Protected by Silence but not Deaf

A WILD Devotional

When the baby was eight days old, [neighbors and relatives] came for the circumcision ceremony. They wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father. But Elizabeth said, “No! His name is John!” “What?” they exclaimed. “There is no one in all your family by that name.” So they used gestures to ask the baby’s father what he wanted to name him.  He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is
John.” Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God.

Luke 1:57, 61-64 New Living Translation

Zachariah was temporarily mute and used gestures or writing to communicate during this time until he “could speak again”.

When I initially read verse 62, I laughed at the thought that Zachariah could be thinking – “um… I can hear you, I just can’t talk!”. It also made me realize that just like “the neighbors and relatives,” we often assume limitations or consequences from shortcomings. Yes, Zechariah was mute, but there’s a silver-lining.

I could perhaps think that Zechariah was punished for doubting, but what I see is the Father’s protection so that he could not speak death into a promise given by God. Is not life and death “within the power of the tongue?” (Proverbs 18:21)

Though complaining may bring some satisfaction, and very short-lived, it drags me further into a hopelessness that becomes harder to fight. I choose to surround myself with life – listening to the Word, worship songs, etc., until what pours out of me is life.

When I am given a promise from the Lord, if I can’t speak life into it, then I protect it by being silent and getting around those that will speak life into it. By remaining silent and actively listening to life spoken into this promise, I allow myself to get stirred up and the desire to complain or give up lessens. After all, it’s just for a time and not forever that I have to bite my tongue – isn’t that worth it?

Every word from God is precious. When we receive Jesus and believe in Him, the truth of what He says and does, we become who we were created to be!

Join me in this prayer:

Father, help us protect what you have spoken to us and to others. Keep us from critical words against ourselves and each other. May Your Word be the life we speak and may our silence in times of doubt be protected by those around us that love you and fear you. In Jesus’ name, amen.


image1Cindy Andrade lives in Los Angeles and finds joy and fulfillment in helping receive their God-centered breakthroughs. She’s a big believer of celebrating victories as no victory is too small. She finds beauty in the process of overcoming the difficulties of life while looking for the silver-lining in situations and holding on to the Father’s love as a lifeline. She has recently joined The City Church Agoura campus and is looking forward to encouraging others in this community.

Strong Women

May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25

God loves strong women. Strength is required for the great work our creator is calling us to. Women comprise half of humanity and our femininity was designed by God with a unique and particular purpose in mind. I’ve been told I’m strong many times. I don’t think it was always a compliment in the mind of the individual saying it, ha! I do fit the “Anne of Green Gables” redhead stereotype with my sharp mind and quick tongue. Passion is a quality I have never lacked, though I do regret that, at times, it has been misguided. In spite of that, I’m thankful to be one in a long line of strong, redheaded women.

It takes great strength to raise children, to joyfully love the same man over a period of decades, to lead a business or organization, to pick up the pieces and start again after death or divorce, to maintain a household while a husband serves in the armed forces or as a first responder. The teenage mother with an unplanned pregnancy needs strength to birth a baby and to choose whether to raise the child or give her to adoptive parents. The refugee woman in a new country, speaking a new language, requires strength to begin a new life. The victim of sexual violence requires great strength and courage to testify against her accuser. We women, we sisters and mothers and daughters and wives, we need our strength.

God has always called his people to be strong, to stand up against injustice and proclaim dignity over every member of humanity. He has called us to be strong to face impossible situations. In our beautiful and broken world, there is so much to do that will require His great strength. There are slaves to be freed, children to be adopted, victims to be rescued, refugees to be brought home, addicts to be rehabilitated, friends and enemies to be forgiven. The brokenhearted and depressed require someone to lift up their chins and look into their eyes and tell them they can have hope, that we are in this together and they are not alone.

God knew that teenage Mary had the strength to carry the son of God and believe in His resurrection. Jesus saw strength in the eyes of Mary Magdalene, when she broke the alabaster jar over the feet of her redeemer, while all the men in the room scorned her. Jesus praised the sick woman whom, with a single act of faith, compelled His power to heal her. He knew the woman who’d been caught in adultery could have the strength to “go and sin no more.”

How can God ask us to be strong, in the face of human crisis? Sometimes the news of school shootings and war, natural disasters and poverty, displacement and sex-trafficking, can be overwhelming. Sometimes the demand from our children, our jobs, our parents and even our own expectations of ourselves can be overwhelming enough. We can be strong because He was strong in life and in death and in His resurrection.

Isaiah 61:1-7 prophesied of the redemptive heart of Jesus for our broken world:

“The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me.

He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken,

Announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners.

God sent me to announce the year of his grace—

a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies— and to comfort all who mourn,

To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion, give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,

Messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.

Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness” planted by God to display his glory.

They’ll rebuild the old ruins, raise a new city out of the wreckage.

They’ll start over on the ruined cities, take the rubble left behind and make it new.

You’ll hire outsiders to herd your flocks and foreigners to work your fields,

But you’ll have the title “Priests of God,” honored as ministers of our God.

You’ll feast on the bounty of nations, you’ll bask in their glory.

Because you got a double dose of trouble and more than your share of contempt,

Your inheritance in the land will be doubled and your joy go on forever.

Yes, Jesus went to the cross to get great strength for us. He started this work and trusted it to us until His return. We can walk in the strength and power of His Holy Spirit, knowing that God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength. We, the church: men AND women of every age, of every color, of every nation, truly are the hope of the world. Jesus is clothing you with strength and dignity for today and every day ahead. There is much to be done!

Happy International Women’s Day!



Also, if you are looking to connect with individuals and organizations we work with and support, check out:

Ezra Gate, with Casey Tait who contributes to Beautiful Stories

A21 Campaign with Christine Caine

Life Impact International

No Greater Love: To All the Single Ladies

To quote the queen (no, not Blair Waldorf, but yes, Queen B, Beyonce herself), “all the single ladies, now put your hands up!” So, my hand is up. Yes, I’m single and a lady, and find myself walking into church all too often to hear another message about marriage. Don’t get me wrong, I love marriage. In fact, I want to be married (any other single ladies with their hands up on that one?)! But frankly, I’m not at this point in my life (note the empty ring finger, bed, and womb that remind me daily of that fact).

My journey in “singledom” may or may not be similar to your journey, but whether you’re a 20-year old pining away for that cute guy, or you’re more seasoned in life, with a failed marriage or two under your belt, us ‘single ladies’ all have one thing in common – and it’s not our marital status (although that may seem the obvious). What we have in common with our journey is that God is the orderer of all our steps (Psalm 37:23), and whether we’ve made all the right decisions to lead us to where we are today or we took a few devastating detours to arrive at our current destination, the reality is no matter the journey: God is in control.


It has been my greatest life lesson the last 18 months. In those months, I’ve battled a few broken relationships, struggled with comparing my life to my ‘married with three kids best friends,’ and fought insecurities of loneliness, worth, and feeling forgotten by God. So, you can imagine (or maybe you’ve even been there before), walking into church on a Sunday to hear another message about marriage, doesn’t always lead to the great, uplifting feelings of hope, but rather reiterates the feelings of despair in my heart and emotions.

During those 18 months, I had a major breaking point. I (thankfully) called on a friend during my low-point, and they did what every good friend should do – they listened and then they created space for me to meet with the only One who could really help me in that moment with all that inside junk. They turned on the United Pursuit song Never Going Back (yes, pause and go download it now!). I sat in their car, tears streaming down my cheeks, exhausted from battling my heart and emotions, listening to the lyrics of this song:

You say I am Yours

I never am alone
You found me

And I’ve made up my mind
I’m never going back

The lyrics hit my heart like a weight, pressing down on my insecurity of loneliness and the feeling of being forgotten; those misguided emotions that kept trying to squeeze the life out of me, kept me singing along hopelessly with Queen B and all the single ladies. Overwhelmed by the weight of my emotions and the puffiness of my eyes (not to mention, the mascara parading down by face like a black waterfall), I sat there silently waiting for Jesus to show up. At that point, the song shifts, and all of a sudden, so does my perspective…

I’m singing out Your lovely name
I’m giving You everything
You make my soul alive
You put Your love inside

Where my soul felt choked by my season and emotions that surrounded my circumstance, I realized He is what makes my soul alive! Maybe it’s a no-brainer for you and I’m just late to the game, but in that moment, my soul felt life again; my soul felt God. My soul felt peace that comes not from having all the circumstances right (cuz they weren’t) or all the prayers answered (cuz I’m still waiting on some…) or even all the emotions in a healthy place (cuz, well, I’m a girl and when are we not emotional?!); but it felt peace that transcends my understanding (Philippians 4:7). Peace that comes from when He’s in control and not me.

I kept trying to control my circumstances and season. If I could just look this certain way, talk to that certain guy, live in this certain place, do this or do that, then surely, I’d no longer be singing Single Ladies, but instead Prince Charming would be sweeping me off my feet with his own rendition of Train’s Marry Me. And that was the problem. I was trying to be in control. And quite frankly, it wasn’t working.

So, I decided to give Him everything. It’s in that place of surrender, where I genuinely let Him be in control that my soul found life. It brought greater meaning to the verse that says when I lose my life, that’s when I find it (Luke 9:24). When I give up control and allow Him to lead, that’s when I find life; that’s when my soul is truly alive, full of joy and peace that can only come from Him.

You’re like… isn’t she a pastor? What does she mean she wasn’t surrendered to God? I love God; loved Him for a long time. I obey the Bible to the best I can, reflect Christ in my daily life as much as I can, but still held onto a few things trying to stay in control. Control is comfortable and familiar, so I thought. Like a good backseat driver, I let Jesus take the wheel, but I kept trying to give Him directions.

So surrendering completely to Him, meant letting Him drive and trusting He knew the best route and the best timing and the best people to take along on the ride. It shifted from comfortable control to the adventurous life of faith. The difference was the One calling the shots.


Don’t get me wrong, I still want to meet the love of my life. I want to have someone who loves me the most and thinks of me first; someone to put a ring on it, fill my bed and my womb! However, in that moment where I felt my soul come alive, I realized I don’t need that to be alive, fulfilled, and happy. I realized WHY my soul felt alive: because His love is inside me and He is in control!

He loves me. He put His love on the inside of me. There’s no greater love than the love of God towards me. It may seem so elementary, but for me it was revolutionary. I can’t control my love life, I can’t control people, I can’t control circumstances, seasons of life or anything else. But I know the One who controls it all; the One who puts His love on the inside of me, that drowns out every insecurity, comparison, and deferred hope.

John 15:13 says there is no greater love, than a love that will lay down their life. Jesus loves us so much, He demonstrated the greatest love, to give His life, that I could have life in Him. Greater than the love of any man, parent, friend is the love of God towards me. There is truly NO greater love. Don’t let that RomCom, Insta post, or person tell you anything otherwise! Jesus is the greatest love story to hit human kind!


I made a determination that day, that I’m never going back to life without His love inside. Not that it ever wasn’t there, but I let the lack of love from other sources overshadow the most incredible love of all time! And I would never go back to that.

I lean fully into Him. He’s in control of the circumstance, in control of the season, in control of my life. He’s in control! And that’s relief – I don’t have to be!

I’m not going back to insecurity – I’m secure in His faithful love.

My future is secure in His faithful love.

My heart is secure in His faithful love.

My hope is secure in His faithful love.

I am secure in His faithful love, and I trust Him.

The message of marriage is powerful – Ephesians 5 tells us it’s the closest replication of God’s love towards His bride, the church. But even the love of a man and woman in marriage cannot compare to the love of God towards me and towards you. So now when I hear another message about marriage, I’m reminded of God’s incredible love. I’m reminded of my season and that God’s in control of it, and so far, His track record is perfect in always knowing better than me and working things together for my good. So I’ll rest in that.

So to all my single ladies, what a beautiful season to be lavished in the love of God. What a beautiful season to fix your heart and attention on Him and trust Him to faithfully work ALL things together for your good (Romans 8:28). It takes all the pressure off, puts peace in your heart and mind, and makes for a beautiful, adventurous life of faith. I’m content He’s in control.

I’m confident someone will come and “put a ring on it” and I will be ready to say yes, quicker than the Bachelor can hand out roses! But my hope and security are not in that. I am secure in His faithful love. We are secure in His faithful love; and for me, I’m never going back to anything else.

IMG_4788Breanna Giberson is an associate pastor and executive administrator at The City Church. She serves weekly at the Ventura campus. Breanna moved from Seattle to help Pastors Jude and Becky plant the City Church in 2011 and loves the sunshine in Southern California. Breanna experienced God in a powerful way as a high school student and served in youth ministry for many years. She is passionate about introducing people to Jesus Christ and raising up leaders in City Groups. She adores her nieces and nephews and is  affectionately known and loved by all of the City Church staff kids as, “Auntie B.”

Finding Rest

A WILD Devotional

Surrender is something that I think sounds easy to do at times, but can actually be very difficult. I’ve come across many areas in my life this week that I  realized I needed to surrender to God. I became keenly aware of my own “busy-ness.” I have a desire to love others and serve others, to help where help is needed and to constantly be growing. While these are all good things, they can quickly become dangerous things if we aren’t careful. I have a tendency to say yes to everything just because I know help is needed or because I’ll get the chance to love others. Sometimes I’m just striving to prove my love to God. However, I spend way too little time with myself and with God and way too little time resting. By not allowing myself this time and continuing to do things the  way I’m doing them now, I’ll eventually be running on empty, unable to give out anything, and that’s not beneficial to anyone.

God had completely wrecked my Tuesday morning in the very best way. In an inaudible voice, He told me that I needed to learn to accept the love and blessings He gives me, as a gift to be cherished for myself, not just something to be shown to others. He also spoke to me that I don’t need to  strive  because I already have his undivided attention and unconditional love available to me, whether I do anything or not.

Hebrews 4:9-10 talks about this, “So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world.” (NLT)

I’m so thankful to God for creating this rest and for Jesus who made a way for me to enter into this rest by dying on the cross. He’s made amends for my failures and promises to help me. Now I can serve and love from what I already have, not what I’m trying to achieve.

Hailey O BrienHalley O’Brien is a first year student at California Coast Bible College. She has a passion for people and a passion for music. Encouraging others and speaking into others is important to her because she loves to see people grow into their potential. She loves to be around her family and friends and enjoys frequent trips to Disneyland. In her spare time you may find her songwriting, snacking, or telling really corny jokes.

My BIG 28

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible (Mat. 19:26 NIV).  

For those of you who read my first post titled “Twenty Eight”, you will know the significance of this number in my life.  In my post, I explained how my unusual and frequent encounters with the number 28 are a special way that God reminds me of His loving care and presence in my life.  What I left out of the “28” post is my most special and favorite 28 of all; my BIG 28!  Actually it is a 28 that first and foremost belongs to God and my parents; a 28 that was truly an impossibility in my mind and in the minds of countless others; a 28 that can bring me sobbing to my knees with inexpressible gratitude and unthinkable joy; a 28 that will be treasured in my heart as long as I live.  

What is this BIG 28 you ask?  It is the resurrection of my parent’s marriage after 28 years of divorce.  It is the glorious display of Jesus’s power to call to life that which was dead.  It is the unlikely rescue out of difficulty, darkness, and despair beyond what many can imagine.  It is the miraculous rebuilding of a relationship and family established by God in Heaven.   It is the undeniable witness that through the power of the Holy Spirit, every relationship is capable of healing, forgiveness, and restoration.  It is the celebrated victory over hell and every wicked plan of the devil.  It is comfort and peace to my soul.  It is roots and stability.  It is a legacy for generations to come.  This 28 is truly beyond anything I can describe!  

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 “Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called.  Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.  It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.  Therefore, as it is written:  “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord”” (NIV).  

Only God could take such a foolish 28 and turn it into my cherished boast of His love, care, and kindness over my life.  When I hear my parents share the story of their miracle marriage from their own lips, it settles the reality that we live in, that God “is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20 NIV).  When Jesus went to the cross and was resurrected, it demonstrated to us that nothing is too hard for him. Dear friends, our God is a BIG, BIG God and He can do the impossible!  THINK BIG, BELIEVE BIG, EXPECT BIG. Your miracle is happening!  Yes and Amen!

Amy MukesAmy Mukes is the wife of Eric Mukes and together they have four amazing children whom she teaches at home.  She is passionate about education and literacy and also desires to equip parents with practical tools to raise their children with the gracious love of Jesus. Amy is currently developing a City Group that will be filled with experiential, interactive learning where parenting skills and family life will increase and flourish under the Gospel of Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit. To find out more about City Groups, click here.

God Hears You

There is so much to be said about the power of prayer. Countless books, sermons, teachings , and podcasts on how to pray, what to pray, and why it is one of the most significant parts of our faith. From the book of Psalms, to the Lord’s prayer modeled for us in the Gospels, prayer is simply a conversation with our Heavenly Father. The most profound prayer we will pray in our life is the one where we respond to God. It is the prayer of salvation, inviting Jesus into our lives and hearts, and being divinely grafted into the family of God. This is where our journey and destiny begin. This is where we witness our first miracle, the miracle of a new life with Christ. Even the angels celebrate as Jesus says in Luke 15: 10 “ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

That rejoicing in the presence of angels over me, happened when I was twenty years old. For almost a year, I was on a search to find my purpose in life and my passion. I had a faint idea of who God was and wasn’t against the idea that He was the real deal, but I had no idea what I was about to encounter that would forever shift the destiny and course of the rest of my life. I was invited to a church because there was a special speaker coming by the name of Nick Vujicic. He is a man born without his limbs and he traveled all over the nation speaking boldly about the goodness of God. He spoke in a way that moved me to my very core. At the end of his message, he asked anyone who felt a tug on their hearts to come to the front of the church altar because that meant God was speaking to them and that they could respond by inviting Jesus into their lives. I had to respond. There was no way I was going to leave that place without surrender. In that moment, I began to encounter the love of God so strongly that I left a new and whole person. Even though I had no training or teaching in theology, I became so aware and hungry to learn more about prayer and I set out on a journey to grow in my new passion.

I became the first Christian in my entire family. I was a young girl on fire for God and zealous to share my faith with everyone around me. I was eager to learn anything I could and I loved church and gatherings where I could grow through fellowship. Yet, I found myself disquieted and shrunken down when it came to professing my love of God to my very own family, especially my mother. Perhaps she  didn’t quite understand me and the journey I was on. Maybe she  thought I was going through one of my  “phases” and even in the moments I was undaunted by sharing about Jesus, her heart was hardened. The more I wanted to reach her, the farther away we slipped from understanding each other and the more strife and resentment built up between us. I made a decision to be persistent, determined , and even relentless to see my mother walk in freedom and truth. The first thing I had to do was surrender her to the Lord. The weight I was carrying was not mine to bear. Jesus says His burden is light and His yoke is easy. I followed with declaring the promises of God and standing on the Word like they did in Acts 16: 31, “They answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you and your family will be saved.” And lastly, I just simply believed and thanked God for it as if it already came to pass. There was no pressure on me to work at it, I had full assurance and confidence as I allowed the Word to take root and grow in my very soul and spirit.

Every moment I could, I would plant seeds of faith and love until I could see softening in areas where her walls stood securely. Whether or not I could see the progress, I felt at rest that God was doing a mighty work. Seven full years later, in this very church where my husband and children have planted our roots, and the place we call home, we had a special guest speaker come on a Sunday morning to speak boldly about the goodness of God. A man born without his limbs who traveled around the world to inspire others and speak fearlessly about the love of God. Seven years later, with immovable tireless prayers along the way, my mother turns to me and asks me to walk with her to the front of the church because she can not shake off a tugging in her heart and she must respond to Jesus and what this same man (Nick Vujicic) is preaching. In the most epic way, God allowed me to witness this miracle as it came to a full circle that morning. I could almost hear the shouts of rejoicing in heaven for what had just transpired. This response to Christ set into motion the life God intended for my family as my father, soon after, also committed his life to Jesus. Not only that, but my sisters and brothers, as well as their families have all decided to follow Jesus. My parents are planted in a local church and they love their community.

Maybe you are still contending for someone in your life, that relative, friend, spouse or child. Maybe you even pressed a pause button on praying for this person because they continue to make decisions that are detrimental and it looks hopeless. Maybe this person has  disconnected even more strongly as you began to wage on their behalf. Remember these scriptures on your journey and believe in our BIG God:

Psalm 17:6 “I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.”

Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer “

1 John 5:14 “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”

I want to encourage you to pick up right where you are, or to forge ahead with great faith that you too will witness the miracle of new life for this person. God has not, and will not give up on you. God hears your prayer and will answer!

Margaret Thompson is a mother of four young boys and wife to Brent. They experienced God in a powerful way and are passionate about sharing the love of Jesus with people who don’t know Him through friendship and City Groups. Margaret loves to pray and helps to lead the prayer ministry on Thursday nights at the Ventura campus of The City Church.”

What do You See?

Hello! My name is Casey and it’s such an honor to contribute to Beautiful Stories! Some of you may already know me, but for those I’ve yet to meet, here is a little bit about my story. I’m a City Church rookie and avid fan. From my first week in college in 1995, to my time as an intern, throughout my years serving as the Intern Director – the family of faith at The City Church (both in Seattle- now Churchome- and Ventura) has deeply shaped who I am today. The gamut of life journeys with this beautiful community of believers taught me to engage in genuine worship, dive into the Word, value prayer, cherish international service trips, build lasting relationships with people, and above all – to know and love God more.

In 2014, I was sent out from The City Church to relocate to Jerusalem, Israel, in order to engage in local mentoring and discipleship efforts in the Middle East. This has been the most challenging, adventurous, faith-provoking, courage-inducing, awe-inspiring thing I’ve done in my life thus far. The prayers and support from many dear friends at The City Church have helped me stay the course and bear much fruit for the Kingdom of God. I’m so honored to have a strong home church to stand with me as I serve in this delicate region of the world – and I always encourage people to come visit me in Jerusalem!

A couple of weeks ago was Tu-B’shevat (ט״ו בשבט) in Israel, a cultural holiday celebrating “New Year for the trees.” This holiday is often celebrated by partaking of a new type of fruit, or one of the fruits mentioned in the Torah in regards to the bounty of the Land (grapes, olives, figs, dates and pomegranates).

The almond tree is the first of the fruits to “awaken” to the spring. As I prayer-walked this beautifully complex city this Shabbat, I was amazed to see the many delicate blossoms of the almond trees, even as the crisp winter air lingers. I couldn’t help but consider this passage from Jeremiah 1:11-12:

“And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see an almond branch.’ Then the Lord said to me, ‘You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.’

The play on words is lost in the English translation. The word for almond (sheked, שקד) in Hebrew is nearly identical to the word used for watching (shaked, שקד). Each spring, even as the nation of Israel languished in captivity under an oppressive superpower, Jeremiah witnessed the miracle of the almond blossoms bursting forth from the barrenness of winter. That image undoubtedly brought to mind the Lord’s promise that He faithfully watches over His Word to perform it; He would redeem His people and honor His covenant. Just as Aaron’s rod, cut off from the life-giving nourishment of the tree, miraculously budded and bore fruit as a testament to the sovereign power of God, the Lord assured Jeremiah that He is faithfully watching over His promises for His people, even when the branches seem barren and dry.

God’s covenant promises still remain for Israel and the Jewish people today, even when the branches seem to be cut off and barren. He will yet restore the miracle of life and bring forth fruit. There are signs of life here in Jerusalem. Because of His enduring faithfulness to Israel, we can trust His covenant promises to us as those who are grafted in by faith in Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection. This is the entire premise of the structure of the book of Romans (esp. 9-11).

What do you see? What are the covenant promises of faithfulness God has spoken over you, your family, your community, and your walk of faith with Him? If your vision is blurry, take some time today and ask Him to revisit those promises. He is gracious. He wants us to see well. The almond blossoms continue to testify that He faithfully brings forth spring out of winter and He remains true to His Word. Be encouraged today, for He is passionately watching over His Word to perform it – in Israel, in the nations of the world, and in your life.