Levels of anxiety peaked when PTSD settled in. Every nerve seemed ready to burst out of my skin at any moment. I couldn’t settle the sensation down.
Friends attempted encouragement through words, prayer, and scripture. I tried much of the same. No matter how many soothing moments I experienced, the effects didn’t stick.
While truth impacted my soul, I still felt jumpy. Worship music ministered comfort to my heart, and I believed God was working through it all— but my body didn’t get the memo.
Have you ever felt like this?
It’s easy to feel like you’ve failed as a Christian when Christian deeds don’t instantly make everything better.
For some reason, people like me believe the right path will get us to the outcomes we want. As a result, we place expectations on ourselves and God that aren’t realistic. When our carefully chosen plans don’t result in full and lasting relief, defeat clings.
Choices are important, but they aren’t the full picture. Unattended trauma resides in bodies unaware. Stressful and painful incidents accumulate.
Sometimes, even though you know Philippians 4:6; you can’t “not be anxious.’ What then? Here are seven helpful tips:
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Worshiping God should happen in every aspect of our lives--not just while we sit in church pews. The beautiful news is that worshiping with your spouse not only supports your intimacy with God, but also with eachother.
Type the question “Who is Jesus?” into your computer search bar, and you’ll find 622,000,000 results. That’s well over half a billion answers!
Christians know there is so much more to Jesus than what’s found on the Internet, but how do we explain Jesus in a way that is simple enough to be clear, yet scripturally rich enough to be compelling?
Here are ten suggestions for explaining who Jesus is to a non-believer. The first five suggestions discuss how to share Jesus; the last five discuss what to share about Jesus.Photo Credit: Unsplash/KellySikkema
Frozen family relationships are so multilayered and can happen over so many years that reconciliation can ever be possible. But even if the other person doesn't budge, you can still be sure you are pleasing God with how you treat them--and nothing softens hearts like the love of Christ.
“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20)
It’s no surprise that the enemy of God turned up in the Garden of Eden. Satan knew that if he could cause division between husband and wife, and their Creator, it would be a small win for him.
What the enemy didn’t understand then, and continues to forget now, is that the mighty power of God can overcome any division in marriage. For when two or more are gathered in the name of Jesus, He is with them. By His strength, every couple can fight the enemy and succeed.
No matter how that ancient serpent—the devil—is attacking your marriage today, you can fight back. Here are 7 commitments married couples can make to fight the enemy together:Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/digitalskillet
Here are 7 ways God can work mightily through husbands to bring healing from child abuse, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and psychological abuse to their wives.
The deeper question for believers affected by 'disordered eating' is not only how did this issue become so pervasive, but does God have anything to say about it?
God’s grace, coupled with effective medical treatment, is the most powerful way to cure the invisible injuries that PTSD inflicts on survivors of traumatic events.
We were pulling into the parking lot of my church when the DJ mentioned a controversy surrounding a burgeoning Christian recording artist. Apparently, she had appeared on a popular daytime talk show and there was an uproar about it. I was waiting to hear what had happened on the show that caused such a stink. What did she do?
Then I realized, with sinking dread, she didn’t do anything. Nothing happened. There was no incident, per say. Her crime was just showing up. Because, you see, the talk show host is gay.
My heart sank.
Are we reading the same Bible? I know what Scripture says about that issue and let me be clear, I’m not here to debate or deny that.
But who did Jesus hang out with?
To love the lost like Jesus, we need to move in closer.
Some read the story of the widow giving two small coins all wrong (Mark 12:42). Some see it as Jesus okaying giving the Lord next to nothing. Truth is, He is applauding the woman for giving her all to God.
As you open your eyes to the world around you, be prepared for God to enlarge your world and your heart through the immigrants and refugees He brings into your life.
Christmas lights, music, and decorations bring brightness to home and family. It makes my heart happy to “sprinkle” Christmas through every corner of my house. I love the family movie nights with special Christmas treats, and I adore the month-long party celebrating Jesus’ birth. But it takes a massive amount of energy to plan and execute this type of Christmas, so it makes sense to start in November.
But Christmas preparations can overshadow Thanksgiving. Soon Thanksgiving turns into a day to relax and watch football. Or it’s a time to plan a strategy to score the best of the Black Friday shopping deals. And neither of these are wrong ways to spend Thanksgiving, but Thanksgiving is so much more than that. It’s a time to remember.
Tattoos are more popular than ever. Currently one in five U.S. adults has at least one tattoo (21percent) which is up from the 16 percent and 14 percent who reported having a tattoo in 2003 and 2008, respectively, by the Harris Poll. Entertainers, professional athletes, and even a 2009 version of Barbie, have multiple, and very visible, tattoos. With such prevalence and rising interest, Christians rightfully ask what the Bible says about tattoos.
The short answer is...nothing. At least nothing definitive. The Bible makes no specific reference to tattoos as we understand them in modern times. Some Christians condemn all tattooing as immoral because God clearly forbids them in Leviticus 19:28. Since the word tattoo does appear in this verse in some popular English translations, this argument seems straightforward. For example, the NIV reads, “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.”
Other Christians say this passage no longer applies to us because it is Old Testament law, and not for Christians. If you go online to try to answer the tattoo question, you’ll see both approaches and contradictory conclusions. Both of these approaches, however, are misleading because, as we will see, the answer to the tattoo question is that the Bible has nothing clear to say about the practice of injecting ink under the skin to form permanent pictures, patterns or messages—a.k.a. tattooing.
Whether you love it or hate it, Halloween is a great time for Christians to do more than stock up on candy: it’s a time to talk to our kids about how to bring light into a dark world.
You’ll notice that these topics aren’t firmly in either the “for” or “against” camp when it comes to the practice of celebrating Halloween. That’s because, in my opinion, questions about whether Christians should decorate, celebrate, read particular books, or dress up in certain ways on October 31st or any other time of year are applications of much broader questions, like how people of faith approach death, fear, the supernatural world, and our testimony to others.
The discussion-starters below are just ideas meant to prompt you to bring up other related questions—even better, ask your kids what they’ve wondered about related to Halloween, the occult, magic, and what the Bible says about these topics. That way, they’ll know that no subject is off-limits. Christian families should be able to discuss anything from a biblical worldview, and it’s the best place for conversations like that to happen!
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Though unintentional, sometimes we can make others feel insecure. If we're aware of some of the ways it’s possible, we can be more sensitive. Here are 6 ways to be helpful.
Where does the phrase "your body is a temple" come from? Why does the matter for Christians?
Your kids are nearing that age where romance seems a little less yucky and somewhat intriguing. Don’t assume that just because they don’t talk to you about that they aren’t thinking about it!
As parents, we need to be prepared to help guide our kids in their thinking about dating, courtship, and marriage. Remember, your kids are your disciples and it’s vital that you help them think Biblically about marriage and choosing a spouse.
Unfortunately, the world lies to our kids about three basic aspects of marriage: marriage isn’t necessary, marriage isn’t forever, and marriage isn’t just between a man and a woman. Let’s dig a little deeper into what messages our kids are receiving from these lies.Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/digitalskillet
Grief is a personal journey. No can tell you how to grieve, or for how long. But by the grace of God, here are 4 encouragements that can transform your grieving into worship.
I glanced around the crowded restaurant searching for words but to my embarrassment, my mind was blank. I was sitting across from my husband, but I felt like I was on a blind date with someone I barely knew. It was our first kid-free night out together in the better part of a year and although I had been looking forward to the night, it had taken an unexpected turn.
In an attempt to take advantage of the small window of time we had together, my husband had suggested we not talk about our jobs or our children but instead just focus on enjoying each other’s company. Only four minutes into our kid-and-work-free conversation, here we were, awkwardly fumbling through a conversation about the weather.
How could we have nothing else to talk about? We’d been a couple for almost a decade, we were raising three kids and balancing ministry and career together. We were pros at running the bedtime routine, packing lunches, and checking homework. We’re even decent at coordinating our weekly schedules. But when all of that was off-limits and we were left to just talk about us, the conversation was shallow and dare I even say, uncomfortable.
We want open discussion until someone's opinion differs. Then we form a wall around our heart. So how do we break this cycle and empower each other instead? We practice the element of 'platinum faith' that responds instead of reacts.
It's just a fact of life that couples will fight. But these fights don't have to damage the relationship! Instead, they can even strengthen it.
You’ve had an idea for a long time of something you would really like to do. It tugs at the back of your mind in quiet moments when you’re driving, jogging, cooking, walking, gardening, or waking up in the morning. But you’re not sure if it's something God wants you to do. How can you know without a doubt that God will be on this big adventure with you?
I was in a similar position while in seminary. I was sure God had me enroll but I wasn’t sure what He wanted me to do when I graduated. I was working on a Master of Arts in Christian Leadership with a focus on equipping the laity, but I had no idea what to do with that degree when I finished.
I was confident it would be something in the business world since I had an MBA and was working in management. The only caveat I gave the Lord was “Please don’t ask me to work in women’s ministry,” where I had no gifts or interests—or so I thought.
Looking back, I see the Lord took me through the following 10 steps to guide me into the biggest leap of faith I’ve ever taken in my life. I trust that these steps will help you, too as you contemplate acting on your “stretch” idea that seems impossible but you just can’t shake.
Do you have your leap of faith in mind? Here are 10 steps to help you determine if your leap of faith is in God’s will:
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Cultivating an attitude of gratitude will change your life.
That’s a bold statement but it’s backed up by science, experience and God’s Word.
Studies show that giving thanks actually changes our brain. Practicing gratitude has been shown to make us happier, sleep better, stress less, and even recover from certain illnesses more quickly.
I’ve seen incredible benefits of gratitude in my own experience. After my husband died and I became a sudden widow and single mom, I desperately needed to see good when life felt so bad.
I began intentionally thanking God each day. And while my circumstances didn’t change, my heart did.
I began to see God’s hand all around me. I saw His personal and practical love for me. I realized that even in my deep loss I’d been greatly blessed, and I began to treasure the simple, ordinary things in life.
Of course, the results of studies and experience shouldn’t surprise us because the Bible is full of verses that tell us about the power of gratitude.Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Sergei Akulich
Jesse and I have been on a mission for the last couple of years to be completely debt-free by the time we are 33.
We were following the Dave Ramsey method for quite a long time, but as life got more busy, we became far too relaxed with our spending money and weren’t being as wise as we should have been with our finances. We were ready to start fresh!
I recently shared on my Instagram Stories that the amount of money we were spending (specifically on food) literally made me sick to my stomach.
I honestly avoided looking over my bank statements for a while because I knew how reckless we were being with our money, but once we finally did, it was a huge eye-opener. Over the past two months, we have implemented these six tips listed below. And in less than 60 days, we have cut our spending money completely in half!
It has been such a huge blessing to us (and to our savings accounts.) Although it takes self-discipline, we feel so much better that we are putting away so much more for our family.
Here are six tips to help you cut your spending money in half:
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As a believer, how do you resist the urge to pretend or play the social media game to win people over? How do you use social media instead of it using you?
What if we altered our thinking about hospitality as one of “entertaining” to that of “relationship”?
Anxiety is both a mental health issue and spiritual issue. Here is how Christians can deal with their anxiety with God.
When we recognize our is in an eternal being created by God, for God, in God’s image, and fully known and loved by God, we are more able to see the soul of the person behind the behavior.
Intimacy—“into me see”-- requires safety and vulnerability, but to be vulnerable means you must trust the other person. You must know them and base your decisions on that knowledge. Trust is based on truth.
Are women supposed to be all-tolerating doormats? Can we express anger and yet not sin?
Monica Swanson, author of BOY MOM, shares how she prepares her sons to make the right kinds of friends, and therefore the right kinds of influences.
As Christians, we are called to be salt and light. So before you share a post, first verify the veracity. Not sure? Don’t post it. If you're sure it's true, then ask if it passes the Ephesians 4:29 test: Is it wholesome? Does it build others up? Does it benefit all who read it?
I’ll always remember when it was my turn to hold my first grandchild. Jude, the one who made me a grandma. Tears welled up in my wide-open eyes. Tears of joy. This was something special, something I wanted to do right. So I made up my mind, I would always be grateful.
I also decided that I would abide by the rules set by their parents. In that way, I would be honoring my son and daughter-in-law. In Exodus 20:12, God tells us to honor our fathers and our mothers. And I feel I am demonstrating to my grandchildren what honoring someone looks like when I abide closely to the rules their parents have lovingly set out for them.Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/monkeybusinessimages
Are you actively caring for a loved one in your family? Or do you love someone who is giving of their time, resources, and attention in the service of someone who needs a great deal of care?
Caregivers bless others with constant kindness. And because they give so much, I wanted to know what kindnesses caregivers need to refuel. So I invited caregivers to a meeting.
I knew it would be a short meeting because that’s the only kind I knew caregivers could attend. They typically enjoy little time away from their loved ones, and I wanted to be sensitive to that. More importantly, I wanted to give voice to their needs.
When everyone was seated, I gave them each a small bouquet of flowers.
“I want you to know you are appreciated,” I said. People cried to the left and right of me.
“I want you to relax, this meeting is for you,” I said, smiling.
“From your experience, what do you wish your friends knew you needed as a caretaker?”
Here are the 10 important needs they shared, and suggestions for giving to the caregivers in your life:
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You usually don’t find out through confession. Instead you stumbled onto his computer or phone. You found images of naked women and pornographic websites he went to.
It’s such a kick in the gut. It’s a low blow. You feel betrayed, after all you had the perfect marriage. You married a Christian guy. You thought he only had eyes for you. You’ve been lied to. But even worse, you feel as though your marriage vows had been violated. Your love had been violated.
Next comes the emotions of rage, hurt, anger, and feelings of inadequacy. Millions of questions roll through your head: Am I fit enough? Do I need to lose weight? Don’t I tell him I love him enough? Sex--am I not giving it to him enough?
Unfortunately, you aren’t the only one who’s marriage has been violated by pornography. However, it’s not just a problem affecting men. Women, teenagers and children are also caught in the web of pornography.
Like your marriage, the church isn’t immune either. Reports and studies over the last few years show a disturbing picture. Christians are engaging in porn at almost the same rate as the secular population. The fact is, porn is being watched by women nearly as much as men.
According to 15 Mind Blowing Facts about Pornography and Church, here are some alarming statistics:
1. Nearly 40 million Americans are regular visitors to porn sites. The average visit last 6 minutes and 29 seconds with 55 percent of married men and 25 percent of married women say that they watch porn at least once a month. 2. 47 % of families in the United States reported pornography in their home. 3. Pornography increases the infidelity rate by 300%. 56% of divorces involve one party having an obsessive interest in porn. 4. 11 is the average age a child is first exposed to porn, and 94 % of children will see it by the age of 14.
So…what should you do?Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Vasyl
Serving is more than a short-lived distraction from your own suffering; it is a powerful and restorative antidote. It’s a transformative way of life that facilitates healing, health, and hope.
You child's body image depends heavily on how you talk about it at home. Here are 7 ways to instill a healthy, positive self-image into his children.
Claiming forgiveness yet demonstrating hypocritical behavior is not bringing people into a relationship with God. Here are four ways each of us can allow God to overcome our hypocrisy.
Any system that surrounds our childhood can be extremely difficult to escape. How can you heal from legalism and embrace Jesus life-giving grace?
As a single woman, when is the right time to move into a place of your own? Can roommates be good anything but drama?
The years tend to take their toll on us physically, emotionally and can even impact the issue of being attracted to, and by, our mate.
While reading the New Testament in particular, we often hear about the Pharisees, most notably when Jesus engages them during his life on earth. Who exactly was he talking about?
I'm patient, compassionate and encouraging to others. I have all the tolerance in the world for others, but I'm mean to myself.
As Christians, the questions of calling and vocation become even more challenging when we factor God’s will into the equation. However, our career might not be as important to God as we think.
It is often the commitment to do the little things in marriage that make the difference in our daily joy and closeness. Here are 10 small things you can do today to strengthen your marriage.
Anxiety over tomorrow’s concerns will rob you of the strength for today. Getting stuck in worry will steal your joy and render you ineffective for the work God wants to do through your life. If Satan can keep you immobilized by fear he can steal from you the zeal to serve Christ in this generation.
In my new book You Welcomed Me: Loving Refugees & Immigrants Because God First Loved Us, I share how the way we respond to the immigrant and refugee crisis—whether we decide to be “for them or against them”—will shape what kind of family, community, and country we want to be. As a parent myself, this response begins on the family level. I can’t say I truly care about the practice of welcome if I’m not living it out and modeling it as a father.
Hot-button political issues like this can feel daunting to discuss with our children, but we shouldn’t avoid it. There is so much more at stake than politicians debating over cable news. For others, real lives are impacted daily. For ourselves, intentionally choosing how to respond to in our own daily lives will help shape us into who God calls us to be.
That’s why Aimee Fritz and I created the You Welcomed Me Family Toolkit (available here) to provide parents with simple ways to grow as a welcoming family. Based on that, here are seven practical ways to engage your children on these topics and grow together in welcoming.
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Changes don’t have to hurt. They can instead, usher a new, fresh beginning. They can bring to light a new horizon of God’s hand-picked surprises.
God has the power to take the shattered pieces of our lives and make something beautiful out of them.
Yes, your husband loves you. Yes, he wants to be with you. But if he’s typical of most men, he also needs his space, perhaps even more than you do.
While you juggle your work and your kids’ schedules, and try to coordinate dinner times, evening meetings, volunteering at church, and getting together with friends now and then, your husband juggles a lot, himself. He’s often trying to meet demands at work, satisfy the expectations of his wife, be available to his children, take time for his aging parents, and carry the responsibility of spiritually leading his family.
In my own husband’s words, “Sometimes I just need time to breathe.”
Yet, without realizing it, you and I can suck the life out of our husbands through our emotional insecurities or drain them dry through constant talk about finances, our fears and failures, our anxieties, our weight, or whatever else is stressing us out at the moment.
I did that to my husband just recently. I emotionally reacted to a financially stressful situation without taking it to my spiritual Husband first and letting God filter out my feelings, fears, and anxieties. The result of my emotional meltdown was that I sucked the life and enthusiasm out of my husband’s morning and ended up with another example for a Crosswalk article on what NOT to do.
Here are seven ways to give your husband breathing room so he can decompress, think straight, and desire your presence again:
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Joshua Harris announces on Instagram that he no longer considers himself a Christian. Evangelical songwriter Marty Sampson now says the same. The Internet is atwitter on all of it: from atheists, to Christians, and everyone in between. Here’s how to think about it in the light of grace.
However, the armor of God in Ephesians is not designed to equip elite Christian soldiers, while other (less committed) Christians serve as civilians. Rather, it is given to enable all of us to be prepared Christian soldiers, in an often hostile world.
When given a chance, bitterness grows like weeds in a garden. I don’t purposely plant them, but they grow and can take over swiftly. I must pull them up by the root to get rid of them. Certain attitudes bring on bitterness just as quickly as those old weeds in my garden.
Christians may be tempted to see themselves on a moral high ground with their secular friends in the valley below … but the truth is we’re all in the valley.
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.