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Fully Surrendered – No Matter the Cost

by Julia M. Bruce, MSPC, Mental Health Coach,
Keynote Speaker, CEO, Wellspring Christian Ministries

Surrendered to do a difficult task

God gave Jeremiah a very difficult task – he was to stand in the court of the Lord’s house and speak to all the cities of Judah who came to worship — and the news he was to tell them, was not good news at all. God had a message for the people, and it was Jeremiah’s job to give them the message. It is what God had called him to do.

Surrendered to deliver God’s Message

Regardless of how unpleasant the news or how hard it was to deliver, Jeremiah surrendered in obedience to do what God told him to do. God said the nation of Judah, through Jeremiah, “If you will not listen to Me, to walk in My law which I have set before you to heed the words of My servants the prophets whom I sent to you, both rising up early and sending them (but you have not heeded), then I will make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth.”

Shiloh was about 18 miles north of Jerusalem. It was where the tabernacle and the ark of the covenant were set up after the conquest of Canaan but was destroyed by the Philistines in 1050 BC after the battle of Ebenezer (see Psalm 78:60-64 and 1 Samuel 4:-11). So basically God said, “Return to me or I will destroy you.” Because of their unrepentant sin, God had turned against them and was now prepared to remove them from the land He had given them and He would send a pagan king to do it.

Being surrendered often has consequences

As you can expect, the priests, prophets, and people who heard the message we not very happy with it. They seized him saying, “Why have you prophesied in the name of the Lord, saying ‘This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate, without an inhabitant’?” They pleaded their case against Jeremiah to the princes and Jeremiah defends himself with great courage. He was brief and straightforward and stated that his message originated with God. He didn’t back down. In fact, he said to them, “here I am; do with me as seems good and proper to you.” Jeremiah does get a “happy ending” when the princes declare that Jeremiah does not deserve to die.

Totally surrendered

Jeremiah was totally surrendered to God. When the task got difficult he didn’t talk about stress, burnout, or compassion fatigue. He didn’t “sugar coat” the message. He delivered it exactly as God had said it. Jeremiah had to have known the people wouldn’t like the message, but he didn’t back down. He understood what was at stake and throughout the book we see him weeping over the people. Because of this, he has been dubbed, “the weeping prophet.”

He knew (because God had disclosed it to him) that the foreign nations were coming and that the nation of Israel would be scatted. But that wasn’t the only reason he cried. No matter how hard he tried to tell them what was coming because of their unrepentant sin, they would not listen. And so, when God tells him to stand in the court of the temple and deliver His message to the people, Jeremiah does so, even though it might cost him his life. He was so confident in who God was and trusted him so completely, that he is able to say to the people who are ready to kill him, “Here I am, in your hand; do with me as seems good and proper to you.”

Are you living as surrendered as Jeremiah?

What about you? Are you able to live so fully and completely surrendered to God that you can freely and without hesitation say to God, “Here I am, in your hand; do with me as seems good and proper to you.” Most of us would have a very difficult time saying those words to God with heartfelt meaning. We might say something more like, “Here I am Lord, do whatever you want with me….except don’t ask me to go overseas and be a missionary.” Or maybe we’d say, “Here I am Lord, I’ll do whatever you ask of me, just don’t ask me to give my bonus check to the church, okay?” Or maybe it sounds more like, “Here I am God, I’ll forgive anyone you want me to…just not that person over there.”

As long as we are offering to serve God on our own terms, we are not fully surrendered to Him. Often what He calls us to do is hard – very hard. If you want to be fully surrendered, then you have to let go of everything.

Focus on the One who is in Control

Sometimes instead of focusing on what we are letting go of, we need to focus on the One who is in control. When Jeremiah said, “I’m in your hands,” he was saying “You have all the power and authority to do whatever you want to me.” Have you thought about what it is like to be in the hand of the omniscient, omnipotent God? As scary as it is to give up your control, there is no safer or better place to be than in the hands of God who loves us with an everlasting love.

What’s holding you back from being totally surrendered to God so that He has control over every part of your life? Those parts that are not totally surrendered – they’re your idols.

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7 FREE Downloadable Resources

Now you can enhance your Bible Reading with the Verse Mapping Template

Our Verse Mapping download is FREE and includes 6 pages: 3 pages of instructions for using the template and the 2 page template, plus the cover page. If you’re looking to go deeper into God’s Word, learn more about God and develop a stronger spiritual life, Verse Mapping will help you dig into the scriptures. As you apply God’s Word to your life, you will develop a more intimate knowledge and relationship with God.

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What Satan Does Not Want You To know

This trifold document includes Scripture verses that Satan does not want you to know about. As you hide these verses in your heart, you’ll be able to defeat the lies of Satan when he tries his wiles and schemes on you.

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Stress Journal

We all face stress. How we handle stress, however, has many variables. Learning how to recognize stress, coping with stress, and creating a self-care plan during times of stress can begin by journaling. Taken from our series on Biblical self-care for people in ministry, we’ve created this free download to help you through the things that cause you stress.

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2021 Bible Memory Verse Plan

We’ve put together 52 memory verses for you to hide God’s Word in your heart! You can download the full document for free and then print a new verse each week and as many copies as you’d like. Each verse prints four times on a page so that you can then cut them into index size cards and place them in prominent places where you will see them frequently throughout the day to help you remember to memorize them. Just because you visited our site, they’re yours for free! Download today.

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The Path to Sin

Satan is constantly trying to trip us up and he doesn’t even play fair because he uses our own desires as bait to get us to sin. James tells us the five steps that lead us down the path to sin in James 1:14-15, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” This download helps you identify your desires so that you can better recognize when Satan is baiting you and you can avoid falling into sin. When used along with prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to identify the desires that Satan baits you with, you can then ask the Holy Spirit to help you not become a victim to the bait of your desires. Download the worksheet today.

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One Year Bible Reading Plan

With just 30-40 minutes per day, you can read the entire Bible in one year. The One-Year Bible Reading Plan consists of both Old Testament and New Testament readings for each day of the year. The Bible is God’s personal Word to you. What is He saying to you today? Open your Bible and find out!

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Self-Care Wheel

The Self-Care Wheel provides ideas for practicing self-care in six dimensions of yourself: Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Sensory, and Social. NOTE: You will need 11X14 paper to print the wheel.

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You can also watch our animated devotionals on the YouTube Channel


God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce

What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?

God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on.
  • Conversation Starters.
  • Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages.
  • Romance Builders.
  • Relationship Builders.
  • Personal reflections.
  • Date ideas.
  • Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples.

Available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.

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The Most Deadliest Virus

Did you know there is a much more deadlier virus than COVID-19 on the loose – One with 100% mortality rate? While the variants of COVID-19 is once again in the spotlight, acting the lead role of a villain in a horror movie, there is a more deadlier and contagious problem than Covid-19 on the loose. It has stolen, destroyed and killed so many lives and devastated families since the dawn of man kind. It started in the Garden of Eden and continues to today. No one is exempt. Every single person has it.

What is this deadly virus?

It is the SIN of mankind which eventually results in DEATH. The ever increasing COVID-19 death totals truly scares us. Little do we realize that worldwide, aside from these virus-related deaths, even in normal times 3 people die every second, 180 die every minute, almost 11,000 die every hour, and more than 250,000 perish every day. These statistics are shocking, aren’t they?

We are all living in a fallen, infectious, contaminated world dominated by SIN and all it’s ramifications which ultimately results in DEATH.

Symptoms of the SIN virus

Similar to cancer, the SIN virus spreads silently. Many people lead normal lives with cancer, without seeking treatment, because they don’t know they’re carrying a root of death within themselves. Those who live in sin often lead normal lives as well, without seeking reconciliation with God, because they don’t know they’re also carrying a root within that will lead them to hell.

But, just as cancer and other fatal diseases display symptoms, sin also has its symptoms. And the symptom of sin is disobedience.

A sin can be very well hidden, but the actions and reactions of a disobedient person show that sin is in their heart. The same way an internal disease manifests itself externally, in a visible form, through strange signs in the body, sin will also manifest itself externally through rebellious attitudes, in such a way that, what was invisible becomes visible.

Disobedience may be the tip of the iceberg of pride, malice, envy, racism, arrogance, lack of fear, being apart from God, selfishness, spiritual weakness, greed, sexual immorality, idolatry, and all other sins. 

Who has contracted the SIN virus?

The symptoms of SIN may or may not be visible on the outside, but the Bible tells us that every single person on the earth has tested positive for the SIN. There’s traces of it in our head, heart, and hands, and its effects cut across our body, soul and spirit. Globally, as of July 30, 2021, there have been 196,553,009 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 4,200,412 deaths, reported to WHO. That means that of those who contracted the COVID-19 virus, 2.14% died from the virus world wide. Here in the U.S. the CDC reports a total of 34,926,462 confirmed cases with 610,873 deaths. So, for the U.S 1.75% of those who contracted COVID-19 died from the virus.

But the Bible tells us that every single person that has lived, other than Jesus, has contracted the SIN virus. Romans 3:23 says, “ for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” In fact, Adam and Eve were the first to contract the SIN virus and then they passed the virus down to every other person. One could say it’s in our DNA. Each one of us were born with it.

What is Sin?

Sin is described in the Bible as transgression of the law of God (1 John 3:4) and rebellion against God (Deuteronomy 9:7; Joshua 1:18). Genesis 3 describes Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God and His command. Because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, sin has been an “inheritance” for all of their descendants. Romans 5:12 tells us that, through Adam, sin entered the world and so death was passed on to all men because all have sinned. This passed-on sin is known as inherited sin. Just as we inherit physical characteristics from our parents, we inherit our sinful nature from Adam.

So, 100% of the world population is infected with the SIN virus. Not only does 100% of the population have the SIN virus, 100% of the world-wide population will eventually die because of SIN. No one is immune and no one can escape the plague of SIN and DEATH.

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death…”

The Origin of the SIN Virus

Since Covid 19 was discovered, there has been much research into where and how the virus started. But the Bible is very clear about the origin of SIN and DEATH. In the beginning God created a beautiful home full of potential for His creation of mankind and He placed the very first family in the Garden of Eden. Looking at everything God created, God Himself declared it all “GOOD.” It was all pure without any contamination. So what happened?

God didn’t create Adam and Eve as puppets on a string, they had A CHOICE, either they could trust and obey God to rule the world according to God’s standard OR they could eat from the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil and rule the world according to their own standards. Using their free will they decided to cease living God’s way and chose to live their own way. As a result SIN, and consequently DEATH, starts leaking out into the world. Apostle Paul summarizes it in Romans 5:12. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”

Notice the progression in Romans 5:12: sin entered the world through Adam, death follows sin, death comes to all people, all people sin because they inherit sin from Adam.

The SIN Virus is a weapon against humanity

Satan is God’s enemy – but he is also our enemy. In the Garden of Eden, man was deceived to unleash a weapon against himself using his free will by disobeying God. And Satan has dedicated himself to continue deceiving mankind so that we will remove God from our lives. But the result is always the same – death. Proverbs 16:25 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

Consequences of the SIN Virus

Every choice comes with a consequence. But when we choose to live our way, instead of God’s way, things start falling apart and we begin falling into a downward spiral of moral corruption and rebellion. Generation after generation the intensity and the magnitude of human rebellion increases until it reaches its the results that we see in our world today. The whole world is drowning again in a vicious cycle of Sin and death. It all started with a single act of disobedience and multiplied over the generations to a more destructive and resistant variants. Now what is the status of the good, perfect and uncontaminated world God created. It is all infected with the SIN virus and moving towards eternal DEATH.

God’s plan to rescue humanity

As hard as people have worked to find a vaccine effective against COVID-29, there is no one who can create a cure for the SIN Virus. Nor is there any person who save himself from it. So who is going to bring salvation to mankind? What kind of cure is powerful enough to neutralize the adverse effects of the poison released by the Sin virus? Who is the virologist who can calculate the correct genetic code for the right antivenom to confront and neutralize Sin and cure humanity of its effects? Thankfully, God had a plan to rescue humanity.

Who is capable to save humanity from the SIN Virus?

Even after repeated failures on the part of man, God is faithful to keep His promises. The moment the Sin birus entered into humanity in the Garden of Eden, God promised man that He himself will solve this problem, that God himself will provide THE WAY out for man. Through a promise which will never change God shows mankind a great light at the end of the dark tunnel of sin. God promised to raise THE SEED OF THE WOMAN who will put an end to the SIN and DEATH.

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Genesis 3:15

No matter how hopeless the situation seems our God can deliver us. A deadly contagious virus has invaded the whole worth but we still have hope. No matter how messed up humanity may seem God is able to bring the answer. And that answer demonstrates the total reckless and extravagant love of God for all mankind. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” That’s right! His Only Son – Jesus – was sent into the world to save humanity from the SIN Virus.

The Antidote to Sin and Death

Yes, Jesus is God’s antidote to the Sin Virus and the death it brings. To understand this, let us refresh our memory on what we learned about producing antibodies for a venom in our science class. For example let’s consider how the antigen is produced to fight snake venom. The venom from the snake is obtained and injected to the host animal. When the uninfected host is injected the venom it’s pure blood forms the antivenom to fight the snake’s venom. The blood from the animal is drawn out the produced antibodies separated then concentrated and injected into the infected person.

Let’s unlock the principle here. An uninfected, pure host has to be injected with the venom of sin and the host’s blood which contains the antidote needs to be drawn out. What do you think would be the status of the host when all this happens?

2 Corinthians 5:11 says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

The Antidote was made on the Cross

This is what happened on the cross. Jesus lived a perfectly holy life in obedience to God and all His commandments. He never sinned. If He had sinned even once, then He could not have paid the penalty for our sin and become the sacrifice for us. He died as God’s chosen sacrifice to take away the sins of mankind. Our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to counteract the deadly poison of sin.

The only antidote for sin and death is God’s gift of eternal life through the sacrifice of Jesus our Lord. Because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), we need a perfect, sinless sacrifice to wash away our sin, something we are powerless to do on our own. Thankfully, Jesus Christ is the Savior from sin! Our sin has been crucified on the cross of Jesus, and now “in Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7). God, in His infinite wisdom, has provided the remedy for the sin we inherit, and that remedy is available to everyone: “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you” (Acts 13:38).

The Antidote is sufficient

He rose from the grave and proved that His sacrifice alone was sufficient. He ascended to the Father’s right hand and He freely gives the VACCINE, eternal life, to all who repent of their sins and trust Him as Lord and Savior and receive Him by faith. It’s all provided freely, we don’t have to be in the waiting list, stand in line, make an appointment, bribe someone to get it, be scared of the side effects or worry about a second dose. It’s all given to humanity free of charge because Jesus paid the price for us.

So this is it. God provided the WAY, the cure, Jesus the Messiah. God provided the spotless lamb to die on our behalf. He died and His sacrifice gave us life. Humanity is no longer doomed to eternal destruction but we have a WAY out.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Our only hope against the SIN Virus

It is obvious the whole world is drowning in a sea of SIN virus. Humanity, along with the whole of creation, is groaning for salvation. I’m afraid the COVID 19 vaccine can’t fix this problem. The only hope for this dying world is to receive salvation, the cure provided by God Himself. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” There is no other way.

The only question is, have you received the free gift Jesus offers to you that will save your from the SIN virus? There’s no time to waste, now is time to receive Jesus into your heart and give your life to Him. 2 Corinthians 6:2 says, “Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” It is a decision and step of faith that you take in this life. Once you die, it will be too late to decide then. Romans 10:9-19 says, “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. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”

What will you do with the free antidote for the SIN Virus?

Remember earlier we said that every choice has a consequence? What you chose to do with the free antidote to the SIN Virus that God has provide has eternal consequences. When you accept by faith that Jesus is God’s antidote and that Jesus paid the price of death for you because of your sin, you will have the victorious consequence of eternal life. But if you chose to reject Jesus as the antidote that saves your from your SIN virus, your consequence is eternal separation from God in Hell. God has graciously provided the antidote. It is His give to us. You only have to reach out and accept it by faith. What will you do with the free antidote for the SIN Virus?

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Now you can enhance your Bible Reading with the Verse Mapping Template

Our Verse Mapping download is FREE and includes 6 pages: 3 pages of instructions for using the template and the 2 page template, plus the cover page. If you’re looking to go deeper into God’s Word, learn more about God and develop a stronger spiritual life, Verse Mapping will help you dig into the scriptures. As you apply God’s Word to your life, you will develop a more intimate knowledge and relationship with God.

[Download not found]

Download our Free 2021 Bible Memory Verse Plan

We’ve put together 52 memory verses for you to hide God’s Word in your heart! You can download the full document for free and then print a new verse each week and as many copies as you’d like. Each verse prints four times on a page so that you can then cut them into index size cards and place them in prominent places where you will see them frequently throughout the day to help you remember to memorize them. Just because you visited our site, they’re yours for free! Download today.

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Bible Reading Plan Download

Download our Free 2021 Daily Bible Reading Plan

With just 30-40 minutes per day, you can read the entire Bible in one year. The One-Year Bible Reading Plan consists of both Old Testament and New Testament readings for each day of the year. The Bible is God’s personal Word to you. What is He saying to you today? Open your Bible and find out!

[Download not found]

Download our Free Self-Care Wheel

The Self-Care Wheel provides ideas for practicing self-care in six dimensions of yourself: Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Sensory, and Social. NOTE: You will need 11X14 paper to print the wheel.

Want to know more about self-care? Our Self-Care blog series targets people who serve in any ministry position and takes a Biblical approach to self-care.

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All Things New

We’ve added a new canvas print to the Teespring Store. These prints make great gifts or for decor in your home.

When we ask Jesus to forgive us and save us from our sin, He takes our old, sinful self and makes us new in Him. This beautiful canvas is a great reminder of what Jesus has done for us.

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Need some music to get you through the day? Check out one of our Playlists on YouTube

Click here for the Contemporary Christian Playlist
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You can also watch our animated devotionals on the YouTube Channel


God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce

What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?

God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on.
  • Conversation Starters.
  • Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages.
  • Romance Builders.
  • Relationship Builders.
  • Personal reflections.
  • Date ideas.
  • Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples.

Available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.

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The Overcomer

John 16:33 Overcomer

When God first created the earth and placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the world was a perfect place. But the moment Eve sinned, the world became a broken place and has, over time, become more and more broken then ever. Jesus never promised that following Him would make life easy. In fact, He told His disciples that they would have tribulation as long as they were in the world. We definitely see tribulations in our world every day, but thankfully, Jesus is our overcomer.

Jesus never promised that following Him would make life easy. In fact, He told His disciples that they would have tribulation as long as they were in the world.

If we were to define “tribulation, ” it would be “a state of great trouble or suffering. Yes, the Bible talks about the great tribulation that is associated with the rapture of all the Christians from this world, but in this verse, Jesus was telling his disciples to expect trouble – even then in their day. And let’s face it – it’s not any better today. Most of us would agree it is much worse today. If we ever needed an Overcomer to give us hope and peace in the chaos of the times, its’ now!

Today’s Tribulations Need an Overcomer

We only have to turn the news on to hear countless stories of great trouble or suffering. We experience it when the news from the doctor isn’t what we wanted to hear. And we experience it when we lose a job or a loved one. Or we experience it when we don’t get the promotion. We experience it through an unexpected and very expensive car repair. We experience it through divorce. It occurs when there is a miscarriage. From domestic violence to mass shootings, from pandemics to racial issues, tribulations are everywhere we turn. As long as Satan and his demons have free reign in this world, there will be tribulations. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:10 that we can expect weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. Yes! We need an overcomer!

But what about the disciples? They all definitely experienced tribulation. While the Bible only tells how two of them died, there are reports from history and legends that tell us what happened to each one of them.

What happened to the disciples? The following disciples were crucified:

  • Peter was martyred in Rome about 66 AD  – crucified, upside down at his request
  • Andrew went to the “land of the man-eaters” (now known as the Soviet Union) where he is claimed to be the first to bring the gospel to that area. He also preached in Asia Minor, modern-day Tureky, and in Greece, where he is said to have been crucified.
  • Philip is said to have preached in North Africa and then Asia Minor where he converted the wife of a Roman proconsul. In retaliation the proconsul had Philip arrested. Some accounts indicate he was stoned to death and others indicate he was crucified upside down while still continuing to preach the gospel.
  • Bartholomew preached in India with Thomas, as well as Armenia, Ethiopia, and Southern Arabia. There are various accounts of his death, but they all agree that he was martyred by crucifixion, also upside down.

The other martyred disciples:

  • Thomas appears to have been most active east of Syria and traditions have him going as far as east India to spread the gospel. It is claimed that he died there when he was pierced through with the spears of four soldiers.
  • Matthew (the tax collector and author of the Gospel of Matthew) preached in Persia and Ethiopia. Some reports say he was not martyred while others indicate he was stabbed to death in Ethiopia.
  • James, the son of Alpheus is believed to have preached in Syria. The Jewish historian Josephus reports that he was stoned and then clubbed to death.
  • Simon the Zealot may have ministered in Persia where he was killed because he refused to sacrifice to the sun god. No documentation could be found regarding how he was killed.

Only One Disciples Died a Natural Death

John is the only one believed to have died a natural death from old age – but they did try to kill him. It is believed that he was the leader of the church in Ephesus and that he took Mary, Jesus’ mother, into his home when Jesus was crucified. When Christians were being persecuted under Domitian rule, he was cast into boiling oil at Rome and survived. He was then exiled to the island of Patmos where he wrote the book of Revelation.

Two identified Disciples after Jesus’ Death

After Jesus death, two additional disciples are identified in the Bible. The disciples chose to replace Judas who had betrayed Jesus. Matthais became the 12 disciple. Then on the Road to Damascus, Jesus Himself confronted Saul, commissioned him and changed his name to Paul. What does history tell us about these two disciples?

  • Matthais took the place of Judas, the betrayer of Jesus. Traditionally, it is believed that he preached in Syria with Andrew and was put to death by burning.
  • Paul, while not a disciple until after Jesus ascended into heaven, was responsible for the writing of many of the New Testament books of the Bible. He was a missionary and traveled to several countries to spread the gospel. Eventually, he was imprisoned and martyred in Rome about 66 AD under Emperor Nero who had him beheaded.

The Overcomer was also a Man of Sorrows

If these disciples who followed Jesus experienced tribulation, why do people today think that the Christian life is rosy and sunshine? While Jesus walked the earth, he did not go through life as a “positive-thinker.” Isaiah 53:3 describes Him as a man of sorrows. If we read the prophecy found Isaiah 52:13-53:12 we can see how much sorrow and suffering the Messiah would endure. He suffered first by leaving the glories of heaven and entering the human race as a man. Then He suffered all the things that humanity suffers, and then finally He suffered the wrath of God as the sin-bearer. Such suffering must have been all the more acute for Him, given His perfect nature. Who of us could ever understand the depths of what His righteous spirit suffered as He lived among fallen humanity?

The Joy Set Before the Overcomer

Even though Jesus suffered greatly, He did not live with depression or go around with a long face. Hebrews 12:2 tell us He could rejoice in His sufferings as He focused on the final outcome. In this verse we find that Jesus is “the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Just before going to the cross, Jesus and the disciples celebrated the Passover together in the upper room. There He washed the disciples feet, Jesus identified Judas as His betrayer, He broke the bread and shared the wine. But then the Bible tells us they sang a hymn of praise. Jesus knew that as they walked out of the upper room and into the garden to pray that he would be arrested and falsely tried. He knew everything He was about to endure and that He would die – and yet He could sing a hymn of praise. Why? Because He would have completed the task He came to earth to do – to bring salvation to us. He would become our overcomer.

The Simple Truth: Live is hard, but we have an Overcomer

The simple truth is that life is hard. There is no such thing as a “name it and claim” theology and anyone who preaches it, is a false teacher. Becoming a Christian doesn’t make life easy. In fact, it can make it harder. In John 15:19 Jesus warns us with the following: “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” Because we live in a broken world that is ruled by sin and Satan, we can expect that life will be hard. Jesus very clearly informed us in John 16:33 that we would have tribulation in this world.

The Good News: Jesus is our Overcomer

The good news is that Jesus didn’t put the period to the sentence at that point, but follows it with the word, “but.” Yes, we will have tribulation, but Jesus said we should be of good cheer. Why? Because Jesus has overcome the world and because He is our overcomer, we can have hope. Jesus overcame the world when he defeated Satan through His sacrificial death on the cross. Because of the cross, the power of sin has been defeated and eternal life is available to all who believe in Him. Because Jesus is the overcomer, we have the opportunity to accept the gift of eternal life that He offers to every person. We just have to accept it by faith. Then He becomes our overcomer.

Jesus said we would have tribulation in this world. Thankfully, He didn’t put the period there, but follows it with “but.” We will have tribulation, but we should be of good cheer because He overcame the world & because He did, we have hope.

Finding Peace in Tribulations because we have an Overcomer

As a Christian, death does not get the final say. The world does not get the final say. No matter what we face in this life, it is temporary and when we step from this life into eternal life, all that was suffered here will be no more. It isn’t that we won’t have troubles in this life, but that we can have peace in the trouble as we go through them in the strength of God because of what Jesus did to make our eternal life secure. In John 16:20 Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.” Eternal joy, as we spend eternity in the presence of our Lord and Savior who is our overcomer.


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A Call of Action to the People of God

Just because we are people of God, doesn’t mean life is easy. We all have those moments where we just absolutely don’t know what we should do. A job decision, whom to marry, a wayward child, what school to send our kids to, how to get all the bills paid (again!), a home or car repair, how to keep going when someone close to us dies, how to give up a bad habit, a marriage falling apart, an unrealistic deadline, a health crisis…and then life is topped off with a coronavirus pandemic and a national racial crisis. And now (for those of us in the south and along the coastlines) it’s hurricane season.

People of God, we’re in a spiritual battle!

Life can certainly get overwhelming! We’ve all been there in one way or another. What do we do? Where do we go? We’re stressed out, anxious, fearful, and maybe depressed and hopeless because it feels as if there is no end in sight. Our nation is a wreck! As people of God, we need to recognize the spiritual battle at work in our world and know that our sovereign God is in control. We also need to be painfully honest and aware how the people of God have played a role in the state our nation is in. We need to admit that we have earned God’s judgement and seek Him with a repentant heart.

Because we live in a sinful, broken world, some of the things that happen are the result of our own choices. Other times we have no control over it. Sometimes what happens in our world is God judging us because we’ve turned our backs on Him and chosen to live according to how we want to live. If ever God has had cause to judge America, it’s now. A once God-centered nation has definitely turned its back on God. Let’s compare our world with how Israel was living at the time God judged them and what happened to them as a result of their continued sin. We’ll also give a call to action to the people of God.

Israel’s sin: Forsaking God

The biggest sin Israel had, was forsaking God and choosing to worship idols of gods the nations surrounding them worshiped. They didn’t want to be “set apart,” consecrated, and holy. They wanted to be like every one else. God had made a covenant with the nation of Israel that if they would worship only Him, then they would have his protection and blessings. But once they entered the Promised Land, they became complacent. When a king was on the throne that followed God, so did the nation. When a king sat on the throne that followed after idolatry, so did the nation. God had warned the people that if they forsook Him, He would bring judgement and that would include losing the Promised Land.

The people of God today have forsaken God

The people of God today, have also become complacent. We’ve dwelt in a land of safety and blessing and little by little Satan has chipped away at the Biblical foundation this country was founded on. Then we ask one another “Where is God?” Or we find ourselves defending if God is alive or dead. As people of God, we’ve looked the other way for too long. We acknowledge Him on Sundays as we sing His praises but refuse to stand up for Him when laws are being passed that turn this nation away from Him one law at a time.

The people of God’s sin: Child sacrificing

A regular part of their worship to one of these gods was child sacrificing. The Bible calls it “passing their babies through the fire.” Today, we’re appalled at the idea and you might even say, “How could they? We would never do that!” We might not toss our children in the fire and call it worship, but every day thousands of unborn children are murdered by the choice of their own mother. The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 139:13-14: “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Israel was guilty of murdering their children and so are we.

Maybe you’re against abortion and would never consider it. What are you doing about changing it? In a recent incident that caused the unnecessary death of George Floyd, three other officers who just stood by and watched and did nothing to stop the officer who was arresting Mr. Floyd are being charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Will God charge us for just standing by and doing nothing as every day babies are murdered through abortion?

The People of God’s sin: Idolatry

Let’s go back to Israel’s worshiping idols of false gods. While there may be some religious practices that worship carved images, we too can be guilty of having idols. What is it in your life that takes a higher priority than God in your life? Do you choose to buy that overpriced ticket to the NFL game instead of giving your tithe? What do your Sunday’s look like? Do you go fishing on Sunday instead of church? Do you spend your time working excessively or in a hobby and then give no time to reading your Bible and prayer? How important is God to you? Is He just your ticket into heaven – you’re fire insurance policy against going to hell?

In Isaiah 42:8, God says: “I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.” In Exodus 20:5, God instructs: “You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God.” And in Psalm 97:7, the Psalmist wrote, “All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols.”

Consequences of the Sin of the People of God

Because Israel turned their back on God and chose other gods to worship, they lost possession of the Promised Land. God sent Assyria and Babylon who conquered them and sent them into exile, scattering the ones who survived the invasion. Even though, God in His love and mercy, sent prophet after prophet to warn the people to turn back to Him, they didn’t listen. Through generation after generation, God called his people back, but they refused. They were hardhearted, stubborn, stiff-necked, obstinate, and wanted their own way.

The State of America

America, God is calling us back to Him. Yet, we are hardhearted, stubborn, stiff-necked, obstinate, and want our own way. We have tossed out his commandments and redefined marriage. We have tossed prayer out of school and sent God to the sidelines. Churches are closing their doors for lack of people attending them. Some Christians are stingy with their tithes and refuse to use the gifts God has given them while churches struggle to keep their ministries going.

The People of God need to obey the 2nd greatest Commandment

We have reversed Christ’s second greatest commandment from “Love your neighbor as yourself” to “Love yourself and who cares about your neighbor.” We’ve allowed the color of one’s skin to judge who they are. We teach our children to sing: “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.” But then make racial slurs and put people down and we do it even within the walls of our churches.

Just because one’s culture is different than our own, we see them as inferior. But the fact is every single person is a unique and glorious creation of God – and He loves every single one of us. Jesus died for every single one of us. We have to stop looking skin deep. We need to look at people through the eyes of Jesus and love others just as He loves us. My friend, it doesn’t matter what the skin color – there are good and bad in every race.

The People of God need to obey the Greatest Commandment

The greatest commandment, which Christ said was, “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Do we love God like that? If we did, then loving our neighbor as our self would be easy. If we loved God like that, the world would see the light of Christ as He shined in us and through us. Jesus said that we are both salt and light to the world – but I think we’ve lost our saltiness and our lights are very dim because we are not plugged into the power source who is the Light of the World.

The Truth: The People of God do not love God with all our heart, soul mind and strength

The truth is we do not love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. But what if we did? What if we kept our eyes on God? What if we stop now and turn our hearts and eyes back towards God? And what if God’s people came together to fast and pray, to seek God’s face, to repent of being content within our church walls instead of following the great commission? Could we be guilty of being more concerned with evangelizing the world than with evangelizing our own communities and neighborhoods? Are we not guilty of complacency? If God’s people, who are burdened for our nation, came together to fast and pray, could the Holy Spirit sweep across our nation and bring a revival that turned our nation back to God?

Jehoshaphat, King of Judah

Israel split into two countries and Judah became it’s own nation. Throughout Judah’s history in the Bible, we find that here and there a king would sit on the throne and they would lead the nation back to God. Jehoshaphat was one of those kings. In 2 Chronicles 20, it opens up with a national crisis:

It happened after this that the people of Moab with the people of Ammon, and others with them besides the Ammonites, came to battle against Jehoshaphat. Then some came and told Jehoshaphat, saying, “A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, from Syria; and they are in Hazazon Tamar” (which is En Gedi). And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.

2 Chronicles 20:1-4, NKJV

We might think there is nothing we can do about the state of our country and our world. But right here in 2 Chronicles 20, we find what we can do. Fast and pray. Seek the Lord. As Jehoshaphat led the nation of Judah in prayer, listen to his plea to God and then we will look at six acknowledgments Jehoshaphat makes in his prayer and how we can apply them to our situation today:

Jehoshaphat’s Prayer for God’s intervention

O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You? Are You not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever? And they dwell in it, and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your name, saying, ‘If disaster comes upon us—sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine—we will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name is in this temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.’ 

And now, here are the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir—whom You would not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them and did not destroy them— here they are, rewarding us by coming to throw us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit. O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”

2 Chronicles 20:6-12, NKJV

What to do About the State of America

What can we do about the state of America? We can have a different focus. I’m reminded of when Peter walked on water. As soon as he took his eyes off Jesus, he began to focus on the waves crashing all around him and he became scared and started sinking. Peter, though, was smarter than many of us. He immediately cried out, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:20) and Jesus was instantly there, reached out His hand and caught Peter.

Today, Satan would like nothing more than for God’s people to cower in fear and hide within the walls of their homes. He wants our focus on the waves around us. He wants us to sink into the depths of hopelessness. And he wants us to stay complacent and silent. When we take our eye of Jesus, Satan gets exactly what he wants. We can keep our eyes peeled to the news and fret and worry. Or we can take action by seeking God’s face and cry out to Him. Jehoshaphat took action. He “set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.”

The People of God today need to follow Jehoshaphat’s Six Acknowledgments:

Here are six acknowledgments from Jehoshaphat’s prayer that we can follow as we fast, pray, and seek God’s face:

1. Jehoshaphat acknowledged God was God.

Jehoshaphat acknowledged God. He said, “O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven?” He basically is saying – God, are you who you say you are? Are you God or not? In doing so, he acknowledged that he believes God is God in heaven. His question wasn’t that he didn’t believe – but that he’s challenging God to live up to who He says He is.

We need to acknowledge that God is who He says He is – He is God and we are not. In doing so, we call Him to act on our behalf with all of his power.

2. Jehoshaphat acknowledged God’s Power

Jehoshaphat acknowledged God’s power: “and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You? If Judah went out to fight this battle on their own, they would have lost. Their only hope was for God to do something miraculously to save them. Remember from the text that Jehoshaphat is scared. When we are scared, the best place to go is to God. He alone has the power to rescue and save.

We have no power on our own to change our nation. We can’t change not one single person. Only the Holy Spirit can bring conviction of sin and turn a person’s heart toward God or back to God. So we need to acknowledge God’s power and stop trying to do things in our own power. The battle we face is a spiritual one. Certainly God works through the lives of those who trust in Him, but the point is, we can do nothing on our own. But we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.

3. Jehoshaphat acknowledged God’s Sovereignty

Judah’s king prayed: “and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations?” Jehoshaphat understood that nations rise and fall at the will of God. God could save them from this threat or God could wipe them out and destroy them.

America, God in sovereignty rules over every nation – including America. He either blesses us or judges us. Right now, God is judging. He’s calling us to repent. We need to acknowledge God’s sovereignty. We need to acknowledge that, should God choose to, He could wipe America off the globe today. At the same time God could send His Holy Spirit to sweep across our nation and bring a spiritual revival like we’ve never seen before. I’m praying for revival.

4. Jehoshaphat acknowledged their problem

Jehoshaphat acknowledged their problem: “And now, here are the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir—whom You would not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them and did not destroy them— here they are, rewarding us by coming to throw us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit. O our God, will You not judge them?” Three countries join forces to gang up on Judah with the intent of overtaking them and taking over their land. If you notice, God would not allow Israel’s ancestors invade these nation as they came out of Egypt and now here they were knocking on the front door like the big bad wolf. They definitely had a problem!

Our problem today is not racism or same sex marriage. Those are a result of our problem. Our problem is a sin problem that is tearing our nation apart at the seams. We need to acknowledge the problem and call it by its name without sugar-coating it. We need to be direct and honest before our omniscient (all-knowing) God.

5. Jehoshaphat acknowledged their helplessness

Jehoshaphat acknowledged their own helplessness in their situation: “we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do.” The small nation of Judah did not have the power or might to defeat the size of the army coming against them.

We do not have the power or might to defeat our enemy either. Who is our enemy? Satan…and he comes at us with all his army of demons. To some degree, Christians are as much guilty of the state of this world and our nation as those who passed laws and led this nation away from God. We have not taken a stand for Christ in the political world. We’ve sat idly by, complacent within the pretty walls of our churches, and shook our heads and quietly said, “Well, bless their hearts. Let’s pray for them.” And now, we feel helpless to change anything.

Our Biggest Weapon is Prayer

All of Judah felt helpless too – but they were not. They used their biggest weapon without even knowing it – they prayed. We need to pray too. Not just say we’re going to pray, but never get around to it. Not just say some words so we can check prayer off our to-do list for the day. We need humble, heartbroken, repentant prayer from the people of God. Riots and marches make a statement, but they don’t change anything. Often they make the problem bigger.

Prayer changes the course of nations. Prayer moves heaven into action. But, as we pray, we need to acknowledge the part we played in the state of our nation by not standing up and speaking out for Christ. We need to repent and ask the Holy Spirit to empower us to speak boldly. If the people of God came together with the power of the Holy Spirit, God can work through us to bring the change that we so desperately need.

6. Jehoshaphat acknowledged their source of help

Jehoshaphat acknowledged their source of help: “we will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name is in this temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.” At the end of his prayer, he also said: “our eyes are upon You.” As the leader and king of Judah, he called his nation to fast and pray. He brought them to the house of God and with the entire nation in assembly, he led his people to pray and ask God to help them.

What would happen in our nation if God’s people all across America united on the same date and stood before God and in His presence and cried out to Him? Then, what if, we stand together with our eyes upon God to see Him work miraculously and intervene in the direction this nation is going? When Abraham barters with God to save Sodom and Gomorrah from destruction we find that for just 10 righteous people God would not destroy the cities. Are there 10 righteous people in America who will stand up for God by falling on their knees? Will 10 righteous people fast and pray?

A Call to Action for the People of God

We are calling on God’s people across America and throughout the world. We must stand before our Holy God acknowledging who He is. Acknowledging His power and sovereignty. We need to bring our sin problem to Him, surrender it, repent of it, and ask His forgiveness. We also need to acknowledge our helplessness against our enemy and that God is our only source of help. And we need to beseech God to revive our hearts, renew a steadfast spirit within us, and to redeem our nation. Will you join us?

Fasting and Prayer for America

On Friday, July 3rd, we are asking that Christians throughout America will spend the day fasting and in private prayer of repentance and asking God to send a revival to our land. Ask the Holy Spirit to renew the hearts of God’s people and burden them for the state of our nation and the need we have to repent and turn our hearts back to Him. Pray that God would redeem our nation and we would once again be known as One Nation Under God.

Then on Sunday, July 5, we are asking churches around the country to gather their congregations together outside the front of their churches and spend time in corporate prayer for the Holy Spirit to move in our nation and within the body of Christ. If you are a pastor reading this, will you lead your church to fast and pray just as King Jehoshaphat led his people? We also ask that you help us call the nation to prayer and fasting by sharing this on your various social media sites.

Let the people of God arise and cry out to Him to revive, renew, and redeem our nation and our world!


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Now you can enhance your Bible Reading with the Verse Mapping Template

Our Verse Mapping download is FREE and includes 6 pages: 3 pages of instructions for using the template and the 2 page template, plus the cover page. If you’re looking to go deeper into God’s Word, learn more about God and develop a stronger spiritual life, Verse Mapping will help you dig into the scriptures. As you apply God’s Word to your life, you will develop a more intimate knowledge and relationship with God.

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Download our Free 2021 Bible Memory Verse Plan

We’ve put together 52 memory verses for you to hide God’s Word in your heart! You can download the full document for free and then print a new verse each week and as many copies as you’d like. Each verse prints four times on a page so that you can then cut them into index size cards and place them in prominent places where you will see them frequently throughout the day to help you remember to memorize them. Just because you visited our site, they’re yours for free! Download today.

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Bible Reading Plan Download

Download our Free 2021 Daily Bible Reading Plan

With just 30-40 minutes per day, you can read the entire Bible in one year. The One-Year Bible Reading Plan consists of both Old Testament and New Testament readings for each day of the year. The Bible is God’s personal Word to you. What is He saying to you today? Open your Bible and find out!

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Download our Free Self-Care Wheel

The Self-Care Wheel provides ideas for practicing self-care in six dimensions of yourself: Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Sensory, and Social. NOTE: You will need 11X14 paper to print the wheel.

Want to know more about self-care? Our Self-Care blog series targets people who serve in any ministry position and takes a Biblical approach to self-care.

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<<<NEW>>> In the Spreadshop Store this Week:

Chosen and Loved and Critics don’t define God’s calling on your life

Don’t listen to what people say about you. The critics don’t define God’s calling on your life. Listen to what God says about you… He says you are chosen and loved. His voice is the only voice that matters. Listen to Him.

See our graduation tees and products:

Graduating Seniors, Class of 2021, #Done2021, and Tassel worth the Hassle

Once in the store, you can click on the customize tab and add your school name or graduate’s name!

The slide show below highlights some of our favorite Christian Tees designs available in our Spreadshop and Teespring stores.