Cultivating a Heart for the Nations 2018

11.19.2018 | No comments

I used to write a lot.
I don't write much anymore.
God has grown my heart, my theology, and my compassion.
So read older posts at your own discretion.

However, I am passionate about bible translation, seeing lost people be found and dead people come alive, and count it a privilege to bring the gospel to every nation, tribe, and tongue.  And I am starting with the people next door. 

I have complied a bunch of information on various people groups around the world, of which almost all can be found residing in the United States.  Only a few people groups listed in the devotional are considered reached for the gospel by having just a handful of Christ-followers.  Most remain unreached, 42% of the world's population is unreached for the gospel.  This means they are without the hope of the cross, are slaves to sin, and walk in utter darkness.  This has to change.

I hope you join me in counting down to Christmas this year with "Cultivating a Heart for the Nations."

It's designed for kids, teens, grown-ups, empty nesters, and grandparents alike.  We are never too young and never to old to grow our affections for the people around us. 

It is a daily devotional from December 1-25 that features:

  • People groups
  • Bible translation
  • Scripture
  • Cultures and customs
  • Crafts
  • Recipes
  • Questions
  • Talking points
  • Prayer points
  • Listening to languages

This devotional exists to make Christ known and to give him glory.  I have prayed that it will encourage and inspire Christ-followers to give and to go to the ends of the Earth to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I hope you start with your neighbor next door.

"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ."  -Romans 10:17

You can find "Cultivating a Heart for the Nations" by clicking on the graphic at the top (or below) of the blog, or by clicking here

For printing:

  • You will want to do double-sided printing to save paper.
  • Color is optional.
  • You could put 2 pages per 1 sheet, but the font may be harder to read in some places.

The Seed Company
The Joshua Project
International Mission Board
Global Recordings Network
Operation World
Word Project: Parallel Bibles
Deaf Bible Society
People Groups

Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world

12.05.2017 | No comments

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
Acts 17:24-25

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.  After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Hebrews 1:1-3
Alpha and the Omega
Ancient of Days
Atoning Sacrifice
Beginning and End
Better Moses
Branch of the Lord
Bread of Life
Bright Morning Star
Chosen Servant
Descendent of David
Everlasting Father
Exceeding Joy
Faithful and True
Father of glory
First and the Last
Founder and Perfecter of Faith
God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob
God of the whole earth
Good Shepherd
Great Deliverer
Great I AM
Heavenly Father
Holy One
Holy One of God
Holy One of Israel
Holy Spirit
Horn of Salvation
Jesus Christ
Jesus of Nazareth
King of kings
Lamb of God
Light of the world
Lion of the Tribe of Judah
Living God
Living one
Living Stone
Living Water
Lord God
LORD God the Almighty
LORD of hosts
Lord of lords
Marvelous Light
Merciful High Preist
Mighty God
Mighty One of Jacob
Most High
One who was, and is, and is to come
Only wise God
Overseer of my Soul
Prince of Peace
Righteous Branch
Righteous One
Risen Lord
Rock of Offense
Root of David
Second Adam
Shoot from the stump of Jesse
Son of David
Son of God
Son of Man
Spirit of God
Spirit of the Lord
Stone of Israel
Stone of Stumbling
Stump of Jesse
Suffering Servant
sun of Righteousness
True Shepherd
True Vine
Way, Truth, Life
The Word of God

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him and without him was not anything made that was made. 
John 1:1-3

And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6b

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.
John 1:14

He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood and the name by which he is called is the Word of God.
Revelation 19:13

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which means 'God with us.'
Matthew 1:23

I Sacrificed Myself So Now I Sacrifice My Phone: May Link-Up

4.29.2017 | No comments

When I think of the word "SACRIFICE" I think of letting go, surrendering, a payment, giving up so others benefit.  If you thought on the word, you likely would come up with the same set of words, or similar.

We all sacrifice a lot to accomplish the things which we care most deeply. However, sacrifices are not always positive, easy, and/or beautiful thing. 

I want to talk to you about something that has been near and dear to my heart lately, and that is the iPhone.  Me writing about this may be somewhat comical, for if you are like 90% of people you are probably reading this on some sort of mobile device; and the remaining 10% of you dinosaurs may read this on a computer.  Sure, tons of blogs have been written about the iPhone, numerous books depict the challenges of using advanced technology, and everyone has their own opinion, but after reading Tony Reinke's new book "12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You," I am even more aware of the control I allow my iPhone to play in my every day life. This awareness, and attempt to reign in my usage, has been going on for nearly two years now.  I think I am aware because I am annoyed with other peoples' iPhone habits.  Isn't it true we always notice what we hate in ourselves in others first?

The phone, and more specifically the iPhone, is an essential part of our every day.  Instant updates and news at our finger tips, and yes, this is beneficial to some degree.  However, in regards to sacrifice, we willingly lay on the iPhone altar every single day, spilling our most prized and glamorous details of the day.  We allow social media outlets to control us.  We allow the iPhone, or the things that are accessed on it, to dictate our attitudes and feelings.  We allow it to tell us how we should think.  We allow it to tell us where to go.  We allow it to control us.

Now don't get me wrong, I am appreciative of technology as much as the next person.  I have depended on technology and all its advances to improve my quality of life and my day to day activities.  I want you, reader, to know that I am writing this post because I am primarily writing TO and FOR myself.  I need this reminder, because I know it's true; and I know I need to change.  Technology like the iPhone is wonderful; however, there has to be a line when using it.  There just has to.


We sacrifice gazing into a newborns eyes while nursing because we are scrolling through feeds of other moms' babies.

We sacrifice experiencing the moment at a concert because we are too busy snapping and sharing a song, nearly watching the entire concert through our own mobile device.

We sacrifice intimacy with our spouse because we troll the "perfect, beautiful, never-fight" couples online.

We sacrifice our safety, our kids' safety, and the safety of the drivers sharing the road because we text and drive as if we are in complete control.

We sacrifice quality time with friends and family because we can FaceTime much easier and faster, allowing ourself a quick hang-up if something "more important" comes up.

We sacrifice the ability to seek information on our own because we ask Siri the answers, get frustrated because we all know she's useless, and then spend more screen-time because we forgot what we were "looking up" in the first place.

We sacrifice reading deeply because we skim articles and stories quickly (probably this one included).

We sacrifice genuine friendships because we reduce them to likes and shares on social media.

We sacrifice the "here and now" at an event because we are concerned so much about other peoples' "there and then."

We sacrifice our family time as we all sit on the couch in the same room, doing nothing other than scrolling social media.

We sacrifice nurturing our athletic talents because we are holed up comparing our body to a paid social media star's body.

The list is endless.  But if anything is important. If anything is worth highlighting in this small part of the internet. It's this:

We sacrifice a personal relationship with Christ because we would rather be on our iPhones.

Now, I know this is where some of you stop reading because apparently I am full of garbage because your relationship with Christ is awesome.  Good for you, but you're really missing the point. Your iPhone has a battery, and the battery keeps track of what apps you spend the most time on.  Look at yours.   Our batteries have convicted us and rendered us all guilty.   If your prayer life, your bible, your face-to-face fellowship groups had a battery tracker, would it be more than these apps?

Mine neither.


If none of the scenarios caused you to nod your head, look around, you'll notice how much others are missing out on because their eyes are buried in their phones.  When you notice it of others, you'll notice it about yourself.  It's scary, but don't be too hard on people, because we are all one click from being what you see, we could all become (or we are already are) these pictures. Tony Reinke reminds us that no demographic is immune from this addiction.  

But what should concern us the most is the eternal.  Jesus.  Our relationship with the Almighty One.  What could our life look like if we spent more time with the Lord?  What could other peoples' lives look like as we seriously invested in them?  How could our homes and workplace and neighborhoods and churches and cities because eternally changed because we decided to invest as much effort in our relationship with Christ as we do making the perfect Instagram photo, catching up on a day's worth of Facebook material, or refreshing our Twitter to see if we finally got a RT?  What if we really got serious about things that mattered eternally, and not waste so much time on the temporal?

(Remember, I am writing this for me even more so than I am you.)

So what can we do?


We can sacrifice our iPhones on the altar of Jesus Christ.  A "giving up so others benefit" kind of thing.  Everyone, including the iPhone owner, benefits when we deny ourselves the excessive pleasure of social media.

We sacrifice the iPhone so we can gaze into a newborns baby blue eyes.

We sacrifice the iPhone so we can experience the smells and sounds and people at the concert.

We sacrifice the iPhone to reignite intimacy with our spouse.

We sacrifice the iPhone because our safety is more important.

We sacrifice the iPhone to make memories with friends and family because time is fleeting.

We sacrifice the iPhone to spend time seeking valid information on our own.

We sacrifice the iPhone to read deeply with passion and grow in solid knowledge.

We sacrifice the iPhone to form genuine, lasting, meaningful friendships.

We sacrifice the iPhone so we can make the most of the "here and now."

We sacrifice the iPhone so we grow closer as a family unit.

We sacrifice the iPhone so we can nurture our athletic talents.

And ultimately, if for no other reason than this, we sacrifice the iPhone so we can have a richer, deeper, closer, more passionate, eternal personal relationship with Christ.

Can our phones be used for good?  Absolutely.
Can our phones be used for the eternal? Again, yes.

But in my life and I am guessing yours, we are a slave to refreshes and retweets, likes and shares, snaps and snap streaks.  We aren't using it for eternal impact for the Kingdom of Heaven.  We are using it to glorify our own personal kingdom on earth, and that is vanity and a sin against our Holy God.(Ecclesiastes 1)

We need to ask ourselves this, are we more willing to sacrifice our phone habits now or are we more comfortable with sacrificing our limited time, precious relationships, and our only Savior and Risen King Jesus Christ?

Jesus didn't sacrifice himself so that we could walk around to be mindless, self-absorbed, phone addicts.  Remember his sacrifice for you, and the phone is rendered ridiculous.

Photos above are taken by Eric Pinkersgill and are a part of his series "Removed." For more of his work, click HERE.

I am currently on chapter 11 in Reinke's book, but hope to finish before publishing this post.

Click HERE to purchase Tony Reinke's "12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You" (This is not an affiliate link.  I just genuinely want you to buy the book because it provides SO much more insight, encouragement, and detail of how our phones are changing us.  It's a must read for all.)

If you are linking up with us this month, grab the button and put on your post.  If you need some guidelines or want to know other prompts, click HERE.

April: G R A T E F U L N E S S

3.28.2017 | No comments

It's interesting to ponder "gratefulness" in April.  Usually you start mulling over all the things you are thankful for in the Fall when the year winds down and we celebrate Thanksgiving.  So to think about the things for which I am grateful in April, well, it feels a little strange.

Living a life of gratefulness helps destroy a self-centered, me-me-me attitude.  It humbles us.  It liberates us from having to one-up ourselves every day.  Gratitude tears down the walls of hostility that jealousy builds. Living a life of thankfulness is refreshing.  When you see thankfulness in others, aren't you just instantly drawn to them?  I know I am.

How do you live a life of gratitude?

I am sure there are books, articles, and blog posts that could probably walk you through a step-by-step process, but I just want to offer one idea.

I think you can live a life defined by gratefulness when you celebrate others.  

Take a moment to publicly celebrate someone special in your life.  Tell them all the things you appreciate about them.  Celebrating others takes the spotlight off of you and shines it on someone else.  We don't need the spotlight on us, we do that enough on social media with our passive "humble" posts.  #blessed
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."
- James 1:17
I am increasingly grateful for Stephanie.  

Stephanie walked up to me at church last Fall and basically said, "Hi I'm Stephanie. I used to live in Mississippi too.  We're going to be friends."  She wasn't proposing a question of whether or not I wanted to be friends with her, she was telling me friendship was here!

God provided friendship in Stephanie at just the right time.  I am so grateful that the Lord sees our hearts, knows what and who we need better than we do.  So He provided Stephanie.

Stephanie has a tender and deeply passionate heart.  She has a fierce desire to do exactly what God says, convicting me in my own walk with Christ.  She owns more makeup than Mary Kay and is an expert at using gifs.  She goes out of her way to make me feel special simply because she wants to, no ulterior motives.  She is super flexible and patient, which is exactly what this psycho, weirdo mom needs. (For example: We celebrated Galentine's Day over a month late because, well, kids.)  One thing that is absolutely amazing about Stephanie is that she loves, I mean lights out loves, my kids.  As a mom, there's nothing sweeter than that.  Stephanie is the definition of selfless, always looking out for the interest of others over herself.  I don't know many people like that.  She's a dime, completely unmatched.  If it's not apple scones, coffee, or sushi to bring us together, then it's definitely Parks and Recreation.  

She's the creamer to my coffee.  
The soy to my sauce.  
The Ann to my Leslie. 

I am so grateful that the Lord would knit us together in friendship.  Who knew that a girl that grew up in Starkville, Mississippi (Stephanie) and a girl who went to college in Starkville (me) would both end up in Midlothian, Virginia and attend the same church where they would become forever-friends.  God is too kind in giving me this sweet friend in Stephanie.  

What are you grateful for this month?

Add this button to your GRATEFULNESS post before you link it!

Let All That You Are Praise Him: Psalm 104

3.15.2017 | No comments

I ran across Psalm 104 as I was practicing praying the psalms as proposed by Donald Whitney in his book Praying the Bible.  After reading Jen Wilkin's book None Like Him and The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer, I have a richer theology and a better understanding of the Lord's attributes which cause me to stand in awe and utter fascination of who Jesus is.  But to say I fully understand tings like omniscience and sovereignty and transcendence would be absoutely foolish, because there is still so much to the Lord that is a sheer mystery; however, these characteristics of God cause me to just say, "Wow!" before the Lord.

I hope reading this Psalm causes you to worship the Lord and stand with your mouth open wide in sheer amazement.

Let everything, all that you are, praise Him.

Psalm 104New Living Translation (NLT)

Let all that I am praise the Lord.
Lord my God, how great you are!
    You are robed with honor and majesty.
    You are dressed in a robe of light.
You stretch out the starry curtain of the heavens;
    you lay out the rafters of your home in the rain clouds.
You make the clouds your chariot;
    you ride upon the wings of the wind.
The winds are your messengers;
    flames of fire are your servants.[a]
You placed the world on its foundation
    so it would never be moved.
You clothed the earth with floods of water,
    water that covered even the mountains.
At your command, the water fled;
    at the sound of your thunder, it hurried away.
Mountains rose and valleys sank
    to the levels you decreed.
Then you set a firm boundary for the seas,
    so they would never again cover the earth.
10 You make springs pour water into the ravines,
    so streams gush down from the mountains.
11 They provide water for all the animals,
    and the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 The birds nest beside the streams
    and sing among the branches of the trees.
13 You send rain on the mountains from your heavenly home,
    and you fill the earth with the fruit of your labor.
14 You cause grass to grow for the livestock
    and plants for people to use.
You allow them to produce food from the earth—
15     wine to make them glad,
olive oil to soothe their skin,
    and bread to give them strength.
16 The trees of the Lord are well cared for—
    the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
17 There the birds make their nests,
    and the storks make their homes in the cypresses.
18 High in the mountains live the wild goats,
    and the rocks form a refuge for the hyraxes.[b]
19 You made the moon to mark the seasons,
    and the sun knows when to set.
20 You send the darkness, and it becomes night,
    when all the forest animals prowl about.
21 Then the young lions roar for their prey,
    stalking the food provided by God.
22 At dawn they slink back
    into their dens to rest.
23 Then people go off to their work,
    where they labor until evening.
24 Lord, what a variety of things you have made!
    In wisdom you have made them all.
    The earth is full of your creatures.
25 Here is the ocean, vast and wide,
    teeming with life of every kind,
    both large and small.
26 See the ships sailing along,
    and Leviathan,[c] which you made to play in the sea.
27 They all depend on you
    to give them food as they need it.
28 When you supply it, they gather it.
    You open your hand to feed them,
    and they are richly satisfied.
29 But if you turn away from them, they panic.
    When you take away their breath,
    they die and turn again to dust.
30 When you give them your breath,[d] life is created,
    and you renew the face of the earth.
31 May the glory of the Lord continue forever!
    The Lord takes pleasure in all he has made!
32 The earth trembles at his glance;
    the mountains smoke at his touch.
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live.
    I will praise my God to my last breath!
34 May all my thoughts be pleasing to him,
    for I rejoice in the Lord.
35 Let all sinners vanish from the face of the earth;
    let the wicked disappear forever.
Let all that I am praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!

What verses cause you to gaze in wonderment at the Lord?

I Don't Love My Baby, Is Something Wrong With Me?

3.11.2017 | No comments

Growing a child is hard.  But raising a child, that's harder.  

There are so many things you aren't told when you become a parent for the first time.  There are so many expectations that other people will put on you as a parent, and so many expectations you place on yourself.  There are so many misconceptions about motherhood in general.  Here are a few tid-bits of encouragement I'd like to give the new mom, because well, I needed to remind myself.

"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it."
-Proverbs 22:6 ESV

Loving your child might not be automatic.
This concept might sound strange, especially if you are not a mom.  However, for some, it might take time to love your child.  You've never met this person you are now cradling.  You sort of feel like you know them because you grew them for 9-months or clung to their picture for some time, but you don't know them yet.  For some, learning to love this tiny creature who depends on you for life can be a lengthy process.  You personally have undergone so many changes and society quickly lets you know how second-rate you now are.  Sure it's not intentional, but you may feel yourself being forgotten now that this sweet, angelic face is now present.  Some may even resent their child for all the attention it is getting and how much life is now changing.  You might not want to hold the baby, and you know what, that's okay.  You're not the first person to not want to hold or touch your baby.  Don't send yourself into a frenzy because loving your child hasn't come naturally like you thought it would.  Don't feel guilty or shameful because everyone is telling that there is something wrong with you, there's not.  Don't panic because this journey of motherhood isn't panning out the way you envisioned.  This is normal.  I know you love your child, but you will in time genuinely express it to your child.  Be patient.

"We love because he first loved us."
-1 John 4:19 ESV

You're not suppose to know how to breastfeed.
So the boob-police have really made this fact seem nearly foreign.  I am a quick learner at everything, but breastfeeding isn't included in "everything" apparently.  I felt like I should have known how to breastfeed my son, so I felt incredibly insecure and vulnerable when that wasn't the case.  I had doctors and nurses tell me I needed to supplement because I wasn't feeding my child adequately two days after birth.  Let me tell you this, you aren't suppose to know how to breastfeed, not even if you went to a fancy class.  You've never had a delicate child in your arms depending on you for sustenance.  It's a completely bizarre and nerve-racking experience.  It's painful at first.  It's hard.  Let me repeat, this is a thing you must learn by trail and error.  You're not suppose to know how to do it.  And if it was easy for you, what planet did you come from?  You may have to have a lactation consultant position your breast and baby's head just right.  That's what I had to do.  It takes practice, but if you are set on breastfeeding, stick with it.

However, let me just throw this in.  If you don't want to breastfeed or it's too painful or creates a sense of anxiety or you are completely overwhelmed by it, who cares.  Don't do it.  There is not a rule that says you have to.   You have to do what is best for baby annnnnnnnd YOU.  And while breast milk does provide beneficial nutrients, so does formula.  If you are relaxed while feeding your child and that baby is growing, you are winning as a parent.  (Besides, I can't remember the last time a job application or college entrance exam asked if you were breast or bottle fed, so shush the breast-is-best nazis and you do you).

Newborns don't sleep through the night.
You'll experience it.  We all have.  The friend on Facebook who rants and raves that her child has finally slept through the night......and the baby is only 2 weeks old.  Cool, well, that's not normal or healthy.  Maybe they were blessed with a freak-sleeper, but since me and you weren't, let me just remind you that it's not normal for a newborn to sleep through the night.  I know kids who have slept through the night around 8 weeks, but for some it may take much longer, even a year or two.  So don't compare yourself to the friend on Facebook, she most likely wants people to think she's somehow got it all together.

Babies cry.
I was so insecure every time my first born would cry.  I felt like I wasn't doing something correct or I was somehow a bad mom.  With family in the house, I felt like every time he cried and I couldn't make him stop, they thought I was failing as a mom.  I really felt alone.  I didn't feel like I could be a good mom.  I had a mental breakdown and cried uncontrollably to one of my best friends.  But you know what, after having my second child, I realized that's just what babies do.  They cry.  Sometimes you can't get them to stop.  And that's okay.  You might be in the car, in the grocery store, or a silent library and they are screaming their lungs off, but that doesn't make you a bad parent, because babies are professional criers.  Do they have a clean diaper?  Are they fed? If yes, they might just need to cry, and if you let them cry for 10-minutes, you're not a bad parent.

Motherhood doesn't have to be lonely.
One of the biggest struggles for me, and many new moms, is the feeling of isolation.  To say this is normal is sad, but it's true.  Just google it.  It's the number one hardest thing for new moms, even for those who are plugged in several places.  Initially motherhood is in itself isolating.  You are trying to figure out what even in the heck you are doing.  You have to physically heal, and that could take a while depending on the birth experience   You don't want to expose the baby too soon after birth to people and the elements.  You stay home because you want to sleep any chance you might get.  You don't really want people around because you don't really know how to "mom" yet.  You don't really want people to visit because you aren't really sure how to tell people you'd prefer they not hold your baby.  Your hormones are raging.  Your boobs are leaking.  How can you possibliy manage to even get out of the house before 2PM?  So the early stages of motherhood are initially isolating.  But don't make motherhood lonely.  Go to Mothers of Preschoolers.  Go to lunch with a friend, even if it's inconvenient, it will recharge you.  Allow a close friend to bring you coffee or watch a movie while the baby sleeps.  Go on a walk with a neighbor and push the baby in the stroller.  Get plugged in and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Say "yes" from time to time.  I am preaching to myself here, I constantly feel lonely even though I am surrounded by a team of wonder women.  Not accepting help is the number one way to dig yourself into a lonely, deep hole.  (And please don't be so prideful to say this will never happen to you, it happens and it's real).

"Where there is no guidance, a people falls; but in an abundance of counselors there is safety."
-Proverbs 11:14 ESV

Your baby is special.
Your baby might grow 12 teeth or 2 teeth in 12 months. Your baby might sleep through the night after 3 months or at 18 months.  He might speak 50 words or she might only say 5-10.  She might walk before her first birthday, or he might not walk until well after.  Your baby might be a cuddle bug or run from physical affection.  Your baby might feed himself finger foods at 7 months or might wait until he is 15 months to really eat by himself.  Your baby is your baby.  Not your friend's baby. Not your mom's baby.  Not the Instagrammer's baby.  Not the Facebook accquaintace's baby.  Your baby is unique.  Don't compare your baby's milestones to anyone else's.  Nothing is wrong with your baby, they beat to their own drum.  Listen to the song they play.

You're the greatest mom.
In case no one has told you, you're doing a great job.  You're a great mom.  You love your child in big ways.  You sacrifice your sleep.  You change diapers, clean up puke, wipe off messy mouths, do countless loads of laundry, work another job, cook dinner most nights, and still manage to take a shower.  How do you do it, really?  You are a super human.  You are the world's greatest mom.
"She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children raise up and call her blessed. Her husband also, and he praises her."
-Proverbs 31:27-28

Do you have a mom in your life that could benefit from these reminders?  
Send her this link.  I wish I had read something like this before my first child was born.  

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