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Nancy Gavilanes

Nancy Gavilanes

Nancy Gavilanes is an author, speaker, podcaster, Bible school instructor, and life coach who delights in encouraging and empowering people as they walk by faith, hope, and love and dare to live their God- given dreams. Nancy has a master’s degree in journalism from New York University and has written for various publications including The New York Times. Nancy was thrilled to win Our Daily Bread’s Online Writing Contest for Readers in 2014. She is now a contributing writer for Our Daily Bread’s VOICES Collection and Discovery Series. Nancy has authored five books (available on Amazon) and is working on her first book for the NavPress/Tyndale Alliance. Connect with Nancy by signing up for her newsletter, visiting AboundingFaith.com, or on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Check out Abounding Faith’s YouTube channel and the Abounding Faith for Today podcast (available wherever you listen to podcasts).

Articles by Nancy Gavilanes

Cleansed by Christ

My first short-term missions trip was to the Amazon jungle in Brazil to help build a church by the river. One afternoon, we visited one of the few homes in the area that had a water filter. When our host poured murky well water into the top of the contraption, within minutes all the impurities were removed and clean, clear drinking water appeared. Right there in the man’s living room, I saw a reflection of what it means to be cleansed by Christ.

When we first come to Jesus with our guilt and shame and ask Him to forgive us and we receive Him as our Savior, He cleanses us from our sins and makes us new. We’re purified just like the murky water was transformed into clean drinking water. What a joy it is to know we are in right standing with God because of Jesus’ sacrifice (1 Peter 1:18-19) and to know God removes our sins as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).

But the apostle John reminds us that this doesn’t mean we’ll never sin again. When we do sin, we might be assured by the image of a water filter and be comforted as “we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Let’s live confidently knowing that we’re continually being cleansed by Christ.

Impromptu Praise

During a short-term missions trip to Ethiopia, our team accompanied another team from a local ministry on an outreach to a group of young men who'd hit hard times and were living in shacks in a literal junkyard. They were such a delight to meet! We shared testimonies, encouraging words, and prayers together. One of my favorite moments that evening was when a local team member played his guitar and we got to worship with our new friends under the radiant moon. What a sacred moment! Despite their desperate situation, these men had hope and joy that can only be found in Jesus.

In Acts 16, we read about another impromptu praise time. This one broke out in a Philippian jail. Paul and Silas had been arrested, beaten, flogged, and imprisoned while serving Jesus. Instead of giving in to despair, they worshiped God through prayer and singing in their jail cell. “Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose” (vv. 25-26).

When the jailer realized the prisoners hadn’t escaped, he was in awe of God, and salvation came to his family (vv. 27-34).

God delights in hearing us praise Him. Let’s worship God during the highs and lows of life.

Leaving a Spiritual Legacy

As teens, my sister and I didn’t understand my mom’s decision to receive Jesus as her Savior, but we couldn’t deny the changes we saw in her. She had more peace and joy and began faithfully serving at church. She had such a hunger for studying the Bible that she attended and graduated from seminary. A few years after my mom’s decision, my sister accepted Christ and started serving Him. And a few years after that, I also placed my trust in Jesus and started serving Him. Many years later, my late father joined us in believing in Him as well. My mom’s decision for Christ created a ripple effect among our immediate and extended family.

Moms and grandmoms, your decisions can affect generations.

When the apostle Paul wrote his final letter to Timothy and encouraged him to persevere in his faith in Jesus, he noted Timothy’s spiritual heritage. “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5).

How beautiful that Timothy’s mom and grandmom helped nurture his faith so he could become the man God was calling him to be. 

On this Mother’s Day and beyond, let’s honor mothers who’ve made a decision to follow Jesus.

Let’s also leave a spiritual legacy for our loved ones.