Just when we thought it might be safe to go out again, another social crisis developed, and then we learned of new, increasing spread of the virus with no seemingly easy answers. Racism in the US’s system is being exposed left and right. Political tensions are rising in Asia, a plague of locusts besets Africa along with the virus, and South America reels from disease too. It seems chaos reigns the world over.
We wonder what the future holds for children—our kids and grandkids. Will they be okay? Can they find a way to make a living? Some jobs are already gone, others are “furloughing” workers without pay. Those of us with infant children or grandchildren may wonder what kind of world these little ones will inherit.
What will our country be like by the time they grow up? Despair invades our thoughts at night. Even though we manage to remain positive during the day, worry lurks around the edges of our minds.
We need hope—but where can we find it, and how can we catch hold of it?
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Comstock
These are hard times. But what if I told you that you can actually have joy in the midst of them? Happiness is not based on circumstances or good things happening to you. Happiness comes from Jesus forming you into a good person. Here's how.
Over the past several months, our kids have faced the harsh realities of growing up in a broken world. A dangerous virus has infected our communities. The devastating pain of racism is exposed for all to see. We’re caught in the crossfire of disputes over masks and social distancing, politics and policies, and the road to reconciliation for our country.
Our children are no longer innocent to the fact that life can change overnight. Yet no matter the upheaval and chaos, God offers peace to our families. Here are ten ways to make your home a safe haven in a scary world.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/monkeybusinessimages
What if just one habit could change your life for the better?
What if that one habit would also help you grow closer to God, improve your relationships, fortify your health, enable you to sleep more soundly, lessen depression, provide greater mental clarity, heighten your sense of well-being, and improve your overall life satisfaction?
Sounds almost too good to be true, doesn’t it? But it’s not. Studies are clear: Gratitude makes us happier and healthier in virtually every area of life. God knew this long before science confirmed it; perhaps that’s why “thanks” and “thankfulness” are mentioned 133 times throughout the Bible. Still, most of us need a little help learning how to live more thankful. Sure, we are grateful sometimes, but not all the time. Consequently, we rarely feel the rewarding effects of gratitude when practiced every day.
Here are 10 proven ideas for powering up gratitude in your life:
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/pondsaksit
If you've betrayed by a best friend, parent, boss, or any loved one...you know that when someone breaks trust, it hurts deeply. But we serve a God who can restore what is broken. Here's how to move forward in healing and hope.
For the majority of our married life, my husband and I have lived out of state from our families. I come from a family where connection and time together as a collective is incredibly important. So, while I enjoy living out of state, I also miss my family. My husband, on the other hand, comes from a relatively small family that doesn’t share the same dynamics as my own.
Early on it became apparent that I was going to want to continue traveling to see family on a fairly regular basis, whereas my husband wasn’t pining to get home as much as I was. Once we added children into our lives my desire to “get home” only increased.
Soon we found ourselves at a crossroads. It was necessary that we discover what types of freedoms were going to work for us as a couple.
Was it okay that I travel with our children even though my husband wouldn’t be able to join? Or conversely, were things like late-night pick-up basketball games still reasonable for my husband to participate in now that we were parents? We needed to find ways to help each other feel like our needs as individuals were being met.
If you are finding yourself at a crossroads, like we were, here are a few suggestions for determining what the right amount of individual independence looks like within your relationship.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Warren Goldswain
God’s heart isn’t that his people would constantly be in conflict over who has more control or power. That misses the point entirely. The way of Jesus is to use the power we have been given to serve one another rather than ourselves.
“Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” - Psalm 107:1 ESV
“God is good, all the time; all of the time, God is good,” is a popular phrase used in worship by many pastors, leaders, and believers. “Good” is who God is, what He does, and what we experience on His behalf. God, in His goodness, is sovereign over every circumstance. He proclaimed each note of His creation, “good.” God purposefully brings every human life into existence upon the earth, intended for “good” works to bring glory and honor to His name.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/aapsky
One verse that stands out as a call to stand up for those who are experiencing oppression and injustice comes from Proverbs 31. Proverbs 31:8-9 says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Farmers Insurance had it right when they said, “We know a thing or two, because we’ve seen a thing or two.” They have seen the best and worst of humanity. If you care to marvel at the weirdness of the world, you can even take a moment to check out the “Hall of Claims” they have at their website.
As for me, my Hall of Claims tally comes nowhere near the number of strange stories Farmers has to share. But after fifteen years of working as a counselor with couples and families, I’ve experienced quite a few “thing or two” moments. I’ve lost count of the number of disagreements we’ve navigated together.
Regardless of the specific “flavor” of an argument, there are common themes. Most people seem to believe that sex and money are two of the greatest issues facing couples. And while those are certainly important, there are others that are also struggling to reconcile.
Here are 5 of the most common marriage problems, along with tips and solutions to keep your relationship healthy.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Justin Follis
Currently, we are engaged in critical and difficult conversations in our country and our churches over racially-charged inequity, inequality, and violence. This season reveals how far we actually haven’t come in navigating the waters of racial reconciliation.
Christians trumpet the labels of “liberal” and "conservative” louder than anyone I know, as if matters of police brutality, violent demonstrations, and 400 years of racial dominance are political rather than ethical issues. Even godless commentators and celebrities recognize that issues of racial prejudice are moral issues.
How can racial tension change? We Christians must own the systemic race problem in every aspect of our culture. By not professing and modeling God’s transformative love, we have facilitated--not eliminated--racism.
It’s petty and dismissive when we minimize the trauma of discrimination or respond by accusing people or casting blame. Nothing in the Bible supports accusations or blame-shifting. It has old fashioned terms for this--confession and repentance. We must take ownership of our mess and change it (Ephesians 4:20-32).
As members of the kingdom of God rather than the kingdoms of this world, we must respond in these following ways if we are following Jesus’ example. Because we are the sons and daughters of the King, we have the light and the power of the Holy Spirit to help us respond with compassion and brotherly love to everyone involved in racial tension.
It will take lots of prayer, Bible study, and hard conversations to get there. But as the City on the Hill, it is our duty to show the rest of the world how to reconcile racial tensions in a godly way. Let's respond in these 7 ways to get there.
We also want to offer you a FREE download of 30 Days of Prayer - Here is a 30-day anti-racism prayer challenge to help us keep our eyes on Christ and our hearts surrendered to Him as we trust Him to heal His people and transform our land.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/fizkes
When there is a chasm or great divide, one of the ways to close that gap is to build a bridge. One of the chasms that has shot to the forefront in the last few weeks is the chasm of racism.
While the embers of this fire have burned in our nation for a very long time, many people either chose to dismiss it or ignore it altogether. This time feels different. Maybe the events of a few weeks ago were the alarm clock to finally awaken people from their slumber—to realize this is wrong and this needs to change.
I believe it is time to start building that bridge.
While the road won’t be easy and the work often cumbersome, I want to share with you some ways you can become a bridge-builder for racial reconciliation.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/nullplus
Here are a few suggestions to have your multigenerational family chat go smoothly and with lots of fun and laughter. Technology can't completely replace time together in-person, but with these ideas, you can come much closer!
“They will know we are Christians by our love.”
This scripture-based song lyric rolls off the tongue of anyone who clocked some serious time in Sunday School.
However, a quick scroll through social media may leave us wondering if someone changed the lyrics to this classic Christian song.
“They will know we are Christians by our well-defended stances.”
In the wake of George Floyd’s death, Christians all over the country are having hard conversations with their friends and family. We are working through how to love each other and honor God while we confront issues of race in our communities. These conversations get messy.
We are confronting realities of racial and cultural division that many of us don’t have a lot of practice addressing. We’re having these challenging, emotionally-charged conversations in public, where audiences are encouraged to throw in “likes” and “angry face emojis” as they judge the quality of our rhetoric.
With all this pressure, it’s no wonder our discourse often dissolves into angry shouting matches that feel less like a loving willingness to learn from one another and more like self-righteous posturing.
When things get heated, we’re all prone to tune out. We experience information fatigue and suffer from debate PTSD until we quit engaging in the conversation altogether.
So, how do we make sure the lessons we’re learning about racial reconciliation lead to long-term change in our lives? What are some loving actions we can take when we worry the public conversation has turned hateful?
Here are five practical ways for Christians to pursue justice (not hatred) now:
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/wildpixel
Trying to figure out how to make it through this crisis became my daily focus. The combination of worry and exhaustion revealed my need to let go of these 3 things.
“I can’t breathe.”
Those words from George Floyd as he gasped for his mother with a knee on his neck have haunted me. Just like the video of two white men chasing down and shooting Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia while he was running. It’s unfathomable that these things are happening in our country in 2020.
As we’ve witnessed the response play out in cities across our nation, including my own, it makes it clear that white Christians are in need of a wake-up call.
Several weeks ago, we had a tornado warning at our house close to midnight. We had to quickly get our kids up out of bed and go to a safe place in our house.
My 6-year-old son is a hard sleeper. Waking him up in the middle of the night is next to impossible. You can pull him out of bed, and he may even open his eyes to look at you, but he's not awake. He can stumble around his room, but he’s not awake.
It wasn’t until my wife started clapping in his face that he seemed to snap out of it and become coherent.
To my white Christian brothers and sisters, it’s time to snap out of it. We’ve been asleep. Over the past few years, some of us have opened our eyes. Even stumbled around like we are trying to appear awake.
But, we are not all there. What we are witnessing in our country should be our jolt--our clap in front of our face--to stand for what’s right and denounce what is evil.
As a white Christian, I admit, it's hard to even know where to start. It’s easy to post a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote on social media and let the world (or at least our small little slice of it) know where we stand on racial issues.
It’s much harder to know how to represent Christ and follow the prophet Micah’s urging to “seek justice,” “love mercy,” and “walk humbly” (Micah 6:8) in real life.
Advocacy is important, and I think our African-American brothers and sisters need to see us posting these types of messages. But, it’s simply not enough.
In my own personal soul-searching, I feel there are a few things that I, as a white Christian, can and should be doing during our current racial crisis.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Rawpixel
Does your heart long to marry? Do you look around at your friends who have wed and wonder, when will it be my turn?
If you’ve been waiting a long time for the one to show up, it can be easy to grow discouraged, or even be tempted to settle on someone who’s less than the one you had hoped for.
Over the past 30 years that I’ve mentored women, I have walked them through this season of waiting. For some, they find it hard to imagine God is interested in helping them find a spouse. But for anyone who is hoping for marriage, the best advice I can give is don’t wait until you start dating to prepare yourself to be a spouse.
Rather than making a list of what you hope your spouse will be like, how about you make a chart of what would make you the spouse of someone else’s dreams?
While it’s not wrong to day dream about the character qualities of your perfect mate, don’t spend so much time with your head in the clouds that you miss the opportunity to let the Lord mold in you Christ-like qualities that will help you be a better mate.
With this goal in mind, let’s visit a few of the things you can do to prepare yourself for marriage–-even before you are dating.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/CandicePicard
They also showed me that all women, no matter how we cloak it, have a desire and a natural bent for control. Why do women seek control? It goes back to our Ancestress--the very first woman created--Eve.
“How did we get here?” I thought to myself, as I read another stranger’s story, describing how a distorted form of the gospel had been used to inflict wounds of rejection and judgment.
I feel there is no end to the headlines of hatred published by those claiming to be Christian. We only need to look at our phones or watch the news to hear of the countless controversies surrounding the Church, its mission, and its message. Whether it be standing with signs of shame or blaming the broken for their bruises, the message of Christ’s ministry has been completely missed.
I have sat with far too many scared souls, who have experienced hurt at the hands of evangelical extensions. Their stories do not include compassion or care, gentleness or generosity, hope, or healing. In stark contrast, they tell stories of those who have twisted the good news of the Gospel of Christ, wringing it dry of its message of mercy.
How did we get to the place where Christianity has become equated with nothing that resembles Jesus?
How did the pursuit of holiness get exchanged for hatred?
How did the desire for justice turn into judgment?
How did the message of redemption translate into religiosity?
As I look back on history and the many movements that have shifted our stances and segregated our theologies, I cannot help but wonder how the message Jesus so clearly demonstrated and communicated has been misinterpreted and abused.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Rawpixel
"I would have never said before I adopted my middle son that I was racist, because I didn't say the words that a racist said. And I didn't have what I thought were the feelings a racist had."
To even begin to approach this topic, I feel that I must first begin with confession and then ask for forgiveness from those in my community, state, nation, and world that are hurting due to the racism that lingers in our homes and hearts.
We all have a responsibility to pursue healing, reconciliation, and restoration of those who have been traumatized by systemic racism. Racism is an awful evil that goes against God’s heart for humanity. We are all created in His image and all should be treated with value, love, and mercy.
Until recent years, I must confess that I felt that not being actively racist was enough. As long as I personally showed love to all and recognized the value in every human, I was doing my part.
I was comfortable enjoying my white privilege while ignoring the hurts of racial injustice that go back generations. The effects of racism are not visible in my everyday experience. I have been content to live my life blind to the deep hurts that people of color are carrying.
I am so sorry for not seeing, not hearing, not loving past my very white-washed circles, and not doing enough to help my kids understand the effects of racism in our world today. Many of us have failed to connect the very obvious dots of the past to the anger, hurt, distrust, and brokenness of now.
It’s time for Christ-followers to do more than just “not be racist” we need to take the lead in building new bridges, become better teachers to our children on this issue, and we need to ask for God’s mercy to lead us as we dream about a world where broken hearts are healed.
How then do we start this hard, intentional, and meaningful work? We start at home.
Racism lives as a cancer of the heart and heats are informed by experience, by the messages both subtle and obvious we pass along to our kids. Let’s start teaching our kids to be the bridge the future needs to heal from the deep, dark, and heavy wounds of the past. Here are some ideas for you and me on how to do this work:
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/monkeybusinessimages
It takes intentionally cultivating a safe, generous relationship to be a marriage that is reflective of the Gospel and God’s love. But how beautiful is it that God gives us such a powerful tool to bring others to Christ?
When it comes to a theology of race, there are four headlines: 1) We were all made by God; 2) We were all made in the image of God; 3) We were all made with distinction and variety—including the color of our skin; and 4) We are called into a relationship with God the Father by the Holy Spirit through Jesus the Son. This is why the Bible makes the following declaration: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28, NIV).
Chores and personal responsibilities are most successfully introduced when parents consider each child’s unique ability. Implementing new routines at home is a work in progress—trial and error.
With so much opportunity to reevaluate our lives, it's time to make real decisions to guide us into post-quarantine life--to put into practice all the blessings of the extra time, and no drawbacks of the old normal.
Sometimes, reading news headlines or social media posts gives one the impression that, as Chicken Little said, “The sky is falling.” It’s easy to become caught up in worries about the future and our daily well-being.
However, the Bible offers us a better way.
Christians are provided with joy that is independent of our circumstances. It will carry us through with our heads above water, so let’s explore how to grab joy, no matter what happens.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Liderina
“These are the times that try men’s souls,” Thomas Payne once said. These are also the times that can steal your sleep and stress you out.
If you’ve been laid off, had to close a business, lost a loved one, or are just trying to stay afloat financially or emotionally in a world that seems to be crashing through ‘new normals’ that are hard to handle—you might be finding it difficult to sleep.
Yet these are the times you can sleep better than you ever have as you trust God wholeheartedly to provide.
Yes, God wants us to be productive and to have a good work ethic. He tells us in His Word that we are not to be people who are lazy and won’t put in a good day’s work (Proverbs 6:9-11). But if you haven’t been able to work (or sleep) due to circumstances beyond your control (or anyone’s control), you have a God who comes through for you even as you sleep.
God’s Word says in the Psalms that we are wasting our time getting up before the crack of dawn and going to sleep past midnight, toiling and striving to make things happen because the God of the Universe “gives to His beloved even in his sleep” (Psalm 127:2, NASB).
The next time you can’t sleep because you think you have to work through (or worry through) the night, remember that God has a way of working it out if you just rest in Him...literally.
God commands us to rest. And by trusting Him to provide, we are not only being obedient, but we can keep our bodies healthy and refreshed by getting a good night’s sleep.
Photo Credit: ©Pexels/Ivan Oboleninov
Take time for you.
You’re worth it.
Do something indulgent for yourself because you deserve it.
By the end of the day, I want to numb out on my favorite Netflix show with a glass of wine and maybe some chocolate. Who can blame me with all the messages that bombard my mind on an hourly basis, like the ones I just mentioned.
I work outside the home and have three kids; two of those children have special needs which means the official clinical syndrome of “Burnout” applies to my life and I have a feeling yours too. The World Health Organization characterizes this burnout as mental, physical, and/or emotional exhaustion, this condition of chronic stress threatens millions of Americans who face long work hours, difficult work and home situations, and little time for rest.
We as women, mothers, wives, joke that self-care is indulgent. Who has time for that? Who has the luxury of locking themselves in the bathroom for three hours to enjoy a voluminous bubble bath in a clawfoot tub and a glass of wine? We have very little time to ourselves or at least that’s what we are supposed to think.
Perhaps this is why all the commercials we view have the same script: A stressed out, overworked mom who needs to escape her reality with “insert product here,” ads. Wine, chocolate, a girls weekend in Vegas, bubble bath soap that has that extra something special for your senses. These self-care promises do not even skim the surface of a much deeper issue: there is no miracle product that fixes the more serious need for a woman to be revitalized, replenished, and refueled from the inside out.
What if I told you self-care was so much more than a desired list of activities but rather more about soul-care, and filling our cup from the inside out? We, as Christian women don’t need Self-Care, we need Soul-Care. We need Spiritual-Care. We don’t need to escape our reality. We need spiritual vitality.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Jen Theodore
I didn’t understand why I was so easily impatient with my kids, when I really wanted to help them with homework. Instead, I got frustrated, lecturing them in a way that was unhelpful and discouraging.
When my husband came home after work, my sour attitude hung like a cloud. Although I cooked dinner, did my chores and technically, nothing was “wrong” that I could put my finger on, I felt stressed and my bad mood spilled over to everyone.
“What’s going on?” hubby asked, after we tucked the kids in bed.
In the past, I’d launched into self-shaming words or I’d blame it on this-or-that, launching us into more conflict. Later, if I confided in a “friend” who was quick-to-judge and slow-to-give-grace, I’d carry extra spiritual guilt of not-trusting-God or praying enough. This cycle of try-harder-then-feel-worse repeated, adding to my stress!
In the movie Back to the Future and its sequels, the main characters had opportunities to go back in time and correct wrong choices. In some ways, the coronavirus pandemic offers us the same opportunity.
Sheltering in place gives us time for God to work in fresh ways in our lives.
It’s truly heartbreaking that much has been taken away by this crisis. However, it’s also truly hopeful that precious gifts—unexpected treasures—have been given by COVID-19. These treasures are wrapped up in the beautiful blessing of “presence.” Being fully present gives us hope for meaningful change in an otherwise confusing and frustrating season.
So before we rush into busyness as the lockdowns lift, let’s consider some of these unexpected treasures of presence we’ve experienced while sheltering in place—and how we can honor those treasures as gifts that continue giving.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Wavebreakmedia
Every parent has those days where they are convinced they are the worst parent in the world and wonder, “Am I a good parent at all?”
A great bad parenting example comes from one of my all-time-low parenting days a few years back. I was newly pregnant, we were in the midst of selling our home, looking for a new home, and I had to keep our 1 and 3-year-old boys out of the house so it would stay clean.
We ventured out to a park and when we were finished, I started loading my one-year-old in the car. I closed his car door and walked to the other side of the car to put our 3-year-old in and was horrified that I had locked my sweet baby boy in the car alone!
Up to this point, I was convinced that all parents that I’d read about making this very mistake were unfit and negligent parents. Here I was crying and unsure of how to quickly rescue my baby from the car.
Thankfully, the police came quickly and broke the front window so he could be released. By God’s grace all turned out well, despite some money lost on a replacement window.
All of us parents have those moments where we make a mistake we swore we’d never make. If we like it or not we are quick to judge the failures of others we deem as “bad parents” but none of us are perfect at this thing.
Yet, there are all ways we can grow to be better and habits that if go unchecked create strife in our homes. We all need solutions to those “bad parenting moments.”
Let’s explore some of the qualities of bad parenting that we should avoid alongside ways we can develop some good parenting skills:
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/LittleBee80
What is God asking of us when we read, "count it all joy" or to “consider it pure joy whenever you face trials?”
The trials that plunge us into grief feel impossible to navigate. The days marked by chronic illness—physical or emotional—takes its toll on one’s well-being.
Most of us deal with some form of a trial on a regular basis, whether it’s our marriage, kids, health, or work. Sometimes they loom large and other times they pester us like a biting fly.
With all these trials, how do we experience joy?
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Deagreez
There are many heroes of the faith in the Bible. As we read their stories, we typically see them as patriarchs and kings, military leaders and soldiers, strategists and spies, or parents and children. Rarely, if ever, do we think of them as grandparents.
However, it’s true that most of the well-known people of the Bible were grandparents. Many played a key role in history and each has something to teach grandparents today.
Consider the following 7 biblical grandparents and what we can learn from them.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Jovanmandic
In my head, there’s a constant critical voice that I refer to as the inner mean girl. The inner mean girl never stops questioning my thoughts, motives and actions. Here's how to silence her.
During this time of near global lockdown, it is more important than ever to stay connected. This is particularly true for churches. But how do you stay engaged as a community of faith during a time when you can’t physically meet?
Where does this phrase come from and what does it mean? There is a powerful comfort and promise to be found in these words that every believer can cling to in their dark days.
As parents, we long to shape our children into the people God created them to be.
That process involves implementing values, and holding out hope through each stage. Ultimately, our greatest desire is that our children embrace a relationship with Jesus and live out their God-given purposes in all they do.
However, each child comes with genetic and environmental factors which affect how that unfolds. No “one size fits all” approach exists for nurturing your child’s spiritual journey.
While there is no book that will offer parents a detailed list of every step that will ensure our expectations are met, we can glean wisdom from scripture. Here are 4 steps to help your child meet spiritual goals.
Photo Credit: ©Pexels/Katii Bishop
If you’re reading this article, it’s not by mistake. if you’re ready to move forward in Christ, He will give you the courage to face all your mistakes with His grace.
Mental health during a crisis isn’t something to take lightly. There are a variety of things you can do to care for your own personal mindset, but one important element is finding a correct definition for what you’re feeling.
Anxiety is a feeling worry, being uneasy and unnerved about a particular outcome, lost in the unknown and unsettled.
Depression is a dark place of despondency, often accompanied by sleeplessness, a severe lack of motivation, a feeling of hopelessness and no escape.
For clarity’s sake, I want to make a point that this article is specifically discussing ways to soothe day-to-day anxiety directly related to Covid19. If you’re experiencing severe and unrelenting anxiety, symptoms of depression, or regular panic attacks, we urge you to seek professional counsel asap. Mental health is critical during this tumultuous time.
Many of us, though, are experiencing regular bouts with day-to-day anxiety as it relates to COVID-19 and the current circumstances of being under a stay-at-home order. These feelings come and go, take you on a rollercoaster, might transform into a panic attack, or perhaps devolve into a sense of peace as you take rest in just existing in the simplicity of home.
Working through generalized anxiety can be assisted by taking steps to deviate away from the negative influences. News, media, conspiracy theories, etc. can weigh us down and truly add gasoline to the fire of worry.
But there are also practical, COVID-19 specific things you can do to alleviate some of your anxious thoughts. Here are 4 ways to soothe your anxiety.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Ben White
“This too shall pass.” I have a love, hate relationship with that phrase, how about you?
Will this crisis pass? Probably. Most do eventually come to an end, but it can be difficult to remember that when hope feels so deferred. Circumstances dash our trust in God’s timing, and the unknown can be a real killjoy.
I spoke with a younger friend of mine recently. She’s a newlywed, and she and her husband welcomed the birth of their first child not long ago. Grinning ear-to-ear, she proudly explained to me how great “quarantine looks on her.” She has a great sense of humor.
“Now I know why some of the other moms like staying home so much. I planted a new garden with vegetables and flowers. I’m cooking and taking walks with my baby girl. I’m like a ‘pioneer woman’ now,” she joked.
What a great reframe of a forced life change! Krissi is a woman flourishing at a time in which many feel lost and overwhelmed. But just like her, some of us have also found ways to stay healthy and active in an unusual situation. We have so much to learn from one another.
Among the list of adaptations we all have made is hopefully new skills in your marriage. Maybe this extra time has allowed you to learn new ways to communicate, or has given you an opportunity to lean on your partner like never before.
The fact is that this too really shall pass, but here are some ways to make sure that your happy, healthy marriage habits never do.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Toa Heftiba
James 4:8 promises us that if we draw near to God, he will draw near to us. But what are some practical ways we can actually draw near to Him?
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 90:12
The phrase, creatures of habit, means doing the same things at the same time in the same way. I think it’s safe to say that most families have settled into the new norm during quarantine and have found themselves quickly becoming creatures of habit once again.
But why not make the most of quarantine and ask a few thought-provoking questions to encourage deeper family discussions? You might be surprised at some of your kids’ answers, and you might even learn a thing or two you didn’t know before.
This worldwide pandemic is a scary and complex situation, even for adults. As hard as it is for us to not be out of the house and living “normal” life—it can be that much harder on kids as they grapple to understand.
They might be missing things that you didn’t even know they enjoyed to begin with, or scared of things you didn’t know were bothering them. Although it might seem difficult to strike up a conversation about something so complicated with your kids, your kids are certain to have thoughts and opinions about what is directly affecting them.
These conversation starters are designed to not only help you bond as a family, but also to help your kids process their emotions during this complicated time.
So, make the most out of quarantine with your kids. Here are 12 questions to get the conversation going:
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/yacobchuk
Allowing a renewed passion for your faith and family be what guides your decisions moving forward. Sacrifice may be required, but what in our fragile lives is really more important than these two things?
Two months ago, life was rolling along pretty much as it had for our entire lifetimes. Oh, there had been ups and downs, but nothing we didn’t recover from.
Then suddenly everything changed with the arrival of the COVID-19 virus. Almost overnight our lives tumbled into an abyss of chaos and fragility.
Many fears and questions have surfaced, but there seem to be no solid answers from our civil leaders. However, in times like these, we can turn to the Lord for help.
Let’s examine a few of our collective anxieties and discover real help from the Bible.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Engin Akyurt
Having been married nearly 21 years I’m often asked how we make it work. Here’s the secret: Marriage isn’t about you. It never was. It never will be.
During a quarantine, we have more time to focus on people we love, even if we can’t be with them. Mother’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to focus on Mom and to honor her. God told His people twice in the Old Testament and six times in the New Testament to “honor” parents—to remember them with respect and acknowledge their importance in life.
That doesn’t change in a pandemic.
With the lockdown, we all have more time to be creative in honoring our Mom. Some moms are no longer with us, but there are still ways to honor their memory. And while some mothers may even be difficult to love, we can still find ways to honor them and perhaps encourage loving, healthy relationships.
A unique and creative approach to honoring a living mom during this quarantine is to appeal to her five senses. Our senses are how we take things in. We can sense whether we are loved and honored through our senses.
Creation of a “Five Senses Basket” might be one option to honor Mom, or simply focus on one or more of her senses. Here are some delightful ideas in all five areas:
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/stefanamer
Making disciples is what Christ left His followers on earth to do. That was their mandate then, and it is still the overreaching directive of the church today. The imperative of discipleship in the Great Commission is to be the emphasis.
Time, familiarity, baggage and life’s transitions can all wear on a marriage and make you feel like you’ve lost that loving feeling. But, it’s not too late to fall back in love with your spouse no matter how little or how long you’ve been married.
Gratitude may seem like the last solution when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After all, this virus has taken away many jobs and lives, and everyone can feel the stress of this global event to some degree. During this time, we may feel tempted to wave our fist at the sky and ask God why he hasn’t intervened and why he can’t improve our present circumstances.
Nevertheless, Scripture does call us to exercise gratitude for a reason (Colossians 3:15). No matter what circumstance the biblical writers encountered, whether jailed like Paul, imprisoned like Joseph, or on the run like David, the writers continued to exercise thankfulness—no matter whether the Lord had showered overt blessings on them that day or chose to withhold them.
Not to mention, gratitude can give us some health benefits.
According to the Psychology Today article linked above, gratitude can reduce aches and pains, erase toxic emotions, and improve sleep patterns and self-esteem.
In a time full of stressors and uncertainty, here are some powerful reasons that gratitude can help combat our anxieties and aid our efforts as we cling to and trust the Lord during this time.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/AaronAmat
While reading the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, have you ever winced, maybe even shaken your head, when Jesus isn’t “nice?”
Ever wonder if maybe, just maybe, we might be missing the point of the stories that make us cringe?
If we are willing to reconsider what we (think we) know about our Lord and Savior, we might actually enjoy reading the Gospels, or enjoy them even more.
Are you willing to consider seeing Jesus anew? Fully God and fully man. Absolutely true to Scripture. The very definition of loving with all His heart, soul, strength, and mind. And anything but “nice?”
Here are 11 reasons Christianity is so much more than only ‘being nice:’
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/fizkes
If we find ourselves grumbling about the same things over and over, we can pause and think about how we can do things differently. Then we can make a point of doing it right. Each of us has a choice to roll up our sleeves and make a change of habit
Loneliness and anxiety are setting in for our kids during quarantine, as much as they are enjoying being home. Child counselor Sissy Goff shares 3 things your kids need right now.
This article is based on the book, Hurricane of Love.
My two daughters were hugging my wife, Beth, and I was holding all three of them in my arms, when Beth took her last breath on October 30, 2015 at 2:40p.m. We had three years to consider the possibility that this day would come. Still, there was no way to totally prepare for it.
Even though I was relieved that Beth was finally out of her pain from battling stage 4 cancer, my heart ached from the realization that after spending 37 years with her, I would never see her again – this side of heaven.
I had no idea that this was just the beginning of my grieving process. The year of firsts was coming.
For the next five weeks:
Before long, Thanksgiving arrived. This was the first holiday without Beth. It was the “first” in my “year of firsts,” and I didn’t realize how gut-wrenching every first holiday, anniversary, and birthday was going to be without her.
Photo Credit: Thinkstock/grinvalds
To the shepherd of a stagnant flock: If your church has plateaued, make sure you haven’t. Here are 10 (hopefully) encouraging ideas.
The first week COVID-19 hit American borders my family and I were embarking on a cruise set to leave port in New Orleans. After traveling 18 hours, we received word that all cruise lines had been shut down due to the virus. We returned home to social distancing, empty toilet paper aisles, closed businesses, and home confinement.
COVID-19 has flipped ‘life as we knew it’ upside down. We’re now all trying to navigate a new normal. Daily routines have been uprooted or disregarded.
Many workers’ commutes have become a walk to another room. Meetings are moving from conference rooms to laptops. Church doors are closed as congregants reassemble virtually. I found myself morphing into a homeschool mom and day-long kid-entertainer.
With no direction or routine, the temptation arises to lounge around in pajamas and binge on Netflix as a way to adjust to this new life of self-isolation and social distancing. Or, we can feel overwhelmed by the lack of former 'borders' and allow overworking to overtake our home and personal lives. But this new normal can only go so far before something deep within us begins to lose any sense of direction, purpose, hope, and happiness.
We can find an answer to this dilemma in Genesis: God created the world in rhythm and then He designed us to live in cadence with Him!
Photo Credit: ©Pexels/tinanord1200
The saying “practice what you preach” originates from Jesus’ teaching about legalism. Giving instructions to someone else which we are not willing or able to follow makes us hypocrites. This kind of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do behavior fuels mistaken ideas about who God is as reflected by Jesus.
Moreover, Jesus says “practice” not “master.” He always spoke purposefully, so what is the reasoning behind Christ’s choice of verb?
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/MangoStarStudio
The current crisis in our world has captured our attention, changed our daily lives, and if we are not careful can consume all of our thoughts. We are being inundated with endless strings of bad news.
Stories of sickness, death, overwhelmed healthcare workers, fear, job loss, and the list goes on. While we should stay engaged, informed, and follow the guidelines the officials have implemented to keep us safe and curb the spread of this virus, we also need to be proactive about taking care of our mental health.
Not only is the never-ending news cycle overwhelming but this new normal of nonstop togetherness can become difficult for parents and caretakers.
While it’s a chance to make memories and grow closer to our immediate families, it also can be challenging to not have a break from caring for our kids or loved ones.
I am a homeschooling stay-at-home Mom. Our family was blessed with a lot of togetherness prior to this outbreak. This new normal of never leaving our home has made it harder to strike a balance between being Mom and having a chance to relax and unwind.
I relied on morning time at the gym, meet-ups with friends, Bible studies, my kids planned activities, and Date Night out to take care of myself as a full-time parent. It’s been a real challenge to re-define self-care without the outlets that I previously had made a part of my day to be my best parenting self.
So, what can we practically do to avoid “compassion fatigue” that comes with the heavy news of what our world is currently facing and avoid burnout as caretakers? Here are some ideas to get you started.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/fizkes
As a family that has many years of homeschooling trials and errors behind us, here are some essential tips to help your family not just survive, but thrive, in this new and unexpected season.
No matter what hurt, loneliness, or despair plagues your heart, God is faithful to provide new mercies. God never harbors resentment for your past. This is how we live the resurrection life.
As Easter approaches each year, our family has the usual conversations about who is going to host the brunch or dinner and what church service we’ll attend. Who’s up for sunrise service and who wants to sleep in later? You probably have similar discussions.
We can easily become preoccupied with our traditions: performances, cantatas, pageants, new clothes, family gatherings, decorating the house, egg hunts, and Easter baskets. All good things. But soon one of the holiest days of the year is over.
We probably went to church, said a prayer before meals, maybe even read some Bible passages about the Last Supper, Gethsemane, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection.
But did we take time to praise God for the painful sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ, and consider how it changed our life? And how do we live that way always?
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Guilherme Stecanella
While church leaders are doing all they can to deliver meaningful worship experiences during COVID-19, live-streaming can't replace a physical act of worship. And because the same screen we're using to teach children and video-conference is now the only place for corporate worship, why not walk the stations of the cross outdoors?
Neglect happens in all areas of life, from our exercise routines, at-home responsibilities, and even our spiritual disciplines. Christians aren’t strangers to neglect in this regard. We often neglect spending time in the word, going to church, and tithing when life gets busy or we feel overwhelmed.
Neglect doesn’t have to be intentional to be harmful either. We may not choose to ignore or blatantly disregard our responsibilities. The most subtle (and often dangerous) forms of neglect come from simply forgetting or losing sight of the things we should be doing.
It’s understandable that many personal habits, routines, and life disciplines have been thrown off by the global reaction to COVID-19. Right now, the health and safety of everyone in the world is our collective priority, and we are all adapting and doing our part to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.
However, when we are tired, stressed, busy, and focused on other things—even good and important things—we’re also more likely to neglect some of the smaller, but no less significant, responsibilities of life—spiritual disciplines among them.
With that being said, here are six things Christians shouldn’t neglect even in a global pandemic.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Kalawin
Each day, we take small steps toward true love and life, remembering the hope we have because of Jesus and sharing the life and love He gives with those around us.
Especially as a parent, it's so easy to have your gut reaction to be fear led. Here are 5 steps to trading your fear for faith while facing the COVID-19 crisis.
Easter this year can be a season you never forget—and not because of a virus. Here are 7 ways to ensure that COVID-19 doesn’t rob Easter from its rightful place in our lives.
One phone call can change everything. How can you stick close by your chronically ill spouse, without burning out?
When times of crisis come, such as the pandemic of the coronavirus, Christians need a strategy for coping not only physically, but also spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. We might think the physical danger from viral disease is our only concern, but there’s far more at stake for Christ-followers.
President Trump and others liken the struggle against the coronavirus to a “war” against an invisible enemy. We have another invisible enemy, too—Satan. We can’t see him, but we see the effects of his attacks everywhere. The Bible says our adversary is seeking people to “devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Believers are admonished to put on the “armor of light” and clothe ourselves with Christ, but also to suit up in the armor of God (Ephesians 6:13-18). It’s not enough to know about the armor. We need to put on the armor and not miss a piece! As Ephesians 6:13 says, “Put on the full armor of God.”
Why? We’re fighting a war! Here are 6 steps to expect and embrace victory:
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Massonstock
Social distancing is hard, isn’t it?
You see someone you know and want to hug them or at least shake hands. Even introverts like me are struggling with the knowledge that we need to stay away from our friends and neighbors indefinitely for the greater good. Because, while we might not seek out other’s company as often as some, we like to know we can.
So how do we cope with these unfamiliar limitations for however long they might last? How do we connect with and encourage each other in a way that doesn’t result in too many people in too little space?
Here are a few ideas for spreading cheer without spreading COVID-19.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/gorodenkoff
If you’re really quiet you can almost hear it: the heartbeats of those around you. People are scared. We try to distract ourselves so we get more information, thinking it will help diminish fears. But instead, fears grow.
So what do we do when we are surrounded by fear? Here are 6 ways to demonstrate faith in the midst of widespread fear:
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages
Do you ever wonder why Scripture tells us to count it all joy when we face various trials and tribulations in life? (James 1:2-4)
Joy is an odd response to hardship and suffering.
And yet our faith promises us that God is committed to doing good when the enemy intends harm. (Genesis 50:20)
God is committed to bringing life out of death. (Romans 4:17)
God is committed to taking every bad thing that happens to us and using it to bless us. (Romans 8:28)
Trials can be a boot camp of blessings if we allow God to have His way. Here are 8 ways God wants to bless us in the coronavirus crisis:
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Motortion
Because we hold a special spot in our grandkids’ lives, we can help them enjoy the season while also still appreciating its significance. So give some serious thought to strategies for celebrating Easter in fresh, meaningful ways that will live in your grandkids’ memories for years to come.
I came across a recent post by John Onwuchekwa joking about how his time at seminary had failed to prepare him for a pastoring during a pandemic. I got a good chuckle because I imagine that it might be a course we see in the future after this!
The truth is that most pastors I know are all learning to navigate the unfamiliar waters of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the fly.
Pastoring on any other day, during any season, is not for the weak in spirit. On a good day, being the pastor of a congregation of any size will challenge you, try your faith, and test your patience. At its worst, pastoring will bring you to your knees, causing you to shake your fists toward the sky and ask, as Jesus did, “How long must I endure these people?”
But, in all seriousness, being a pastor is a wonderful privilege and calling.
During difficult and challenging seasons, like we’ve seen with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s natural for believers to turn to their pastors for guidance, strength, wisdom, and encouragement. It’s not uncommon for the church to take its cues from their pastor.
Pastors, however, are not exempt from the uncertainty and concern that comes with a worldwide crisis—health or otherwise. So what can pastors do during this time?
Here are 4 ways for pastors to shepherd their flocks through a global crisis, like a pandemic:
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/NicoElNino
While the term “mentoring” does not appear in the Bible, there is no question that the concept of spiritual mentoring is woven throughout its pages.
In the Old Testament for example, we read of Jethro mentoring Moses, and then Moses going on to mentor Joshua. Other instances of mentoring in the Old Testament can be found in the accounts of Elijah and Elisha, Naomi and Ruth, and Deborah and Barak just to name a few.
The same emphasis is echoed in the New Testament where many more examples of mentorship can be found--Elizabeth and Mary; Barnabas and Paul; Paul and Titus; Paul and Timothy; Priscilla, Aquilla, and Apollos; and Jesus and the disciples.
In fact, as we read the Gospels, we notice that Jesus focused much of His ministry on mentoring twelve outsiders that no one else would have given a second thought.
And in Paul’s writings, he talks repeatedly about the importance of living in community--sharing our knowledge, experience, and lives with others. He also urges modeling of the faith, teaching, and intentional training.
In the book of Titus, Paul goes so far as to admonish the older men and women to “mentor” the younger. Further, he worked throughout his ministry to create a culture of spiritual mentoring. Paul got it!
Certainly, the Bible declares the importance of spiritual mentoring. We need mentors. Our children need mentors. And even though parents are to be the primary disciplers of their family, children need spiritual community.
They need mature Christians to invest in their lives by sharing knowledge, experience, and wisdom. They need trusted adults who will model the faith and offer intentional training.
So, how do we go about locating such people? Consider these seven ways to help your children find spiritual mentors.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Ben White
Are you experiencing pandemic virus anxiety? What about fear of the flu epidemic? Maybe you’re afraid of the very possible and real devastation of upcoming natural disasters. Maybe you fear we are living in the end times. Perhaps you fear the next crisis.
After all, epidemics and disasters not only cause shortages, price gouging, and stock market plummeting, they can mean disease, destruction, and death.
Fear is everywhere. It surrounds us. Many of us are completely ruled by it, moment by moment, day after day. We’re panicked souls trapped in a maze chased by the enemy—and we don’t even realize it.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/s-c-s
Blind optimism says our spouse is our perfect soulmate who can do no wrong--but this only sets us up for painful disappointment. Hope and help are found in confronting the hard facts of marriage together.
Whether our roommates are believers or not, here are some ways we can show them the love of Christ and not end up wanting to tear our hair in the process.
In just a few short weeks, classification of the coronavirus (COVID-19) escalated from outbreak, to epidemic, to global pandemic; and President Trump declared an official state of emergency for the United States and its citizens. And as anyone reading this knows, the impact of this kind of global crisis extends far beyond the sickness itself.
There is not a person on this earth who hasn’t been impacted by the coronavirus, in one way or another, and right now, many people are anxious, on edge, and afraid. Some have even gone to the extreme, bunkering down and “panic purchasing” toilet paper, respiratory masks, and bottled water in preparation for the “end of the world.”
Everyone will react to crisis and fear in different ways, but in trying and uncertain times like these, how should Christians respond? When the rest of the world is afraid and loses hope, how can Christians still bring the life and love of Jesus Christ to a sick and dying world?
Here are 10 things Christians can do in faithful response to COVID-19:
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/DKosig
Resurrection eggs give you the tools you need to better convey the message of Easter to your kiddos. They are a great hands-on and age-appropriate way to help them understand the progression of events that led to Jesus' death on the cross and miraculous resurrection!
You can make a shift in a moment. You can change the direction of your attention back to God. You can go from heavy to light. From beaten down to filled up. From worry to worship.
This is not the final list. I’m still (and always will be) learning.
Most of what follows about leading God’s church is counterintuitive. Or, maybe better said: not what you might be expecting. But these 10 lessons were learned while leading, and hopefully will provide some support along your own journey of discovery.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Rawpixel
Christians often assume that if they aren’t having sex with anyone other than their spouse, then they are considered to be sexually pure.
The reality is, being sexually pure involves more than intercourse; it involves our whole person - our mind, body, heart, and even the words we speak.
One of the fastest ways to destroy a marriage is for one or both partners to give up on the fight for purity. But, how do we fight for purity in our marriages?
How do we resist temptation and protect our eyes, ears, minds, and hearts? It’s not always easy, but with guidance from God’s Word, help from the Holy Spirit, and a desire to glorify Him in all we do, we can have victory over this fight!
Below are 9 questions to discuss with your spouse in hopes of helping you fight for purity in your marriage!
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Rawpixel
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. – James 4:7
This verse gives us an elementary blueprint for living a life of peace. Simple yes, yet so far from easy. Hey, nothing worth having is easy though, right?
We can take comfort in knowing that is true. Wouldn’t it be grand if we could read that scripture and something triggers our brains to excitedly, undoubtedly respond with a simple “Alright!” and then move on, doing exactly what the verse commands? What is that like? Are you laughing uncomfortably right along with me now?
Anxiety is the silent leader in mental illness, our main ‘disruptor of peace’ complaints in the United States. Out of 40 million people that are affected, it is only reported that about 37% seek treatment.
This statistic is even higher in men as 1 in every 10 men report experiencing anxiety and depression, yet less than half reported seeking treatment. Men, we’re supposed to be tough, yeah? We just need to deal with stuff and move on. How in the world do we deal with something we can’t drink away, work and play away, or talk openly about? Let’s take a walk.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Antonio Guillem
When I learn to quiet distractions and listen to God’s instruction, I will in turn become the listener my family needs. Here are a few ways we can learn to be “quick to listen” with our family.
Since you love your family, it’s only natural for you to want to share spiritual truths and blessings with them. But if they’re unreceptive, it can make you feel rejected and alone, even in a room filled with close-knit relatives.
The threats of this world are real, but we do not stand against such threats alone. Our Heavenly Father stands with us, and in Him, we can find all we need to face such times.
Sleep is needed not just for physical reasons, but for spiritual as well. Here is more encouragement to make it a priority for your family.
Here are three ingredients to keep loving one another through the years even when our spouse has changed and the feelings don’t show up.
Loving our enemies is a foreign concept. Love and enemies are words that seem mutually exclusive. Putting the two together raises questions. When the Bible tells us to love our enemies what does that mean? Who said it? Why? How?
Many who have come out to family members in the past have been abandoned, shunned, or experienced strained relationships that they fear will never mend. As Christians, we need to prevent these types of reactions. We need to be a light, a safe haven, and a loyal friend when someone comes out. We’ll catch them by surprise when we don’t immediately lash out or turn our Bibles to Leviticus, rather, we can take our concerns to God in prayer and listen for how to love.
Early parenthood is lived as a blur. The details swirl together, nights run into the daytime, sleep is in short supply, and the survival of all involved takes what feels like a massive effort.
This season can start to take a toll on your mental well-being, relationships, and ability to thrive in other aspects of your life.
When sleep is in short-supply basic tasks can start to feel overwhelming. The events of a day can start to feel fuzzy in our minds. Long-term sleep deprivation and stress can lead to difficulty in fighting off anxious thoughts, grumpiness, and depression.
While this season is a beautiful mess, it’s not a place you want to stay forever. Eventually, you want to emerge from your sweatpants, wash that unkempt hair, and regain some control over your life again.
Actively putting effort to do more than just survive as a parent is so worth it! While there is grace for these time periods in our lives, we can’t stay in “survival mode” forever.
It’s important for us to find balance between meeting the needs of our kids and feeling like we are fully functioning as people. Setting new boundaries on how you use your time is very helpful in adjusting to your new normal.
Parenthood requires that re-evaluate what is most important to us and prioritize those things.
For a while, sleep may be at the top of that priority list! Time with your spouse may take more effort than ever before. Healthy may be something you have to actively pursue.
Whatever helps you feel your best has to come first alongside caring for your family. Everything else you may need to step back from for a bit in order to find balance in this new season of life and that is totally okay.
Here are 7 ideas on how to find your new normal.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/rustycanuck
Much of friendship involves walking alongside each other as we experience the effects of sin and disappointment in the world. This task, though overwhelming at times, has the potential to paint a beautiful picture of Jesus’ work to heal and redeem all things.
Take a look at each of the following couples from the Bible. While their marriages are far from perfect, their stories provide truly beautiful inspirations to apply to our own relationships.
Did you know that you as a Christian are called to pray for others? Interceding for others is not relegated to a few gifted people. Your conversations with God on others’ behalf can move mountains.
Pursue the ones who have found strength in God to get back up after having fallen down. Pursue the ones who have overcome the unholy ambitions of their youth. Pursue the ones who have climbed the mountain of God.
What does the word “apologetics” bring to mind? Academics arguing from podiums? Street-corner preachers? Giant tomes filled with technical theological language to make the head spin? Ancient writings in Greek or Latin from early church fathers who may have been a footnote in your world history class?
Apologetics may conjure up a variety of mental images. But at a basic level, apologetics is just a term for the reasoned defense of the Christian faith.
Let's look at five common questions about apologetics:
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages
Valentine’s Day. When you’re single, you dread it. When you’re dating, you look forward to it. When you’re married, you may not even celebrate it.
My 17-year-old daughter and her boyfriend were talking the other day, and he had a strong opinion about Valentine’s Day. He told her, “If you care about someone, you should show that person how you feel every day not just on one specific day.”
Sometimes teenagers are wise. But please don’t tell them I said that.
I’m taking his advice to heart. Starting in February, I’m committing to love my husband in a new way each month. The idea is to form new habits that deepen and strengthen my marriage. Maybe you’d like to join me? Feel free to run with my ideas or tweak them to work for you. You know your husband better than anyone else. And if you’ve let that slide along the way, this is a great time to invest in getting to know him better.
Photo Credit: Pexels/RovenImages
Mission statements help any organization to operate according to their deepest held values. Families need one too! Use these 7 scriptures as inspiration for your own.
Satan loves it when we have questions or doubts about God, and his hope is that we’ll never find our way back. I’m more than happy to inform him that my wandering is the very thing God used to draw me closer. That Satan would even care to mess with me tells me God has something magnificent in store for my life.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/fizkes
Scripture gives us beautiful couples to model our marriages after. But we are wise to look for heart, rather than checklists.
In our culture today, doing has become a badge of honor. It’s become a status symbol and the way to define ourselves.
We’ve come to believe that our worth, identity and value are tied to what we do.
It’s not true, though. It doesn’t align with the way that God defines us in His Word.
In fact, “you are what you do” is just one of seven lies we’ve come to embrace about who we are.
Why are we so quick to abandon the truth and when did we become susceptible to this particular type of deception?
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages
One of the easiest Valentine’s date events includes you, your significant other, and a great flick to put your feet up to. Valentine’s Day is a day celebrating love—but it doesn’t have to be full of ooey-gooey gushy love stuff (unless you want it to).
Selected here are 10 films that have a focal love story, but wouldn’t all necessarily be considered strictly romances. Some are just for you and your special someone, but some are for the entire family to enjoy.
So, grab your popcorn and the hand of someone you love, and relax to one of these 10 great films to watch for Valentine’s Day.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/ThitareeSarmkasat
Recently, l was made to feel unwelcome at a Women’s church event because my anxiety sometimes requires my husband to accompany me. My husband offered to come with me to this event because l have agoraphobia: a fear of being in open areas and public places, as well as being in crowds.
Even though men were present at the event, as waiters, ushers, and security personnel, we were given strict instructions to stay at the back of the hall and wait until everyone had sat down before finding a seat.
I couldn’t believe what was happening. I had just as much a right as any other woman present to sit where l wanted, and to participate in the evening’s program. And yet, l was being quarantined by the church, because my anxiety made me dependent on my husband’s support.
According to statistics, anxiety affects 7.3% of people globally. That means every 13th person sitting in a church pew has an anxiety disorder. And yet, many are feeling pushed away from churches, whose services and support are designed to meet the needs of a mainstream congregant demographic.
When we consider the rising percentages of mental illness sufferers and the increasing rate of suicides in church communities around the world, it is painfully apparent that the church simply cannot offer a “one experience for all” approach any longer.
Therefore, the following are 7 ways the church can stop quarantining people with anxiety:
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Tero Vesalainen
In light of the diversity all around us, we must learn to speak volumes with our lives at work often without saying a word. How do we do it?
5 reasons to pat yourself on the back if regular meal-sharing is a practice in your home, or 5 reasons to start making it one.
Letting God continually lead your decisions and actions requires a daily and life-long practice of placing His Way and His Word first. This can be a struggle, but it’s a struggle worth engaging in.
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (Philippians 2:5-7).
Jesus came to earth to work. He modeled a balanced life. Time with His Father was a priority. He worked performing miracles and teaching, fostered relationships with friends, and took time to rest. Laziness is an aversion to work, slowing our pace and productivity. “Laziness is not the passivity it pretends to be,” writes Paul Maxwell for Desiring God, “It is active obedience to something other than Jesus Christ.”
A balanced life includes Sabbath rest or room to breathe. But Sabbath is resting with the intent on surrendering our efforts to God, not in setting goals to sit down and be idle. When we’re doing the work of the Lord, His balance produces joy both while we work and while we rest, wasting no purpose for any of it.
Media is something we must manage well in modern life if we want to remain productive and informed. And it is something we must control if we want to thrive spiritually.