Who We Really Are in Christ {Brave!}

I hope you are enjoying my "Who We Really Are in Christ" study! Keep up the good work of praying, meditating on, and declaring each post's verses daily!

For much of my life I have not been brave. I have allowed fear to intimidate me, talk me out of God’s leading, and keep me rooted to the same spot instead of moving forward. Clearly I am entirely too familiar with fear and its tactics. Throughout the years I have fought nothing, nothing more than I have fought the spirit of fear. And it is a spirit:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7) (NLT) (Italics mine)

As far as I can tell, fear comes from three places: our circumstances, our flesh or the enemy.

When our circumstances make our knees shake (and let’s face it, we’ve all been there) then here’s what we can do. (1) Pray, get clarity, and ask the Lord what, if anything, we are to do; (2) Breathe. Remind ourselves that God is in control, in spite of how things look; (3) Commit it all into His loving, faithful, capable hands, and (4) Stop staring at the situation and declare Scripture over ourselves. The more we focus on it the bigger it appears, and the last thing we want to do is create more room in our souls for fear.

I know. It’s hard. But I promise you that shifting our focus changes everything.

Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. (Hebrews 12:2a) (AMPC)

When our flesh freaks out and makes us tremble, then we must focus on increasing our trust in the Lord and training our hearts to run to Him when we’re afraid, instead of giving in to fear and allowing it to control, hinder, or pester us. As King David said:

When I am afraid, I will trust in You. (Psalm 56:3)

We increase our trust in the Lord and put on our BRAVE by meditating on His character and growing in our understanding of Who He is. He is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9), trustworthy (Psalm 22:4-5), nothing is impossible for Him (Luke 1:37) and He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), for starters.

And finally, when it’s the enemy harassing us, we can, equipped by the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, find our BRAVE, stand up to fear, and command it to go. The truth is that fear is a bully. Fear wants to intimidate us into shrinking back and going the other direction. Fear wants to stop us. Fear wants to get us so focused on it that we completely ignore truth.

Instead, we will embrace the truth of God’s Word and ignore the spirit of fear. We will run to and dwell in the secret place, where fear has no power. We will be BRAVE.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand]. (Psalm 91:1) (AMPC)

It’s not that we will never sense fear. We will. Stepping out into new areas is scary. Sometimes obeying God is scary. Standing up for ourselves can be scary. There’s no lack of scary scenarios in our lives or on the earth.

But God is greater than our fears. He is with us, in us, beside us. He goes before us and behind us. Because He is ALWAYS with us, we can be BRAVE.

Here are two personalized verses to meditate on, pray, and declare out loud daily to help you fight fear and cultivate your brave!

I will be strong and courageous! I will not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord my God is with me wherever I go.” (Joshua 1:9) (Personalized)

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. (Psalm 18:2)

Reading this via email? CLICK HERE to go to Julie’s blog and leave a comment. 

Who We Really Are in Christ {Faultless!}

I’m so happy you’re here! My heart is thrilled at the prospect of investing this time together in 2017 to meditate on and pray Scripture about who we really are in Christ. What an honor. What a joy!

As we kick off our year together, it is important to remember that the fire of God’s Word burns away every lie. The hammer of His Word breaks the most stubborn resistance (and I don’t know about you, but sometimes my heart can be exceedingly stubborn!).

Is not My word like fire [that consumes all that cannot endure the test]? says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks in pieces the rock [of most stubborn resistance]? (Jeremiah 23:29) (AMPC)

As we meditate on and pray specific verses in 2017, God’s Word will burn away the lies and infuse us with Truth. It will break the stubborn patterns in our minds, our emotions, and our hearts (can I get a Hallelujah?)

Fresh out of the gate the first issue we are tackling is where our hearts stand with God. If we’re uncertain where we stand with Him, then our faith is shaky at best. We need the firm foundation of the Word made flesh, and when we meditate on and pray Scripture the foundation of our faith is strengthened.

Though the enemy wants us walking on shaky ground, with crumbling foundations, and our though hearts are deceitful above all things (see Jeremiah 17:9), we are rising up to embrace Truth. The enemy’s lies and the deceptions that our hearts knowingly or unknowingly embrace are poison to our faith. We are focusing on the antidote to these poisons.

And the antidote is Scripture.

The overarching theme for the next two weeks is that Jesus is the cornerstone of our faith (Ephesians 2:20) and our firm foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11), and though you are welcome to add those verses to your journal or spiral notebook (they are in mine), they aren’t our primary meditation and prayer focus this week.

One of the first things to write in our journals or binders is this question:

Where do I stand with God?

Take some time to think about your answer and where you feel you stand right at this exact moment. Is everything good? Do you feel guilty? Is your heart shrinking back? Is the enemy hammering at you, stepping between you and God? Is your heart embracing falsehood on any level? You can write your thoughts in the form of a prayer, if you'd like. 

Our first Scripture verse

(And the answer to where we really stand with God!) This is powerful and so worthy of meditation because it brings divine perspective, particularly on those days. The days we fall short. The days we struggle to love well. The days our attitude jumps all over our spouse. The days we flub it and not only drop the ball but kick it clean across the room. The days we wonder how God can put up with the likes of us.

Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. (Colossians 1:22-23a) (NLT)

Here is the personalized version to declare out loud:

He has reconciled me to Himself through the death of Christ in His physical body. He has brought me into His own presence, and I am holy and blameless as I stand before Him without a single fault. I will continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it.

What a stunning thought. We are holy and blameless and stand before Him without a single fault. It’s enough to make me drop to my knees in gratitude. But here’s the key: we must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it (vs 23a).
Our second Scripture verse
 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. (Romans 5:2)

Here is the personalized version to declare out loud:

Because of my faith, Christ has brought me into the place of undeserved privilege where I now stand, and I confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

BOTH verses reveal where we TRULY stand! 
  • We stand without a single fault. 
  • We stand safe in the place of undeserved privilege. 

Christ is our access. He is our foundation, our cornerstone, and through Him our confidence and joy are intact.

Ready, Set, Go!

Let’s meditate on these verses and declare them aloud daily. Write them, speak them, pray them, breathe them. Let’s allow our hearts to marinate in truth. Let’s allow God’s living and active Word to infuse us with holy perspective, so that no matter what our circumstance, we will always truly know where we stand with God.

I will be praying for you as we embark on this Scripture journey together! I hope you'll join me in praying for our little community. 

Reading this via email? CLICK HERE to go to Julie’s blog and leave a comment.

Who We Really Are {And a Give Away!}

What if we dared to believe that we really are who God says we are? That instead of feeling less-than, or lame, or inadequate, or (fill in the blank), we recognized those thoughts and knocked it off? What if instead of aligning ourselves with rogue, untrue beliefs, we asked God to bring our hearts into alignment with His Word? With the very truth that holds the capacity to free us?

Lately my heart has been so stirred. So many of us so often live under the crushing weight of the enemy’s lies concerning who we are. What if we stirred our hearts and asked the Lord to give us a fresh desire for truth? What if in 2017 we immersed ourselves in Scripture so that who God says we are and how we feel about ourselves come into holy alignment?

I want to dare to believe that God’s Word is more powerful than how I feel about myself at my worst moments.

CHALLENGE: I invite you, sweet friends, to join me this year for a bi-monthly journey to focus on knowing—really knowing—deep down, who we are in Christ. Grab a notepad, your prayer journal, or some 3x5 cards, because we are going to meditate on, personalize, and pray over two specific Scriptures monthly. We will allow our hearts to marinate in truth. We will capture rogue thoughts and give truth the place of preeminence in our hearts and lives.Then when the bad moments (or bad days…or bad weeks) come, we will walk with our heads high and our hearts secure in truth. Secure in who we really are.

As we meditate on Scripture, we will be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We will be setting our minds and keeping them set on things above. We will know that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that His banner over us is love. And if we stick with it, by year’s end we will be different. Transformed. Our hearts will be filled with truth and we will hold an awesome, unshakeable, deep knowing of who we truly are in Christ.

Are you interested? Are you willing to make the time to invest in yourself—and in God’s Word—this year? I hope you are. I hope you will join me. I hope God stirs your heart and you run out and find the cutest little notebook or journal (or even an inexpensive spiral binder) and show up here on the first and third Tuesdays each month. Let’s do this together!

I’m excited to start this journey with you. May this time of setting ourselves apart to meditate on and pray God’s Word bless us beyond measure. May it change us and fill us and push out the ugly and dark while bringing in His beauty and light. May it transform us into women who know we are in Christ. Unshakeable. Rooted. Immovable. Glorious.

A New Year’s Prayer

Lord, I bow my heart before You and honor You. As 2017 begins I desire for you to direct my steps, to open the doors for me that You want opened, and to give me grace for all that I will face. Please give me divine opportunities, divine appointments, and divine relationships. Bring my heart into alignment with Your truth. Help me to know You more, to love you more, and reflect You better. In the awesome name of Jesus Christ my Lord, Amen.

Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:19) (AMPC)

GIVE AWAY! I am giving away one signed copy of my devotional, Prayers for a Woman’s Soul, because the New Year is the perfect time to begin the holy habit of praying for yourself. TO ENTER, please leave a comment AND PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL. A random winner will be chosen and notified via email the week of January 9th.

3 Verses to Help you Walk in Peace this Christmas

Has the Christmas crazy started at your house yet? Are you already stressed about gifts, baking, decorating, and that certain relative arriving at your home soon? Perhaps you aren’t overwhelmed, but feeling lonely and sort of down. Or maybe you are grieving, facing a Christmas far different and more difficult than you ever imagined.

Whatever our current situation, whether stressed, down, or hurting (or anything else!), I love that we are never, never alone. God promises He will never leave us (Hebrews 13:5). And I especially love that God provides for our emotional needs this time of year through His amazing, living word.

Below are three encouraging verses to fill your heart with His unfathomable peace, whatever your situation. Write these verses down. Take them to heart. Tape them to your forehead if you need to (talking to myself here…).

When my focus snaps back to a negative situation over and over (hello? why do I allow that to happen?), I turn to this verse. It helps me to remember to reign in every rogue thought and instead focus on Him. And that, my friends, changes everything.

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3) (NLT)

When my emotions shift into high gear and I feel exasperated, worried, or super upset, this verse always puts my emotions right back in their place. We can’t allow our emotions to dictate our lives. And we can choose not to let ourselves freak out (we really can!).

Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.] (John 14:27) (AMPC)

This side of eternity, life is far from perfect. God knows that. He knows the issues and situations banging on our hearts. And that’s why I love this verse. It tells it like it is, yet proclaims we can have His peace anyway. And that? Priceless.

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) (NLT)

{A Prayer for Peace}

God, I bow my heart before You and honor You for Your goodness, Your faithfulness, and Your loving-kindness. Thank you for loving me and caring for me, and for moving in the situations that concern me. Thank you for helping me walk in peace by keeping my thoughts focused on you, by not allowing myself to freak out, and by remembering that I can always, always have peace in You, in spite of my circumstances. Surround me with Your very real presence, Lord, and flood my heart with Your peace this Christmas. In the awesome name of Jesus, Amen.

Authentic Joy {Prepare My Heart for the Holidays}

Today is our last day praying together! I have enjoyed our time together so much and have prayed for each one of you daily.  

‘Tis the season to be jolly, but I confess that sometimes during this season joy eludes me. Between my many obligations, my long to-do list, and physical exhaustion, I can feel anything but joyful.  And here’s the thing. I don’t want fabricated joy; I want authentic joy. Joy that helps my heart to be merry even when my plate overflows.

What I’ve discovered is that sometimes joy is a matter of perspective. And it’s always a choice.
We can cultivate authentic joy by cultivating precious time with our God and King. His joy is our strength and He is our shield. Through His Spirit our hearts can be filled with joy. Through His Spirit we can not only experience joy, but radiate His authentic joy to our families and those around us. And that is the gift that keeps on giving.

{Let’s Pray}


You are faithful and loving and good. You are my glory and the lifter of my head. You are the giver of every good and perfect gift, including the beautiful gift of joy. Lord, I want to experience the holidays equipped with Your authentic joy. Will you please give me divine perspective, especially in the difficult moments? Will you please help me to choose joy?

Your joy is my strength and I desperately need it. I ask for You to help me create good memories by blessing me with times of great joy with You, with my family, and with my friends. Lord, You are my strength and shield. I trust You and I am so grateful that as You help me, my heart is filled with joy. I want Your joy bubbling and radiating out of me. Now and throughout the season. In Jesus’s wonderful name, Amen.

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. (Psalm 28:7) (NLT)

Christmas Box Give-Away! Today is the day! TWO random winners will be chosen (WINNERS will be notified via email by Monday, Nov. 28) from ALL of the RaffleCopter options below (you may choose more than one option to increase your odds of winning) to receive a beautiful Christmas box containing lovely goodies, including a signed copy of my devotional, “Prayers for a Woman’s Soul”, and a Christmas mug courtesy of my sweet daughter-in-law’s Mostly Smiling Sticks (design may vary).

If you are reading this post via email please CLICK HERE to ENTER the giveaway.

THANK YOU for participating in Prepare My Heart for the Holidays with me. It’s been such a JOY to pray with you these past eight days! I hope your prayer experience has been a good one, that you feel more refreshed and peaceful, filled with His great love and ready, through His abundant grace, for whatever the holidays bring.

Give-Away WINNERS will be notified by Monday, November 28, via email!