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Free download alert! Get your “3 Scriptures to Help You Stand Still When You Want to Fight Back” printable in the links below.

My hand was on the bathroom stall door handle, ready to open it, when I heard familiar voices.

I stopped and stood perfectly still.

The Sunday worship service was about to start, and two women from the church were standing at the sink. They thought they were alone, so they were talking about our pastor while washing their hands.

Their comments about him were small and mean. Each woman took turns criticizing the pastor’s sermon, his tie, and even his hair. I was so angry I could barely breathe.

That pastor? He was my dad.

I hid inside the stall until I heard them leave. I was so hurt and enraged. I wished I could forget what I had just heard, but I couldn’t. I joined the two sister saints in the sanctuary and listened to them sing with the choir—you know, songs about Jesus? His love and grace? Ugh.

To this day, I wish I’d had the nerve to swing that door wide open and, with a big toothy grin, give a big cheery, “Hey there!” Then they would have felt as miserable as I was feeling but for altogether different reasons. Trust me, their hands were not the only things needing washing that day. If my no-nonsense mama had been there, two somebodies would have had their mouths washed out with soap!

Girl, that happened when I was in the eighth grade, and I still remember it. I remember my fury and how I just wanted to bust out of that stall, ready to fight.

Instead of running away or fighting back, we can stand still and watch God fight our battles. [Click to Tweet]

We’ve all had situations in our lives when we just want to fight back, right? When someone is unkind or unfair or mean toward us, it’s hard to just stand there and take it.

But, instead of fighting back, we have another option. You and I can learn to stand still and watch God fight for us. Exodus 14:14 says, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

This is what Moses told the Israelites to do when they were standing at the edge of the Red Sea. The Egyptian army was on their heels, ready to destroy them, and the deep, uncrossable sea was right in front of them. They were stuck. I imagine there were some in that crowd paralyzed with fright and others who were itching to fight.

When we find ourselves in hurtful situations, it isn’t our instinct to just stand there. But, sometimes, like the Israelites, we don’t have a good choice except just to stand there and wait. And, it turns out to be our best choice because it really isn’t our fight anyway.

The battle that was supposedly between the fleeing Israelites and the angry Egyptians wasn’t actually between them at all. The Israelites were God’s people and this was His fight. You are God’s child and the battles you face are His battles.

So, on this episode of the 4:13 Podcast, KC and I talk about how you can let God fight your battles for you. We unpack what it means to stand still. Plus, we will give you three scriptures to help you stand still when you want to fight back.

Why You Can Stand Still When You Want to Fight Back
  • The armor will protect you. This is from Ephesians 6:13. “Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
  • God’s working and He’s not done yet. This is based on Philippians 1:6. “Being confident of this very thing, that he who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
  • God is holding you up and won’t let you fall. This is from Jude 1:24. “To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy…”

When we stand still, we get out of God’s way so He can take care of us and the situation. Now, this is not to be mistaken for doormat theology! No, you should not just lay down and let everybody and every situation stomp on you. I am not recommending complete passivity. But I am suggesting that you and I can be slow to anger, turn the other cheek, and trust that “victory rests with the Lord” (Proverbs 21:31).

You are God’s child and the battles you face are His battles. [Click to Tweet]

I don’t know what would have happened If I had busted out of that bathroom stall like a righteous teenage ninja quoting Scripture about gossip and kindness to those women. And, I have no idea what would have resulted from me quietly leaving the bathroom while they watched me wipe away tears. Perhaps It would have been a full-blown revival of repentance right there and then. Or maybe not one thing at all would have changed.

But what I do know is that every battle I face is not mine. My battles are the Lord’s. And, He fights for me in the way and timing He chooses.

If you’ve got a battle, then you’ve got a choice.

You can either stand still and trust that God will fight for you, or you can freak out and possibly make it worse. Sometimes we just need to get out of the way, under God’s will, and watch Him bring victory.

So, remember, whatever battles you face and however you feel, you can stand still through Christ who gives you strength.

Related Resources Free Download Books and Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild Stuff I Love Stay Connected

How do you plan to stand still this week? Share in the comments below.

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GIVEAWAY ALERT: You can win the book, Marriage After God, by Aaron and Jennifer Smith, this week’s podcast guests. Keep reading to learn how!

Are you feeling unhappy today in your marriage? Friend, you aren’t alone. We’ve all walked through unhappiness from time to time and not just in marriage.

Whatever our relationship status is—single or married, engaged or divorced—all of us struggle sometimes with making our need for happiness the greatest motivation for our relationships and choices in life.

Can I get an amen!?!

So, even though this episode talks about happiness in marriage, it’s not just a marriage episode. And, it’s definitely not a “thou shall” or “thou should not have” kind of message either. This is a grace-filled conversation full of practical hope for how we can all start experiencing real happiness when we stop demanding it.

When we aren’t focused on the right thing, we make decisions on the wrong things. [Click to Tweet]

And, girl, you are going to love our 4:13 Podcast guests, Aaron and Jennifer Smith.

The Smiths have been married since 2007 and have four children. In 2011, Aaron and Jennifer each launched blogs, Husband Revolution and Unveiled Wife, where they shared their journey from a marriage in crisis to a relationship built on Christ’s redemptive love. Since then, they’ve written books including their latest, Marriage After God, and even started their very own podcast.

I just know this down-to-earth, transparent conversation is going to challenge and encourage you as much as it did for KC and me!

How to Find True Happiness According to the Smiths
  • Choose transparency. Jennifer shares how the enemy tries to convince us we are alone in our struggles. Maybe you feel that way today. And, because of that, you are pulling away from God and from others, which may include a spouse. But, when you isolate yourself, you’re less effective in accomplishing the purposes God has for you. So decide to be transparent in your marriage and with others you trust. When you share your story, it allows for conversation and connection to happen.
  • Practice obedience. Aaron says that when he was considering divorce, God reminded him of how Jesus walked in obedience for us—His bride. There was a bigger story than the immediate suffering Jesus experienced as He went to the cross. It’s the same for you. When you realize that God has something bigger for you, it takes your eyes off of what you think you need and deserve, whether it’s from a spouse, a friendship, or your circumstances. Instead, you begin to focus on God and practice obedience to what He has for you.
  • Chase after God. Aaron and Jennifer share that when they stopped looking to each other for fulfillment and started looking to God, everything else fell into place. When you chase after God, your priorities, the way you treat others, and the things you say will begin to line up with what God wants for you and your relationships. The good fruit of this will become evident in your life.
How to Know Your Mission According to the Smiths
  • Recognize you are in ministry. Ministry isn’t something out there that you will someday do. It is now. From the moment of salvation, your purpose is to know Christ and to make Him known.
  • Get in and stay in Scripture. God’s Word is your road map. It gives you direction and strength and contains God’s purpose for your life and your relationships.
Our true satisfaction comes from pressing into God and His Word. [Click to Tweet]

So, 4:13ers, let’s do these things. Let’s be people who are after God’s heart with all of our hearts, and if you’re married, ask God to give you a marriage after God.

And, remember, whatever you face, however you feel, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.

Related Resources Giveaway
  • I’m so excited to give away a copy of Aaron and Jennifer’s book, Marriage After God, on Instagram! If you are married or hope to be one day, it will encourage you to boldly chase after God’s purposes for your life together. Visit my Instagram profile to enter today. Hurry, we’re picking a random winner on June 21.
Books and Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild More from Aaron and Jennifer Smith Stay Connected

This week, what’s one way you are going to embrace your mission to know God and make Him known? Share in the comments.

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“We’re overcome with deep sadness to be at this point,” my friend texted me.

Now, you need to know this girl is Tigger on steroids. She’s ordinarily happy, upbeat, and always positive and hopeful. But, sister, she wasn’t on the day she sent me this text.

You see, she and her husband had found themselves in a hard place. Her beloved mother had been in and out of institutions because of mental illness, and now, they had to make a hard, soul-tearing decision about her guardianship.

For years, they rallied, they loved, and they emptied their savings for the best treatment centers. They fought, trusted, and never gave up hope. And, now they felt like they were giving up her mom to an uncertain future.

Yet, even in this hard place, she finished her text to me with this: “We are trusting. Father knows, and He is near.”

No matter how it looks, God is involved, in charge, and in control. [Click to Tweet]

No matter how bleak things seemed or how shattered she felt, she knew that God was with them and somehow, no matter how it looked, He was involved, in charge, and in control.

Maybe you are in a hard place today too. And, like my friend, you’re learning that just because you trust completely doesn’t mean you won’t feel completely sad sometimes.

Sadness is emotional pain that comes from loss, despair, grief, sorrow, or helplessness.

There is no way to fix sadness. You can’t go to a happy theme park and ride rides and eat cotton candy to make the sadness go away. You can’t talk yourself out of sadness any better than you can talk yourself out of hunger—you just are. It’s a reality we need to understand and accept.

When sadness overwhelms you, here are six strategies to overcome it. [Click to Tweet]

So what do you do when you are just plain sad?

On this episode of the 4:13 Podcast, KC and I give you six strategies to overcome sadness, so it doesn’t overcome you. We’ll help you learn how to stay on top of your sadness and keep it from ruling your life.

6 Ways to Overcome Sadness
  1. Cry. For some of us, this is the most natural response to sadness. But for others, crying feels like weakness or vulnerability. But crying is healthy. Jesus cried when He stood before His friend Lazarus’ tomb. He was sad and He wept (John 11:35). When we cry, we don’t repress our sadness. Repression can lead to depression—all that sorrow has to go somewhere. Some studies suggest that when you cry, your body relaxes and releases endorphins which are a natural “feel-good” chemical in your body. God designed you with tear ducts for a reason. So, let your tears help you heal.
  2. Exercise. I know, I know, it’s the last thing on our minds when we just want to curl up on the couch and drown our sorrows in a gallon of Chunky Monkey ice cream. But God created our bodies to have and need an escape valve for the pressure of sadness and exercise is a great way to release it. Not only does exercise release endorphins, which make us feel better, it also makes us focus on something other than our sadness while we’re working out. So, if sadness is your constant companion, take it on a run or to an aerobics class. Chances are your sadness won’t be able to keep up, and it will leave you alone while you sweat it out in the gym.
  3. Smile. You aren’t fake if you smile even when you’re sad, you’re smart. Several smiles, even when you are sad, can help you feel better. Not only has research shown that smiling helps, but the opposite is also true—frowning makes your sadness worse. It’s so interesting that our face can inform how we feel, isn’t it? So, if you’re sad, try smiling and see how you feel.
  4. Listen to music. Listening to music can help soothe and relax you. And, it can also shift your focus onto something more beautiful and higher than you. For a believer in Christ, listening to music introduces a whole other layer of healing. You can listen to Scripture and God’s Word can fill your heart and heal your wounds. And, when you listen to praise music and tune in your heart to the lyrics, you will experience God’s presence for He “inhabits the praise” of His people (Psalm 22:3). I am so serious about this that I created my “Happy, Happy, Happy” playlist. It’s from a few years ago, but it will still make you smile. The other thing that makes me happy is thinking of heaven. So, I have a “Heaven” playlist too.
  5. Hang out with others. It’s often a natural response when we’re sad to isolate ourselves. You know, stay home, watch sad movies, thumb through the photos that represent your loss, sit on the couch, and ruminate. But you don’t need to do all that alone. You need a buddy to hang out with. I read some research that showed that interacting with loved ones can boost your body’s production of oxytocin. And, studies show that retreating from others makes depression worse. So, if you’re sad, don’t wait until you feel better to hang out with a friend. Hang out with a friend now and see how it can make you feel better.
  6. Still your soul. Take time to pray and meditate. When sadness is pressing in, invite God into your sadness. Pray to Him because He hears and He cares. And, meditate on comforting Scriptures. God’s presence and His Word can answer your sadness with hope and comfort. Often when we’re sad, we’re meditating on our loss, our sorrow, and how we wish things were different. So, turning that pondering into prayer and transferring meditation on sorrow to meditating on God’s Word can lift your spirit and relieve some of your sadness.

Friend, if you’re feeling sad today, you won’t always feel this way, I promise. Sadness is just part of being human, but God has a hope and a future for all of us, and it is a future full of joy and victory.

So, when sadness hits, hit back with these six strategies but, ultimately, trust God with your sadness. He is with you. So, walk with Him, smile with Him, and cry. He will wipe your tears.

And, remember, whatever you face, however sad you feel, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.

Related Resources Jennifer’s Playlists Books and Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild Stay Connected

If you are feeling sadness today, what is one strategy you plan to try this week? Share in the comments.

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GIVEAWAY AND FREEBIE ALERT: You can win the book, Given, by Tina Boesch, this week’s podcast guest. You can also download some free Scripture blessing cards. Keep reading to learn how!

The older I get, the more often the words of my sweet, Southern grandmother echo through my thought closet.

“Mama” taught me a lot through her words and her life. I giggle now at one of her stern admonishments to me when I was just a little girl. With her small voice and Southern drawl, she would often say, “Honey, don’t ever watch so-poppers.”

As a young girl, I vowed I would not—even though I had no idea what in the world “so-poppers” were. I did notice that each time my petite Mama preached her anti-so-popper doctrine, she was sipping a Coca-Cola and watching Days of Our Lives or All My Children.

A blessing is from God to you and through you to others.[Click to Tweet]

Not until I was a young adult did I finally realize what she was actually warning me against. As thick as sweet Southern molasses, her Georgia accent had swallowed up the words “soap operas.”

You may not have had a Southern grandmother as I did, but you’ve most likely heard the Southern phrase, “Bless your heart.” But a blessing is supposed to be more than a syrupy phrase when we blow it—and today’s 4:13 Podcast guest, author Tina Boesch, tells us why.

If you haven’t met Tina yet, she’s lived a fascinating life. She’s a writer and designer, as well as a wife and a mom, who’s lived in Istanbul, Turkey, for years. Tina is also the author of the book, Given: The Forgotten Meaning and Practice of Blessing, and she shares how you can know that God’s blessing really is for you.

Sister, you are going to love this conversation with Tina! She gave me a whole new perspective on what it means to live blessed and to bless others—and I just know she’ll do the same for you.

What It Means to Speak Blessing
  • When God speaks blessing. According to Tina, when God speaks blessing it’s a vital force that sustains life and sends us out into the world. In the first pages of Genesis, the word “bless” is used as a verb, not a noun (Genesis 1:28). Blessing is the first thing God says to Adam and Eve. It’s the way He relates to them from the very beginning. And, the content of that blessing is fruitfulness, which was God’s way of gifting Adam and Eve with family and relationship. Blessing is also the very last thing we hear Jesus say to His disciples before He ascends (Luke 24:51).
  • When we speak blessing. Tina says that “blessing is prayer with the horizon in view.” When we speak a blessing to one another, it’s a form of prayer. Blessing is a relational type of intercession. It involves envisioning future grace, faithfully praying for another person, and actively seeking the future good to be realized in someone’s life with the faith that God alone is able to accomplish it.
How You Can Speak Blessing to Others
  • Start at home. In the chaos of mornings, Tina and her kids were missing the opportunity to give the day to God together. So, before her kids left for school, she started saying a blessing over them. As she did, her kids were reminded that they left the safety of their home in the presence of God. Whether you have children living at home or not, you can start blessing others within the walls of your home too.
  • Give birthday blessings. Tina also started writing her kids important, meaninful blessings for their birthdays. You can do the same with friends, neighbors, family members, and coworkers. Sharing blessings from Scripture, even those who don’t share your faith, can open up deep spiritual conversations because blessings are so positive and affirming.
  • Keep a blessings journal. On New Year’s Day, Tina writes each of her kids a specific blessing related to that year and the growth she’s noticed in their lives. She keeps them in a blessings journal for each of them. Whether it’s a spouse or a family member or a child, you can start doing the same.
Blessings are prayers with the horizon in view. [Click to Tweet]

Friend, you don’t have to be poetic or have a huge vocabulary to give a blessing to someone else. Your words matter because you matter to them. And what you say to them, can bless them. It can bring healing, it can bring life, and it can bring encouragement. And, if you aren’t sure where to start, these free Scripture blessing cards can help.

A Blessing for You

May the Lord bless you and keep you;
May the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
May the Lord lift up His contenance upon you and give you His peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)

And, friend, may you remember whatever you face, however you feel, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.

Related Resources Giveaway Free Download Books by Jennifer Rothschild More from Tina Boesch Stay Connected

Do you have a favorite blessing from Scripture? Share it in the comments below.

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As a college student, I volunteered at a youth camp for several summers. Most of the time, I led worship and hung out with the girls. But one night, when the altar was full of teenagers, the youth minister asked if I would help counsel.

Within 10 seconds of my “yes,” a middle-school aged boy did a beeline to me. I asked him why he came to the front, and he told me it was because he wanted to ask Jesus into his heart.

I reviewed what that meant with him and then asked him to pray with me.

“Nope,” was all he said.

His response was not what I expected! It made no sense. So, I explained the gospel a second time and asked him again, “Do you want to pray to receive Christ?”

“Nope.”

We went back and forth a few more times, with his answer always being, “Nope.”

I hadn’t had much experience with middle school boys, but seriously? I couldn’t tell if he was pulling my leg or honestly didn’t understand. I was so frustrated and confused. The youth minister must have seen me looking perplexed, so he rushed over.

“Oh, Jennifer, I am so sorry,” he whispered in my ear. “I should have told you about him.”

When we trust God, through His grace, we can accept whatever facts exist in our lives. [Click to Tweet]

The youth minister reached over and hugged the young man, who then headed back to his seat. He then told me that this boy was special needs, but because he was very high functioning, it wasn’t always super obvious.

It turns out that every time there was an invitation, the young man came forward. And, every time he did, he said he wanted to receive Christ. Yet, every time he was asked, he always said no.

It suddenly all made sense! I got it. The precious young man sincerely didn’t understand. His heart was right, but he wasn’t capable of expressing it in the way I expected. So, I was trying to fix it, when there was nothing to fix.

You might be in the middle of a situation right now that doesn’t make sense to you. And, you’re coaxing and trying to fix, but all you’re getting is a big “nope.”

Sister, you may be receiving that “no” because you are trying to fix a fact, not a problem. That young man most likely always walked up the aisle, only to say no because that was him. It was a fact, not a problem.

You and I can fix problems, but we can’t fix facts. When it comes to facts, we can only accept them—and when we do, it brings peace.

But, when we don’t know the difference between facts and problems, it’s easy to get confused, frustrated, and spend our lives trying to fix what we face. I know because I’ve been there. I used to treat my blindness as a problem that I needed to fix. But it isn’t fixable because it is a fact.

What feels out of your hands is never out of God’s control. [Click to Tweet]

So, if you are trying to fix a fact right now, KC and I invite you to take a break on this episode of the 4:13 Podcast. We share why and how you can stop trying to fix that thing or situation that’s hard or doesn’t make sense. Plus, you’ll learn three things to do if you are already in fix-it mode.

3 Things to Do When You’re in Fix-It Mode
  1. Accept the facts. A fact is something that you cannot change. You wish you could, but you just can’t. It may be a physical condition or another person’s choices. Accepting what you cannot change is the first step to living free from the constant soul fatigue that comes from treating every hard fact as a problem.

    My friend, when we really trust God, through His grace, we can accept whatever facts exist in our lives. We can stop trying to fix them. There is so much in life that we just don’t—and will never—understand. But you don’t have to understand everything because you can trust the God who oversees everything. What feels out of your hands is never out of His control.

  2. Acknowledge the problems. There are usually some problems that accompany facts. The fact of gravity brings with it the problem of falling, right? The fact of blindness brings with it problems of frustration, injury, limitation, and fear.

    Think about that hard fact you deal with. What are some of the problems you struggle with because of that fact? Problems hurt, don’t they? But you can find wisdom and strength from the Lord. You can trust that the problems can be dealt with. Sometimes you can fix the problem, manage it, and sometimes even avoid or change it.

  3. Identify a solution. We work with and work around facts. We work on problems. We find solutions to help change what we can. Since gravity is a fact and falling is a problem, well, then some solutions may be holding the handrail, slowing down, and wearing sensible shoes! Frustration and fear are problems that come with blindness, and I can work on those. I reduce my frustration by planning ahead and giving myself extra time to finish tasks. I manage the problem of fear through prayer and memorizing Scripture. You get the idea … solutions!

    The tough, ugly facts in your life that you wish you could change may have brought a U-Haul of problems with them. But, if you have figured out the difference between facts and problems, then you can let go of trying to fix those facts and you can focus on finding solutions to the problems.

Today is your day to name the facts and accept them. Acknowledge the problems you deal with. Then, find one solution to help you handle the problems.

And, if you’re discouraged by the facts or overwhelmed by the problems, ask God to give you the grace to accept the facts and wisdom to deal with the problems. God will help you handle the hard facts of life with wisdom, strength, and grace.

Remember, no matter what facts you face or how you feel, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.

Related Resources Books, and Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild Stay Connected

What is one Scripture verse that encourages you when it comes to the facts in your life? Share in the comments.

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Our best for Him. Those four words sum up Fresh Grounded Faith New Jersey!!

Thank you to Allie Marrareo for the beautiful photos. To see the entire Facebook photo album, click here. For those of you who joined the photo booth fun, you can view your photos here.

One of the amazing volunteers, Rob, used these words when he signed off on a text to me this past weekend. He represented just one of the 120 amazing people who poured out their lives in Wyckoff so that women could know the love of God and become rooted and grounded in that amazing love.

So, after I heard Rob use those four words, I used them all weekend. I just think those four words may be the mantra I need to keep me rooted and grounded in God’s love and steer me toward the life He has called me to live.

What about you? Do you need those four words written on your heart to keep you rooted and grounded?

We gave our best for Him this weekend at Fresh Grounded Faith Wyckoff, NJ! [Click to Tweet]

Let’s renew our commitment to our Father. Let’s purify our purpose by reminding ourselves that we give our best, we do our best, we live our best … our best for Him. For sister, He is worthy!

Well, speaking of best…

Laura Story was so inspiring and funny and wise. And, her little six-year-old, Josie, recited Psalm 23 first thing Saturday morning and brought down the house!

Shaun Groves gave us eyes to see as he masterfully crafted story and reminded us all of our purpose and privilege as Christ followers—we get to be part of releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

Michael O’Brien led us in worship and made us all cry, laugh, and drop our burdens as we lifted our hands to God.

Our Local Conference Coordinator, Holly Turner, surely gave her best for Him … so did our host church, Cornerstone Christian Church, and all of our co-host churches.

And, as we gave our best, it was amazing to see what God did! We celebrated 3 new sisters in Christ, 36 women who chose to renew their commitment to the Lord, and 75 children sponsored through Compassion International.

On Saturday morning, Michael led us in that old hymn, “I Stand Amazed in the Presence,” and, girl, that sums it up. I stood amazed. I bowed my heart in awe at our good, kind, loving God. He does deserve our best because He always gives us His.

Were you with us in Wyckoff? Please share your favorite part of the weekend in the comments below.

Would you like to attend a Fresh Grounded Faith conference? Or, bring one to your city? Click on the buttons below to find out more information.

Find a Fresh Grounded Faith event near you. Bring Fresh Grounded Faith to your city.

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“She shouldn’t have done that.” “How could she think that?” “I can’t believe she actually went there!” “I would never do that…”

Sound familiar? Anyone ever whispered phrases like that in your ear? Or, have you ever muttered them under your breath?

I’ve not only heard that kind of stuff, but I’ve said it and thought it too. When it comes to being judgmental, I admit it, I’ve blown it!

But, none of us want to be “judgy.” Instead, we want to show good judgment. So, how can we tell the difference?

How can you tell whether you’re using good judgment or being judgmental? Here are four ways. [Click to Tweet]

When we show good judgment, we are applying discernment. Discernment sees right and wrong. Discernment is able to judge rightly.

For example, when you discern something that isn’t quite right, it strikes a chord in your heart. Usually an out-of-tune, dissonant chord. It’s like smelling something stinky and wanting to sniff out the source, and that is a spiritually mature impulse.

Yet, just as quickly as a toddler goes from total contentment to a total meltdown, we can go from good judgment to being downright “judgy!” It’s all in how we handle the discernment.

So how should you handle discernment? On this episode of the 4:13 Podcast, KC and I share some practical ways you can use good judgment without being judgmental. You’ll learn four questions to ask yourself, as well as four ways to choose discernment.

4 Ways to Determine If You Are Being Judgmental
  1. Quick to elevate me. Do you feel better about yourself because someone else is so much worse than you are? If we observe someone’s brokenness and go straight to pride about our own apparent wholeness, then we are being judgmental. When we see something wrong in another woman’s life, we shouldn’t think worse about her, we should feel worse for her. Discernment shows compassion, judgment swells with pride. She needs our sympathy, not our censorship. The ground at the foot of the cross is perfectly level, you aren’t higher, and she isn’t lower.
  2. Quick to gossip. When you see something questionable in someone else’s life, do you talk to God about her or do you talk to everyone else about her? Discernment leads to discretion. Judgment leads to gossip. Gossip is the megaphone of a judgmental spirit. Before we ever talk about her or even to her, we must talk to God. And, when we talk to God, she isn’t the first person on our prayer list—we are. We seek to be pure before God and ask Him to affirm what we have discerned. Then, if He leads us, we talk to her. But, Christian sisters, we do not talk about her! Sometimes we act like we are not doing this when we really are—we gossip in the spiritually accepted practice of giving our “prayer requests!” Pray for her, giving her the dignity and respect she deserves. Her behavior may not warrant respect, but she does because she, like you, is loved by God.
  3. Quick to critique. Do you have a critical spirit when it comes to someone else’s behavior or a compassionate perspective? Judgment is quick to critique. If she did it wrong or did not do it in the way we would have done it, then she is subject to our criticism. But, discernment shows compassion. Compassion tries to see all sides of an issue. Compassion feels love whereas judgment thinks legalism. We have all blown the “thou shall” and “though shalt not’s” of Scripture. But God does not treat us as our sin deserves. He shows us compassion and, if we are truly discerning women, we discern the compassion God gives us and we give it to others.
  4. Quick to conclude. Do you come to a quick and easy conclusion about someone else and her behavior, or do you consider what could be going on in her life? There is a tip to every iceberg and, usually, that is all we can see. So, if we assess the whole iceberg from the tiny tip we can see, chances are that we will have no real idea of what is under the surface. Sure, you may see her behavior and it is clearly, undoubtedly wrong, but knowing her behavior is wrong and choosing to determine that she has the wrong motives, or the wrong intention are not the same things. It’s not our business to determine her motives. Instead of concluding, we consider. Discernment involves wisdom. We use our discernment to think more deeply, imagine what she is dealing with, or how she may be misguided to say such a thing or act that way. We consider how we can be part of her solution rather than add to her problem.
4 Ways to Choose Discernment Over Judgment
  1. Choose humility. Instead of being quick to elevate me, I need to be quick to humble myself.

    “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:10).

  2. Choose prayer. Instead of being quick to gossip, I need to be quick to pray.

    “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing…” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17).

  3. Choose encouragement. Instead of being quick to critique, I need to be quick to build up.

    “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up…” (Ephesians 4:29).

  4. Choose thoughtfulness. Instead of being quick to conclude, I need to be slow to form an opinion.

    “When words are many, transgressions are not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent” (Proverbs 10:19).

Instead of being quick to gossip, let’s be quick to pray. [Click to Tweet]

We all need self-control, humility, and thoughtfulness. The world needs fewer judgmental experts and far more humble, discerning people with good judgment.

So, remember whatever you face, however you feel, you can do all things—including being a woman of discernment—through Christ who gives you strength.

Related Resources Books, and Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild Stay Connected

What’s one way you plan to practice good judgment this week? Share in the comments.

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GIVEAWAY ALERT: You can win the book, Finding Joy Beyond the Headlines, by Bobby Lewis, this week’s podcast guest. Keep reading to learn how!

The headlines aren’t very uplifting, are they? They tell depressing stories about everything that’s wrong in this world. They accent the worst, keep us divided, and only give us half the story of what is truly happening.

Well, not today, my friend!

There’s lots of good news out there—and I am all about looking for the good. When you look for it, that’s what you see.

While it may seem like all news is bad news, that’s not true! There is joy beyond the headlines. [Click to Tweet]

That’s why I love our 4:13 Podcast guest today, Bobby Lewis. He is an Emmy Award-winning TV reporter in the Tampa Bay area. And, sister, he has a knack for bringing out how God is working in our mess despite the ugly news’ headlines.

Bobby has written an inspiring book called, Finding Joy Beyond the Headlines. It provides a Scriptural framework and a hope-filled roadmap to navigate the bad news, whether it’s on your TV or in your life. You’ll be reminded that God is good, He is here, there is hope, and joy is possible.

So join KC and me as Bobby Lewis helps us see beyond the bad news and focus our eyes on hope. This episode is engaging, encouraging, and will give you the cure for the common headline!

4 “Joy Beyond the Headline” Stories
  • Madison Harrison’s #POTUS. Nine-year-old Madison had a dream of taking a picture of the president. Even though many thought she’d never reach her goal, she did! Madison didn’t let her young age stop her from accomplishing big things.
  • Ken Deka’s Daily Sunset Song. When the Vietnam War ended, Ken was one of the marines who came home. Many of his friends didn’t return, though. They died in service to their country. Now, in honor of the friends he lost, Ken plays TAPS on his bugle every evening. He’s become famous locally, but he’s not doing it for the fame. He’s doing it because of the deep love he has for his friends.
  • Becky Gama’s Closet. During one of her shifts as a nurse, Becky found herself caring for a homeless patient. After hearing his story, she felt compelled to do something to help. So she began collecting donated clothing items for him. This encounter inspired her to continue to help more people and she created “Becky’s Closet.” Now, anyone, who comes into the hospital she works at and needs clothing, leaves with better clothes than they came in wearing.
  • Davis Harkey’s Fifth Quarter. Davis was born prematurely at 28 weeks and struggles with a lot of physical challenges. But that hasn’t stopped Davis from playing middle school basketball. Not only was he put on his school’s team, but they even added a fifth quarter so that Davis would get a chance to play.
Headlines don’t take a day off, but neither does hope. With the Holy Spirit as your guide, you can find joy beyond every headline. [Click to Tweet]

Headlines don’t take a day off, but neither does hope. So, remember, with the eyes of faith, you can see hope. With the Holy Spirit as your guide, you can find joy beyond every headline.

And, 4:13ers, let’s be that joy. Let’s be that hope. Let’s be the good news in a world who needs to feel it, hear it, and see it.

Remember, whatever headlines are on the news or in your life, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.

Related Resources Giveaway Books, and Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild More from Bobby Lewis Stay Connected

What’s good news have you heard recently? Share in the comments below.

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Have you ever been to Niagara Falls? Oh, there is no place where I feel the sheer, unstoppable power of God like I do standing by the Horseshoe Falls. It roars with such intensity. In fact, the peak flow of water there was recorded at 6,004 cubic meters per second. Girl, we can’t even think that fast!

Thank you to Ashley Thompson for the beautiful photos. To see the entire Facebook photo album, click here. For those of you who joined the photo booth fun, you can view your photos here.

Yet, I will tell you this … the power of God at the Buffalo Fresh Grounded Faith event was also absolutely amazing!

Sister, the Lord was in that place all weekend. He healed hearts, broke chains, and brought all 1,400 of us closer together in Him as sisters. He even drew 18 women to Him through His grace. We have 18 new sisters in Christ! Yeehaw and hallelujah!

And it was wonderful to have Laura Story, Ann Voskamp, and Shaun Groves with us there! Laura was funny and wise, Ann was profound and warm, and Shaun was whimsical and compelling.

Many thanks to our amazing Local Conference Coordinator, Ashlee Tomaro. Also, we are grateful to our host church, Eastern Hills Church, and our ten co-host churches. My team and I appreciate all the ways you served and made us feel at home!

The Lord healed hearts, broke chains, and brought all of us closer together in Him at FGF Buffalo. [Click to Tweet]

God’s Word was real and powerful among us. Here are just two examples.

There was a lady at FGF whose son was killed by a drunk driver just last year. Can you imagine her heartbreak? His birthday was on September 30. When she pulled the Compassion packet out of her bag Friday night to pray for that child who needed a sponsor, in her bag was a little boy with the same birthday as her son. God was so personal to give her another boy to love.

Also, listen to this … another dear woman had lost her precious daughter to suicide just months earlier. Her daughter’s favorite movie was Shrek. She and her daughter had come to the U.S. from a southeast Asian island. So, when she opened her bag to pull out the Compassion packet to pray Friday night, guess what she found? A little girl from the same island with the name … wait for it … wait for it … Fiona! You know, like from Shrek? The heartbroken mom just knew God was giving her a gift that weekend.

Sister, those were only two stories of what God did! We are also praising Him for the 141 women who chose to renew their commitments to Christ and all 96 of the children rescued from poverty through Compassion International!

If you were there, share with your peeps what God did! If you’ve never been to a Fresh Grounded Faith, please come. I want you to experience the power of God that is even grander than what flows through Niagara falls! In fact, I was even thinking of you while I was there … watch this video.

Jennifer at Niagara Falls - YouTube

Were you with us in Buffalo? Please share your favorite part of the weekend in the comments below.

Would you like to attend a Fresh Grounded Faith conference? Or, bring one to your city? Click on the buttons below to find out more information.

Find a Fresh Grounded Faith event near you. Bring Fresh Grounded Faith to your city.

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Free download alert! Get your “With You” Scriptures for Comfort printable in the links below.

On February 18th, 2018, my whole world changed. My hero dad closed his eyes to this world and opened them to heaven.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “I didn’t know grief would feel so much like fear.” I had no idea grief felt so much like fatigue either. I didn’t know it would make me feel hollow. My brain knew what death was, but my heart was unaware that death was such a tearing—and an emptying.

Even after a few months, I was still stupefied by the fog I was walking through. It just felt thick and like life was in slow motion.

You may know what I’m describing. You may have felt it because of the loss of someone you deeply love. Notice, I did not say “loved.” I say “love” because that emotion does not change just because they’re not here. Some of you may have lost a child, a heartbreak almost unbearable and unimaginable.

No matter what your loss or heartbreak, it all matters because you matter—and God’s comfort is for you. [Click to Tweet]

No matter what your loss or heartbreak, it all matters because you matter—and God’s comfort is for you.

For a long time, I’ve known the truth about God’s comfort in grief, but I now understand it.

You see, if there was anything I feared—I mean was really afraid of—it was losing my dad. He was my hero. He grounded me, protected me, and made my world make sense. The thought of losing him made me fear how I could ever feel like planet earth would ever—could ever—be okay again.

I feared I would fall under the weight of grief. I feared I could never feel comfort greater than my sorrow. I feared that Dad’s absence in my life would be a hole I would fall into and never find a way out of.

Yet, I realize now that if I had really understood the comfort God would give me, I would have had no fear.

When your heart is breaking, God’s comfort helps you walk through grief and sorrow. [Click to Tweet]

Here’s what I want you to know today: God’s comfort doesn’t erase my grief. It absorbs it. His comfort doesn’t make my sorrow less, but it makes my capacity to face it greater. God’s comfort helps me walk through grief and sorrow.

And, on today’s episode of the 4:13 Podcast, KC and I get practical about how God comforts you when your heart is breaking. It is encouraging, real, and will give you some truth to tuck in your heart when you need it most.

2 Ways God Comforts You When Your Heart Is Broken

1. God’s Word Comforts You

The promises in Scripture, the counsel of Scripture, and the unchanging truth of Scripture can bring you deep comfort. Take, for example, these verses from Psalm 119:

  • “This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life” (Psalm 119:50).
  • “Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant” (Psalm 119:76).
  • “My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your Word” (Psalm 119:28).
  • “If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction” (Psalm 119:92).

Friend, you just won’t make it without His Word. The promises that come from God’s living Word can comfort you and provide you with the hope that life is and will be good again. His Word echoes His love to you in even your lowest season. And this love lifts you and assures you and reminds you that He is with you.

So, if you are grieving, open His Word and open your heart. His love and strength will rush in and be the comfort you need.

2. God’s People Comfort Us

God’s people don’t need to carry pom-poms or give pep talks. They don’t bring comfort by the words they say about grief, but by their very presence in your grief. The word “comfort” comes from two Latin words meaning “with” and “strong.” In other words, you and I are made strong through being with each other.

There is strength in numbers because when others join you in your grief, you become stronger. You have the strength to face your sorrow because you don’t face it alone. You have the strength to carry your burden because you don’t carry it alone.

God uses His people to take all the weak and broken pieces of our sorrow and build us up into a fortress of strength once again. He uses His people as His comforting presence. We weren’t designed to do this life alone. We need each other.

That means, when you receive comfort from God, you have something to give to others. 2 Corinthians 1:4 says, “We can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” So, if you’ve received it, give it.

Sister, if you need comfort today, receive it from God Himself, His Word, and His people. And, remember, no matter what you face or how you feel, you will be okay. Because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.

Related Resources Free Download Books, and Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild Additional Books on Grief Stay Connected

How can we pray for you this week? Share in the comments below.

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