Remembering God

Written by Heather Broughman

David wrote the Psalms as an act of worship but also as a way of recording the acts of God and his history with him. Remind himself of what the Lord had done in times past so that he could look back and say if God did this before then surely he will do it again. And not just to encourage himself but also to sing the Praises of the Lord from one generation to the next so that the generation coming after him could also build upon the testimony that he had of his encounter with the Lord. Therefore fueling the faith of generations to come. I don’t know about you, but I cannot read the book of Psalm without my heart being encouraged at how the Lord provided, the ways that He showed up and what David learned about Him throughout the years. 

Rehearsing our history with God reminds us of what we’ve seen Him do in the past or what He has done in the past for others. And by remembering those experiences or encounters with God, we can then establish the truth in our hearts and be able to declare that if we have seen God do it before, we will see Him do it again! It fosters hope in the waiting to remember what the Lord has done before, the miracles in your life or the moments that you’ve seen God’s hand and known that the only way an event like that could have happened was if He actually orchestrated it Himself. Recalling those types of events is like stating the evidence in the courtroom. Not only do you have the Bible telling you that God is this way or behaves that way, but you have your own evidence to stand on. And your experience with God cannot be refuted.

Tune your ears to heaven, and hear God say to you today, “remember me.”  What are some of the testimonies in scripture of Generations past that you need to remember today? Reflect on how he has kept his word and promises throughout the ages. Revisit your own history with God. Remember how he has been faithful to you throughout the years. Remember how he has shown up for you time and again. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your remembrance God’s faithfulness to you and then sit and wait as he brings specific instances to mind. Write it down! I know sometimes it seems much easier to not write down what the Lord is speaking to us, but never have I ever once regretted writing down what the Lord has spoken to me. Because I can always go back and be reminded of the exact moment and the exact words that I heard Him speak to me. And then yes, take communion. Grab your bread and juice, or the closest thing that you may have in your pantry, and as you hold them in your hand, sit and remember the most costly sacrifice ever made. And remember that He did this for you. Remember the greatest love that you’ll ever know. Remember the suffering and death and Resurrection was all for you! That you might know Him, that you might be saved, that He could call you His own! Remember!

Moving in Faith

Written by Heather Broughman

Moving in faith sometimes feels risky. I remember being at a conference a couple of years ago, and as I waited for the session to start I was scanning the room just looking to see if I knew anybody. As I was scanning, I felt like the Lord highlighted this lady to my left across the room from me. I wasn’t sure why she stood out, but as we settled into that session, I simply started to ask the Lord if He was specifically highlighting her to me and if so, what did He want me to do? 

I didn’t hear God speak immediately, actually I didn’t feel like He gave me a clear answer until the session was wrapping up and people we’re just standing around waiting for the next breakout group to begin. Then I felt a prompting from the Holy Spirit. 

Have you ever heard of a Giving Key necklace?  They are faith-based necklaces consisting of a key on a chain, and there is usually a word stamped on the key. The idea behind the Giving Key necklaces is that you either purchase or are given a necklace stamped with a word that is specific to you for the season that you’re in. They have words such as: dream, strength, courage, or hope. I just happened to be wearing mine that day, and my key was stamped with the word FAITH. 

At that time, the Lord had me in a place where I was learning a lot about how to walk in faith. I was learning that I actually needed faith to steward His promises well, and faith required action, and that action sometimes looked a little risky in my eyes. And as I sat there waiting for the Lord to speak, I happened to look down and see my necklace. FAITH. He was about to give me a little test on what I’d been learning! Immediately I had a sense that the Lord was saying,  “I want you to give her the necklace.” 

Now, I would love to say that I yielded right away, but that’s just not the truth! I really loved that necklace and it meant a lot to me. As I sat there, I internally questioned God, “Lord, you don’t REALLY want me to give my necklace away do You? I mean– not now, and not to a complete stranger?” However, after a few minutes of me checking, double checking, and checking again, I sensed the Lord say that the lady needed a boost of faith and hope. That she needed to be reminded that He had not forgotten her, and that she had not gone unseen. 

“Give her the necklace and tell her what I said, and I’ll take care of the rest.” Anyone else find that a little risky? To walk up to a complete stranger whom you know nothing about? Sometimes when God asks me to do something like this, I instantly start accessing the level of risk involved. “But what if I’m not hearing you right, Lord? What if the person doesn’t understand what I’m saying and it doesn’t even resonate with them? What if I miss the window of opportunity that You’re giving me? You get the picture. And the Lord usually puts an end to my “risk assessment” with a “faith assessment” of His own! “But what if you’re right and I really want to pour my love out on that person today? What if risking your reputation and being wrong means that someone receives a blessing that they need today? What if what you perceive as a RISK actually is an opportunity to move in FAITH?” He always knows the right things to say! 

So I walked across the crowded room and up to this complete stranger. Nervously, I tapped this lady on the shoulder and told her that even though I didn’t know her, I felt like God had highlighted her to me from across the room. I shared with her the word that God had given me for her. I shared with her that I felt like the Lord wanted to encourage her, and I was to give her my Giving Key necklace with the word “faith” written across it. As I handed the necklace over to the lady, she started to sob. She shared with me her story and why this was such a significant blessing for her. It was such a Divine moment. One that I hope that I never forget.

I say all of that to say this, yes, I know firsthand how risky it can seem when God asks you to take a leap of faith. But…I also can tell you that saying “YES” to God, and stepping out in FAITH is SO WORTH IT!!! So what is that leap of faith God is asking you to take today? Is there something that He’s been stirring in your heart and saying, “the time is now? Take the leap!” Is there a promise that has been buried under doubt and disappointment that He’s wanting to unearth and show you how to steward in faith? Or maybe there are just little promptings throughout your day to speak an encouraging word, offer to pray for a co-worker or stranger, or maybe just sent a text to the person He keeps bringing to mind even if you don’t know why He’s bringing them to mind? It may seem risky, but I promise you it’s worth it! So go on, do it, take the leap, and MOVE IN FAITH!!!

God’s Purposes + Plans for You

Written by Heather Broughman

All it takes is one spark to start a fire!

Can I just let you in on something? The enemy is completely terrified of you realizing who you are called to be by the Lord and then rising up and taking your rightful place in the Kingdom of God! He doesn’t care if you realize your God-given purpose and do nothing with it, but when you actually start to own it and walk it out, he gets nervous! He will do anything that he can to stop you from this because he knows that when you rise up and take your rightful place in the kingdom of God and are intentional about living out God’s plans and purpose for you,  REVIVAL takes place! 

Think about it, if you are living out God’s plans and purpose for your life or even pursuing a God-sized dream, there has to be a renewed sense of attention to God. You cannot effectively rise up and be who God created you to be without first locking eyes with Him, your creator! And in locking eyes with Him and giving Him your full attention, essentially what you are going to experience is personal revival. But it doesn’t stop there! As you take your place and position in the Kingdom of God, your personal revival then flows out in a ripple effect and spurs on revival in those that are affected by the impact and fruit of you being fully who God created you to be!

You, my friend, were designed to be a world changer for the Kingdom of God! Sure, not all of us are called to be on a platform or in vocational ministry, but do not for one second think that you being FULLY who God created you to be does not change the world around you! I want you to get fired up about who God has created you to be, and be passionate about walking that out fully! It’s when we take the place that God created specifically for you and me that we truly experienced that feeling of coming alive in Christ! And we set our eyes on God and abide in Him, we get to taste the Abundant Life that the Lord promised and that Jesus died to secure! 

PS If you aren’t sure what your specific God-given purpose is, I would love to chat with you!!

Sabbath Rest

Written by Heather Broughman

Photograph by Heather Broughman

“Rest. Rest. Rest.” Sometimes I feel like in our minds, especially as believers, this can seem like a four letter word of shame. Somehow the enemy twists our thinking and suddenly serving or working until the point of exhaustion becomes like a badge of honor and rest is just something that doesn’t fit into the schedule. In fact, it actually becomes acceptable to us to just go without rest/sabbath. And yes, I’m totally guilty of this!

But this word “rest”… I just can’t seem to get away from it. It keeps coming up in conversations, and song lyrics, as I’m praying and listening to the Lord. “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8 So I studied this out a little bit… Holy means “set apart.” Sabbath surprised me a little bit, it actually comes from the verb “sabat” which means to stop or to cease. Its theological meaning is rooted in God’s REST (REST…there’s that word again ☺️) following the six days of creation ( Gen 2:2-3 ). Genesis 2:3 says, “Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” God RESTED! God…creator of all things, matchless in power and in might…saw fit to REST! And not only was there no shame in His rest…He actually called it HOLY!

God knows that exhaustion is a destructive and dangerous thing, so He demonstrated sabbath rest for us! A time to cease laboring, recharge, refuel, enjoy, and do something that will restore our souls so that we can be more FULLY PRESENT and INVESTED in serving, mentoring, leading, etc. in the days following! I’ll admit, I can pretty much think of 101 excuses as to why I CAN’T make time to rest, and I’m sure you can, too! But in the past few days, I’ve been challenged and convicted…if God took a day to rest… Who am I to say that I can’t? Yeah, it’s not easy…there are responsibilities, things to do, and needs to be filled. But God took a day of rest…so what am I saying if I can’t do the same? Am I really more important or needed than God? (Ouch!!) 

Sabbath rest doesn’t have to be a Sunday, sometimes it’s not even an entire day, and there are no rules as to what it has to look like a nap, painting, hiking, a drive through beautiful countryside… whatever it is that brings you rest or restores your soul. It requires humility, planning, and sometimes you just have to fight for it! But rest/sabbath is WORTH IT! It is God’s provision for us…it protects us from exhaustion and burn out…and ensures that we can be FULLY engaged with the things HE calls us to put our hands to the other 6 days out of the week! So my prayer is that you will be encouraged just as God has encouraged me…set aside a time or day to…REST! And know this, not only do we have God’s permission, but it’s His desire and plan for us!

Trusting God’s Wisdom

Written by Heather Broughman

Photo by Peter Secan on Unsplash

Something struck me as I read the book of Job recently. In all the times I’ve read Job’s story, I’m not sure that it ever really occurred to me that Job didn’t know about the conversations between God and Satan. Think about it, God had these conversations with the enemy where He stated that His servant Job was “blameless and upright,” and described him as someone who walked in the reverential fear of the Lord and turned away from evil. Wow! Coming from the Lord of all Lords, that is a pretty amazing commendation! But Job wasn’t privy to that conversation. 

What Job saw and experienced was loss, heartache, and physical ailment. He didn’t know that God was talking him up and believed so much in him. Can you imagine what it was like for Job? Put yourself in his shoes for a minute. Here you are with great wealth, a beautiful family, and a reputation of serving and honoring God with all that you’ve been given. 

Then one day, out of the blue, comes a messenger saying that your livestock has been stolen and your servants have been killed, in other words, your livelihood and income have taken a very hard hit. As you’re reeling from that, another messenger shows up with more bad news. Your family has all been killed. Can you imagine the heartache and confusion Job must have felt? And as if losing all of that wasn’t enough, you suddenly begin to experience major health issues. How would you respond? 

Job doesn’t know what’s happening behind the scenes, all he can see are the harsh circumstances right in front of him. But yet, his response was to worship. It says that Job did not accuse God of wrongdoing, but still blessed the Lord. Then his friends came around and his reputation was even wrecked. They assumed that with all the loss and terrible things that Job was experiencing, he must have some major sin in his life and that’s why he was made to suffer. 

Maybe you are going through something similar right now? Maybe you’ve done all that you know to do, have walked in obedience to the Lord to the best of your ability, and it doesn’t appear that God is moving on your behalf? But just like Job, you don’t know what’s going on BEHIND THE SCENES! Rest assured, dear friend, that God is every bit of who He says He is! He does not lie! And like Job, trust the WISDOM of God! You, just like Job, may not be privy to what God is doing or preparing, but trust His heart, that He has a plan, and though it may not seem like it, He will never leave nor forsake you, and He will be faithful to you and to His word! 

I know it’s not easy, and I don’t say any of this lightly. If you’re in this place, with more questions than answers, in the pain and sorrow of waiting, not understanding, being stretched in your faith and trust, I would love to pray for you! Please message me, DM me on socials, or email me at heatherbroughman@gmail.com. We were not made to do this life alone, let me help bear your burdens in prayer today! Blessings!

The Road Back Home

Written by Sarah Thomas

Photograph by Heather Broughman

Have you heard of the song called, Take me home, country roads? John Denver sings the lyrics, “country roads, take me home to the place where I belong.” This lyric reminds me of the invitation that God extends to both you and me. The invitation to “come home” to Him when we’ve lost our way, a reminder that with Him, we belong. I experienced this invitation when I accepted the Lord into my life. However, for many of us, there are times during our walk with God in which we can experience a setback or maybe start to feel like we’ve become distant from God. 

I experienced this as a teenager. When I was at a church camp, the pastor began teaching on the Lord’s grace. During the service that particular night, the pastor shared that when we sin, the Lord would always forgive us upon repentance. As 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all

unrighteousness (HCSB).” 

Somehow this truth became twisted in my head. I thought that as long as I had time to repent, I would be okay to live my life the way that I wanted to. I thought that I would have enough time to put my life back together and come back to Christ whenever I wanted. I considered this misinterpretation of God’s grace to be a license to continue living a life of destructive behavior instead of surrendering my life to Him. I didn’t consider God’s purpose for my life, what He wanted. It made me think I had more time left to make mistakes, and God would always be there to catch me when I fell. I was unteachable and just wanted to do things my way. 

Like Proverbs 22:15 says, I was like a child tangled up in the foolishness of my willful ways. 

The enemy can so easily sneak in with his lies and cause us to doubt God and His Word or try to twist our understanding of His Word or persuade us that our ways are better than God’s. When the enemy gets in and distorts God’s realities, it can really convolute our belief system and influence the choices we make. And only the Lord can uproot those lies and replace them with life- giving truths. 

But just like David said in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, oh God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting,” (KJV) we, too, can invite God to search our hearts and reveal any lies we have bought into. This passage was actually instrumental in God bringing healing to me. 

There were so many lies that lingered like leeches within me throughout the years. I had let these lies continue to impact my life, because I honestly didn’t want to change yet. The childlike nature of my rebellion driving me further and further from home, with God, where I belong. Have you experienced anything like this in your own personal relationship with God? The enemy attacking the nature of God? Maybe telling you that you’re not good enough for God? Or perhaps that He won’t come through for you or doesn’t really care about what you’re facing?  

Whatever trick that the enemy may have used to create distance between you and God, you still have an invitation to come home. That you belong with Him. Think back to when you were first saved or a time when you knew you heard God very clearly. What was he saying on that day, at that moment? How did you feel when He spoke? He doesn’t change, He stays the same.

God wants to remind you of who you are in Him. That you are loved and wanted by Him. He hasn’t given up on you! He pursues us, even in our sin and rebellion, calling us home, to abide in Him. God is reaching out to you. He wants to speak to you on a daily basis. Can you hear Him calling out to you, eagerly desiring to share the plans He has for your future? Wanting to teach you, tell you His thoughts towards you, and help guide you through life’s stressful moments. 

Psalm 32:8 confirms that: “I will instruct you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you (NIV).” Will you let Him in or will you ignore His whisper as He calls out to you, inviting you to draw close and come home?

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Photograph by Lexi Samples

Photograph by Lexi Samples

Lexi Samples is a precious friend whose creativity and heart for Jesus are inspiring! Lexi is a recent MTSU grad with a major in photography and minor in journalism. She is passionate about seeing freedom in people’s lives through the vehicle of art. Her dream is to use art in the missions field to glorify Jesus, bring hope, and defend people against the enemy as freedom is unlocked in their lives. It’s my joy to not only share one of her beautiful photos, but also a heart stirring poem of hope! Do yourself a favor and go check out more of Lexi’s work!

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“Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living.” -Jim Elliot

This photo is part of a larger collection of amazing photos titled, “Swords Without Steel.”

In the face of waiting and longing, let us not forget to be present in the moment and take inventory of all that we have to be grateful for in the here and now.

What are you grateful for today?

No Hugging Porcupines

Written by Heather Broughman

Why do we sometimes hold onto things that cause us pain? Our fears, our failures, unforgiveness, or even false statements about ourselves. It reminds me of this silly little skit I saw at a youth event once. 

Our group was divided into teams and given instructions to come up with a short skit that would demonstrate something God had been teaching us. One of the skits presented that day was entitled, “No Hugging Porcupines.” You can imagine the laughter that title provoked. Seriously, what could hugging porcupines have to do with God, right? Wrong! I have never forgotten that humorous phrase or the truth attached. 

In the skit, a teenager shows up to the doctor’s office stating that he is experiencing chest pain and asking for the doctor’s help. Upon the doctor’s examination, he states that the teen’s chest is covered in tiny little wounds that look like pin pricks and asks the young man to walk him through his activities for the day to help discover what has caused these injuries. As the young man recounts his day, he states, “oh, and I hugged a porcupine.” The boy didn’t think anything of it at the time, he actually didn’t even realize that the porcupine, who appeared to be harmless, had hurt him. It took the boy going to the doctor for an examination to reveal the source of his pain. 

I think sometimes we can be just like that teenage boy, experiencing pain, but having no idea what is causing it. We just know that something’s not right and it hurts. So we continue to embrace the lie, the fear, the unforgiveness, either not recognizing the pain it causes or because we’ve been holding onto it for so long that we no longer are aware of the pain because it has become quite familiar to us. But we have a physician who knows us better than anyone and is ready, willing, and able to examine our hearts and minds whenever we call upon Him. 

Just as in Psalm 139:23-34, we can echo David’s prayer, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

God is ready to search our hearts and reveal the source of our pain so that we can let go of it and embrace the remedy. God’s truth, forgiveness, courage. 

I encourage you to take time today to pray the same prayer David did, and then sit, wait on the Lord. And remember…NO HUGGING PORCUPINES! 😄

The Bridge

Written by Kaitlin Nida

Photograph by Kaitlin Nida

Photo and writing by my talented friend, Kaitlin Nida. Today’s writing is a reminder to never lose your childlike faith and wonder.

When I was little, this bridge was a place of wonder and excitement. Crossing this bridge was my first dose of adrenaline. The wooden boards would sway under my feet and the cables would move under my three year old hands. At that moment in my young life, there was no higher point on Earth to reach. This was it. Adventure to the max. 

As I grew, so did the spirit of bravery. I went from holding my grandmother’s hand to running across the bridge at full speed, pretending I was Indiana Jones and had to escape the alligators that were chomping and swarming in the creek below. I would get down on my knees and peek through the slits of the old wood and swear that I actually saw one in real life. 

Of course there were no real alligators or beasts in the water, but the childlike ability to imagine and create made it my reality. 

“I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom.” (Mathew 18:25)

What if we never lost that ability to create and imagine? What if we remained stewards of wonder and sought to treasure it with the ease of a child? How far could God take us if we viewed our mission as an amazing adventure, full of excitement? This verse challenges me (and all of us) to always cross that bridge like it’s the highest point on earth. It’s a challenge to ‘start over’ and go back to the place where everything in the world is like you experiencing it for the first time. When we live in that place we see the world with fresh revelation and joy. When we live from this place, it’s a chance to stop worrying about every single outcome and just enjoy where we are. The beauty of crossing the bridge is not about whatever is over on the solid ground (although there are amazing things over there too). But sometimes it’s about letting your knees hit the unsteady wood…peeking through the slits, and looking for the alligators, and next time I am on that bridge again, I might just run.

Cease Striving

Written by Heather Broughman

 “Cease striving and know that I am God,” “CEASE STRIVING and KNOW that I am GOD.” Psalm 46:10. 

Whether in a season of waiting, chasing a dream, or even when it comes to flowing in the creative, many times we find ourselves striving. Most of the time it happens before we even know it, and then we find ourselves frustrated, exhausted, and wondering why after exerting so much effort and energy, we have nothing to show for it. 

When I look at Psalm 46:10, “Cease striving…,” I think there may be a tendency to view it as a rebuke. A calling down for bad behavior. But what if it’s not? What if it is actually a calling up into something greater? An invitation to stop striving and to enter into the rest of knowing who God is and inviting Him into whatever situation we are up against. 

In studying this verse, I discovered that the phrase, “cease striving” or “be still,” actually means to let fall, let hang, to be relaxed, slackened, especially in the hands. Wow! Are you familiar with the phrase, “white knuckling?” It’s a phrase that is literally derived from the way your knuckles grow lighter in color when you are hanging onto something with all of your might. That’s what comes to mind for me when I think of striving, holding on for dear life. And what’s even more interesting is that when our hands are clenched like that physically, we actually restrict the flow of blood. I think the same can be true in the Spiritual when we are STRIVING. 

In striving, we cut off the flow of God’s GRACE, His empowerment for us to do the things He calls us to. We cut off His help, and instead take the full weight or burden that we have on our own shoulders. We stop the flow of creativity and ideas that we need to create and dream, and this is how we end up frustrated, spent, and exhausted with nothing to show for it. 

Whatever you’re facing right now, receive God’s invitation to you to “Cease striving, be still, and know that I am God.” Remember His strength, His might, and His grace. Rest in who He is. Invite Him in and let Him shoulder the weight of what you’ve been carrying. Let His grace, love, and creativity flow freely in your life today!