Are you Available?

The first thing that pops into my head when I think about the word “available” is the restroom stalls that have a green slot that show its availability and the red slot that shows that it is in use. I am from Texas so we have a gasoline station chain called Buc-ee’s. I am telling you that this gas station is the elite road tripping pit stop. The restrooms are the cleanest and sometimes they have green or red lights above the stall to show its availability.

The dictionary definition for the word available is: “able to be used or obtained; at someone’s disposal.” When someone is available to hang out, it means their schedule is completely free and that they have no other distractions or previous engagements holding them back from spending time with you.

In the book of Luke, chapter 10, we find a very popular story that most people are familiar with. We come across two sisters named Mary and Martha who have welcomed Jesus into their home. Jesus is in their home and Martha is occupied doing all the house chores, meanwhile Mary is at Jesus’ feet listening to him. Obviously Martha gets irritated so she urges Jesus to tell Mary to help her. Jesus, however, does the opposite and commends Mary for her actions.

Mary and Martha both had good intentions. For starters, they had welcomed Jesus into their home. However, I feel like many of us Christians have already welcomed Jesus into our lives, homes, hearts, and we have even been saved. But as time passes we make ourselves unavailable to him. We have the “WELCOME” doormat at the door of our hearts so Jesus can see that he is welcome, but the question is, do we really make time for him? Do we make ourselves available to him? 

Martha was so occupied with all her worldly work that she passed on the opportunity to sit at the King of King’s feet and listen to him. When thinking about it, you could probably ask: Who would do such a thing? But the truth is that many of us do this day to day. We pass up an opportunity to read our Bible to instead spend time scrolling through socials. We pass up prayer time to instead see what’s new on Netflix.

Are you available? As previously stated, by definition the word means “able to be used.” Are you able to be used by God? Or are you going to keep focusing on other things? All my life, my parents have told me that if I didn’t use the voice that God gave me to bring glory to his name, he could easily pass it on to someone else who would glorify him. Since I was young I understood that I had to make myself available so God could continue to use me. 

I pray that this helps you and that you examine your life and remove every obstacle that is making your door sign say “OCCUPIED” to God. I pray that you internally analyze what has been holding you back from being completely available to God.

5 Things to Leave in 2020

We’re now a few days into the new year and New Year’s Resolutions are underway! However, one important and overlooked aspect of resolutions is habit setting and goal tracking. Creating measurable goals is essential to ensuring success. Learning how to track those goals and stay consistent can provide the motivation needed to keep going!

In addition to the awesome goals you already have in place this new year, here are 5 things that you should definitely not be taking with you into 2021:

  1. Inconsistency

If you’re the type of person who puts off what you want/need MOST for what you want/need NOW, this one’s for you. Though life often demands we make some tough choices in regards to our time and energy, one way we can maintain control in terms of our priorities is to put our foot down and stand up for ourselves! Even if the person you’re standing up to is yourself. 

If you want to lose weight this year, this means actually budgeting time in your day to get a workout in– and sticking to it. If you want to spend less time on social media, set screen time limits and actually abide by them!

What I’m doing: I’m using Notion this year as a habit tracker to keep up with the new habits that I want to form. There are tons of habit tracking apps, check some out!

2. Caring too much about other people’s opinions

This new year, free yourself. You will never be who God called you to be trying to live someone else’s life. If you’re constantly seeking others’ approval or trying to play by everyone else’s rules, you’ll find yourself either going too far or playing it way too safe. 

Decide what you stand for. Decide who you stand for. Draw your own lines with wisdom. Empower trusted individuals in your life to speak up and offer critique and correction and listen to these voices above all the other noise.

3. Apologizing for being yourself

Piggybacking off of my last point, as soon as you start looking around and comparing yourself to other people’s standards, you start down the slippery slope of stomping all over your self-esteem. Do you want to know the first event at this pity party? Apologizing for being yourself.

2021 is the year that we are stepping into all that God has for us without holding back! When you come to understand who that person is behind closed doors, don’t let people mold you when you walk outside or log in to social media. Be you always and unapologetically. Stop adding caveats to your statements and qualifiers to everything you do. Just do it!

4. Not checking in with yourself (no quiet time)

As someone who is constantly talking to myself when I’m alone, I can’t imagine life without my daily staff meetings with Me, Myself, and I. But sometimes, I find that I’m doing a lot of talking to myself, and not a lot of listening. As fast paced as life is, take some time to just sit with your thoughts, however that looks for you.

If journaling helps you get all your thoughts in order, find you a cute journal and write it out. If taking a few minutes to sit on your bed and have a little self-check in before you lay down for the night works best, do that. But please… don’t go through this year ignoring yourself!

5. Not sticking to the plan!

If you’re reading this, you probably have a list of things you want to see improve in your life in 2021. If you do have a list but it doesn’t consist of actionable steps to help you reach these goals, you’re already setting yourself up for failure. BUT here’s where I’m going to stray from the typical “You-Got-This-New-Year’s-Resolution” spiel and tell you the truth.

Writing it all down will do nothing for you if you don’t stick to your own plan. That’s like turning on your GPS for a road trip and just choosing to ignore it! Do your absolute best to see your goals through this year. The world is anticipating a better you!

My Testimony– Brianna Horrach

I wasn’t sure where to start and I had been going back and forth with myself on whether or not I was ready to share this, but God has a plan and it’s better than I could ever imagine! God recently has pressed upon me that I need to share my testimony.

so here it goes…

Every kid imagines having a perfect family with a mom and dad who love them and support them no matter what.  They sit at the dinner table talking about their day and what new things they learned. That wasn’t the reality for me– I was born into a broken home, filled with rebellion and chaos. 

My dad was a workaholic and my mother wasn’t in the picture at all so I had my step mom who took care of me. I never thought much about the chaos in my home because I thought it was normal. I didn‘t think anything much of the neglect because I just adapted to the culture I was living in. These things were normal everyday things to me. Or so I thought…

At the age of 14, I went into foster care, adding to the many twists and turns of events happening in my life. I was confused, angry and disappointed at the way my life was looking. I couldn’t trust anyone. I couldn’t put my heart out there for anyone to love me because I didn’t feel like I deserved it. 

Looking back, I’m very thankful because God had His hand over me the whole time. He knew what I needed and was intending to make it happen. 

When I turned 16, I repented of my sins, received the Holy Ghost at youth service at youth camp, and the next day was baptized in Jesus Name!! I felt so renewed because all my sins had been washed away and I had been set free! All the chains had fallen off of me! 

When I got into college, I had no idea where my life was heading or the direction that God was going to take me. I had hit a couple of stumbling blocks that caused me to leave my relationship with God for a while until I went back to school. I slowly started going back to church and wanted to make a commitment to God. Again, broken, lost, and confused, God was about to turn my world upside down. 

This was the season when I fell in love with an amazing family! God gave me a family who loves me, cares for me, and supports all that I do! It was because of His grace that I was able to receive an answered prayer! 

I decided to share this testimony to encourage someone that God knows exactly what you need and when you need it. I waited 19 years before my prayer of having a family was answered but I wouldn’t change the timing or anything else about it. His plan is perfect and His will is perfect! Allow God to guide your footsteps because He is the lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path! 

God Bless,


Keep up with Brianna on her personal blog Renewed and Restored and on Instagram @renewedandrestored!

When God Uses Your Prayers Against You

Everything that God gives us is a gift, no matter how hard we had to work for it. Our paychecks, our homes, friends, family, church family, jobs… every good gift. The Bible says in James,

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change”

James 1:17

While you might have agreed with that statement, I’d ask you to pause right now and think of the most difficult thing you went through today. What about the most difficult thing you went through this week? What about last week?

Got it?

Now, think about your prayers. What were you praying for as you went through these various tests? 

Where am I going with this? I’ll show you!

For the past few weeks, I’ve been struggling with offense. With all the social and political unrest in our nation and world, it’s been difficult for me to find that many people that I love dearly have such vastly different views than I do. Differing opinions don’t bother me. It’s the way that they’ve been presented; hatefully, angrily, aggressively. Every tweet, post, video or share is antagonistic and hostile– from all sides. It’s been so hard to bear. 

I found myself so affected by how relentless and overwhelming it has been to witness every one on their social media soap boxes, that at times I would read someone’s post and actually be out of breath. I would open Facebook and get instant headaches. I would scroll through Instagram and have heart palpitations. I was seeing my friends and family in a whole new light and some things just hurt. I was truly battling offense. 

So I got down and asked God to help me. I begged for Him to not allow any root of bitterness to spring forth in my heart, though I was sure it had already begun. The rage that I felt boiling in my belly and rising into my chest on some days had begun to scare me. I was desperate for God to help me extend grace to those who I didn’t agree with. 

“God help me to forgive like you forgive me. Help me to extend grace and mercy. Don’t allow me to become bitter. Help me to be a Christian FIRST! Make my heart hurt for the things that hurt yours. Help me to love like you love.”

This was my prayer.

But then…

Something new happened. I had a disagreement with one of my very best friends. I was so tired of being angry and began to be afraid that I was the problem. So again, I got down and prayed. Hurt, angry, and again offended, I began to ask God why was I constantly having to be the bigger person.

“God, why am I always losing friends? Why am I always having to go out of my way to love people who won’t return that same effort and care? What am I doing wrong? Why do I keep getting my feelings hurt? It takes so much effort to let people into my space and it hurts so bad when they violate it. God… help me to… forgive.”

It was in this tear-filled prayer, crying over a disagreement that I was having with my best friend that I realized… Sometimes God uses our prayers against us! Just weeks before, I was down on the floor practically begging God to stretch my ability to extend forgiveness, to extend grace, to extend love like His love. And then, a trial came where I had to do all of those things. 

I slowly began to realize that sometimes we pray with our ears closed. We pray prayers like

“God give me your heart”

“God help me to love like you”

“God help me to forgive like you forgive me” 

And we forget that it’s not a cake-walk being like Jesus. That’s the reason He’s the only one who can do it perfectly. In order to forgive like Jesus, we need people in our lives who need our forgiveness. That means someone has to offend you, step on your toes, anger you, hurt you, use you, abuse you, and maybe not apologize. But that’s your opportunity. You might have to work for it. 

It may not be in this trial, but you may one day realize that your capacity to forgive is much larger. You have a bigger heart than you used to. God gave you the gift you asked for– you just had to work a little to get it. 

So again I ask you, what battles are you currently facing? And prayers are you currently praying? It might just be that your current situation is the answer to your prayer.

“And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28

Rest assured that though it looks like God is using your prayers AGAINST you, he is also using them FOR you.

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Surround Yourself With Good

The other day I was working in my yard, and I can across an old rusted chain with a lock that had been used to keep a fence closed. A key was nowhere to be found, so I began to try to pick the lock. After about 10 minutes of trying to open the lock to no avail, I had an idea! 

The chain was very old and brittle, so I got a hammer and began to hit the loops of the chain. After about two blows, the chain fell off the gate and I was able to open it! You see, there was nothing wrong with the lock! It was perfectly fine and was serving its purpose. The problem with the chain was in the deterioration of the chain links

We, as Christians, are trained to guard our belief systems and to hold fast to God’s Word, but we aren’t always trained to watch who we link up with! 

1 Corinthians 15:33 says

“Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

1 Corinthians 15:33

Proverbs 13:20 says

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

Proverbs 13:20

Oftentimes, the enemy realizes that he might not be able to sway our beliefs or sway our daily devotion with God, but he knows that he can introduce unhealthy friendships and relationships into our lives. This process is a slow fade, but through time the people who you have linked up with can become your determinant. 

Be wise with who you surround yourself with. 

The old saying is true “birds of a feather flock together.” 

You will begin to pick up the traits of those closest to you! 

Pray for direction, and ask God to help you in this area! 

Faithfully Yours, 


Faith Strawn is a student at Texas Bible College (@tbcnow) studying Christian Counseling, former Bible Quizzer, and the face and name behind her blog, @faithfullyyoursblog! Head on over and check it out for some seriously good posts on God, living a healthy lifestyle, and more!

Leave the Bones Alone

Great minds have crumbled under the weight of unanswered questions– their labor in vain. Because for all of their knowing, they did not have the simple truths that you and I have. In all of their building, they didn’t have the right bones. Their labor was in vain. 

Early in our lives, we establish “bones”; things that we come to look at as truths, simple or not.

In 2019, Country-Pop artist Maren Morris released a song entitled “The Bones”. The chorus of the song says:

“When the bones are good, the rest don’t matter

Yeah, the paint could peel, the glass could shatter

Let it rain ’cause you and I remain the same

When there ain’t a crack in the foundation

Baby, I know any storm we’re facing

Will blow right over while we stay put

The house don’t fall when the bones are good”

“The Bones” , Maren Morris

The song stands as a metaphor for a strong and healthy relationship. According to Morris, as long as the bones and foundation of a relationship are good, no matter how things look, this relationship will remain.

Early in our lives, we establish “bones”; things that we come to look at as truths, simple or not. We learn our names. We figure out who our mother and our father is, where we’re from, that the earth is round and is supposedly spinning and allegedly that’s why the sun rises every morning is replaced at night by the moon. We’re told that it’s our brains that tell our lungs to inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide even though we can’t possibly think about these things at every second of every day we’re alive– it just happens. 

If any one of these “truths” were to be upended, it would cause a radical shift in the way we continue on our life’s journey, so we prefer that they remain the same. In math and science, they’re called constants or constant variables. In Sunday School, our constant variables are our Acts 2:38s, our Deuteronomy 6:4. Our basic doctrine that though we’re taught so early on in our walks with God, no matter what age, these things cannot ever change.

At some point, however, we progress beyond the basics and we want to know more. Now that I’ve known my name for 21 years, I want to know my enneagram number. Now that I know my parents, I want to know why in the world my mother married my father. I’ve graduated high school, I want a college degree. We have questions. We have ambitions of knowledge. We soon find out that everyone learns, whether we want to or not. Life is the greatest teacher and has a way of making the least inquisitive minds burn with one question: “Why?”

For all of our questions, there are answers so it seems. We live in the information age, what is there that we cannot Google? But in all of our searches for knowledge and wisdom, God says:

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.”

Psalms 127:1

Great minds have crumbled under the weight of unanswered questions– their labor in vain. Because for all of their knowing, they did not have the simple truths that you and I have. In all of their building, they didn’t have the right bones. Their labor was in vain. 

Jesus says in Matthew 7,

24 “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.”

If it’s one thing we know, it’s that in this life the wind is gonna blow, so our standing matters. But once the foundation is laid, we have to continue to build upwards. “Life” should not be able to take out our foundation. Once we have our hope secured and have settled this foundation in our hearts and minds, the Bible encourages us to build upwards, going deeper in God. 

“Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 and of instructions about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgement.”

Hebrews 6:1

Once we have these as our bones, nothing should be able to move us. There are some “truths” that will be challenged over the course of our lives. There are things that we’ll think are secure but will somehow be shaken. That’s okay. Some things may just be tradition. Tradition isn’t wrong but when it comes to your relationship with God, your traditions, ideologies, values, and other things that otherwise shape our thinking, must line up with the Word of God. 

There’s an old song that my youth choir sang when I was younger that says 

“I never lost my hope

I never lost my joy

I never lost my faith

But most of all, I never lost my praise”

“I Never Lost My Praise” , Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

I’ve always wondered, “how in the world is that possible?” If you know me, it’s wholly possible for me to lose all four of those things just by walking into Walmart or any social situation that requires me to interact with people! Yet there are individuals who dwell so securely with Jesus that no matter what they’ve gone through, they never lost their praise. How?

“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil” (KJV)

Hebrew 6: 19 (KJV)

“We have this hope as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever”

Hebrews 6: 19-20 (ESV)

Here is how you’ll never lose your praise: by having this same hope as a sure and steadfast anchor for your soul. What is this hope and what is it anchoring you to? Your foundation, your bones, truth.

These are simple truths that we know:

  • There is only one plan of salvation (Acts 2:38)
  • There is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4)
  • Jesus loves us (Romans 8:37-39)
  • He will never leave us nor forsake us (Matthew 28:20)

Circle these promises in your Bible and make them your bones.

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From the Inside Out: Jesus’ Love Language

Much of “religion” is focused on efforts that man can see. This is so often the case that sometimes we fall victim to the notion that it’s what we can do for God that will eventually make us worthy of His love. However, none of us are perfect and we frequently fall short. If your relationship with God is based solely on how well-behaved you are, mistakes open the door to the deadly trio: shame, guilt, and condemnation. Instead of running to our advocate and falling on his mercy, we turn away in shame and delay the grace of God. We may even try to “do” our way to feel worthy again or “clean ourselves up” before we repent, all in hopeless efforts to denounce the sins that we commit and reciprocate the love that God shows us daily.

The facts are that no matter what you do, God loves you anyways and he doesn’t desire for us, the children that he loves with an unconditional love, to run ourselves ragged trying to prove in deed that we reciprocate that love. 

In fact, the Bible gives us a pretty clear picture of what Jesus desires of us to “prove” our love towards Him.

“For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

Psalm 51:16-17

Psalm 51 is a prayer of repentance written by David and it serves as a perfect outline of what God actually wants from us. Though there are things in this life that we must give up to live for God, he will not delight in sacrifice only. What God wants is for us to be clean on the inside. He wants us to prove our love for him from the inside out. 

In Matthew, we find Jesus rebuking the Pharisees:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

Matthew 23:27-28

These are pretty harsh words from Jesus. He is calling out the Pharisees for outwardly appearing righteous but inwardly lacking purity, life, and the spirituality that they appear to have. They are putting on a show. 

Godliness is our outward expression of our love for God. It might mean dressing a certain way, not going certain places, choosing not to talk like everyone else or enjoy the same entertainment as your peers. While the Holy Spirit empowers us and helps us to do these things, we can most certainly fall into the trap of following all the “rules” without daily dedicating our lives to God. In the same way as the Pharisees, we can appear holy on the outside but actually be cold, carnal, and full of dead people’s bones and uncleanness. 

The problem is, while it might be a true sacrifice that you make everyday to please God in your “doing”, if it isn’t coupled with a true daily walk with Him, your “sacrifice” is actually more of a facade. While you might blend in with other religious people, it’s not God you’re pleasing.

Galatians talks about this:

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Galatians 1:10

Let’s jump back up to Psalm 51 and take a look at some of the imagery that David uses when asking God to make him clean. Here are a few snippets from the chapter:

  • Psalm 51:6- “Behold. You delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.”
  • Psalm 51:8- “Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.”
  • Psalm 51:10- “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

The heading for Psalm 51 reads: 

“To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.”

The story of David and Bathsheba is well-known. What’s interesting is what we don’t read David repenting of in this Psalm. We don’t read David repenting of adultery, of lying, or of murder. Why is this? Because David knows that all of these sins are only outward symptoms of inward disease. So instead, we see David ask God to cleanse him from the inside so that he can live a righteous life on the outside. 

This is how we too should approach our relationship with God– with the knowledge that his desire for our purity starts on the inside of us and not what we can do on the outside to “prove” ourselves. 

Rest today knowing this truth but don’t settle. Inward purity is no easy task and is by no means a task that can be accomplished without the enduring grace and mercy of our Father.

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Don’t Stay Down

“Stay down.” The universal mantra of someone who thinks they’ve won or will inevitably win a fight.

In the movie Captain America: Civil War, a new Avenger is introduced— Spider Man. Tony Stark goes to Queens, NY and picks up a teenage boy by the name of Peter who he’s seen performing heroic acts in his community in a spidey-suit. Stark invites this boy to an epic battle against half of the Avengers squad. About 10 minutes into this insane fight scene, most of the heroes on both sides of the battle are pretty beaten up, including Spider Man. After a fairly nasty take down, Stark in his Iron Man suit jets over to Peter who is on the ground and tells him to stay down–signaling that he was out of the fight. 

“Stay down.” The universal mantra of someone who thinks they’ve won or will inevitably win a fight. It’s what’s said to the underdog when they appear to be doing exactly what everyone thought they would do— losing. It’s what our adversary whispers in our ears every time we fall. “Stay down. How many times will God forgive you?” 

But like the old Gospel song says: “A Saint is just a sinner who fell down and got up”

Psalm 51 is one of the best examples of repentance in the Bible. To me, however, it’s made beautiful not by who wrote it or its subject matter, but by why it was written.

David wrote this Psalm after one of his most traumatic defeats— his sin with Bathsheba. In this Psalm, David pours out his heart to God. With a broken heart and contrite spirit, David asked for the Lord to forgive him. 

Verse 13 of the chapter however has always given me pause. 

“Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. 14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, 15 O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.”

Matthew 13:13-15

Is David bargaining with the Lord??? No. In this verse David is saying “As soon as I receive your forgiveness, I’m getting back up. I won’t stay down.”

When we fall into sin, stepping out of the will of God for our lives, we have a feeling of ruining our testimony. We beat ourselves up. The Devil knows this and he capitalizes on this opportunity. When we mess up and we hesitate to cry out to God, we’re playing exactly into our adversary’s plan; we’re staying down. We are temporarily out of the fight.

In these moments, we can’t operate in our callings, we can’t be effective witnesses because how can we testify that God had saved us from a life of sin when we just chose sin over life yesterday? We’re frauds, we’re liars, we’re hypocrites. But most importantly, we’re down and out— right where the Devil wants us.

Verse 13 of the 51 Psalm illustrates this. David is saying to God, after you forgive me, I will continue to be a witness, I will continue to sing your praises. The problem here is not the timeline, the problem is not the “after”, the problem is with us. Shame, guilt, condemnation can keep us from seeking the forgiveness of God, thus keeping us from singing his praises. Keeping us down. 

A couple summers ago, I was determined to workout every day and lose weight. Unfortunately I have a terrible reputation of not being able to keep up a workout regimen and this was taunting me in the back of my mind. Scrolling through Pinterest I found a quote that I set as my phones lock screen “I want to see what happens if I don’t give up”

Well because the gym life isn’t for me, I gave up. But what if we got that same energy in our spiritual lives. “I want to see what happens if I don’t give up.” What if every time we fell, we spoke out loud to our adversary, the Devil, and to ourselves and said “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy; for when I fall I shall arise; though I sit in darkness the Lord shall be my light. (Micah 7:8)”

Funny how the scripture doesn’t say “If I fall.” It’s like the Lord knew his saints would need to save this scripture for a rainy day. My pastor always says “the only good fight is the fight that you win” luckily, he also says “the only thing you need to do to stay in the fight is get up one more time than you got knocked down.”

So get up.

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