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Where do you want your spiritual growth to be one year from now?

Let’s make a
plan to get there.

Get a Matching Bookmark as well!

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Each bookmark pairs with a monthly Scripture in the planner. Click the link below to view all 12 bookmarks.

What's Included Inside Leaning In 2024:

Monthly Devotionals
 
Goal Tracker
 
Sunday Sermon Notes
 
Journal Space
 
Reflection
 
Weekly and Monthly Calendars

Scripture Declarations

Biblical Take-Aways:

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Partner with God to overcome sin, struggles and the attacks of the enemy

3.

Effectively pray, fast, and worship

4.

Live a consecrated (holy) lifestyle

5.

Endure the battles of life

1.

Hear and distinguish God's voice

Online Workshops

Learn how to walk by the Spirit and not by the flesh!

Dive deeper into the Biblical topics discussed
in Leaning In's monthly devotionals as you
grow closer to God in 2024.

01.11 - Godly Expectations in 2024

02.08 - Armor of God

03.14 - Building a Life on Prayer

04.11 - The Value of Fasting

05.09 - Developing a Heart of Patience

06.13 - Trusting in God- Not the Promise

07.11 - The Importance in Consecration

08.08 - Praise as Your Battlecry

09.12 - Worship as a Lifestyle

10.10 - Remembering the Promise

11.14 - Having a Heart of Thanksgiving

12.12 - Asking God for a New Promise in 2025

I will go live on social media (Facebook & Instagram) and YouTube the second Thursday of every month at 7 PM CST (dates above). If you can't hop on at that time, no problem, the videos will post on my feed so you can watch them at your convenience.

Subscribe & Follow

Instagram - @CarleyRains          Facebook - Carley Rains          YouTube - Carley Rains/Whole Lotta Podcast

CarleyRains.author@gmail.com

The Backstory

The true testimony of God's redemptive power and unfailing promises.

Year of Breakthrough

God's Redeeming Love

In December 2018, I asked the Lord for a word to represent 2019. The intention was to have a new year's resolution from God, but God's goal was to show just how powerful and faithful He really is.

A few days later, as I scrolled through Pinterest, I began to notice the word breakthrough pop out on the page. Christian artists on K-Love would periodically sing the word too. Could this be a coincidence? Or was God trying to communicate the word He wanted to represent 2019? 

I found myself seeing, reading and hearing the word constantly as if it was highlighted or jumping out of the page or song. With so much repetition, I concluded that breakthrough was the word God chose.

The only problem was I really didn't know what it meant.

The word breakthrough is not found in the Bible. After doing some research though, I discovered that the word means to break through a barrier, especially in the case of war. I concluded that the word would somehow associate with breaking down a wall/obstacle in my life.

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As 2019 began, I started my sophomore year in college. Each season started and ended with flying colors, but I wondered how and when the word would be explained. By fall 2019, I couldn't help but question when God was going act.

Mid-October our college ministry planned a fall-retreat to a church conference called Fall Ramp. On the second evening during worship, my heart had enough with its sinful desires. The truth was I had been hiding a secret for most of my high school and college years that no one knew about, not even my closest friends and family. Completely ashamed and ready to be done with the habitual sin, I broke down sobbing and repented for the shameful acts.

As I wiped my tears, the word breakthrough came across my mind. I prayed, "And God, why did you give me this word?" I knew if He didn't answer until December 31st, it was still in His timing and not a second late, but my heart burned to understand.

Immediately, a pastor on stage said, "I feel like Holy Spirit wants us to do an altar call for addictions." Raising my face, I knew I had to answer. As I walked to the front, I felt as if I had stepped into a court room with God as the Judge, Satan my Accuser, and I the guilty suspect.

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And the thing was, I was guilty, totally and completely.

 

Flashbacks of telling God that I was going to quit and that those times were the last tormented my mind. Why had I been so easily swayed by the temptations? Why couldn't I have lived completely free like I said I was?

Tears streamed down my face as I stood there, facing reality. I had chosen the sin, sought it, desired it, and even worshiped it. I deserved judgement.

A young woman reached out, laid her hands on my head, and said, "I declare breakthrough." Over and over she prayed that word. I saw links of chains around my arms and legs, but suddenly this overwhelming amount of faith rose within my chest and I sensed that the chains were breaking and God say, "I'm breaking through this addiction.""How do I know?" I wondered, but the overwhelming faith confirmed that what God had spoken was true.

Leaving the conference, I was amazed by God's tangible deliverance, unique faithfulness, and redeeming love. Although I deserved judgement, He exchanged desperation for grace and imperfection for mercy.

One month after the conference, I fell back into the sin, but this time it was different. Before the breakthrough encounter, I had felt that the sin controlled me as if I was a slave to it, but afterwards, I voluntarily chose to fall back into it. I then realized that I was no longer bound but still needed God's help to fully walk away from the chains He had freed me from.

Year of Victory

God's Unstoppable Power

Towards the end of 2019, I started praying for another word that would represent 2020. The experience I had encountered through God's amazing power with breakthrough awakened a new level of faith and I desired to see His awesomeness again in 2020.

By mid-December God revealed that the word for 2020 was Victory, which confirmed that He was going to help me fully walk away from the sin.

But oh the battle I would face throughout the year.

Just when you want to walk away from something, temptation strikes, and my ignorant mind did not expect the level of temptation I was about to face.

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Day after day temptation grew and so my desire to partake in the dreadful sin. Although God had rescued me from the chains, it seemed I was clinging to them more than I ever had. Why after so many years of slavery was it at its peak of seduction?

 

Despite falling back into the sin worse than I ever had, I started to sense Holy Spirit's warnings about when temptation would come. The alerts would sound during the day, when temptation was at its lowest, blaring in the form of a slight nudge that rang, "You're going to get tempted tonight." But with pride and independence still wedged in my heart, I would always respond with denial, assuring Him that if temptation reared its nasty head, I could tame it.

And every time I was regrettably wrong. The truth is our flesh gravitates to sin, so unless we partner with the One who has defeated sin, we cannot overcome it.

But God didn't stop ringing the bell of freedom. He saw that I hated the sin, saw that it was destroying my life, spiritual growth, and prosperity. And He never once threw in the towel, but continued to pursue my foolish heart despite its pride and selfishness.

Him sounding the trumpet of warning was His gracious love declaring that the enemy's strategies are nothing compared to His awesome power. Although temptation may arise, He has a plan to succeed and win the war.

This is when I started to learn the power in declaring Scripture over yourself, people, and situations. For God's Word is "alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).

Although I believed in the Lord and desired to do His Will, the truth was I had A LOT of selfishness and pride hidden in my heart, and God's Word needed to judge and correct the arrogance that reign in me. For sin is a result of our own selfish desire (James 1:15), and although the enemy can use demonic forces to tempt us, we are responsible for submitting to them. Isn't that what Eve did in the Garden of Eden? Driven by her own wisdom, she perceived the delightfulness of the fruit to be better than the pleasure of her Lord. And that's exactly what I was doing with this sin.

I was choosing to depend on its pleasure to fulfill me than the presence of the Almighty God.

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But if I am "in Christ, than I am a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). And if I "walk by the Spirit, then I will not gratify the desires of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16-18). So then I realized that God wanted me to turn from walk down the path of the flesh and start walking down the path of the Spirit.

This meant that when temptation arose, I no longer depended on my strength, but pulled the Sword out, which is the Word of God and rebuked the temptation with scripture:

- I will set my mind on things above. (Colossians 3:2)

- Jesus is Lord over my life, not my addiction.

- I will submit myself to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from me. (James 4:7)

- Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit; therefore, I will walk in it. (Galatians 5:22)

By August 2020, God confirmed Victory through my best friend who mentioned an addiction tracking app called Victory, which helps people who struggle with pornography. Although this was not my sin, I stilled used the app to track my progress. 

My conclusion with this story is to not battle your sins or struggles alone. God sent His Son and Holy Spirit to help you now and for eternity. Leaning In is a testimony and guide to help you overcome your greatest struggles. You'll walk through the same lessons Holy Spirit taught me throughout the two years of overcoming this sin, and learn how to declare and pray God's Word over your situation.

Thank you for reading this story and I pray you overcome with Christ just as I did.

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