Follow the Ultimate Road Map

God knows the best escape routes

By Brenda Barrino

The Bible is our blueprint or road map to every situation that we encounter during our time spent here on earth. We must remember that this world is not our home and that we are living to live again. Our goal is to make heaven our final destination. That my friend, is a big deal and a lot to look forward to.

Also, let’s remember that the devil started out in heaven. So he knows how beautiful and peaceful it is—he also knows that his final destination is hell. And he wants to take as many souls as he can with him. That’s why he fights us so hard and throws so many temptations and stumbling blocks in our way. In a nutshell, he doesn’t want us to make it to that wonderful place he once knew.

So, what do we do when he tries to stop us from living our life for Christ? We fight him back with the Word of God. Remember, the Bible has everything we need! We just have to pick it up and read it and get it in our spirit.

As I was reading one morning, I was reminded of one particular verse that gave me a sense of victory and courage to counteract any temptation or setup from the enemy. It was 1 Corinthians 10:13, “There hath no temptation taken you, but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Wow!

So basically, we already have an upper hand over the devil. Because no matter what he tries to tempt us with, God will ALWAYS provide a way of escape.

In addition, we know that God doesn’t tempt us to sin. He may allow the devil to try our faith, but He doesn’t tempt us with sin. We sin because we want to. We sin when we are drawn away by our own lust.

In James 1:13-14, the writer explains how our lust for sin causes us to sin. However, that doesn’t negate the fact that temptation does come. Even when we aren’t necessarily lusting after sin. In other words, you can have a will and desire to serve God wholeheartedly, but temptation will still arise, because that’s the devil’s job.

Yet, I want you to know that you can overcome any temptation or desire to do anything by using the blueprint. That’s right, by using God’s Word! You can speak His Word. Right in the midst of the situation, use the Word!

Ask Him to provide that way of escape that He promised you. And guess what? You might not be able to quote the scriptures out loud verbally, but say them in your spirit. Pray from your spirit. Repeat that one scripture until He moves. He is not a man that can lie, so trust Him. When I say He will show up and show out! I’m a living witness!

As always, let’s lose ourselves so that we may be found in Him and ready when He comes!

Brenda Barrino is a contributing writer for Inside Out with Courtnaye. She is a Christian writer and inspirational blogger who has a passion for encouraging others in her generation through the word of God. Brenda has been in the education system for the past five years, which adds to her knack for teaching and leading young women. She is now a school counselor who enjoys traveling, writing, and helping others.


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Keep Adding to Your Faith

Living life in the more

By Brenda Barrino

Have you ever said to yourself, “There has to be more to it than this?” Or have you ever felt spiritually stagnant and wondered what more could you do or add to your growth?  Add to your character? I know that I have, and I’m so glad God gave me a step by step plan to follow. In fact, He provided us all with the perfect formula to continue to grow in all areas of our lives.

Once we accept Jesus Christ as our personal savior, we have to continue to put in effort if we want to grow and mature as Christians. No doubt, sometimes we feel dry, stagnant and weary during this journey. That’s normal—we’re human. Yet, Hebrews 10:36 encourages us, “But you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.”

It doesn’t matter how weak you may get or how strong you start out; the key is to ENDURE - keep going. It’s a process, friend. And you have to move in God’s timing, not your own. Personally, when I’ve gotten down on myself because maybe I got an attitude or complained about my job, I had to go back to God’s Word and remind myself of what 2 Peter 2:5-8 states.

These verses encourage us to keeping adding to our faith (see 2 Peter 1:5-7). For instance, starting with faith, add virtue/moral excellence, add knowledge, add self-control, add patient endurance, add godliness, add brotherly kindness, and lastly add love for everyone. Verse 8 says, “For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

It’s very important to pause in the middle of life’s tough situations and apply the Word. Sometimes you can get so frustrated, that your flesh tries to rise up and attack the situation. At night, I often catch myself laying in bed thinking about the kind of fruit I produced on my job. I ask myself these self-reflective questions: Did others come in contact with me and see Jesus or did they see something else? Did they see my patience or did they hear me complaining?

Every day I challenge myself to get better and better with my patience, especially when it comes to my job. So, I go back to that formula and I always start with faith, because without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). If we don’t have faith, then the whole idea is pointless. Once my mind is set and my faith is activated, I walk myself through those Scriptures, say a little prayer, and try to apply those attributes as I handle the situation.

Now, do I always get it right? No. That’s why verse 2 Peter 5:10 encourages us to give diligence and work hard to make your calling and election sure. You have to work hard at it—at anything you want in life. Thank God that He’s there to help us and push us to endure. Keep reading, praying and fasting—it’ll come. As always, let’s lose ourselves so that we may be found in Him and ready when He comes!

Brenda Barrino is a contributing writer for Inside Out with Courtnaye. She is a Christian writer and inspirational blogger who has a passion for encouraging others in her generation through the word of God. Brenda has been in the education system for the past five years, which adds to her knack for teaching and leading young women. She is now a school counselor who enjoys traveling, writing, and helping others.


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The Importance of Mentorship

Who’s holding you accountable?

By Ricco Watley

Accountability - we all need it. No matter how long or short you have been on this journey of becoming a better Christian woman, every one of us needs someone to keep an eye on us. Support and fellowship is a key factor in maintaining this walk. Change and growth is inevitable which also sets us apart from the world. No doubt, this narrow path we walk, can sometimes get lonely. Sometimes, we even feel isolated (see Matt 7:13-14). That’s why we need like-minded women in our corner to encourage and uplift us as Titus 2:3-5 states.

We all need someone to confide in that’s trustworthy, relatable, and to walk alongside us through the good and bad times. These are people who will be there to celebrate with us or be there to war with us. Personally, my mentor is a wonderful woman of God. We may not see each other often or talk daily, but her encouraging text messages and unexpected phone calls are always right on time.

She is aware of my goals and aspirations, and she encourages me while at the same time holding me responsible for continued progress. On the other hand, she is also quick to reprimand and point out, in a good way, when my speech is not favorable towards myself. She puts in check my inner me which oftentimes is my own worst enemy. But in reality, it’s just the enemy trying to get to me. And that is why we need other women of Christ in our lives to be able to call out, rebuke, and pray things off of us that we may not see ourselves as detrimental.

Who here knows that we don’t always see what could be an attack from the enemy, especially when it comes out of our own mouths? Amen to that!!!

God had me at the right place and at the right time when my mentor came into my life. It started with prayer. Actually, many years of prayer of asking God for a mentor (with no answer). However, God’s timing was perfect!

And I'll be honest, no matter how much I thought I was ready for someone to come into my life and give me godly advice and counsel for me to receive it, I was not emotionally or mentally ready to handle her expertise and knowledge. Yet, it was so good for my spiritual growth, as a Christian woman. So I would say pray, have discernment, and be patient. To go a step further, perhaps you may be that mentor that another fellow sister in Christ is praying for.


Ricco Watley is a contributing writer for Inside Out with Coutrnaye. She is also a mom to one amazingly spectacular pre-teen boy. Ricco was born and raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, but now currently resides in "The Lone Star State of Texas." She enjoys loving on her family as much as she can, eating pizza, and writing. Her heart's desire is to live out the purpose that God has placed in her faithfully and exactly as He orchestrated it.


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Stand Up, Speak Out

Standing boldly and brightly for Christ in your generation

By Brenda Barrino

Let’s jump right in with this one! God has placed Matthew 10:32-33 on my heart to share with you: “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my father which is heaven.” Sometimes we deny making the right decisions, because it seems much easier to be silent and just go along with the crowd. We often think, “Well everyone else is doing it” and so we continue to do it as well, even though in the back of our minds, we hear a still small voice whispering, otherwise.

The truth of the matter is that God called us to be different. When we accepted Jesus as our personal savior, we became a peculiar people and a chosen people (1 Peter 2:9). We don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. A part of being saved is being different. We have to let the old things go and become a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Don’t let others make you feel bad because you’re changing or don’t want to do certain things anymore. Change proceeds growth. When we go with the flow even when we know it’s not right, or stay quiet when God tells us to speak out, then we are denying Him and walking in disobedience. Imagine Jesus denying you in front of His Father, because you denied Him in front of your friends? Yikes!

Jesus encourages us to be unafraid to take a stand for Him. Matthew 10:26-28 states, “Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” In other words, your friends have neither a heaven nor hell to place you in. Remember, we are striving to please God, not man.

If you’re battling with taking a stand or taking your salvation to the next level, I want to encourage you to read, pray and to ask God for His Holy Spirit. He will give you the boldness you need as Acts 4:31 states. And don’t’ worry - God’s got your back! He wants us all to make it into heaven someday. Yet, we have to take a stand for Him now.

When we take that stand for Him, in return Christ will take a stand for us. So be strong, be a leader, know who you are in Christ and who God has called you to be. Remember, you are the light of the world. And darling, with Christ on the inside, you can’t be hidden! So stand out, speak up, and shine bright! (Matthew 5:14)

As always, let us lose our lives so that we may be found in Him and ready when He comes!

Brenda Barrino is a contributing writer for Inside Out with Courtnaye. She is a Christian writer and inspirational blogger who has a passion for encouraging others in her generation through the word of God. Brenda has been in the education system for the past five years, which adds to her knack for teaching and leading young women. She is now a school counselor who enjoys traveling, writing, and helping others.


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Abandoned While Pregnant

How to Move On After the Breakup

By Taquila Coleman

Who would’ve ever thought telling him I was pregnant would turn my life upside down and send me straight into a depression? I remember it like it was yesterday. I recall calling him on the phone to tell him that I was pregnant - only to hear him ask me to have an abortion. Can you believe it - an abortion?

Yet, regardless to what he was asking me to do, I declined. I refused to go forward with it. Instead, I decided to keep my baby. To make a long story short, he left me with his unborn child. I felt so abandoned.

Today, there are so many stories like mine around the world…unfortunately. And even though I was abandoned while pregnant, the question lingered in my head, “Why do I still care for him?” It’s like, after everything he put me through, why did I find myself still loving and missing him (even though I tried so hard not to think about him)?

Have you ever experienced this before? Are you there now? Or do you know someone who may be going through this at this present time in her life? The other questions that may arise are…

  • How could he walk away so easily?
  • How could he turn out to be a deadbeat?
  • What will I tell my child about his/her father?

These are typical questions that come forth after being abandoned in this way. However, no matter where you are on this issue, I want you to know that God will never abandon you. Furthermore, I’d like to share with you three steps on how you can begin to move forward and onto a better life after you’ve been abandoned while pregnant. Are you ready?

Step 1: Establish a Support System

No single mother should go through life all alone. Yes, your baby’s father may have decided to leave and abandon you and his child, but that doesn’t mean that you have to go through this pregnancy by yourself. God is with you.

Personally, being pregnant and alone and raising three children on my own, I’ve found support in creating my own single mother’s support group. Actually, being around a group of individuals who understand your situation and are free of judgment; and who are there for you in your time of need is what will help you to keep going, as well. When I felt like giving up, it sure helped me. Some benefits of joining or creating your own single mother’s support group is an opportunity to connect with other single moms in similar situations, but also to make new friends and share in mental and emotional support. There can also be ways to help with childcare from other moms in the community.

Step 2: Give yourself closure and acceptance

Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (NIV) So if you were to look up the definition of peace, it would say freedom from disturbance. In other words, not having closure can cause your spirit to feel disturbed and unsettled. For instance, you may still have questions that you feel like you still need answers to, and that could bother you on the inside. That’s why you need to allow God to give you His supernatural peace as you seek closure.

Again, closure will happen when you have made peace with the situation, the breakup, the abandonment. It will help you to move forward. And as far as it depends on you, you have to do whatever it takes to get the closure so that you can move on. I also encourage you to take your questions and concerns to God. Believe that He has heard your heart cry and is behind the scenes working the situation out for you and your child.

Step 3: Forgive and Let Go

Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (NIV) The thing about forgiveness is that it is for you, not him. Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got. When you choose to forgive your baby’s father for leaving and abandoning you while pregnant, you’re actually making a conscious decision to release him - to no longer allow the hurt and pain to reside in your heart and mind. Forgiveness happens one day at a time and with one decision at a time. So let’s start the forgiveness process.

What I’d like you to do is on a sheet of paper, write down, “I forgive you” and insert his name. Allow the words to flow from your heart and onto that piece of paper. For example, say words such as, “I forgive you Steve, for asking me to abort our child. I forgive you for not being there when I needed you the most. I forgive you for turning your back and choosing to not be a part of your child’s life.”

After you have written your forgiveness letter, I suggest that you throw it away in the trash. Do not give or send him this letter. The purpose of writing your forgiveness letter is to help start the process of releasing and letting go of the hurt and pain and moving onto a better life.

In closing, moving on after a breakup is a journey within itself. Surround yourself with people who love and support you and who will walk with you in this season. If you are ready to accept closure, embrace acceptance, and invite peace into your life, try applying the verses and the 3 steps provided here. I’ve also written a book entitled, From Depression to Deliverance: How God Can Heal Your Heart in 30 Days. You can purchase it @ I pray that this article and book speaks and ministers to your heart, as you begin the healing process of moving forward after the breakup. Remember, you are not alone.

Taquila Coleman is a contributing writer for Inside Out with Courtnaye. She is also a motivational speaker, personal life coach, and author. She is on a mission to support women who need healing from the pain of divorce, abuse, and tragedy. For more information about her ministry and book, please visit her website @

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New Year, New Level for YOU

Taking Your Walk in Christ to New Heights in 2018

By Brenda Barrino

Each step that we take on our action plan should take us closer and closer to reaching our goal. For example, if your goal is to make all A’s this semester, then prioritizing your time to study has probably been designated in a schedule. Attending class, reading the required texts and completing assignments are also factors or steps that will help you achieve that goal. Each step puts you closer and closer to that A. You have to put in the work to get the A. You don’t just show up for the final exam and expect to get an A when you’ve been absent all semester with incomplete work.

Well—so in the natural, so in the spirit. With 2018 presenting new opportunities, it has also presented the opportunity to take our salvation and spiritual walk to a higher level! We are no longer freshmen. It is time to progress and we can’t pass the sophomore level with freshmen skills. Friend, we have to spend more time in God’s word this year. We have to pray more, fast more, and we have to let God take full control of our lives. Salvation is a process. Accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior was the FIRST step. You have to CONFESS with your mouth and BELIEVE in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins and was raised again from the dead (Romans 10:9-10).

For example, Step 1: salvation. We got that. Step 2: sanctification. Friend, this is the part where we set ourselves apart to be used by God. We have to remove ourselves from the things and actions that will hinder our growth. This step takes your belief to another level, which is why I say salvation is a process. Sanctification never ends. No worries, Jesus is there to help us. You do not have to shut yourself up in a room to get through sanctification; however, you do have to spend quality time in His word.

In John 17: 15-17 Jesus said: “I pray not that thou should take them out of the world, but that thou should keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” So sanctification happens through spending time in God’s word.

This year, try to make an effort to get up early before starting your day and renew your mind with His word as Romans 12:1-2 states. Our mindset and way of thinking will begin to change when we renew it with the word of God. This is only the beginning! Once the sanctification process begins, a new spiritual realm opens up for us.

I look forward to taking our salvation to higher heights and deeper depths this year! Stay tuned for more! As always, let’s LOSE ourselves so that we may be FOUND in Him and ready when He returns.

Brenda Barrino is a contributing writer for Inside Out with Courtnaye. She is a Christian writer and inspirational blogger who has a passion for encouraging others in her generation through the word of God. Brenda has been in the education system for the past five years, which adds to her knack for teaching and leading young women. She is now a school counselor who enjoys traveling, writing, and helping others.



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