness, and was actually arrested and removed from his home. My friend was lying on the floor in her son’s room, in tears, when she heard God tell her to Get Up. She heard it, audibly. She obeyed, and she was moved to stomp her feet in anger at the enemy and tell him he would NOT win the battle over her son’s heart and his soul. She stomped her foot and told him to leave. Another friend witnessed a terrible cracking sound inside the house, light flooded into the room, and she felt God’s presence sweep the house, tearing through the stronghold that had been invited in by her son. She shared this story with me, and after hearing her say Get Up, I knew immediately God intended the song for her. He was faithful and filled in the rest of the song that had escaped me for so many years. It became her anthem for that season, her victory cry.

(Music & Lyrics owned by Caroline Luna)

Warriors for God encourages our visitors and followers to share this song with others who may need to hear the words and have a reminder to be strong, Get Up, and know that God is with you and with Him all things are possible! These lyrics have helped many people through the struggles of life and turmoils they’ve experienced.

Caroline Luna lives with her husband and three children in Alpine, Texas. She started on her Warrior path when she served as the Head of School for Alpine Christian School and took the safety and well-being of the whole campus to heart.  She (along with Ginger) led the staff in a daily attack on the spiritual forces at work against the school and she trained for physical threats as well. She is a licensed attorney and a certified handgun instructor for Texas License to Carry and NRA Pistol, but more interestingly, she is a former worship leader who still loves to play guitar and sing His praises. Thankfully she has been able to fight most of her battles with a bible and/or guitar in hand and not her other weapons of choice. 

Parents!!

family walking on path
Photo by Vidal Balielo Jr. on Pexels.com

Let me share some data with you that may encourage you to change some things with your children.

  • Gut health impacts brain health.  If your family is consuming junk food or things that cause inflammation of the gut then their brains are not at their fullest potential.
  • Are they looking at screens an hour or less before bed?  Blue light has proven to hinder REM which is crucial to good rest
  • Are they getting 8 hours of sleep each night? If the brain is tired then they can’t focus well during the day.
  • Are they taking vitamins? Include Omega-3 foods into diet, vitamin C & D, B-12, & probiotics
  • How much screen time do they have each day? Are they going through tech detox on weekends and getting outside and spending time with family or friends?
  • What kind of exercise are they getting?  Walks, running, sports? This is crucial for whole body health!

Consider your family’s emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental health and how you can work together to improve these aspects together.  Have a meeting and set goals and discuss the important of each of these to your family.

Warriors for God is here to coach you through the process if you need help. We want you and your family strong and ready for battle.

Ginger Turner is the Founder and Director of Warriors for God Ministry. She has a Master’s Degree from Liberty University in Marriage and Family Therapy, is a Board Certified Mental Health Coach, and a Christian Life Coach. Ginger, her husband, and three children reside in the Hill Country of Texas where she teaches and counsels couples, young children, and teenagers. Her focus is on enriching marriages and families, suicide awareness, and coaching the community on Whole Body Wellness. Ginger loves the Lord and lives every day for Him, serving Him in whatever capacity He sets on her path.

Addictive Habits

two clear shot glasses filled with alcohol
Photo by Isabella Mendes on Pexels.com

Alcohol has become the go-to drug for most of the world.  It’s actually the 2nd most addictive drug, following heroine.  Alcohol impacts the brain by decreasing blood flow and creating abnormalities in the entire brain cortex.  Some doctors have reported that a glass of wine a day helps the body but the real question is whether a person can stop at just one glass.  Anything after one glass begins to change the brain function on a more permanent scale, opening up chances for memory loss and cognitive disability.

If your parents struggled with alcoholism or any addictive behavior, it’s best to avoid alcohol and drugs completely.  My parents were both alcoholics and I discovered that one drink was never enough for me.  I have made the choice to abstain from all alcohol because I don’t want it to lead to an addiction that is already in my genes. I can attribute nearly every bad decision/action in my life to a moment when my cognition was hindered by alcohol.

When we choose to consume things that obstruct our abilities, it is best to understand what those substances do to our brain and our heart.  Young people who plan to have children need to understand that what they put into their bodies now actually impacts their offspring in the future.  The organs that create eggs in a woman and sperm in a man are negatively impacted by what products and substances they consume at an early age.

1/3 of American families are affected by alcohol and drug abuse.  Consider the long term generational effects they have.  If you need help with substance abuse, don’t hesitate to ask for help.  There are so many options out there to help people avoid drugs and alcohol.  There is hope for change!

Ginger Turner is the Founder and Director of Warriors for God Ministry. She has a Master’s Degree from Liberty University in Marriage and Family Therapy, is a Board Certified Mental Health Coach, and a Christian Life Coach. Ginger, her husband, and three children reside in the Hill Country of Texas where she teaches and counsels couples, young children, and teenagers. Her focus is on enriching marriages and families, suicide awareness, and coaching the community on Whole Body Wellness. Ginger loves the Lord and lives every day for Him, serving Him in whatever capacity He sets on her path.

Find Meaning in the Pain

Did you know we are meant to experience pain? It’s true.  Luke says in Acts 14:22 how we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.  When we experience suffering, the best thing to do is to find meaning in the pain and help others. 

After I nearly destroyed my marriage to wrong choices, I was able to help other couples who were stuck in the same struggle.  After I lost my mother to her battle with cancer, my best friend lost her sister to cancer and I was able to help her through the grief process. God has put me in so many situations with people who are hurting from the same things I have experienced so that I can help them through it. We struggle in life so we can give other people hope that they can make it through their own pain.

So if you are struggling today, ask God, “What do you want me to get out of this pain? How can I help other people? How can we make it through this storm?”

I hope this helps you with a new perspective today and how to be a Warrior for God.

Ginger Turner is the Founder and Director of Warriors for God Ministry. She has a Master’s Degree from Liberty University in Marriage and Family Therapy, is a Board Certified Mental Health Coach, and a Christian Life Coach. Ginger, her husband, and three children reside in the Hill Country of Texas where she teaches and counsels couples, young children, and teenagers. Her focus is on enriching marriages and families, suicide awareness, and coaching the community on Whole Body Wellness. Ginger loves the Lord and lives every day for Him, serving Him in whatever capacity He sets on her path.

The Youngest Suicide Victim

In 2009, Samantha Kuberski arrived home from school one day with her three sisters. After arguing with her mother, Samantha was sent to her room while threatening to kill herself. No one took Samantha seriously but she went to her room, crawled into an unused crib, wrapped a belt around her neck and the other end on the bar in the crib, and hung herself. Samantha was a 6 year old 1st grader, beautiful and bright, and with her future ahead of her. She was the youngest child recorded to commit suicide in America.

Drayke Hardman was born to his loving parents on May 26th, 2009. Drayke was incredibly loved by his family, he loved sports and had such a kind spirit. Drayke just wanted to be friends with everyone. Drayke had the biggest, bluest eyes. Sadly, Drayke had been experiencing bullying at school. His bully would pick on Drayke for every little thing, but despite this, Drayke desperately tried to be his bully’s friend. His school and parents were aware, and his bully had been previously suspended for attacking Drayke. On Monday, Drayke had come home with a black eye, he confided in his sister that his bully had hurt him. Two days later, on February 9th, 2022 Drayke’s older sister found him hanging with his favorite hoodie from his bunk bed. Drayke’s father immediately started CPR until paramedics took over and after 15 minutes his heart started beating, but the damage had already been done. On February 10th, 2022 Drayke passed away surrounded by his family. He was 12 years old.

A child under the age of 12 years old commits suicide every 5 days in America. Bullying is the #1 problem in schools today with administration and parents at a loss on ways of prevention. Gabriel Taye (8), Razy Sellars (11), Jamel Myles (9), Stormiyah Denson-Jackson (12), and Carl Walker Hoover (11) were all different victims to bullying, under the age of twelve years old, who committed suicide.

Signs to look for to prevent suicide in children:

  • Change in behavior or loss of interest
  • Significant mood changes
  • Drop in academic performance
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Writing or drawing about death
  • Recently experience of loss or trauma
  • Self injury of their bodies

Schools, parents, and teachers must be relentless in their discipline of bullying so that it stops. They must also create an awareness for risks of suicide, an awareness of signs to look for. Discuss problems with children and offer solutions that give them hope and create an action plan to change the environment they are in that could be creating suicidal ideation. Let’s also raise Warriors who are resilient and who can defend those around them who are hurting and needing help. It will take a collaboration in every community for progress to be made.

Ginger Turner is the Founder and Director of Warriors for God Ministry. She has a Master’s Degree from Liberty University in Marriage and Family Therapy, is a Board Certified Mental Health Coach, and a Christian Life Coach. Ginger, her husband, and three children reside in the Hill Country of Texas where she teaches and counsels couples, young children, and teenagers. Her focus is on enriching marriages and families, suicide awareness, and coaching the community on Whole Body Wellness. Ginger loves the Lord and lives every day for Him, serving Him in whatever capacity He sets on her path.

Are You Ready to Defend Your Christian Values?

The world just gets crazier every day! We think about the distractions, the division, and the turmoil we experience now, but our children and grandchildren will struggle even more….unless we do something about it! How can we prepare our children for when it comes time to defend their faith, their values, and what they stand for?

Proverbs 22:6 says to “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This is harder than we think when the world and Satan is fighting for their attention and corruption. Children are witnessing classmates who were once boys now becoming girls. They are bullied in the once-safe environments of the schools and hear foul language and insults in their face daily. Sexting, cyber bullying, and vulgar conversations are taking place within groups of friends. What once was a family gathering opportunity around the television has now become a battle against X-rated shows and children’s cartoons with sexual and LGBTQ explicit material.

Parents have to make a choice of whether to accept the terrible repercussions of their children becoming part of the world, or shield them from as much as they can and protect their hearts and minds. Why justify the changes of the world when you have a choice to stand against it??

Warriors for God is partnering with teenagers in areas across the country to help them defend their values. Young adults will have the opportunity to share the battles they face each day, then receive armor of facts, truth, and scripture so they can defend their faith and take a stand against the devil’s schemes. As warriors, we should not submit to the enemy! As warriors, we should not back down to justify the wrong as right!

Over the next few months, we will be sharing materials from this partnership so YOU can forward to parents and young adults who want to stand for God and His biblical values. Please pray for Warriors for God as we take a stand against the devil’s schemes. “The battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)


Ginger Turner is the Founder and Director of Warriors for God Ministry. She has a Master’s Degree from Liberty University in Marriage and Family Therapy, is a Board Certified Mental Health Coach, and a Christian Life Coach. Ginger, her husband, and three children reside in the Hill Country of Texas where she teaches and counsels couples, young children, and teenagers. Her focus is on enriching marriages and families, suicide awareness, and coaching the community on Whole Body Wellness. Ginger loves the Lord and lives every day for Him, serving Him in whatever capacity He sets on her path.

PTSD Can Kill

PTSD impacts brain function more than most people understand. When a person experiences trauma in disasters, extreme stress, violence, abuse, or combat their amygdala is triggered which sends a signal causing a fear response. This triggering system was created to keep a person safe. Those with PTSD tend to have an overactive response, so something as harmless as a car backfiring could instantly trigger panic. The amygdala is a primitive, animalistic part of the brain that’s wired to ensure survival. So when it’s overactive, it’s hard to think rationally.

Think of soldiers, for example. Consider the long periods of trauma they experience in combat that ends up rewiring their brain and fear response. Those with PTSD show symptoms of anger, irritability, headaches, frustration, and anxiety.

17 veterans commit suicide each day in America. It is evident that there is a crisis that must be handled.

Sydney Negley Mulder’s husband experienced PTSD after serving our country as a Navy Seal and ended his life in 2017. Listen to her powerful story.

Ginger Turner is the Founder and Director of Warriors for God Ministry. She has a Master’s Degree from Liberty University in Marriage and Family Therapy, is a Board Certified Mental Health Coach, and a Christian Life Coach. Ginger, her husband, and three children reside in the Hill Country of Texas where she teaches and counsels couples, young children, and teenagers. Her focus is on enriching marriages and families, suicide awareness, and coaching the community on Whole Body Wellness. Ginger loves the Lord and lives every day for Him, serving Him in whatever capacity He sets on her path.

Saving the Next Generation

Our children and their grand children are in danger! We must take a stand as parents and do something to protect them, suit them with armor (Ephesians 6:10-18), and guide them as they enter a destructive and divided world.

George Barna recently released a book called The American Worldview Inventory 2021 in which he lists some frightening statistics** derived from major studies he conducted on Millennials, those born between 1981 and 1996:

  • Only 4% of Millennials have a biblical worldview
  • Biblical worldview has declined by 50% in the last 25 years
  • 6 out of 10 Millennials consider a Christian to be someone who is a good person
  • 56% of Millennials think they will go to heaven just by being good
  • The largest growing segment of Millennials is the “Don’ts” who are people who don’t know if God exists, don’t care if he exists, and don’t believe that He exists.
  • 3 out 10 believe the Bible is trustworthy
  • 4 out of 10 attend church each month
  • Only 33% read the Bible during the week – the lowest it has been in any generation
  • 54% of Millennials suffer from anxiety, depression, and fear
  • Only 25% believe life is sacred
  • 66% believe in sex outside of marriage

How can parents help change the trajectory of the next generation?  Millennials have experienced more than any other generation, including mass school shootings, social media explosion, cyber bullying, pandemics, political turbulence, racial discrimination, natural disasters, and sex trafficking.  A majority of fathers are absent in the homes and mothers are working alone to raise their children.  Children are being neglected through excessive amounts of TV and social media in the home that teaches them a worldly perspective that their actions and appearance determine whether they will be loved and accepted.

So what can we do to change this disaster?  Parents can be coached, they can take classes to learn about ways to improve their family dynamic, they can take their family to church, and they can limit the use of devices to 15 years and older.  What if they turn the television off and share more intimate conversation with their children about their day?

I have listed some resources below to get you started on connecting more with your children and teenagers.  Consider starting these one at a time, one each week over the next 6 weeks:

  • Visit www.famousathome.com for tools on parenting + take the EQ Assessment about your child so you know how to improve
  • Visit https://5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/love-language and take the love language quiz for you and your child.  Learn how they experience, appreciate, and show love.
  • Limit their screen time to an hour a day.  This goes for television and tablets too.  Enjoy face to face conversations.  If you need help with dialogue, here are some conversation tips children love to discuss: https://thefamilydinnerproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Conversation-Starters_2020.pdf
  • Cancel Disney channel and subscribe to PureFlix.com for Family Movie Night.  Your children’s Emotional Intelligence isn’t fully developed until they are 25 years old so put healthy images, language, and stories into their brain while you can.
  • Do you have a teenager in the house?  More than likely they have a phone so ask them to download the Bible app and partner with them on a Bible study.  A great one to start with is SE Students: No Matter What Comes Through the Doors.
  • Take walks with your family and only one person has a cell phone that is kept on silent.  Enjoy nature, God’s creation, and share your day with each other while breathing fresh air.  This is very rejuvenating and should become a habit rather quickly.

I’ve also listed some quick tips that are really easy to implement now.  Keep in mind, the more you pay attention to your child’s whole wellbeing: spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally – the better they will be as adults.  Make sure to take care of yourself first though!  If they see you as a model for “good health”, then they will want to follow in your footsteps. 

Quick Tips

  • Eat together at the dinner table, not in front of the television.
  • Ask “What was the highlight of your day?” and “What was one thing that was hard for you today?” when they get home instead of “How was your day?”
  • Read to them at night; tuck them in, no matter their age, if they still live at home.
  • Be an example for them to follow (stop cussing, pray with them, and show grace).
  • Show love and affection to your children ASAP.  If you are not a hugger, it doesn’t mean they are the same way.  Children need nurturing and loving touch.

I leave you with my favorite parenting verse, Proverbs 22:6 that says “Train up a child in the way they should go; even when they are old they will not depart from it.”

Thank you for wanting to make a difference.

God bless!

**Source of data from “Christian Counseling Today”, Vol. 25, No. 3

Ginger Turner is the Founder and Director of Warriors for God Ministry. She has a Master’s Degree from Liberty University in Marriage and Family Therapy, is a Board Certified Mental Health Coach, and a Christian Life Coach. Ginger, her husband, and three children reside in the Hill Country of Texas where she teaches and counsels couples, young children, and teenagers. Her focus is on enriching marriages and families, suicide awareness, and coaching the community on Whole Body Wellness. Ginger loves the Lord and lives every day for Him, serving Him in whatever capacity He sets on her path.

Suicide Prevention Month

I had my hands clenched on the steering wheel, tears streaming down my face, and anger raging inside me!  I was driving down a two-line highway with a grassy median separating me from the oncoming traffic.  It was the summer of 1997 and I was in San Antonio about to start my sophomore year in college.  It was just a week away from the dreadful day that marked a year since my brother, Keith, took his own life and I was experiencing a darkness I had never felt before.  I was so angry at God and had questioned Him every day for why my brother was no longer in my life.  As I drove down the highway, I cursed God for stealing my joy, my friend, and one of the most beautiful people I knew.  I screamed over and over at the top of my lungs, “I hate you!!!!” until my voice was just a whisper, and my throat was stinging from pain.  I continued to clench the steering wheel to get a grip on the anger that burst through my soul.  I was done.  I wanted out and I considered for a few minutes how easy it would be if I just drove across the median into a guard rail head-on.  I imagined the quick death and the loss of pain forever.  I desperately wanted the guilt, resentment, loss, and heartache to go away!  My broken heart couldn’t stand another day.

Nevertheless, I kept driving.  I look back on that day often, especially when I’m experiencing new pain or extreme grief.  If I had jerked the steering wheel to head into the median worse things would’ve happened, and many more people would be hurting.  I would’ve left our mother childless, my friends with broken hearts, and possibly hurt others in the act of killing my own pain.  God heard my cries and cursing that day but He had a bigger plan for me than I could ever imagine.

Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, 2nd leading cause of death for ages 25-34, and 3rd leading cause of death for ages 15-25.  The #1 main cause of suicide points to depression, anxiety, and hopelessness.  93% of Americans surveyed believe suicide can be prevented.  So how do we do that?!  We start by creating an awareness of the problem so that people understand risks, signs to look for, impact on suicide survivors, and how to communicate with those who are struggling with depression, anxiety, and hopelessness.

Join me in September for National Suicide Prevention month.  Watch for more information as it’s posted and share with your friends and family.  Spread the awareness so we can stand together and fight the mental health disease that is robbing our young people of their lives.  Let’s make a difference!   


Ginger Turner is the Founder and Director of Warriors for God Ministry. She has a Master’s Degree from Liberty University in Marriage and Family Therapy, is a Board Certified Mental Health Coach, and a Christian Life Coach. Ginger, her husband, and three children reside in the Hill Country of Texas where she teaches and counsels couples, young children, and teenagers. Her focus is on enriching marriages and families, suicide awareness, and coaching the community on Whole Body Wellness. Ginger loves the Lord and lives every day for Him, serving Him in whatever capacity He sets on her path.

Kung Fu is in Everything

I have read through the introduction and into the first chapter of The Soldier Code, by Duncan Ray Brannan and now while watching Jackie Chan’s version of the The Karate Kid, one of his lessons on Kung Fu resonates more deeply than it might have before seeing these pages.

After the first several training sessions between Mr. Han and the student, Dre, they don’t progress past the boy putting on his jacket, taking it off, dropping it to the ground, picking it up, and then hanging the jacket on a peg. After several sessions of this, the boy gets frustrated and quits. Mr. Han shows him that the repetition of those simple movements has conditioned him to respond to Mr. Han’s sudden attack. He says something to the effect of Kung fu is in everything we do, even in the way we put on and take off our jackets.

The boy had been taking off his jacket and dropping it on the floor less than a few feet from the coat rack in his home. His mother had to nag, beg, and demand over and over for the boy to pick it up off the floor and put it where it belongs. While the scenes with Dre hanging up the jacket over and over were not as poetic as Danielson’s “wax on, wax off” of the first Karate Kid, as a parent it was gratifying to see the child grow weary of picking up the jacket, much as his mother had done.

Do we come home and throw our armor on the ground, scoffing at its proper place by the door? Do we leave it at home on the floor or hide it on the way to practice so we won’t have to repeat the effort of putting it on and defending our faith?

I’m reminded of a sweet young man who played bass guitar for me when I lead worship at a church in San Marcos. He walked to church one morning in sandals and a tank top, no jacket, in 40-degree weather. It didn’t occur to him to check the weather before he left, and even after he had walked outside into the cool air, it didn’t occur to him to go back inside and change…

How many times have we failed to check ourselves at the door when there were clear warning signs that we were not “dressed” appropriately?

On page 24 in The Way of the Samurai chapter under the heading “Live with Deadly Intensity”, the author describes the Age of War and how it increased appreciation for everything else in life. Nothing was taken for granted, everything became an art that was studied, practiced, perfected, and then reverently taught to the next generation.

Our Faith should be in everything we do, it should color every conversation and interaction. It should most definitely be something we are reverently teaching to the next generation. What is this armor? How do we put it on? When do we wear it? How do we take it off and leave it ready for the next wearing?

The Whole Armour of God

Ephesians Chapter 6

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16 With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. 19 Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.

Book of John Study – Day 4

Reading: John 1:29-34

This section tells of John the Baptist and Jesus along the riverside. Note, this is not the first time that they have been together (John is speaking in past tense about the spirit coming down on Jesus) and this day is several days after Jesus was baptized by John in the river.

The actual baptism of Jesus was told in the other Gospels (Mark 1:4-11). The moment that Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit manifested himself like a dove and descended upon Jesus. The Lord spoke words from the heavens. Through John’s Gospel, we understand why John the Baptist was intended to baptize Jesus. We also understand the relationship between our water baptism and the Holy Spirit.

Note that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist right before he began His earthly ministry. The miracles He performed were only AFTER He received the Holy Spirit that gave Him the power. The arrival of the Holy Spirit through baptism was the moment Jesus went from being a carpenter’s son to Rabbi and Messiah.

Did you notice that Jesus comes to John to receive the Spirit? John was the man appointed by God to identify the Messiah to the world. John’s sole purpose in his ministry was to call attention to Jesus and naming Him the Messiah. Jesus becoming baptized brought John’s ministry to completion.

The water baptism Jesus received was a picture of the Spirit’s arrival. The very same thing the Spirit did for Jesus is still happening for believers today.

The water baptism is a washing away of sin, a demonstration of what Jesus expects His followers to do as a symbol of Spirit baptism.

Recognize that in verse 32, the Spirit remained with Jesus. This is the same for believers who believe in Jesus and accept the Holy Spirit into their hearts, the Spirit remains with them to guide them.

In verse 33, John the Baptist applied a baptism of water alone, but Jesus brought a baptism of the Spirit.

Notice how John the Baptist says twice is this section that he did not know Jesus before He came to him for baptism. Remember, not even Jesus’s brothers believed He was the Messiah until He had died.

Also make note that no account of Jesus’s baptism is told as witnessed by anyone other than Jesus and John the Baptist. All four Gospel writers record that only two people witnessed the theophany of the dove and hearing the Lord’s voice from the heavens. This was meant as confirmation to John the Baptist that this was the Messiah that he was baptizing.

Once John the Baptist announced that Jesus was the Messiah, He had followers the same day. John’s point in Chapter 1 is to focus on John the Baptist as the one paving the way for Jesus’s ministry.

The fact that no one knew Jesus as the Messiah (besides Mary & Joseph who were told by an angel) really proves that He lived as a fully normal human being while on earth. This is why Jesus’s early years are not recorded, because He was not bringing attention to himself like Superman, and His ministry had not started yet.

Finally, note that Jesus’s ministry began right after He was baptized. As Christians, we should understand our own baptism in the Spirit as the moment we launch an earthly ministry. We are equipped with the Holy Spirit and now we have a mission to serve the Lord. How many Christians do you think truly begin their service from the first moment after their baptism?

It takes times for Christians to figure out their purpose or ways to serve. It took Jesus coming back to the river in John 1:29 for Him to receive followers and His first two disciples in John 1:35.

John testifies in this section that Jesus is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. If and when you have the opportunity to testify about Jesus, what would you say? What has He done in your life that you could be sharing with others? What does His life mean to you where you can testify to His presence and existence?

NEXT STEP, REFLECT ON THESE VERSES, TALK TO A FRIEND ABOUT THEM, AND READ JOHN 1:35-42

Book of John Study – Day 3

Reading: John 1:19-28

In case you didn’t know, the John who wrote this book and John the Baptist are not the same people. This author, known as John the Evangelist or Apostle John, was one of the twelve disciples with Jesus and he was a fisherman. There is some argument as to whether this John also wrote Revelation but it is in fact the same person.

This section of John begins the “Book of Signs” that tell of Jesus and his signs. This book is different than Matthew, Mark, and Luke because they tell what Jesus did and John tells of who Jesus was. This book allows people to connect more with Jesus.

In John 1:19, John the Baptist is confronted by pharisees who are questioning whether he is the Messiah. He denies that he is Christ and uses references to Old Testament to demonstrate his knowledge of scripture. “I am the voice of the one calling in the wilderness” comes from Isaiah 40:3.

Keep in mind that the pharisees thought that the King and Messiah would be two different people. They thought there was no way a King would suffer for sins of Israel. In reality, there is one Messiah with two comings. Christ’s first coming is as a prophet to serve as the Lamb of God and the second coming is to rule over His Kingdom as King.

Even after John the Baptist explained who he was and who he was not, the pharisees could not understand. If they didn’t see John the Baptist the right way, they would not see Jesus the right way either.

John the Baptist doesn’t focus on himself and talk about him, because his job was to announce Christ, which he did.

John told these men that they did not know the Messiah and the Messiah was so great that John was not even worthy to untie his sandals.

Do we all know Jesus in this way? Are we aware of His authority? Are we prepared to see His light and hear His truth? Are we ready to know Him more?

ENJOY READING THE NEXT SECTION, JOHN 1:29-34. WRITE DOWN YOUR QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS AS YOU READ THROUGH THE VERSES.

Book of John Study – Day 2

Book of John – Day #2

Reading: JOHN 1:1-18

Beginning the book, did you see the parallel with Genesis 1? Make sure to read Genesis 1:1-5 and see the similarities with John 1:1-5. “In the beginning…”

You’ll notice in this one section alone, the mention of “light” seven times. The Book of John mentions “light” 21 times.

Again, look at the similarities with Genesis and the mention of “light”.

Did you recognize how John says Jesus was with God in the beginning? Genesis also mentions Jesus in the beginning in the trinity. A Genesis study will explain this more, but Jesus was the “light” then; and God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness”. Recognize how John says Jesus was life. He created all things.

Jesus not only created man, but He is the source of their eternal life, “that life was the light of all mankind.”

John uses the metaphor in verse 5 to say that Jesus is the solution to the problem of darkness, which is sin. Not only does He bring life to our physical bodies, but Jesus is also the Word, the source of truth. While Jesus came to earth to save us from our sins (light in the darkness), He was also rejected – but darkness did not overcome Him.

Verses 6-14 summarize Jesus’s ministry and how he brought the light into the dark world but was rejected and his own people did not receive Him.

John the Baptist paved the way for Jesus. He was foretold in Isaiah 40 as the man who would come from the wilderness proclaiming the Messiah’s arrival.

John had disciples who followed him, of whom left to follow Jesus after he was baptized by John the Baptist and then started His ministry.

Do you see John’s overall message in these verses? Jesus created all things and then became part of the very world He Himself made, who was rejected by those He created! Consider the humility of a God who would orchestrate the circumstances by which He would suffer humiliation at the hands of the very people He spoke into existence and granted life.

In verse 12, John explains Jesus gave a way for those who believe in Him to become children of God. Believing in Jesus brings eternal life. It is by the will of God that people become believers.

Verses 14-18 explain that Jesus actually became flesh and how John the Baptist testifies to this man as being the Messiah. John the Baptist was born six months before Jesus but Jesus was there at the creation. John says that because of Jesus, we receive grace. Grace is freely given to those who believe in Him.

FEEL FREE TO LEAVE ANY COMMENTS OR QUESTIONS BELOW.

NEXT READING: JOHN 1:19-28.

Book of John Study

Warriors for God would like you to join them as they study the Gospel of John. It will be simple! The only thing you need to do is have a Bible and follow along as we read through the chapters of John over the coming weeks. You are welcome to give feedback through comments or just learn new things from each section.


Day #1:

The Gospel of John is meant to strengthen one’s knowledge of Christ and salvation.Let’s begin with some facts about the Book of John:

– Did you know that the Gospel of John is the most recommended book in the Bible for new Christians to read? Leon Morris wrote that John’s Gospel is a pool in which both a child can wade in and an elephant can swim in.

– John’s purpose in writing his book was to strengthen the church for the long period of time before the 2nd coming of Christ.

– John really wanted believers to abide in Christ and depend on His word.

– John emphasizes the need to truly know Christ through a continual trust and connection instead of one moment of confession.

– Gospel of John is known for the 7 statements of “I am”

NEXT STEP: READ JOHN 1:1-18 and watch for the next post that highlights these verses.

Studying Scripture

Are you thirsty for the Word of God but not sure where to start? Many new Christians begin reading the Bible in Genesis and quickly give up. For new believers, it is a wise suggestion to begin reading the Bible in the Book of John because it is easiest to read and comprehend and truly teaches the reader about Jesus and His ministry on earth. Simply reading the Bible is a good first step, but really understanding Scripture and the message God wants to convey takes a little more effort and study. The Bible possesses the Living Word of God so, when read and studied properly, it will actually change the reader. Here are some points to consider when studying the Living Word:

Spiritually – Begin your study each time with prayer. Pray that God opens your eyes to see what He wants you to see and hear what He wants you to hear.  Ask for Him to grant you the ability to understand the scripture as it is written and the way He intended it to be understood, as truth.

Historically – As you read through the text, consider the history and what events were occurring at that time.  Why were certain rituals being performed?  What battles had just occurred or were about to happen?  You can find detailed commentaries in your Bible footnotes, online at BibleHub.com (commentaries), or using Barnes Notes for details about verses throughout the Bible.  Actually, study the Bible and question the material, not just read it.

Contextually – Keep the verses in context with the situation and do not take them out of context from the author.  When you take verses out of context, you go down a path not meant by the author. You can read the verses right before the text and right after the text to understand the meaning of the section. False teachers will take a verse out of context to convey a message they want you to hear, not what God meant for you to understand.

Culturally – Remember that the Bible was written at different times spanning thousands of years.  What may have been normal back then would not be seen as ordinary now.  For example, women were seen as calling attention to themselves with big hair and jewels so a verse about having long hair or shaved heads was a requirement was meant to be taken literally for that situation, environment, or that time period.

Literally – Many of the authors use metaphors to explain a message or meaning within the Bible.  Other times, they use literal facts and information to deliver the message.  Distinguish between symbols and literal translations of the story and evaluate what the author was trying to convey.

Applicably – Read the text and interpret what the author was trying to say and what meaning it has within the text then you have better success at understanding. How does it apply to the time then?  How does it apply to our lives now?

Emotionally – We are not meant to interpret the Bible and twist scripture into what we think it means.  However, we can apply scripture to our lives and see how it can change us.  There is a reason it is called the Living Word, because every time we read the same passage we may see and understand something new each time. What is God trying to change in your heart through the passages?

Verse by Verse – Most importantly, study the Scriptures verse by verse to understand the material. There is a tremendous resource online and available as an APP that goes through many books of the Bible in a Verse by Verse study. This resource changed my life!! Again, I recommend starting with the Book of John and then possibly moving to Matthew, Mark, and Luke. View Verse by Verse resources here!

Warrior for God,
Ginger Turner

Prevenient Grace

Prevenient Grace.  Have you ever heard of this term?  I hadn’t heard of the concept before today when it was introduced to me while reading and studying the Book of John.  You see, prevenient Grace is the grace God provides before we know it is grace.  It’s the preparation in our lives before we accept Jesus and believe in Him.  Prevenient Grace can also be the doors that God closes and the way He directs us down His path in our lives.

Many years ago, I was given my first Bible as a senior in high school.  While I had no interest in the words within, I received it and held onto it because it was a gift from a very special friend.  Five years later, I was invited to a Bible study by a co-worker and after much encouraging, I attended.  My curiosity was peaked but I still had denial and many questions about Jesus.  Fast forward a couple more years, I was invited to the Walk of Emmaus where I was introduced to the sacrifice that Jesus made me for and the forgiveness for all the sin that entangled me.  It was there, at the Walk of Emmaus, that I decided to love and follow Jesus Christ. 

The Prevenient Grace is what God provided me as an unbeliever.  He was directing my path, delivering people into my life who would be used as instruments toward my newfound faith.  Looking back, I see Him closing doors that would’ve led me astray even more.  I can see His work, as well as those around me, chiseling away and softening my heart, revealing the glorious God who had been working on me since I was born.

It’s interesting how we can open a Bible and read passages of scripture and not understand a word of it, but then find the same verses another day and understand it completely.  In Luke 24:13, two disciples were walking on the road to Emmaus and talking to each other about the recent occurrences of Jesus’ resurrection when Jesus appeared and started walking with them.  They were unaware that it was Jesus as they continued their walk and discussion with him.  It wasn’t until they had invited them into their homes and broken bread with Him that they became aware that it was Jesus they were sitting with.  Jesus chose the time for their eyes to be opened and for them to be aware of His presence.

The power of Prevenient Grace is inspiring.  To understand that decades can pass in someone’s life with Jesus working in the background orchestrating that one moment when an unbeliever comes to faith, when the Holy Spirit reveals the truth, and when Jesus Christ is seen as the way, the truth, and the light.  Of course, this moment and this path is not our control.  God prepares the path for us and determines the instruments and processes for us to receive Him.  “Come follow me,” Jesus said.  He seeks us and provides this beautiful prevenient grace until that moment.

Warrior for God,
Ginger Turner

A Different Kind of Mission

In the Spring of 2018, I received a call from the Executive Director of the school my children attended.  We had become very good friends while campaigning for several months for a new school building that was coming to fruition in the matter of a few months.  We had to have doors open by August and it was April.  He was calling to tell me that he had some personal issues come up and he needed to spend more time at home.  I didn’t know all of the details but could hear the concern and stress in his voice.  He asked that I take over as Executive Director.  I had been working by his side for many months and since I had my own successful business, he felt I would be great for the position.  More importantly, he knew I loved God and loved the school.  I didn’t hesitate and I felt the timing was good for me since I had recently started stepping back in my business to focus on my kids and my marriage.  I said yes, but with one condition.  I told him I didn’t want a salary because I thought God was leading me to this as a mission and a learning experience for our Warriors for God ministry.

I had no idea what I was getting into.  This mission field was like no other rollercoaster I had ever experienced!  The upcoming summer was grueling because we had so many unfinished stages of the school installation and we were afraid opening the doors by August was impossible.  The Head of School, her husband, my husband, and our combined six children all jumped in for three months of blood, sweat, and body aches to get it done.  We were one day shy of teacher in-service starting when we finished the sidewalks, landscaping rock, painting, fence, and door locks. 

This blast of excitement and newness started a honeymoon phase that lasted nearly 18 months.  Enrollment was up, teachers were happy, families were enthusiastic and involved, and children loved their new school.  The best part of our days was sharing the Gospel in Chapel and singing worship songs with the students.  The children started praying over each other and sharing the Good News with friends and family.  I felt this was the best job ever!!

I was able to incorporate Junior Warriors for God into the school with weekly youth Bible studies and fellowship.  We started an adult Bible study in our home, and it grew to 15-20 people.  We even had the opportunity to have two marriage enrichments and invite couples in from the community who wanted to strengthen their marriage.  There were two couples who were on the verge of separation and our enrichment leaders and the topics they shared changed the couples’ attitudes which motivated them to start working on saving their marriage.  They are still together today! I was inspired to go back to school and get my Master’s in Behavioral Science for Marriage and Family Counseling.  I thought that by having this additional education, I could help more of my students, families, and the community.  I love enriching my brain with more knowledge!

With any Christian mission, the euphoria and excitement came to an end when Satan swooped in with his attack.  Obviously, the enemy is always searching for a weak spot.  Within a few months, division started on campus – between parents, teachers, staff, and even students.  Everyone felt this presence of evil and darkness on our sweet school.  We held prayer meetings, prayed over the classrooms, and prayed over each other.  Peace was hard to find in anything we did or tried.  We were so shaken because we had just experienced 18 months of such excitement and peace. I lost all of my focus on studying the Bible and time in prayer.  I had focused all of my energies and drive on maintaining, saving, and strengthening the school as Satan pushed back against me with more distractions.  Warriors for God Ministry was on the back burner in a time when I needed my Armor the most!

Six months later, COVID-19 hit our country and our community which caused more division and unrest.  This left the school with a financial burden and teachers were let go and enrollment went down.  Satan stirred the pot with more conflict in every area within our school and our community.  It was exhausting!  On top of that, add the stress of politics, economic conditions, mask disputes, and a Presidential election!!

My family decided we needed a change.  They needed me back in their lives and I needed them.  I had taken this job as a volunteer and I realized the school needed someone more permanent.  We decided to leave the desert and head east, so I gave my resignation as Executive Director.  Unfortunately, nothing became easier from this decision or announcement.  Challenges came in all shapes and sizes and from all directions.  Attacks against my reputation, faith, and character jumped out and bit me.  Satan knew me well and he knew where he could hurt me the most.  I had many anxiety attacks from overwhelming feelings of failure and hopelessness.  I was losing my way.

I prayed.  I asked God to show me the way and open the door to where He wanted me to go.  I prayed for a saving grace for a new journey, a new mission for our family.  I prayed that, no matter what, the school would be in good hands.  I was desperate for peace, relief, and rest for me, my family, and the school. 

In March 2021 I received a call from my friend and previous Executive Director who had handed the torch to me in 2018.  He said he missed the school and wanted to know if he could have his job back. Praise God!  Bless you, Lord!  I was on my knees giving thanks to God for answering my prayers.

So here I am, two months into training my replacements and two months away from a new home in a new part of the state.  My friend is restoring the school with the positive energy that had been taken away by distractions, division, and Satan’s attacks.  The school is growing, families and teachers are happy again, and the environment is inspiring. The school is so blessed! I can still enjoy the mission from the sidelines by providing reinforcements and support, when needed.

I can’t say things will be easier, but I know where I want to be.  I want to be front and center to serve God every day, with my Armor on, and joy in my heart.  I know the only way I can get there is by serving God and listening to His guidance.  The adventure and mission may be different than I anticipate but it’s all worth it either way. Ready. Set. Go!

2 Corinthians 9:8 & 12 say, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.”

Warrior for God,
Ginger Turner    

He’s Gone Now

There once was a boy who lived in the city.  This wasn’t just any ordinary boy.  This boy was living inside a man’s body and he sought after the love from passionate women and strong, lasting friendships people write stories about.  He had a smile that would light up a room and the looks of a GQ model.  He could make you laugh until your stomach hurt with his impersonations and comic-spirit.

What most people didn’t know about this boy was that he carried a darkness inside that robbed him of hope.  This darkness kept him from really enjoying life and love.  This darkness held him back from really being happy with what he had.  He lived with a past full of abuse, drugs, sex, and violence.  He carried this burden buried deep inside.

As time went on, this darkness stole his joy and the desire to live.  This darkness consumed his mind because he felt there was no hope in this world for him to ever amount to anything, ever be loved again, and he knew he could never make up for the wrongs in his life.

The thoughts that stormed his mind were of how the world would be better off without him.  The pain he felt and the burden he carried would be gone if he could just make it go away with one simple choice.  His family didn’t need him around because he was a hindrance.  His friends didn’t want to hear about his problems.  His wife was tired of him hurting her and she would be better off without him and the pain he caused her. At least that’s what he thought.

One morning he woke up with a peace.  Today was the day when everyone could move on with their lives and he wouldn’t hold them back any longer.  The anger was too much for him to carry anymore.  There was nothing he could do to go back in the past to change anything.  There was nothing he could do. Except one thing.

He walked up the stairs, into the closet, and stood next the dresser to write his last letter.  He shared a few words that gave a hint of the pain he was feeling but also words to release those people in his life he thought he would be setting free.  He took a deep breath and tightened the belt around his neck.

He’s gone now and we are left with the pain.  The void of his laugh, his smile, and his love.  We can’t hold him close or share the day with him.  He is not here. If only we had paid a little more attention to him and asked a few more questions.  If only we had been there for him more and held his hand and told him how much we loved him.  If only he knew how much he was loved and adored. What if we had given him one more tight hug and never let go? 

The trouble with being a survivor is the “what-if’s” and “if-only’s” never end.  Twenty-four years later and we still ask, “What if I had just told him how much he meant to me?”  Would it have made a difference?  Being a survivor means that we have to live the rest of our lives with a hole in our hearts and think about the days that we could be spending together with those who chose to leave us.

There are people hurting around you.  There are people who are carrying a heavy burden.  Let’s do more loving and listening to help those who feel hopeless and alone. What can we do or say to give them hope for better days and let them know “this too shall pass”?  

How do YOU study the Bible?

Continuing on the road map of being a Christian, we must make an effort to read and understand the Word.  What is the best way to not only read, but also retain the knowledge we are receiving?

Pronounce.  Read scripture out loud and say it with inflection. Reading and hearing the words will allow the brain to retain the information.

Picture it.  The Bible contains real stories with real people. Insert yourself into the scene and feel the emotion, understand the culture, and apply the story to your life now. 

Probe it.  Ask the right questions as you read through the books.  Is there a command to obey?  Is there a prayer to pray? Is there an attitude to change?

Paraphrase.  Put the story in your own words.  This will allow you to share it easily with someone who may need to hear that story as they go through something in their life.

Personalize it.  Make the verse apply to you.  For example, John 3:16 that says “for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Take the same verse and apply yourself to the message. “For God so loved ME that he gave his one and only son….”

Pray it. Take a verse and make it into a prayer.  For example, Psalm 25:4-5 say “show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior and my hope is in you all day long.  Change this to a prayer to God, such as “God, I pray for your guidance today and showing me the best to serve you.  Teach me the truth as I enter this trial. Please teach me and show me the way.  I put my hope in you, Lord, that you will give me strength and no matter what – you will be with me.”

TIPS:

  • Devotional books should supplement Bible, never replace it.
  • Know context of scripture.  Text without context is pre-text for proof-text.
  • Let scripture define Scripture.  Do not allow wrong interpretation.
  • Read Bible literally.

Impact of Social Media and Television on Teenagers and Children

When I was in 4th grade, I visited a friend’s house to stay the weekend.  Being curious kids and having free reign over the place, we hung out in one of the bedrooms watching television.  After some time we grew bored of what was on and started digging through the VHS tapes in the cabinet and inserted an unmarked tape.  A few minutes into the movie, the actors were undressed, very naked, and extremely active in their affections.  We had found porn!!  You know that icky, stomach-churning feeling you get when you are totally disgusted?  The sickness was overpowering.

Fast forward 25+ years and my 5th grade daughter comes home from public school crying.  She explains that her teacher stepped out of the class today and several of the students pulled out their cell phones and started showing pictures and videos of people naked and having sex, as if it were a contest to find the most explicit acts of sex in the few minutes they had available before the teacher returned.  My daughter was horrified and forever destroyed by the images put in front of her face by her fellow classmates.  They seemed to enjoy her reaction of shock and disgust as a new, previously-homeschooled student in their school.  We withdrew her shortly after that.

Parents must be aware what our world has become and what children are facing in schools, on social media, and on television.  The desensitization of nudity, profanity, violence, and pornography is making a tremendous impact in the behavior and relationships of our children.  Even more, parents must realize that this desensitization and exposure will affect their child’s future marriage and how they view intimacy and their spouse.

Take hold of this fact.  The number one consumers of internet porn in the world are 12-17 year old boys.  Boys are learning from this young age what sex is supposed to look like, along with what intimacy is.  They are taking these expectations into relationships with women, who ultimately fail because they are not actresses.  Boys also develop a view of women as objects and as a means to pleasure and satisfaction. 

Taking that fact a step further, every 24 hours 1,000 teens give birth to a child out of wedlock.  Three million American teenagers contract an STD each year.  The impact of television, social media, and internet sites are hurting our children.  Nicholas Carr, author of “The Shallows”, wrote that “as our window onto the world, and onto ourselves, a popular medium molds what we see and how we see it – and eventually, if we use it enough, it changes who we are, as individuals and as a society.”  Social media and television are actually changing our values, justifying what we see as normal and acceptable, and impacting the way we see each other and the world around us.

Open your eyes.  Pay attention.  Pornography is becoming the new PG-13.  Commercials and local television channels are becoming more and more relaxed with what they entertain families with.  How do you prevent this from destroying your children and their minds?  Turn it off.  It’s that simple.  Take a stand and take charge with what their minds are consuming.  This simple step will impact their future relationships, their behavior, and their intimacy in the future. Everything you do now will impact generations.

If Being a Christian had a Road Map…

I don’t know about you, but when I became a Christian I was overly thankful to call Jesus my Savior.  The thirst for His Word and yearning to know more about being a Christian was intense. I wanted to connect with Him in every way I could.  I wanted to talk to him, share with him, and learn more about him.  At the same time, as a new Christian I felt overwhelmed with the thought of reading the Bible and how much information it contains.  So, I started reading in Genesis, figuring that was the best place to start since it was THE beginning.  That wasn’t the best idea.

One of my Christian friends told me the best place to dive into the Bible is through John.  The Gospel of John provides “the milk” for new believers and allows them to start learning about Jesus, what grace is, and how we are supposed to live as followers of Christ.  Leon Morris wrote that John’s Gospel is a pool in which both a child can wade in and an elephant can swim in.

By starting with John, a reader can learn the best of Jesus’ work that is selected to illustrate both Jesus’ deity and humanity. John includes seven of Jesus’ miracles, moments where Jesus reacts to life as we might have, the knowledge of who Jesus really is, and John affirms Jesus’ role as creator of all things.

Once a new believer reads through John, it is best to read it again.  The Bible is the Living Word and we can understand something new from it every time we read it.  Once John has been read twice, then move on to Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  They offer a different perspective on the stories, mention a few more miracles and parables, and give a lot more detail on the genealogy of Jesus.  Reading the New Testament in its entirety allows readers to better understand the Old Testament. 

Take your time and don’t rush through your reading.  Purchase a journal Bible and take notes, write down questions to ask your Pastor, and make sure to rely on good resources and commentaries, not just any internet site for your answers. 

Another good idea is to join a small group at a local church so you can go through a book study and begin learning how to study the Bible.  As you draw closer to God, He will draw closer to you. 

Having God in your life is a true blessing!  Warriors for God Ministry is available to help you on your journey and answer questions as needed.

Do Something!

I took a walk today. I haven’t spent enough time with God lately because of so many distractions and stresses in my life. After a reminder in my devotion this morning, “Draw Near to Me”, I decided it was time to spend some time with my Lord, alone. As I started out on the path through the park, I asked God to talk to me.

God drew near to me as I praised Him for the tall oak trees and the clean air I was breathing. I drew near to Him as I thought about our country and our freedoms and how blessed we are to live in our society and having freedom to believe in Him. Then God did something wonderful. As I asked Him, “what’s next for me, God?”, he brought a song to mind that I heard a long time ago, called “Do Something” by Matthew West.

We are the salt of the earth
We are a city on a hill
We’re never gonna change the world
By standing still

God has led me to many new adventures in the last 15 years and I’m looking for the next opportunity to serve Him. I realize I’m not going to change the world by standing still. What tools has God given me that I can share with others? 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18 say, ” And we urge you, brothers, to admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, and be patient with everyone. Make sure that no one repays evil for evil. Always pursue what is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice at all times. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

If we are called to do something, it is to pray, to rejoice, to praise, give thanks, and help others. We are to serve God and glorify Him in all that we “do”. Does He want us to be divided? Does He want us to be hurting others? Is He happy when we are fighting and bitter?

What can you do today to make a difference and glorify God? On my walk this morning, I decided to work harder at leading my children to prayer and being grateful. They will start prayer & blessing journals today that will be used as another instrument to speak to God daily. I will also praise God in everything and lift up those in prayer who are hurting.

What can we do in our communities to seek and encourage others more? Times are hard right now and people need people. People need conversations and compassion. People need Jesus. If we shine the light of Jesus through kindness and love, our communities will prosper and the people will be filled with joy.

I encourage you to listen to this song now and think about what you can do today to serve God. Who can you help? Who can you forgive? What division can you correct and repair that God will rejoice over?

Enjoy the blessings of your day!

Conform or Renew?

John F. Kennedy said, “conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.”  Conformity keeps us held prisoner from a clear mind and clean spirit as we are surrounded by the distractions of the world that try to define us.  Today, we are looking around at what others are doing and how they are reacting instead of making our own logical choices.  How many “likes” do we receive for posting a funny picture on Facebook or sharing a quirky post?  Should what others think be the one thing that defines us?

Paul says in Romans 12:2 to “not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”.  Even back in Paul’s day, he was trying to convince the people to live for Christ and sacrifice themselves daily to live like Him.  He urged them to offer their bodies as a living sacrifice that was holy and pleasing to God.  Paul urged the Romans to not conform to the prevailing habits, styles, and manners of the people around them, who did not know God.  We are not supposed to conform to the vanity of the world that we see in television, magazines, or on social media. 

How do we make a difference in this world without conforming?  We transform ourselves through the renewing of our mind…through Christ and the Gospel.  We should become walking billboards for Christ and what He stands for.  Every day is a test to see how we can be more Christ-like instead of worldly.  How do we do this?

By walking away from the things that separate us from God, we are united with Him.  James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.”  Is it hard for you to avoid the Facebook app and be pulled into the videos and ‘likes’ of the day?  Then try and focus on posting encouraging scripture verses, videos that share love and hope, or simply pray for those who are struggling and going through a hard time. 

How can we renew our minds each day?  We don’t allow the distractions of the world to take away our focus or be the driving force of our lives.  We make an investment in ourselves, into our spirit and our faith, by attending church or reading and studying scripture every day.  We have to make the time for God to fill us back up and make us whole and renew our minds and spirits.  Otherwise, we will not be equipped to face the world and its many distractions.

Are You a Fan or a Follower?

On Thursday at Junior W4G, we started a study called “Not a Fan”, based on a book by Kyle Idleman.  Kyle starts out the study by talking about those people who go to a basketball game and watch the game and sit in the stands.  The difference between them and the players is that the fans sit and watch as the game goes on.  If the team is playing well, then the fans will watch and cheer.  If the team starts to play bad and begin to lose, then the fans will stop cheering or possibly even leave in disappointment.  The fans rarely ever become the players.  A follower, on the other hand, is someone who is in the stands every game and is always cheering and supporting the team and never walks away disappointed.  This applies to the life of a fan or follower of Christ too.  So many Christians will attend church, listen to the pastor, do charitable things every now and then, and give their tithe to the church but when something goes wrong in their lives then you might see them giving up on their faith and disappointed in God. These are fans.  Christ defines a follower in Luke 9:23 as someone who “must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it”.  We must be a follower of Christ daily.  He wants relationships with us.  He wants followers, not fans.  Kyle describes the difference between a fan and a follower is like getting a tune-up on a car.  Having faith in Christ should be an overhaul on our lives, not just a tune-up.  We should become better people as we grow in our walk with Christ.  Ephesians 4 says in “regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness”.  Followers love people and forgive those who trespass against them.  Followers defend their faith and stand up for their Savior.  Followers have no conditions for their Lord and will love Him through good and the bad.  Today showed me that since I love Christ, I need to focus on becoming a follower of Him instead of just a fan.

The Spirit Within Me

I find it truly amazing how the Spirit of God lives within believers. When a person declares Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior, Christ’s spirit begins to live within them and begins to change their thoughts, actions, and behavior.  2 Timothy 1:7-11 mentions this amazing spirit Jesus Christ gave us to dwell inside of us.  The spirit does not come and go as a visitor, but as a dweller in our hearts.  The spirit changes us and knows our hearts more fully than we know ourselves.  When we grow weak in our faith, our spirit knows the sin in our heart and the circumstances to pull us out of a sinful situation.  The spirit knows our suffering and the trials we experience and how to bring us through hard times with the right people and resources in our life.  When we are too busy pursuing the world to stop and pray, the spirit prays for us and intercedes to bring us back to God.  Jesus gave his spirit to the apostles so they could go and be fishers of men, preach scripture, bring people to Christ, and build churches.  How miraculous is that?

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