Anger is our passionate response to a life circumstance, event, or condition. The feeling is usually undue and sinful, but can be positive and helpful. Anger is sinful and undue anytime ill-will or revenge is desired. This determination is based on the fruits of the Spirit indwelling the believer.
How do we navigate a culture that puts such an emphasis on having and raising children, if the calling God seems to be giving us is career oriented?
Small annoyances can cause bad habits, and before you know it, your marriage has taken serious damage as a result. Here are 7 bad habits to look out for.
How do we accomplish rest, when we still have kids running around, all with needs that still must be met? We make rest a priority! Here are a few ideas on how to prioritize a chance for you to recharge over those sweet summer months.
Healthy conflict clears up misunderstandings and helps address negative feelings in a positive way. Unfortunately, many go through life trying to avoid conflict, while others may create conflict. Neither response is healthy or beneficial in our relationships. Pray together, or send up a silent prayer, before you go through these seven steps to help you resolve conflicts biblically.
Stay strong in your faith in Christ. Know what you believe, why you believe it, and how to effectively present that truth to others in gentleness and respect.
How should a follower of Christ engage in the political discourse?
Job’s wise friends were silent for several days after his tragedy. But they were there with/for him. Don’t feel compelled to provide a spiritually deep statement.
Do you remember who taught you how to identify and navigate your feelings growing up? If you can’t remember who this person was, then you, like many adults, likely grew up during a time when expressing your feelings—especially hurt feelings—was seen as a sign of weakness. For those of us who came of age during this time, we know the frustration and relationship struggles that unresolved emotions can cause.
On the flip side of this parenting paradigm stand the young people who have been so shielded from disappointment that they can barely cope with criticism or even losing at a game. These types of parenting extremes do nothing to cultivate a significant aspect of our children’s wellbeing—namely, their emotional intelligence.
Simply put, emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and effectively manage emotions. Research shows that a child’s ability to manage his emotions is a significant indicator of that child’s future success and happiness. Experts have found that teaching our children to be emotionally intelligent can reap a bounty of rewards for our children, including:
Given the far-reaching benefits of improving our children’s emotional intelligence, here are five ways you can start nurturing your child’s emotional intelligence today.Photo Credit: Thinkstock©
God's love is the very best antidote to counterfeit guilt. When you’re soaking in God’s love, you can break up with false expectations or negative judgments on your behavior. Your eyes are too busy focusing on the beauty of Christ and His unchanging love for you.>/p>
When we choose to love the other person in moments where they least deserve it, and when we least feel like offering it, God smiles.
As believers, we can look to the return of Christ with great expectation and anticipation. But a sense of peace isn’t only a future promise. Jesus told his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you” (John 14:27). He didn’t say, “My peace I will give to you.” He’s promising peace here and now.
You want to set goals—sometimes you even do—but you’re not sure if your goals are the right ones and thus you never hit them. I’ve found three things to be true of people who overcome their fears and go on to accomplish God’s calling on their life.
Someone says, “You know, God will never give you more than you can handle.” And you wonder, can that be right?
In fact, stress has become a common and usual emotion for just about everyone.
As I’ve been on this journey of discovering how to lose control and find freedom in Christ, there are three things I have discovered.
A testimony is supposed to be something deeply personal. It's the story of how God came into our lives and rescued us.
Friendships can feel circumstantial. In college, you become friends with people who live on your hall freshmen year. If you are a parent, you might socialize with other parents at school functions because your children are in the same class, or schedule play dates with the neighborhood kids because they live nearby. It is challenging to stay in touch when a friend moves or a co-worker changes jobs. Undoubtedly proximity and life stage make some relationships more convenient than others.
It is important, however, to find and nurture relationships of depth, carefully selecting your own “tribe” of women who you can really lean on, relationships where you want to invest your time. These people will understand you, support you, and inspire you to be your best self. They can be found in a variety of places and may share your age and stage or not. Beauty and wisdom abounds in diverse tribe of women, each bringing their own perspective but also sharing common values.
So how do you assemble this tribe? Here are five practical steps to get you started:Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Brooke Cagle
In a previous article, I confessed that I’m a modern-day Pharisee.
In the time of Jesus, Pharisees were religious leaders who separated themselves from the culture of the day and focused on understanding and strictly observing the Law. While Pharisees were respected by most, they were self-righteous; valuing legalism over relationships.
Jesus called them “hypocrites” (Matthew 15:7), “blind guides” (Matthew 15:14), and “whitewashed tombs” (Matthew 23:27), and he said that tax collectors and prostitutes who repented and believed would go to heaven before the Pharisees (Matthew 21:28-32).
Photo Credit: ©
Even if you and Mom are not on the best of terms currently, that does not excuse you as one of your children’s primary spiritual and life leaders.
Admit it. It feels good to be all about us. Especially when everyone else is, too.
But when Jesus told His followers to deny themselves, pick up their crosses, and follow Him (
How do we follow the instructions in
Photo Credit: GettyImages/Hakase_
If your life looks a little too much like Psalm 31, there are at least five truths that can help move you toward a Proverbs 31 mentality.
Many couples believe that the fewer differences they have with their spouse the better their marriage will be. While that might be true with some marriages, it’s not necessarily a truism.
For most families, mornings are the busiest. Attempting to wrangle kids and get them out the door just might be one of the hardest jobs in the world. And we do it every day!
We’ve all heard it said. God is a God of peace. We’ve sang hymns about it or little praise songs. I’ve Got Peace Like a River, or maybe Like a River Glorious. We even know some verses that talk about peace. But somehow when we see those we love in the midst of pain, what we know doesn’t seem like enough at the time. We just want them to stop hurting. God gave me peace in my suffering, and hopefully, this article will show you how to find peace with God when your loved one suffers.
I have lost a lot of loved ones in my life. My mother, my father, and three of my siblings. I’ve also suffered a couple of miscarriages too. But I must confess one of the hardest losses of my life was that of our baby granddaughter, Livie. And I believe it was be-cause not only was I grieving for what I lost, but I was watching my loved ones suffer through it as well. God is the only one who got me through that dark, dark time. And I’d like to share how he did it. May it help someone else reading this.Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/RajEiamworakul
Each person’s experience of intimacy with God is unique. In my years of pursuing Him, there have been words of love released into my heart—dreams, visions, and revelations of His power, glory, and love.
You’ve got to figure out what is true and what is a lie.
Jesus told the disciples to follow him and he would make them fishers of men (Mark 1:17), and then he sent them out two by two to preach to people to repent, turn from their sinful ways, and put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. When we follow Jesus, we become part of his disciples, his body—his church. And in that church we learn about the gospel so that we can live it and share it with others, letting them know the good news about God and his redemptive plan for all peoples.
As disciples, we are called to grow and multiply; the good news is given to us like the talents were given to those servants in Jesus’s parable (Matt. 25:14–30). Consider: Every time you hear the Word of God preached in your local church you are given a coin, a talent, which God calls you to multiply according to your ability. We are responsible and accountable to God for what he has given us.
Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock
How do you think God sees you today?
If we could peel back the veil for a minute and actually see Him, how do you think God is looking at you right now?
Is He frowning? Smiling? Sighing with exasperation? Covering His eyes? Waving to you?
I accepted Christ when I was five years old. I knew God loved me and sent His Son to die for my sin and take me to heaven with Him someday. But somewhere along the way, whether through sermons or books or spiritual mentors, I picked up the idea that God is happiest when believers prove their love and loyalty to Him.
After all, He did so much to rescue us, shouldn’t we give back to Him— or at least try to show we were worth it? I never actually used those words. But that’s how I lived my life.
Photo Credit: GettyImages/boonchai-wedmakawand
Trust is the bedrock of marriage. But what do you do if trust has been damaged or completely obliterated? I found myself asking that same question 18 months ago in my counselor’s office. I knew I had forgiven my husband for breaking my trust but neither one of us knew how to rebuild it. I knew forgiveness is a choice and love is a commitment but what about the very thing I needed to stay in my marriage? What about trust?
Trust is a feeling of security and safety. It’s not a choice but the result of building a bridge under your partner’s feet through daily interactions, choices, funneled through Christ at the center of our marriage. It is like being blindfolded yet armed with the resolute knowledge your partner will lead you safely through an obstacle course.
Broken trust isn’t isolated to obvious trusting breaking situations like affairs. Like our marriage it can be broken in far more subtle ways: lack of empathy, not being dependable, dishonesty or erratic behavior.
Once trust has been damaged, it is not easily restored. Often, we found ourselves moving one step forward only to move three steps back. Yet, because we continued to focus on Christ at the center of our marriage on top of Biblical counseling and supportive friends, we were able to build a stronger foundation of trust.
Rebuilding trust is not impossible, but it requires commitment, humility, consistency and intentionality of the offending partner. However, it’s not just the offending partner who needs to rebuild trust. The wounded spouse also needs to become a willing partner in the process too. Here are 10 trusting building tools to get you started.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Teddy Kelley
Putting God first in our lives means different things to different people. Some may think it’s going to church every Sunday. Others may believe serving homeless people a meal every Saturday night is putting God first.
Many Christians think that they are putting God first by being a good person.
We are God’s children and He is a loving God who sent His son to die on the cross for our sins. Putting God first means accepting that He loves us unconditionally. Christians often have difficulty trusting God and seeking Him first in all things. We struggle to live a life of grace, place our hope in Him, and please Him.
Here are five questions with biblical answers to help us put God first in times of struggle.
Photo Credit: GettyImages/ChristianChan
Twitter makes cowards courageous. The anonymity of cyberspace makes the mean spirited downright evil.
Tithing can be murky waters for believers, especially when we're buried in debt. Is there just one biblical answer to the question?
Do you have the tendency to drift into using "thinking errors," regarding your spouse?
A woman’s relationship with her mother is one of the most complex yet sacred bonds she will ever have. It is complicated, rich, beautiful, and sometimes painful. Many women are conflicted: They love their mothers but don’t always enjoy them. Here are some common complaints of daughters:
“Mom tries to control my life.”
“I love her, but after we are together I often feel annoyed, frustrated, or hurt.”
“She treats me like I’m a child.”
“I never seem to be able to give her the time and attention she wants.”
What’s a daughter to do? Here are the top ten ways to improve your relationship with your mother:
Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock
Slowing down and stepping outside to connect with God and nature transformed my life. Here are five benefits of carving out time to spend in creation with the Creator:
We have an open invitation to face the tragedy, acknowledge the pain, and embrace the power of God’s healing.
“We’re all part of the same family. Whether times are easy or tough, we need to have ‘togetherness’ times."
I worry that Paul's sublime, God-breathed words in 1 Corinthians have been co-opted and corrupted by a wedding industry that celebrates romantic love, which is all about hormones, at the expense of Christian love, which is all about commitment.
If you are a grandparent intent on carrying out your role the way God designed it, no doubt you’ve come across Psalm 78.
From this one passage, writers and speakers craft messages to grandparents on generational vision and impact, the role of teaching and telling, and the consequences of failing to carry out that role.
This all sounds good, doesn’t it?
But I can get overwhelmed – by the sheer amount of great information shared from that passage and by what it looks like, in the everyday, to carry out this crucial role. Sometimes it is necessary for me to step back and examine one small piece at a time.
For example: “He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God…” Psalm 78:5-7a
This passage instructs me to tell. Tell what? The work of the Lord, His provision and faithfulness, His grace and glory, His power to transform. I am to tell my grandchildren who God is and what I’ve seen Him do in my life.
In other words, through my own experience I am to testify to God’s glory and greatness. Now, the practical side of me needs to know how. How do I carry out this biblical instruction? Consider these 7 doable ways to share your testimony with your grandchildren:
Photo Credit: ©Thinkstock/monkeybusinessimagess
Elizabeth Laing Thompson's "When God Says 'Go'" will give you practical steps to live out God's call for your life.
God invested great love into His efforts creating the Earth, and through the ages, He has cared deeply for all He has made on our planet. He sustains life, He transforms elements, He redeems creatures like us. And He has entrusted the vital job of managing His creation to humans. Taking good care of the Earth is essential for those who seek to be faithful to the Creator.
Jesus saw people, not as they were, but as what they might become. This is the essence of the resurrection story.
As a family, we’ve looked for ways to celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection in tangible, hands-on ways.
Studies show that more Americans search the word “churches” around Easter than any other time of the year. This is an opportunity to start talking.
When we start editing the gospel for fear of offense we lose everything. Without the gospel we have no message, no mission, and no church.
Summer camp instills Christian life lessons into young people, but years later, it's counselors who often have the most to reflect upon.
Sometimes we want to start over, but we're scared to make the changes. Jesus offers us Life 2.0 and it's not what you might expected.
Tragically, many people who grew up as Christians end up drifting away from the faith once they become adults. Parents are heartbroken to watch their children leave behind the faith they’d hoped would become a lifelong priority. Meanwhile, God’s great purposes for people He loves go unfulfilled.
But it doesn’t have to be that way for you and your kids. You can help them develop “sticky faith” – faith that lasts and grows their whole lives long. Here’s how:
Yesterday as I glanced at my planner and saw the words “spring cleaning,” I thought about what might happen if I included thoughts of organizing and reviving my soul and spirit alongside the house.
Innate within each of us is a deep desire to connect. We want more than casual friendships, more than conversation that rarely goes beyond the weather and weekly recaps.
Despite disrespect, poor choices, and/or general moodiness, deep down we still love our sons and daughters as much as the day we brought them home. We may just have to work a little harder at showing it.
When people let you down, it hurts. But feeling like God isn’t even on your side wounds so much deeper.
After some deep time in prayer and thought, I realized I didn’t want to spend my life being bitter and negative.
When someone says they’re an atheist what’s your knee jerk response? Does it break your heart or does it launch you into a tirade about why they are wrong?
People want to be heard. Even if you think they are wrong, allowing them to share their ideas shows respect and might persuade them to really listen to you as well.
Rather than mentally formulating your argument so you can pounce whenever they take a breath, let’s look at 10 ways to peacefully talk to an atheist about Christianity.
I knew that God is all good, all knowing, and all powerful. But I masked my insecurities with God by doubting myself. What I feared most was being forgotten. I was afraid to live an insignificant life. I later realized the best life -- the most significant life I can live -- is the one I grow in my faith.
When you embrace your God-given humanity, all the ordinary moments of your life will take on extraordinary significance.
Although the mystery between men and women is sure to continue, here are ten proven activities to make your wife happy.
Jesus didn’t leave us with a five-point plan on how to “go into all the world.” What He did was show us how to love people. And that is what it will take to change the world.
How do we actually take our spiritual life to the next level?
Too few people respond to God’s call, because they’re afraid of taking the risks necessary to reach out in the midst of danger.
Do you remember how it felt to be in love? You had a spring in your step, a smile on your face, and no one could get you down. You were walking on air, feeling great, and losing weight!
Then what happened?
In nearly every marriage, complacency sets in. Circumstances over the years (and fresh wounds especially) can make a couple forget how they once felt for each other. Sometimes it’s a matter of taking our spouse for granted. Other times it amounts to seeing him at his worst and knowing he’s seen you at your worst, too.
Yes, marriage is about unconditional love, sacrificial love, and enduring love. But that doesn’t mean you can’t experience the passion again, too. Even in rocky seasons of a marriage, you must admit that there was a spark – or many – at one time. There was a desperation on the part of you and your husband to be with each other. What once caused a fire of passion and determination among you both to do what it takes to be with one another is still simmering somewhere underneath the surface of your hearts. That spark in your husband’s heart – and yours – just needs to be unearthed, rekindled, and fanned into a flame to burn freely once again. In my newest book, 12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband, I offer seven simple ways to reignite the passion in your marriage. Are you ready to give it a try?
Photo Credit: ©Thinkstock
To prepare for this article, I posted this question to Facebook: “What would you do differently in your marriage if you could begin again?”
Some of the answers were practical—spending less on the wedding, divvying up chores, and getting into the habit of date night. But most had to do with communication.
Is there a way we could spend time communicating that could make all the difference in marriage?
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Ben White
As followers of Jesus, we’ve been given a simple mission regarding sin: search and destroy. Put it to death.
“It is not good that man should be alone.” Genesis 2:18 NKJV
I’m blessed. I’ve got an amazing tribe of people in my life. Some I’ve known for many years, and others I’m just getting to know. Please don’t let the idea of needing to have a tribe intimidate you though. I only use that term because with the invasion of social media, it seems we’ve gravitated to descriptive terms like crew, tribe, and posse to emphasize what we used to just call friends.
But whatever you call it, the need for connection is real. God created us for relationship – with Him first and foremost, and then with each other. The importance of having relationships is displayed all throughout the Bible. Adam had Eve. Moses had Aaron. David had Jonathan. Ruth had Naomi. Jesus had Peter, John and the others, and while it was obviously a priority for Him to get alone with His Father to pray, He also made time to be with the people who were closest to Him. He even instructed the disciples to journey in pairs, so they wouldn’t have to travel alone.
The people in my friend group love me and are there for me. They challenge and encourage me. They welcome me to do the same for them.
Photo Credit: ©CarliJeen.com/Instagram@carlijeen
The Book of Proverbs gives us some amazing wisdom for life. Along with that, Solomon also exposes some common ways that people end up messing up their lives. There are many listed in this great book, but allow me to highlight five of them. Along with each point, I have included some brief comments about avoiding these disastrous mistakes in your own life.
OK, here’s how to ruin your life:
Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock
If you find yourself married without a baby on your hip, there are several (fun!) things you should be doing before your family of two becomes three.
God has equipped me with exactly what I need to accomplish His will. He can still do great things with whatever I am able to offer up in worship.
Some say the current “millennial” generation is entitled. They were complimented about everything. But, does it really make that big of an impact?
We are in a spiritual battle in this world. We may not always see it, or we might forget it's there. But the enemy would love nothing more than to fill our lives with constant discouragement and defeat. The Bible reminds us that he’s on the prowl and will stop at nothing to try and bring us down.
God tells us in His word to stay aware of Satan’s schemes, to live alert in this world, and to stay close to Him. He arms us with the sword, the Word of God, to stand against the enemy’s lies. He equips us with strength, wisdom, and discernment through His Spirit to stay strong in the spiritual battle. He invites us to spend time in His Presence, through prayer and worship, pressing in to know Him more.
Don’t be fooled by the traps of the enemy. Don’t be taken unaware or think you’re somehow strong enough, in your own power, to withstand his attacks.
Pray for God’s protection to surround you and those you love. Pray for the armor of God over your life. Hide His words of truth in your heart and mind. Ask Him to fill you with the power of His Spirit. And stand strong, always remembering that, “…greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
God is always greater than the spiritual battles we are facing. And whether we recognize it or not, He is constantly fighting for us. He never leaves us to fend for ourselves in a dark world, but reminds us He is close, He is with us, and will carry us through this storm.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
Terminally ill patients and older people often question whether they lived life well. In his last few days life, facing terminal breast cancer, my late husband Jim asked, “Have I really lived the life God called me to live? Have a made a difference in people’s lives?” Within seconds an email popped up.
A classmate Jim had not heard from in decades wrote that he had meant to connect years earlier to thank Jim. He reminded us that we had him and other classmates to dinner in our home when they were in the area. He watched Jim slip a napkin on his lap and then pray over the meal. That friend said he could not get that prayer out of his minds and that is seemed to flow from Jim’s heart. After a few weeks he started to pray before dinner with his family. He said, “It changed our lives.”
God allowed that answer to come when Jim needed it. It’s a reminder that how we have lived is not always measured in the big events, but often in those small moments that flowed from our hearts and actions.
Here are 10 helpful ways to ensure that you live the life God called you to live.
Photo Credit: Getty/RolfBruderer
In this over-sexed and under-loved world, people are looking for the real deal, the secret to lasting love with a vibrant sex life. Because of this pursuit for a purer passion, the most asked question we get when it comes to Red Hot Monogamy is, “What is okay with God?”
Pam and Bill Farrel are international speakers, and authors of 44 books including Red Hot Monogamy, Red Hot Tips for Women, The First Five Years, and Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti. They are co-directors of Love-Wise.com and have kept the spark in their love for more than 36 years.
Photo Credit: ©Thinkstock/vadimguzhva
Ash Wednesday is a penitent service that uses ash to mark the sign of the cross on the believer’s forehead, symbolizing our sinful nature and need for salvation. The Catholic church usually uses the ashes of Palm Sunday branches from the previous year’s Palm Sunday service.
With all the different information and philosophies on child rearing a parent can feel overwhelmed and overloaded.
While I was in college, a local church offered me a hospitality internship. My goal was to attract new guests, create a welcoming environment, and develop a process that ultimately leads guests into membership.
Easy, I thought. I'm studying hospitality management and marketing…how hard could this be?
Sweet, naïve Lindsey.
My confidence was quickly shaken as I realized how hard it is to change an entire church culture. I struggled for an entire semester, pushing and pulling and fighting against antiquated ideas of hospitality.
But I can assure you that creating a welcoming church is a challenge that is well worth the effort. Making a positive first impression encourages guests to return next week. The more second and third-time guests, the more likely your church is to see long-lasting growth.
To save you from enduring some of the pain I've experienced, I present my top ways to make church guests feel more welcome:
Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/digitalskillet
Co-parenting requires dealing with the “worms in the can” and letting painful emotions take a back seat to the needs of the children.
During that first year, dissatisfaction, disappointment, and discouragement were a part of daily life. It was clear to me we weren’t a match.
Time is a gift; a precious gift that cannot be exchanged if it doesn't suit us. By saying that time is a gift we are admitting that time is not a commodity. A commodity is nothing special, something that is always in abundance. But time is limited and thus of inestimable value. A wise person might use just a bit of this invaluable gift for introspection. Indeed, a prudent person will recognize that an investment of time to ask one's self an essential question might not buy time but help to spend it with profound dividends. That question is one that I ask you now: "How are you using time?"
There is someone, somewhere who is walking blindly down the path to an affair. That someone needs help - before it's too late.
I’m no stranger to crisis, trauma, fear, suffering, anxiety, or depression. But here’s what I know. Each time I’ve been stranded in that endless ocean, I’ve made it to the other side.
A relationship is like a fine automobile—it can run very smoothly if given the right conditions. It can function effectively forever. If mistreated and not kept tuned, however, your marriage is sure to fail.
Fortunately, we have some control over how “tuned” we keep our marriage. We have great ability to remain alert to the conditions of our marriage and to check in with our mate to ensure they are satisfied, as well with how the marriage is functioning.
While there are many necessary ingredients for a loving marriage (see I Corinthians 13; Galatians 5: 22-23), there are three necessities I’d like to focus on today: compassion, consideration and collaboration. Certainly, you could argue that if you are loving as defined by I Corinthians 13 or exhibit the fruits of the Spirit you will show compassion, consideration and collaboration and your marriage will likely thrive.
Let’s examine each of these a bit more closely and then we’ll explore how you might try these out in your daily life.
Prayer runs alongside worship in regard to the different ways in which we express our faith. Carefully memorized prayers repeated religiously, journaled thoughts, silent sacred moments with God, and hearts poured out through song all grab God’s attention. Our Father’s focus is on the content of the conversation more so than the delivery.
I love the story of Peter in the Bible. That guy could really be an idiot. Maybe that’s why I identify with him so. I can be an idiot too. I’m thankful God loves idiots.
Peter’s whole life was one big walking object lesson. Peter did some great things. Peter did some really not great things. Can you relate? I know I can. That’s why I love the last chapter of John’s gospel that contains a breakfast conversation between Jesus and Peter.
Over a campfire by the sea, Jesus shows Peter an ocean of grace. Here are six ways for you to step forward into that grace as well:
02/15/2019 Why am I not content? We blame media, commercialism, and consumerism, but there is a deeper problem. Sin.
9 Ways to Choose Contentment
Why am I not content? We blame media, commercialism, and consumerism, but there is a deeper problem. Sin.
Ever since the first sin in the Garden of Eden, humans have been struggling with three tricky obstacles to the healing power of grace. When Adam and Eve gave in to Satan’s temptation, they experienced guilt, knowing they disobeyed God. They were consumed with fear as they tried to hide. And, they wrestled with shame as they desired to cover themselves.
But the gospel is good news for all, including those of us parenting special-needs children as we carry the familiar burdens of guilt, fear, and shame. Just as the sailors on Paul’s journey had to lighten their loads to survive (Acts 27:38), we must let go of the overwhelming responses that are dragging us down.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Fineas Gavre
The mistakes we made, the unrealistic expectations, the trials and the “me-first” attitudes all served a purpose. All proved our desperate need for Jesus.
The book of Philemon may be short, but its 25 verses pack a powerful spiritual punch. Paul’s letter to his Christian brother Philemon gives us a window into Paul’s personal life and relationships, showing us how the apostle lived out his faith in real life. We see a side of Paul we sometimes miss. Paul wasn’t just the bold evangelist and fierce protector of the truth of the Gospel. This letter shows us Paul’s compassion for others and the joy he experienced in relationships.
Although the letter doesn’t give us all the particulars, we can grasp the basic situation. The slave Onesimus, after running away from his master Philemon, encountered Paul in prison and accepted Jesus through Paul’s efforts. Paul wrote to his friend and fellow believer Philemon to urge him to treat his slave in a Christlike manner. Although we cannot identify with the particular situation Paul addresses here, this brief book strongly demonstrates faith principles and personal characteristics we should emulate in our own lives today. Although not the only principles found in Philemon, the following ten characteristics will help us navigate our own complicated relationships in a way that pleases and honors God and builds up the Church.
Photo Credit: © Pexels/Luis Quintero
Look at statistics on storage units and it’s clear: people are discontent. We never have enough. But contentment isn’t just about what we have. It’s more about the condition of our heart.
The Puritan preacher Jeremiah Burroughs, in The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment,described contentment as "that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal in every condition."
There are basic steps we can take to cultivate more heart contentment. Along the way, might even get rid of clutter.
Photo Credit: Thinkstock
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” (Proverb 17:17)
American legend Leslie Knope is known for many things. None of which has left as lasting of an impact as her creation of Galentine’s Day.
For those of you who don’t know, Leslie Knope is a character on NBC’s Parks and Rec played by actress Amy Poehler. Leslie, a constant cheerleader for her all friends and a believer in females supporting females, turns February 13th into a day to celebrate her girlfriends. Ever since, women across America have been celebrating Galentine’s Day.
If you have never participated in a Galentine’s Day celebration, I challenge you to host your own. As women, we need to support one another and encourage each other in the plans the Lord has for us. Plus, friendship is just fun! So to help you celebrate the ladies in your life, here are 10 fun Galentine’s Day activities that you can do with your girlfriends.
Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/Digital Vision.
In times of being unreasonably indicted, God invites us to give the altercation to Him and then examine the hidden person of our hearts.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
When you become a parent, you become entrusted by God to raise one or more of his children, which is no small task! And I don’t know about you, but I feel absolutely bombarded with discipline advice that leaves me feeling like a D+ parent, at best.
But what if instead of trying to force other parents’ rules on our family, we simplified discipline into a few principles to help guide children in a way that fits our family’s needs? These guidelines won’t tell you the rules you should or shouldn’t set for your kids, but instead equip you to implement rules that you decide on.
It’s time to stop taking advice from others and start focusing on how God is asking you to raise your children. Here are 10 ways to do just that.
Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/dolgachov
Both men and women act out sexually. Many marriages are fraught with numerous instances of betrayal.
Meditation is taking time to be with God. Christian meditation is not the Eastern practice of emptying your mind. To the contrary: Christian meditation is filling your mind, focusing your thoughts, not on self, but on the Lord Jesus Christ as He is revealed in His Word.
The Bible Book of Acts comes at a special time in the Gospel story of Jesus Christ. Acts is one of the larger books of the Bible that contains many special insights and faith inspirations. But, have you ever felt like having a little guidance in your Bible reading would help you learn and understand more than you currently do?
Or maybe you heard an idea presented in a sermon and thought to yourself, “How on earth could I have missed that?!”
Learning and observing themes in certain books of the Bible can have a tremendous effect on your understanding of the book and whole Bible story.
The book of Acts contains wonderful Bible stories and there are some unique things to watch out for as you read.
In Acts, Christ had just risen from the dead, ascended into heaven, and given the apostles the Great Commission. How do the disciples combine their experience of the risen Christ, the Old Testament prophecies about Christ, and the call to make disciples of all nations? Let's dive into 4 ways you can dig deeper into Acts through specific study tips.
Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock
The book of Proverbs in the Bible was written to give you godly wisdom, instruction, and insight, and to help you learn discipline, right behavior, and how to do what is right and just in life (Proverbs 1:1-3).
However, if you’ve experienced a disconnection of what a proverb is saying and how to walk it out in a practical way, you’re not alone.
Below is a look at 10 biblical proverbs and how to apply them to modern day life.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way — these years after we earned our AARP card. People talked about the Golden Years as if they were some magical resort of rest and enjoyment.
But it didn’t happen for us like it did for Grandma. No cruises to the Italian coast. No easy retirement with plenty of money to do whatever we want. No easy choices for the next decades.
Since Jesus died young, we have no divine example for the 60+ years. So how do we deal with these not-so-golden years when the abundant life is elusive and everything feels like a loss?
Photo Credit: Unsplash/rawpixel
It happens. For reasons unbeknownst to us, we cause our young adult children to become annoyed or worse yet, embarrassed, just by being ourselves.
Call it a generational thing, but chances are your parents did the same thing to you. Aging is tough. It’s especially difficult when our actions or our reactions to our children’s opinions sound exactly like our own parents’ reactions to us back in the days when we thought we were so cool.
It’s time we learn to step back, take ourselves out of the equation, and look at life through the lens of our grown children so we can be more of an inspiration, rather than an irritation. I’m not saying all of these suggestions came from personal experience, but here is what I’ve learned (from my own daughter and her myriad of friends) about how to keep from embarrassing your millennial-aged child:
Photo courtesy: bowdenimages
In this fallen world where people can be difficult and situations stressful, it’s often challenging to love others.
As you reflect on what type of legacy of giving you are living out in your home, consider these five Giving Personalities to help you analyze where your family currently is in the area of financial giving.
In order to have healthy, life-giving relationships with in-laws (or anyone), we have to continually pay attention to boundaries.
God’s Word doesn’t tell us to pursue our dreams. Not even once. Does that surprise you?
If you’ve been a Christian for any amount of time, you’ve seen them: the well-dressed, perfectly coiffed Christians who speak in catchphrases better suited to hand-painting on a reclaimed-wood wall sign and wear stretched, plastic smiles anytime they’re in public.
Meanwhile, beneath that shiny facade, their hearts are hurting. They’re troubled by a fractured marriage. They’re worried about a struggling child. Perhaps they’re facing financial or health problems. The outside world—even their church—would never know that inside, they’re crumbling.
Perhaps you’ve been one of those people before. Perhaps you’re one of them now.
I like to call this “Happy Face Christianity.” And if you fall into that category, it’s not your fault. You’d probably like to be honest about what you’re going through, but you just can’t. What will people think? As a Christian, aren’t you supposed to have joy at all times? Shouldn’t you be able to ignore the slings and arrows of the mortal world if you keep your eyes closely fixed on the eternal?
In my upcoming novel, Brunch at Bittersweet Café, my main character, Melody Johansson, struggles with those same questions. In the process of writing her story, I began to think closely about why we as a church feel so deeply that we need to have it all together.
Why, as Melody believes, do we think that acknowledging the trials in our life is somehow a betrayal of our salvation?
By the time I finished the book, I had narrowed down the reasons to four main myths that we as Christians believe…and we may not even realize that we believe them:
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Lydia Nada
I love that all things are possible with God, but am not too fond of the fact that nowhere does the Bible say things will be easy!
in Christ there is true freedom, and not just a new, different, shinier set of chains
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you face trials of many kinds, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” (James 1:2-3)
Perfectionism. It’s a term I didn’t apply to myself until I began writing about it.
As I read about perfectionism and the way it affects people, I saw myself in ways I hadn’t before. It was upsetting.
I read many negative side-effects to perfectionism and that only increased my anxiety.
I needed to calm down.
Perfectionism is an inner law that’s unrealistic and demanding. If it’s allowed free rein in our lives, it’ll wreak havoc on our nerves, our bodies, and our relationships.
I needed to find ways to stop it and I did.
Here are five ways you can calm your perfectionism too.
Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/razyph
The tree is down. The decorations are stowed away for another year and your waistline is bigger while your wallet is thinner. After Christmas, winter can be a depressing season, making people look upon it with dread rather than excitement. But who says it has to be that way? If we can shift our perspectives and see winter as chock full of new opportunities for self-improvement, we can look upon the season with anticipation, excited to see what God has in store. Here are 10 ways to rid yourself of the winter blues:
Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/Sasha_Suzi
Mistakes come in a myriad of shapes and sizes. Some can be easily whisked away. Sadly, others can lead to long-term regret.
It’s Sunday morning. You’re looking forward to going to church and celebrating God’s Word. You put on your Sunday best and tell the kids to get ready for service.
Your children respond not with enthusiasm, but with groans of protest.
“Church is boring!”
“I can’t sit still for that long.”
“I don’t understand what they’re talking about.”
Each child has his own gripe about church depending on his age. Truth be told, sometimes church services can be a little dry, or run long, or be hard to understand. But all of those words can be used to describe school too, and we wouldn’t let our kids skip school based on these reasons.
So what’s a parent to do when our kids give us a hard time about going to church? If you wait until your kids are perfectly behaved to take them to church, you may find that their childhood has come and gone with no “perfectly behaved” age to speak of.
Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/Aliaksandr Bukatsich
Have you been thinking about setting goals in your marriage but you're not sure where to start? Perhaps you are already setting goals but you want to take it up a notch? Or maybe you aren’t even sure that setting marriage goals is worth your time. Either way, you are in the right place!
One question we are often asked about marriage is: How are you two able to stay so close after being married for nearly two decades? And we let them know how setting goals in our marriage (along with a lot of love, grace, and prayer) has been the lifeblood of making sure we stay close in every season of life.
In coaching and working with thousands of couples around the world, we’ve found that very few of them make goal setting a priority in their marriage. As we’ve dug deeper to see what the main reason for so many couples neglecting to set goals for their marriage, we’ve found they simply don’t know how. In addition to lacking the know-how many couples do not see the benefit of goal setting in their marriage.
With the new year coming up, what a perfect opportunity to learn how to set seasonal goals in your marriage. We hope to shed some light on the importance of being intentional about improving your marriage through setting seasonal goals as well as showing you how.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Alvin Mahmudov
Are you in the middle of a hard season right now?
Maybe you feel trapped in a dead-end job.
You’re battling through tough circumstances in your marriage.
Just graduated and not sure where you’re going next.
Feel like you’re running uphill in ministry.
Can’t seem to catch your breath financially, spiritually, or emotionally.
I’ve been there.
But regardless of what type of season you’re in—a frustrating one or a super fruitful one—I’ve learned there are four different people that I need in my life. Four people that I need to learn and grow (and some days survive). And four people I think you need too, in every season.
God knows that we need people. And Jesus shows us how important community is in the story of the paralyzed man in Mark chapter 2.
Basically, Jesus had come to town and everyone wanted to see him #CelebrityStatus. He was preaching in this house and it got so packed that no one else could fit inside, so people started gathering outside to listen or even just catch a glimpse of him.
Then we meet four guys. Four dudes who were carrying their paralyzed friend. These four guys wanted to get their friend to Jesus. Seeing the massive crowd they, “made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’”
The four faithful friends did absolutely everything they could to bring the paralyzed man to Jesus. And he is healed. How awesome is that?!
I only hope that I have four people like this around me. Who are they? These are the four people we need in our lives at all times:Photo Credit: ©Thinkstock
I believe many in the church are pessimists, but today is a day to be an optimist. Is that just a Pollyanna attitude that comes from a fleeting feeling associated with a new year? As we move into a new year together, I challenge you to look upward and forward with me as we turn to one of the most optimistic books in the Bible, the Book of Philippians.
I am burdened by the division and arguing that is now more prevalent than ever in our country. Professing believers often seem more concerned with expressing their opinion than they are about dialoguing in a way that points others to you. Sadly, we the church, are not behaving much different than the world behaves. I know that must grieve you, that none of this has come as a surprise to you, and that none of it is out of your control.
Here are 10 things to pray as well as verses from Scripture to guide you.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Candice Picard
Give each other permission to share critical information, if done respectfully and kindly on areas of growth and change needed in the other.
The more you have of Jesus in your life, the better your life will be. Here are practical suggestions for Pursuing More of Jesus.
Are New Year’s resolutions worth making when, according to statistics, between 80 and 90% of them will fail? You may have ample personal experience with the truth behind this statistic. We’re creatures of habit, and often many of those habits are bad. So we make plans and strive to do better again and again and again, only to add those twenty pounds we’ve dropped plus some, spend twice whatever debt we managed to pay off, and end the winter feeling more defeated than ever.
Facing yet another failed attempt, we decide we’re the problem. We’re simply not disciplined and committed enough. But what if we’re approaching this whole “quest for a better self” wrong? What if in our determination for change, we’re setting ourselves up for frustration?
Here are ten steps that can help you think through your goals for the new year.
Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/Cn0ra