Are You Ready to Change the World?

We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. 2 Thessalonians 1:3

Our opening scripture holds great promise. Where God is present and unquenched, faith and love will increase.

The next verse reveals the catalyst for that growth: persecutions and afflictions.

I want to suggest to you that this very moment—these days of great affliction and increasing persecutions—offer a backdrop to exponentially expand the faith and love of God’s people.

God has commissioned us to change the world and positioned us to see it done. The question is, are we willing?

I’m going to be honest for us. In most cases, we aren’t. We talk a good talk, but when the time comes to actually fulfill the role God has set before us, we offer all kinds of excuses. We act a bit like Jonah, running from God’s presence rather than boldly stepping up in obedience to our calling.

Then we blame God for not revealing more of His power.

But what if God has a message to speak to us through Jonah’s life, dear one? What if His Spirit stirs even now, daring us to hope for the miraculous? I think all of us can easily relate to Jonah’s stumbling. But what if we could also relate to his triumph?

Imagine it, beloved. Jonah’s story led to one of the greatest revivals recorded in history. A flawed, selfish man finally humbled himself, walked into the great city of Nineveh, and spoke eight words. “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (Jonah 3:4).

What happened next defied logic.

And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. Jonah 3:5

Did you catch it, dear one? A pagan, rebellious people believed God.

Eight words spoken by a submitted prophet changed the heart of every citizen in Nineveh, from the least to the greatest. Amazing, isn’t it? One man’s obedience unleashed repentance and deliverance for an entire city—a city so big that in Jonah’s time it took three days to journey through it.

But this revival didn’t just touch the people. It transformed its king.

The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.” Jonah 3:6-9

A godless king suddenly believed God held the power to destroy and redeem. And that belief brought him to his knees.

God responded precisely the way scripture promises He would.

When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. Jonah 3:10

Oh, beloved. What if we could see this kind of miraculous transformation in our own nation? Our hearts cry out for revival! But like Jonah, most of us would rather not be the instruments God uses to bring it.

I wonder, dear one. What kind of storm will it take to humble you before God? Whose lives are you willing to risk?

Whether we care to admit it or not, our rebellion allows pain and disaster to increase around us. Our disobedience puts lives in jeopardy.

Just ask Jonah. His defiance stirred up a storm that threatened everyone aboard the ship he fled on—until Jonah finally stopped running and acknowledged his responsibility. Facing peril, his heart changed, and the lives of the men on board became more important than his own. Overcoming the selfishness that sent him running, Jonah offered his life to save them.

He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” Jonah 1:12

When they hurled him into the sea, the raging ceased, and they “feared the LORD exceedingly” (verse 16). But Jonah’s story wasn’t over. He spent three days and nights in the belly of a great fish. There he learned the beauty of the fast. And he prayed.

God moved in response to his prayer, causing the great fish to spit him out onto land. And Jonah—humbled, yielded, changed, and anointed—traveled to Nineveh to deliver the message God had given him, saving thousands more.

What circumstance in your life has you in the belly of the fish, beloved? What is God asking you to surrender so that He can move through you in power? What will God unleash through you when you walk in the power of your own anointing?

Jonah’s success had nothing to do with his own talents or eloquence. It came from the presence of God working through him. When he finally denied his own desires in humble submission to God, the Spirit poured forth in power.

And an entire city repented, from the least to the greatest, including their king.

Immense hope looms before us, dear one. The miraculous redemption of our nation is possible if we believe.

But resurrection life first requires death.

So here’s the question before us. Are we willing to put to death our own desires to save those who are drowning?

Beloved, God’s power flowing through your life emerges from death and resurrection.

 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

We must first live the gospel in order to share the gospel. Otherwise, our self-righteous hypocrisy refutes the message. But when we are undone—crucified to the flesh—the Spirit flows in power.

The early church proved that to be true.

 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. Acts 11:21

Let’s stop running and own our responsibility. Let’s descend to the depths with Jesus and rise to new life.

Submitted. Selfless. Holy. Anointed.

Then we will change the world.

Live Your Freedom

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

On Friday we celebrate freedom from oppression, liberty purchased for us by the blood of those who came before. I am so thankful for their sacrifice, and for their part in establishing this great country where we can live in the freedom of democracy.

As we pause to reflect on our liberty, may we also remember another who bled for our freedom: the precious Son who gave His life as a ransom for many. Jesus suffered the cross so that you and I could live free.

Are you free, dear one? Have you left behind the shackles of past hurts? Are you still locked in the bondage of controlling sin? Beloved, Jesus shed His blood to purchase your release.

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” Isaiah 61:1

We live in uncertain times. The face of liberty has changed in the United States of America. Perhaps you share concern over the direction our once great nation appears to be headed. Take heart! Hope looms on the horizon. Its power rests within hearts of the redeemed.

Consider God’s promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14,

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

What if we celebrated this Independence Day by standing on the promises of the cross? What if we took God at His Word and believed that the enemy who seems to loom so large has already been defeated? What if we picked up the sword of the Spirit and fought to reclaim and maintain the freedom Christ bought us with His blood?

Beloved, Jesus calls His body to return to the shelter of His wing (Luke 13:34). Will you answer the Spirit’s call to revival and let the power of God heal our land?

It sounds good in theory. What Christian wouldn’t applaud the masses turning to the Lord in repentance? We love the concept, but we often ignore the means. You see, God desires to begin revival in you and me.

What if you chose to make it personal, to really believe the promises in God’s Word were meant for you? What if you really could be free and were able to experience the miracle of a transformed heart? What if your prayers actually could have the power to open the heavens?

Jesus waits for you to trust Him, dear one. All of His promises are true. And they’re meant for you. I pray that this Independence Day will mark the beginning of your own journey to real freedom. May you become all that Jesus bled and died for you to be, and may you discover with joy that in Him, you really do have the power to change the world.



Surviving Betrayal

Bethany Johnson

This week, I’m excited to introduce you to Bethany Johnson. She recently shared her story at a Girl’s Night Out event at my home church (Hanover First Church of God), and I asked her if she would be willing to share it with you on my blog. I pray you will be blessed by her two-week series on surviving betrayal, demonstrating how God uses the trials in our lives to change who we are. Join us again next week for the rest of her story!


Surviving Betrayal by Bethany Johnson

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Have you ever read a verse and allowed your flesh to only hear a part of it? I first learned Romans 8:28 as a child, and like most little girls, I loved the “happily ever after” of this Scripture. I understood it to mean that it did not matter what I did or what others did, God would make it work for MY good. Come on—who wouldn’t like that message!

Growing up, this misconception shaped my decision-making. I never sought God’s opinion on how to handle anything. If I couldn’t figure it out myself, then I would find another person in my life that could, trusting that God would come in at the end to make it all happy! Operating in this mindset left everything ultimately in MY control, and I felt comfortable there.

A wise man of the faith once told me that being comfortable is never a good place to be. I soon discovered he was right.

Several years ago I received devastating news while driving home from work. I had been deeply betrayed by someone intimately close to me, and the result of this betrayal would be life altering, not just for me, but also for my whole family. My Band-Aid verse did not seem big enough for this wound.

I had no idea how to respond to such pain and quite frankly, was too embarrassed to ask for anyone’s help. I did not understand how God could make anything good come of this mess that I was being forced to call my new life.

That was the only day I was thankful for my two-hour commute. God spoke to my heart in that car, and I realized for the first time that I could not fix this . . . only He could. The Holy Spirit also made me aware that He could not begin to work in this situation until I invited and allowed Him to work in me.

I never understood what it meant to be completely broken before God until that moment. All the anger and resentment toward the person who hurt me was suddenly forgotten, and I just felt lost. For the first time in my life, I had nothing to say. All I could do was listen, and boy did God have a lot to tell me!

My mind filled with all the times in my life that I had sinned against God and He had forgiven me. I thought of the ultimate sacrifice that was made for me, the one I had claimed to receive when I was seven but hadn’t fully understood. I saw Jesus stretched out the cross and remembered how as He hung there, He stared into the faces of his accusers and said:

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34

My healing began as I humbled myself before my Savior and opened my heart to His leading. Offering Him a quiet spirit that was ready to listen allowed Him to speak His truth into the depths of my soul. He reminded me that He wanted the forgiveness I had accepted from Christ to be poured out on others.

It was a pretty humbling experience. I honestly believe that there is no one you can’t forgive if you have been broken before God in this way. This is the Holy Spirit at work—not YOU! He equips us to do what we don't have the strength to do on our own.

I did not go home that day. I went straight to meet with the person many would have called their new enemy. Through the power of Christ, I was able to look him in the eyes. Instead of having hatred in my heart, I felt compassion. I saw the same brokenness I had felt just 45 minutes earlier. The two of us were like blank canvases awaiting an artist’s paintbrush.

It was then that I realized what God had in store for me. This was going to be the beginning of a long journey. God did not want to merely demonstrate forgiveness through this awful situation. He wanted to bring restoration and revival. He was going to make both of us new.

Through the work of Christ, this experience became a part of the salvation story of two people. I look at that verse I first clung to in a whole new light. Both of us are now people who "love Him and are called according to His purpose.” My, has he worked such a horrible, sinful thing for the good!

Never in my wildest dreams would I have wished this betrayal on myself—or anyone for that matter! But today I can honestly thank God for putting me through it. I no longer have to wear a mask of happiness because I have allowed God to transform my heart from the inside out. I guess He did work it for my good after all.


Begin your own journey to healing! Ladies local to Hanover, PA . . . Beginning October 17, Bethany will be offering an eight-week Bible study in her home entitled "No Other Gods" by Kelly Minter. Fellowship over a meal and then prepare to dig into Truth. Contact Bethany at for more details.