Tag Archive: Jesus


Christmas is almost here! While this can be a super exciting time, it can bring a unique set of challenges. Normal schedules are interrupted. Many gather with people who may not usually be in town. Different parties and activities are planned. School is out!  You may look forward to what is planned. You may be struggling to think through the next week and a half. Wherever you find yourself, in your particular situation, there is one important question to answer.  Will you worship Jesus this Christmas?

Hit the pause button on that question for just a moment… and keep reading! Remember, every time we have an opportunity to hear the Gospel communicated is an act of GRACE from God directly upon our lives. It is

“…the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…” Romans 1:16 (NIV)

Earth is a visited planet. Humanity had chosen sin and every person born was (and is) born separated from God, under judgment, and enslaved to sin.

“When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.” Romans 5:12 (NLT)

God Most High clothed himself in flesh and came down as a human. Jesus the Son of God and of Man fulfilled every one of over 400 prophecies that had been prophesied about a coming Savior. Jesus walked the most difficult path in his 33 years any human has ever faced as he was tried in every way, facing every temptation known to any person. Hebrews 4:15.

“He was despised and rejected–a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.” Isaiah 53:3 (Another prophecy that Jesus fulfilled).

Jesus was different. Jesus never sinned. At the end of 33 years, Jesus carried out God’s plan and willingly died at the hands of sinful men. During his death, God’s Word says that Jesus took on his own body the sins of humankind. Jesus bore our sin and was punished in our place so that we have a chance to live in relationship to God. God Most High accepted Jesus spilt blood as enough to pay for sin.

“For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:22         

This is the choice every person will make: Choose to accept Jesus Christ as the one who saves you, or chose to reject Jesus Christ. Praise God, he came so near. He knows our suffering and he did not leave us in a hopeless situation!

 “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. “Romans 8:1-4 (NLT).

What does the Gospel mean for your Christmas this year?

If you have chosen Jesus, you have chosen his authority. There is something so AWESOME and COMFORTING about the fact that Jesus gets to be in charge! We have the ability to respond to ANY and EVERYTHING that we may face! His Word teaches us how to face any situation and please him, and his counsel is perfect. Responding to your trials or your joys God’s way will only ever be good and right for you! Think of how valuable Jesus is to your life. He actually IS our life. So, in response to a PRECIOUS, LOVING, INVOLVED, WORTHY Savior, who gave away his life to own your life, you can choose to worship him by deciding, “YES, what I am facing is extremely hard for me… I am in a habit of responding to what I feel by sinning, but Jesus deserves my worship, so through his grace I will choose to serve him instead of serving myself. If Christ is your Savior, try choosing love and thankfulness when as an act of worship when things feel difficult. Think of unique ways to be loyal to God instead of to sin habits in your specific situation.

This God that gave up his Son, who was most precious to him, to save us, is worth any cost! Let’s celebrate the Christmas by giving God our worship!

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What is Love?

As the leader of a ministry that reaches out to hurting women, many of which have been abused by people who claimed to love them, I was not surprised recently when I was asked…”What is love?” I thought the best way to understand what love is, is to go to God’s Word and see what it says about love.

What true love is NOT:

  • Love is not just words or a feeling but requires action (love lived out) – Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18
  • Love is not boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient, ungrateful, unholy, unforgiving, slanderous (speaks falsely of another), without self-control, brutal (hateful), etc. – People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. 2 Timothy 3:2-5

    So if genuine godly love is none of those things. What is love?

  • Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 1 Corinthians 13:4-6
  • Love Serves Others – You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love. Galatians 5:13
  • Love is Selfless – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13
  • Love is humble, gentle, and patient – Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
  • Love obeys God – And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. 2 John 1:6
  • Our love for others should ultimately be God-focused – Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2

Perhaps you’ve asked…Does God really love me? Isn’t God just out to trip me up and watch me fail? Does He really understand what I’ve been through? How do I know? Have you ever had this thought run through your mind, “I’m not good enough for God to love me?” Oh there is so much wrong with that statement. First, God’s love doesn’t depend on who you are, what you have done, or what’s been done to you. God’s love is solely dependent on His character. God is love. He proved His love by sending His Son to die for YOU!

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:10

Let’s check out some characteristics about God’s love.

God’s love is…

  • Unfailing  – But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. Psalm 13:5
  • Extravagant – Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Psalm 36:5
  • Priceless – How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 36:7
  • Merciful – Do not withhold your mercy from me, LORD; may your love and faithfulness always protect me. Psalm 40:11
  • Just – I will sing of your love and justice; to you, LORD, I will sing praise. Psalm 101:1
  • Patient – But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15
  • Everlasting – For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:5
  • Satisfying – Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14
  • Good – But you, Sovereign LORD, help me for your name’s sake; out of the goodness of your love, deliver me. Psalm 109:21
  • Selfless – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
  • Parental (He disciplines His Children out of love) – because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son. Hebrews 12:6
  • Unrelenting – Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:35,37-39

You can’t hide from the love of God. You can run sure, but God is always at your side. If you have been abused by someone, you’re idea of love may be corrupted. Now you know the truth! Walk in that truth! And know that God loves you because you are His creation! I encourage you to read Psalm 139, I’ve included a portion below:

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

If you would like to explore this issue more with me or have any questions. I’d love to speak with you. Please get in touch with me by emailing me at restoredbyloveministries@gmail.com. There is no greater passion in my heart, than for you to know the love of God and live it out in your life! 

My prayer for you:

I pray that out of His glorious
riches he may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you,
being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the
saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and
to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure
of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:16-19

This blog is a reflection of a song by Chris Tomlin. Marzani has an important message to share as she gives her testimony of how this song has touched her life in a special way. She gives her insights and challenges us to live a life basking in the glory of God. I hope this post will be a blessing to you today and a challenge to you as well.

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And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?”

These two lines keep repeating in my head, and maybe a few months ago, that’s where it would stop, but this morning it’s moved to my heart, deeper, more meaningful…freeing…so deep that every word touch my soul. These two lines of an ordinary song-to most-is what I made my life-rope today. Yes, ordinary song –the foundation that I CHOOSE for how I’m going to live today…for EVER!

And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us…?
To me this first 7 words holds the biggest ‘power’ ever given to us…well in my heart I would change the word ‘power’ to ‘life’, but to see it we would have to know who God is, and NO I don’t mean know about church, the ten Commandments, I’m not even talking about Christianity ! If I would hide your Bible and ask you, “Who is God to you?” what would you answer…? Easy Question…maybe, but it’s the question with the most dangerous answer, cause how you see God determines how you live, it determines your Happiness, Success, Significance, Fulfillment, Satisfaction, Security, Peace and Fun. If you can’t answer, ALL these things will be messed up in your life…short lived, meaningless, empty!

Growing up in church, with a Pastor for a Dad ,made me think of God as the One who made the earth, send us His one and only Son to die for our sins on the cross, raised up from death after three days and went back to heaven to prepare a place for His children and He will come back again one day to get all who believed in Him…for 17 years that was my answer to the question, “who is God?” I mean come on, I’ve heard it for 17 years!! So I ‘knew’ who God is, and yea He was ‘for’ me, but wow how many things ‘stopped’ me!! Things, people ‘stopped’ me to the point that I hated this God who was suppose to be ‘for’ me, yes . I didn’t want to have ANYTHING to do with Him!!! People lied to me enough, hurt and ripped apart I didn’t need a God lying to me too!! So I let go, I let go of the ‘wonderful bedtime story’ (as I saw it) told in church about a God who died for me and for my sins, cause wasn’t lying a sin? And if so then how could a God that lie, forgive sin.” Yes, that was my thoughts for 6 years, and maybe I could keep on pretending being the “perfect pastor’s daughter’ but I can’t cause I’ve ‘met’ God and He renewed my life, when God is your life, you can’t hide behind a mask no more, you can’t go on being fake, cause while being fake at least 20 THOUSAND people over the world die each day, not knowing God!!

So did God lie, maybe many people would want me answering ‘yes’ to this, cause then letting go is easy, but NO , NO GOD DID NOT LIE!!! GOD is WITHOUT SIN, but then again it wasn’t always mentioned in the ‘church story’, friends share just to get to the next topic on shoes or boyfriends. So if God didn’t lie, and He is for us all who believe in Him, and NOTHING can get us down, what did I do wrong? Or maybe you ask yourself “what am I doing wrong? Why does sooo many things get me down, why am all my dreams, happiness, fun, peace so easily ‘stopped’? WHERE is this GOD who is for me?”

Well He is WITH YOU, UNDER You, BEHIND you, ABOVE you, and if you accepted Him into your life , He lives IN you!! the question is not “where is God’ It is, “Does I understand or at least seek WHO God is?” all that I believed for 17 years , heard in church, it is not WHO GOD IS!!! it’s WHAT GOD HAD DONE…! The wonderful truth about how God send His one and only Son to die on a cross , raised from the death and coming again, that is what God has done and promise to do, cause of WHO God is!!

When you starts to seek WHO God is, you can truly have a relationship with Him, He becomes your best friend, healer, counselor, Dad, guide, King…I believe, have found and declares that when you begin to seek God for who He is, when you begin to know how God sees YOU, I can PROMISE you that NOTHING, NO ONE can stop you, and when you work on your relationship with God , WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HIM, just like you would ‘study’ a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife’s dislikes, likes , dreams , hopes , I promise you’ll see that God really is with you in every breath you take, and you’ll find NOTHING, NO ONE could stand against you!

I wondered, “what’s the toughest thing God ever tried to do?” What do you think was the toughest thing God ever tried to do?

Maybe this answer given by a 10 year old boy is right… “In science class at school, I thought maybe the toughest thing God had to do was create the world. Then in Sunday school we got to talking about miracles, and I thought maybe the Resurrection of Jesus was the toughest thing. But then I started thinking, and I decided no one knows God really well. So now I think the toughest thing God ever tried to do, is to get us to understand who He is and that He loves us…And it took God’s Son to do it…”

God let His son be nailed to a cross not only to forgive us our sin, not only so that when we are hurt, God can whisper, “I understand” but God let Jesus be nailed to a cross to open a way for us to get to know the LOVE God has for everyone of us, He let Jesus die, to open a way for us , so that we could learn WHO God really is …Jesus died for you, He was bruised, bled, killed to help you get to know His Father…would you really turn this ‘died-for’ opportunity down…?

I pray that you will start today to seek who God really is, get to know Him yourself, learn how much He loves you, cares for you… I dare you to open the Bible, get on your knees and let God introduce Himself to you…

“And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?”

This blog was written by a friend of mine, Tiffany. She speaks of how she has found hope and purpose in her life. I pray that her blog ministers to your heart. If you’d like to speak with someone about finding hope and purpose in your life through Jesus Christ, please visit the site below and contact me.

-Stephanie Lampman (www.restoredbyloveministries.org)

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Did you ever push someone away, putting yourself first? See someone hurting but just walked away? Plan to get together with someone but decided to make other plans? Be a listening ear? Be a friend? Flip out on someone without realizing their feelings to your reaction? Joke with someone but have the person take it seriously?

No one is perfect. We are all broken. We all make mistakes. We are all searching for something more.

Did you ever feel alone? Broken? Lost? Worthless? Hopeless? Unloved? Like no one cared? Did you ever just feel that you had no worth to even continue living your life anymore? That you actually tried to hurt yourself to feel alive. That maybe this will help numb the pain. Maybe if I cut myself, someone will notice me. Or maybe if I go get high and smoke pot I can drowned out everything. Or maybe you’ve even considered taking your own life or even tried too.

I’m here to tell you that you are not alone. You have worth. You are loved. You have purpose. And I care about you. I have walked in these footsteps times & times again. I struggled with cutting, depression, & even tried to take my own life 3 different times. I know what it’s like to feel alone; like no one understands what you’re going thru. I know what it’s like to feel broken; like everything around you is falling apart. I know what it’s like to feel lost; like no one even wants you around. I know what it’s like to feel hopeless; like there is no hope in the world for you. I know what it’s like to feel unloved; like everyone hates you. I know what it’s like to feel like no one even cares; like no one ever has any time for you. I know what it feels like to be depressed; like you don’t want to live another day. Lastly I know what it’s like to feel worthless; like the only way to escape the pain is to take your own life. I know because I’ve been there. But there is hope. There is healing. There is love.

You might be thinking, but Tiff how did you come out of this? How did you find worth? Hope? Healing? Love? Purpose? My answer to your questions is Jesus Christ. Jesus brought me hope, worth, healing, love, & purpose. You might be thinking; well Jesus might have saved you but He can’t save me. No one can. But don’t believe that lie for one second. Jesus can save you & I have proof.

Did you know that you are forgiven? 

When God sent His One & Only Son into the world to die for you, Jesus took your sins too: everything you would ever do wrong. He took it because Jesus didn’t want you to be destroyed. God sent His Son so that after we die we could spend eternal with Him in Heaven. Jesus didn’t want to see you punished for your sins so instead Jesus took that punishment for you when He was hung on the cross to die for you. But just because He died doesn’t mean you automatically go Heaven. This is want you have to do to be saved:

A: Admit that you haved sinned & be willing to turn from your sins.

B: Believe that Jesus in God’s Son who died for you & was raised from the dead. This isn’t just believing with your head but trusting Jesus for forgiveness of your sins.

C: Call on the Lord, confess your sins, & committ your life to Him. This is the willingness to turn from your sins & to turn to Christ as your Savior & Lord.

 Here are 2 verses from the bible to sum this up in Truth:

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.”-John 3:16-18

“Who believes what we’ve heard and seen? Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this? The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look. He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum. But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed. We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him. He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn’t say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, he took it all in silence. Justice miscarried, and he was led off—and did anyone really know what was happening? He died without a thought for his own welfare, beaten bloody for the sins of my people. They buried him with the wicked, threw him in a grave with a rich man. Even though he’d never hurt a soul or said one word that wasn’t true. Still, it’s what God had in mind all along, to crush him with pain. The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life. And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him.”-Isaiah 53:1-10

So this is how I found worth, hope, love, purpose, & so on; Jesus is the answer. If it weren’t for Jesus saving me from myself I honestly would not be here today. But because of what He did I am. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank Jesus.

But I don’t know where your at in life. Maybe tonight your boyfriend or girlfriend broke up with you? Maybe you are so stressed out with school that you can’t take it anymore. Maybe your parents just got divorced? Maybe you just found out your pregnant? Maybe you just got busted for drugs? Maybe you’ve been abused? Maybe you feel like giving up? Or Maybe you are at the end of your rope & feel suicide is the only way out?

But please hold on. There is help & treatment available for you. Rescue is possible. Suicide is not the answer.—“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”-Revelation 21:4-6

I love you so much; but most importantly Jesus loves you. But tonight I watched a movie called “To Save A Life.” This movie has changed me from the inside out. I have a different outlook on life. God has showed to me thru this movie a hurting world that needs Him. I felt lead to write this tonight. I felt a tug on my heart from God telling me to take action. So I started writing. I really hope that after you have read this that it gives you some hope & positive encouragement. I pray you would take action too. You can take this or leave it where it’s at. But I know there is a hurting world out there that needs me; that needs Jesus; that needs you. If someone don’t take action, then who will. The last thing I want to hear is that one of my friends took their life. This world needs us. I can’t do this alone. But if we come together as one in Jesus name we can make a difference. We can save a life if we are willing to help others before ourselves. At the time you’re helping someone else, you are helping yourself as well.

You matter to me. You matter to someone. You most importantly matter to Jesus.

On Grace by Dawn

Below you will find Dawn’s testimony of God’s grace displayed in her life through her struggle and freedom from an eating disorder. I hope that you will find hope in her story and peace in knowing that God’s grace is most assuredly sufficient for YOU!
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God Loves me so much that he sent his son Jesus that I may live… now and always by grace. How can I not sit back and look at my life and not just wonder, in shock, at what God has done and continues to do? I am so thankful that at the end of the day no situation or challenge can change the goodness of the Lord.

For three years I have walked with Him. Three years ago He held the end of the rope that pulled me out of the pit of death and into His shadow of light.  My testimony is posted on a website and this is part of a comment that someone left…. Like the “dawning of a new day” – your testimony heralds the beauty – the sheer wonder of being new in Christ – the old is past; behold all things become new – Oh what a blessing – may the LORD your King continue to use you mightily like a trumpet, to compel all to “Come, dance with our King!”

Use you …Use me….Hear I am, Lord….How many times have I said that to my Daddy? I’m always asking Him to use this Freedom Walker, to use this girl now three years out of brokenness and three years into the light. This past year has been different than the first two years, there were more days, than I have ever admitted to anyone, that I really didn’t want Freedom anymore, that I wanted to throw it all away and seek the guise of thinness. I know the answer to how all these thoughts started? Something so simple….busyness. I got so busy that I didn’t make even small moments of time to spend with my Daddy, He got pushed to the wayside and when the overwhelming feelings of life came I didn’t have the Truth to stand on to fight. Instead I decided I wanted to fight myself and fight my body for control over what I felt like was an out-of-control life. And let’s just say that putting my walls down to seek out the Truth, in the words of wise counsel, was really, really hard. But I had to do it. I had left that struggle in the past.

But hear me….it is a choice. In my life I had to change that I was Supposed to walk in Freedom to Wanting to walk in Freedom. Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10). That’s what he wants for each of us. But we have to embrace the truth, so instead of fighting my body I wake each morning choosing to walk in Victory. Walk out my Freedom! I will not let the mirror or the world define me, but I shall speak the Truth of God’s Word. I WILL LOVE ME; I will surrender myself into the hands of my Father, who will equip me for battle. Too often I, still more than I want to admit, measure my beauty by a number. He has already declared me BEAUTIFUL, His chosen and beloved daughter, the one He intimately wants to know and love me beyond any love that I can seek here on earth. I will continue to fight the lies that tie up my thoughts, I know the TRUTH, and I can speak it! The real battle is making sure my Truth doesn’t fall on my own deaf ears and understand that it isn’t always about those around me hearing the Truth but I need to make sure I’m still hearing it myself.

“If you hold on to me for dear life,” says God, “I’ll get you out of any trouble.” Psalm 91:14, The Message.

Dear Father,

What a journey this has been and I am truly in awe of all you are continually doing in me. One day with you is better then a thousand elsewhere. I know you are good and that knowing you intimately has transformed my life. Give me the faith to walk in freedom and victory.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen

I am totally blog stealing but I couldn’t help it after reading about this idea. I was recently reading this blog about the song by Taylor Swift called “Fifteen”. Do you ever wonder what you wished you knew at 15 that you sure didn’t know!? Well I decided to make my own little list of what I didn’t know at 15 that I wish I did.

When all you wanted was to be wanted. Wish you could go back and tell yourself what you know now.

•That foolishness can be overcome.
•That your past can be redeemed and God will transform your past into the most beautiful future.
•That worrying about the size of your thighs will never get you a job but sure can make you lose your job.
•That I’m a Princess.
•That beauty is lending a helping hand.
•That my heart is sensitive and that it will serve me and others well.
•That being single is a gift.
•That being shy makes you wise counsel.
•That Freedom is the best thing ever and I will well up in tears every time I share my story.
•That time really does heal.
•That God would mend my broken heart and reside in all the pieces.
•That I was made for so much more.
•That friendship comes in seasons.
•That my future is already planned out, I just have to walk through it.
•That I’m loved more than I can even comprehend.
•That being approved by man means nothing, I’m already approved by God.
•That embarrassment doesn’t ever end my day.
•That I’m writing my legacy every single second I spend in the presence of my Father.
•That people really don’t notice how much I weigh.
•That people notice what’s in my heart.
•That my broken life can be made beautiful, there’s beauty in the breaking.
•That God has me written on His palm.
•That while I was searching for who I was, God already knew.
•That I am special and there is only one of me.

And the number one thing I wish I knew was…..

that Jesus is my best friend.

“Greater love has no man than this, than he lay down his life for his friend.” John 15:13

Jesus Christ laid down His life for you and wants desperately for you to accept His offer of friendship. He is a friend who never leaves us or forsakes us.

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” Luke 4:8-10

“For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.” Romans 5:10 (NLT)

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15 (NIV)

(This blog is written by Dawn, mentor with Restored by Love Ministries and was edited by Stephanie Lampman, Founder of Restored by Love Ministries)

Throwing Stones…

Someone who has been so influencial in my healing is Amy (my former youth pastors wife). Below she shares a spiritual principle that is so vital in our journey toward healing and ultimately our relationships with God and others. Many of us have been hurt and think forgiveness is something so far out of reach. But as Amy reminds us, we are all sinners and no one has the right to judge or codemn anyone but the Lord. So who do you need to forgive? Your abuser? Your friend? Your sibling? Your parents? YOURSELF? Amy reminds us what the scriptures have to say about forgiveness.

“Two of my most favorite passages in the Scriptures both talk about forgiveness and speak to the awesomeness of the free gift of salvation. The first passage is a story in John 8 – a story about a woman accused and rightfully so…she had sinned and broken God’s law. When she was brought to Jesus by her accusers for judgement – he rebuked her accusers and offered her forgiveness. He was the only one who was without sin and could have stoned her, but He said “neither do I condemn you, Go and sin no more.

The same thought is echoed in Psalm 130:3-4, “If You, Lord, should mark iniquities who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You that You may be feared.” No one can stand before Him in our sin, not the woman accused, not her accusers, not me, and not you – except for His forgiveness so that He may be feared – respected, awed, magnified and worshipped.”

God has chosen to forgive us. CHOSEN is the key word. We have the choice to forgive or to not forgive. One leads to peace one leads to misery. We also have the choice to accept God’s gift of forgiveness and salvation or not to accept it. One leads to death and one leads to life. What’s your choice going to be?

There are a few truths we need to recognize when it comes to keeping bitterness out of our lives or overcoming it in our hearts. The first thing that we need to recognize is that God is a Sovereign God. He is in control of all creation. This is something that was hard for me to grasp after struggling with why God allowed bad things to happen in my own life. God has a permissive will and a direct will. His permissive will allows or permits good or in this case bad, things to happen in order that He be glorified in the end. We may never know the reasons why God allows bad things to happen, or even good things for that matter, and we don’t need to know. We just need to know that God is God and we are not and that His plan and purpose will be accomplished. Jesus , understood this. God permissively allowed His son to be tortured, beaten and crucified. And yet on the cross, Jesus’ response to the mockers was “Father, forgive them…” He understood that God had an awesome plan and that even if it meant the pain and agony He went through He knew that God would be glorified. He didn’t become bitter , He forgave and acknowledge that God is a Sovereign God. It is good for us to be reminded that God is all-knowing. He sees beyond our immediate circumstance and pain and sees the end result. In the example of Jesus, He saw what Jesus’ crucifixion would accomplish, He saw struggling frail sinful humanity and desperately longed for us to be made new and find salvation in Him! I don’t know why God allows things to happen, but I do know that He always has a plan far greater than we could ever comprehend and I know that if you faithfully walk with Him and trust Him in the circumstance you will see one day why it happened. I know that is true in my life and I know it can be true in yours too.

Secondly, we need to realize that God is a just God. He is an impartial God. A quote that I found recently (from christiannet.com) is this “Justice is not an optional product of His (God’s) will, but an unchangeable principle of His character.” He is righteous.

Thirdly, we need to realize that we become what we focus on. If we are focusing on all the horrible things that have happened to us, we are destined for depression, despair and a miserable life. But if we dwell on who God is and His promises, we are well on our way and we will be able to see God doing great things through the circumstances in our lives. When we focus on Christ and not the circumstance we realize that God is indeed in control and we start to see His character more clearly. When we begin to see who we are in relation to who God is, we see our sin more clearly and realize that our sin is no different than the sin of those who have hurt us. Romans 3:23 says, “We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

We also need to follow Christ’s example of forgiveness. 1 Peter 2:21-23 gives us great insight into His character and His response to those who betrayed and hurt Him. It says, “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.” We need to do the same to those who have hurt us. Harboring bitterness only hurts those who harbor it and blinds us to the purpose God has in the circumstance! Forgiveness requires us to see God for who He is, a Sovereign and just God. As we focus on Him and see the one who hurt us as He sees them and us alike, through eyes of love and forgiveness, this then opens up the door for Him to do awesome things in and through a seemingly horrible situation in our lives.

If you are a believer you can hold on to Romans 8:26-28 which says, “In the same way the Spirit, also helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we KNOW that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” How often is the pain of your past too deep for words? I know I have felt that way many times. But isn’t it a comfort to know that God understands even the unsaid!

So what about you? Are you harboring bitterness toward those have hurt you? Do you want to live a life free of bitterness? Then why not get a different perspective of the situation and view the situation through God’s eyes and follow the example Christ has laid out for us. Realize that God has a purpose in every tough time.  And then sit back and watch all that God will accomplish through the circumstance.

Stand in Awe

 What I’m about to share I have wrestled with for weeks. I was afraid that by sharing this, my heart would become prideful. But as I sit here and write I can sincerely testify that none of this is a result of anything I have done, or anything I will do, or anything I could even be close to capable of doing but what I have seen is all a work of God, that in God’s awesome love and grace which I cannot fully understand, nor am I worthy of it, God has placed me here. As I wrestled with whether or not to share this today, I’ve been humbled and convicted. I am reminded that even the rocks cry out in praise to God, so how can I be silent about the awesome works that He has done in my life. (And I ask myself how could I have ever doubted Him?) How much more then should we be filled with awe at the greatness of God and tell of His glory. I think about the many people who God healed in the New Testament. I think I now see how much their hearts were ready to burst in awe struck wonder at what Christ had done in their lives. How could they be silent after encountering God Almighty?!?! That is where I stand now. I am at that place right now that if the rocks cry out in testimony of God’s greatness so must I!


God has taken a broken, hurt, torn up girl and performed an awesome work of redemption, restoration and healing throughout the short 28 years of my life. I can speak with the Psalmist as He says in Psalm 18..”The cords of death encompassed me. And the torrents of ungodliness terrified me; The snares of death confronted me.” That was my life. Full of torment, full of hopelessness, full of brokenness, full of disaster. But PRAISE GOD, that now I can say with the psalmist what is said later in Psalm 18, “THE LORD LIVES, AND BLESSED BY THE ROCK; AND EXALTED BE THE GOD OF MY SALVATION.” He delivers, He lifts up, He rescues, He shields us, He strengthens us, He lights our way. He conquers all, He hears our cries and because of this and ONLY because of this I “give thanks to You among the nations, O Lord, and I will sing praises to Your name.” What does God have to do in our lives for us to see that He is God Almighty, He is Sovereign Lord, He is the Most High God. He had to take me to the darkest of darkness and prove Himself more times than I can count. Don’t let that be You! Proclaim His work in your life to the nations, not out of selfish pride, but out of the depth of humility and praise stand in awe! Let Your heart be filled with wonder and let Him take you to heights you could never have thought up yourself! By the GRACE and MERCY of God He loves to take us to a place of complete brokenness and unworthiness to a place of staring in full view of God’s awesome greatness. In Philippians 2, it speaks of God the Fathers plan and purpose for the life of Jesus the Son. God plan, His sole purpose of Jesus’ self-sacrificing gift to us through the cross was “that at the name of Jesus at the name of Jesus, EVERY knee will bow, for those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of Gd the Father.” His greatness extends throughout eternity! So I ask you, what is your victory story???? Let’s surrender it to God and let Him amaze us at how far He will take His awesome work and declare it to those around us if we will just allow Him to take the drivers seat!!!! Stand back, looking up to heaven, hands off the steering wheel, and prepare to be amazed. Stand in AWE!

Think about this…what are some things that you feel you couldn’t live without? TV, the Internet, a dating relationship, drugs, facebook or myspace, cutting? The list could go on and on. Let me tell you, there are so many things today that we can put before our relationship with God. Anything that we feel like we can’t live without and put our dependence on or trust in more than God is an idol.


Well…my blades was an idol that I held close for about 10 years of my life. I would think about it constantly, and sometimes would be so dependant on it that I would take it with me wherever I went. I was consumed by it. I put my trust in a worthless little blade. I trusted it to take away the hurt and to solve all of my life’s problems. Satan would use this little blade to convince me that if I just used it on myself and hurt myself that I would feel better, that I could escape life’s problems. Because as Satan whispered things in my ear like….you’re worthless, nobody loves you, nobody should love you, ect. I fell into the trap of temptation and sin. I decided to take matters in my own hands and punish myself. I started more and more to rely on what Satan was telling me about myself and my circumstances than on the ultimate, absolute truth God has promised us in His Word. I was sinning by trusting in something other than God and His Word. I also was disrespecting God because I was so self absorbed in my struggles and believing the lies in my mind that I failed to appreciate God’s gift through Jesus‘ blood that He shed on the cross. That blood was shed to cover my sin and yours. It didn’t need my feeble, sinful attempts at making up for the sinful person I was or the mistakes I had made. I didn’t rely on God’s love and forgiveness through the sacrifice of His only Son on the cross.


In Hebrews 9 and 10 it talks about how those under the old covenant in the Old Testament would sacrifice animals as an attempt to clear them of their sin. The high priest would go into innermost part of the tabernacle for worship (the holiest of places) once a year but He would take with him the blood from a slaughtered animal as a payment for the sins of himself and for the people. But in Hebrews 9:9 it says that these sacrifices were unable to make the worshipers perfect in conscience. Meaning the blood did nothing, it didn’t take away their sin. It goes on in Hebrews 9:11 though that it is different for us because we are under a different covenant which is the new covenant which sole basis is the blood of Jesus. He is our perfect high priest, to be the payment through His blood on the cross. He died so we could be in constant personal fellowship with Him and not have to go through anyone else but Jesus to be freed from the bondage of our sin. In chapter 10:8 it says that Christ gave an ultimate sacrifice and offered us ultimate forgiveness through His death on the cross, we only need to come to Him and accept that forgiveness. Which means I didn’t need to make myself bleed through cutting to pay the penalty for my sin because Christ already did that for me through His blood on the cross. Back in Hebrews 9:14, it goes on to say after speaking of the old payment for sin through the old covenant…”How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” God offers us forgiveness for every mistake we have ever made and every mistake we will ever make, but that’s not an excuse to just go and sin, but instead, if we are truly living for the Lord we will long for that close relationship with God through Jesus. His forgiveness should draw us into a closer relationship with Him so that we serve Him with our everything.


So I want you guys to think about your own lives, what do you put before God in your life that you need to put aside in order to fully be surrendered to God? Do you know what it is to have that relationship with Him? Have you accepted that you can’t pay for your sin on your own and that you need Christ? I challenge you to not to spend years of your life as I did, believing the lies of Satan instead of the infallible truth of God’s Word. Be totally surrendered to Him.