Why Community Matters to God: A Conversation on Life and Faith with Social Influencer Magen Reaves (Episode #14)

Our guest today has inspired thousands in the world of fashion, but even more have encouraged by the way she uses her platform to share her faith. Influence Magen Reaves is sharing how she has experienced God in her life and what God has been teaching her about the significance of community through a biblical lens and how it changed her life.

Check out her blog here for more or follow her on Instagram here to stay connected and keep up with what God is teaching her!

The Gospel Collective Podcast: How Making a Difference in the World Starts at Home with Lynsey Gabert, Founder of Kids Faith Krate (Episode #12)

This week we are talking with Kids Faith Krate founder Lynsey Gabert about her heart for family discipleship and how she has been experiencing God in her our life over the last few years. We are talking about parenting, personal faith, anxiety, and lots more! She is sharing some tools that have helped her applicably put her hands to the work her heart has been called to, and how we can do the same in our own lives. And she was so kind to give OUR Gospel Collective community a special discount code! Check them out and be praying that God would use them mightily in the lives of families in our community and beyond!

The Gospel Collective Podcast with Rachel Sweatt





Gospel Collective podcast

The Gospel Collecting Podcast: What Jesus Says When People Mess Up (Episode #11)

Hi friends!

On today’s episode I’m sharing something a little raw that God has been teaching me over the past few months. I try to be as transparent as possible, and I just knew that this was the time to share a little bit more of the “struggle bus” side of what I do. Ha! If you’ve ever stepped out to do something God put in your heart and things got a little bumpy along the way, this one’s for you! Never forget that He is after our heart, not our perfection. Have a great week!

-R.

The Gospel Collecting Podcast: When We Step Down and God Steps In (Interview With Heidi Hickman Episode #10)

The Gospel Collecting Podcast: When We Step Down and God Steps In (Interview With Heidi Hickman Episode #10)

Our guest today, Heidi Hickman, is founder of The Oaks Christian Academy and Jesus follower for 29 years (!). She is sharing her heart on how she is experiencing God in powerful ways from years of saying yes to hard steps of obedience. She also talks about what experiencing God looks like in her daily life, the rhythm of stepping down and allowing God to step in, moving in ways she could have never expected.

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If You're Feeling Unseen (Episode #09)

On today's episode of The Gospel Collective Podcast, I am sharing something God showed me that I haven't been able to get over. In a world where it's common to feel called to hard places and then left alone in the struggle, God makes it known that not only He sees us, but He also is encamped around us. While we are in His keeping, He takes the desert and transforms it into a training field for what He might call us to in the future. If you are in a wilderness, I want you to be encouraged that you have the Lord’s undivided attention. You are being equipped to do what you were made to do and you’re going to do it with full confidence of the God who sees you. 

THE GOSPEL COLLECTIVE PODCAST: How Mentorship Changes Lives and Why It's Necessary in the Church with Judy Stallwitz (Episode #08)

Friends! I can’t wait for you to hear this episode—our guest today has had significant impact on my life and everything I do today bears the fruit of her obedience to love and lead me well! She is sharing how mentorship has influenced her life and why it is so significant to invite others to be part of our lives as we grow in relationship with Jesus. The impact of one person has the potential to change future generations and we are thankful to be evidence of that truth because of our own experience with mentorship!

The Gospel Collective Podcast: Where God is Calling Me in 2019 (Season Three Launch!)

Rachel Sweatt Podcast

Hi friends!

I can’t believe we are in our THIRD season of the podcast! It has been one of the greatest joys in my ministry, and I am SO looking forward to all that God has in store for us this year!

On today’s episode, I am talking about where God is calling me in 2019, and it might surprise you! I am sharing my heart about what God has been teaching me— that how God calls us to live is strikingly very different than the culture around us, and our responsibility and privilege to operative in joyful obedience amidst the tension between it all.

I hope you enjoy this episode from my heart to yours! I’d LOVE to hear what God has called you to in 2019! It is so encouraging to hear what He is stirring up in other believers, and pray each other on in this journey!

Grace and peace,

Rachel Sweatt

The Gospel Collective Podcast: The Significance of Slowing Down with Judy Lynch (Episode 06)

This week on the podcast we are introducing a discussion on spiritual disciplines and how intentional time with God can influence the way we experience Him in our lives on a daily basis. Our guest, Judy Lynch is sharing how big moments with God often come in the small moments in our lives when we simple slow down and make room for Him to move.

A special thank you to Bryan Talbott for producing the music on this weeks episode!

how to slow down

The Gospel Collective Podcast: Reaching Souls and Making Moments Count with Dustin Manis

It is such a joy to talk with Dustin Manis, President and CEO of Reaching Souls International. He is sharing what God has done in his own life and how the Gospel has changed his family legacy. Dustin discusses how The Great Commission is the driving force behind his ministry and why it should be what motivates us to make every moment count as well. He’s also giving us a behind the scenes look on how he saw over 11 million people make decisions to follow Jesus and why every believer is called to do the work of an evangelist.

Photo by Reaching Souls International

Photo by Reaching Souls International

For more on Reaching Souls International, visit: https://www.reachingsouls.tv/

To support their ministry financially, visit: https://www.reachingsouls.tv/donate

I Know Him is ONE!

I can’t believe it but this time LAST year (October 2nd to be exact!), I released my first book ever into the world. I’ve jokingly called it my “book baby” 😆 Friends. The way God has spoken and breathed life into this message has been nothing short of a miracle. He has taken this message and this ministry far and wide, allowing me to issue His charge to the Church to tell their stories of what God has done. For remembrance. For endurance. For GLORY. His, Glory, to be exact. This message redefines the “story” our world wants to tell. It is no longer sequences of events that we have endured, but rather how God has carried us through hills and valleys, and how He has moved in our lives throughout the seasons of deserts and abundance.

This message is the message he set the rhythm of my heart to long before I was born. This message and this book has been used mightily in my own life, as He shaped me a little more into who He really made me to be.

God used countless people in the making of this book to speak to me, shape me, and shine light on all the ways God made me for such a time as this. I am a shepherd of stories. A steward of the Gospel. When people ask me what I do, because of the work God has done the last few years, I get the honor to answer: I invite people to come and see who Jesus is by equipping the Church to tell their stories.

Seeing people experience God in real ways and never being the same is my greatest joy. Watching them speak of what God has done and run into the life they were created for is one of my greatest privileges. This book marks the beginning of a season in my life I lovingly call my “ONLY GOD” season. I’m still living it. I hope it NEVER ends.

Thank you to each of you who read this far, and who have read the book, any of the words God has put on my heart, and have prayed and partnered with me in any way. You guys mean more than the world to me—you are glimpses of heaven.

We are just getting started, friends. Let’s keeps sharing this message with all we’ve got. HE is worth it! To celebrate, we’ve made a FREE lockscreen that you can have as a reminder of what God has done, and we hope it encourages you to overcome darkness with the Blood of the Lamb and the words of your testimony. AND we are giving away a free copy of the book to celebrate! (We will just pull a random email from the entries for the lockscreen so be sure to get yours below!)

Tell one person what God has done for you today, and invite them to be part of the greatest story ever told—it’s what we are here for.

I will never get over what God has done for me or what you have all meant to me in this season of my life. Eternally grateful ,

Rachel Sweatt

Photos from the I Know Him Book Launch Party, photography by Katy Pair Photography.

The Gospel Collective Podcast: Why Submission is Necessary for Compassion with Kali Peddy (Episode 04)

How to Pray for Anyone

Today we are talking with Kali Peddy, who is sharing how God has transformed her perspective on goodness and self-control and how this work God has done in her has been the catalyst for a new lifestyle of compassion and humility. We are talking about the “mistruths” from our pasts and how redefining what we know to be true about God can altar the way we love and pray for others.

Listen to the episode below or find us in iTunes! Don’t forget to subscribe while you’re there so future episodes land in your podcast library as soon as they are released!

The Gospel Collective Podcast

How to Pray for Anyone: Gentleness and Self-Control (Part Six)

Well friends, you made it! We are on the last week of our study over what God has to say about the fruit of the Spirit in our lives and how we can use Galatians 5:22-23 as a road map to praying powerful, sincere prayers for ANYONE. 

It is so fitting that we are concluding our time together with two of the most foundational and critical components to our faith. Even if we are pursuing all the other good and holy things, if we do not have these last two we are running in circles. 

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23

Gentleness.
Self-control. 

 

Nothing about our nature is gentle. We come into this life angry and sinful. Fearful. We go through our days doing what is required to just survive. Our culture has taught us that only the strong survive. We have to fake our strength to get ahead, and then fight some more to save our spot. 

Our nature is to feed our addictions, our habits, and our own desires. At whatever the costs. 

The problem is that this is the nature of our flesh-- not the nature of our faith. The default way of living a life of faith is dying.

It is dying to our selves. Our sin. Laying down all the reasons we are justified to get what we want, say what we want, have what we want. It is laying down our desire for security and instead picking up vulnerability, by choice. It is laying down our defiance and selfishness and instead choosing the bear the cross of unity for the sake of the Gospel. Unity with the Church for the health of the Church. Unity with countless other selfish and sinful people trying to lay down their own desires so everyone can run faster and more powerfully into their calling. 

Gentleness and self-control go hand in hand, even if it doesn't seem like it at first. If we are not constantly exercising control over what we want, we will never have the margin to see what is best for others. And a life following Jesus is not about getting what you want. It's about laying down what you want for what others need. Which is ironically exactly what you need too. 

If we lack self-control to say no to the things of our flesh, we will leave our sinful nature unchecked, in competition with the nature of our Spirit. But when we say YES to being intentional about every piece of our hearts and our lives, we say YES to being intentional with the tender pieces of other peoples hearts and lives as well. 

The gentleness we have towards others is a direct reflection of the control we have on our own selfishness within. With our time, our resources, and our gifts. If there is evidence of a gentle spirit, it is because we have allowed the cross to do its deadly work in us, putting to death our desires and instead invited the Spirit to cultivate a heart that for others. 

There is no better example than this than Jesus. He was never bothered by interruptions, impatient with people, or selfish with His time. He was so invested in what God was doing in the hearts of others that all His decisions were not based on the urgency of His needs, self-preservation, or even His own longing for solitude or progress. He was constantly dying so that others could live, long before that day at Calvary. 

The greatest evidence of the gratitude we have for what God has done for us is in the way we treat others and pray for others. The evidence we have that the Spirit lives in us is what the Spirit does through us. 

Gentleness // Self-Control
Ephesians 4:2
2 Corinthians 10:1
Galatians 6:1
2 Timothy 2:24-25
Proverbs 25:28
1 Corinthians 9:25
2 Timothy 1:6-7

Who or what is worth it to you today, to extend the extra hand of gentleness? Where is God asking you to lay down your desire for security or control and instead pick up vulnerability for the sake of cultivating a more sincere gentleness with others?

Who or what is worth your time? Where is self-control lacking in your life? In what ways is that hindering unity with others? In what ways are interruptions an opportunity to die to self in your own life? 

Our gentleness and self-control (or lack thereof) may either be the road or the roadblock to someone's repentance, freedom, or discovery of truth. We patiently endure this life with gentleness and self-control at every turn because restoration is WORTH IT.
Our families are WORTH IT.
Our friends are WORTH IT.
Our enemies are WORTH IT. 
Because HE is worth it. 

I am so thankful you went on this journey with me. I pray you have gained new insights about the fruit of the Spirit and what it means for your own lives and how to pray them for others. Keep asking God to cultivate these things in your lives, and interceding intentionally on the behalf of others. Every prayer matters. God gladly accepts every invitation to move in our lives because He says we are worth it. Let's show Him HE is worth it to us with every piece of our lives. 

Please let us know how God has spoken to you over the course of these last few weeks in the Word together! It is so encouraging to share what God has done! 

What was your favorite week/verse(s)? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comment section. 

Once again, thank you so much for trusting me with your time here. I am continually praying for you all and so grateful for the ways you engage with and support this ministry! It is a JOY to run this race with you all! 

Grace and peace, 
Rachel Sweatt

how to pray

How to Pray for Anyone: Faithfulness (Part Five)

Friends, 

We are on our FIFTH week of this study, can you believe it?! We are FIVE weeks into digging into God's Word and inviting it to change our lives, and the lives of OTHERS through our petitions on their behalf. I want to hug every one of you and send you at least 4 cupcakes. Because heart work is HARD work, amen?! 

Before we seek out what God has to say about faithfulness, take a moment and reflect on all that God has showed you over the past few weeks. Ask Him to bring to memory all that He has taught you about these fruits of the Spirit, and evaluate the places you have invited the Spirit to cultivate those things in your life. 

Just tell Him "THANK YOU." 

Ok. Take a deep breath, grab your Bible and your journal and LET'S GO. 

Faithfulness. 

LOOK AT HOW DICTIONARY.COM defined faithful: 
adjective

  1. strict or thorough in the performance of duty:a faithful worker.

  2. true to one's word, promises, vows, etc.

  3. steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant: faithful friends.

Does that make anyone else just want to cry?! Not only do we see this to be true time and time again of God in the Bible, but I am willing to bet every one of you can immediately think of a time you have experienced God as "faithful" in your life. True to His word. Steady in His friendship towards you. A faithful friend. 

Stunning. 

What's equally as stunning, is that we get the opportunity to be faithful BACK to Him. Because our God is a God of relationship, we get the privilege to either reciprocate our faithfulness, or not. We get the choice to be a faithful worker for the God of the universe. A faithful friend to our Maker.

Whoa. 

A faithful friend to the Lord. I can think of five people right now that are a faithful friend to the Lord. No matter what they have been through, they have been steadfast in their loyalty to God. In their service to Christ this side of heaven. They are ALL IN. Despite circumstances. they are committed. And I think it is safe to say hands down that they are so committed to God because they have seen His commitment to them. When you know someone is willing to do everything for you, its easy to lay it all down in return. 

That is exactly what Jesus did for us. 

And these faithful few, they have seen the hands of God move mountains for them in their lives. They have sensed His nearness in such a stunning, tangible way that all the trials didn't compare to the joy they found in His friendship. In his steadfastness. Because of His sacrifice. 

But what about when you don't know that someone would give it all for you? Have you ever realized that this is what God sees in us every day? Since the exile from Eden, our faithfulness has been uncertain. He knows what He desires us to choose, but in the moment, the choice to be faithful is entirely up to us. And yet...He is unchanged in His love for us. He'll still show up...even when we don't. 

Even when we don't show up to make things right, He shows up to convict and correct and redeem.
Even when our hearts hurt, He shows up for our marriages.
Even when our kids are wandering, He shows up to pursue them with kindness. 
Even when our jobs are unsteady, His providence never waivers. 
Even when our selfishness takes us out of the game, He still shows up to watch and see what we will do next. Faithfulness is hopeful. No matter what. And you know what is encouraging to me today, friend? 

Our unfaithfulness does not deter God's faithfulness.

AMEN?!

Our choices do not change who He is, but they do change us. And these faithful few have seen Him be steadfast in their lives in every way imaginable. Healer. Redeemer. Provider. Friend. Savior. Maybe you've seen Him in similar ways. Do your choices reflect your thankfulness for what He's done for you? 

Because of the faithfulness of God these men and women have seen and experienced, they have been changed. They are all in with God because, like similarly to when the disciples answer Jesus' question when He asks if they are going to leave too, they have answered, "Where else would we go?" (John 6:68) There is no other for them.

There is no other for me. 

What about you?  

Faithfulness
Deuteronomy 32:4
John 24:14
Psalm 91:4
Psalm 91:14-16
Proverbs 3:3
Isaiah 11:5
Lamentation 3:21-25
Romans 3:34

Even when our faith fails, He never does. Yet it is His faithfulness that opens our eyes to see there really is no other. Everything pales in comparison. Our issues. Other people's issues. Where do we need to invite the Spirit in to cultivate some more faithfulness in our lives? Who in your life needs to be reminded that God is faithful no matter what? Ask God to show His faithfulness to them, once more. Ask Him to show you. Then be ready to show Him what that means to you. Are you willing to lay it all down? What is faithfulness looking like in your life right now? Where are you "all in", no matter what the cost?

I can't wait to hear what God is stirring up in your hearts and see what this looks like in the lives of others. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below! 
 

Praying for each of you this week. Be encouraged friends, He is so for you. 
Grace and peace,
Rachel Sweatt 

Faithfulness

 

How to Pray for Anyone: Kindness and Goodness (Part Four)

In these last few years of my life, it is the kindness of God that has been one of my favorite things about Him. Reading these scriptures just affirmed that I have testimony after testimony of the Lord's kindness and goodness in my life. 

I don't say that it's my favorite because of the favor that has come from situations (both good and bad). The reason when I think of the Lord's kindness and goodness my breath catches in my chest is because it is a pure gift. Not just a gift, like from a friend. It's a completely undeserved gift. Not one single day comes to a close with me having earned one ounce of His kindness. His goodness wrecks me in the best way. He had every right to allow my sin to make me his enemy. But instead, he calls me Beloved? 
 

Straight. to. the. heart. 

When the Bible says it is His kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4), I know exactly what that means. I have experienced this Scripture in my life the last year more than ever before. His love is so great and unconditional that it makes me want to weep over my sin. My offenses. Knowing full well if someone did things like that to me, we would be DONE. No more chances. But God? 

No. That's not who He is. 

A new chance is gifted with each moment of repentance. New mercies as abundant as the sea. Imagine waking up every morning to a gift on your front porch wrapped up with a note reminding you of just how loved you are that simply says, "Unconditionally."
Love, your Father. 

The kindness and goodness of Jesus is all over the pages of Scripture. Below you'll find verses about God's love for us and how that should radically change the way we treat others and pray for them. 

Have you ever been shown kindness by someone? Have you ever experienced undeserved goodness from a stranger? Maybe someone covered your tab at a restaurant unbeknownst to you. Maybe a friend anonymously delivered flowers to your doorstep. Maybe someone's saved a seat for you at the table or at church or school. 

Jesus has saved a seat for us. It is our choice whether we take it. He not only saved us and raised us--He literally has saved a seat for us. Despite our offenses. Despite our selfishness. THIS is kindness. Immeasurable kindness is saving a seat for those that fail, because His love never will. And when we show kindness to someone else, we are showing them that because God loves us no matter what, we can too. 

God's kindness + goodness is undeserved abundance. It means there's always room for love to be greater. Always a seat at the table. 

We've received it. 
It should be our JOY to give it. 

Kindness
Proverbs 21:21
Hosea 11:4
Zechariah 7:9
Ephesians 2:4-7
Titus 3:3-7

Goodness
Exodus 33:18-19
Ps. 23:6
Zechariah 9:16-17
Titus 3:4

Moses asked to see God's glory and God chose to show him His goodness. God reveals His glory in His goodness. If we want to see His glory, we've got to look for His goodness. If we are not seeing His glory--we are missing His goodness. If we are not seeing His goodness, we are missing His glory. God's goodness is His glory. Where is His goodness being revealed in your life? Share your answer in the comments! Tell your story for His glory. Talk about how the Lord has been kind and good to you. And ask Him to let you know how you can pray for others to experience the same. 

Who in your life needs to know that there is still a seat for them at your table? How can you show the Lord's goodness to your neighbors? Those that serve your community and your church maybe? Maybe someone in your life needs to be reminded of that God loves them unconditionally, no matter what. Ask God to send someone to tell them that they are loved TODAY. The ways to pray for God to cultivate this in the lives of others (and our own) is endless.
 

A Seat at the table

The Gospel Collective Podcast: Remembering what God has Done In the Past While You Wait for Him to Move in Your Future with Lissa Anglin (Episode 03)

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This weeks guest is Lissa Anglin, a West Texas Professional Photographer and she is dropping some major wisdom on what patience means to her and her perspective gives us a front row seat to watch someone who loves God be asked to walk a long road, and her perspective gives us great insight on what people in hard situations really need us to pray over them (or for ourselves while we wait!). She is sharing what her experiences taught her about embracing the raw journey of a faith filled life and how it changed her relationship with God for the better, forever. 

I think it would be SO cool for anyone that listens to leave a prayer for Lissa and her family! I know it would be a HUGE blessing to her so either tag her on social media or leave a comment here to let her know you were encouraged and a leave a little word of encouragement or scripture for her! 

Take a listen below or find us on iTunes! Don't forget to subscribe + leave a review while you're there to help support the ministry and the podcast! 

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Check our Lissa's blog HERE and follow her family and faith adventure! 

How to Pray for Anyone: Patience (Part Three)

Welcome back for week three! I am so hopeful that you are enjoying diving into these scriptures, and that you are feeling God breathe some fresh life into your life in every way. This week we are going to be studying what the Bible has to say about PATIENCE, so we can better know how to cultivate this characteristic in our own life AND be better equipped to pray specific things regarding patience anyone in a season of waiting or trying--whether that is someone else in our life or ourselves. 

When I think of patience, I think of all those older women that warned me (jokingly) growing up: Whatever you do, DON'T PRAY FOR PATIENCE! He'll give you plenty of opportunities to practice! And nothing could prepare me for just how true that was! 😆

But, on a serious level, patience may be one of the most revealing traits about us. About our relationship with the Lord. In our reading this week, I was a little bit sucker punched by the connection between idol worship and patience. It seems like a stretch, but when you dig in you'll soon see that when our trust of God to answer our prayers and keep us begins to fail, our lack of patience leaves from for us to put stock in something else. Someone else. Something else to put on the throne that belongs to God. Our impatience reveals our belief (or lack thereof) that God really is who He says He is. Our impatience dethrones our Maker. 

Over and over in the Bible, we see that patience is cultivated, each time we choose to die to our selves at a time. Our timing. Our plans. The only thing that can change our ability to patient in seasons and with our friends, families, and coworkers is digging our feet down deep in the conviction that God's wisdom is what is best for everyone involved. And friends, that is HARD. 

But it is worth it. Why? Because patience is an essential component to our calling (Eph. 4:1-3). We can't do the things of God with the mind of God on a self-absorbed, intrinsicly motivated time table. Things of God are on eternity's calendar. Oh, the things we don't see right now. The hurts and frustrations that block our view of what is just beyond. We have to remember that just as God is working things out for us, He is working things out for the rest of those that love Him. He's transforming them. We cannot expect people and people's plans to be more perfect than we are. We ALL fall short and our patience (or lack thereof) kindly reminds of that OFTEN. Patience partners with gentleness and humility (which we'll study later) to give us the endurance we need to dig down deep and bear with one another. Patience is pivotal for grace.
 

Think about God's grace for YOU in your life, how many times He has given YOU grace. Undeserved. Think about His patience towards you. Long-suffering compassion. This is the model we have for the peace that we are expected to bear when we invite the Spirit to come in and do His thing in our lives. His patience towards us is an example, a blueprint, so we can be patient and pray patience for others. 

We often get caught up in things we are waiting for and it seems like a thousand years. 1 Peter and 2 Peter both describe God's patience as our deliverance. Can you imagine where we would be if God had thrown in the towel on us? Because we literally CANNOT GET IT TOGETHER, 2000 YEARS LATER? Thank God He said we were worth the wait that day in the garden when humanity chose idolatry in the garden over intimacy with God.

Patience is more than just keeping your cool or waiting until something changes. Patience is gratitude for God not giving up on us revealed in the way we treat our circumstances, our relationships, and our prayers for others. 
 

Take a moment and pray before you dive into these verses. Ask God to make the reality of His love for you real. Ask God to put someone on your heart that needs to be encouraged to be patient because God said they too were worth waiting for. 

PATIENCE
Luke 8:15
Hosea 14:8
Ephesians 4:1-3
1 Timothy 1:16
1 Peter 3:20
2 Peter 3:15

What does patience look like in your life right now? How could you pray patience for someone in your life? Leave us an example of one of your prayers using any of the scripture above in the comments lifting up an (unnamed) person in your life so we can learn from real life examples as well as seek the Lord on your behalf as well for each person. Every willing person here makes an eternal difference! 

How to pray for patience

The Gospel Collective Podcast: Trusting God When You Don't Understand with Bethany Douglas (Episode 02)

Our guest on the podcast today is author, speaker, mother, and retired flight nurse, Bethany Douglas. She is sharing how her experiences with God led her answer the question: do you REALLY believe Jesus is good? Her story of is one of God leading her to own her faith and say yes to trusting God even when it didn't make sense in pursuit of peace. 

Listen to our conversation below or find us in iTunes and subscribe to get the latest episodes straight to your phone! 

Bethany Douglas

Mentioned Links: 
Camp Barnabas
Bethany Douglas
Get Bethany's book here: Helicopter Mom

How To Pray for Anyone: Peace (Part Two)

Welcome to week TWO of our study! I am so prayerful and expectant that God will continue to shed light on the things we are seeking, and will use His Word in our lives in powerful ways. Like last week, I will share the Scriptures for you to seek out on your own. Take notes of what verses stand out to you, who and what comes to mind as you read them. Journal your insights. Finally, pray those specific Scriptures over those people that God stirred your heart about. Think about your family, friends, co-workers, and community. Be intentional about praying peace through the lens of scripture. Write down your prayers with the Holy anticipation you will be back to record the date and ways they were answered. Praying these specific things regarding peace for people could CHANGE LIVES. Legacies. (Don't forget you don't have to get through this all in one day! Take your time. Steep in the scriptures. You have the WHOLE week to meditate on what God has to say about this.) 

Take a few moments before you begin your study today (or each day!) and still your heart and steady you mind. Ask God to make you sensitive to the stirrings of His Spirit and free of distraction. I am praying that as we dive into PEACE today, we all experience HIM in a new way in our lives. I am praying that as week study what God has to say about this ONE thing that we all seem to be chasing, our pursuit of peace leads us to a renewed perspective of who He is and what He longs for us to experience while we each run our race for His glory. 

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." 
Galatians 5:22-23

Just as pain and suffering unites people across the world, similarly we are all in pursuit of peace. We long for peace in our world, our workplaces. and our homes. The drivenness of our culture pushes out the margin we could have had for stillness, and the consequence of sin continually wreaks havoc on the steadiness our souls long for. Peace has been an exile since Eden. Forced out of our lives by the choices we often make, and some that are seemingly made for us. What does the Bible have to say about peace? What would it look like if we began powerfully petitioning that God BRINGS IT BACK into our lives and the lives of those we love. The Bible is clear that God does not withhold peace, sin prevents it from having its rightful place in our lives. 

PEACE
Numbers 6:24-26
Psalm 85:8
Isaiah 26:3
John 14: 27
Romans 5:1
1 Corinthians 7:15
1 Corinthians 14:33
Philippians 4:7
Colossians 1:19-20
Colossians 3:15
Hebrews 12:14
Hebrews 12:11
James 3:18
1 Peter 3:11

Number 6:24-26 says that peace is a blessing from God Himself. He longs to give it to us. Peace is an effect of experiencing God in our lives. Peace is a result of seeing God in our lives, seeing who He really is--a friend. A steady, loyal friend who never changes, is never surprised or swayed. Just like Moses experienced Him face to face, when we pray for someone to have peace in their lives, we are praying for them to experience God in their lives, face to face. 

One thing I noticed over and over in these scriptures is that His peace is always a benefit of being in HIS will. The peace of God is motivation to stay in His will and His wisdom. Just like a parent, He knows what is best for us because He wants the best for us. I don't know about you, but just to have some peace in my life is well worth committing to doing my very best to following His advice on how to live to an abundance of it. If I don't have peace--it is not because God hasn't given it. His word promises that He keeps us in PERFECT peace. If we follow it. If I don't have peace in my life, it is because I am not TRUSTING Him, I am not trusting that He really knows what it best for me.

At the end of the day, as believers, peace should be our nature--NOT chaos. However, it does not happen in our lives naturally. Peace is sown. A life of peace is intentional, made choice by choice.  It does not matter if we don't feel like making peace at the moment or pursuing it -- we are CALLED to it. When we resist peace, we are potentially hindering others from experiencing God. We cannot be who we are made to be and do what we are made to do if we are resisting the pursuit of peace, because that means we are resistant to His will for us. If we are not doing everything to cultivate peace in our lives and our relationships, we are choosing a life that is not made for us. It's not enough to just look for peace here and there when troubles come our way. 

A pursuit of peace means we've got to run after it like our lives depend on it. Because at the end of the day, they do. There is far too much at stake to live this life without a steady anchor to keep us from going off the deep end. The water around us may be unsettled but we cannot afford to be. 

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:
Do you find that it is easy or difficult to pursue peace in your own life? What verses stood out to you? What did God reveal to you about peace in your own life? How can you pray one (or more) of these verses over people in your life? Share you thoughts in the comment section, we are all in this together! It is SO important that we talk about what we are seeing God do and hearing God say. I can't wait to hear from you! 

Grace and Peace, 
Rachel

how to pray for peace

The Gospel Collective Podcast: Episode One with Shawn Freeby

Podcast guest Shawn Freeby shares his perspective on joy and why that is important continually cultivate a lifestyle of gratitude in our families, our workplaces, and in our faith. 

Listen below or check it out on iTunes and subscribe to get weekly podcast episodes straight to your podcast library. 

Finding Joy

Questions for reflection:

How you cultivate joy in your life? What are some ways you personally create a lifestyle of gratitude in your family, workplace, or hard circumstances? Have you ever prayed for God to cultivate joy in someone's life? What was the result? Let us know your answers in the comment section, we read every comment and can't wait to hear from you!