Health and wellness are such a buzz word these days! As a parent, it can be such a struggle to even know what it really looks like to live a “healthy lifestyle”. The problem behind every definitive article on healthy living is that they bypass the truth: healthy living looks a little different for everyone.
Just because determining what is healthy for you is hard, doesn’t mean you should throw up your hands, open that salty bag of chips, and call it a day! What it does mean, is finding out what healthy looks like for you and your family is going to take some trial and error, time, research, and may not follow all the rules of the newest hit diet that has taken over the internet.
You may wonder if caring for your health really matters or is just vanity. The bible actually teaches in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that your body matters! It is a precious temple, bought by Jesus at a price, and He charges us to take good care of it. The Bible instructs us to take time for rest, be good stewards of the lives we’ve been given; which is the exact opposite of the frenzy of endless activity that our culture pushes us into. As persons of faith, finding a rhythm for our habits that feels like health should be one of our top priorities.
Here are some ideas to get you started on a journey towards finding a healthier lifestyle for you and your family.Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/evgenyatamanenko
How do we live our lives with purpose and gratitude for who God made us to be? I think there are three ways we can position ourselves to be wowed by our identity in Christ.
Your heart beats with anticipation when you round the block and head into your driveway. It skips a beat when you hear that special ringtone and see your mate’s face on your cell phone. Your smile widens as the one you love walks in the door. Your entire being longs to be with your spouse. Others want what you have—that spark and sizzle of a love that is on fire!
The couple in Song of Songs 8:7 felt this kind of love, saying, “Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away…”
Why do we long for intense, all-consuming love? It is because God designed us to give and receive love. "That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). With a little bit of focus, enthusiasm, and creativity, in a short time, it is possible to renovate and revive your marriage. Or if you feel your marriage is already on solid footing, a focused period dating your mate will enrich your love even more!
If you want a Red Hot Romance, commit to this 90 day challenge to give God the time and opportunity to give you back those honeymoon feelings. Just like a diamond in a wedding ring has many facets, a strong marriage has unity in 13 different areas of intimacy. Here is the journey of love you and your spouse will take:
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Battles hit us in many forms. You feel helpless, hopeless, despairing, angry, hurt, anxious, and worse. What do you do now? Here are 5 ways to fight the good fight.
A biblical view of modesty must focus on the heart, because true modesty is about motivation and discernment.
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.
There are many levels of fear in our daily lives. News alerts keep us in tune to the world’s pain and injustice on the hour, and rising statistics of child trafficking put parents on edge. Fear “has a wonderful, protective benefit for us when it functions as God designed it,” said Jon Bloom in this article. Some fears are easy to calm and others linger longer than we can control. Fear, terror, fright, alarm, worry, and panic threaten to derail our faith. On the contrary, the Bible tells us to take captive every thought, and trust God. “We live in a broken world where really bad things really do happen, even (and sometimes especially) to people who really love Jesus,” explains Kristin Tabb. How do we live with godly confidence in a society that has us running scared?
“Mine.” I didn’t have to teach my children this word. It entered their vocabulary and their hearts on its own. And I didn’t have to teach my children to be selfish. Their tight-fisted nature was already there. As a parent, you’ve likely had an identical experience.
We serve an incredibly generous God. In the well-referenced verse, John 3:16, we read “For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life (CSB).” This act showcases the unfathomable generosity of our God.
As believers, we want to see this generosity reflected in the lives of our children because we know Proverbs 22:6—"Start a youth out on his way; even when he grows old he will not depart from it (CSB).” But how do we do this? The goal often seems daunting and complex, one more item on our parenting “to-do” list.
Encouraging generosity in your kids doesn’t need to be daunting and complex. Sometimes, it is a simple as pointing out the demonstrations of generosity occurring right in front of you, talking about them, and then connecting them to the generosity of our God. These demonstrations of generosity can come from you, those around you, or even your children. So here are three easy ways to encourage generosity in your kids:Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/evgenyatamanenko
My mind kept racing. I couldn’t sleep. I was restless as my thoughts jumped from to-do lists, my marriage, being a mom to my three children, work deadlines and everything in between. Eventually the stress began to affect not only my mental health but my spiritual and physical health. At the advice of my friends, I sought help from my doctor and Pastor.
I learned I was one of the over 70 percent of Americans that regularly experience physical or psychological symptoms caused by stress, as explained by the American Institute of Stress. The top physical symptom reported was fatigue, and the top psychological symptom was irritability or anger. I experienced all of these on a daily basis. I began to make changes suggested by both my doctor and Pastor.
However, at times it was difficult. Some Christians I had opened up to about my stress told me that if I was stressed, I wasn’t praying hard enough or that I was sinning by having anxiety instead of keeping all my thoughts on God. This was proof that we, the church have a long way to go in order to properly address the effects of stress and mental health.
Over time, I learned to seek God at the first sign of feeling stressed. I also eliminated several things that were not fruitful or beneficial in my life. Now when I begin to feel stress, I ask myself several questions to identify the issue.Photo Credit: Unsplash/JEShoots.com
I wonder if we might be making the “love your neighbor” commandment harder than it really needs to be. Sometimes the smallest gestures can mean the most.
The words Jesus spoke in John 14:27 help us experience moments of peace, moments where peace is freely given. John 14:27 states “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.”
In this passage we find Jesus speaking with his disciples before His crucifixion. We can only try to imagine the fear, doubt, and worry they must have been feeling. The last three years of their lives had been spent walking with this man. They had witnessed miracles and seen firsthand the saving grace of God. Now, Jesus was leaving them. They were going to be all alone, surrounded by people who hated Jesus.
Our world is not unlike the world Jesus’s disciples experienced. We live in a world that has trouble believing in the One True God. When we speak about Him, people become offended, and wars are started. There is no peace in our world except for the peace that comes from God.
Have you ever stepped outside while snow gently falls on the ground? Did you listen to the air as it is devoid of sound? I would often walk out on the porch of our home, which sat in the middle of a 60-acre farm, when the snow began falling. The peacefulness of those moments was carved into my soul. There were no sounds. The animals were not stirring, and birds were as still as statues.
While I watched the snow fall, I would always think about how peaceful everything was. It was as if nothing could bring harm to me.
But the peace Jesus experienced came only from the Father. He knew what was going to be needed during the days ahead for his disciples and He knows what is ahead for us.Photo Credit: Unsplash/FerdinandFeng
James 3:6 says: The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. Not only may we be committing a sin with some of our social media posts, we could cause others to stumble. Bearing this in mind, here are eight things Christians should stop doing on social media.
How can we help our children sew church so deeply into the fabric of their lives that when they leave our homes, they will continue going to church as an adult?
When battling illness, especially chronic diseases, considerable time and energy go into the daily struggle to get well. As suffering and pain increase, it’s easy to become discouraged or lose hope. It may be hard to treasure life.
The pressure of trying to keep up with regular responsibilities may exhaust a person’s strength; yet as a doctor told a busy pastor struggling to recover from with a serious disease, “All you really have to do right now is get well.”
Major life adjustments may be called for, giving the body optimum opportunity to heal with medical intervention and the power of The Great Physician.
In the midst of the struggle, it is important to focus on things that can add more hope, purpose and joy to life. There are at least 10 things people can do to treasure life and cherish each day as they battle illness:
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As you move into this Holiday season, structure your praise and thanksgiving around how God has worked in the past, what He is doing in the present and what He will do in the future.
How can parents help their children tackle heavy workloads without having to nag them? The answer is simple - by teaching them good study habits right from the get-go!
There’s no acceptable or right way to sing and worship defined in the Bible. I sensed that some in the congregation wanted to join me in clapping, but felt embarrassed or had never experienced the freedom of being Spirit-led.
One woman said to me, “I wish I could worship like you do.” I questioned what could possibly be holding her back.
Even when we don’t have a particularly good singing voice—and I don’t—the Lord wants our praise.
Ever watch an older married couple act in public? It is downright touching to watch as an older husband holds his wife’s hand, opens the door for her, or gets her a favorite drink. Ever wonder how a marriage like that lasts? Here are some tried and true mindsets to practice so your marriage can withstand the test of time:Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/bernardbodo
It’s easy to have expectations of how we are supposed to be treated or what we are supposed to experience when we walk into a church. When our experience doesn’t match those expectations it can be confusing.
I find it interesting that much of the New Testament addresses church problems: The book of Galatians reveals that the church was dealing with legalism. The book of Colossians addresses heresy, and 1 and 2 Corinthians confronts human pride and religious activity done with wrong motives. These issues sound a lot like those we face today, don’t they?
I have experienced being hurt in the church. I have felt disillusioned and have wondered if I even want to walk back through the church doors. Thankfully, God has faithfully taught me several things that have kept me from completely giving up. I offer them to you with the hope that they will help you work through any confusion or hurt you might be facing.
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Did you know that 70% of teens hide their online activity, 59% interact online with strangers, and one in twelve will meet that stranger in real life?
How can you possibly find the “right words” when the reality of death and suffering is so very wrong? The attempt is bound to result in some flubs, yet silence is hard to manage.
Co-parenting requires dealing with the “worms in the can” and letting painful emotions take a back seat to the needs of the children.
The blessedness of God’s comfort — the sense of peace, unshakable joy, love, consolation, life, and communion — did not and could not circumvent the pain of mourning. They came through it and in the midst of it in several ways.
What fears or societal changes might be getting in the way of marriage, and what are those of us desiring to marry at some point supposed to do about it? Here are four of the biggest fears about marriage (and how to overcome them).
Not everything can be fixed by shortcuts, microwaves, and time-saving life hacks. Waiting can be a long and painful fact of life, and nobody gets a lifetime pass to the front of the line.
If you’re waiting, it’s because we all do. When I am in a season of waiting, I seem to notice the passing of time only in a negative way, like it’s slipping through my fingers and I can’t stop it. The children are growing taller, the leaves are changing color, the clock is ticking, the sand is slipping through the hourglass.
I often feel as if it’s all getting away from me.
But God wants to do something unique in my heart and in yours, and the process gives him fertile ground to do important work in our hearts, our relationships, and our very lives while we wait for the time to come.
Waiting can be sacred space. It does not have to be passive or inactive.
Actually, it can be filled with heartfelt anticipation and deep intention, and even sprinkled with joy. Here are 6 joyful rewards of waiting with God:Photo Credit: ©Unsplash
Do you know how to worship and praise God deeply? Do you find yourself surrounded by stress or his love? Learn how to stay with God.
I fear what other people will say or think as a consequence to my actions or speech. I fear for the future and taking chances. I fear. I fear. I fear.
Scripturally, a stronghold is exactly what it sounds like: anything that has a strong hold on you or someone else. It is often also used as a military term, like an outpost in a foreign territory.
When the enemy of our souls sets up camp against us, he often uses something that is very human-nature to twist into an addiction or other form of hold on us. But the good news is that when he does this, he doesn’t have a home court advantage. He has no rightful place in our midst and our Lord has already made clear at the end of all our stories, the victory belongs to Him alone!
These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful. – Revelation 17:14
Because anything can become a stronghold in our lives, we are wise to be watchful in the areas Scripture warns us about in particular.
Here are five areas of potential stronghold to diligently watch for, and suggested prayers for deliverance.
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One of the biggest blessings of having a significant other in your life, is to have someone you can depend on, someone you can trust, and someone with whom you can spend quality time. However, there is a tendency to grow complacent with those closest to us. And as we get comfortable in our relationship, it’s easy to lose the intentionality that first brought us together.
No longer do we spend hours planning creative dates and outings. No longer do we discuss the deeper things of life. And, no longer do we let the other person know how loved and valued they really are.
The good news is, we can be intentional with our significant other by taking a step back and reevaluating what matters most. Here are 4 ways to spend intentional time with your significant other:Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Priscilla Du Preez
How do we know when God is speaking to us? It’s a question that even the best of Christians often struggle with.
How do we keep our marriage strong, connecting and heading in the right direction, even on the days we don't have time for a special date?
When the Designer planed us, he knew exactly the effect he was looking for. Believe it or not, like a firework, you are designed to be a joyous gift to the world.
The Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, and announced the separation of the thirteen American colonies from Great Britain. With this, a new nation was formed—the United States of America. History verifies Thomas Jefferson as the composer of the original draft. Once completed, Jefferson submitted his draft to Benjamin Franklin and John Adams for their changes. Eventually, it made its final destination to Congress where it was amended for the last time. Today, we see in its detailed wording why Congress was declaring independence from Great Britain.
The most quoted line from the Declaration is "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Our forefathers were declaring they not only deserved freedom, but were willing to continue fighting for it.
Freedom is a great definition of independence, as it is the result of the choices we make in our life. The power of choice is one of the greatest freedoms we have in our country, and knowing where to find it is important, as we see in Proverbs 2:6: “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding.” Let's review eight freedoms we should all celebrate this July 4th.
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Seasons of spiritual attack, no matter how long or short, knock the wind out of you. While they can be some of our darkest days on this earth, Scripture has much encouragement for us about these times.
But, do we really know what it actually means to love our neighbors as ourselves? And, could it be, that we actually love some of our neighbors differently than we love ourselves?
Seek with a heart desperate for things, plans, future more than a house, money, shopping spree, shiny car, dream job, Pinterest perfect family...seek with a heart flat out desperate for Jesus Himself.
We all have role models — individuals who embody the character and lifestyle to which we aspire. And often, we prefer our role models to be fallible — to make mistakes that they then overcome, to have shortcomings that they turn into strengths.
We like our role models to admit they aren’t perfect, because after all, we aren’t either.
If that's the case, can a perfect, sinless Jesus be my example?
Your wife is not "one of the guys" - and romance is important. Learn these tips and more from marriage expert Joe Beam.
Worry and fear doubt God’s promises, question His power, disregard His presence, and divert our hearts from His praise. John Wesley said, “I would no more worry than I would curse or swear.” How, then, do we lock up the criminals of fear and worry? Use these three God-given weapons.
Every small victory in your journey of faith is significant to God because it helps you become the person God intends you to become.
Some say the current “millennial” generation is entitled. They were complimented about everything. But, does it really make that big of an impact?
We throw away things that are past their usefulness. But why don’t we throw away things in our past that hinder us? For many, allowing the past to stay in the past is difficult. Hurtful memories or bad choices affect present behaviors. Worst of all, we allow the past to define us. Here are 10 biblical truths about who you really are—forgiven, loved, and redeemed.
How do we go on with life if estrangement and brokenness is to forever be part of the picture?
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).
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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:
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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:
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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?
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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?
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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.
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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:
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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.
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.
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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.
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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.
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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:
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