Purposeful Parenting: 3 Important Times to Engage With and Love Your Children Well

In sixth grade, I decided to give basketball a try. I was fast and I was determined, but that was about all I had going for me. I remember those first games sitting on the bench, anxiously waiting for the coach to yell my name and pull me into the game. There are many times in parenting when we are on the bench – when we are at work, when the kids are at school, when they are sleeping, or when they are playing or working independently. But there are times that the coach yells our name and we have to be ready to give it our all. Here are a few key times as parents when we need to get our game face on…

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The Ease of Being Saved

It’s easy to be saved. Think about it. If you are the one in danger and someone swoops down and puts themselves in harm’s way to save you, out of the two of you, you have the easy job.  Just stand there and let your hero do the hard work. Sometimes if we’re saved from a life-threatening illness, we gain a renewed sense of purpose in life and go on to be a better person, but in most cases, eating healthy or adding exercise to our daily routine may or may not last. We’re thankful for another day and we hope to have gained some wisdom in the process. It’s easy to be saved – but it’s life-changing to be transformed…

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How To Benefit From Reading The Bible

People delay getting into God’s Word because it’s hard to know where to start and how to do it correctly. And I get that. The Bible is a big book and parts of it are really complicated. But here’s a thought: just do it! Just grab your Bible and read it. The goal is to view God’s Word for what it is — life-giving and life-sustaining. It is living and active and has the ability to read us and get to the heart of our lives, and in turn, we will see fruit and faithfulness as a result. And even though that might seem intimidating, it’s really not that hard. Here are some steps to learn how to REAP the benefit of reading God’s Word on a daily basis…

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When I Don't Get to Know

I like to know. I like knowing what we’re having for dinner, what we’re doing tomorrow, what the weather will be like. I’ll schedule out every hour of a vacation. When it comes to my faith, I like knowing as well. I like knowing what God is working on in my life. I like knowing where He’s leading me. I like knowing what’s in store. It’s easy to follow God when you can see where He’s taking you. But when you don’t get to know? That’s a different ballgame. So what do we do then? How do we protect ourselves against anxiety, against frustration, against doubt in the seasons when we don’t get to know what God’s doing?

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When Life Doesn't Go As Planned

I’m a planner. I like knowing what my day, my week, my month — even what my year is going to look like. But what happens when things don’t go according to my plan? When we face adversity, when life gets hard, when people turn their backs on us, when money is tight, when life goes left when we thought it’d go right, we tend to lose hope and give up. We are quick to think about what could’ve been and we allow our disappointment to lead us into a dead end. You might think that you’re going to be stuck in this dead end forever. But don’t lose hope…

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Forgiveness is the Only Option

We’ve all been there. My day was cruising along, the sun was out, and BAM! Out of nowhere, a car pulls out right in front of me in the village. A loved one criticizes my words spoken in truth and love. My spouse gives me the cold shoulder after a fight in the car on the way home from church. These are just a few examples in my life where I had to make a choice — a choice to forgive.  Not long ago, it would have been impossible. Impossible because I would have had to do it in my own strength. Before I realized that I had been forgiven, and that the blood of my Savior paid for it all. In his strength, and by his blood, I can choose forgiveness.

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You Before Me: Who Is Your First Love?

We all remember what it feels like to fall in love. It is so easy to get swept up in these feelings and wonder, “How did I get so lucky?” But then it happens. Maybe they simply put on a few pounds, are always at work, or seem to have no time for you. Pretty soon you may even start to feel like you are falling out of love. And therein lies the problem. If you are spending your time and effort making sure to love your spouse first, you're setting your marriage up for failure. We live in a society that tells us that you need to love your spouse first and love yourself second. This is pretty good advice but it’s missing the key ingredient…Jesus Christ!

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How To Use God's Word As A Weapon In War

If we’re being real, life can feel like a constant war with one battle after the other. We face battles at home, at work, with family, and in our mind. Yet in the midst of these constant struggles, God is fully aware of what we’re going through and is ready to equip us for every battle. But he has not just equipped us for defense in order to withstand attack. After all the defensive pieces, God finishes our equipping with a weapon… a weapon so that we do not have to constantly be under attack, but can go on the offensive! This weapon is the Word of God…

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God's Answer to My Biggest Fears

From an outside perspective, some fears may seem unthreatening, small, even laughably unrealistic. But to the person experiencing the fear, it can produce an unimaginable amount of stress! We’re not talking about the precautionary signals that our brain sends us – what I’m addressing is the overwhelming, obsessive fear of the unknown or what could be, which many times falls into an irrational or improbable category. If left unchecked, it has the potential to endlessly colonize in the mind and hinder us from living the life God wants us to live. So, what is God’s answer to our biggest fears…

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Engaging the Darkness - 3 Keys to Waging the War on Depression

At times it feels as though I’m at a train station that has two destinations. One is to happiness and joy; the other is to despair and disappointment. As I depart, I feel a cold sweat break over me. I’m on the wrong track again. Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you’re a frequent visitor with a platinum pass to this place of terror, loneliness, and self-loathing. If so — prepare for battle. This is how we wage the war on depression…

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What Kind of Fool Are You?

There have been more than a few times in my life where I have made a decision that left me feeling like a fool. Each of those foolish decisions produced negative consequences to varying degrees in my life. I don’t like feeling foolish, nor do I like the consequences of my foolish decisions. If I could help it, I would never make a foolish decision again. As we search God’s Word for remedies to our foolishness, we find that the book of Proverbs offers us a treasure trove of wisdom. Proverbs describes at least three different types of fools and offers solutions…

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When I Feel Like a Failure

Raise your hand if you love Jesus. Keep it up if you believe the Gospel. Now, keep it up if you also believe you’re a failure. Is your hand still up? Then we’ve got a problem. Maybe you feel this way because your past was such a mess. Or because you went back to the place you promised you’d never go again. Or because your parents called you one so often, it must be true. Or because your circumstances seem to be proving it. Whatever the reason, you feel like a failure. What’s worse: you believe it.

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Jesus: The Source of My Joy

Where do you find your joy? Do you find it in your job? Your spouse? Your children? Every human heart has a longing to experience joy. On this side of eternity we experience joy, but not the perfect joy we were designed for. We know only the shadows of this joy. There’s only one person who can bring us the joy we really long for — and that person is Jesus…

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Peace with God

Sin always robs peace. Sin creates relational strife. When we choose to demand our own way, this collides with others demanding their own way. Conflict always ensues. Sin causes the inner turmoil of guilt and shame. We carry the regret of unmet expectations, disappointment, and bitterness. The only way to achieve lasting peace is to deal with the problem of sin.  So, in an effort to restore peace — to end the conflict we created when we chose to sin — God does the extraordinary…

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The Father’s Love

Did you know that God waited for 22 chapters in His book before He used the word “love”? He never says He loved Adam and Eve. Noah may have been a good guy, but God didn’t use the word “love” as He described Noah’s faithful obedience. Scripture doesn’t record God telling Abraham how much He loved him when He called him to leave his hometown and travel to the land of Canaan. No, God saved the word “love” for the exact right time to use it…

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Jesus: The Anchor of My Hope

Despair is the absence or loss of all hope. It’s the moment you’re no longer mad or sad or confused or even discouraged - you’re just simply existing. The only thing we can place our hope in is God, His promises, and His proven character. God is the only one who will never let us down. He will never disappoint us or turn away from us. His promises are secure and forever. So, how does someone move from despair to hope? Here are some very practical steps to walking out of despair and into hope again…

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The Gospel is Better Than That Viral Video

It seems like every day there’s a new video that demands the world’s attention. But there is a dark side to this viral culture that tends to capture one of two things. It either celebrates the best moments of someone’s life or it looks on in horror at the absolute worst moments. There is something about watching people fail or get embarrassed that fascinates us. There is something in us that wants to join in with the jr. high crowd from our nightmares and laugh at that person. It’s not a great look for us either…

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3 Ways to Exercise Your Generosity Muscle

As believers, generosity is a muscle that needs to be exercised. This is something God calls us to do - “Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” He has even said that, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Generosity is a simple, yet profound way to display the heart of the Father to a needy and selfish world. It’s also a practical way to curb our selfish tendencies. Here are three things you can do to exercise your generosity muscle today.

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10 Resources for Reading and Applying God's Word

We believe that when we’re all in on God’s Word, we will experience God’s supernatural power to transform our hearts. And you don’t need special classes or an advanced degree to read and study God’s Word for it to have it’s transformative effect in your life. Plus, there are plenty of resources that we can use that will help us grow in our ability to better understand God’s Word and apply it to our lives. Check out some of the following resources…

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