“Some Great Thing”

During my 3+ years of campus ministry at both Cerritos College and Antelope Valley College, I’ve come across a common response that has often broken my heart. 

“Do I really have to follow what the Bible says?”

Growing up, I never could’ve imagined that people could think they were following God while completely disregarding his commands. However, this is the state of most people who call themselves christians. If I’d actually counted all the women I’ve studied the Bible with, I’m sure it would be in the hundreds, but I can name every one of the few that actually followed through with obeying Gods call in their life. 

Even inside of a group of people who are following God, it’s so easy to find myself and others not wanting to do the simplest things. Even if you’re reading this post, I’m sure at some point this week you struggled to wake up early enough to have time with God that morning, or brushed it off completely. Yet, I’m sure many of the people in the world who wouldn’t pick up a bible, read and follow it would tell you that they’d die for their faith. 

My only question is; why?

Why is it so much easier to die for something than to live for it?
This evening I found myself reading 2 Kings. One of my favorite passages highlights this very question. 

During the time of the prophet Elisha and the king of Israel Joram, an army commander for the king ofAram was stricken with leprosy. Despite this terrible disease, he had many great victories. 2 Kings 5 highlights his story, as he finds out about a prophet in Samaria that could heal his leprosy. However, when he comes to Elisha, he is less than pleased with the direction he’s given. 

2 Kings 5:10-14 “Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage. Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.”

Following the response of many, Naaman, the commander was appalled by the prophet’s simple instructions. He had hoped for an immediate, flashy miracle, but that is not what God gave him. (There is so much incredible symbolism in Elisha’s command – but I will save that for another day) He wanted something easy, dramatic and on his terms. 

However, the voice of reason in this passage comes from his servants; “If the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it?”  


How many times do we neglect to follow the simplest instructions in the Bible, yet claim that we would give up our lives for the gospel. My dear friend, giving up your life is most useful and honorable while you are still alive. 

As Naaman’s servant said; “How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!”

So I leave you with the same reflection I hold in my own hearts. What simple commands of God are you not following because you don’t think they’re great enough for you, or you’re embarrassed because you don’t want other people to know you haven’t been following them?

Think about it, and then change it. If you need any help with this, I’d be more than happy to talk about it further or direct you to someone who is in your area. 

James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

To God be the glory,

Tori Lynn Cortez


Our 48 Days of Engagement

I must apologize for not updating you before the wedding, but if I’ve ever called my life a roller coaster (And I have, many times…) this past month it has been intensified more than ever, although in a very good way. Planning a wedding in 48 days is perhaps the most insane thing I’ve ever done, but I don’t regret it in the least.

I worked really hard on our wedding website and if you didn’t get to check it out, there are several great stories and pictures of Johnny and I together throughout our dating life and engagement. For example:

 Our story has morphed into so many things over the past couple of years. From a love at first sight story to a “I don’t think she’s into me”, it has been a mystery how we ended up right here.

Although we weren’t engaged for very long, we did our best to enjoy every moment and for me, it made the entire thing much more special. However, planning a wedding in less than two months is NOT for the faint of heart, it’s not for everyone and I don’t recommend it unless both you and your future spouse are completely 200% on board and are okay with tons of last minute changes.

We absolutely couldn’t have pulled off this feat without the help of our dear friends and family and I am grateful for each one of them. Above all, for God getting us this far. There is no way we could have the wonderful marriage that we do without His grace and direction in our lives.

“Funny how sometimes, you just find things.” -Tracy McConnel (HIMYM)

Since as long as I can remember, I wanted to be married before I turned 22. However, I never could have imagined the brilliant love story that God had in mind for me. Just before Thanksgiving of 2016, my (at the time) boyfriend and I were on a red-eye flight from LAX to RDU to spend a holiday with my family. As we posed for our traditional airport family photo, Johnny surprised me with a question that would forever change my life – fully supported by my entire family.


I remember waking up from a nap shortly after (trying to get back in the right time zone) and just staring at my hand in shock. I was engaged to my best friend!

From that moment on, everything seems like a blur. From the hundreds of best wishes and congratulations on social media, to starting watching Gilmore Girls with my family, each moment of those 48 days was so precious.


Our engagement was a strange time for me, but I learned a great deal about trusting God in the details of life and that great communication makes everything easier.


Some details came easier; Anthony officiating the wedding, our wedding party, and color scheme. Others were more challenging; getting our families on board with the date, our budget and getting my family to California. However, The Knot wedding checklist saved so many details for me that I would have easily overlooked. (Thank God for technology, amen.) In all the details, the pre-martial counseling and financial strains, Johnny and I fought to preserve our relationship with God and friendship with each other, and that’s what has brought us here today.

Almost two months after our wedding day, I’m still not entirely sure what happened to our arch, a lot of our wedding footage was lost, and we’re on a new adventure of finding more stable full-time jobs, we’ve finally finished Gilmore Girls, we still haven’t gotten a copy of our marriage certificate back, and we’re happily learning what it means to be married and live together. The little slip-ups at the wedding don’t really matter anymore, I still have about 100 programs because we accidentally printed way too many and we’re just now hanging up pictures in our place together.

To me, 48 days was plenty of time to plan a wedding, but a marriage is something we’ll be working on for the rest of our lives.

If I had any advice for the future brides out there, I would say this;

  • Don’t forget to be friends. There’s a lot of planning to do, but your friendship has to come first.
  • Check details and keep checking them – especially to people you don’t know. (3 people looked over our original programs and no one spotted that it said “Wedding date” instead of the actual date of our wedding until they were printed.
  • GET A COPY OF YOUR MARRIAGE LICENSE BEFORE TURNING IT IN – No one told us this, but probably because everyone assumed we’d know that. We didn’t. It’s supposed to only take about 45 days, but in the words of Ted Mosby, I’d do anything to get those extra 45 days. I honestly have no idea which name to put on job applications anymore.
  • Get advice and help from tons of people.
  • At the end of the day, make your decisions and enjoy your special day, but more importantly the rest of your lives!

In all gratitude,
Tori Lynn Cortez

Day 365

That’s right! It’s been an entire year since I moved to Antelope Valley. I couldn’t have begun to imagine what this adventure would hold for me. A year ago with tears in my eyes, I said goodbye to the wonderful Long Beach I had grown so fond of over the two years I lived there. As I drove up into the mountains and past the fault lines, I dreamed of a glorious year full of new challenges and victories.

My sunshine and rainbows were quickly shaken by a car accident on the 9th of January last year, leading to a whole string of trials I never would have imagined facing. Dealing with my own sin has been no walk in the park either. Let me tell you something, when you start a year with the ambition to understand what God’s grace really means, you’re asking for a lot.

Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

In the midst of what I believe has been one of the craziest years of my life, God brought me a lot of joy in 2016 – joy that I could not have deserved and far beyond what I could have imagined. Over Thanksgiving, my best friend, the love of my life, the man God has been so gracious as to even put in my life asked me to marry him. Talk about immeasurably more.

So here I am, sitting in the very room that I stumbled into a year ago with what little fit into the back of my RAV4, writing out seat assignments for my wedding next week and starting the process of moving out of my last sisters household. I will be sure to share more of the details as to how I got this far later on, but if there’s anything I learned from 2016, it would be that God’s grace is something far beyond what I could ever study or learn about. God’s grace is that I’m here, that no matter how many times I’ve completely blown it this year, He has provided at every turn. From brining the man of my dreams into my life to helping me fix the Wi-Fi, God has answered innumerable prayers this year. Sure, it’s easy to sit around and think about the ones that weren’t answered, the people that turned their backs on God and me, the dreams that weren’t quite there yet this year, but why should I do that? Of what honor is it to God to pine after the things that didn’t happen this year? It would be like a teenager getting mad at their parents for buying them a car but not an iPhone.

Although I didn’t start out 2016 wanting an auto-immune disease to slowly deteriorate my body, to watch Alzheimer’s to deteriorate my grandmother, or to total the first car I’ve had in years, I’ve let God down more than I can even imagine, and He’s been so good to me. I could sit and think about the days worth of hours I poured out into various women’s lives, only to see them decide to keep their backs turned on God, or I could rejoice in the wonderful women God has brought into our ministry.

All I can suggest is that when you look back at your past, whether 2016 or all the way back to your childhood, remember that regrets aren’t going to help you grow.

Proverbs 24:16 for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.

(For one more week)

-Tori Lynn Wallace

And to God forever be the glory.

Advice is NOT “Just Advice”

Let me begin this by saying something;



“How beautiful are the feet…” (Taken during one of the Campus Bible Studies this week)


In my sinful nature, I hate the concept of advice. It makes me feel uncomfortable and inadequate to make my own decisions. My struggle with pride often comes in the form of insecurities such as;

If I ask advice about this, she’ll think I’m stupid for not knowing the answer on my own.

And so forth. However, I can also struggle with the pride of thinking that I don’t need advice and not wanting to hear it when I don’t ask for it. I’ve heard a phrase amongst disciples that really inflated this way of thinking in me, but we’ve got to put it to death.

“Advise is just advice. You don’t have to take it.”

While yes, this is true in some circumstances, it is a dangerous way to move forward in your walk with God. Let me show you why. There was once this King in Judah named Amaziah. He was known as a king that “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not wholeheartedly.” Ouch. Anyway, he did some pretty incredible things, even to the point of letting go of a hundred thousand fighting men from Israel because he was told that they didn’t honor God. That takes a huge amount of faith. Yet, he had a huge downfall of worshipping idols later on.

2 Chronicles 25:16 While he was still speaking, the king said to him, “Have we appointed you an adviser to the king? Stop! Why be struck down?”

So the prophet stopped but said, “I know that God has determined to destroy you, because you have done this and have not listened to my counsel.”

Wow. This is a super convicting passage. No matter how many times I read it, it carries the same weight in my life. Godly advice is super important, and I must say that I’m incredibly grateful for Shauna Inkley being in my life to help advise me in a godly way. I’m still learning how to take and seek advice myself, but the Bible is pretty clear about how important advice is.

Another area of advice we can struggle in is when we don’t hear the advice that we want. Well, for that we would have to go back to 1 Kings. Check this out;

1 Kings 12:6-11  Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. “How would you advise me to answer these people?” he asked.

They replied, “If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.”

But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. He asked them, “What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, ‘Lighten the yoke your father put on us’?”

The young men who had grown up with him replied, “These people have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter.’ Now tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.’”

Because of his failure to listen to wise advice, a split was caused in Israel, his chief of labor was stoned by the people, and Israel was no longer loyal to him. This is the danger of seeking out ONLY the advice we want to hear. Sure, it can be hard to take the advice that you don’t like, but if you value your walk with God, your ministry, and your relationships, you should also value the godly advice that you’re given!

Proverbs 12:15 The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have a hard time asking for and taking advice but I’m fighting to train myself to not only take it but to desire it as well. This is the way that God has given us to grow, and I am so grateful for the godly council in my life.

Proverbs 15:31-33 Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise. Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding. Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor.

To better explain this conviction I’m building, I’ll share with you some of my experience in the ministry. When Johnny and I were first asked to come to Antelope Valley, I was ecstatic. The first few months, God did incredible things and we saw three amazing women get baptized. However, by the end of spring, our growth came to a halt. I prayed and begged God for the harvest, we worked hard and almost 10 different women got incredibly close to the waters of baptism before practically vanishing. It was devastating to me and I lost a lot of faith that God was really working through me. I began suffering from a chronic auto-immune disease that was practically disabling throughout the summer. To be honest, I thought that I was taking all of the advice that I could, but it wasn’t until the past couple weeks that I realized I haven’t been seeking it out that much. I am grateful for Shauna’s gentle correction in many areas of my life and ministry and I am very hopeful that we will have an incredible baptism by this weekend, and that our ministry will continue to grow and flourish from here forward!

Proverbs 19:20 Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.

At the end of the day, God has provided many ways for us to grow in our daily walk with him and one of those is the godly advice of the men and women in our lives! I hope this spurs you on and encourages you as this study has helped me a great deal.

To God be all the glory,
Tori Lynn

P.S. Check out our new campus vlog; Unschooled and Ordinary Women!

The Steps It Takes

Greetings! I must apologize to anyone who frequents this page, I have been rather inactive lately and I hope to put that to an end with this post. To be honest, my struggle with Rheumatoid Arthritis has been debilitating in many personal areas of my life and writing is one of the largest ones that has suffered. Thankfully, the swelling in my fingers is currently down enormously and I hope that it stays that way for a while.

2 Peter 1:10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble,

I truly hope to live out this scripture over the remainder of the year and my life. To be completely honest, I have failed in many ways, most especially in the last couple of weeks. I have been negligent of my health and too prideful to speak up about it, to the point that my knees had swollen three times their normal size last week, keeping me from being able to perform daily activities. While I’m on the medical path of finding a solution, I’m hoping to pair some natural remedies with my routine.

Sadly, for me, that means the dreaded dieting.

I have avoided diets like the plague my entire life. I love to eat and I love to eat  whatever I want to eat when I want to eat it. I haven’t been big on sugar in a long time, but I love meat and dairy. The moment I googled “Anti-Inflammatory Diet” is a moment that I have come to regret many times the past two weeks. The gist is that I can’t eat sugars, dairy, red meat, “Nightshade Vegetables” (Potatoes, peppers, etc), or grains. My absolute favorite foods include all of these things I’m supposed to stay away from, so cooking has been a nightmare. I have eaten more raw vegetables and salmon than I ever want to see again in my life. However, the swelling has gone down significantly as well as my pain levels. I can’t say for sure how much is the diet and how much is the new medicine I just added last week, but I certainly hope it’s helping.

This week, I’m adding chicken, shrimp, chickpeas and cooked vegetables to my diet in hopes that it will be more bearable once I get the hang of things. Please pray for me as I continue this journey, and if you’ve ever done an anti-inflammatory diet, I would LOVE any input that I can get! (I just attempted my first run at shrimp curry and it tastes AMAZING, but this is still one of the only dishes I’ve learned)


In any case, I’m taking the steps that it takes to get better and I hope to help others along the way!

To God be the glory,
Tori Lynn.

Weak Knees and Feeble Arms

Hebrews 12:12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.

With my incredible boyfriend who has helped and encouraged me to “stand firm” in many ways at the GLC banquet this year!

This year has been an incredible adventure so far, but something almost caught me short. This past May I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis; an auto-immune disease that attacks the joints of the body. As someone who has always enjoyed physical activity, this has been a very humbling time. My first couple of weeks with the symptoms consisted of many tearful prayers, being unable to do simple tasks such as opening a door or a water bottle, and severe pain every time I tried to walk. After the official diagnosis, I was able to start some medication that helped ease the pain a little, but the fatigue caused by the medicine became discouraging. Since May, I’ve pushed through things that I used to enjoy thoroughly, I’ve found my discomfort at the front of my mind and anxiety about the medicine’s side effects multiplying. As someone who only took Children’s Advil until recently, this has been very humbling. I have to often fight my pride to ask for help standing up many times a day, I’ve learned the value of rest between activities and I’m just starting to alter my diet to increase my health.

This passage in Hebrews has been my theme scripture for dealing with my various physical challenges. The author had just finished speaking about how all hardship is discipline and how it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. And then he says to strengthen our feeble arms and weak knees. I’ve always seen this passage as an encouragement to overlook our shortcomings, but it has grown to have a much deeper meaning for me. In my sin, I could wallow around in discouragement about how painful everything is, or I could take the necessary steps towards managing my pain and trust God. For me, strengthening my feeble hands and weak knees often means being willing to ask for help. I am so grateful for my ministry and especially my boyfriend Johnny for being super considerate of me this whole time. I’ve had to learn how to share my faith powerfully at high-energy times and take breaks when I need them (which gives me a great time to do follow-ups!)

Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.

Hearing the stories of powerful women like April Baker, who is co-leading the mission team to Dubai, UAE with her husband has inspired me. Despite her heart issues, God has brought her to an incredible place. In times like this, it is so clear that my strength does not come from me, but from God. I have to learn the same kind of faith, to take the necessary steps to build more energy, trust God through this challenge, and remember that I’m nowhere near alone in fighting against my health for God’s Kingdom.

1 Peter 5:9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

Having people around me to pray with me and encourage me through this have helped me see God’s incredible grace even more in my life. I don’t deserve to be where I am. I don’t deserve this Kingdom, this ministry, this family. I don’t deserve God’s love and I don’t deserve how he uses my weaknesses to show me his strength.

2 Corinthians 12:10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Regardless of how weak I feel at times, God has certainly used this challenge to show me his strength and I am amazed.

To God be the glory,
Tori Lynn.


Kings of Israel II: Unsatisfied (David)

There is much good to say about David; his walk with God was unbelievable, unlike Saul he always sought out God’s advise for wars and even the most simple of decisions, the psalms are full of his prayers and praise to God, and yet one time he did not seek God’s advice and it cost him dearly.

2 Samuel 11:1 In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.

The first thing I notice in this devastating account is that David stayed home during wartime. If you study out 1 Samuel and the beginning of 2 Samuel, one of the reasons David won his peoples’ favor is BECAUSE he led Israel in their campaigns. However, in a lapse of judgement, he decided to stay home this time. Not going out would cost him more than he imagined.

In my own life, I have to let this sink in. The times we’re more susceptible to sin are most especially those times in which we’re already not doing something that we should be doing. Those “lazy days” off can be exactly what drags you into darker sin than you can imagine.

Proverbs 18:9 One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.

Honestly, this is something to consider when you don’t feel like doing the work you’ve been called to do. If David had just gone to war with his people, the rest of this post wouldn’t exist. However, worse things unfolded than laziness.

2 Samuel 11:2-5 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”

In his lustful and lazy desires, David saw a woman bathing and we see that even the man after God’s own heart falls into deep sin by sleeping with another man’s wife. David, knowing the depths of God’s forgiveness easily could have repented at this point, faced Uriah and begged for his and God’s mercy. Instead, he went to great lengths to cover up his sin by trying to bring Uriah home from war. He hoped that Uriah would sleep with his life and then think that the child was his, but Uriah on his honor would not go inside his house when the Lord’s men were still at war. Once his original plan failed, David came up with an even greater sin to cover the first.

2 Samuel 11:14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. In it he wrote, “Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.”

It has always hurt my heart and amazed me to see that such a man of God would allow his sins to run as deep as murder. However, this is a heart check for all of us. One sin always leads to another if not confessed. Laziness led to lust, lust led to adultery and adultery led to murder. It’s so easy for one “little sin” to multiply and destroy our lives. But something else caught my eye in this story. Long before his sin of laziness, something else must have entered David’s heart to allow such temptation to get in there.
In 1 Samuel 25, you find the story of David, Nabal and Abigail. Nabal refused to help David and his army, almost causing David to avenge himself by killing Nabal’s whole household. God worked through Abigail to spare David from bloodshed and she brought them the provisions they needed. Later on, God carried out his own wrath against Nabal;

1 Samuel 25:38-39 About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal and he died. When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Praise be to the Lord, who has upheld my cause against Nabal for treating me with contempt. He has kept his servant from doing wrong and has brought Nabal’s wrongdoing down on his own head.” Then David sent word to Abigail, asking her to become his wife.

The heart of David’s sin with Bathsheba is that he tried to push God’s hand, and when that didn’t work, he played God. One of his wives was given to him because God struck down her evil husband. However, this was not the case with Uriah, and David was determined to get what he wanted. Since David couldn’t see God killing Uriah, he did it himself.

This blew my mind when I figured it out. How many times do we see God do things a certain way and try to force it to happen again? God can work through circumstances, but circumstances don’t guarantee that you’re getting what you want.

The rest of the story is just as incredible as the the beginning. In 2 Samuel 12, we see the prophet Nathan rebuking David for his sin and exposing the very heart of it; David was unsatisfied and sought to please himself instead of asking God.

2 Samuel 12:8-10 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’

It amazes me how God said “If all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.” He wasn’t trying to limit David in the first place, but David took things into his own hands instead of coming to God about how he felt unsatisfied. As the rest of the chapter reveals: David and Bathsheba’s first child dies shortly after being born, you can read David’s lament over his sin in Psalm 51, Bathsheba bore another son; Solomon, who would build the temple and be the wisest man to ever live. However, the sword never left David’s house. David’s son Amnon raped his own sister and was later murdered by his brother Absolom who went on to form a conspiracy against his own father, David. Absolom was later killed by one of David’s men.

This is one of the most challenging pieces of David’s story to me, but it has always helped my heart when I struggle with sin. No matter how enticing it may seem (yes, even laziness), the consequences are never worth it. David’s repentance was true and we can all hope to have the same heart when we realize the sin we’ve brought on ourselves:

Psalm 51:9-10 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

When you are feeling unsatisfied, I hope that this serves as a reminder that taking things into our own hands is not the way to get what we want. Instead, stay open and go to God immediately.

To God be the Glory,
Tori Lynn