This is the Gospel: Day 9

The Gift of Grace

by

Today's Text: 1 John 1:5-10, Psalm 51:1-12, Luke 15:10, John 1:12, 1 John 2:12, Ephesians 2:8, Psalm 103:12, Romans 8:1-5, 2 Corinthians 5:17

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.

- Ephesians 2:8, ESV -

I must have prayed “The Sinner’s Prayer” twenty times growing up. I was always so afraid I’d missed something, paranoid I’d somehow nullified my salvation since the last time I said the magic words. And do you know what I finally understand now, a full thirty years after the first time I prayed? There is nothing magical about it.

The words I pray are not what saves me. Jesus saves me.

My response is to repent of my sins and believe He saves me (Mark 1:15).

Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” This is beautiful and true, yet it’s easy to see how we misconstrue these words to make them about us. We tend to focus on the words we said, the place we knelt, the specific date we were “born again.” We tend to make our coming to Christ about our circumstances rather than our Savior.  

True story: I used to worry my salvation wasn’t real because I did not know my spiritual birthdate.

I wonder what Jesus would say to my teenage self, dutifully walking forward at each youth rally, giving myself over and over, desperate to make that prayer stick? I wonder if it saddened Him to watch as I refused to fully believe the promises He’s made to me, the ones forever sealed when He hung on the Cross and walked out of the tomb?

The apostle Paul got it. He wrote in Galatians 2:20-21, “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. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” (For a powerful paraphrase of this passage, see Galatians 2:19-21 MSG.)

It was never about the where or how or with what words I came to Christ.

It was never about what I was doing. It was always about what He did.  

The grace of Christ is ours today. The Savior who died for us, lives for us, reconciles us to the Father— His grace is ours even now. We need only to repent and believe.

And yes, even the repenting and believing require His grace! Like the father in Mark 9:24, we cry out, “I believe! Help my unbelief!” We trust one moment and doubt the next, standing tall on the rock today and tossed by the waves tomorrow. We are frail and we are strong; we are sure and we despair.

Sisters, we need Jesus. The depth of our need is vast as the sea, but He is not surprised by this. He knows us fully and He loves us still (Ps. 139, Gal. 2:20). When we come to Him for the first time or the hundredth, He rejoices to take us in. Like the father of the prodigal, He sees us coming a long way offand plans a party, jumps up and down, all but does cartwheels that we’ve come home (Luke 15:11-32).

If you long to come to Him today, don’t worry about the circumstances. In the words of the hymn writer Joseph Hart, “If you tarry till you’re better, you will never come at all.” Come as you are — come today — and bare your soul. Cry out like David cried out in Psalm 51, honestly and openly before the God who made you and promises to make you new (2 Cor. 5:17), who loves you and stands ready to save.

Come broken and weary.
Come confused and hopeful.
Come repentant and needy.
Come believing in the midst of your doubt.
Then come back day after day. Walk every day in that same grace you first received.

After all, it has never been about saving yourself. It is always and only about His saving grace.  

SRT-TITG_instagram9

SRT-Daniel_BANNER_614X150

  • Wow… this really touched my heart! Amanda’s story sounds so much like mine. God’s grace is from Him to us every day.
    Beautiful.

  • Adrienne Poole

    I was raised in a Christian home, and “asked Jesus into my heart” when I was younger because I wanted to go to heaven! However, through the years I began to have doubts about what being saved really was, and if I was truly saved. Not knowing whether or not I was headed for heaven was terrifying, and no matter how many times I prayed the “sinners prayer” I could not find assurance or a peace!!! I remember laying in bed at night scared to death that I would die apart from God. Then one day at 13 years old, my whole mindset changed. I had been in the Word that day and I realized something. Salvation is not about how you pray a certain prayer, it’s a call to God from you, asking for Him to save you! It’s admitting that you can not control your life on your own and it’s SURRENDER! Until then I was outwardly doing the right things, but my heart had not inwardly changed. That night, when I was 13, I COMMITTED my life to Him and gave Him the control I had held back for so long. Since then I have not even once doubted my salvation!!!! I KNOW my name is written in the Lamb’s book of life and no one can snatch me out of the hand of my Jesus!!!! I’m so thankful that I finally understand that it’s about giving myself, 100% of me, along with all control, to Jesus and not about a prayer.

  • AMEN <3

  • Latoya Irving

    By grace I am save thank you Jesus I want my mind on the sprit and what the spirit desires not the desire of my flesh the enemy is doing over time but that’s ok he doing that because his time is over that his future the good news is that we are children of God to my sisters its time to work and win souls for Christ their is so many lost souls those who know what your calling is keep work if you don’t ask God he will reveal it to you we are living in the last days he coming soon the sign is so clear let’s get to work l am ready to work love you all my sisters if you’re going through it pray by his stripes we are healed and victorious in Jesus name God bless

  • Stephanie

    This is so important for me to hear. I struggle (a lot) with faith, but I spend time with God every day through these devotions, pray with my husband, and try to put God first even when it doesn’t make sense to me. Thanks amanda for reminding me that once you are saved, it’s not all perfect from there. God is with me every day whether or not I am feeling strong.

  • Madalyn

    Still letting the perfectness of the timing that I read this devotion sink in. I’ve been struggling with spiritual dryness and doubts like I’ve never known before these past few months. It got to the point where I was questioning seemingly everything possible, and would have to talk myself back up. I kept reaching the same conclusions, that God is real and he is great, and that Jesus is the perfect example of both God’s love for all, as well as a walking textbook, so to speak, on how to live this life and prepare for the next. Yet those moments of clarity and peace were few and far between, with burdensome doubts filling the holes. I was mulling over all of this (as has become the usual topic on my mind now) on my commute home this evening, specifically three separate points in my life where I surrendered to Christ through saying the “right” words per say. I believed it for the most part, yet have had many moments outside of those where the truth of all of it has sunk in way more than in those much more intentional moments. Thinking about that in conjunction with this devotion just iterates once again how it is all God. It always has been and always will be. My prayer is to be thankful for each and every day, filled to the brim with opportunities to learn about Him, think about Him, and learn new truths, as well as re-learn “old” truths, about who He is. Thanks be to God, for Him to be a God that pursues us even when we may not see it.

    • Erica

      AMEN!!!!!!

    • Leslie

      A couple of years ago, my friend shared a Tim Keller quote with me- “it’s not the strength of your faith but the object [jesus] of your faith that saves you”. She added “even with questions and fear we can still be in faith”. This rocked my world. I, too, had been in a terribly dry place and doubting quite a lot. I was raised with the implicit understanding that questions meant you weren’t spiritually strong. There has been so much liberty and joy in my life as I’ve started to really do the work to let these truths grow in my life. I felt compelled to share that with you. Hope you see it.

  • JESSIEJAP

    This reading was an answer to a prayer from this morning in which I confessed I was feeling a little dry spiritually over the past few days and really needed Him to renew me and fill me up. This definitely left me feeling drenched and beyond thankful for God’s grace, understanding, love, and compassion. My heart wanted to explode when I read “He knows us fully and loves us still. When we come to him the first time or the hundredth, he rejoices to take us in…” And I can totally relate to the “standing tall on the Rock today and tossed by the waves of tomorrow.” So thankful that God loves messy me.

  • Rachel Ennis

    This is exactly what I needed this morning. I too struggle with doubt, I love how you put it when you said you wonder if it saddens Gods heart when we time after time doubt his promises. This helped me greatly.

  • Blown away again by the greatness and the simplicity of God’s grace. There’s nothing like it!

  • Kylah Gabbert

    Wow talk about plain simple truth this morning! So refreshing!

  • Melissa

    Amen!!

  • Such truth. Such a beautiful thing. Unlike any other faith

  • It’s always crazy how God knows exactly what we need before we do. This devotion tonight really helped me remember just how great He is, and how undeserving of his love I am. But how I still receive his grace anyways. Not because of who I am but because of who He is. This was exactly what I needed tonight.

  • CameronC

    Heck yessss this was fire

  • Faithful And Just

    Amen!

  • BlessedandFavored

    His grace alone is sufficient for me!!… AMEN

  • Chandler Scarbrough

    I feel I will reread this one over and over and over again until it is impressed on my heart and I know the truth; it is not about me and it never has been. It will be and forever be about Him. Lord I believe but help my unbelief.h

  • I really did need this today. I’m struggling with the believing that I’m really forgiven and free, that God sees me as His own.

  • Karissa Rodriguez

    Definitely needed this today; love reading these

  • This was something I really needed… I sometimes find myself worrying about when I got saved if I said the right things or did something wrong that would cause me to really not be saved. And this is just a reminder from God that my salvation has nothing to do with what I have done but what God has done for me. I think as humans we can make something like getting saved that was not meant to be difficult but we try to make it that way. I love this devotion and it came at a perfect time for me!

  • This devotion was especially tear jerking for me. I remember never feeling good enough for people let alone God

  • I don’t always get to these everyday, but I’m glad I read this today ❤️

  • This was comforting to my hurting heart. So thankful for this truth and His unfailing Love ♡

  • Amen! Thank you for the reminder that is is not about me, and it never was. The words aren’t as important- it’s the belief! I read that chapter in the MSG and it was beautiful ! How often I would sit I church and be discouraged that I didn’t fit because I’m not in Bible College, know who the latest Christian artist was, or had gay friends. Thank you for the reminder that it’s not about rules, it’s about Christ. It’s not about what others think of me, it’s about what He thinks of me!

  • ❤️❤️❤️

  • abigail kemper

    so reassuring to know that it’s not what I DO. I rely on Him and he covers me with His grace. I’m so grateful for that kind of love.

  • Christina

    I prayed before I started reading today what message He wanted me to hear, and He knew how desperately I needed this. I always think I’m not doing good enough and that I will lose my salvation but that’s not the case. That’s the greatest news! God is so good!

  • I was driving home from work today really thinking all (not all that would be impossible) my sins. I kept thinking there is NO way he will ever forgive me. Then I prayed. On the way home. I know he is there and I know God forgives for all sins of we truly believe he died and rose again for our sins. This scripture was exactly what I needed tonight. I think I’ll read it again.

  • God, you are amazing! Full of grace and abounding in love! All of which I am unworthy! Thank you God that you love a sinful person like me! Thank you that you sent your only son to suffer and die a painful, agonizing, and humiliating death so I can be forgiven. Let me not take for granted the price that was paid for my sin. God, I pray that my heart will be soft and pliable for you to work on. Help me to be like clay that you can mold. Let my life be a testimony of what you did!

  • Emma_charlotte

    Wow. Reading this today was God ordained!

  • “He knows us fully and He loves us still (Ps. 139, Gal. 2:20).”

    grasping this Truth. .. God is good.

  • Jesus,

    This morning I thank you for your grace. A grace I know that I don’t deserve and that I am unworthy of. I thank you for your love for me and your forgiveness of my sins. As I approach this new day with you, I ask that you help me to rest in this grace and in this truth. I ask that you help me to go throughout my day knowing that you are with me, for me, and not against me. I ask that you guide my life and give me direction. I ask that you give me peace and help me not to worry about things I can not control. I ask that you strengthen my walk with you, help me to be better. I ask that you give me wisdom and discernment in all areas. I thank you that I don’t have walk in fear or burdened by shame because you are with me and for me. Help me to rest my anxious heart in your grace

    Amen

  • This has been one of the most convicting and reassuring devos that I have read in a long time. I am a perfectionist by nature and even without realizing it, I let this become a part of my faith as well. I got to a place of “I know Jesus loves me but if I want him to really really love me then I have to do this this & this.” I then reached a place where I couldn’t sustain that but instead to turn to Jesus I began to feel inferior as a Christian. I thought doubt made me weak & not a true Christian and as hard as I tried to push it down.. It kept coming back up.. Now I find myself in a committed relationship with someone who truly loves me for me(& vice versa) but is not a Christian yet.. A part of me feels like I’m denying Christ and not repenting of being “unequally yoked” while another side of me still wonders if I am really sinning or is it just a suggestion? Is this something I should work thru, with that person, or simply run from? If Christianity is something they desire to look into and be a part of, is it wrong to pursue together for a while? Insight and prayer would be greatly appreciated! God bless

    • SuzyQ

      I would recenter on the supreme committed relationship in your life. Seek Him first, the relationship will be sifted by God’s hands. Is your identity in JESUS or are you finding your identity in this relationship? Praying this isn’t harsh…I have believed the lie that my worth is determined by attention and “relationships”. I love and relate your words about striving to make Him love me MORE!!

  • This is like a life changing little sermon! Seriously…some really good stuff in there! God’s grace…it’s so amazing… I need to just sit in it and soak it in for a minute before I move on with my day.

  • Wow that was awesome . I really needed that!! I used to think I couldn’t talk to God, or even think about him because my fiancé and I weren’t married but we were living together . I thought because I was sinning and confused that God wouldn’t possibly accept me. Boy was I wrong ! We are now married , and I feel closer than ever to my God and my husband .

  • Tonji Byrd

    this was intensely what I needed to read at the perfect time. God is so good that way. His grace is a never ending gift.

  • travelinglite

    This may be the best devo yet that I’ve read on SRT. Thanks, Amanda!

    I love love love the truth that we need Jesus when we are weak AND when we are STRONG. When we are walking well with the Lord, full of faith, joyful, hopeful – we need his grace just as much as we do when we are weak, unbelieving, etc.

  • Hit the spot.

  • Mark9:24 is one of my faves! Doubt is natural and healthy but we should definitely pray for assurance. Thanks for the reminder that our job is repentance and belief NOT the sinners prayer. It’s easy to forget.

  • Taylor Earle

    Great reminder that a testimony doesn’t need to be chaotic and crazy or bring others to tears of sympathy as long as it brings glory to God

  • Needed this so badly! What a great reminder of the never ending love the Lord has for us

  • This devo was me! Glory to God for changing me

  • funkybodunky

    @krazykim I am the same. I was raised in the church and have grown, ebbed and flowed over the years. I was always flummoxed when people asked “when I came to Christ”, for I feel that I’ve always known Him, and every day grow closer to Him. Every day He makes all things new…

  • @Natalie86 Praying for you today my dear. God’s love for you is unfailing, immeasurable, and unending! He has loved you with an everlasting love, when you don’t feel you measure up. Trust in truth of who our Savior is and what he has done, not your feelings. God bless you!

  • Natalie86

    I’m so appreciative of this devotion today- it’s something I’m struggling with. I believe that Jesus Christ is my savior but I’m struggling to find how He can accept me. My transgressions are as Far East as I am west yet somehow I feel like I’m not forgiven- what am I missing? Am I not accepting Him truly? Bc to me my failures are right there- I believe I’m still living for the flesh despite my hope and faith in God . I think I take for granted his acceptance and forgiveness and yet lack the patience – I seek pleasures and satisfaction of the world to fix the thirst but never truly sedate my thirst for him and idk what else to do how to try- where to begin I blame my surroundings but I know it’s from within- I’m lost and asking for prayer.

  • krazykym

    I was raised in church and I still go to the same church so I never had that defining moment when I came to faith. It was a slow process over many years and I've matured a lot over my teenage years. I used to doubt…what if Im not saved? What if I'm actually not his elect? But it's s true…. It's not about me it's about my faith in God. All I have to do is believe and even that I do through Christs help!

  • This was a great reminder. I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist and struggled with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. This on top of my fear of not “correctly receiving” God’s gift caused me to also pray for salvation many many times. Sometimes I still catch myself wondering, “what if I forgot to ask forgiveness for a certain sin?” “What if I didn’t properly repent for them all?” But this reading and these verses help me realize that it’s not about me or doing it the right way. There is no right way. I am saved not through my “proper” repentance but through Jesus Christ dying for me and rising again to live beside God forever! Of course I still do my best while praying for forgiveness of my sins. But I believe Jesus died for me and everyone and that thanks to his sacrifice I am saved! God’s love is amazing and He is so good

  • I had the same experience growing up. Guilt was a huge motivator for me. “You’re a terrible sinner and you need Jesus!!!” was all it took to put me in tears and “rededicate” my life. But I trusted in my feelings and the “magic” prayer more than Jesus’ sacrifice for me and the FREE gift He offers. Grace does not equal guilt. It’s so freeing to understand that now.

  • Kailey Arnold

    This lady is literally me. I must’ve prayed for salvation 100 times. I have no clue when I was saved. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who struggled with that!

  • Anna Christian

    This is was perfect for the situation I’m in right now. I did something the other day I know I shouldn’t have.. And it’s been on my mind and I felt I couldn’t be forgiven. I’m back on track now because of this devo:) the lord is so so merciful!

  • I totally needed this this morning!

  • Definitely what I needed tonight, love this app! I have a lot to learn and this app is helping me understand God and his message more clearly! Thank you girls x

  • Loved this. Much needed today

  • Wow, I loved this message. Exactly what I needed to hear today.

  • I needed this! I often say to my friends that choosing Jesus was my toughest yet most rewarding decision.. I too have struggled/still struggle with this. More and more I’m beginning to realize that He chose me and He keeps choosing me, even when I neglect him.. Only by grace :)

  • This was what I needed to hear. For so long I’ve been focusing on the fact that I’m new to the faith … I should be focusing on the fact that my Savior died for me, that He gives me grace. Thank the Lord for His grace and mercy.

  • Matthew 3:11, Matt 3:13-17, John 3:5-8 (comes before John 3:16), Acts 2:36-41, Acts 9:18, and so many more. I urge you to read all of the word. Revelation 18-19 Do not take away. Confessing and repenting are part, but you have to obey the whole. Why would God command it if He does not require it? God bless you all.

    • Danica

      Of course obedience is part, but obedience does not save us… The law does not save us, we can never be obedient enough. Never! That’s where grace steps in. That’s when Christ says, I already won! He saves us!

  • Thank you for this devotional! Thank God for this app! Since childhood I wondered if my salvation wasn’t real because my parents never had us baptized. I didn’t baptize my daughter, either, and for her first few years of life I was unsure of where we stood in terms of salvation because of the fact. It recently clicked, first in my heart then in my brain, that God doesn’t want us being baptized/saying the sinners prayer 1,000 times because we are afraid of where we stand in His eyes! To Him we are precious & loved, water baptism or not! He loves the outward sign of affection, but God isn’t ruffled that I haven’t been baptized- He knows how much I love Him. & because it bothers ME, not God, it’s become a goal of mine to become baptized, alongside my daughter, sometime before her 10th birthday (& my 30th), because I DO want to show Him I’m all in & not ever going back to the way we lived before…this has been a huge transformation in my line of thinking. I’m so grateful God loves us even if we aren’t following all of “the steps” in order! ❤️

  • I love Psalm 51:1-12, although I feel like verse 13 is an essential part of that section of scripture and it often gets left out. v 12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. v 13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.
    Our repentance, befor God and before each other, has the power to bring others to Know Him. Alleluia!!

  • This was a great devotional for me to read this morning. Christ is always always enough.

  • I grew up thinking the same and oh! So much time wasted running around in circles and not moving beyond this point! But thank God He heard my desperate cry and brought me to a place that taught me that it was not me but Him. My spiritual life has never been more stable than after I learned about this.

  • This devotional had so much more to say to me than what the author originally planned for. My husband and I were co-churching and going to two different denominations, as his father is a preacher of a church different than the one I attend. It was going fine until his father preached on the importance of going to “the Church” (his denominations church) only because anyone else is worshipping in vain and is going to hell. We have had discussions on our different beliefs before and both discussed scripture to make our points, but that Sunday I left in tears and havent been back. It’s so hard for me. I love my father in law but it’s hard for me to love him as my father in law/the preacher who believes I’m going to hell because I don’t attend his church. If anyone else had experience with this. I would love to reach out to you.

    • Kylee

      Kelsey, I’m so sorry that happened to you. I’m praying for your heart, and for the heart of your husband and also your Father in Law; remember, we serve a God who is mighty to change hearts & save relationships even when they seem beyond repair. He is faithful, & you are not going to hell because you don’t attend your FIL’s church!

  • As I started reading I thought the same thing as a several others… This could be my testimony!! So thankful my dad sat me down as a 12 year old girl and told me this very thing. That it wasn’t about me. That it is and always has been about Jesus. That Jesus did the saving and I needed to trust that He is who He says He is and that He would do what He said He would do. It made all the difference in the world. Now, 14 years later, I can say with confidence I am a child of God. So thankful for that assurance!

  • This spoke to me today, my husband and I just found out yesterday that we are pregnant with our 3rd child. This was completely unplanned and a big surprise to us. We have two beautiful children and weren’t planning on having another but …wham! God had different plans. I have found myself really worrying and stressing these last 24 hours. The stresses that come with another child: money, marriage strains, etc. Especially because my husband and I had the hardest year of our marriage this year but currently are in a good spot, I don’t want to go backwards. I am praying to give all my anxieties to Him. This was his plan for us and I am praying he will forgive me for my anxiety. Babies are a blessing. Forgive me and any prayers for us would be appreciated!

    • Sarah_Joy

      Our third child was a surprise as well. I felt so frustrated as it wasn’t in OUR plans (although I wasn’t opposed to more kids). I felt the Spirit ask, “what if I want this child?” We are entrusted with these sweet ones that belong to Him in the first place. Cling to the promise that He will never leave you or forsake you. He has you, your marriage, you children all in His hands. Whispering a prayer for peace and joy for you in this time.

      • Kiki

        Thank you! Those are words that gave me comfort, you are right- it is His will and he is with me every step of the way. My faith is strong and I need to trust in his plan. Thank you Sarah!

  • Exactly what I needed to read today! So thankful for this community of beautiful, Godly woman to encourage and inspire me!

  • Brittany

    So powerful! It’s not about us saving ourselves. What a shining example of how to see and receive God’s love!

  • Lisa Helms

    Thank you for sharing this. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who has felt this way. Your transparency is quite contagious!!!! I can’t wait each day to read God’s Word and just chew on it all day!! I look so forward to reading “She Reads Truth” each day!! Thank you!!!

  • Michelle

    Wow, I totally identify with the author’s experience. What a beautiful reassurance that it is (and always has been) about Him and never my circumstances. Thank you for writing this!

  • Part of Psalm 51 in the Message reads this “Shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life”. Man I want that! Powerful!

  • I’ve read this over and over and over again. I really needed to hear this. Thank you for writing it.

  • Reading today's post was like reading my own testimony. I completely understand all of the doubt, fear, frustration like I felt through all of my own carefully worded "Sinner's Prayers" growing up, but how encouraging to be reminded of how far God has brought me and the peace and assurance that comes with deciding to truly trust in God rather than myself.

  • Hannah Rose

    I love love love this devotional! I struggled with the same things as a child, but now I am trusting in Jesus to forgive!

  • Thank you for this incredible devotion! Just what I needed.

  • Made me think of this song:
    https://youtu.be/HELQyZNnR-g

  • how hard it is to stop the "people-pleasing" in me. It's engrained in me, I think. Many lessons taught to me by my grandmother. To take into account how others may feel, what they may be thinking, what their needs may be…. all good things but, Man there is a line, isn't there. And I have crossed it, hundreds of times. Father, refocus me. Help me to remember that my goals today are not to please everyone in all scenerios – but only to live by You. To speak Your truth. Help me to live boldly in the depth of your Grace. Amen

  • Lindsey Forrest

    I have been really struggling with doubt and anxiety the past couple weeks. I have been doubting a lot, and I have been a believer for as long as I can remember. When I was little we didn’t go to church as often because life got busy and we had moved. I went to a Christian based tumble and cheer gym and tried to stay committed, I tried to do it by myself. The past couple weeks I decided I am going to get involved with groups, go to church, and fully commit. I have been going and I’m excited, but I have been doubting and getting really bad anxiety. I have been praying and praying but it just keeps creeping in and it’s getting to be too much.

    • Alexis C.

      Lindsey, keep your belief above all ,get involved in the Christian groups you want to and go to church. Doubt is an evil that happens to all believers. Maintain the excitement by staying with SRT and going to church. Perhaps a visit with your Pastor would be of assistance? We are so glad you are with us here at SRT.

      • Lindsey Forrest

        Thank you, Alexis. I will. I am going to keep pursuing. I know He is testing me, and He is silent because He is planning something for me. Thank you for the encouragement. It means a lot to me. I am so glad and thankful to be here at SRT.

    • Kristina

      I totally understand where you’re coming from, Lindsey. Anxiety is such a scary and real thing, especially when it feels like its keeping you from God. It takes what you already know to be true and fogs it up till you don’t remember what’s real anymore, leaving you alone amd terrified. I’ve experience it more often than I would have liked this last year. But the one thing the always helped me – gave me guilt but helped at the same time – was that I knew He still loved me through it all. All my doubting, my distrust, my anxieties, my worries, none of it kept me away from His love. His grace is such a magnificent, powerful thing He grants us continually through our screw-ups, which just proves how much He truly loves us, and you, Lindsey. His love and grace never leaves you, no matter how far you feel from it.

      • Alexis C.

        Beautifully said.

      • Lindsey Forrest

        Thank you for the kind words and encouragement, Kristina. It means so much to me. I am going to keep holding on to His promises. I know He is testing me.

  • I’m fairly new to SRT, and this is my first study to read with the group…. This really resonated with me. It was something I needed to read and hear today. Another reminder that God shows us exactly what we need.

  • It’s so hard to keep the doubt away!!

  • Antimony

    Really not sure of which way to go right now. Part of me wants to just walk away from everything about God. But, the reality is that I can’t do that. My job, my family, my marriage … It’s all based on “my faith”. But I can’t turn to God just to make life simpler. I did something a year ago that I really regret. I asked God to prove that He cared about me … that He wanted me … by doing something very specific by a particular date/time. Well, it didn’t happen. Obviously, He could have done it. But He didn’t. And even though a big part of me says, “He just refused to be manipulated” … “He’s not to be treated like a genie” … Another part of me says, “but why? He could have done it. It would have been so easy for Him”. Trust is really hard for me. I don’t want to have to trust/depend on people. I just want to make life work all by myself. But, the truth is, it’s just not. I can’t keep “living” like this for years … Something has to change … And I’m becoming very much afraid that that “something” … is me. Mark 9:24 – I’ve gotten so “good” at unbelief … at being the cynic … the “devil’s advocate” … Can I ever believe again?

    • Tesa Renae

      I also have major trust issues when it comes to God. I would bring my problems to him and then go on trying to fix them myself. I have put trust in people because I convinced myself that I needed someone who would answer back and God just wasn’t doing that, but as the last of those people left me today I was left utterly confused. And I have come to the realization that God is the only one that will never leave me and that I will never be able to see the whole picture as God sees but if I do not trust in him to take care of me I will just continue searching for some

    • Tesa Renae

      *something to fill my God-size hole

    • Alexis C.

      Antimony, is there any chance you could go on a women’s retreat where no one knows you? Maybe you just need a break from everyday and a new breath. God has not let you down but it is all the in His timing and in His way. Maybe what you asked for wasn’t what He knows you need, or how you need it or when you needed it? To me it sounds as if you have all the right paths but you are exhausted from all the strings tied to you and being pulled in every direction at the same time. I so wish I could actually physically be there for you to just breath and cry and yell until you could start fresh again and make a plan for a happy future. But since I can’t I will pray for a Christian someone to walk into your life and through this season with you. Remember: Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

  • First, happy birthday, Amanda. I and so many others that grew up in the church and never knew anything but the Truth have felt just like this “True story: I used to worry my salvation wasn’t real because I did not know my spiritual birthdate.
    I wonder what Jesus would say to my teenage self, dutifully walking forward at each youth rally, giving myself over and over, desperate to make that prayer stick? I wonder if it saddened Him to watch as I refused to fully believe the promises He’s made to me, the ones forever sealed when He hung on the Cross and walked out of the tomb?” I always felt like man those people had a REAL Experience with Jesus, was mine real? Well into my 50’s it finally occurred to me it was real and always had been. If not why were my many confessed and repented sins move as far as the east from the west. Jesus KNOWS my heart and he knows my doubts and shame…BUT he LOVES ME & FORGAVE ME AND SHED HIS BLOOD TO MAKE IT SO. Now when I start the doubting game I try to picture Jesus on the cross bleeding for me 2000 years later. It brings my focus back to the next scene, the empty tomb.

  • loveHimso

    I absolutely love music. All kinds..I can sit for hours and allow the music to warm my soul and think about absolutely nothing. Maya Angelou once wrote, " Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness….The busyness of this world is often overwhelming. But God is our refuge. I don't care how far we have come, we will always need to kneel before the Father as children and take hold of His Grace. I don't know why I'm always amazed at this "Grace". But when you realized you don't need another thing to experience His goodness.. His Grace is truly sufficient! So if you are a music lover like me, you can lay back, relax and curl up between the notes of Grace.

  • I didn’t grow up hearing about Jesus at all, and didn’t become His follower until just a few years ago, so I haven’t had the same struggle to remember my ‘birthdate’ or even to question if I’m really saved. Where I have struggled is in the area of our marriage vows. I wasn’t a believer then, and my husband didn’t live like one, and God wasn’t the focus of our union like He should have been. I’ve even wondered if we should renew our vows because of this. But I know all this is the devil trying to get to me. God was at our wedding, and He has certainly been at work in our marriage!

  • Tanya Thurnaj

    This resonated with me a lot today. I just moved to the south – to Texas – and the religious culture here is very different than Minnesota. For me, I grew up Lutheran, and still consider myself to be one, however, many here are Baptist. There are very few Lutheran churches here, and I’m not someone who is strictly denominational when it comes to selecting a church, so I began attending a church that is also Baptist with many people I find very enjoyable to spend time with both personally and religiously. As a Lutheran, we are welcomed to the family of Christ when we are baptized as babies. So I’ve never grown up looking for the spiritual birthdate where I’m born again. I’ve been asked when my spiritual birthdate is and it’s hard to tell people that I don’t know when mine is. I’ve felt a lot lately that I’ve had to defend my faith – convince people I believe God is the only way to salvation and that I have a relationship with him. I feel like I’m being judged by not having a spiritual birthdate. The message today helped me take comfort in the fact that in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that Jesus has already given Himself for our salvation. Grace through Christ is already ours. All we need is to repent and believe in Him.

    • Melissa

      This is beautiful to me. I grew up Baptist and in the past few years I feel God has been showing me that the special “birthday” is not as meaningful as it was always portrayed to be. Some people (like Paul) have that magical day, but for many others (like many of the disciples) it is more of a journey. I’ve been learning that following after God in faith & repentance is what He wants from me much more than a remembrance of a special date.

  • savannah

    I love this devotion so much. I used to come back to it occasionally when I needed to be reminded of this truth and I’m so happy it is back. I’m so thankful for Jesus and the finished work of the cross. When I feel confused and full of doubt I begin to make my salvation about myself. But we have a Savior that longs for us to come back to him and see the beauty of his grace! When our confidence is in Him we won’t be put to shame!! Carrying these words with me: “Walk everyday in that same grace from which you first received”. Thank you, Amanda! Thank you JESUS!

  • I cannot tell you how much I identified with this. So grateful to remember that it is not a single defining decision, but rather a belief that we stronghold day after day!! Thank you, sisters!!

  • Hana

  • So this is a great message today. In my teenage and 20s I used to struggle with baptism. I was baptized as a junior in high school, but somehow I kept wondering if I needed to do it again and again as the preacher gave alter calls in the different churches I attended at that time. Thinking to myself, did it really count the first time? Thank you Jesus for the simplicity of your call to us. We need not come by our own goodness, for you are good enough.

    • Tanya Thurnau

      Been struggling with this, as well, being Lutheran and baptized as a baby. It’s nice to know we’re not alone. Thank you for sharing.

  • On Sunday, my pastor said that the real answer when people ask when you were saved is “2000 years ago.” Jesus did all the work for our salvation when he died and rose again. It helped me to consider it this way!

  • Steps to Salvation

    1 HEAR

    14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

    17 So faith comes through hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

    Romans 10:14;17 ESV

    2 BELIEVE

    24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.

    John 8:24 ESV

    3 REPENT

    The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent

    Acts 17:30 ESV

    4 CONFESS THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD

    9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10:9-10 ESV

    5 BE BAPTIZED

    38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

    Acts 2:38 ESV

    16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name. Acts 22:16 ESV

    6 REMAIN FAITHFUL

    10 Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 2:10 ESV

    11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. Revelation 3:11 ESV

    Sinner’s prayer is not in the Bible.

    • Armanda

      Amen!

    • churchmouse

      The sinners prayer is not in the Bible literally but encompasses the Scriptures you identified. For those who have difficulty memorizing Scripture or who have a Bible brain freeze when sharing or who feel a conversational approach may be initially more received, the simplicity of the Sinners prayer is a resource. Later, the actual Scriptures, verbatim, can always be shared. Grace to all

  • This is what I needed to read today. So often I worry because I don’t remember the exact date of my coming to Christ. I still some days wonder if I too “missed something” when I prayed and I’m not truly saved. I struggle with satan convincing me I’m not good enough, or know enough, or am Christian enough. I fail miserably every day.

    Going back to my marriage and because it’s barely hanging on, I pray and cry out and beg for God to just turn on the light in my husbands heart to see the pain he’s caused. Every day I think about the numerous things he’s done and how I’m still here and question why. I try to remind myself the Lord desires reconciliation and I myself am just another sinner. My husband isn’t worse because of the things he’s done nor am I better because I didn’t do what he did. In fact maybe my lack of forgiveness makes me worse.

    Most days I too feel so far away from the Lord but starting this journey here has helped and made me desire to pursue seeking God. I pray through this journey I may find inner peace in my circumstances rather than asking God “why me?”.

    I am so thankful for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for my sin. I am so thankful he hear my cries and prayers. I just pray I can trust it’s in His timing not my own that “all things work together”.

    • Susan

      Candace, my relationship to Jesus went to a much deeper place through a study about my identity in Christ. I’d read everything presented in this class but the leader tied it all together in a way that brought new revelation to me. We become the righteousness of Christ when we are saved, no longer are we “sinners” in God’s eyes. Jesus took on the sin of the world at the cross. Yes we may fall, and sin occasionally, but if we are truly living for Jesus, and allowing our lives to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (by reading the word daily) we will not even be drawn to sin. Knowing who we are makes us WANT to run from anything that is in direct contrast to pure living by God’s standards. It is a process, but when you see the heart change that the Holy Spirit does in your life, it will blow you away, This change in how we see ourselves from God’s perspective is necessary, I believe, for us to be able to love unconditionally the people we are in relationship with. I totally understand your desire for your husband yet the only person you can control is yourself. Let Jesus give you all you need to be able to live a life before your husband that reflects who Jesus is. Then you will rest assured that you did all you could to love your husband into the kingdom and the result will be between him and God. I will keep praying for revelation for each of you and a healing in your marriage!

      • Candice

        Susan, this is what I always need to hear because I quickly get consumed by all he’s doing wrong than focusing on how I can change and how I am to respond. I appreciate your honesty, In that all I can control is me and my relationship with Christ. I pray even more, 2 years later that I can finally stop worrying about what my husband may do or say and start repairing my relationship and my heart towards Christ.

      • hesaved83

        Susan,

        Amen! We are no longer sinners (deliberately continues to practice sin) we are saints/belivers who have sinful natures. Christ is the Great I AM and if God sees us as righteous because of Jesus' finished work. How can believers still call themselves sinners? Why did Jesus come? What did he redeem us for/from? I've also never heard of a beliver who doesn't believe and many times Mark 9:24, is taken out of context.

  • mmartinez86

    Some days I feel like I am so far away from God I can't understand this. And today is just one of those days. I am going to keep meditating on this and try to break those walls that have been built up by sin. I just can't fathom why God would plan for us to send Himself to the world to die. Why death? Why did it have to be such an agonizing death. I still can't understand this.

    • Kathryn

      It was a death that we all deserve. Jesus, perfect and sinless, took on your sins and died in your place. It had to be done, so that you could have direct access to God, once again. We were all separated from God because of our sins, so Christ died, but by raising from the dead, He defeated our death. We have the power to be alive in Christ and dead to our sin. What an amazing gift! I will pray for you today, specifically so that the Lord can bring you understanding about this, and for unity with His spirit, so you can feel His loving and comforting presence today.

  • Alexis C.

    Beverly, I love the growth in faith and trust you share with us. I am so happy for you!

  • Chelsea LeAnn

    Sister’s I believe in Jesus, i believe He died for us, I have faith in Him but why do i feel empty, why do i feel like he isnt part of him. i know he has blessed each and every second of the day and each day of my life but why do i continue to struggle. Why does my lifes financial situations continue to bog me down, why just when i start to reach the top of the ocean to catch a breath i drown again. Is this because i dont go to church or i dont tithe or i dont pray as often as i should. im lost….i dont always kneel down to pray but i talk to God often…i really just someone that i can talk to to help guide me, show me where to begin, show me the right way..

    • Christy

      Just love Him. Everything else flows from that. xo

    • churchmouse

      You may be confusing salvation with success. You have a belief and confession in Christ Jesus. You are saved. You are His child. You will one day see Him face to face and live with Him forever. While you live on this planet, you will have trials and tribulations and even persecution. That doesn’t change your salvation but it will certainly tempt you to believe you are not succeeding in your Christian walk. Personal difficulties may well continue. BUT GOD will walk through them with you. Yes it’s good to go to church, to pray , to study because those resources will help in getting through those tough times and they will help you stand firm in your faith. The devil will try to discourage you. That’s his job. BUT GOD is bigger, stronger and ever present in times of trouble. Draw on fellow believers and a solid church home for support. Doing things will not make you more saved but developing spiritual practices and surrounding yourself with mature believers will be an oasis in those desert times. Praying for you

    • Armanda

      Chelsea LeAnn,
      Like Angela said steps to salvation. Hear, Believe, Repent, Confess, Be Baptized, Remain Faithful. Examine all these in your heart.
      Stress and worry come from satan he wants to distract your time and have you focus on worry rather than God. It’s human nature to worry and not trust God but Jesus specifically said we are not to worry. He has everything under His sovereignty. Being a follower of Christ isn’t easy He sees you and your desire to get it right. In order to produce fruit we have to be connected to the vine (Jesus) at all times, through His word, in prayer, loving others unselfishly, with our finances to love the least of these like He loved us. He desires to be in closest relationship with you, talk to Him about anything and everything thank Him for your eyesight, hands, feet, family, His Son Jesus, everything He’s blessed you with. Chelsea I am praying for you. Abide in Christ and everything else will flow naturally.

    • Abby

      What I hear from you is a deep battle with loneliness and isolation. I have never been able to hold on to the truth all by myself- we are made for deep connection with one another, not just with God. God came in the flesh, in Jesus Christ! We still need God-in-the-flesh- the very same Jesus indwells believers by His Spirit! I pray for a friend to come along side you, Chelsea Leigh Anne, to wrap you in arms of grace and to let you let forth all your anxieties and burdens. In “casting all our cares upon him”, sometimes what we need is another person to share our burdens. Paul picks up on this in Galatians, saying “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” May a sweet friend surprise you today with love, and may you be filled with The peace that surpasses all understanding as you draw closer to Christ through the love of another person. Don’t be afraid to let down your guard and let someone in! It’s a total lie that Christians have to have all the answers or everything figured out! Not true at all, we simply come broken to the cross, sharing each other’s burdens, and drawing confidence from the surety of Christ’s once and for all sacrifice and resurrection. Check out Hebrews 7, especially verses 22-28.

    • Alexis C.

      Such beautiful words to you from these sisters.

      • Chelsea LeAnn

        Yes i do agree Alexis the sisters always put me in much better spirit’s than before…

  • "… walk in the light… the Spirit gives light…" (1John1:7, Romans 8:2)
    I feel I have been in and out of a season of darkness for awhile now. Mostly based on my circumstances or better yet a reaction to my circumstances, I have allowed the darkness to wrap me up in all its false comfort.
    But I believe that it is in these periods of darkness – of loneliness and confusion – that God is tenderly drawing me close. Nearer to Him by and through His grace. His grace is showing me my own inadequacies and insecurities. But He does not want me to stay here, in the darkness. He desires that I walk in His light. And this light is not my own, but His Spirit gives me light.
    I can often make repentance so complicated in my failed attempts for the perfect, end-all, this is the-last-one repentance. But that is exactly the point, repentance is meant to be continual. I am human and constantly falling short, choosing my ways over His ways – I need Grace like the air that I breathe. I need His undeserved, amazing gift often and always.
    Praying that as the rain steadily falls outside, I may allow His grace to wash over me and rest with Him here. He brings such beautiful peace.

    • Katie Walder

      Yes! I too often try to make some grand gesture of repentance that will last forever, when it’s truly meant to be a continual process. Thanks for the reminder :)

    • Joanna

      Amen. We have such high expectations for ourselves sometimes, don’t we? What a great reminder of how human we are and how there is always an opportunity for growth…to be closer to Him.

  • Sarah Martin

    Amanda! Thank you for your honesty again today. I know that so many of us who have a bit of Spiritual Birthday amnesia felt a wash of God's grace through your words. Hugs!

  • Leenda324

    Amen!!!!

  • Danielle A

    Oh I related so much to this devotion today! I don’t know my spiritual birthday, and as an early believer I remember people stating the exact day they came to Christ in their testimonies. For a time, I questioned my salvation because I didn’t know the day I was actually saved. Because I feel it happened slowly. A seed that finally just bloomed. I would pray salvation over and over when the opportunity raised. I am happy to know the ultimate truth that it’s all Jesus. And it’s more simple than we make it. I hope many young women see this important message today!

  • Abbey Carmen

    I have a question, would love to hear from others. How do you repent? Also, after you repent, how do you remember to not do the sin again? This has been on my mind so much lately. I believe He forgives us, but when I repent I want Him to know how sorry I am for my sins, but I feel that the way I repent for my sins is not good enough. I also feel I don’t deserve his forgiveness when I slip and do it again. I would love to hear how others repent and ways you help yourself to stay strong and not sin again. Thank you for any advice you have!

    • scootermae

      Repenting just means turning from your behavior, instead of continuing to knowingly live in it. It is the heart attitude. We wil slip up again. That is why scripture memorization is so key. I know when I struggle, I find a verse that relates to my struggle and repeat it. When Jesus was tempted those three times, what did he use…scripture. Practice what is known as spiritual breathing. When you sin, immediately confess it.

    • emily

      Scooter is spot on! Here is a resource that I think you'll find really helpful. It talks more about that "spiritual breathing" scooter mentioned. http://www.cru.org/train-and-grow/classics/transf

      • Abbey Carmen

        Awesome, thank you very much Scooter and Emily!! Very helpful. :)

    • Shannon Siegrist

      I think one of the most important things to remember in dealing with changing behaviors is that it has to start as a heart motivation. From a sincere place of relationship and vulnerability with God. God is concerned about our behavior because it can be a great source of destruction and distraction. Then those patterns change our hearts and dull our passions for God. In His wisdom and love He knows these things, behaviors ect. will pull our hearts away from him. My advice is to just talk to him about it all and really start carving out that we’ll worn path of intimacy. Have lots of conversations with God about his word, your heart and his heart toward you.

    • Pam B

      Repenting is recognizing that you have done something wrong and coming before God and asking for forgiveness. Repenting is just as much about our heart attitude as it is about our mind. We can know that something is wrong but not want to change. Repenting is knowing something is wrong and not wanting to do it anymore. All we have to do is come before God, tell Him about it and ask for forgiveness, which Christ already gave on the cross. Not doing the sin again is easier said than done. I know that I have sins and temptations that I struggle with that others might not because Satan knows what will get each of us to disobey. Lots of prayer and meditating on Scripture is definitely a good plan. If we are immersing ourselves in God’s Word, Satan and those temptations will have a much harder time getting to us.

      • Abbey Carmen

        Thank you, Pam! I will definitely be researching scripture today to help stay away from the temptations. So glad I joined this study.

  • LOVED this message today!!!!

  • Thank you Jesus!

  • Loved this today. Like so many others, I too, struggled with unbelief that Jesus was really pleased with me. I prayed the prayer over and over and at one point I decided to be baptized again thinking it would make it all right. I remember expecting to come out of the water with this miraculous change and when nothing occurred I felt that once again I had gotten it wrong. I kept looking for that Saul to Paul change and it didnt happen. I was a young girl when I asked Jesus into my heart- I dont remember what I said but I remember where I was. But wrong choices in life caused me to think that I must not be saved if I made tht choice. What I finally came to realize is that there has been a change in me, a continued gradual change as I learn and grow and we all sin and make wrong choices but God! Thats why I love David so much but he was such a great example of repentance and redemption . Just like a child matures into an adult. Our salvation is being continually worked out and we are transformed daily by His grace. So thankful for this devotion today and the reminder that so many of us struggle with the same things-I am not alone.

  • I was digging around in one of the sections of Scripture you mentioned – Galatians 2:15-21 – and was reading the NET version (really neat translation), and they repeatedly translate what we usually read as "faith in Jesus Christ" as "the faithfulness OF Jesus Christ" and it transforms the whole meaning of the passage. It really nails the message of grace that today's SRT reading is all about.

    When we read that it's "by (our) faith" that we're saved, we want to turn faith into another work of ours – the way we earn salvation. But when we do that, we're just creating a new way to be justified by a law (which will never work). But truly, "it's not your own doing" (Eph. 2:8). "The faithfulness of Jesus Christ" accomplishes our salvation. And that's both his faithfulness to us, and his faithfulness to God, which we get to wear to us as our own.

    If you have a minute, read through that passage in the NET translation, and ask the Spirit for a fresh insight into its meaning. I've been so blessed by it this morning.

    Here's a link: http://biblia.com/bible/gs-netbible/Ga2.16

  • Needed this today.

  • I really needed this word from God this morning. I've been struggling in a sea of unbelief. Relying too much on how I feel and not trusting in Jesus's saving work. I don't need to understand all the mysteries of faith and this life, I just need Jesus. I'm so thankful for a God who REJOICES to save broken sinners. It's not about my behavior, but I want a heart worthy of his precious love.

    • Natalie

      I can completely relate. It’s easy to get caught up in little things and forget about the biggest, greatest gift of all: God’s Grace!

  • Excellent! Powerful! All we ever need to know right there.

  • Marianna

    Thanks for pointing us towards this translation, Amanda. So good!!! So powerful!!!

    Galatians 2:19-21The Message (MSG)
    “What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

    Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.”

    • MNmomma (heather)

      oh wow! WOW! WOW!!!!! I absolutely LOVE this translation! I REALLY want to get a MSG Bible :)

  • Really needed this today. I have always thought I am not good enough for his grace. But this is a reminder it is not about me, it is all about him. Thank you.

  • I've always been sick by Psalm 103:12 – As far as the east is from the west so far does remove our transgressions from us. You can travel east forever and you will never ever start going west. It is infinite.

  • Thank goodness it isn't about me and what I do! I, too, had so many doubts growing up about whether my salvation was real. I think it was partly from attending a very legalistic church- if you didn't do everything just right, you weren't good enough for them. I'm so incredibly thankful we don't have to be "good enough" for God! He knows we could never get there, and that's the whole reason Jesus came.

  • me too!

  • Deb Black

    This could be my testimony! For years, even as an adult, I thought that I must have done or said something wrong when I said the ‘sinners prayer’ because I kept thinking I needed to do it again and again. And then when a preacher would insist that those who are truly saved would remember the exact day, place and time…. Let’s just say I don’t have a great memory for details and for many years I thought it must not be true if I couldn’t remember. Even now, just seeing your words of not remembering your spiritual birth date, I’m just relieved to know I’m not alone in that!

    Thank you for the reminder that it is not about what we do or say, it’s all about Jesus and His saving grace! I really needed that reminder this morning. ☺

    • JessHH

      I'm part of the "no spiritual birthdate" club too! :) You are definitely not alone in that!

    • Triciae

      I agree. I too heard if I didn’t remember the date of my acceptance of Christ as my Savior it couldn’t be real. Thank you for the reassurance.

    • MNmomma (heather)

      Me too :)

    • Alexis C.

      Spiritual Birth Date is not something I grew up with. I was baptized as an infant and confirmed because that is what we did. But all that being said I can tell you times in my life that I have felt more convicted, more filled, more saved, more humbled during my walk with Jesus. And maybe that is more realistic? Don’t we experience multiple times when our hearts are just overflowing with our love and gratitude for God and the sacrifices of Jesus? All our hills and valleys and deep gorges. Thank you, Lord for the mountain tops you have provided for me! Thank you for pulling me out of the gorges and over the hills and through the valleys. Thank you for lessons learned and forgiveness given and grace showered over me.

  • I thought I understood grace. I had known Christ for years and did not fully comprehend what this looked like for me, until one day I was sitting in church and a message brought a disturbing dream I'd had the year prior. A dream that never left me and had me wondering what the heck it was representing, because I knew it was something. When I sat and listed to a message in the service, God brought that dream rushing back in a way it seemed nothing else existed. A short summary of that dream; I stood on a beach with the world rushing behind me in what seemed a superior speed. I gazed at the ocean, wearing a dark and heavy coat. I slowly took off the coat, dropped it to the ground and walked into the water. Completely immersed undersea, not working to stay afloat, but standing on the bottom of those waters. I could see everything clearly, illuminated around me, my hair waving clearly around me. Listening to that message on grace, God brought home His desires for me, for all of us. I was carrying some heavy weights, a load on my shoulders that I took with me each day, unknowingly. While life moved with ease around me, I felt that I was missing out on something….that coat represented my heavy burdens, I needed to let it go and forget about the world that was wreaking havoc on my heart. I needed to not wait there, longing for the day I could swim those waters, they were waiting for me. I needed to take my eyes off of the day, THAT day, off the people and look to God. As I stepped on the beach, my toes sinking into the sand, water rushed over my feet, like God's love cleansing my heart and spirit and immersing myself in that Ocean meant to fully accept God's grace. To find myself overwhelmed by His sea of grace. The clarity with which I saw so much under water and in darkness, is the reality of what life look's like accepting this, accepting what God has for us, His greatness illuminating any darkness.

    When I finally understood that He was speaking specifically to my lack of understanding on grace for me, what it looked like to live it out everyday, my world changed. My eyes remain on that beautiful picture He gifted so that I am always looking to Him and ready to leave the world and my concerns behind me. That everyday this is available to me, breathing in the beauty of what life looks like with Christ, accepting fully His grace over my inadequacies and moving with ease through His great sea of grace! Thankful today for His vast grace, as wide and deep as any ocean and brimming with a love that is calling us into it, with each crashing wave upon our sandy beaches. Prayerful that we all take those steps, be it a full run into that refreshing grace or a tip toe, that we drop what holds us back and drench ourselves in His staggering love! ~ B

    • Shannon H

      ~B~, do you know the hymn “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus”? Your dream brought it to my mind. Thank you for sharing! The beautiful picture of being completely covered by the ocean of God’s grace…He has so much more grace than I can even fathom! He won’t run out!

    • MNmomma (heather)

      What a beautiful experience!

    • Beverly

      B, I love your words – thanks for sharing your dream. I am a wearer of heavy coat(s). But grateful that with His help I am learning to take them off… layer by layer by layer. Eternally thankful for His grace and prayerful that I can walk in it day by day.

    • Christy

      That is so amazing, thank you for that imagery. It makes so clear to me the burdens I’ve been carrying (presumably in the name of holiness), and I need to drop them, repent, and accept His grace, believe.

    • Ana

      Wow, this was beautiful to read. Thank you for sharing you story. It touched me and I needed this today. We simply need to let go and let God!

    • Mary

      Oh how I wish God would give me such a dream. I, too, wear heavy coats that I need to let go. Your comments really spoke to me. You are so blessed to have been shown his grace in such beautiful imagery.

  • Crowder – Come As You Are (Lyric Video): http://youtu.be/yjgioXrnEME

  • my favorite part about today’s lesson is Amanda’s words that our response is to repent and believe. I often wonder how God views my “performance” as a follower…like a performance review. Am I doing this Christian thing well enough? It’s a good reminder to view grave as a gift already given. I already have it and my focus should be on believing I have it. Help my unbelief.

  • Kasey Summers

    Absolutely love everything about today’s devotional! From how many verses were packed in to it to how it was ALL about how Jesus has saved us! I have struggled with this and I know many who have as well. This was a beautiful reminder to me of this truth! A few years ago J.D Greear’s book “Stop Asking Jesus into your Heart” really helped me get over this issue of not having a spiritual birth day. I don’t remember what it’s like to not know the Lord and I use to fill like my testimony was not as “good” or “influential” as others because of this… But now that I’m married I realize that is the testimony I want for my kids. So many times testimonies these days get constructed to being all about ourselves and not all about what Jesus has done in our life! Love how today we were reminded that it is ALL about God! He is the One who saved us! His work! His perfection! His death! He chose us! So thankful for our loving Lord and Savior!!

    • Pam B

      I can relate to your testimony. I have wonderful Christian parents who taught me about Jesus from day 1. So I have grown up in church and knowing about God. I don’t have a specific spiritual birth date either but know that I accepted Him at a young age. My pastor has a thing where he asks, Can you take me to date and place when you accepted Christ? And honestly, no I can’t but I know in my heart that Christ lives in me and that is what matters.

  • Thank you. I needed these words today. I have had some success in my life recently and have fallen into the lie and trap that it was about me or what I had done. Needed to be humbled and reminded that it’s about God and his mercy and blessings on me. God, thank you for your forgiveness – constant and deep.

    • Sarah Martin

      Emma, Thank you for your honesty here. I had a moment the other day reading SRT with a much needed and humbling reminder that as Christ is the substitute of our sin, He is also our righteousness. His righteousness not ours gives us access to the Lord. It is so key for me to remember this because how easy is it to start counting the ways we are so "good." Yet…the sin is still so thick in that arrogance. I need this Gospel reminder every day! Yes!

  • It’s all about You, Jesus.

  • He must increase, I must decrease. More of Him.

  • Kelly_Smith

    "Your sins are forgiven for HIS name's sake" (1 Jn 2:12, emphasis added). I want to make my salvation about me, about how I feel. While God loves me and wants me to know the joy of salvation, ultimately my salvation is to bring me into right relationship with Him, to restore the fellowship that was lost in the Garden. It is for Christ's name sake, for His glory, that I am saved. It is not to make me feel better about my sin. It is not so I can be a good person for the applause of man. When He rescued the Israelites over and over again, it was so the nations would see that the God of Israel is the one true God. That is a hard concept to grasp in the ego-centric society I live in.

    Waffling in my assurance that I am a child of God makes my salvation about the way I feel. Instead, I can rest that what He has offered, He will give freely and completely. He does this, not to give me a feeling of salvation, but with the assurance that Jesus' death and resurrection completed the work of salvation in me.

    • I hear you, Kelly. It's amazing to me how even our feelings can deceive us, distracting us from Truth. So thankful for the daily reminders to help me keep my heart and my eyes on Him.

    • Cat

      Thank you, Kelly! In my Amplified Bible it translates “belief” as personal trust, confident surrender and firm reliance….all of this focuses on Jesus and what He did to save me. My salvation, my belief is not about me but always about Jesus!

      • Kelly_Smith

        Thank you for sharing that, Cat! I love that–a firm reliance.

    • Stacy

      Thanks Kelly, this is exactly how I look at salvation sometimes, how 'I feel' and if I don't feel close to God, I try to make up for feeling far away, by 'doing more' for God when really as you said it is all about Him and for His name sake not for my applause from others. This really hit me today, thanks for sharing.

      • Kelly_Smith

        I fall into that trap so often, Stacy. The enemy fools us into exchanging activity for faith. He gets our eyes off of God and His perfect grace.

  • smithwendy62

    It was never about the where or how or with what words I came to Christ. YES!

  • Candacejo

    I love the line from the song, "If you tarry till you're better, you will never come at all." So true. We don't have to GET GOOD in order to GET GOD! He doesn't ask us to clean up our act before we come to Him, He took care of all of that on Calvary. We just come. We repent, washed in His blood through baptism and filled with His spirit. Then all the old is passed away and all things are new! He cleans us up from the inside out and Sisters, this is good. He does it best!

    As Amanda said so beautifully, then come every. single. day. Amen. ♥

  • Grace is a word that The Lord has brought to my heart several times over the past few weeks. As I struggle to move forward from the hurt of the past He must constantly remind me He’s given me the grace to let go and the grace to, in turn, give to others. It’s a powerful part of walking with Jesus that I think I often take for granted or fail to fully accept. Thankful for His amazing grace this morning!

    • Kasey Summers

      “Grace to let go”… I love that! Needed that reminder today. God’s grace covers all areas of life. He enables me to let go of things that have hurt me because he is my Healer!

      • Courtney

        Yesterday I let go of a thing I’d been clinging super tightly to. Thanks for this reminder to let go. You are helping me feel more sure I made the right choice.

    • Stacy

      "grace to give to others" I think that is an important point to remember, we should forgive and extend grace to others just as God has done and is doing for us.

  • He loves me just as I am, where I am! Thank you Father!

  • carlybenson

    This is so helpful- the passage in 1 John really stood out to me today. It makes me realise how much I struggle to accept God's grace sometimes. I accept it in my head but not always in my heart. Too often I hide in the darkness, afraid to be honest about my sin, thinking it's better to brush it under the carpet and ignore it, instead of coming to him to receive his grace and forgiveness. I've always felt there were parts of myself I had to hide, and if I did wrong I had to hide it, because my experience was not being met with grace and forgiveness- there was always the sense of having to make up for it somehow. Though I know it is different with God it is sometimes hard to truly believe it and live in it.
    Today's readings bring me back to the truth- that it is safe to come into the light. God is not going to condemn us but he wants to forgive us and cleanse us through Jesus. He wants to remove our sin as far as the east is from the west- not to bring it up again or ask us to make up for that. Jesus has already done that. It is all about him, not about anything that I can do.

  • Grace can be such a difficult concept to wrap our minds around. Like you Amanda, I prayed the sinner's prayer dozens of times and worried for years that I hadn't quite done it right.
    One thing that helped me so much is understanding the meaning of the Hebrew word for 'grace'. It means 'to encamp'. God chose to encamp with Israel in the wilderness. Then He sent His son to pitch His tent (His earthly body) with humanity for a time, then He sent His Spirit to encamp in each one of us who receives His kingship. And He promises that in the future,during His reign here on Earth, He will encamp with us again. That act of setting up camp with us and in us is grace.
    This understanding of grace as God's nearness rather than a license for sin helped me view the whole Bible, and God's whole character, in a more unified way

    • April M

      Hannah, thank you so much for that definition and beautiful word picture! The Lord has been slowly helping me to understand grace over the last 8 years after a long struggle with legalism and repeated aisle walks. This definitely helps too! The more I learn about grace the more amazed I am and the more I love Jesus.

      • hannah

        April, I can totally relate to that struggle. Learning more about the original Hebrew has really made things more tangible, because it's a much more concrete language. When I can articulate and visualize these truths, it's easier to stand firm in them in moments of uncertainty. I'm glad this word-picture helped you too!

    • Kasey Summers

      Thanks for sharing Hannah!! God’s grace should excite us on how He has brought us near to Him by the blood of Christ!

    • SharonT

      Hannah, this is fascinating. I did a search and it sure isn't easy to find the ancient Hebrew meaning of words, but I did find it. Such a powerful picture and I wonder why that idea of encamping has been lost. I had never heard that definition until I read your comment today.

      • hannah

        Sharon, I'm glad you found it fascinating…there is SO much treasure to be discovered when we look at the Bible in the original language. We're so blessed to have such a rich family heritage in God's family!

    • Trisha

      This is beautiful insight! Thank you for sharing!

      • hannah

        You're welcome, Trisha. It's one of my favorite word pictures in the whole Bible!

    • Courtney C.

      What a helpful response! "Encamp," I love that. Thanks, Hannah.

    • Rhonda Elder

      That’s so good. Thanks for sharing.

    • Rhonda Elder

      “It is safe to come into the light ” love that.

  • Alexis C.

    Amanda, thank you for another great devotion! I get excited every time I see your name under the title. :-) You spoke to every question and struggle we have covered in our recent communications with each other here at SRT . It is SO about Jesus and SO NOT about me/us.
    I also resonated with the 1John passage. Like a summary of all we need to get through a day.
    Sisters, have a beautiful Tuesday.

  • Sarah-Beth

    Really, really needed this. Jesus is good

Further Reading...