Show cover of Believe & Speak

Believe & Speak

The podcast designed to empower your tongue with truth.

Tracks

Episode 145
I love the wisdom and the promise in Matthew 6:4, which says, “Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you” (NLT). Isn’t that wonderful news? It’s human nature to want to receive credit when we do something noteworthy. It feels good to be noticed, and it stings to go unrecognized. If you and I rarely get rewarded for our efforts, we may feel unappreciated or even used. It’s tempting to point to ourselves and say, “Hey! I did this good thing. Will anybody acknowledge me?” But self-exaltation does not impress God. Paul wrote that God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7), and the verses I read from Matthew point out that God also prefers a private, secretive giver. In fact, Matthew 6:1 tells us we lose our reward from God the moment we go looking for kudos from others. Something tells me that God’s reward will be way better—even if it’s delayed. If you’ve been out shopping lately, you can’t help but notice that the season known for giving is coming soon. As you browse through the glittery decorations and the plethora of gift items, ask God how he can use you to give a secret gift to someone who really needs it. Then follow through, but don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Take God at his word and know that he sees everything, including the desires of your heart Download graphics with the weekly declarations by visiting the Believe & Speak podcast page on my website: shawnamariebryant.com/mypodcast This week's scripture:  Matthew 6:1-4
06:54 10/05/2022
Episode 144
More and more, I’m inclined to think that the opposite of faith isn’t so much unbelief as it is despair. The absence of faith almost always leads to utter hopelessness. Declaring the truth of God’s Word, like we do each week on this podcast, helps us build up faith and boot out despair. Your tongue has the power of life, my friend, so what you say matters. Your mouth can not only change the atmosphere right now, but also for eternity. Believers in Jesus can struggle with unbelief. Not necessarily about the existence of God or the death and resurrection of Jesus, but about whether Jesus truly is Lord over everything that touches our lives. In seasons of doubt, it’s especially important to profess with our mouths that Jesus is indeed Lord, and when we open our mouths to profess that Jesus is Lord, we not only build up our own faith, we also share the hope of Christ with anyone listening. “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17 NIV). Sharing your faith will defeat despair with a ripple effect of hope and victory. Jesus is Lord, and one day every tongue will confess it. He is indeed the sovereign ruler over all. And when you give him lordship over your mind, will and emotions, when you trust him to rule over your decisions and your circumstance, when you declare what you believe about the saving power of God, you will never be put to shame. Download graphics with the weekly declarations by visiting the Believe & Speak podcast page on my website: shawnamariebryant.com/mypodcast This week's scripture: Romans 10:9-14 and 17
08:11 09/28/2022
Episode 143
I heard a great sermon last Sunday by Nathan Finochio about how being in relationship with God is about loving him the way he likes to be loved. Since Jesus said that to love him is to obey him, obedience to God obviously matters. That’s why I’m thankful to know the truth found in this week’s declaration. Your Heavenly Father longs to be in relationship with you. He doesn’t ask you to jump through hoops to be on his good side. He brought you the message of salvation, and his word is very close at hand. Jesus came down from heaven to show us the Father and to reconcile us with the Father. Jesus left his throne in heaven to bring us the good news that God’s command is not too difficult or out of reach. Being in a healthy, intimate relationship is hard work. It’s hard for husbands and wives and it’s hard for those of us who want to walk in intimacy with God. I’m not suggesting that obedience is easy, but we can be sure—because of the passage I just read from Deuteronomy—that following God’s command is not too difficult or out of reach. Last Sunday, I heard Nathan Finochio share stories about how he has to be intentional about loving his wife the way she wants to be loved. He then challenged us to be intentional about loving God the way he wants to be loved. God’s Word tells us that to obey is better than sacrifice. God desires our undivided hearts in worship. He has promised to draw near to us when we draw near to him. His message is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it. My friend, stop striving to please God. Stop trying to jump through hoops to earn his favor. Instead, open up his Word and spend time with him. Ask him to show you how to love him. I guarantee he will. Download graphics with the weekly declarations by visiting the Believe & Speak podcast page on my website: shawnamariebryant.com/mypodcast This week's scripture: Deuteronomy 30:11-14
07:23 09/21/2022
Episode 142
I pulled today’s declaration from a promise Moses gave to the Israelites when the Egyptian army cornered them at the Red Sea. Picture the Israelites trapped between all the forces in Pharaoh’s army—all his horses and chariots—and an ocean. Aren’t you thankful that the same God who buried Pharaoh’s army stands ready to rescue and deliver you? I’m reminded of the song from Elevation Worship called “Same God.” I hope you’ll click the link and take time to worship the same God who moved in power then and moves in power now. The first verse of that Spirit-filled song talks about calling on the God of Moses who opened up the Red Sea. Then the lyrics go, “I need You now to do the same thing for me.” My friend, God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He can and will do the same thing for you. He will fight for you. He will rescue you when you’re backed into a corner. I don’t know what battles you’re facing but I do know you have a faithful God who loves you and has promised you victory. 1 John 5:4 says, “For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith” (NLT). So, keep the faith, stay calm, and trust God. You can walk in victory. Worship the Same God with Elevation Worship on YouTube. Visit the store on my website for your audiobook or use your Audible account. Download graphics with the weekly declarations by visiting the Believe & Speak podcast page on my website: shawnamariebryant.com/mypodcast This week's scripture: Exodus 14:10-14
07:27 09/14/2022
Episode 141
Welcome to the podcast designed to empower your tongue with truth. When you believe truth from the Bible and speak declarations drawn from scriptural truths, then you can overcome the negative affect of believing lies. You can drown out each lie about who you are and what you’re capable of with the truth of who God has created you to be and what He has empowered you to do through His Spirit. Believing and speaking truth begins with hearing truth, which is why I open every episode by reading from the Bible. I love how the NLT puts Isaiah 55:3. “Come to me with your ears wide open.” Oh, how I can relate to not only opening wide my eyes or my mouth, which can easily be discerned as open or shut, but also opening and shutting my ears to the things I hear. I decided to focus on these verses from Isaiah 55 today because of the devotional I read yesterday. In Charles Stanley’s book “Every Day in His Presence,” which I highly recommend, Dr. Stanley wrote about the importance of submitting to God. Listening to God is only part of the equation. Obeying what God says is equally important. Keeping our ears wide open means choosing not only to listen for the still small voice of God, but also to obey God’s instructions, even if they take us where we don’t want to go. James 1:22-25 says, “22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it” (NLT). Be blessed as you listen to the voice of God and obey what you hear, no matter how difficult the instructions God gives you. Visit the store on my website for your audiobook or use your Audible account. This week's scripture: Isaiah 55:3-5
08:23 09/07/2022
Episode 140
You can’t always read Proverbs in context, because its collection of wise sayings often jumps from topic to topic. But Proverbs 18:19-20 wonderfully sets up the point made in verse 21. Proverbs 18:21 was the focus of the first episode of Believe & Speak. What you and I say matters a lot more than how much we say. While it’s true that talking too much is rarely a good thing, you can never speak too many blessings over someone. In fact, I’ll bet you know of someone who’d love to hear you speak words of life over them today. Proverbs 18:20 says that the right words bring satisfaction. You have the power to change someone’s day by speaking wise words of blessing. Listen to the first two episodes of Believe & Speak. Episode 1: My tongue has power, so what I say matters.  Episode 2: I am worth dying for. Download graphics with the weekly declarations by visiting the Believe & Speak podcast page on my website: shawnamariebryant.com/mypodcast This week's scripture: Proverbs 18:19:21
08:34 08/31/2022
Episode 139
This week’s declaration is for anyone trying to discern God’s will and having a hard time hearing from him about your next steps. I have been on a wild goose chase over the past few months. My deepest desire has been to do the will of God. To trust and obey him, whatever the cost, whatever the outcome. I have done my best to discern God’s will, but nothing has made sense. Confusion paralyzed me and despair threatened me. Did I mention that nothing made sense? I believe we serve a win/win God. In other words, if you and I commit to obeying God, if we trust him to work all things together for good, then I don’t have to lose so you can win, and you don’t have to lose in order for me to win. God’s plans for us are always to prosper us and not to harm us. But when everything falls through on my end and goes through beautifully on your end, it’s easy for me to doubt God’s good plan and believe everything is lining up against me. It’s hard for us to keep moving forward when every direction looks like a dead end. But God is full of surprises. His ways are beyond figuring out. He turns dead ends into intriguing bends in the path He has laid out before you. Your next steps may not be obvious, but don’t let that paralyze you. Step out in faith knowing that God will never misdirect you. Isaiah 30:21 promises that whether you go left or right, you will hear the still small voice of God either confirming that you’re making the right move or showing you another way to go. So, don’t worry. Give your plans over to the Lord, make that decision, and take the next best step. Download graphics with the weekly declarations by visiting the Believe & Speak podcast page on my website: shawnamariebryant.com/mypodcast This week's scripture: Isaiah 30:18-21
08:29 08/24/2022
Episode 138
This week’s declaration speaks of the firm confidence that is ours as we hold on to God and his promises. Aren’t you thankful that we don’t simply hope for the best. We hope in God! This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. About a month ago I did an episode that included Hebrews 4:16, which says, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (NIV). Hebrews 6:19 gives a nod to the concept of approaching God’s throne with confidence. Our hope leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Please don’t miss the significance of being able to approach God, let alone with full assurance that he will receive us, welcome us, and extend to us both grace and mercy to help us. God wants us to come to him. He invites us to come to him. Hebrews 6:18 says, “…we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us” (NLT). For the past four months, God has been shaking the foundations of my life. I wish I could tell you that I weathered the shaking well, but I have been a wreck. I’ve cried many tears and have questioned God’s ways. But through it all I have held firmly to his promises to me. I know God is worthy of my trust because he is absolutely trustworthy. He isn’t flakey and he doesn’t waffle. You and I can be perfectly sure that God will never change his mind (Hebrews 6:17). God has given both his promise and his oath, and it is impossible for God to lie. No matter what God shakes loose, he will never shake himself loose and his promises will never fail. So, hold onto the hope that lies before you, my friend. Download graphics with the weekly declarations by visiting the Believe & Speak podcast page on my website: shawnamariebryant.com/mypodcast This week's scripture: Hebrews 6:16-19
08:38 08/17/2022
Episode 137
In Luke 12, Jesus is speaking to a crowd as well as to his disciples, and he addresses them ALL as dear friends. He tells the gathered group of thousands that God knows the number of hairs on every head in the crowd. Then he says, “So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” (Luke 12:7 NLT) Of all the hurtful things people may say, I can testify to the fact that cruel words attacking our worth, by belittling our value, wound deeply and often leave lasting scars. Words that beat us down like sticks and stones may not break our bones, but they break our hearts and crush our spirits. But we can begin to heal from cruel words when we believe and speak words like the ones in today’s declaration. Luke 12:6-7 isn’t the only place where Jesus directs our attention to the birds. A little further on in the chapter, in verse 24, he says, “Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds!” Yes we are! You and I are valuable to God. I can’t close this episode without mentioning what I saw from my kitchen window last week. My circumstances could easily have convinced me that God had forgotten me. I longed to hear from him and was praying earnestly for him to rescue me from a desperate situation. Standing at the window lost in thought, I saw a bird land on the branches of the peach tree outside, pluck a peach, and fly away with it firmly in its beak. Just like that, a bird feasted on God’s provision. Don’t I know that God cares so much more for me? In Luke 12:32, Jesus encourages us to trust and not be afraid. He says, “So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.” Don’t be afraid. Don’t think for a minute that you’ve been overlooked or cast aside. Don’t forget that God’s eye is on the sparrow, and he certainly has his eye on you. Download graphics with the weekly declarations by visiting the Believe & Speak podcast page on my website: shawnamariebryant.com. This week's scripture: Luke 12:6-7
07:41 08/10/2022
Episode 136
This episode will have us declaring a promise attached to heeding God’s rules for life. God’s Word not only warns us to keep us from harm, but also encourages us to keep us at peace. God leads us into abundance when we choose to follow him. My oldest granddaughter will be four years old this month. Her younger sister is turning two, and the baby in the family just had her first birthday. Watching my three granddaughters, which is something I do every Monday, has morphed from the early days of merely feeding, diapering, playing and putting them down for naps. My Mondays now include giving many instructions, warnings and commands. Sometimes they don’t listen, and that never goes well. Leading three little ones to make right choices is hard work, but oh so rewarding. When we’re all snuggled together reading a story or lying on the floor enjoying playtime, their eyes light up and their joy is palpable. Could it be that the rewards of obeying God look like these moments? The author of Psalm 19 says that God’s instructions are more valuable than pure gold. I agree. God’s rules for life not only keep us from acting in ways that harm us and others, but his wise instructions also equip us to live well. God is the best parent of all. His commands are for our good. My granddaughters may not understand why they must take a nap after lunch or avoid sugar before dinner, but life goes better for them when they’re well rested and properly fed. Like a good parent, God leads us into righteousness, and we are wise to follow him closely. Download graphics with the weekly declarations by visiting the Believe & Speak podcast page on my website: shawnamariebryant.com. This week's scripture: Psalm 19:7-11
06:52 08/03/2022
Episode 135
I was talking with a friend yesterday about what Jesus said to his disciples when he was teaching them what to expect in the last days. “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24 NIV). I love the two-word promise in that verse: if possible. IF possible! In other words, the elect will not be deceived by counterfeit signs and wonders. Mature believers can stand firm, knowing that our God will not allow us to be deceived as long as we—as Ephesians 4:13 puts it—"reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (NIV) In this era of misinformation and disinformation, we can know the truth and we can discern the lies. Jesus gave us apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to build us up and help us grow strong in our faith. God is equipping us to serve, and he won’t allow us to be blown off course or tossed around. So, trust him to equip you for service in these crazy times. Stand firm and remember today’s declaration! Download graphics with the weekly declarations by visiting the Believe & Speak podcast page on my website: shawnamariebryant.com. This week's scripture: Ephesians 4:11-15
08:32 07/27/2022
Episode 134
Today’s episode centers on Hebrews 4:13-16, which contains a beautiful invitation to be completely transparent with God. I love how these verses point out the beauty of being totally laid bare before God. We not only have nothing to fear when we approach the throne of grace, but we can approach with bold confidence, knowing that we are welcome and dearly loved by God. The New Living Translation says, “Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.” That pretty much sums up the first part of our declaration: I have nothing to hide from God. No one can hide from God. He sees everything and holds us accountable for what he sees. But following close on the heels of that sobering truth is that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ empathizes with our weaknesses. The New Living Translation puts Hebrews 4:15 this way, “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.” Jesus understands our weaknesses. He is not unable to empathize with our weaknesses because He was tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. You and I are more than welcome to approach God’s throne of grace, and when we do, we have the promise from Hebrews 4:16 that we will find grace and receive mercy to help us in our time of need. Let’s be completely transparent with God. Let’s come before him in full agreement of what can’t be hidden from him anyway. Let’s ask him for the grace and mercy he so generously gives. Learn more about God’s love for you on my website at shawnamariebryant.com. This week's scripture: Hebrews 4:13-16
07:25 07/20/2022
Episode 133
I don’t usually pull verses from Proverbs for this podcast, primarily because Proverbs contains principles rather than promises. Promises encourage us while principles direct us. Our declaration today leans toward instruction rather than inspiration. The principles taught in Proverbs 3:3 help us know how to diligently guard our hearts. This valuable instruction is probably why I memorized these verses long ago and taught them to my children. When they were growing up, I would make a game out of writing Bible verses on the chalkboard in my kitchen. I substituted key words with pictures I drew, and my kids would try to solve the puzzle. Our game was a fun way for them to learn Bible verses. I remember keeping Proverbs 3:3-4 on that chalkboard for a long time. My mind’s eye can still see how I wrote verse 3. In the phrase “Let love and faithfulness never leave you”, I drew a heart instead of writing the word “love” and I drew a cross instead of writing the word “faithfulness.” I also drew a falling leaf next to a little ewe lamb instead of writing the words “leave you.” For the phrase, “write them on the tablet of your heart” I drew a hand holding a pencil to replace the word “write” and I drew the stereotypical side-by-side stone tablets of the Ten Commandments to replace the word “tablet.” God wrote on those stone tablets but you and I write on the tablets of our hearts. What is written on the tablet of your heart? Love and faithfulness? If so, then you will win a prize. I actually drew a blue ribbon to replace the word “win” in the phrase that says “Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” Bind love and faithfulness around your neck and write them on the tablet of your heart, then you will win because no one’s words or actions will keep you down. Let’s decide right now to fill our hearts with love. Storing up faithfulness leaves no room for bitterness and lies. Find free resources on my website to help you store up love and faithfulness. Visit shawnamariebryant.com. This week's scripture: Proverbs 3:1-4
08:26 07/13/2022
Episode 132
This episode is late for a couple of reasons. For one, the 4th of July made Tuesday feel like Monday. I completely forgot to write and record this week’s episode until my husband reminded me late Tuesday night that we hadn’t recorded it yet. He is my sound engineer and keeps me on track and on time. His reminder may have come late this time because his precious mother died last Sunday. Jean Bryant was a pure-hearted saint who loved God and loved to talk about Jesus. Since hearing of her death, I keep repeating Psalm 116:15 over and over in my head, so I decided to pull verses from that psalm—Psalm 116—for this episode. Psalm 116 puts into words how my family is feeling right now about the amazing Jean Bryant, who lived 96 years as a faithful servant of the Lord. I pulled our declaration from Psalm 116:8. I’m so thankful that we do not grieve like those without hope. We have bright hope for tomorrow and strength for today. Sorrow may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Speaking of hope, have you watched any of the episodes from my video podcast? The first ten episodes of “Find Joy” walk you through my book, Longing to Belong. This journey through Psalm 139 will help you discover the joy of acceptance. I invite you to watch the entire series on my YouTube channel. Learn more on my website at shawnamariebryant.com. This week's scripture: Psalm 116:1-9, 15-16
08:07 07/07/2022
Episode 131
Malachi was an Old Testament prophet, and he recorded some strong words for those who speak harshly about God. The voices defying God make a lot of noise, but the Lord isn’t bothered. In fact, Psalm 2 tells us that he laughs at their futile plans. The verses I read in today’s episode from Malachi 3 start out with the Lord calling them out. He knows what they’re saying. He also knows that believers are affected by what they’re saying. God knows that we speak with each other about what they’re saying and how they seem to be getting away with it. That’s why he assures us that he will indeed make all things right. There will be a day when God acts in judgment, and on that day those who honor and obey him will be spared. The New King James Version puts Malachi 3:17 this way, “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” God hears the words of those who say terrible things about him. He also hears—and listens intently—to those of us who honor of his name. May our words always bring honor to God and may our hearts always be filled with hope. Speaking of hope, have you watched any of the episodes from my video podcast? The first ten episodes of “Find Joy” walk you through my book, Longing to Belong. This journey through Psalm 139 will help you discover the joy of acceptance. I invite you to watch the entire series on my YouTube channel. Learn more on my website at shawnamariebryant.com. This week's scripture: Malachi 3:13-18
08:42 06/29/2022
Episode 130
Two thoughts were jockeying in my head to become the focus of this week’s episode, and God surprised me by showing me verses from Isaiah that address both thoughts. I’m in need of rest lately—and God is calling me to rest, so I thought about dedicating this episode of Believe & Speak to God’s command that we rest. But I’m also in desperate need of guidance. I’m in a season of transition and need direction from God, so I prayed for God to lead me to a passage of Scripture that addresses his ability to guide and also his command to rest. One of the things I love about God is that he knows exactly which places bring us refreshing and which places hinder our ability to rest. He doesn’t give us a command and then set us up to fail. Even in seasons of transition we must remember to rest and trust that God will guide us to places of refreshing. I want to invite those of you in the Fresno/Clovis area to a long-awaited book release party. My book, Longing to Belong, released during the lockdown, which kept people from assembling and kept bookstores from operating. I never got the chance to celebrate, but now I finally get to have my party! And I get to multiply the fun! Two of my friends recently launched their books, and so we’re throwing a Book Release Party x 3. My friend Penny has written a memoir for a woman whose daughter battled Lyme disease. My friend Carrie has released a romance novel with delightful characters. My book is based on an in-depth study of Psalm 139. Mark your calendar for Friday, June 24 at 7 p.m. to gather in my lovely backyard with the authors of three very different books and our book-loving friends. Send me an email at info@shawnamarie.com to learn the location of the Book Release Party x3, and please spread the word! This week's scripture: Isaiah 58:11-14
07:53 06/22/2022
Episode 129
I hung my American flag on Memorial Day and plan to keep it waving through the 4th of July. I’m proud to be an American, and yet my citizenship is in heaven. One of the best things (and there are many wonderful things) about heaven is that we will all be united. No factions. No interest groups. No divisions. Every citizen of heaven stands united under the lordship of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I’ve not merely pledged my allegiance to the Most High God, I’ve completely surrendered my life to the King of kings, who has welcomed me into his kingdom and adopted me as one of his own. I like to read the Bible in a variety of translations because I see new things in different versions. I’m more familiar with the way the NIV puts Philippians 3:14, which says, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Pressing on in my pursuit of God’s heavenly call opens my eyes to truth. The cross of Christ has its enemies and its champions. Its enemies are focused on earthly things, but its champions press on toward the goal to win the prize only God offers. As citizens of heaven, we eagerly await our promised Savior, and we keep our minds set on things above. We align ourselves with the cross of Christ and trust he will lead us in victory. I am a citizen of heaven. Therefore, I’ve pledged allegiance to the Most High God, I’ve surrendered my life to the King of kings, and I’ve stood firm in the knowledge that the Sovereign God has welcomed me into his kingdom and adopted me as one of his own. I want to invite those of you in the Fresno/Clovis area to a long-awaited book release party. My book, Longing to Belong, released during the lockdown, which kept people from assembling and kept bookstores from operating. I never got the chance to celebrate, but now I finally get to have my party! And I get to multiply the fun! Two of my friends recently launched their books, and so we’re throwing a Book Release Party x 3. My friend Penny has written a memoir for a woman whose daughter battled Lyme disease. My friend Carrie has released a romance novel with delightful characters. My book is based on an in-depth study of Psalm 139. Mark your calendar for Friday, June 24 at 7 p.m. to gather in my lovely backyard with the authors of three very different books and our book-loving friends. Send me an email at info@shawnamarie.com to learn the location of the Book Release Party x3, and please spread the word! This week's scripture: Philippians 3:14-21
09:14 06/15/2022
Episode 128
Did you know that God gives us a reason to sing with joy all day, every day, no matter what transpires? Declaring that truth helps redirect my focus toward what is good—namely our Heavenly Father—and away from what is bad—like those situations that scream, “Look at me instead.” No thank you. I will intentionally look to God and stand on the promises in His Word. I started this podcast because I believe the verse in Proverbs that says the tongue has the power of life and death. I’ve seen words wound deeply and I’ve seen words heal and restore. I’m determined to follow Paul’s example in 2 Corinthians 4:13, which says, “It is written: ‘I believed; therefore I have spoken.’ Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak.” I have the faith to declare “I have a reason to sing with joy” even when circumstances strangle my singing voice. I believe that when my enemies intend to harm me, God intends it for good. I believe that I can walk through the valley of the shadow of death and fear no evil. I believe that God works all things together for good. I sincerely believe that nothing is impossible for God, so if my situation seems impossible, I can expect God to show up in all His glory. I love how verse 5 of Psalm 145 says, “I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor and your wonderful miracles.” When fear or negativity try to steal my focus and rob me of joy, I cannot surrender hope. I must intentionally meditate on God’s majesty and tell the next generation about God’s miracles. You may know that I send out regular emails with my blog posts called “Mid-Week Miracle” that testify to God’s miracle-working power demonstrated in my everyday life. I love testifying about God’s mighty acts and proclaiming His awesome power. Partly because my stories build my own faith. I’m reminded of the raw prayer in Psalm 42—a prayer I often pray into desperate times. Psalm 42:3-4 says, “My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’ These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.” Recalling the times I’ve had an obvious reason to sing with joy helps me sing when the reasons aren’t so obvious. No matter what happens to us or what people say all day long, we can choose to speak life and remember that God is always worthy of our praise. To subscribe to my newsletter and read Mid-Week Miracle, visit shawnamariebryant.com This week's scripture: Psalm 145:1-7
08:05 06/08/2022
Episode 127
Today’s declaration reminds me of the old standard by George Gershwin, “Someone to Watch Over Me.” I used to sing that song six nights a week when I sang professionally many years ago. That old love song wasn’t about our relationship with God, but the line about the “little lamb” lost in the wood makes me think of the Good Shepherd who leaves the 99 in search of the one. I am incredibly thankful for the promise of God’s watchful presence. As the lyrics to the old standard go, “There’s a somebody I’m longing to see,” but I don’t have to hope that He’ll turn out to be the Someone I already know Him to be. God has revealed His character and His promises over and over in Scripture. Even though I read only verses 13-22 in this episode of Believe & Speak, I read the entire Psalm to myself before recording this episode. The first three verses confirmed that Psalm 33 truly is a love song to God. And this “old standard” was written long before big band music made its debut on the American stage. Verses 13, 14, and 15 of Psalm 33 say that God looks down, sees, watches and considers. In other words, He doesn’t just glance your way now and then. He keeps watch. Constant, vigilant watch. There’s no better help and shield than God. No better set of eyes than God. No better someone to watch over me…  and you. It’s no wonder countless love songs have been written about the love of God. Maybe you can think of a worship song even now that acknowledges what we’ve been declaring this episode. The first ten episodes of my video podcast, “Find Joy” walk you through my book, Longing to Belong, and the entire series is now available for viewing. Learn more on my website at shawnamariebryant.com. This week's scripture: Psalm 33:13-22
07:34 06/01/2022
Episode 126
If you’ve ever been criticized for waiting on God’s timing rather than forging ahead with what may seem like the best laid plans, then today’s declaration is for you. Why would waiting on God be shameful? Well…  when God’s direction runs contrary to common sense, when obeying God looks like passing up an opportunity, when yielding to God’s schedule looks like procrastination, people may judge our inaction. Being still can look more like sitting around than like following God. I’m a doer. I prefer the straightest, fastest route between point A and point B. God on the other hand, seems to like the slow, scenic route. God’s timeframe is based on an eternal perspective. We tend to compile our to-do lists based on pragmatic deadlines. David’s prayer in Psalm 25 can help us adjust our schedules to align with God’s will. David asks for three things in Psalm 25:4-5. Show me your ways. Teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth. This list of requests may sound like the prayer of someone ready to move, but if that were true, David wouldn’t end his prayer with these words, “On You I wait all the day.” I almost always want to move and rarely want to wait, but I’m working on being a doer when it comes to doing the will of Go—especially when His will is to wait. Being still doesn’t look very productive to me. Stillness may appear less honorable than jumping in and taking action, and I think that’s why Psalm 25:2 says, “O my God, I trust in you; let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me.” Waiting on God doesn’t mean we surrender ground or fall behind. It means we stand firm and trust God for a come-from-behind victory. When God calls on you to wait, others may question, mock or condemn your hesitation, but you have no reason to be ashamed. Your patient obedience in the waiting means that you will be perfectly positioned when God says it’s time to move. The first ten episodes of my video podcast, “Find Joy” walk you through my book, Longing to Belong, and the entire series is now available for viewing. Learn more on my website at shawnamariebryant.com. This week's scripture: Psalm 25:1-5
07:39 05/25/2022
Episode 125
Whenever I think of God’s unchanging nature, my go-to verse is Hebrews 13:8, which says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Malachi 3:6 says, “I the Lord do not change.” When it comes to the steadfast, unchanging nature of our God, I don’t think of the verse I’ll be reading today. Instead, I usually focus on the good and perfect gifts that come from God. In fact, the reason I decided on sharing this verse with you today is because I wanted to declare that every good and perfect gift comes from above. But God redirected my focus. I love how God can show us new things from the familiar, and today’s declaration focuses on a different promise within a verse I know quite well. I’m glad God highlighted for me the relationship between His unchanging nature and His generosity. I don’t know how I missed it before, but every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights no matter what. I don’t mean to assign human attributes to God. He is NOT human! He doesn’t have mood swings. The fact that God isn’t shifty means that He doesn’t use His gifts to manipulate. His gifts flow from heaven to us with steadfast certainty no matter what we think, say or do. God gives grace when we don’t earn it. He gives mercy when we don’t deserve it. He gives blessing upon blessing not because of what we’ve done, but because of who he is. My original plan for today’s podcast was so that you and I would declare that every good and perfect gift comes from above. I love how God shows us things we weren’t even looking for, and I’m thankful that He redirected my focus today so that He could help me see that His generosity is not connected to my circumstances. I’m thankful for God’s good gifts, but especially I’m thankful that He doesn’t shift like the shadows. The first ten episodes of my video podcast, “Find Joy” walk you through my book, Longing to Belong, and the entire series is now available for viewing. Learn more on my website at shawnamariebryant.com. This week's scripture: James 1:17
05:56 05/18/2022
Episode 124
I keep a record of the Bible verses I’ve read each week since beginning this podcast back in January 2020. Sometimes I’ll think of a verse that is so familiar to me that I’m certain I’ve already featured it on this podcast, but I’ll look it up to be certain. I did that today, and much to my surprise, I discovered I have not shared the verses from Jeremiah 29 that I’ll be reading in this episode. I can quote Jeremiah 29:11 from memory. Perhaps you know the verse by heart, too. The context surrounding Jeremiah 29:11 gives me even more hope for the future than the stand-alone memory verse. That’s because this Old Testament prophecy happened exactly the way the God of Israel said it would, which proves that even when the future doesn’t look promising or hopeful, we can still declare with confidence: God has good plans for my future. Our current circumstances don’t determine our future. God does, and this scripture assures us His plans are for good and not for disaster. I don’t understand what God is allowing right now. I believe His plans are good, but we keep hearing bad reports—from record highs for the price of essentials like food and gas, to record lows for the level of confidence in our leaders. Polls show that many people think their children will not be better off, but instead will have less than their parents. I see that already with my married children, who can’t afford to buy a home like my husband and I did when we got married. But Jeremiah testifies to the validity of God’s promises. According to Jeremiah 29:11 God knows the plans He has for us. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give us a future and a hope. Like I said before, our current circumstances don’t determine our future. God does. This means that when the future looks bleak, that’s not the end of the story. I’m thankful that God not only promises to give us hope for tomorrow, but also hope for today. The first ten episodes of my video podcast, “Find Joy” walk you through my book, Longing to Belong, and the entire series is now available for viewing. Learn more on my website at shawnamariebryant.com. This week's scripture: Jeremiah 29:8-14
07:38 05/11/2022
Episode 123
I spoke at an event last Monday, and the theme was “April showers bring May flowers.” That familiar phrase influenced my choice of what Bible verses to read today, and those verses inspired our declaration, which is like a blast of sunshine after a storm. The thing about nature’s seasons is that they come and go within a limited amount of time that can be measured. The rainy season comes, and while it’s true that some years the clouds linger longer than usual, eventually the sun does come out and the trees and flowers bud with new life and vibrant colors. Ground Hog Day serves as a reminder that no matter how fierce of a winter we may have endured, spring is coming and summer will follow. Seasons of life are not the same as nature’s seasons. When you stop and think about the seasons of your life, I’ll bet you’d agree with me that they cannot be measured in weeks like winter, spring, summer and fall. Not only can certain seasons of life last for years and years, sometimes life snatches us from a warm spring day and drops us deep into the chill of winter—a winter with no Ground Hog Day to mark on the calendar like a bright spot. Psalm 126 makes the pilgrimage through the seasons of life brighter because God promises a harvest of joy. The Israelites spent 70 years in exile. But God spoke through His prophets and gave them hope for their future. While I’ve never been in exile, I can identify the happy sound of Psalm 126:1-2. “When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem it was like a dream! We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy.” (NLT) I love the happy endings in stories like Job, who came out of a devastating season of life with even greater blessings. And Ruth, who--after being widowed and leaving her homeland—met and married her Boaz. My own story also testifies to the faithfulness of God to bring me out of difficult seasons. I’m so thankful that God’s grace has sustained me through long periods of unwelcome weather. You and I may plant in tears, but we will indeed reap a harvest of joy because our God is faithful, loving and kind. If you’re in a tough season right now, I encourage you to read the Psalms. They are filled with reminders of God’s goodness and compassion. You may not be able to count off six more weeks until your winter is over, but you will be held securely in the loving arms of your Heavenly Father, who has promised you a harvest of joy. The first ten episodes of my video podcast, “Find Joy” walk you through my book, Longing to Belong, and the entire series is now available for viewing. Learn more on my website at shawnamariebryant.com. This week's scripture: Psalm 126
07:42 05/04/2022
Episode 122
Our Bibles are so rich and full of promises. I have no doubt that I could continue this podcast for years and never run out of pearls of truth that you and I can declare with hopeful expectation. Today’s promise can be found in two Old Testament books, and I’m incredibly encouraged to know that the promises of God have stood the test of time. Both Psalm 18 and 2 Samuel contain the words I’m about to read. Oh, how I love this beautiful description of our God and how he comes to our aid. In this episode, I’ll read 2 Samuel 22:29-37 (NIV), and share a declaration that arms us with hope. I’ve been teaching women’s Bible study at my church on Wednesdays, and tonight I’m going to talk about how we can declare the truth found in these very Bible verses to come against this particular lie: I’ve been stuck in a rut for so long nothing will ever change. No! That’s a lie. According to the scriptures I read in this episode, God provides a broad path for my feet so I don’t have to get stuck in a rut. There are so many precious promises in the verses I just read that affirm today’s declaration. For example, 2 Samuel 22:30 says, “With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.” Verse 33 says, “It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.” And 2 Samuel 22:37, which inspired our declaration, says, “You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way.” I’m so thankful that whether we’re corralled into a rut by an opposing force, we fall into a rut by accident, or we’ve plodded along in the same old routine for so long that we’ve created our own rut, 2 Samuel 22:29 says, “You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light.” God has promised to show us the way to escape the rut, to strengthen us to climb out of the rut, and to cause us to stand on the heights with feet like the feet of a deer. Don’t believe the lie that you’re stuck and nothing will ever change. As for God, his way is perfect. My friend, follow him closely. Make his saving help your shield, and his help will make you great. The first ten episodes of my video podcast, “Find Joy” walk you through my book, Longing to Belong, and the entire series is now available for viewing. Learn more on my website at shawnamariebryant.com. This week's scripture: 2 Samuel 22:29-37
07:11 04/27/2022
Episode 121
Today’s declaration is appropriate for the first episode of Believe & Speak since Easter, and it comes from two different scriptures. One contains a promise Jesus gave to Martha after her brother died, and the other contains a reminder Paul gave the Corinthians after his encounter with the resurrected Jesus changed the course of his life. I love how Martha said in John 11:22, “But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.” Even now—now, after her brother had been dead four days. Even in those trying circumstances, Martha knew that God would give Jesus whatever he asked for. A few chapters later, in John 15:16, Jesus told his disciples they could have the same expectation. He said, “I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.” Jesus promised abundant life as well as eternal life. We can ask God to resurrect our dead hopes, dead relationships, dead dreams and more, even now. Especially now! Because we know that God raised Jesus from the dead. I’m reminded of a song on my Easter Worship 2022 playlist with these lyrics. “The resurrected King is resurrecting me.” I’m so thankful that we not only have the hope of eternal life, but also of an abundant life. May the resurrected King fill your life to overflowing as you trust him and believe that—even now, in the midst of whatever challenges you face—God will give you whatever you ask for in Jesus’s name. The first ten episodes of my video podcast, “Find Joy” walk you through my book, Longing to Belong, and the entire series is now available for viewing. Learn more on my website at shawnamariebryant.com. This week's scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 and John 11:17-27
08:45 04/20/2022
Episode 120
The things of God sound foolish to the natural man because these things are spiritually discerned. I am so grateful for the assurance that God’s Spirit alive in me helps me understand spiritual things. Since we have the mind of Christ, we can evaluate all things, reject lies, and receive truth. Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth explains this, and I know you’ll be encouraged by its promise for those of us who know, love and serve Jesus. I like how the NKJV puts 1 Corinthians 2:14. “He who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.” I used to tell my children that there’s a difference between being judgmental and being discerning. We must evaluate all things and discern right from wrong. We don’t cast judgment on people—that’s God’s job. But we do make judgment calls based on insight we receive from the Spirit of God. I’m not only encouraged to know that I can understand and discern spiritual truth, but I’m also relieved to know that it’s not up to me to make sure other people understand the things of God. Only God can help people understand the things of God. I can share the gospel and pray with people. I can teach the Word of God and live it out by my own example. But only those of us who have received God’s Spirit can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. What’s more, we understand that only God can judge us rightly. Some may think I come across as a fool because of what I believe and say about the Spirit of God or the things of God. I can know deep in my spirit that because I have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), I can understand what the Spirit means. I can discern right from wrong and good from evil. God is not the author of confusion but of peace. He is not a God of disorder. When the world looks crazy to me and I look foolish to the world, I take comfort knowing that I have the mind of Christ and can understand the Spirit of God. Have you visited my website lately? The “Podcast” tab in the main navigation bar now not only takes you to this podcast, where you can see all the images that I create each week with the declarations on them, but it also provides a link to my new video podcast called, “Find Joy.” The first 10 episodes walk you through my book, Longing to Belong. I’ve already posted five episodes, so we are halfway through, but you can join in at the beginning at any time. Learn more on my website at shawnamariebryant.com. This week's scripture: 1 Corinthians 2:11-16
08:30 04/13/2022
Episode 119
I wish more people knew God not only as the God of justice, but also as the God of mercy and grace. You and I received the indescribable gift of grace from God through Jesus Christ. Grace is getting what we don’t deserve. Mercy—on the other hand—is not getting what we do deserve. Psalm 103:10 says that God “does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” Psalm 103 isn’t the only place in the Bible that makes note of God’s mercy. All you have to do is search the Bible for the words “mercy”, “mercies” and “merciful” to see that God is well known for this much-appreciated attribute. I’ve heard it said that people want justice for those who harm them and mercy when they do harm. I am deeply thankful that with God, mercy always triumphs over justice. While it’s true that God will not let the guilty go unpunished, it’s also true that all who believe in Jesus are covered by his redemptive blood. 1 Thessalonians 5:9 says that, “God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The prophet, Habakkuk lived long before Jesus walked the earth and paid the debt owed for our sins. But even in Old Testament times—a period of history marked by the wrath of God—Habakkuk still knew God as a God of mercy. Those on this side of the cross have even more reasons to know of God’s love and compassion, his patience and kindness, his grace and mercy. Let’s affirm that we have heard of God’s fame, and stand in awe of his deeds. Have you visited my website lately? The “Podcast” tab in the main navigation bar now not only takes you to this podcast, where you can see all the images that I create each week with the declarations on them, but it also provides a link to my new video podcast called, “Find Joy.” The first 10 episodes walk you through my book, Longing to Belong. I’ve already posted five episodes, so we are halfway through, but you can join in at the beginning at any time. Learn more on my website at shawnamariebryant.com. This week's scripture: Habakkuk 3:2-6
07:21 04/06/2022
Episode 118
I’ve been having trouble falling asleep for a while. I keep quoting the last verse in Psalm 4 over and over until I finally fall asleep. A couple days ago, I read all of Psalm 4 and wondered the circumstances that led David to write it. He wrote in the second verse, “How long will you people turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?” As the king of Israel, I can see why those questions would keep him up at night. I have other questions disrupting my sleep, but I’m incredibly thankful to know that God is my source of peace and safety. Peace and safety from the Lord transcend lying down in the comfort of your own bed with your favorite pillow. With God as our king and the Lord as our shepherd have eternal security—no matter our circumstances. My struggle to drift into slumber lately isn’t because I’m not snuggled into my comfy bed, it’s because I can’t help but think of—and pray for—those who aren’t. My mind is consumed by thoughts of millions of Ukrainian refuges who are doing their best to sleep in unfamiliar surroundings wondering if their homes will still be standing when they return—if they ever do return. I think of the Ukrainian women and children who held on to their husbands and fathers before they had to let go and leave them behind to face an advancing army. I think of those men, taking up arms to defend their homeland, and those who spend the night in makeshift bomb shelters while listening to explosions. But as all these thoughts disquiet me and interfere with my sleep more than a pot of coffee before bedtime, I remember the report of missionaries in the area that many are being saved—as in receiving the gift of salvation from God through his Son, Jesus Christ. The peace and safety that comes with knowing Jesus as our Lord and Savior transcend the peace and safety this world may give us. I thank God I’m not living in a war zone—or even a rough neighborhood. I also thank God for the peace and safety he has promised to his children who do live in those dangerous places. In John 16:33 Jesus said, ““I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Yes and amen! Jesus has overcome the world. Hallelujah. Have you visited my website lately? The “Podcast” tab in the main navigation bar now not only takes you to this podcast, where you can see all the images that I create each week with the declarations on them, but it also provides a link to my new video podcast called, “Find Joy.” The first 10 episodes walk you through my book, Longing to Belong. I’ve already posted five episodes, so we are halfway through, but you can join in at the beginning at any time. Learn more on my website at shawnamariebryant.com. This week's scripture: Psalm 4:1, 8
07:30 03/30/2022
Episode 117
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the power of love. Part of me thinks it’s because my son is getting married in a couple weeks and another part of me thinks it’s because hate is advancing across the globe. I keep asking God to intervene, and he keeps reminding me of the power of love. So, I’ve been meditating on what many in the church call “the love chapter.” The beautiful description of love in 1 Corinthians 13 has been read at more weddings than I can count. The love chapter accurately describes not merely how God loves but also who God is. 1 John 4:8 says that God is love. Love is not merely something God does. Love is a description of who God is. God is love. It's in his character to love. It's in his character be love. The first quality of love given in 1 Corinthians 13 is patience. Love is patient; therefore, God is patient. Patience isn’t the only description given in 1 Corinthians 13 that describes God. He is also kind. He is never arrogant or rude. And thankfully he keeps no record of wrongs. All of the descriptions in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 reveal the character of God because God is love. God doesn’t have to work at being patient any more than I have to work at being 5’4”. I am 5’4”, 5’4” is what I am. I’m other things too, but I have to work at being some of those things…. Like patient. But God doesn’t have to work at being patient. Or kind. Or loving. God is love. He just is. The Bible tells us that God’s mercies are new every morning. When I was raising my children, I often asked God to give me some of his new mercies. It’s hard to be patient when your child gets on your last nerve. I had to work at being patient, but God doesn’t. God doesn’t have a last nerve. God’s patience with you will never wear thin because God will never wear thin. God’s love for you will never waver because God will never waver. Every quality of love listed in 1 Corinthians 13 are as ever-present in God as God is ever-present. You and I don’t have to worry that God will give up on us because love never ends. In fact, those three words are the first three words in 1 Corinthians 13:8. Love never ends Have you visited my website lately? The “Podcast” tab in the main navigation bar now not only takes you to this podcast, where you can see all the images that I create each week with the declarations on them, but it also provides a link to my new video podcast called, “Find Joy.” The first 10 episodes walk you through my book, Longing to Belong. I’ve already posted five episodes, so we are halfway through, but you can join in at the beginning at any time. Learn more on my website at shawnamariebryant.com. This week's scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
08:08 03/23/2022
Episode 116
Today’s declaration includes an “I can” statement based on truth. Previously on this podcast, I’ve talked about the difference between “I can” statements, which demonstrate ability, and “I will” statements, which demonstrate intention. God enables us to love, but we get to choose whether we actually will love others. We are created, called and commanded to love. We are also capable. God wants us to love not only each other (as in those we choose to hang around and be with, those who are easy to love), he also wants us to love everyone else. I looked up the original Greek word translated as “everyone else” in the NIV, and it means, “each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything.” God never commands us to do anything without also empowering us to do it. Because God has poured out his love into us by the Holy Spirit, we absolutely can love each, every, any, all, etc., etc. As this world grows more and more divided, those of us who are filled with the Holy Spirit need to love others more than ever. Did you know that love is a verb? It’s not merely a feeling, it’s an action. We love because God first loved us, and God demonstrated his love for us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Love is demonstrated, not just experienced. Love calls us to action. And our declaration reminds us that we are fully equipped. God will show you how to love each other and everyone else. It may look like sending a birthday card to that difficult person. It may look like sending a contribution to a charity. It may look like volunteering to serve in your local community or across the globe. Here’s the thing, since God pours his love into you and causes the overflow, he will direct you on how to love others with the same love he has poured into you. Have you visited my website lately? The “Podcast” tab in the main navigation bar now not only takes you to this podcast, where you can see all the images that I create each week with the declarations on them, but it also provides a link to my new video podcast called, “Find Joy.” The first 10 episodes walk you through my book, Longing to Belong. I’ve already posted five episodes, so we are halfway through, but you can join in at the beginning at any time. Learn more on my website at shawnamariebryant.com. This week's scripture: 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13
07:10 03/16/2022