Surrendering What We Can’t Control

During this time of quarantine and of plans not happening and disappointments, God has really been teaching me some things that are true.

As we received news that school would not go back this school year, we were so disappointed. As we have made plans to move back to the U.S. at the end of this school year, this was definitely not the ending we imagined. So what do you do when disappointment and an array of different emotions come? When you feel so frustrated and mad and sad? We were even more frustrated because we could not even get back to Juquila where we live. We came to Puerto Escondido when all of this started and thought maybe we would come for a couple of weeks. We ended up staying a couple of months as the roads and towns shut down that we’d have to travel through to get back to Juquila. We have no control over anything; I’ve seen that truth shared so many times in this whole pandemic. It is true though. We cannot control the way these small towns are handling the virus; we cannot control the decisions our government makes. We definitely cannot control the current state of the world, and we cannot control whether the plans we make happen or not.

The fact that we have no power to change those things can be really overwhelming, but it is a humbling truth and I am finding freedom and deeper joy when I surrender this. And in that surrender, I can see things that I actually can control to an extent. I can decide what I read, what I do or don’t scroll through, if I spend quality time at the feet of Jesus. These things are so worthy to be taken seriously. I could waste an entire day just worried and overwhelmed dwelling on the things I want to be different but are not. Or, as these frustrations come, I can feel them, think upon them, and then surrender them. God is trustworthy. And so that means that this is true from Matthew 6:26-34:

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Maybe it is hard for me sometimes to believe that I do not need to worry because I do not deeply think upon what I actually need. I feel worried and anxious because my plans are canceled. But I am never promised perfect plans. I get overwhelmed because the world is in chaos. But I am not promised a peaceful world, not until Jesus makes all things new. What is true is that I have Jesus, a close companion and friend. And the Holy Spirit that raised Him from the dead lives in me. Just the power of that alone should make ANY circumstance a miracle!

Sometimes it is hard to see it, but He really is making all things new. This is true, but in order to see His working, we must think upon the things of the Spirit. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. These are the things that God wants to grow in us. And as much as these circumstances are hard, as many disappointments there are, I believe that circumstances like these are actually great soil for these fruits to grow.

And I say all of this not to belittle anxiety and worry or to say that any of what is happening is good. I have just been very encouraged to have a perspective change. Our world and our lives have changed in so many ways in the last few months, but God remains the same. And His heart for us is to know Him and grow in Him so that we can love Him and others. Even though things look different, we still have just as much access and maybe even more time to see and grow in His purpose for us.

-Annie Balsley, GEM Missionary

Taking Him at His Word

It’s no question that these last couple of months have been a challenge. Routines have been shaken up, weddings put on hold, human contact limited, jobs lost, and most tragically of all the lives of dear loved ones taken away.

Although I’ve only been slightly affected in comparison to many, I’ve had to deal with my own feelings towards being stuck a country away from some of the people I love most. And seeing friends and families of friends struggle to put food on the table because both parents have lost their jobs. And not knowing what to say to a someone whose loved one is barely holding onto life. All due to this unseen, unpredictable virus.

In a few cases it has even brought into question my own view of God, His character, and His goodness to allow something like this to shake up the lives of so many across the world.

It reminds me of Jesus in Matthew 4:1-11 when God leads Him into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan.

Yes. God leads Him into a wilderness. A probably dry, unkempt sort of place where no one (besides maybe John the Baptist) lived and where you’re left to your own thoughts. And who’s in the wilderness? Yes. Satan. Just waiting to catch Jesus in one of his stealthily placed traps.

Just like in the Garden of Eden, Satan tempts Jesus to question His Father in three ways:

1. Questioning the identity and power given to Jesus by God by tempting him to make food for Himself

2. Questioning God’s love and protection for Jesus by telling Him to throw Himself down

3. Questioning God’s timing of Jesus’ reign and His allegiance to the Father by tempting him with power and dominion

Sometimes, being in our own kind of wilderness of separation from friends and family, I can feel the same kind of spiritual warfare going on in my own heart and mind.

When I see all the hurt and distance caused by this virus, questions about God’s love, His power, and His timing can slowly start to trickle into my mind. It’s in uncertain times like these when, even before I realize it, I can begin to doubt not just God’s power but ultimately His good character.

Although Matthew 4:1-11 starts off with a David vs. Goliath sort of scene where Jesus, a half-starved lowly carpenter, and Satan, one of the most powerful created beings behind God Himself, go head to head, we see that the Jesus has a powerful, secret weapon that Satan knows nothing about – the truth of God’s word. With it, He is able to slice through every temptation to question His Father like a steak knife cutting through a piece of fried baloney. All with one simple tool – The Word of God.

Hebrews 4:11 says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

And in John 17:17 Jesus prays that His disciples would be covered and sanctified in the truth of God’s Word.

Lately, I’ve been learning that like Jesus, if I’m going to win against the war of questions and doubts in my mind, I’m going to have to use something more powerful than my own willpower. I’ve got to use God’s truth. It is so important for me that when I notice these thoughts come to the surface, I don’t let them roll around and lead me to fear, anxiety or despair, but that I take them captive and put them up against the truth of God’s word (2 Corinthians 10:5). This means that I have to know the Word of God and daily submit myself to it.

The devil is crafty and He knows our weaknesses. That’s why His lies are so tempting and so believable! But in giving us His Word and His Spirit, God has provided us with everything we need to fight and win.

In fact, we’ve already won if we believe in Jesus because He won the victory over Satan and death before we were ever born!

Luckily God doesn’t make us suit up for a physical battle, but He does tell us to put on armor for a spiritual one. God calls us to take hold of His Word, submerge ourselves in it, and believe it. Only then will we be able to fight off temptations to doubt God’s character. Through His Word we will come to know our God so well that the moment these questions arise we will hold them up to God’s Word and trust that despite our changing circumstances, God’s character and His promises never change and they are always good.

-Maggie Addison, GEM Missionary

If you’d like to support Maggie as she serves with GEM in Mexico, you can do so HERE. You can also contact her directly to talk further about what it means to be on her support team and find out how you can be praying for her!

Don’t Be Afraid

I hope that everyone is doing well during this troubling time in our world. So much has changed so fast. People have lost their jobs, their money; many have lost relationships or at least access to certain relationships. Businesses are struggling to get by or are being forced to close down. It appears the world we live in is far less stable than we thought.

When everything changes and our plans are not turning out as we hoped, many thoughts start to creep into our heads. Worry, anxiety, and fear can be all consuming. I have been constantly battling these thoughts and feelings. I have been constantly having remind myself of what is true.

Just recently I remembered a command from God that has been so comforting. You might be thinking, “How is a command comforting? I’m afraid and someone is telling me what to do?” Well it has been said that this command can be found 365 times in scripture! That’s a lot! We should probably pay attention to this command. So are you ready for it? Here it goes, the command is…..

“Don’t be afraid.”

That’s it! Don’t be afraid! Or in some translations, “Fear not!” Here are a few well known places we find this command in scripture. It appears in both the Old and New Testament:

Deuteronomy 31:8  

He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Isaiah 43:1 

Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.

Matthew 10:31

So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Matthew 14:27

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

Mark 5:36

Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

John 6:20

But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.”

These are just a few of the places where this command shows up. Often times this command is accompanied by God reminding his people who He is. When we realize who God is, we have no need to be afraid.

When I don’t know what the future holds, I don’t need to be afraid.

When I don’t know where I will be living in the next few months, I don’t need to be afraid.

When I don’t know what my job will be, I don’t need to be afraid.

When an infectious virus is spreading all over the world, I don’t need to be afraid.

When I don’t know what will happen to the ministry I’m a part of, I don’t need to be afraid.

When I see my friends struggling in their marriage, I don’t need to be afraid.

When I don’t know who or what to trust, I don’t need to be afraid, and I need to remember that I can trust the one true living God.

He sustains me, he guides me, he provides for me, he cares for me, and above all else, he loves me.

And guess what 1 John 4:18 says,

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear”

God loves us, and we do not have to be afraid. He is God. We might not know what the future holds, but we know the one that holds the future.

Don’t be afraid my friends. Walk in love.

Brett Balsley, GEM Missionary

Into The Unknown

My everyday looks a little different nowadays. Just a few short months ago my everyday meant waking early in the morning, catching a bus with one of the my school families and going to school together. After arriving at school, I was met with many hugs and smiles from my co-workers, students and the students’ families. My everyday meant speaking constantly to my students and singing with them at the top of my lungs about Jesus’ love for us until my voice was practically gone. My everyday was full of movement, running around and endless laughter with my students and the community at my school. There was not a day that went by that i didn’t hear students calling my name, “Miss Andress!”

Now, my everyday is completely different. Instead of being greeted with a great big hug and kiss by my students, I get a sweet message on my computer or phone. Now, my former constant crazy and busy schedule of running around to see my students or meet with families at the beach looks more like FaceTime calls. Now, my everyday means staying home and being intentional with my community from my home. 

My everyday is completely different than what it was. Teaching now takes on a whole new meaning for me as I do it to the best of my ability virtually. I have learned many things about myself in this season of uncertainty, but the thing I learned the most was my desire for control.

I think it’s safe to say, as human beings, we like to have as much knowledge as we can about things or situations. For instance, in the workplace, we need to know exactly what we are doing and how we can do it well. As a teacher, I found so much comfort in knowing what my basic day-to-day schedule would look like. I knew exactly what time I needed to be at the school. I knew the time of arrival of my students and what it is I would be teaching them daily. Granted, there were many things that were uncertain but I did have a general routine and understanding of what my days would look like.

It is not a bad thing to have the desire to know or understand. But here’s the thing, we are not all knowing beings and were never designed to be. We are in a time now of complete uncertainty. I don’t know the next time I will step foot in my classroom. I don’t know when I will be able to wrap my arms around my students neck. I don’t know when I will be able to play volleyball on the beach with my students and their families. I don’t know if I will be able to ride the bus to school again. I don’t know if I will be able to see all of my students for the last time before the school year is over. There are so many unknowns, but that is alright. I am learning that I don’t know what is next and maybe that is the way God has intended it. Maybe the Lord has allowed all of us to go through this season of uncertainty to lean in and trust Him, the all knowing, the one who knows our first and last. 

While this season of unknown has been very challenging and even isolating at times, it has also been refreshing to be still; to rest and know that He is God and He knows. He has a path and a way set before me; I need only to step aside and release my desire to be in control so that He can continue to work in and through me.

– Philem Andress, GEM Missionary

If you’d like to support Philem as she serves with GEM in Mexico, you can do so HERE. You can also contact her directly to talk further about what it means to be on her support team and find out how you can be praying for her!



Fighting the Flesh

Acts 17:24-27 reminds us that we are born in need, and our desires are from God Himself. However, during the craziness of Covid-19, and the long hours at home in quarantine, I have been tempted to forget the One who gives and fulfills all of our desires.

Idleness and boredom are never a good combination. God purposely designed us for work before the fall. In this time at home, and an increase in free time, I have found that it is so easy for my desires to be flesh-driven instead of spirit-driven. I am shocked and dismayed how easy it is for me to forget the joys that are only found in Christ. Despite my sin, and my temptation to forget the goodness of Christ, God is still a good and gracious Father whose mercies are new every morning! Here is one thing I have learned as I’ve strived to fight my flesh and cling to Christ. 

Christ is our ultimate source of joy. 

The apostle Paul reminds us in Philippians that ultimate joy is found in Jesus. Paul had all of the qualifications of a “good life” during his time. He was a Hebrew of Hebrews, the Pharisee of Pharisees, the most blameless, and the most zealous. Yet, Paul suffered an insane amount of pain and sorrow, yet his joy was always anchored in Christ. He writes whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:7–8) When Paul found the treasure hidden in the fields of Scripture, all the other treasure  had suddenly faded in importance.  He wrote, “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better” (Philippians 1:23). Paul’s life has been a reminder in this season where I’m prone to grow weary and restless, that Christ is the ultimate treasure. 

Push Through

Even though fighting our flesh, especially during a time of increased time on our hands, seems daunting, we have a greater hope. Romans 8:12-13 says:  Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” Those words pierced through to my heart as I wage war against and choose to spend time focusing on the goodness of the Lord and the every-present joy found in him Be encouraged with this: 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8

I hope and pray that this gives you some ounce of encouragement as we push on during this season where life seems like it’s on pause. 

– Kayla Sumile, GEM Missionary

If you’d like to support Kayla as she serves with GEM in Mexico, you can do so HERE. You can also contact her directly to talk further about what it means to be on her support team and find out how you can be praying for her!

This Strange Season

As the nightly routine was winding down, I went to check on my kiddos, who had just showered and were climbing into bed oh so nicely and quietly (anyone who is a parent knows this isn’t true 😉). I went to kiss my 5 year old goodnight and when giggles erupted, I knew that something was up. I untucked her sheet and saw her dressed from head to toe in her school uniform (backpack and all). When asked why, she simply said “I know Mama, but I just miss school and this outfit so much!”

For a 5 year old, not seeing her teachers and friends for the last few weeks is hard. Knowing that most likely she won’t be able to finish her Kindergarten year is even harder. And while these things are difficult in her little world, the reality is that this pales in comparison to how most peoples’ lives have been turned upside down. Jobs lost, weddings cancelled, family members sick, businesses closing, schedules destroyed and the list goes on and on.

It’s easy, at least for me, to live in this place of “when this is all over.”  When this is all over, we’ll get back to normal. When this is all over, routines will start and kids will be in school. When this is all over, life will be be more exciting again and peace will come easier. Yet, as I’m slowly learning day by day, this isn’t what God has for us in this midst of this unique season.

As John Piper stated, “God not only comprehends the coronavirus; he has purposes for it. God does nothing, and permits nothing, without wise purposes. Nothing just happens. Everything flows from the eternal counsels of God (Ephesians 1:11). All of it is wisdom. All of it is purposeful. For those who trust Jesus Christ, all of it is kindness.”

ALL of this is PURPOSEFUL. ALL of this is KINDNESS. For those who trust Jesus, none of this time is wasted. Not to say, there’s not room for grief or sadness. There’s plenty of room to cry out to God when our lives are uprooted and change is drastic. Yet, it’s what we do afterwards and how we move forward that shows we trust our good Father.

When we say, Lord you are RICH in wisdom, it shows we believe His purposes are greater than we could comprehend. When we choose joy amidst the monotony, it shows our gladness comes in Him alone and not our circumstances. When we live faithfully one day at a time, it shows that we believe He daily carries our burdens.

I have so much to learn during this time. Over the past few weeks, I’ve said my fair shares of “Im sorry” and “please forgive me” as we continue to learn how to navigate life in this new and different season. Yet, I don’t want to look back and see that I lived these months in a spirit of “when this is all over.”’ Instead I want to look back and think, yes it was hard, but as I daily kept my eyes fixed on Him, He filled me with joy, peace, and grace even GREATER.

-Megan Herring, GEM Co-founder

Fear, Anxiety, Stress, oh my

In these uncertain times, God has been teaching me what it looks like to live surrendered and filled with His peace alone. 

Everyday I am faced with a war from the enemy who tries to sneak fear, anxiety, and or stress into my heart and my life. These things attempt to wipe out any feeling of stability and peace that I have in Christ Jesus. I take my focus off of King Jesus and before I know it, I am stuck in the “King of Me” mentality. 

What I am learning is that fear, anxiety and stress aren’t written across my forehead. When I look into the mirror, the symptoms of these sins aren’t always showing. Of course, there are times that they are, but daily, these things can sneak in and hide so quietly. 

When I am faced with situations or circumstances, the symptoms flare up and these sins will show their true destruction in my heart and life. Fear, anxiety and stress are parasitic. They slowly creep in and wreck havoc in our lives and relationships that is always beyond our own repair. 

As believers, we have the ultimate healing, cleansing and peace that is the only remedy to any type of parasitic destruction that our hearts are facing. That remedy is Jesus Christ alone. 

There has never been a better time than now to continue trusting and resting in the peace that we have in Jesus, alone. The world says “freak out, be anxious, be afraid,” God says, “be still.” 

Jesus tells us in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” 

I am learning to live in the peace that has been given to me. When I am faced with a situation or circumstance, I can ask Jesus to be my peace. No matter what I am faced with in this life, I can live and love others in peace. I am a child of God. He won’t leave me nor forsake me. And the same is true for you when you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ.  

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

-Kayla Miller, GEM Missionary

If you’d like to support Kayla as she serves with GEM in Mexico, you can do so HERE. You can also contact her directly to talk further about what it means to be on her support team and find out how you can be praying for her!

Creation Worships

With everything going on in our world, there are so many things swirling around in my head. It may seem random, but one thing that I cannot seem to shake is the reality that creation worships. It is a simple thought, but whether I am in Puerto Escondido or back in the United States, my heart continues to be drawn to this idea that creation worships. 

Recently, I was sitting outside and simply watching what was going on around me, and I noticed the ways that creation was dancing and singing before it’s Creator. The trees and grass dance in the wind. The birds sing joyous songs, and the bees buzz along with the birds’ songs. The sun spins around the world each day. Creatures run, jump, fly, and move with joy as they simply live as God has created them. Each night, the sun and clouds paint this beautiful display of God’s glory in the sky, and every morning flowers bloom proudly as they show off their splendor. The ocean bows as it crashes into the shore, wave after wave. Creation puts on this glorious display of worship each day. 

“Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! Say to God, ‘How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.’”

Psalm 66:1-4

While our lives may be on pause because of COVID-19 right now and all of the uncertainty, creation has not stopped in what they were created to do. Creation continues to worship, and we are invited to be a part of this beautiful song and dance before our maker as well.

“All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your saints shall bless you! They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power, to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations.” 

Psalm 145:10-13

Even though life looks differently now and many things feel uncertain and unknown, I know that I am still called to worship. Whether I am working from home, making bread, doing my laundry, going on a run, or chatting with a friend, I am able to worship my Maker. It looks different than it did a few weeks ago, but our God has not changed despite our quickly changing world. While you are at home during this season, find ways to worship. He is worthy of our time and praise, and honestly, now we have an abundance of time and energy to give to our God. Let us shift our focus from our worries and uncertainties to our God, and let us worship Him today along with the rest of creation. 

“Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord!”

Psalm 150

-Rachel Hill, GEM Missionary

If you’d like to support Rachel as she serves with GEM in Mexico, you can do so HERE. You can also contact her directly to talk further about what it means to be on her support team and find out how you can be praying for her!

This Hope We Have

My wife and I love our jobs here in Mexico. We love our students and the ability to live and serve here in the amazing town of Puerto Escondido. If you came to Mexico to visit, it would not take long for us to share about what’s going on with our students and nd what all that God is doing here.

It’s in our nature as humans to share with others with what most impacts us. We will share with others what we constantly think about. This time in the world is no different. It does not take me long to scroll through social media to see it completely saturated with news of this pandemic that we are experiencing in this world. It has impacted the entire world and influencing how we think about life. 

Over 70 years ago, C.S. Lewis wrote how the world should respond during an atomic age. One thing that he wrote really impacted me. He said this, 

“They (referring to atomic bombs) may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.”

These words resonate deeply with me. C.S. Lewis noticed that many people impacted by this crisis were dominated by the fear of this that it completely controlled their minds. The Coronavirus has impacted our world, but it doesn’t have to dominate our minds. 

Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  Psalm 145:13 says, “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations.” God’s kingdom will never fail. He is our refuge right now. He is our hope in the midst of this crisis. These words are rich and give us hope in the midst of a shaken world. 

One of my favorite bands, Kings Kaleidoscope, wrote a song called “Trackless Sea”, and in it they write:

“I’m holding on, to feelings in between

The faith I want, is bound in apathy

I’m tired of doubt, and feeling incomplete

Still, this hope I hold is my reality.”

As Christians, we should be concerned with what is going on with the world. There is wisdom in knowing what is going on and what we can do to stay safe and keep others safe. We should pray for everyone that is being impacted and take precautions as well. But we have a hope that is not moved. This hope impacts our response. 

1 Peter 1:3 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

Brothers and Sisters, we have a living hope through Jesus who came to give us His life. Our hope is not in the circumstances of this world, but in a God who is on control, a God who suffered and conquered death. This hope we have… is our reality!

-Daniel McDonald, GEM Missionary 
If you’d like to support Daniel and his wife, Kristen as they serve with GEM in Mexico, you can do so HERE. You can also contact them directly to talk further about what it means to be on their support-team and find out how you can be praying for them!

Remembering God is Our Remedy

Something that has become strikingly clear to me in the last couple months is just how easy it is to forget who God is when we are not constantly clinging to Him. The Scriptures scream the goodness and truth about God, “in your presence there is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11)… “those who seek the Lord lack no good thing” (Ps. 34:10)… “your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies” (Ps. 36:5)”… “ The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10), etc.

It is clear that we have a Father who is good, who loves us and is determined to show us his all-sufficient love. We have a Savior who willingly suffered in our place, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep (John 10:11)… “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord” (10:18). This is just amazing news. Amazing!!! The logical response to these truths is to praise God forever and never leave his side!

However, we have a sinful nature that causes us to wander and forget. Not only do we naturally desire sin, but there is an evil one who constantly seeks to turn us against our Father. The fight against our flesh is constant and I don’t think I had realized the significance of this until recently. It is a real battle that we must take seriously. The very moment we take our eyes of Jesus, that is when sin gets a foothold and begins its course of destruction. It can look so subtle too, almost harmless… something like, ‘I can’t pray right now because I have this errand I really need to run’ or ‘I just need a few more minutes of sleep instead of reading the Word today’, or ‘why not just take one look at that thing, it won’t hurt’. Worshipping the god of self and the god of pleasure are frighteningly easy and without a constant grasping of the truth, we forget the goodness of God faster than you can say go. Satan knows we are weak and he uses temptation to turn our eyes from truth. We see this in Genesis 3:6 when it says, “so when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate”. Now as much as Satan played a role Adam and Eve’s fall, Eve was responsible for choosing sin in the face of temptation.

The battle with our flesh can seem like an impossible mountain to climb. BUT, the greatest news that has brought me joy this season is that we have a victorious Savior who has already won the battle for us and is here to lift us up out of the dirt. I must remember to cling to the truth about God – that He loves me and paid the ultimate price for me even when I was dead in my trespasses… He is worth far more than any earthly treasure… he is worth more than any other relationship or pleasure I could attain, and He is a good, loving God who is here to fight with me. 

It says in James 4:7-8, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you”. In Psalm 34:18 we read, “The LORD is near to the broken hearted and saves the crushed in spirit”. Hebrews 2:10 says, “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted”. Romans 6:6-7 says, “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin”, and finally, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” – 1 Peter 2:24. 

Wow. What an incomprehensible, beautiful hope we have! What a loving, Faithful, conquering God we serve. We must cling tightly to these TRUTHS so that we may stand firm and unshakable in the face of temptation. Remembering God is our remedy. Let us fall in love with him and be forever changed.

– Natalia Saint Clair, GEM Missionary