On today’s episode of the #IKnowHim podcast our guest David O’Brien is sharing how his relationship with God continues to deepen as he navigates through hard conversations with God while being steadfast in his faith. He talks about learning how to claim the truth that God is worthy even when our hearts are heavy. David shares that in his experience, part of knowing God is the freedom to ask hard questions and the ability to be vulnerable, especially when walking through grief.

#IKnowHim Podcast

#IKnowHim Podcast David O'Brien

Know God is Real Today’s guest is Kyle Joy, a firefighter and co-founder of a nonprofit that partners with families in crisis in a unique way. He shares how seeing what God does in the aftermath of the flames took him from simply believing in God to knowing Him

Click HERE to visit ThirdStrand for more information. 

Click HERE to checkout their FACEBOOK PAGE. 

#IKnowHim Kyle Joy

Our guest today is Homer Allison, founder and pastor at Battle Cry Ministries in Houston, Texas. One week after Hurricane Harvey devastated their community, Homer is sharing how they are seeing God move powerfully throughout the recovery and rebuilding process. His ministry team has developed a long term strategy to help the people of Houston not only rebuild their homes but find new life in Jesus, sharing the Gospel with every family they serve. To find out more information on their recovery efforts, their ministry, or how to support them financially click on the links below:

The Epicenter Harvey Relief Facebook Page

BattleCry Ministries Harvey Relief (Donate + Serve)

#IKnowHim Hurricane Harvey

#IKnowHimPodcast Homer Allison

Our #IKnowHim story today was submitted by Kali Peddy, who one day found herself face to face with a truth that saved her life. Even in the trenches of depression, she knew that God was ever present, waiting to redeem, and longing to restore. Just as the sun continues to rise each day, she continues to experience God who is faithful to show up in the valleys, along the mountaintops, and every step of the way in between.

**Help us share her story and if you were inspired by her story be sure to leave her some encouragement in the comment section below!** 

Chocolate milk saved my life! Well, not literally, but in the most important way, this is wholeheartedly true. Let’s back up…

I grew up in the good ol Texas Panhandle, splitting time between Canadian and Canyon in the all too familiar world of broken homes; my parents had divorced when I was 7 years old. I grew up with a preacher for a grandpa; I knew about Jesus. I went to church regularly until I was 11 years old. I was baptized in a pool in a New Mexico hotel during a youth ski trip with a church that I attended, mostly alone, during my entire high school existence. My mom and stepdad had long since quit attending, my brother had no interest, my younger half sister just did what my mom did, and so that left me, 15 year old Kali, to decide if going to church alone in a small town was worth the whispers and gossip and humiliation that I felt almost every time I stepped through those doors. I knew at 15 that I knew who Jesus was, wanted to be saved, was obedient through baptism, but nothing significant remains in my memory from that event in my life. I could point out dozens of moments in my life and claim that that was my “salvation moment.” I attended church camp every single summer for six years when I would visit my dad in the summer. I “knew” all the things to say and sing and believe but I had THE hardest time living it out. You could characterize my high school and early college years in the words of Johnny Lee: “Looking for love in all the wrong places, looking for love in all the wrong faces….” Yup. Guilty. Horribly so.

Until chocolate milk saved me. On a stateside mission trip to Branson, Missouri with Campus Crusade for Christ at Oklahoma State University, a chocolate milk demonstration finally revealed the all consuming, life giving, irrevocable love of Jesus. I was completely enraptured as chocolate syrup (representing Jesus and his Holy Spirit) was poured into a glass of milk (my life), and we were challenged to try to separate the syrup from the milk. It all made sense in that moment: when I proclaim to follow Jesus, declaring him my savior, surrendering my messy broken heart to his will, ain’t no amount of sin gonna separate that syrup from the milk. Lamentations 3:22-23 says “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” LIBERATING! FREEDOM! RELIEF! I felt it all. That was such a monumental moment in my spiritual journey and what I consider my “salvation” moment. I knew it then, I had no doubts that I was saved; that I wanted to live for Jesus. It was amazing.

But we all know that life doesn’t always stay on the mountain top. There are moments and seasons in the valley. In a season of fear, and desperation, and loneliness shortly following my time on the mountain top, I hit absolute rock bottom.

I attempted suicide my junior year of college. My biggest secret; my darkest shame; my ultimate lack of trust.

My syrup was still there, but I was watering it down with all my might.  For some reason, a full bottle of aspirin and alcohol seemed more attainable and fulfilling than my Jesus. Oh but his mercies are new every morning. Jesus crawled in my nasty, dark, broken life and pulled me back to the mountain top. Great is his faithfulness. He loved me through the shame, and heartache. His mercies never come to an end. My story didn’t end on the mountain top in Branson, Missouri. My story didn’t end in the darkest valley in Stillwater, Oklahoma in November of 2010. My story is new every morning.

Redemption

Being a believer, a Christ follower does not guarantee a straight path from mountain top to mountain top; but it does guarantee a God who will walk with you, search you out, call you back, open doors, straighten winding paths, and wrap us up in love when we find ourselves in a valley. I will never stop loving my Jesus, I will never stop serving my great God, I will never stop being grateful for the steadfast love of the Lord.

Kali's #IKnowHimStory

Has God ever met you in a hard place? When did you come to understand that there is nothing that can hinder His love for you? We want to hear your thoughts! Tell us about your experiences in the comment section of the blog! 

Want to tell YOUR story? Click HERE to submit your story to be featured on the blog! 

We are pleased to invite Roxy Hall to the #IKnowHim podcast! Roxy is a mother to many as she is a passionate advocate for children in the foster care system. We are honored to partner with her in ministry as we dive in to how she has personally experienced God in her life. She is passionate about telling her story and our prayer is that this episode of the #IKnowHim podcast will be encouraging, inspiring, and maybe will shed some light on how we can be a voice for those that cannot speak for themselves. Sit back, enjoy the episode, and leave her some encouragement in the comment section! **Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes to get each new episode automatically as they become available!**


#IKnowHimPodcast with Roxy Hall

 

After several long months we are thrilled to share the very first episode of the #IKnowHim Podcast! We have worked for this so long and prayed about this next step for #IKnowHim even longer! We know that God will move mightily through the testimonies and conversations offered through this platform and are prayerful that you will be encouraged and inspired to see Him move mightily in your life as well.

Click HERE to see it on iTunes and subscribe to get the latest episodes! If you have a second, leave a review while you are there so we can hear what you think!

On this episode of the #IKnowHim podcast, we are talking with Julia Grief, a missionary who serves in Africa in addition to being a college educator in the states. In this conversation we cover topics such as what people really think missionary work is, how God met her in the middle of a jail cell, and how her life continues to be radically impacted daily by knowing God. Be sure to check out her blog to follow her journey back to Africa and support her ministry efforts by clicking the links below.

#IKnowHim_JuliaGreif

https://www.juliagreif.com/

MONTHLY + ONE TIME DONATIONS

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Help us spread the word about #IKnowHim by ordering your own graphic tee! These shirts are SUPER soft and are available in a V-Neck or a Crew for adults, and we are also offering youth shirts in the Crew Neck! This is a great way to get your whole family involved and 100% of your purchase will go towards helping us continue the ministry of sharing hope and the name of Jesus, as we further our reach to share the Gospel + what it means to know Him.

Click HERE to order or check out out “SHOP” page for more information!

After you order, don’t forget to tag us on social media of where you are wearing your apparel so we can celebrate those spreading the message of #IKnowHim all over the world! Use #IKnowHimAmbassador to submit your photo! We can’t wait to see this message travel!

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Today’s story was submitted by Mandy Pugh. Read her story below to see how God revealed He had a greater plan for her life. 

Proverbs3:5

As a teenager, I can remember so many times talking to God and asking him into my heart but never taking that next step to salvation.  There was still something holding me back.  I truly believe God places people in your life for a reason.  My high school sweetheart’s family were devout Christians.  They will never truly know the impact they had on my life.  Even though it wasn’t exactly for the right reasons, I started attending church with them.  I knew God was working in my life.  On July 31, 1998, God gave me a second chance at life.  I was in a horrible vehicle accident.  For three days, I was in a medical induced coma due to the brain injury I sustained.  I walked away from the accident with a major concussion and minor scraps and bruises.  Many people would say I am lucky to be here today due to the fact I was wearing my seat belt that morning.  I know in my heart it wasn’t by chance or luck that I was given another chance at life.  God had other plans for me.  After the accident, something inside of me changed.  I wanted to savor every moment in my life but still I hesitated.  I want to think that I had to completely hit my lowest for me to see how much I needed God in my life. 

I remember sitting in the pew at Porter Springs Baptist Church and I knew in my heart it was time.  I had waited too long and God had a purpose for my life even though I still wasn’t quiet sure what that was at the time.  I was baptized in April 2002.  Almost a year and a half later, I married my best friend.  Life was great.  I gave birth to our first daughter in April of 2006 and the second just sixteen months later.  Family has always been important to me.  My family was shaken in 2008 when circumstances sent my father away for almost a year.  Being a “daddy’s girl”, I couldn’t wrap my mind around it all.  I was crushed and questioned why. As we communicated, he would tell me that he was reading his Bible daily and knew God would get us through it.  Here I was questioning God and turning my back on Him when He was the one person I needed to be turning to.  I had to get down on my knees and beg God for forgiveness. 

Proverbs 3:4-5 “Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”  This verse has such a powerful meaning.  We can’t lose sight of God in our times of trouble but, instead, we must turn to Him.  Give praise to Him and trust in the plan He has for your life.  I am blessed to say that I am a born again Christian.  A year ago, God laid it on my heart to take the role as Team Leader for Children’s Ministry at my church.  What a blessing it is watching children come to know and trust in Jesus Christ.  God is working in my life daily and can’t wait to see what else he has planned for me. What a blessing it is to know Him!… and an even greater blessing every day to know Him more.

Has God revealed a different plan to you, other than your own? How does trusting in God’s plan for your life rather than leaning on your own understanding influence your daily decisions? How have you experienced this in your life? We’d love to hear your thoughts, leave your comment in the section below! You can also SHARE YOUR STORY here!  

#IKnowHim story submitted by Mandy Pugh 

Mandy's #IKnowHim story

Our #IKnowHim story today comes from Natalie who shares about a time in her life when God revealed Himself to her as her strength and comfort during a difficult summer. She is sharing her story today with hopes to encourage others going through difficult seasons with five characteristics of God that remain true no matter the circumstances.  

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As I pulled away from the coffee shop after saying goodbye that Sunday afternoon, I began weeping. With tears clouding my eyes, I managed to navigate onto the freeway for the long drive home. Alone. I thought of all the people around me driving to their various destinations and wondered if any felt as sad as me, or were they all happy on this sunny summer Sunday?

My husband and I had been living four hours apart for several months because of his job. His help was necessary at another facility, and while I was proud of his skillset, it broke my heart for us to be apart. I hated saying goodbye on Sundays. I came to dread the end of every weekend because it meant a week of being alone, of worrying about my husband working incredibly long hours, and of dealing with all things happening back home.

Things were falling apart. My car was having mechanical issues, our shower in the master bedroom was leaking causing the wood to rot, and worst of all, our daughter was struggling terribly with anxiety. I decided the best thing to do on that car ride home was to turn on some worship music to lift my spirits; otherwise, I was going to unravel completely. As I began to worship and pray, I cried out to the Lord.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:16 NLT

I desperately needed God’s mercy, His grace, and His comfort. My heart felt broken and the separation was very difficult, but I trusted that the Lord would carry us through this tough season. He is a gracious and compassionate Father, One whom I can come to at any time with my needs. I can approach His throne boldly knowing He hears the cries of my heart, and He is willing to offer me grace, mercy, and unending love.

That summer was particularly challenging; however, I continually approached the throne of God asking for fresh grace for the day, for His mercy, for strength, for healing for our daughter, for the work assignment to end quickly, for protection for my husband, and for the courage to manage our home alone.

***

When you walk through hard times, it is helpful to remember five things:

  1. God is on the throne, sovereign over all
  2. He will not allow you to be overcome
  3. He is faithful to carry out His promises in the Word
  4. He is ready to listen to all your heart’s cries
  5. He will never leave your side.

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God knows all about our struggles, our pain, our worries, our fears, our trials, and our weaknesses, but we have hope because of who God is. He is trustworthy, He is mighty, He is holy, and He is loving. We can cast our cares on the Lord and believe that He will help us get through the rough patches. He loves us beyond measure. He is our Comforter, our Protector, our good, good Father.

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Natalie is a Bible teacher, speaker, and writer who blogs about everyday things using anecdotes of faith, marriage, food, and friendship. She loves the sunshine, fine chocolate, reading, and traveling.

Website: www.everydaynatalie.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/everydaynatalieblog/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/everyday.natalie/

 

Our #IKnowHim story today was submitted by Alli Miller, who experienced the goodness of God in the valley of the shadow of death. She shares her story today to encourage anyone that finds themselves in the valley or overcome by darkness. She reminds us to trust that God will make the darkness light, and turn the mountain that lies ahead into level ground because that is what HE promises, and that is exactly what she experienced. 

Valley

No one expects to die on a Thursday. It was a surprise to me as well, but that’s a little too far ahead in the story. The beginning is an autumn day. The kind of day ripe for expectation as it was the start of the weekend. The weather forecast predicts nine inches of rain. Living in a state frequenting tropical storms and hurricanes, we could handle it. The rain began as expected. The unexpected part is that it kept raining. Sheets and sheets through the rest of the weekend. In a matter of days, that nine-inch forecast is met, then exceeded by an extra seventeen inches. A soggy Monday arrived, and it’s finally over. Over twenty-six inches of rain fell. Sixty thousand people displaced in a matter of three days. But death didn’t come for me then.

Floods are no respecter of persons or property. My house did not flood, so as soon as it was safe to begin cleanup, I was on it. The next few months my weekdays consisted of my regular day job, then after work, I’d be a part of a team picking up the pieces of someone’s life that had been swept up by the flood. Saturdays were all-day cleanup events with multiple teams spread out across three cities. There’s a delicate balance in caring for victims of flooding. It requires walking that line where you care for people, while simultaneously throwing out every material possession they own. The kind of things that help turn a house into a home. Trinkets and treasures that have memories attached to them. All needed dragging to the dump pile on the street. Helping sometimes hurts. But death didn’t come for me then either.

Two months into flood recovery, it’s a Sunday full of blue sky. My church routine begins with teaching the smallest children a Bible story. The story for the littles this week is of His faithfulness. How He is good all the time. No matter the fire or the flood, He is there, infinitely involved in our lives. The littles ask about Him. Nothing draws you closer to Jesus than having a seven-year-old innocently pose a question that stumps you. After the kid’s small group is over, it’s time to worship corporately. Sitting amongst my community, a wave of exhaustion rolls over me. I could barely keep my head up during the church service. I didn’t know it then, but that was the first physical indication He would lead me through the valley of the shadow of death. 

Did you know your body naturally keeps viruses locked away in your spine? They rarely travel up your spinal cord. Unfortunately, weariness weakens your immune system. Your body can’t fight well when tired. What began as being extra sleepy on a Sunday night revealed itself in the form of a virus crossing my blood-brain barrier. Viruses don’t attack your brain; they eat it. This particular virus attacked sensory organs. I would go blind, losing sight in my right eye. My brain would swell, losing feeling in my hands and feet. Tests on top of tests in the ER and then after being admitted to the hospital. Once green eyes turned gray in the fight for survival. Apparently, the human body decides eye color isn’t a necessity when fighting a virus lodged in your brain stem. There are days I still don’t remember. The one night doctors told my family they couldn’t do anything else. Just see if I make it through the evening. My sister needing to answer the question of where to ship my body if this night ended in death. That next morning, waking up with new IVs and bruises not knowing what had happened. Sometimes the valley of the shadow of death looks like a hospital room in muted yellows.

“And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.”

Isaiah 42:16

Isaiah is known as the “Evangelical Prophet.” He prophesies of the Messiah, His character, His death and His kingdom. This verse, like the majority of the book, is written with the intent to point the reader to Him. Death’s shadow, death itself, dies in the light of our Savior. The redemptive power of the cross reveals that my death is inconsequential. A virus may have ravaged my body, but death can do nothing to my soul. Death defeated is but an off-key echo fading in the wondrous overture that is His kingdom coming.

My story didn’t end that night in the hospital, but eventually, there will be a day when He directs me from this present world into His everlasting joy. And as a follower of Christ, your ending is the same as mine. It’s impossible to see past my pen and into your life. I do not know the valley He walks you through. But, oh, God is good even when our circumstances are not. He leads the blind in ways they do not know. He guides us down paths our feet have never thought to tread. He transforms dark to light. He levels craggy peaks. Our God does this. The Almighty does not abandon those who are His own.

 Alli Miller

Alli loves turning pages, learning more about our Living Hope, laugh lines, and serving in her local church body. Her heart is for encouraging others to taste and see God is breathtakingly good to and through them. Say hello at http://allimillerwrote.com or on social media @allimillerwrote. 

Have you ever found yourself in a valley of some sort? What was it that got you through to the other side? We’d love to hear your answer in the comment section, and feel free to leave some encouragement for Alli!

Have you experienced God in you life? We are always praying for people to boldly share what God has done in their lives and would love to help you share your testimony of God’s faithfulness here on the blog. Visit our submission page for more info by clicking HERE. Every story makes an ETERNAL difference. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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