How to put your hope in The Lord

It’s easy to look at the world and hope for a better future or hope that some leader is going to come around and change it all. But the word of God tells us that we shouldn’t be putting our hope in the world, we should be putting our hope in the Lord. But how do we do that? Join me, Anne Marky, as I share how to put your hope in The Lord.

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How to put your hope in The Lord

I think we can all agree that the last couple of years have been crazy. I’m turning 40 and my next birthday and I’ve never experienced years like this. 

I know older generations have also experienced a lot of crazy things, but I just feel like every time I turn on the news, it’s just one thing after another, after another,  after another. 

And these events aren’t small. These are life-changing, historic moments that we experience on a regular basis. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a break. 

But unfortunately, it doesn’t really seem like that break is coming.

The bad news just keeps piling on, and on, and on. Sometimes I can get caught up in the news cycle and when I start focusing on all these bad stories, I start losing hope. 

5 simple steps to get started in Bible Study

Teaching my children to hope in The Lord

My middle daughter is really struggling in school right now. She’s coming home every day in tears and she’s experiencing a lot of frustration. And even though we’re taking steps to help her, nothing has helped yet. So she’s had a lot of breakdowns and sadness about this.

One night when I was tucking her in, she looked at me with tears in her eyes and she said, Mom. Is this always going to be like this?

Her tone of voice and the face she was making just broke my mama’s heart.

I had to keep myself from crying because I could see that she had lost hope.

As a mom. I wanted to tell her that everything was going to be OK, that things were going to change and that she could look forward to that, but I couldn’t.

I don’t know what tomorrow’s going to bring. I don’t know if anything at school is going to change. I don’t know if the steps we’re taking are going to help her in the short run or in the long run.

So I couldn’t make any promises, but I knew she wanted an answer, so when she asked me, I needed to think for a minute.

Since I couldn’t make any promises, instead of focusing on what was happening right then and what wasn’t changing or even speculating about the future. I thought it’d be better if instead, I helped her focus on the Lord.

Our hope is in Him

Lamentations 3:24: The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I hope in him.

It’s easy to look at the world and hope for a better future or hope that some leader is going to come around and change it all.

But Lamentations 3:24 tells us that we shouldn’t be putting our hope in the world, we should be putting our hope in the Lord. He’s the only one that can give us true, sustainable hope.

May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope. By the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

When we look to the world or something other than Christ to fill our hope, we will actually walk away more empty, feeling less hope.

So it’s really important that we know where our hope comes from and not only where it comes from, but that we go to that source on a regular basis so that it may fill us with hope.

When we do that, we are filled with so much hope from the source.

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A pure source of Hope

I’m not a fancy water person, but I’ve seen enough commercials to know that when they’re trying to sell you water, they focus on where that water comes from. And if that source is closest to a mountain and fresh water, the better.

Customers want you to know that you are getting clean water and that the source that this water has come from isn’t contaminated. And it sort of seems like the more natural the source, the more expensive the water becomes.

As Christians, we have access to living water.

And this is an eternal source that doesn’t run out, that never has any contamination, and it’s everlasting. There is no better source.

But just like we go to the supermarket and choose what type of water we want to purchase, we have to actively choose what type of water we’re going to drink.

As Christians, we also must choose to go and drink from the source and pick where what we’re consuming is coming from.

And so we have two choices.

We can fill ourselves with the things of the world which are contaminated and really won’t quench our thirst. Or we can turn to the everlasting source to receive our true hope that is really going to fill us with everything that we need.

We don’t need to earn our salvation, but we do need to be active in seeking out our relationship with the Lord.

Because the Lord is there. He is with us, He is in us, He is around us, and He’s waiting for us to come to Him and seek Him for hope.

Action Steps

So if you’re here today and you’re losing a little bit of hope, or you’d like to feel some more hope, I encourage you just to spend a few minutes with the Lord today.

Regardless of what’s happening in your life. With however bad the situation is. You can access true and living hope in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Hope isn’t dependent on what’s going on around us, it’s dependent on the source of it, which is God himself. He never changes and He’s already proved that He loves us and that He wants a relationship with us.

I hope today, you are clear as to where you can turn to for hope. And that is in the Lord Jesus Christ.

As I said, these devotional times are going to be a little bit short, but I hope it’s been encouraging to you, and I’d love to know from you in the comments how the Lord has given you hope so that we can encourage one another.

5 simple steps to get started in Bible Study

5 steps to Hearing God’s Voice

It’s easy to get discouraged when you don’t know if you’ve heard God. You feel like God has gone silent, but that is probably not the case. God is always speaking and listening. We are not listening or we don’t realize how God is speaking to us. Here are 5 Steps to hearing God’s voice.

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5 Steps to Hearing God’s Voice

1. Identify God’s voice

It is hard to hear a voice when you don’t know who it belongs to. The first step in hearing God’s voice is knowing what it sounds like.

In 1 Samuel 3, God was calling out to Samuel, but he didn’t recognize who it was. Once Eli told Samuel who was calling him and what to say, Samuel responded to God. “And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”

At first, Samuel didn’t recognize God’s voice. He had to be told who was speaking to him and how to respond. One he knew, he was willing to sit and listen. 

By experience, you can learn to recognize God’s voice when He speaks and to confidently respond to what He says. 

How can we be sure what we are hearing is actually of God?

If you think God is speaking to you, ask Him to confirm so as you study and meditate on the Bible, as you’re alert to the circumstances you encounter, or as you experience the Holy Spirit’s impressions in your mind.

2. Be still before God

It is impossible to hear something when you are always hearing noise around you. When we become preoccupied with the things of the world, we can often miss God’s voice because everything else is taking up our attention. 

We live in a 24 h/day world. We have immediate access to news, updates, and entertainment at all times. When we get bored, the first thing we do is reach for our phones.

We don’t take the time and sit still before God.

The word of God encourages us to stand still in His presence. 

Psalm 37:7 Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.

Psalm 62:5-6 Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.

Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

3. Expect that God will speak to you

We may be in an exciting time where we have access to the Bible in our home language, but that doesn’t mean that we are always hearing what God is saying to us. 

We have to expect and believe that God speaks to us. We have to make the extra effort to listen and to see what God is saying to us.

Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

4. Recognize that God communicates in many forms

You may have heard that God speaks to us through the Bible and prayer, but did you know He has other ways to communicate with us? 

He talks to us through:

  • Prompts in our mind and hearts: Isaiah 30:21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
  • Other people: Proverbs 19:20 Listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days.
  • Through our circumstances: Acts 16:6-7 Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. 7 After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them

God is always there communicating with us; we just need to pay attention.

5. Pray for a greater ability to hear God’s voice

It’s often tempting to try to do things on our own or go our own way. Through many years of following God, I’ve learned that I may not understand the road He guides me down, but He knows and I can trust Him. 

There are many things we will never understand and The Lord encourages us to come to Him and ask for wisdom. 

  • James 1:5-6  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

If we don’t root ourselves in Christ and who He is, we won’t have an anchor and we will jump from one belief to another and won’t have any stability. 

  • Psalm 37:23-24  The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; 24 though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

Need more help? 

I just shared with you 5 steps to hearing God’s voice. But, maybe you have already done all those things and need more help. Or, you haven’t done any and feel lost- not knowing what to do first. 

Well, I have something that can help. The Grow in Trust Course is a 3-day virtual event to help Christian women stop feeling lost and discover God’s plan for their lives so they can be free to love God and pursue His will. Click here to learn more.

5 simple things you can do to experience peace

We live in a troubled world, and it’s easy to get distracted by all the unrest and injustices of the world. But when we do that, we rob ourselves of the peace we can experience. Today, I want to take a few minutes and share with you 5 simple things you can do to experience peace from The Prince of peace- The Lord Jesus Christ.

My husband and I have been married for 15 years and we have 3 kids. In that time, 3 out of 5 people in our house are getting support because of a high level of anxiety.

Needless to say, we are well-versed in feeling anxious, stressed and worried. 

My husband and I have been married for 15 years and we have 3 kids. In that time, 3 out of 5 people in our house are getting support because of a high level of anxiety.

Now when I say support, I mean either medication or counselling or both. And I’m not just talking about everyday anxieties. I’m talking about extreme anxiety that actually inhibits people’s lives. 

Needless to say, we have a lot of experience with feelings of anxiety, stress, worry, and a bunch more. 

When our kids act out due to their anxiety, we encourage them to use calm-down routines and work on finding triggers for their anxiety. 

Those things can take a lot of time, but it’s not everything we can do. 

We also encourage our kids to refocus their thoughts on The Lord and take time to thank Him for who He is and what He has done for them. 

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

The Bible tells us we are going to face hard times. Just because we are Christians, it doesn’t mean we are exempt from facing trials. 

Since we know we are going to face trials, I want to share with you some practical things we can do to have peace regardless of what goes on around us. 

One of the things I love to do is teach people to turn to scripture for answers. The Bible is extremely practical and tells us exactly what we can do to gain peace. 

I want to spend a few minutes sharing practical things we can do, or stay away from to gain peace. 

5 simple things you can do to experience peace

1. Accept The Lord as saviour

The first thing we need to do is accept The Lord as our saviour. To experience true peace, we must be saved.

True peace doesn’t come from ourselves, doesn’t come from the world around us. It comes from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

Romans 5: 1-2 

Our salvation gives us access to God- He is the source of all peace. 

We are enemies with God, and so we’re not close to God. And so we’re not going to feel peace when we’re separated from him. But when we accept the Lord Jesus Christ as a Lord and personal saviour, we suddenly gain a relationship with the Lord.

But then we get access into his presence and so the King of peace himself, then his presence and who he is is what gives us peace.

Not only that, but once we’re saved, our salvation guarantees us eternity with him. So that means that regardless of what’s happening in their lives, we can know it’s not going to last forever and that one day I will be with God in heaven, with him for eternity.

I don’t know about you, but when my life is going crazy and things just keep happening and things feel really stressful, one of the ways my heart gets encouraged is to think about God’s timing and how certain seasons can feel really long and really hard.

The Bible tells us that those hard seasons pale in comparison to the glory and the Majesty of God and heaven. And so thinking about these things not only encourages me but gives me peace, knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that one day I will experience that eternal peace in heaven with God. 

2. End your day focused on Christ

For some reason, nighttime is when most of us feel the most unrest and anxiety. That is because we have time to think about all the things that may go wrong, worry about the future and so on.

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 4:8

One way we can keep that unrest at bay is to end our day thinking about The Lord. By refocusing our thoughts on him, we can have a much better perspective on everything and lay down all our anxieties on someone who can actually change things.

Refocusing our thoughts from all our worries and turning our thoughts to Jesus, helps us put our trust in Him. It helps us shift the burden we are carrying from our shoulders unto His, and realize that we may not have the power to change what’s happening around us, but God does.

So instead of trying to do all those things on our own, when we take it from our shoulders to his, it’s like taking that burden off. It’s saying, OK, you know what, I can’t worry about this anymore. I cannot solve this problem. I’m going to go to the person who can solve this problem give it to him and say, OK, I trust you. And that act of trust and submission and just unloading gives us so much peace.

Trusting God

My middle daughter is 10 years old, and she really loves knowing exactly what’s gonna happen. You know, from morning until the night she needs a schedule.

When she doesn’t know what’s happening next, she feels really, really anxious. And so she tries to rush the schedule or she’s always asking me what’s happening next, what’s happening next, what’s happening next.

It’s gotten so bad that in some instances I have to take her face and point it towards mine and say: Hey! Worrying about what happens next isn’t your job. That’s my job. I know the schedule. I know what we’re doing first. I know what we’re doing next. So don’t worry about it. I’ve got this.

As I’m having those conversations with my daughter, I can’t help but relate it to my relationship with the Lord.

Sometimes I go to the Lord. I say, what are you doing? I thought we were doing this, this, this and this. And I want to do all these things. And The Lord looks at me and says: I know what’s coming down the road. Trust me, I’ve got it.

And so handing him over that control, which really wasn’t mine, to begin with, God is in complete control of anything, suddenly shifts that burden off of me and to the Lord.

Action step:

So I want you just to take a minute and to think about some burdens that you are carrying or things that you’re worried about. And say. Is that my job to worry about this or is this something I can give to the Lord?

99.999 % of the time it’s not your burden to carry. And even if it is, the Lord says you don’t have to carry alone. Bring your burdens to me. I want to carry them for you, or I want to give you the strength for you to carry them yourself. So let’s not end our day feeling anxious and worried.

Let’s end our days thinking about the Lord and giving him our burdens in our worry. And I promise you that peace will come.

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3. Pursue Peace

One of the things I get caught up in is perceived or actual injustice. There is nothing else that gets me so riled up.

It’s even come to the point that sometimes, my husband and I will be laying in bed and he’ll say, I’m not sure if I need to tell you now or later, because if I do, you’re probably going to be bothered by it and you won’t be able to sleep.

But I wish he wouldn’t even say that because then my mind gets curious and I want to know what’s the thing? And so I beg him to tell me. And then he tells me, and guess what happens? I get fired up. And then I have the hardest time falling asleep because I don’t want those injustices to continue.

I want to find a solution to the problem and get it done. And these events really bother me, and they weigh on me. I really noticed this during COVID.

I got caught up in all the different opinions of what was happening with COVID regulations and what we weren’t allowed to do, and vaccines are no vaccine.

And I’m sure this happened with you and your family or your church, but suddenly you had two very different camps and they were in opposition to each other. And so I was in a particular camp, and any time I thought about the other camp- I would just get frustrated and think: what are they thinking? That is so completely and utterly ridiculous.

And the frustration would rise in me and I would just feed into it. I’d read the news stories, and I’d read the comments. I was very tempted to post on social media a million times trying to “be like, no, we got to”correct” the other side.

There is a better way

But there’s a better way. What I noticed is that those actions were not in pursuit of peace. They were in pursuit of being right or showing that they know more than this person or that person and the divide just got bigger and bigger and bigger.

The Lord was so gracious to me and showed me that I was getting angry at your brother and sister in Christ. You know what? They may be wrong. I may be wrong, but the Lord wants us to pursue peace, not unrest.

And so when we fight with one another when we fight with other Christians- that’s just bringing more unrest. And so the Lord encourages us to say, I don’t want you to go after those things that bring up arguments.

These types of divisions bring nothing but unrest. 

Scripture tells us that there is a better way. The Bible is full of verses that encourage us to stay away from these types of arguments.  

We are called to seek peace and pursue it. But too often we pursue being right and put it above our relationship with God and other Christians. 

Learning to drop issues

We’ve got three kids and they fight about everything, and sometimes they’ll come to us and they’ll just start telling us all the things that they’re fighting about.

And one of the things I start thinking and telling them is this is not worth an argument, just let it go. And then I think ohh you know what? That is also something I need to tell myself.

How many times do I get upset about something that just gets me fired up and not at peace at all? That is not worth the energy or the argument.

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

Psalm 34:14

Growing up in my family, we argued a lot. And so when I got married, my husband does not like confrontation. And so suddenly there was no argument and I hardly knew what to do with myself.

Sometimes I would try to like poke him just to start an argument and he just would not bite. And so one day I was feeling like I needed an like a fight. And he asks me why don’t you just call your sister? So I called my sister and I forget what in the world happened, but we ended up in a big argument.

At the end of the phone call, we were both like, thanks, I needed that.

The reason why that was so fulfilling was that I had just known this pattern of just fighting. And my husband just showed me a new way.

Pursuing peace, pursuing relationships, and dropping arguments that are just not worth it, is so much better for me, for my mind, for our home, and for just so many different things.

But I have to choose not to let things bother me.

I need to choose to say, I’m not going to think about that. I’m not going to go down the rabbit hole. I’m not going to get into that argument.

If people want to start an argument with me, I need to be the bigger person and not taking the bait. I’m going to let it go. And then later, if it’s still really bothering me, I can wrestle that out with the Lord, but I’m not to take these different things and then go to war with other Christians.

To have true peace, we must pursue it. 

 I want you just to take a minute and to think about the things that are making you upset right now and to say. Is this an argument that I can just drop? Is it really worth getting this upset over?

I don’t know what it is that you’re thinking about right now. I know there are a ton of different scenarios, and for some of you, there are going to be fights you need to face.

But then most of the time, that argument is only going to lead to worse things down the road.

It’s not going to lead me to good relationships. It’s only gonna bring me more trials or more hard things, and so just pursuing peace is actually better in the long run for everybody.

4. Listen to The Lord

To experience true peace, we must learn to listen to The Lord and what He has to say.

I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants— but let them not turn to folly.

Psalm 85:8

The world is full of noise and people telling us what we should do, think and act. Every single one of us has an opinion on what is right. 

We have mini-computers in our pockets that we scroll through news or social media. We’ve got a bazillion different people telling us different messages coming from all different directions.

It’s really easy to start listening to those voices and to believe that they are right. It’s really easy to get caught up in all of it and to actually lose focus because we get strung along over here.

The Bible tells us we can be in the world, and we can be hearing those things, but The Lord wants you to listen to Him.

We have access to the God of the universe and he wants a relationship with us. He wants to speak to us through his word and through, you know, other Christians and fellowship.

But we need to take the time to choose to listen to the right voices.

Testing what we hear

My daughter came home from school one day and she was telling me how her social studies teacher studied the Bible, and she had her degree in religion.

The teacher shared an opinion with my daughter. And my daughter was convinced that her professor was right.

She thought her teacher must be right because she knew more about the Bible than my daughter does and my daughter knows a lot about Scripture.

This teacher also has a degree in religion, so she must be right.

I tried to explain to my daughter that just because somebody knows Scripture or has a degree in religion does not mean that their opinion is the right one.

Because in most cases it’s really easy to take anything we hear from the scripture and to shift its meaning or to make it say what we want to hear.

And then we only join groups that agree with us so that our point of view continues to be validated, regardless if it’s biblical or not.

And so my daughter now thinks that I’m completely wrong. But I was just trying to explain to her that it’s easy to get caught up in people’s opinions because then, you know, they tell us, well, I know this because I’m an expert, and so you have to believe me.

Why we need to test what we hear

When we don’t compare those things to what we read in Scripture, then there’s no guarantee to know that anyone is actually telling the truth.

We always need to compare what people say with God’s word.

This wisdom and practice takes time.

I’ve been a Christian for 35 years. And I’m still learning to get the noise out of my brain and to hone in on the Lord himself.

It takes time to know what Scripture says, and it takes time to be able to discern the voice of the Lord so that we can hear it above every other things.

But not only that, but then we need to choose to listen to his voice.

Choose to listen to The Lord’s voice

So we have to learn what The Lord sounds like, and then we have to choose to listen to it above everything else.

But it doesn’t end there. Once you know what The Lord’s voice sounds like, now that we’ve heard Him speak to us, we need to go ahead and obey Him and do what The Lord calls us to do.

And so I encourage you to take some time and to think what are all the things that I’m watching, listening to, hearing, and thinking that are not from the Lord?

And then think about how you can drown out those voices so that you can focus on the Lord and His voice and what He wants you to do.

And like I said, that’s a process and it takes time. So I don’t want you to feel discouraged that you, you know, don’t get it right or whatever.

This is just something that I want to encourage you just to be continuing doing.

Always challenge what you think you know. Always challenge yourself and your thoughts and what you believe and challenge it with the truth, which is Scripture itself. So drown out the noises and instead of listening to all those things around you, focus in and listen to the Lord.

5. Love the Word of God

To end our time together, I want to share one more practical thing we can do to gain peace. That is to LOVE the word of God.

The Bible tells us that spending time in God’s word brings us peace. 

The Bible tells us that spending time with the Lord in his word will bring us peace.

Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

Psalm 119:165

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in scripture and it’s all about the word of God and encourages us to love it and enjoy it. This verse uses the word law, but this word is referring to the word of God. 

Psalm 119 is a poem and has 26 sections I believe. Each section is a stanza that expresses and tells people and saying how they love your word and is talking about loving the word of God and the benefits of loving the word of God.

And so this entire chapter is about encouraging us to not only read God’s word but to love it and to want to spend time with it.

So if you’re not loving the word of God and you’re not longing to be in it, instead of feeling discouraged, I encourage you to bring that to the Lord and say I want to love your word. Please give me that longing so that I can spend time with it.

And I know that when I’ve done that, the Lord has either shifted my perspective or He’s helped me make that time to really spend time with him.

And then when I’m studying the word of God for myself and I can find those gold little Nuggets that are really, truly encouraging to me.

Then I start loving spending time with the Lord because I know that if I keep digging, I’m going to find more treasure. So when we love the word of God, then we want to spend more time with him.

And then when we do that, we learn more about him.

And anytime we’re focusing on the Lord and not ourselves and not the other voices around us, we’re only going to gain more peace. And this is the number one thing you can do to gain peace.

The Source of Lasting Peace

So if you’ve forgotten everything else, I want you to remember one thing if you’re feeling anxious or unrest or you’re lacking that peace, and you want more of it—-

I encourage you to spend time with the Lord Jesus Christ. And you can do that through scripture reading, prayer, and lots of other ways.

But that is how you’re going to gain peace just to spend time with God, learn who he is, and learn his perspective on things.

So that you’re not getting as anxious about different things and you’re learning to trust him with all of those worries.

So I want you to know that regardless of what’s happening in your world right now, you can find peace.

Our peace is in the Lord Jesus Christ. He has conquered death and gives us everything we need to find peace in him and have a relationship with him.

So I encourage you today just to take a moment and spend time with the Lord and go to the source of peace so that you can experience it.

The Joy of The Lord

As Christians, we can experience the joy of The Lord. Jesus is our source of true Joy. He is the only person who can bring you true joy and everlasting happiness. The world tells us what we need to be happy. So people spend money and time going after wealth, possessions and power. But, after they have gotten those things, they are still unhappy. Why is that? Because happiness doesn’t come from those things.

Continue to read as I explore what true joy is and how we can experience the joy of The Lord. Join Anne as she shares how Jesus is our source of true Joy.

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The Joy of The Lord

When my husband and I were dating, we chose names for the children we wanted to have. We decided we wanted 4 kids and agreed on 2 boy names, and 2 girl names. 

For some reason, it was important to me to have Biblical qualities as middle names for the girls. 

So our daughters’ names are Meredith Grace and Madeleine Joy. 

Unfortunately, Madeline doesn’t really love her middle name. She actually kind of gets really annoyed at Christmas because she’ll see the word joy everywhere. I’ve got it on Christmas ornaments and she’ll see her name on different items and hear it in songs.

She can’t understand why people keep using her now. And I’ve tried to explain to her that joy is something that people want to feel. I named my kids Grace and Joy so that every time I look at them I think about those qualities. And so when I look at Madeleine and I think about Joy, I just think about the joy the Lord gives us.

The World’s Happiness

The world tells us, that to be happy, we should do what we want and pursue money, possessions, and amazing trips.

And that’s what the world values. And so sometimes we can get caught up in that and be pursuing those things as well.

And I don’t want any of this to be misconstrued, or for you to feel guilty because you’re chasing those things. But for me, it’s a reminder that when I chase after the things of the world.

Even if the world says this is going to bring you happiness, we know that it doesn’t because we have the word of God and we have people who had all the money, all the power, every single thing they wanted, and it was all empty because God wasn’t in it.

And so Christians can have wealth and they can have power and they can have authority, but the joy doesn’t come from those things.

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Put The Lord First

The Lord tells us that to have true joy, we must seek The Lord and put Him first. 

If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honourable, and if you honour it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words 14 then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Isaiah 58:13-14

Maybe those weren’t the verses that you thought I’d be speaking about, because there are many verses that talk about joy. And as I was writing these verses right now, I thought to myself, we’re going to miss the point here.

In the Old Testament, the Lord had given the people of Israel a certain amount of laws. And these verses are saying that when you keep these things (The Law) , when you obey the Lord, when you honour God and obey His commandments, verse 14 says then you will find joy.

These verses are found in the Old Testament when The Israelites were taught the law and encouraged to keep it. 

Now these verses were found in the Old Testament and this was specifically talking to the people of Israel, but I think that. They are very applicable to us today and tell us certain things that we can do to find true joy in the Lord. And that’s what I’m gonna focus on.

These verses tell us the find true joy. We can’t just do whatever we want, we can’t just be saying whatever we want.

I want to be careful here because this can feel extremely restraining and I understand that. We have so much freedom in Christ that there are a lot of things we can do.

Sometimes people look at Christianity and think they don’t want to be a Christian because they don’t want to follow all these rules and it can sometimes feel restraining.

God’s love is seen in the law

Take a moment and I go through Scripture and realize there must be a purpose and a reason why God has set out these laws.

When you take a minute and you look at those laws and the reason for those laws, you actually see that those things that the Lord is telling people to stay away from are actually for our good.

For example: 

When you go through the Old Testament, you’ll notice that there are a lot of purity laws. So these laws told the Israelites when to wash their feet, like how often to feel to wash their bodies. They told women that during menstruation you were unclean and you had to leave the camp.

These laws told people when to wash their bodies, feet, and so on. What to stay away from and more. 

These directions can feel restrictive. 

But when you look at these laws and put them in the context of the society in which the Israelites were living, then we see that these laws were actually for their good and for their health.

In the Old Testament, there wasn’t always necessarily access to clean water, and they didn’t have the same rituals for bathing and cleanliness. And so many people actually died of disease and infection.

But the people of Israel didn’t die as often or as frequently because they had these purity laws that they were following.

As we know today, washing your hands is good for our health. We just went through two years of COVID and the number one thing that they taught us was to properly wash our hands. So we know that by washing our hands there’s a correlation between cleanliness and decreased disease.

But this science wasn’t available to the people of Israel, and so the Lord, instead of developing a science too early, set those rituals in their laws so that they could practice cleanliness and by practicing those cleansing rituals.

They were healthier than the nations around them.

God’s Laws are for our benefit

I hope you can see that even though following those rules can sometimes feel restrictive, it really was for their benefit.

The Lord said I want you to live longer, I want you to be healthier, I don’t want you sick. So I’m going to set these instructions for you so that if you follow them, you’re actually going to feel better and you’re going to live longer.

And that’s just one example of how God’s laws and God’s standards. Aren’t just set for the fun of it and to say, oh, I don’t want you to do this and I don’t want you to do this. Every single one of the laws that the Lord gives us, should we break them, doesn’t bring us good things.

Laws that keep us safe

We think of just the 10 commandments.

  1. Thou shalt not steal. There are laws that, if you steal a certain amount of money or a certain amount of goods, you’re going to go to jail. There’s a very real consequence to stealing. And so God tells us, don’t steal. He doesn’t want us going to jail.
  2. Thou shalt not murder.
  3. Thou shalt not bear false witness: How many times have we lied? And our lies get us into even more and bigger lies. It’s a snowball event. It just gets bigger and bigger and bigger until it just takes a life of its own.

We can see how lies can sometimes bring separation between relationships. Lies can also bring distrust and so much more. And so the Lord says just don’t lie.

The Lord knows what it takes to have a good relationship and he knows that lying isn’t going to be good. So we are encouraged to speak the truth in love so that we can have better relationships.

And I could go on and on which every single law.

What to Focus on Instead

It’s easy to look at the “rules” and feel constricted. But scripture encourages us to focus on The Lord instead of focusing on feeling restricted.

Why the Lord is telling you not to do those things? It’s not because he doesn’t want you to have fun. It’s not because he wants to punish you. It’s because He wants better for you. And we can see this in parenting my own kids.

My kids love to cook with me. Oftentimes the oven is on or the griddle is on, and the kids are not paying attention to it. And I’ll say: “stay away from that. You might get burnt”.

I’m not trying to ruin their fun. I know that they’re going to get burned if they touch the hot thing, and I don’t want that for them. So I say don’t touch it.

And sometimes my children don’t listen and they touch it and they get burnt. But guess what? The next time they help me cook, they are more careful and don’t touch the oven.

So when we put all these laws into context, we can see these laws were created because God loves us and he wants to keep us away from danger.

What happens when we follow The Lord

When we’re following the Lord, and when we’re obeying him and what he has for us, we’re going to have true joy. And that joy comes from being in better circumstances.

So not only does obeying the Lord give us joy but then when we think about why God has given us these laws to follow and has told us how to live our lives, instead of focusing on following all these rules.

Anne Markey

It’s understanding that God loves us so much. And He’s just telling us that He knows where this decision is going to lead us and it’s not going to be too good things. And He doesn’t want that for us. He wants something else.

Hard times will still come

Obeying God doesn’t mean we’re never going to go through hard times. Because sometimes to get to that better thing, we have to go through hard times. So this is not about never experiencing trials.

I’m not saying that if you’re facing a trial right now that you’re not obeying the Lord. That is not biblical whatsoever. So that is a misconception.

But I want you to know that regardless of what is happening in your life right now– you can have true joy.

Because the Bible tells us that for us to show someone that we love them is to obey them.

So when we love the Lord. We spend time with him. We learn what he has for our lives. We gain joy because we see how much he loves us and it gives us a much bigger purpose for those hard things that we’re walking through.

Worship in response to His Love

Anytime I think about God and His word, I see how much He loves me. My response to His love is worship. I can’t help but worship with joy in my heart.

Psalm 126:2 Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.

So if you’re feeling restrained or you’re lacking joy, I just want you to take some time and think about why God is directing you one way versus the other.

Because we’re human and we don’t know what’s going to happen next, it’s really easy to think that option A is going to be what brings us more joy. The world tells us, to follow your heart, do what you want and go this way. And maybe the Lord will have that choice for you.

But we should be making it because the world is telling us to do it. We need to be making that choice because the Lord is the one telling us how to do it.

But The Lord might also say, no, that way isn’t going to lead to good things. I actually want you to do this. And yeah, it may be harder and it may take a long time to get to the other side of it, but in the long run, it’s going to give us more joy because then we’re obeying God, which builds our relationship with him, and we can then focus on why the Lord is bringing us in that direction.

He is a good father

The Lord tells us what to stay away from because He is a good father and He wants good things for us– even when we don’t see it.

And when we think about God and his love for us, then it brings us joy and we can worship him so.

Shift your focus from oh God doesn’t want me to do ABCD. Focus on why? And when you do, you will see that it’s because God loves you and that knowledge. Is what’s going to give you true joy regardless of what’s happening around you.

So if you are feeling restrained, or are lacking joy, take some time and think about why God has called you for certain things or away for certain things. 

It may not make sense to you, or you may not get an exact answer to why- but, it will help you focus on The Lord, instead of the scenario. 

Remember that God loves us and wants good things for us. Take some time and think about how doing something, or not doing something can be for your good. 

Regardless of what is going on in your life, you can find Joy in Him. 

1 Peter 1:8-9 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Thank you for being with us. And I just pray this time to be a blessing to all of us amen thank you so much for joining me. I really appreciate this. That you’ve taken just to spend some time with me. In God’s word, I hope you’ve been encouraged by these devotions.

5-minute devotion for teachers

As a certified teacher, I know how hard it can be to teach in today’s world. There are so many things to consider, balance, watch for and teach. At times, it can feel hard and overwhelming. If you are a teacher, take some time and read this 5-minute devotion for teachers. 

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5-minute devotion for teachers

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.”

1 Corinthians 15:58

1 Corinthians 15:58 is a short verse that holds many truths for teachers. Today, I’m going to focus on 3 things we can learn from this verse. 

1. Stand Firm 

I can’t believe how fast time goes, and how quickly things can change.

With the shifts in the world, it’s easy to feel anxious about what the future holds. Not just in our personal lives, but professionally as well. 

But, even though the world may change from one day to the next we know The Lord NEVER changes. 

We can stand firm in Christ because He doesn’t move. He doesn’t change. His love and sacrifice never change. We can trust that Jesus is the same today and forevermore. 

With this truth, we can stand firm in our faith and allow it to grow our confidence in Christ and His work in our lives. 

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2. Give yourself to the work of The Lord 

Like any other job, teaching can have good days and bad days. Most teachers enter the profession because they want to impact the lives of students. 

But, just like any other job, teaching can turn into a chore and something we do to collect a paycheck. 

That’s why we need to remember that whatever we do, we should work for The Lord. Even though there are principles and others over us- at the end of the day- we work for The Lord. 

Allowing Him to direct us, encourage us and give us wisdom in the classroom. 

3. Your labour is not in vain 

One of my biggest struggles is believing the lies the devil likes to through at me. 

One of those lies is the work I do means nothing and is worthless. 

There have been many times when I don’t see a student’s progress, or all I get from them is struggle and anger/frustration. 

These types of interactions make it easy to believe what we do is pointless. 

But, when we think like that, it’s important to remember our labor isn’t in vain. 

Even if our students never amount to anything, when we work for The Lord, our work becomes our worship to Him and brings The Lord joy. 

Not only that, but chances are, your actions affected some of your students and they think about you and what you thought more often than you know. 

The way you treat your students can impact them for years. So, don’t be discouraged. You may not see it now, but your work matters.

Do you need spiritual support?

Do you want to read your bible more consistently? Do you want to know how to study the Bible on your own and know how to apply it to your life? 

You are a Christian woman who is dedicated to living a life for Christ. You want to read your bible every day, but sometimes you get distracted or are too tired to collect all the resources you need. 

It can be hard to figure it out on your own. 

That’s why I’m so excited to tell you about The Christian Growth Hub

The Christian Growth Hub is an online, monthly membership focused on helping Christian women read the Bible, understand it, and apply it to their lives. 

The Christian Growth hub helps you in your faith by: 

  • Providing monthly Bible reading plans so you never have to think about what you’re going to read in the Bible next
  • Giving you on-demand training on how to understand the Bible and new monthly training on how to apply the Bible to a particular area of your life. 
  • Connects you to an online community to give you encouragement, support, and accountability

There are so many more features. Click here to learn more about them, and see what The Christian Growth Hub offers.

5-minute devotion for teachers

Where is God in times of trouble?

Have you ever faced a really difficult time and wondered Where is God in times of trouble? If you are like me, you have asked yourself this question at least once in your life.

The Bible tells us this: John 16: 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

We are assured that at least once in our life, we will face trouble. That knowledge scares me a bit.

But God doesn’t want us to be afraid, continue to read and see how I answer the question: where is God in times of trouble?

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A few years ago my eldest daughter was sick to her stomach and was crying from the pain.

There is nothing like watching your child experience any sort of pain. Watching my daughter fold over in pain made me feel extremely helpless.

As a mother, I hated seeing her like that. I also hated knowing there was nothing I could do to help her or to take that pain away.

I felt so useless.

But instead of being stuck in that feeling, I did what I could. I prayed for her and held her.

Where is God in times of trouble?

When my daughter was sick, I held her in a way I had never held her before.

She was lying on my lap and I covered her body with my own. I prayed over her and wanted her to feel all the love that I had for her.

As I held her, I saw a picture of God and His love for us.

At that moment, I knew that God holds us like that in our pain.

1. He is holding us

God doesn’t just hold us in His lap or in His hand. He completely surrounds us with His presence and covers us with His love.

I sometimes experience pain and I most definitely experience fear.

During those times, the devil loves to have me believe that God is far away and does not care for me. But, that would be a lie.

I know from scripture that God is with me during my darkest hours and my longest days.

Where can we turn when we face trouble?

Any time I face troubles, I turn to the Psalms. This book is filled with people who have faced trouble and their feelings are revelations about God when facing those troubles.

Then many authors of this book knew exactly what it felt like to face various trials and knew who to turn to when they asked: where is God in times of trouble?

One of my favourite psalms to turn to is this one.

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.

The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Come, behold the works of the LORD, Who has made desolations in the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; God breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire.

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah”

Psalm‬ ‭46:1-11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

There are many other verses to turn to for comfort in times of trouble.

Related Posts

How does this verse help us?

I memorized the first verse when I was a teenager. I regularly quote it to remind myself of where to go when I am afraid.

These verses verse answers the question: where is God in times of trouble? He is the one who is keeping us safe. He is our safe city we can run to.

God is our Refuge

When reading these verses, I can’t help but notice that God is described as a refuge and a safe place.

Word hippo defines A refuge as:

  1. A condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble
  2. Something providing such shelter

Psalm 46 reminds us that God is our shelter and a safe place to run to.

No matter what is going on in our personal life. No matter what is going on in the world, we can run to God. He is our safe place.

When we have reached His safety He then gives us the strength we need to face our troubles.

In the Old Testament times, when someone committed a crime and needed help they had a chance to run to a city of refuge.

These cities were dispersed around the nation as a place people could go to and be safe from retribution. The cities were sometimes close, but other times they would be far and a refugee would not make it to the city.

God is Present

Not only does the bible tell us that God is a place of safety, but it assures us that God is present when we are going through trials.

Psalm 46  assures us that Jesus is our city of refuge and that it is not far away. It is very present. We don’t have to run a long way to receive help from The Lord.  He is right there with us anytime we face difficulty. (He happens to also be around when things go well).

Not only is His help right there, but He is also present no matter the circumstances of life.

I love these psalms because it reminds me of where I can run in times of trouble and that God is there for me no matter what is going on around me.

In the comments below, share with me your answer to: Where is God in times of trouble?

Please share this post with friends and family. Thank you.

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What can separate us from the love of God?

There is nothing more comforting than knowing nothing can separate us from God’s love. But some people still have a hard time accepting this truth. So today, I’m going to answer: What can separate us from the love of God? 

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Join me as I go inside one of the Bible study workbooks I’ve created and show you exactly the process I go through to dig deeper into scripture. 

These workbooks were created so that you do one day every day of the week or sometimes five to six days in a seven-day week. But instead, we’re going to take it slow and we’re going to do one day per week for the next couple of weeks.

Following a daily, or weekly bible study workbook is a really good way to dig into God’s word. 

Bible study can be as simple as taking a few minutes every day and answering some questions. 

So the workbook that we’re going to be going through is this one is called. Jesus is Immanuel, God with us. It is free for you right now to use, so if you don’t have your copy, fill out the form below this paragraph. The workbook will go straight to your inbox. You can then print it off and join me as we go through it together. 

Verses to Read Today

Romans 8:38- 39 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What can separate us from the love of God?

Bible Study Questions & Answers

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1. What can separate us from the love of God?

 We are given the assurance that nothing can separate us from God. 

2. What comfort we can take from these verses? 

One thing I love about these verses is that there’s a whole list of things. I like to copy this list word for work.

This starts at death, then life, angels, and principalities.

Principalities is another word for people in power.

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If you think of all the things that can separate us, they’re going to fall into one of these categories in relationships. 

If you die, that relationship changes life. If you bring life into the world like becoming a mother. 

Before my child, I wasn’t a mother. Then I brought life and then I was a mother. 

Angels have so much power that we don’t really understand, and principalities are really anybody above you who may have power over you. 

Anyone in power in these places: church, government, spouse, whatever, anybody. Who’s above you that can have power over you can separate you from The Love of God. 

Neither things now nor things to come. And neither height nor depth. 

The comfort for me comes in these things to come because I don’t know what the future holds, but the Lord does.

And So what I love is that regardless of what’s going to happen in the future, nothing that’s going to happen will ever separate me from the love of God. 

And if your brain likes to try and find excuses or loopholes this verse covers, because it says nor any other thing which broadly categorizes anything else, your mind might think about. 

If there’s a specific scenario that you’re thinking about in your brain and you’re thinking that it can separate you from the love of God if it fits in these categories, it’s a good reminder that nothing can separate you from God’s love.

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3. How does this truth affect our relationship with God? 

So for me, it gives me comfort, and it also gives me security. 

In parenting, people talk a lot about kids having a secure attachment to parents or kids who do not feel a secure attachment to those parents if they’ve been in homes that have trauma.

In the Lord, it says that God is safe.

We are safe in a relationship with God

Nobody’s gonna steal us and move us away from God nothing can change our relationship with God. 

Nothing can separate us, so it gives us comfort and security and it just gives us the opportunity to grow in our faith and just know that we can get to know God. 

We have time with God. To know him. These few verses really make you think about your position with Christ and your relationship with Christ.

What have you learned today?

I want you to think of one thing that really you either learned or that stuck out to you.

For me, it was the word “nothing” that stands out. Regardless of what excuse my brain thinks of and things nothing can separate you from God.

If I ever waiver on that truth, all I need to do is go back to these verses and go through the list, and then hopefully my brain realizes the list actually covers all the things and the Lord says none of those things can separate us from him. 

So that’s my great comfort today. 

So in the comments, I would love for you to tell me what stuck out to you today. Maybe you’ve learned something, maybe a verse just got a new perspective for you. Maybe something really just jumped off the page and stuck in your mind. Or maybe a word. It’s just being repeated in your brain and so whatever that is, I’d love for you to share in the group and the comments below.

A quick Bible study tip for you

What can separate us from the love of God?

If the Bible gives you a list, you should probably write it down. 

For example, in today’s reading we were reading Romans Chapter 8 verses 38 into 39 and it gives you this nice long list of all the things that will not separate us from the Lord. 

So my brain likes lists and to look at things like this and so when I write it down and see all the points it triggers my brain to see to remember nothing can separate us from the love of God. 

So if anytime you need proof or encouragement of a specific truth, start writing down the list and it’ll help you remember different things that the Lord will teach you. 

Do you want more?

Do you want to read your bible more consistently? Do you want to know how to study the Bible on your own and know how to apply it to your life? 

You are a Christian woman who is dedicated to living a life for Christ. You want to read your bible every day, but sometimes you get distracted or are too tired to collect all the resources you need. 

It can be hard to figure it out on your own. 

That’s why I’m so excited to tell you about The Christian Growth Hub

The Christian Growth Hub is an online, monthly membership focused on helping Christian women read the Bible, understand it, and apply it to their lives. 

The Christian Growth hub helps you in your faith by: 

  • Providing monthly Bible reading plans so you never have to think about what you’re going to read in the Bible next
  • Giving you on-demand training on how to understand the Bible and new monthly training on how to apply the Bible to a particular area of your life. 
  • Connects you to an online community to give you encouragement, support, and accountability

There are so many more features. Click here to learn more about them, and see what The Christian Growth Hub offers.

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A 5 minute thanksgiving devotional

As Thanksgiving draws near, it’s important to take a minute and remember everything The Lord has done for us. Giving thanks to The Lord is a great way to worship Him and encourage each other in the works He has done. Our family always takes the time to read a short 5 minute thanksgiving devotional at dinner. It helps us focus on the real reason we take a day off.

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A 5-minute thanksgiving devotional

Thanksgiving is a day we take aside and give thanks for everything we have. Some people just share with each other what they are thankful for, but for Christians, this day is so much more. 

Psalm 100:4-5 10 5 minute Thanksgiving devotional

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. 5 For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations

Psalm 100:4-5

As I read the verses above, there are 3 things that stand out: 

1. Enter The presence of God 

As Christians, we have the privilege to enter The presence of God. 

One of my dreams is to one day walk the halls of Buckingham Palace and have a self-led tour of the place. I want to check out all the nooks and crannies, look for secret passages and sit at the Queen’s desk. 

I know that my dream will never come true. And even though the truth makes me a bit sad, I know I have access to something far better. 

Jesus is the King of the universe, the King above every other King!

And since I’m saved, I have access to His throne room! I can be is His presence as often as I want. 

Not only that, I get to spend eternity in heaven. 

As Christians, we often forget God’s power and don’t take advantage of the privilege we have to be in His presence every moment of the day. 

So let today be a day where you enter into His courts, and may the reality of who He is lead you to praise His name! 

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2. Our Posture towards The Lord 

Psalm 100:4-5 reminds us that even though we have access to God, we should approach Him with gratitude and praise. 

According to the Oxford dictionary, Praise is: the expression of approval or admiration for someone or something

A few nights ago I went on a date with my husband to a steak house. As we sat down to eat, we couldn’t help ourselves from commenting on how good the food was. 

If praise comes so easily when we eat good food, how much more praise should we give to The Lord? 

He is the creator of all things and we should remember to thank Him for His goodness as often as we can. 

3. What we can thank The Lord for

I have met many women who have a hard time knowing what to thank The Lord for. Psalm 100:4-5 tells us 3 things we can thank The Lord for. 

  • The Lord is good 
  • His mercy is everlasting
  • His truth endures to all generations

On this Thanksgiving day, I hope you take some time to enter God’s court and give Him praise for who He is and what He has done for you.

Do you want more?

Do you want to read your bible more consistently? Do you want to know how to study the Bible on your own and know how to apply it to your life? 

You are a Christian woman who is dedicated to living a life for Christ. You want to read your bible every day, but sometimes you get distracted or are too tired to collect all the resources you need. 

It can be hard to figure it out on your own. 

That’s why I’m so excited to tell you about The Christian Growth Hub

The Christian Growth Hub is an online, monthly membership focused on helping Christian women read the Bible, understand it, and apply it to their lives. 

The Christian Growth hub helps you in your faith by: 

  • Providing monthly Bible reading plans so you never have to think about what you’re going to read in the Bible next
  • Giving you on-demand training on how to understand the Bible and new monthly training on how to apply the Bible to a particular area of your life. 
  • Connects you to an online community to give you encouragement, support, and accountability

There are so many more features. Click here to learn more about them, and see what The Christian Growth Hub offers.

a picture of all the products in the Christian Growth Hub
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