2/2/2024: voice of the martyr -- walled in

“I found one!” The Inquisitor held up the forbidden book as he called to his assistant. “Bring in the mayor and his family. Someone is studying the Bible in this house!

                In the 16th century, Phillip II sent the Duke of Alba to Flanders to stamp out the Protestants who insisted on reading the Scriptures in their own language. Anyone found studying the Bible was hanged, drowned, torn in pieces, or burned alive at the stake.

The Inquisitors had found the Bible while inspecting the house of the Mayor of Brugge. One by one, family members were questioned, but everyone claimed they knew nothing about how the Bible got to their house. Finally the officials asked the young maid-servant Wrunken, who boldly declared, “I am reading it!”

The mayor, knowing the penalty for studying the Bible, tried to defend her, saying, “Oh, no, she only owns it. She doesn’t ever read from it.”

But Wrunken chose not to be defended by a lie. “This book is mine. I am reading from it, and it is more precious to me than anything!”

She was sentenced to die by suffocation. A place would be hollowed in the city wall, she would be tied in it, and the opening would be bricked over.

On the day of her execution, as she stood by the wall, an official tried to get her to change her mind, saying, “So young and beautiful – and yet to die.”

Wrunken replied, “My Savior died for me. I will also die for Him.”

As the bricks were laid higher and higher, she was warned again. “You will suffocate and die in here!”

“I will be with Jesus,” she answered.

Finally, the wall was finished, except for the one brick that would cover her face. For the last time, the official tried to persuade her. “Repent—just say the word and you will go free.”

But Wrunked refused, saying instead, “O Lord, forgive my murderers.”

The brick was put in place. Many years later, her bones were removed from the wall and buried in the cemetery of Brugge.

Wrunken trusted her life to Jesus, knowing that the end of her life on earth was not the end of her life.

- Jesus Freaks/dc Talk and The Voice of the Martyrs



O Lord, reawaken the voices of those who have been silenced for your name's sake. May their voices and their stories be heard near and far, to the highest of the heavens and to the ends of the earth. Let the songs that they sing bring glory to your name. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the finished work that you did on the cross to save and redeem a wretched sinner like me.

2/1/2024: Are you a jesus freak?

Nathan and I recently added the book “Jesus Freaks” to our rotation of daily devotionals. The addition of this book has been nothing short of earth-shattering and mind-altering. This book is a compilation of short stories, real testimonies of Christians having endured persecution for their faith in Christ. I have been absolutely blown away by some of the stories contained in this book! For one, it is awe-inspiring to hear how the Lord personally intervenes in so many cases via supernatural means to strengthen their faith to endure their trials. It has also served as a daily reminder of how truly blessed we are to live in a country where religious persecution is minimal. The challenges we face in our day to day are absolutely nothing compared to what many have and are actively enduring today in other parts of the world.

The truth is that Americans in this hour face very little real persecution for their faith in Christ. It is easy to say “I believe in Christ” with mere words, but how much more difficult when those words hold the consequence of life or death. Do we truly believe? If a gun was pointed at your head this very moment, would you deny Your Savior to save your life?  Or perhaps it was aimed at your child? Would you still say that you believe knowing a single word allows for their escape? These are questions that every Christian should be thinking about, preparing for, and reminding themselves of daily. For we do not know when the tides of religious freedom will change for us. We do not know when this kind of persecution is set to come knocking on our door.

But here is what we do know. We do know that we are living in the hour in which the Bible tells us that various trials are certain to come. Destructive world events, famine, pestilence, disease, and persecution. We know that a time is coming when, Satan, our enemy will be given victory for a short time over the Lord’s people, and his sole purpose will be the death of every one of God’s people. Given this knowledge, it would be wise for us to prepare our hearts to be ready for any kind of future the Lord might have planned for us. We must remember what our Lord says, the thief comes without warning, so keep watch, and be ready.

I quite often wonder how strong my faith in Christ is, and if I were to be faced with this kind of “die for your faith,” or “watch those you love suffer” persecution, if I would be able to withstand the temptation to not speak falsely against My Lord. I think we all would like to believe we would not give into the temptation to speak falsehood to save our physical bodies. But if I were to speak candidly, I do not know. My heart desires to say yes, but could my flesh endure? If it happened to Peter, who became the rock on which Jesus would later build His church, surely all of us could easily fall to this same temptation. I imagine this is why so many testify of heavenly forces at play before or during such extreme circumstances because God knows the fragility of humankind.

So, what do we do. What can we do? Well, we can pray even now for strength. We can pray even now that if any of us were to ever face such a day, the divine intervention of the Lord would come and prepare our hearts to endure for His sake.

My second takeaway, and perhaps the greater is this. Understanding the level of peace and ease that God has so graciously provided for us living in this nation. Despite our greatest need today, there is still a degree of peace in our lives that we can and should praise God and be thankful for. Each story is a reminder to me as I go into my day that the largest of issues that I will face is not even worth mentioning in his presence. The true “need” I have is so negligible how could I dare even approach His throne to ask for more of anything, rather than spend every moment praising Him for what He’s already done. I share this, not to say that we shouldn’t spend time praying for our needs and the needs of others to be met, but to say that if we really boil it all down, the greatest response to our Lord will always be praise. I am convinced that if we read and took to heart a single story each day of a true martyr of the faith, it would change how we view our day-to-day and how we respond to our circumstances. Our hearts would be filled with fewer requests, petitions and frustrations before God and be replaced with a greater measure and outpouring of what He deserves, our praise.

1/31/2024: You must know god as an enemy before you can know him as a friend

 “Now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” – I Peter 1:6-7

I just finished R.T. Kendall’s book “Prepare Your Heart for the Midnight Cry.” I found his book to hold some interesting and unique insights that I’ve not heard anyone preach before regarding the parable of the ten virgins. But without getting into much of the details, I did want to share with you a thought-provoking statement from Chapter 13, wherein Dr. Kendall quoted Martin Luther as having said that you must know God as an enemy before you can know Him as a friend. Having made this claim, the chapter goes on to propose an idea that says that we must “break the betrayal barrier” in our relationship with God to become a true friend of God. What a powerful statement. Think about it! We find out who are real friends in times of crisis, how much more so with God. But what is breaking the betrayal barrier you ask?

Breaking the betrayal barrier is essentially the place where we continue believing and trusting God at His Word even when He has “seemingly” betrayed us and not come through for us in the things that we ask, pray, and hope for. When God has seemingly failed us in some way and it creates the anger and pain in our hearts forcing us to choose if we will continue to believe and obey God after the appearance of betrayal, or if we will turn away from him. I believe there comes a moment in the life of every true believer of Christ, where God allows us to feel a sense of betrayal by Him so that our faith would be tested. We see this even on the cross of Christ, wherein Jesus himself was tested by the Father having seemingly been betrayed by the Father. There’s a moment in our relationship with God where we must let go of our own preconceived ideas of what God has for us, and where we accept Him for who He is, and not for what He does for us. It is the place where grow past saving knowledge and saving faith and enter the realm of persistent faith. It is the place where extreme trial comes face to face with our persistent faith, and we overcome based on deeply knowing and trusting solely on the goodness of God.

While it seems counterintuitive that a loving God would cause or allow His people to go through periods of suffering and trial, and to experience pain and turmoil, we also know that this is one of the mysterious ways of God’s workings. We can see evidence of this principle at work in the life and death of Jesus. Jesus, having persevered with persistent faith throughout His entire earthly ministry, cries out to the Father in the ninth hour with a loud voice saying, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” I ask you to think about why Jesus would have said this.  I personally don’t think He would have made this statement if in that very moment it didn’t seem to Him as though He was betrayed by the Father. We can’t know for sure what he was thinking because the Bible doesn’t explicitly say, but I would imagine that He was thinking back from his prayers to God from the night before, where he petitioned to the Father that his cup of suffering might pass from him. Perhaps even holding onto the hope of some means of intervention by God. Who knows? He was fully man after all. But after this, Jesus cried once more on the cross, and yet still the Father did not intervene. I couldn’t help but notice that the Bible is also silent as to what the final cry of Jesus was. Perhaps it was a loud utterance that only the Spirit of God could understand. Truly only God knows his final cry. But what we do know is that Jesus, the savior of fallen man, prevailed with perfect persistent faith. He fully submitted Himself to the Lord in that moment, trusting in God the Father and in His plan of salvation for the world. He was raised up and glorified and today sits at the right hand of God the Father waiting to take us home. His persistent faith having made a way for every one of us to be where He is! All we need do is take Him at his word to receive the eternal joy of peace in heaven with him.

I tell you, understanding the betrayal barrier caused me to walk away with a newfound appreciation for the Lord’s trials in human life. The truth is that He wants more than just salvation for all of us. He wants us too to overcome the betrayal barrier. He wants us to be more than just sons, daughters, or servants. He wants to call us His friends.

And so, I will also sum up this these thoughts with the words of Martin Luther – you must know God as an enemy, before you can know Him as a friend.

1/17/2024: A Quiet Spirit

In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.

Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They put their trust in God and accepted the authority of their husbands.

I Peter 3:1-5

Lord, above all things I desire to be precious in your sight! I trust in your Word that says that in doing these things I will bring honor and respect to my husband. And by honoring and respecting the authority placed by You upon my husband, You and Your intended design for the world would be glorified. I ask that you help me to fulfill Your word today and cause my spirit to become quiet and gentle. Cause my heart to focus on being concerned about only those things that you've deemed as precious in your sight. In Jesus Name, Amen.

1/12/2024: A Lament For creation

Oh Lord my God, my heart and my soul are overwhelmed with sorrow. How can we be joyful when our world lies at the bottom of the ocean? When it lies in the deep and bottomless pit. Truly our world is being made desolate, minute by minute, and hour by hour. The heavy weight of man’s sin oppresses the sky, and we can no longer see the sun. The evil of man’s works destroys all your creation. We are surrounded by clouds of death and destruction, and thick darkness has consumed the land. Order has turned to chaos and the rule of law is no longer upheld. Lawless men abound and prosper in the land. And the wicked are granted seats of authority and power to rule with fists of destruction. Every work of their hands is perverted and foul.

Our people are deceived and poisoned.

The ground has become a toxic waste.

Our livestock are forced to die before their time.

Our children are manipulated and abused by men called to oversee their safety.

Your truth is distorted, and the people made to worship a lie.

All systems of justice are corrupt and perverted.

Truly there is no more justice.

And there is no justice because man did not desire justice.

For had man desired justice, he would have committed himself to the ways of God.

And surely this is justice of God. For the Lord has given his creation over to his flesh, and to do what he desired.

All is the fruit harvested from the tree in which we've eaten.

The tree of rebellion and sin.

Your Word says that there will be judgment for the sins of man, and surely, we are being made as witnesses to it.

What can be said, O Lord, for you have done right by our works.

You have done right by our pursuits.

And no word can be spoken against You.

For what man can deliver us from our hands? 

What man can deliver us from the pit that we've created? 

I looked, and there was none on the earth able to deliver.

Save for the mercy of God and His strong arm.

Upon you O' Lord, we will wait in patient hope of your powerful arm.

When Your Word comes forth and says, "It is enough". 

10/18/2023: Two carolina wrens

Yesterday proved to be a particularly challenging day for me. I awoke this morning, still wrestling with the inner turmoil from the previous day and the weight of sins that, though society might deem mild, I consider significant due to their impact on my spiritual connection with God. The longing to hear from the Lord consumed me. I craved His presence desperately, just as I had felt it the day before. But today, I needed it more than ever.

So, I resorted to my time-tested routine. I retrieved my journal, expressed to God my prayers on the page, and sat before the Lord, beseeching Him to speak to me. I pleaded for a sign, a word, anything that would allow me to experience His presence, and confirmation that His Holy Spirit was still actively at work there with me. I'm a Christian, shouldn't it be easy to live a life that mirrors Jesus, right? But I've come to understand that it's never easy, and we need bread (physical strength) from him daily just as His word says.

Within a mere minute of scribbling my earnest prayers and desire to hear from the Lord, I heard a familiar sound outside that caused me to look through the glass of my back door, and there it was standing directly in front of the door - my spirit animal. When I speak of a spirit animal, I don't mean it in a mystical sense. Instead, I refer to an animal that the Lord has consistently used to draw me closer to Him. It's an animal that He has used time and again to remind me that He is with me wherever I go. I wear as a cherished piece of jewelry around my neck, a constant source of inspiration, a reminder of my spiritual self—a copper penny stamped as a beautiful Carolina wren.

Two wrens, unmistakably a pair, fluttered around together outside the door for just a moment, peering in as if conveying a message from the Holy Spirit: "I've got you, child. You're mine, child." As if to seal the deal, I used a word twice in my journal today that I've never used before: "cultivate." In seven years of journaling, it had never found its place on the pages until this very morning. As I read A.W. Tozer's book on the Holy Spirit, one of my daily devotionals, I landed on the entry for October 17 because my bookmark had been left there. Can you guess the title of that entry? "Cultivation Means Fruitfulness." The Lord was confirming within me that He was nurturing, tending, and fostering growth, even when it seemed I was failing repeatedly this morning.

This experience only serves to reaffirm the transformative power of my journal in my life. It provides a space to organize my thoughts and capture the enduring memories of God's work in my life. If, heaven forbid, my house were to burn down tomorrow, and husband, my children and the dog were safe, the only earthly possession I'd risk my life to salvage would be my journals. They have indeed transformed me, and I'm currently filling up Volume Three.

So, I challenge you. If you haven't already established a method for documenting your interactions with the Holy Spirit, I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so. Whether it's a humble 50-cent notebook from Walmart or an elegant $30 journal from Staples, obtain a pad of paper and use it to record your spiritual journey. We document our progress in every other facet of our lives—our careers, our families, we snap photos and record videos of our cherished moments. Likewise, we must keep a record of the wondrous works the Lord is orchestrating in our lives. I implore you all to embark on this enriching journey today.

10/16/2023: The Lord Is there

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cutoff from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God the Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster with stringed instruments.     

Habakkuk 3:17-19

In every trial and every season, the Lord is there, and we are inheritors of the new kingdom. The Lord is There. Every time and every season for the building up of the word of our testimony. He is building up strength within us to endure the seasons that lie ahead, where increased trial and persecution of his people are coming. His way is perfect, and his trials are for our good. He knows better than we do. He knows what we need and when we need it. His light is always enough for the steps we need to take today. May each of us rejoice in this season wherever we find ourselves and place all our hope and trust in our Heavenly Father. Amen

10/13/2023: The potter and his clay

I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; for I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the Lord, who does all these things.

Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit; let the earth cause them both to sprout; I the Lord have created it. 

Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, 'What are you making?' or 'Your work has no handles'?  Isaiah 45:5-8

It is not by accident that you were formed for this very day, and this very hour. The Lord God equips His creation to carry out His intentions. May we not question His intentions or His way. May we not question that we were created by Him and for Him.

10/13/2023: Whose Will are you praying?

We are entering unprecedented times and we must remember that there are spiritual purposes behind all these things.

What are you praying this morning? Are you asking the Lord to fulfill your own will for your life, or are you praying that his will be done. Remember the truth of His word, and pray the will of God the Father.

Thus says the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him: “Ask me of things to come; will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands? I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens and commanded all their host” Isaiah 45:11 - 12

This very day, He continues to command all of the host of the heavens and the earth. The peace of God only comes to us when we surrender our will to His will. Rest today in His will, and pray that His will be done. 

10/10/23: Lord, What time is it?

It is important that we know our season. For some, it’s a time to take a step back and for others it’s a time to move forward. For some it’s a time of quiet reflection, for others a time of bold proclamation. For some, a time for learning, and others a time for teaching. For some a time to grow, and others a time to shrink.
The conventional wisdom inherent within ourselves would naturally agree with every one of these statements with perhaps one exception—the notion of shrinking. We push back at the very thought of shrinking so much that we may even experience a negative physical reaction within ourselves. It can send a literal pit in our stomach and an outlash wells within our mouth. But yes, there is a time for shrinking. In fact, Paul commands us to weigh our hearts on this matter and consider when it is time to reduce the opinion we have of ourselves.

For Paul says in Romans Chapter 12 verse three, “For by the grace gicven me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”

We read this verse, and for many of us it passes over in our minds and doesn’t speak to us not because we aren’t willing to humble ourselves but because practically, we don’t know how to apply this teaching by Paul. How do we know when we are thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought? What is sober judgment, and how can we be truly unbiased in our own opinion of ourselves?

I think one of the ways we can apply this verse is by evaluating how we respond to the idea of shrinking when we come to the Lord in prayer. As you ask God today what time it is for you, ask Him if it’s time to shrink back. Then evaluate your response. Are you comfortable with the idea of shrinking back? Are there areas of your life where you feel comfortable and others where you do not? If not, what are those areas? Explore the answers. It is when we poke our hearts with prodding questions that the Spirit of God can reveal our pride lying deep within our hearts and call us to repentance. 

Holy Spirit, we invite you into our hearts today and we ask you to search us. Speak to us today we pray and strengthen us to obey your voice. Amen.


I wanted to take a minute to share with you a little bit about my personal story and why we started the Unbridled Faith channel. Some time ago I started a personal journal (April 2017). The decision to start a journal came out of deep need of fellowship with God. At that time, I was in a dark place in my life that I couldn't figure out how to escape from. I knew my life didn't reflect the image of God, nor did my values based on the decisions I was making. I knew I needed help. I needed more of God, but I didn't know how to go about it. I didn't know how or what to pray or the path to get from my current state to where I knew I wanted to be in my relationship with God. At first my journal entries started out as written prayers crying out to God in word form on paper. I didn't have the strength to speak those words with my mouth, but I had strength to write them down. I also knew I needed some consistency in coming to the Lord, and my attention span was at a deficit. I wanted to read the Bible, but it couldn't keep my attention. But when I started journaling something about all those things for me changed. If I read the Bible with pen and paper, things would jump out in the scripture, and I would write them down. And then over time I began developing thoughts about what I was reading or being inclined to pray over a scripture. And I would write down those thoughts and prayers. Then I began having dreams. Inherently I knew they were important but didn't know what to do with them. I would write them down. Many years later, I discovered by reading the Bible that dreams were one of the ways that the Lord speaks to His people. This inspired me to try to learn what the Lord was saying to me through them. It was because of this journal that I started to see the hand of God at work in my life in the little things. Moments of small coincidence our family refers to as "Jesus hugs" I also would write down. This process turned the nebulous concept of "faith in God" into a tangible present reality, one that could be touched and measured over time. Every day that passes I get more and more excited about what new things he has in store for my journal. New encounters, things to explore in the scripture and write about. It is an unspeakable joy. My hope is that every person be inspired to keep their own journal. I hope that my story serves as a tipping point for you to write your own story journaling through faith, because I know through it you will receive the same joy, and hopefully even more!

So, now you all know why we chose the name "Unbridled Faith" and what it means to us -- it represents faith that cannot be contained!