Strong, Firm & Steadfast. Always.

A Guest Post by Michele Cushatt, Best-Selling Author of "I Am: A 60-day Journey to Knowing Who You Are Because of Who He Is"

Unless this is the first post on this blog you’ve ever read, you’ve likely heard me use the word “identity.” It is something I am passionate about, because it is foundational to every aspect of how we live. It’s also something every one of us struggles with. 

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When it comes to shaping our identity in the person and work of Jesus, I could think of no one better to share with you than my friend Michele Cushatt. She understands the “identity struggle” first hand. Without giving away her story (which you can read in her book Undone), Michele knows what it’s like to have faith in Jesus, lose her footing, and to wonder if she’d ever again be able to stand. She also know what it’s like to cry out to God for grace and discover the miracle of His Presence and His Purpose right here, right now.

Michele has been a friend for more than a decade. She also happens to be one of the most beautifully authentic people I know. And as you’re about to discover, she is a fabulous writer.

In our back yard sits a beautiful cherry tree. It’s my favorite tree by far, boasting trunk and branches thick enough for my children to climb. Blanketed in lush green leaves, it provides both privacy and shade while my husband and I savor warm summer afternoons on the deck. Even better, every May our cherry tree blooms, offering up fragrant pink flowers as the first hints of a delicious cherry crop.

Until this May.

How to Come Alongside a Friend Facing Major Struggles

Video Interview with author Sarah Beckman

What did you do the last time a friend, neighbor, or co-worker went through a serious hard time? Not just a bout with the flu. Something really hard. Cancer…Death of a child…Job loss…Divorce. Did you feel a bit paralyzed, not knowing what to do or say – afraid you might do or say the wrong thing?

How to Come Alongside A Friend Facing Major Struggles

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If so, you need to watch this interview.

Sarah Beckman is an author and speaker who has been on the giving end and receiving end of coming alongside. In this interview she shares of her own four (yes, four!) back surgeries, as well as walking with her best friend through a 5-year battle with cancer.

Simply put, when it comes to walking alongside people facing major struggles, Sarah is as qualified as anyone I know.

The Guidelines in the interview address these five challenges:

  1. How do we overcome the paralysis – and subsequent guilt we often feel – when friends are struggling?
  2. Why should we never ask “How can I help?” (And what should we ask instead?)
  3. What does “listening well” look like? (And what’s the biggest mistake we typically make when we’re trying to listen well?)
  4. When it comes time to speak (after listening), what do we say…and not say?
  5. What do we do when someone is facing a “long haul” challenge? (Cancer battle, major injury, etc.)

Why You Should Try This Brand-New Bible App

What if you could combine the Bible, technology, videos, and a reading plan that would help you understand the Bible better and enjoy it more? If that sounds good, you’re going to love Read Scripture, the new app from The Bible Project and Crazy Love Ministries (Francis Chan’s ministry).

Why you should try this brand new Bible app.

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You might have heard of The Bible Project as “the two guys who make the cool, animated overview videos of books of the Bible.” To that I would say, “Yes…and…”

Their videos are fantastic! As of December, they now have videos for all 66 books of the Bible as well as a bunch of major themes (like “Heaven and Earth,” “Holiness,” and “The Law”).

Written Overview

The essence of Read Scripture (iOS and Android) is quite simple…

  • An “entire Bible” reading plan broken up into 3-6 chapters per day.
  • Interspersing Psalms into your daily reading
  • Video overviews on the first day of each book
  • Theme videos interspersed on days with corresponding passages
  • All text is English Standard Version

Video Overview

5 MORE Bible Verses from 1 John to Help You Kick-Off the New Year

Last week I wrote about five verses from 1 John I’m pondering. Truth be told, I had to narrow it down to those five. The more I think about it the more I wanted to share the other ones that have been hitting me.

5 MORE Bible Verses - Kick off the New Year

In case you missed last week’s post, you’ll want to start here (for some background). 

Now let’s take a look at one more verse from each chapter…

1 John 1:6

If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.” NIV

This whole verse (and paragraph for that matter) is powerful. Lots to chew on.

However, the part that gets me is “…live out the truth.” We talk a lot about knowing the truth. Not as much about living out the truth. Seems like living it out is a tad more important than knowing it.

5 Bible Verses from 1 John that Will Help You Kick-Off the New Year

Do you have a Bible verse – or verses – you ponder throughout the year? I spent the last couple months of 2016 soaking in 1 John. As I begin 2017, much of John’s letter is guiding how I’m approaching the year. (And that’s a good thing.)

Before diving into the verses themselves, allow me a few sentences to “set the stage” a bit. 1 John doesn’t have a specific audience (like “to the church at Philippi” or “to Timothy, my dear son”). This letter is for all of us who desire to be authentic, faithful followers of Jesus.

John writes to people who live in a society where opinions about what is true – and who is worthy of worship – are varied and abundant. So do we.

He writes to people who want to honor Jesus with their lives, but are bombarded by worldly temptations. So do we.

He writes to people who are surrounded by a message of self-centered living, rather than self-sacrificial giving. So do we.

He writes to people who have the opportunity to change the world by loving others as deeply loved children of God. So do we. 

Sure, John wrote 2000 years ago. But this letter is for you, my friend.

Here are five verses…one from each chapter. Read. Ponder. Pray. Live. Repeat. 

You Are Invited to Rapid Bible Read Thru 2017!

With Video and FREE Chronological Reading Plan

The time has come for Rapid Bible Read Thru 2017! This is always one of my favorite blog posts to write each year. Why? Because after seven years of doing this, I know what a couple hundred people are about to experience. I’d love for you to be one of them!

Are you ready to change your understanding and enjoyment of the Bible? If so, jump on board for Bible Read Thru 2017!

I’ve said (and experienced) it before and I’ll say (and experience) it again…

Four months. That’s it. January through April.

  • In four months you will know the Bible better than ever before.
  • In four months you will enjoy the Bible more than you thought possible.
  • In four months you will make new friends from around the world (and maybe in your own community).

If you HAVE done the BRT before – here are the the links to sign up, grab your free Chronological Reading Plan, and join the Facebook group!

If you HAVEN’T done the BRT before – check out this 4-minute video…

4 Benefits of Reading the Entire Bible You Probably Haven’t Thought Of

Have you ever thought about reading the entire Bible?  Have you ever started, only to quit after a week or two?  Have you ever wondered why anyone would even want to?

4 Benefits of Reading the Entire Bible You Probably Haven’t Thought Of

Every year since 2010, I have spent the several months reading through the entire Bible. (In fact, my new book is entirely about the What, Why, and How of doing a Rapid Bible Read Thru.) The first year, it was a response to a challenge. Each year since, it’s been something I want to do and sincerely look forward to.

Over the years, I have experienced many benefits from pushing “pause” on the deeper study, and simply reading the Bible. Rather than dive into all the benefits of reading the entire Bible, let’s look at four benefits you probably haven’t thought of.

Benefit 1: Reading the entire Bible helps you focus on major themes instead of minor ones.

I thought I would tackle this one right up front.  We all have our “pet” themes we tend to focus on. Baptism. Evangelism. Money. End times.

Hear this clearly: These are all important. You should study them. You should know how to talk about them. However…

14 Reasons to Buy My New Book THIS Week!

Bonuses ONLY During "Launch Week"

Today is a huge day! If you’ve been around here a while, you know I have been talking about this for a couple months now.

Rapid Bible Read Thru - Launch Week Picture

Rapid Bible Read Thru launches today!

I am super excited about this. After all, I’ve been working on this all Fall (and thinking, planning, and preparing for it since 2010).

In my opinion, “Launch Week” should feel a lot like a party.

That’s why I’m giving you 14 GIFTS if you buy your copy during Launch Week!

While the 14 GIFTS were only available during Launch Week, I would like to give you TWO GIFTS:

  • Buy a PHYSICAL copy at Amazon, my online store, or wherever you want.
  • Forward the receipt to info – at –
  • I will send you the PDF copy and the Kindle file. That way, you can read Rapid Bible Read Thru in whatever format you choose.

Here are the 14 GIFTS you will get if you buy a copy within the next 7 days (ends Tuesday, December 13th at midnight):

rbrt-transparant-copyBonus 1EBOOK (.pdf) version of Rapid Bible Read Thru – For reading on your computer or tablet.

Bonus 2KINDLE (.mobi) version of Rapid Bible Read Thru – If you’re not sure how to get the Kindle file onto your Kindle, here are some instructions.

This book is awesome!!! Yes, there are plans out there that give you different time tables and verses, but this book goes a LOT deeper than just a plan. There are so many takeaways in this book, and honestly, I can see myself taking this book out over and over again.”

“My relationship with the Word and the Author will never be the same!”

“I’m convinced this is the best way to read the Bible!”Amazon and Reader Reviews


The FULL version of my first book!

Bonus 3Falling in Love with God’s Word (full eBook) – The book that started it all. This book explores in great detail all three phases (Foundation, Framing, and Finish Work) of studying a book of the Bible and weaving Scripture Internalization into that process. It is the foundation of Relational Bible Study. You can read reviews or buy the print or Kindle version on Amazon.


The FULL version of my 2nd book!

Bonus 4Like Ice Cream: The Scoop on Helping the Next Generation Fall in Love with God’s Word (full eBook) – I wrote this book specifically for parents, children’s pastors, youth pastors, and anyone who is passionate about the next generation. In it, we explore the nine principles that help the next generation engage with – and fall in love with – the Bible! You can read reviews or buy the print or Kindle version on Amazon.

Thankfulness Challenge – Week 3

With Your Final 7 New (and FREE) Images

A week from tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I’m looking forward to relaxing, eating too much pumpkin pie, and spending some unplugged time with friends and family. Have you joined the 5-Minute Thankfulness Challenge?

A Thankfulness Challenge

Two weeks ago, I invited you to join me in spending 5 minutes a day, for 3 weeks, being thankful in 5 different categories. If you haven’t read that post – or joined the challenge – here’s the link to find out all about it. And remember, if you’re going to share or tweet about it, make sure to use #ThankfulnessChallenge so I can follow along!

Today, I’m sharing seven brand new verses that remind us of the why, what for, and how of being thankful. Last year there were 14 images. I included those over the last two weeks. But hey, if two weeks of thankfulness is good…THREE weeks must be better! Right? 

5 Bible Verses to Help You Process This Election (No Matter How You Voted)

This has been one of the most brutal weeks I can ever remember. The amount of disappointment, anger, fear, confusion, frustration, and venomous words is – quite honestly – a bit unfathomable. So, how are those of us who call ourselves “Christ Followers” supposed to process it all?

5 Bible Verses to Help You Process This Election

God’s Word is the ultimate lens we must always use to process everything.

Hear this clearly: A few Bible verses thrown together in a blog post is not going to take away all disappointment, frustration, or concern. Think of it like getting a long-awaited diagnosis from a doctor. The diagnosis doesn’t instantly cure the disease. But it does give you a place to focus (other than focusing on the unknown) and points us toward the cure.

My desire in this post is to point us toward God’s Word, point us toward what is right and true (rather than focusing on the unknown), and point us toward the One who is the Ultimate Cure for what ails us.