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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3 Reasons Why God's Word Is More Than Just Another Book

As a Christian, your relationship with Jesus has a direct correlation with your relationship with His Word. God’s Word will take on a whole new meaning in your life and will begin to transform your heart when you realize that God’s Word is a gift to you just like Jesus himself. When I started reading God’s Word more, God’s supernatural power transformed my life. I learned that God’s word isn’t just valuable, it’s the most valuable gift I would ever receive. Here are three reasons why…

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How to Wait Well – Sex, Relationships, and the Single Life

Sometimes, waiting for a spouse or the fulfillment of a deep desire can feel like an eternity. You have been “good” your whole life. All your friends are finding love, getting married, and having babies. You long for more - a companion, a partner, someone to love you and for you to love. But you are still waiting. So, how are you waiting? Why are you waiting? Waiting is hard, but waiting well is even harder…

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3 Ways to Pray With Purpose

Prayer is powerful. Many of us have heard stories about the power of prayer in the lives of others. We might've even experienced that power first hand! Not only is prayer powerful, but God asks us to pray to Him. He says that He hears our prayers and answers them. So, if we've heard and seen the stories that attest to the power of prayer and we know it's something that God wants us to do, why is it such a struggle for us to do it? 

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4 Essentials of Vertical Community

God calls us to participate in the process of becoming more and more like Jesus Christ, and He calls us to do it in community. Being in community reminds us of who Jesus is, and what He has done. It is impossible for us to remind ourselves of this consistently when we are living alone! So when we gather together, here are four things we can do to maximize our time with God's people…

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