In addition to providing uplifting music, K-LOVE has ten full-time pastors to give you Christian advice and as you walk through the challenges of life. The following are some common answers to questions that listeners have about marriage, faith, the Bible and a host of other topics. If you have a question for one of our pastors not listed below, feel free to contact us.

Addictive Behavior

First, it’s important to make an honest assessment of your addiction. Admit that you have a problem, and don’t live in denial. Remember, your addiction does not define you. You are still a child of God, loved, and accepted. It’s important that as you embrace the road to freedom from bad habits, you see yourself correctly, just as God sees you. God calls you more than a conqueror. (Romans 8:37) This is your identity. Anytime you engage in a bad habit, you forget who you are and who’s you are. It depends on the power of God to set you free. Focus on loving Jesus with all your heart. True, lasting transformation takes place when we take the focus off of ourselves and focus on Christ. Now, you will fail sometimes, so make sure you give yourself grace. Run to God, not from him when you fail. Take it one day at a time. Don’t isolate yourself and make sure you establish a healthy support system that will hold you accountable.

The temptation to engage in pornography, is most likely to come when you haven’t spent much time with God, had enough rest, feel exhausted and overwhelmed, or are struggling to experience true intimacy in your life. Here are a few actions you can take to help you break free from the hold of pornography:

  1. Make An Honest Assessment Of Your Addiction: You have a problem and you cannot deny it, justify it, minimize it, or rationalize it.
  2. Take responsibility for immediate action. Stop feeding your addiction! Get rid of all pornographic materials and avoid places that would offer it.
  3. Begin a serious effort to build a godly life. Start with prayer. Confess your sins (I John 1:9; Psalm 51:10-12, Jeremiah 29:13). Give yourself to Christ (Romans 12:1). Renew your mind with God’s word (Romans 12:2). Learn to control your thought life (2 Corinthians 10:4-5; Philippians 4:8) and set up a network of accountability, holding yourself accountable to other, mature Christians who can encourage and monitor your behavior (James 5:16). And finally, remember that addictions are a result of what we believe. Choosing to believe that pornography will satisfy your deepest desire is a lie. When someone watches pornography, the message they are sending God is that “porn is more satisfying than God.” That is a lie. Pornography will not satisfy. We must remember that our ultimate satisfaction is in Jesus and him alone. Focus on loving Christ, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, your addiction will be broken.
One way we can know we are addicted is when we make statements such as, “I need to have it” or “I can’t live without it.” Whatever that thing is that we “need” is our god. We might not be so direct to call it a god, but if we can’t live without it, then we are addicted to it, and that is our god. We must remember that this “god” will not satisfy our deepest desires; only God will. 1 Corinthians 6:12 says, “I have the right to do anything, but I will not be mastered by anything.” Ask yourself the question-Is this mastering me? If it is, that is a clear sign that you are addicted. 

Smoking is never directly mentioned in the Bible. We do find that there are principles that apply to smoking. The Bible commands us not to allow our bodies to become "mastered" by anything. "Everything is permissible for me -- but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me -- but I will not be mastered by anything" (1 Corinthians 6:12). Later in the same passage, we are told, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Smoking is undoubtedly very bad for your health and is strongly addictive. So as believers, we are to be on guard and refuse to be mastered and enslaved by anything. One question that may be helpful to ask is, “Is this spiritually beneficial?” If it’s not, then I would encourage you to stay away. If it hinders our walk with Jesus, it’s not beneficial.

First, we are called to confess our sins and repent. We must remember that when we ask for forgiveness, our God is faithful and will forgive us (1John 1:9). Don’t live in condemnation. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). We also need to remember that when we sin, we are not only breaking the law of God but the heart of God as well. Therefore, it is vital to have a proper view of sin because it breaks the heart of God.  All of us have sins that we are battling with. Even the mighty Paul had this problem. “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do -- this I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:18-19) Sin never rests. It desires to kill us and make us slaves. Never forget this truth-Sin always overpromises and always underdelivers. We fight sin by focusing our attention on Jesus, not ourselves. True and lasting transformation takes place when we take the focus off ourselves and place it on Jesus. Our deepest desire as humans is to fellowship with God and others. Sin says that God is not enough. Remember, God is enough and he is ultimately what will satisfy us. As Christians, we are not fighting for victory, but from victory. And finally, stay in fellowship with other Christians and make sure you have accountability in your life. 
The book of James says we all sin in different ways (James 3:2). This means that each of us has what may be called “besetting” sins. These besetting sins are habits that we developed in our lives.  Part of the process of overcoming these habitual, or besetting, sins is in recognizing the transformation that has indeed taken place within the believer. Paul writes, "So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:11). When Paul says, "consider yourselves dead to sin," he is telling us to remember that in coming to Christ, the power of sin has been broken in our lives. We conquer sin by ultimately fixing our eyes on Jesus, not ourselves. When we sin, we are essentially saying that sin brings more pleasure than the presence of God. Therefore, the answer is not trying harder or disciplining ourselves, but focusing on loving Jesus with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. When you do sin, run to Jesus, not from him. 1John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Remember, forgiveness is promised when we confess. God never runs out of grace.

We face a lot of temptations today because three things work against us- the world, our sinful nature and Satan. Satan wants to undermine our faith by using different deceptive schemes to entice us to fall and sin, sowing within us the seeds of doubt, unbelief and rebellion. Two of his powerful temptations were those of Adam and Eve in the Garden, in which he achieved his purpose, and of Jesus in the wilderness, which he failed. We see his favorite tool is to tamper with the Word of God. The Bible calls Christians to stand firm in the faith and to watch out for temptations. God promises to help us resist temptation and has given us everything we need to live victorious (2 Peter 1:3-4). His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his glory and goodness.

Biblical Questions

There are two equal and opposite errors to avoid when studying demons. One is to avoid that they exist. The other is to have an unhealthy preoccupation with them that we underestimate God’s power over them. When Satan, who was once the angel Lucifer, rebelled against God and fell from heaven (Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28), one-third of the angelic host joined his rebellion (Rev. 12). These fallen angels are now known as demons. We know their destiny when Matthew 25:41 says "Then He will say to those on His left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.'"  We see that hell was prepared for the devil and his angels who are the fallen angels. The encouraging news is, “Greater is He who is within us (Jesus) then He who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Jesus is for us so let’s live for Him. 
Several passages in the Bible indicate we will maintain our identity in heaven and be recognized by our loved ones. For example, Jesus makes it a point in Matthew 22:31-32 that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were alive and existing as individuals by those names. Also, in Matthew 17:1-8, Peter, James and John recognized Moses and Elijah. In 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 Paul expected to recognize in heaven fellow believers to whom he had been ministering to on earth. Also, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:12 says, “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.” That last phrase would indicate that we shall know others as well as be known by others.
The Ten Commandments are ten laws in the Bible that God gave to the nation of Israel. The first four commandments deal with our relationship with God. The last six commandments deal with our relationships with one another. The Ten Commandments are recorded in Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21: 1) "You shall have no other gods before me" 2) "You shall not make for yourself an idol" 3) "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God" 4) "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy" 5) "Honor your father and your mother" 6) "You shall not murder" 7) "You shall not commit adultery" 8) "You shall not steal" 9) "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor" 10) "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor." Ultimately, the ten commandments were given to show us how good we could NOT be and be our schoolteacher to lead us to Jesus Christ who ultimately fulfilled the Law on our behalf and makes us right with God. (Galatians 3:13; 24)
Being confused and double-minded can be discouraging. The term "Double-Minded" is only used here and again in James 4:8. It means "one who has two souls, one who is wavering and inconstant." We are all too aware when we feel unstable because we lack settled principles and swayed by popular opinion. James describes the person as "unstable" because they are constantly wavering between two opinions. We have the privilege to be transformed by renewing our minds, not being conformed to the world (Romans 12:1-2). As we think biblically, our mind is directed to principles that produce a passion for Jesus and stability in Jesus. In James 4:8, we are given the antidote, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands purify your hearts, you double-minded.” What a privilege we have exposed our minds to God who promises to be with us and stabilize our lives for His purposes.
The Bible is loaded with direction and guidance for us. The purpose of a horoscope is basically to foretell the future. Astrology believes that planets and stars influence our lives. Newspapers often have a horoscope column. However, the Bible describes fortunetelling/astrology as divination, sorcery, and hidden arts (Deuteronomy 18:10-14). Since we have the treasure of God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Deuteronomy 18:15), we don’t need any other source of guidance and revelation. (See also Acts 16:16-18.) Since Jesus Christ is the focus of our faith (Acts 4:12; Hebrews 12:2), Astrology is faith in something other than God and is a form of divination. The Bible is replete with direction for following God’s will. We have the privilege of mining the Bible, praying, seeking counsel from others, to gain wisdom, guidance and everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3-4).  
Fasting is a way to show God and ourselves that we want to be more godly. I, Timothy 4:7 says to, “discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.” Fasting should help us become more like Jesus” (Romans 8:28-30). Fasting helps us gain a new perspective and a renewed reliance upon God. Fasting is good and profitable when we are making important decisions (Acts 13:2;14:23). Some focus their fasting going without food, liquids, or anything people feel distracts them from devotion to God. Fasting also helps us gain deeper fellowship with God and can produce numerous health benefits. Anyone can fast, but some may not be able to fast from food because of health issues (diabetics or other ailments). Hopefully, we can all consider ways to temporarily give up something to draw closer to God and be more like Jesus!
Discussing the end times can be encouraging and unsettling. One Author wisely wrote, “Jesus is coming back! His coming is soon, sudden and certain, so BE READY.” Avoiding an excessive preoccupation with the end times while living for Jesus is critical.   Matthew 24:5-8 gives us some important clues when he writes. "For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places." God loves us and gives people warnings not to be deceived because these events are the beginning but the end is still to come. Paul teaches that the last days would bring a marked increase in false teaching. In 1 Timothy 4:1 the last days are described as "perilous times" because of the increasingly evil character of the man and people who actively "resist the truth" (2 Timothy 3:1-9). Peter gives us wisdom on how to live when these things happen when he writes, “You ought to live holy and godly lives.” Let’s live for Jesus and that makes us ready when He comes. 
Although there are several books written about the different promises in the Bible, these promises are not listed in any one location in the Bible. They are spread throughout the entire Word of God. Though it can be challenging to gather these promises, God has provided uplifting promises to encourage us and make us more like Jesus (Romans 8:28-30). It is empowering to know that each promise in the Word of God is true because God is trustworthy. Titus 1:2 tells us we have “a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.” Since we have so great a God who loves us and it for us, let’s base our lives on His promises and His loving, trustworthy character. 

The reason most Christians go to church on Sundays is that that’s when the New Testament Christians met for Church, and they were celebrating the day Jesus rose from the grave. The Sabbath Day is Saturday and many people use the ‘principle of the Sabbath’ as a day of rest since even God rested (Genesis 2:7). We also see in the Book of Acts, “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.” (Acts 20:7) The disciples coming together to break bread was fellowship and remembrance of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was worship or Church. We also know that from history, the Church met on Sundays, starting in the first century. Whatever day we choose to attend church, our lives should be a 24/7 expression of worshipping God.

Depression, Anxiety, Suicide

One writer said, “Life is 10 % what happens to you, and 90 % how you respond.” Here are three ways to help us overcome stress. First, consider your responses. Sometimes, our response to a situation is worse than the circumstances we are in themselves. Accelerated heart rate at an interview, speaking engagement, or some stressful situation engenders worry. Try to retrain how you think about how you react. Second, God promises you can overcome every temptation. A great promise is that “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man, and with the temptation, He will provide the way of escape so you may be able to endure it.” (I Cor. 10:13) Sometimes, God provides an escape hatch and other times He empowers us to go through the hard situation. Third, we can give our stress to God. An amazing promise is when Peter writes, “Casting all your cares upon Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). God wants to carry our cares. A key to dealing with stress is with Jesus Christ, and by believing that He can help you. Finally, we can seek His peace by filling our minds with His Word and lifting all things to Him in prayer. Jesus loves us and gives us some verses to help us conquer stress and enjoy life. (Matthew 6:25; Mark 4:19; John 14:1; Proverbs 3:5–6; Psalm 34:4; Philippians 4:6–7)

Everyone wonders why God put us here on this earth. We forget what the real purpose of living is to enjoy and glorify God. Isaiah 43:1 clearly states, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!" The good news is God made us ON purpose, FOR a purpose. Here are three encouraging truths to help you find purpose. First, know Jesus. God tells us that as we delight ourselves in the Lord, His desires become our desires. (Psalm 37:4) As you love God, you start doing what He created for your life. Second, aim your life to please God. (2 Cor. 5:9). As you aim to glorify God by pleasing Him, you are doing what God wants you to do. (Isaiah 43:7). Third, focus on your strengths. Start doing things that you like and are easy for you to do. If you like to encourage people, you might consider teaching a Sunday school class. Do you like to write, consider writing for Jesus? God has made you unique and He has 1000’s of wonderful options for you to pursue. As you throw yourself into serving Him, He will keep working and guide you every step of the way. (Phil. 1:6)

People who are struggling with suicide can be helped as we follow some important steps. First, care enough to ask people the tough questions if you suspect people are suicidal. When we care enough to ask the person, it also gives them the freedom to share their innermost thoughts. Second, ask them if they have a plan to hurt themselves or take their life. This separates people who are hurting and those who are serious about suicide. Third, take all suicide threats and attempts seriously. If you think the person might harm themselves, do not leave the person alone. Get them to a safe place emotionally and physically. Say I am going to get you some help. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1 -800-273-TALK. You will be connected to the nearest available crisis center, or you can call 911.

Serving the Lord with joy is a wonderful feeling, but sometimes we all lack joy. Let’s consider how to get our joy back and live as Psalm 100 speaks and, "Serve the Lord with gladness.”  First, consider your private time with Jesus. Psalm 100 continues, "come before his presence with singing." Regular time spent in his presence equips and empowers us for service and helps us serve Him FROM a heart full of Him. Serving Him without regularly seeking Him can lead to misguided perspectives. Second, consider the rest of your schedule. Is your life balanced? Are there too many things cramming our schedules? Is it time for a break or sabbatical? It is incredible what a day of rest will do. Third, consider serving the Lord even when we don’t feel His joy. Think of the amazing things people accomplish even when they felt like quitting. The feelings of joy are wonderful but God calls us to do many things even though we don’t feel like it. Serve, give, work anyway, and the feelings will eventually follow. Fourth, remember we will one day be joyful forever! Psalm 16:11 reminds us that ‘in his presence is the fullness of joy.’ Once we get to heaven, it is the start of a soul-satisfying, joy-filled experience forever!  

I think it's safe to say that everyone will experience anxiety at varying degrees in their lives. Anxiety is a natural response to real or perceived danger.  Some anxiety can be healthy.  For example, when we are confronted with a snarling dog, anxiety makes our senses more alert, our heart beat faster, and our adrenaline surge to get ourselves out of a dangerous situation.  For many people, though, their "anxiety button" gets pushed in non-life threatening situations daily because we don’t know God well enough. When that happens, we need to take control of those intrusive thoughts (2 Cor. 10:5).  Instead of listening to ourselves, we need to speak the truth of scripture to our situation. Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes from hearing the Word of God.  When faith in our loving, sovereign, powerful God increases, we build trust and take care of the situations that worry us (Phil. 4:6-7). We can also cast all our cares upon God because He cares for us. Even when we are a nervous wreck. (I Peter 5:7) If you find the voice of anxiety still interfering with your life, it may be time to seek out a good Christian counselor who can help you learn steps to peace.

Self-acceptance is a common challenge for everyone at times. Here are a few thoughts to consider. First, Jesus Christ loves you and made you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made and out of the 7 billion people in the world, there is no one like you! (Psalm 139:13-14) Second, it is helpful to be more concerned about how you can value others' interests and not merely your own. (Phil. 2:3-4) It is amazing how our problems shrink and our sense of self-worth rises when we are more concerned about other’s interests and not only our own.  Third, the good news is you ‘are not good enough,’ but you are still qualified for His grace. Jesus loves us and lived life and died the death that only He could achieve. Realizing God loves me when I was at my worst (Romans 5:8) proves He loves me since we are now His friend. Finally, recognize your true value. There is a difference between a big ego and understanding how much God loves you. Begin new thought patterns and replace negative thoughts by reminding yourself how much God cares about you.

Family Issues

Infertility can be an emotionally painful ride because of the uncertainty of the whole process.  Here are some things to consider that can help you. First, we encourage people to deal with your emotions since they are real. Facing your feelings and not ignoring them will help in the healing process. Sharing the pain you are feeling with one another can help a family process the pain together. Second, build your support system. Consulting your church family, connecting online and local support groups, can also help salve the wounds of infertility confusion and heartache. You can always find people who have gone through or are currently going through infertility. There are also great resources for you in these groups (2 Cor. 1:3-6). Finally, pray and trust the Lord for a child in the future. Since children are a gift from the Lord, (Psalm 127:1-3) pray for God to grant you children and trust Him for the results. The Lord loves and cares deeply for you and your family. 
Blended families are full of blessings and challenges. Here are some ways to adjust to blended families. First, model loving God. It is easy to see all the imperfections in other families. Resist that temptation by walking close to Jesus (Matthew 22:37-40). Second, be a positive person. Since you have been added to the family, y0u have the privilege of establishing being a positive influence on the family-and what family couldn’t use a more positive and encouraging influence. Third, have realistic expectations. One writer called the expectations ‘silent killers.’ Consider discussing your hopes together, understanding that you'll need to be flexible. Allow time for kids to mourn the loss of the past. Don't force them to call you mom or dad. Having realistic expectations for others and considering your own emotions and fears can help blend. Finally, give lots of affection to everyone in the family. Spending time alone with your spouse first and your children are essential in building healthy relationships. Be genuine and respectful allowing everyone to share freely, and you will create new, thriving memories and traditions.
Communication problems are common for every family. Here are three keys to better communication. First, encourage listening. The Bible talks about being quick to listen and slow to speak (James 1:19). Make sure you’re listening to your teenager with your whole posture and let them communicate. Our children will often reveal other heart issues that are on their hearts. Second, make eye contact. Listening and respecting what our children say with our eyes is powerful non-verbal communication and engenders respect.  Third, ask meaningful questions. It is easy to assume, but asking questions that draw them out cultivates a deeper level of communication. Finally, listen to their hearts. Jesus said, “What you say flows from what is in your heart.” (Luke 6:45) Our kids are constantly revealing what is on their hearts by how they act and what they say. The question is whether we, as a parent, can decode their hearts and apply wisdom to their souls. As you apply these principles, better communication is ahead!
This is a common issue for single parents. Here are some coping strategies for you while you are going through this time. First, allow yourself the opportunity to grow. Since you will have more time, this can be a time for you to pour back into your self spiritually, emotionally, physically and socially.  You love your kids but raising them alone is draining. Second, allow yourself to do things that are personally enriching. Connect with your friends for a time of adult interaction.  Read books or take a personal retreat to rest and seek God.  Pursue some of your interests or hobbies.  Do things you can’t normally do when the kids are around.  All of this will help make you a better person and parent for your kids when they return. Finally, resist the temptation to worry (Matthew 6:25-34). It can be easy to worry when we have too much time on our hands so applying the above coping strategies will do wonders for your joy level. 
Balancing life can be difficult. Here are some basics to help you through. First, focus on loving God. Since it is the greatest commandment, realigning our walk with God can bring great stability. Second, love your husband. Find ways to appreciate and love and respect your husband. Sometimes, sickness can happen because our spirits are low, but encouragement can be refreshing and even medicinal. Third, consider the financial triad of work, plan, and save. Working, planning, and saving can bring many financial dividends and help with the strain of living paycheck to paycheck. Finally, know that God is for you (Romans 8:31).  In Jeremiah 29:11-12, God tells us, “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Romans 8:24-24 says, “We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)” We can hope when everything is against us so let’s put our hope in the Lord!
Bullying is an unfortunate reality for some kids. Here are four things to consider regarding bullying. First, be a sounding board for your child. Children rarely leave home they are loved in, and when they feel safe, they communicate. Be a safe place for your child and he or she will reveal their personal life. Second, consider the signs of bullying. Look for signs that may indicate that bullying is going on like self-hatred, resentment or anger toward someone?  Look for overreactions to minor frustrations, fear of social situations, insomnia or extreme withdrawal.  Experts agree that other factors like ‘” Losing” lunch money, anxiety, cuts or bruises, and sudden change in temperament can indicate bullying. Third, be a safe place for your child. Peer pressure is huge in grade school levels. Allowing your child to approach the subject sensitively is critical. Also, look for cyber-bullying via their cell phone or email. Fourth, be encouraging yet forthright. Loving parents can risk being bold with children. Having them divulge their issues at home, no matter how bad they are, is far better than your child failing in the outside world where they are devoid of loving parents. Encourage your child and let them know you love them no matter what!
Sibling rivalry is very common, but that energy can be channeled for great purposes. Consider these helpful practices. First, attack the problem, not the person. Asking what is driving the conflict and dealing with that, instead of attacking people, helps resolve conflict (Eph. 4:29-32). Since these conflicts come from jealousy and competition between children, we as parents can help diminish the conflict by attacking the problems that create division. Second, resist the comparison trap. Don’t compare one child against one another. Third, praise your children often. Communicating praise and encouragement can change the culture of your family. Try to distribute praise and focus on their strengths as much as possible. Spotlight the unique gifts and talents of each child.  Try to know each child’s differences and how they think. Then, encourage them to be everything they can be for the glory of God (Isaiah 43:7).  
Divorce is painful and can be one of life’s most stressful events. Helping your child deal with divorce can be accomplished in three ways. First, encourage your child with the ‘new normal’ of your situation (Romans 14:19). Divorce threatens children’s sense of security and identity, leading them often to blame themselves. Encourage them by telling them it is not their fault. Let them know the emotional pain they’re experiencing right now is normal. Second, help them through the process of grief. Your child will go through the stages of grief which include denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. These emotions can affect the children’s sleep, appetite, schoolwork and relationships. Allow them to go through these stages. Help reassure children over and over that the divorce is not their fault and that both parents love them. Finally, consider counseling if necessary. Getting counseling for yourself or your child might be the next step to help grow yourselves as individuals and as a family.  Support groups like Divorce Care are also a good resource.

Finances and Jobs

Taxes can be a hot topic. The Pharisees tried to text Jesus about this in Matthew 22:17-21: “ ‘Now tell us what you think about this: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’ But Jesus knew their evil motives. ‘You hypocrites!’ he said. ‘Why are you trying to trap me? Here, show me the coin used for the tax.’ When they handed him a Roman coin, he asked, ‘Whose picture and title are stamped on it?’ ‘Caesar’s,’ they replied. ‘Well, then,’ he said, ‘give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.’ The government is God's servant, and we are to give what is owed to them. (Rom. 13:6-7) We are to pay our taxes, even if the evilest Roman emperor in history Nero, was the head of the government. When we do, we exercise the muscles of honor to God and our authorities and welcome Him to keep showing up as our Provider.

Many of us struggle with giving. Though God does not need our money, the good news is He desires our hearts. The purpose of tithing is to teach us to always put God first in out lives (Deuteronomy 14:23). The Bible is full of wealthy people who love God (Job 1:1-3) and poor people who were tremendous givers (Luke 21:104). Money is not the problem, it's the love of money that is dangerous. 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” God wants to be first place in our hearts because our hearts follow what we give to. Giving is a tremendous antidote to materialism. Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, "You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money." Let’s put God first, trust Him with everything, and be outrageous givers. As we work, plan, and save, we will see Him be our Provider and meet all our needs

Losing our job can make us feel insecure, stressed and even depressed. Here are a few ways to keep your fears from taking over and practical things you can do:

  1.  Focus on your strengths. God has made you unique and He has good works for you to do (Ephesians 2:10). Find out what you enjoy doing for Him and He will guide you.
  2.  Build up your support system through church groups, and employment counseling or other resources. God needs nothing but networking affords God numerous ways to honor your labor to provide employment for you.
  3.  Make finding a job a full-time job. One person said, “You have a job, spend 40 hours a week looking for a job.” Work on spending forty hours a week making resumes and doing interviews. It pays off.
  4. Serve others so you keep a healthy perspective on your problems.
  5. Don’t waste your trial. In due time, God will use your pain and give you humble wisdom and compassion for others in the future. 

God's Will

"Jesus is coming on May 21st!" said one flier. Campaigns commenting on the end of the world can be discouraging. Here are 3 ways we can educate ourselves and avoid needless panic or confusion:

  1. God is the only one who knows when the end and Jesus will come. Jesus told His disciples on the day He ascended: "The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know" (Acts 1:8). Our God and Father alone knows and He loves us so we can trust Him.
  2. Jesus is coming soon. Since Jesus is coming soon, we should live loving lives (2 Peter 3:11) for our friends, families, communities and world. His soon coming should engender attractive living.
  3. Jesus’ coming is certain so let’s be ready. How can we be ready? Let’s be focused on getting the message of Christ's love to our world. Luke 19 says we are to live, to work, and to be a part of the community to make it a better place. We have the best message in the world pointing to the best person: Jesus Christ. Let’s be ready to take this great message of hope to a world that needs it. Share it with your neighbor, community, and world, and we get to watch what the Lord will do.

It’s natural to feel uneasy about talking to people about Jesus. You might consider these four keys that can help you communicate the message of Jesus attractively.

  1.  Be close to Jesus. When you have spent time with Jesus, people will smell your godly aroma and it will naturally flow onto others.
  2.  Be concerned for their interests. Everyone understands the universal language of a complement. Paul shared that we are to be like Jesus considering other’s interests as more important than our own. (Phil. 2:3-4).
  3.  Be compassionate. The adage is true, “People do not care how much you KNOW, until they know how much you CARE.” Since people need hope, compassion for others is attractive and people are endeared to us as we care.
  4.  Be positive and encouraging. No one enjoys “negative Nellie’s, but people enjoy ‘positive Paul’ type people who encourage. Instead of being negative, tell people how much you appreciate them and why. When you refresh others, people tend to talk to you and ask you questions. This might give you the opportunity to share how Jesus has changed your life and be the ultimate encouragement to them!

Wanting revenge is easy to feel. Feeling justified to punish others we feel deserve it is tempting. Here are a few thoughts to help us understand revenge and choose love instead. 

  1. God never takes vengeance from impure motives. Our God can be trusted. He alone is pure, forgiving, holy, and can execute justice fairly (Romans 12:19).     
  2. Vengeance is God’s prerogative. We should never take the role of avenger since that is safely in His hands. His vengeance is for those who have rejected Him. We should leave revenge to the one who can repay with a pure heart.
  3. Love your enemies. Someone said, “The best way to eliminate an enemy is to make them your friend.” Since it is impossible to take revenge with pure motives, we are to follow the Lord Jesus’ command to “Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” (Matthew 5:44) Even the Old Testament said, “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” (Leviticus. 19:18). Let’s be different and love those who have hurt us and show the world the love of Jesus. Maybe they will one day become Jesus’ friend.

Many people can deal with negative thoughts. Imagination is wonderful, but our imagination can work against us if we meditate on negative things. “Meditate” just means to think about something over a period of time. With God’s help, we can banish negative thoughts by thinking right thoughts.

 

The Bible says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Phil. 4:8). We have the privilege to love God with all our minds. As we think God’s thoughts, we are sending negative thoughts away. As we ‘think about our thinking’ we can put on good thoughts and banish bad thoughts from our lives. It takes time but as you change thinking patterns, it will get easier with practice. When you get bogged down with negative things, think about what you are thinking and put on His mind. Let’s love Jesus with our mind and be the positive person He has called us to be. 

Knowing God’s will is sometimes difficult. It’s tempting to want God to tell us specifically what to do—where to work, where to live, or whom to marry. But God rarely gives us information that direct and specific. Here are 3 questions to help you know God’s will. 

  1. Is God well pleased with this decision, activity etc.? This question can gauge whether something is from God. As we please God, we can make sure we are asking for something God desires, and not what the Bible forbids (Psalm 37:4).
  2. Does this grow me spiritually?” You might ask if the activity grows you spiritually since that is one of God’s great goals for you (Romans 8:28-30). When we ask if it grows us spiritually, it is a safeguard and helps us make choices to avoid worldly thinking. Romans 12:2 tells us, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
  3. Does this glorify God? God wants us to make choices that are in agreement with His will and make much of Jesus (John 16:14) and glorify God (I Cor. 10:31). God takes pleasure in working in you (Phil. 2:12-1-3) so enjoy your service to Jesus. If you are walking closely with the Lord and desiring His will, God has placed those desires on your heart. Glorify Him today since we will enjoy Him forever in heaven one day. 

One writer said, “Forgiving someone feels like I’m condoning their activity, and letting them get away with it!” We all struggle with Forgiveness. Here are three motivating reasons to forgive.

  1. Lack of forgiveness can be harmful to our body. Psalm 32:3-5 speaks to the anxiety we feel, and the sad consequences we will experience, when we refuse to forgive. Forgiving others is healthy for our soul and body.
  2. Forgiving others is an expression of the greatest commandment to love others (Matthew 22:37-40). When I hold a grudge, I am chained to my hurts. I am choosing to nurse the wound, and not to love the person who hurt me. Forgiving frees me.
  3. Forgiving others is like God. Since God has forgiven you of EVERY one of your sins, He has called us to forgive others and be like Jesus (Ephesians 4:29).
  4. Instead of taking matters into our own hands, we can forgive. Our ability to forgive is directly related to our comprehension of the grace of God. When we extend grace to those who have hurt us, we are truly like Jesus who loved us and gave Himself for us.

As we understand the word ‘yoke’ in its original meaning, we see the word ‘yoke’ referred to a bar of wood. It formed a harness that was put over a set of oxen when they were working. Farmers would yoke the young ox with the old, experienced ox to train the younger ox as it walked alongside. 

Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30 to ‘take His yoke upon us.’ Unfortunately, when we are ‘unequally yoked together with unbelievers’ (2 Corinthians 6:14), we create heartache for ourselves. We know too well we are not strong enough to bear the weight of somebody going in the opposite direction. But Jesus wants to carry our burdens while we learn from Him. Instead of ‘being bound together with someone moving another direction’ take your cares to God as He loves to bear our burdens. Cast them all upon Him, because He cares for you (I Peter 5:7).

Wondering if we are in the will of God can be difficult. Here are five ways to help us process God’s will. 

  1. Believe God wants to guide our lives. Psalms 37:23 says, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” God cares about the details of our life and wants to lead you. 
  2. Pray about everything (I Thes.5:16-18). There’s nothing too big or too small to pray about. As pastor once said, “If it’s on your mind, it’s on His heart.”
  3. Search the Scriptures. Psalms 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” God guides us right where we are (lamp to my feet) and leads us (a light to my path) by obeying His word. He often uses the wise counsel of others so listen for nuggets of truth from your friends. 
  4. Realize opposition does not mean we are outside the will of God. Sometimes, it’s harder as we serve Him (Philippians 1:29), but God is always with us and for us. (Romans 8:31).

The twelve disciples followed Jesus Christ and were trained by Him. After His resurrection and ascension, Jesus sent the disciples out to be His witnesses (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). Later, they were referred to as the twelve apostles and the terms "disciples" and "apostles" were used interchangeably unique to the 12.

 

In Matthew 10:2-4, "These are the names of the twelve disciples/apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him." The Bible also lists the twelve disciples/apostles in Mark 3:16-19 and Luke 6:13-16. Though the title of disciple/apostle was unique in biblical times for the 12 disciples, we can all be good followers or disciples of Jesus Christ now and until Jesus comes! 

One writer said, “Freedom is not the ability to do what we WANT, but the ability to do what’s RIGHT.” We all know the struggle we daily face, (Romans 7:19-20) and whoever sins is a slave to sin. But spiritual maturity and true freedom are found when we look to please God.

Since we are all a masterpiece in process (Ephesians 2:10), God has called us to be free to do what’s right. God wants us to take our freedom in Christ, and maximize our own personalities, traits, gifts, and talents to make much of Jesus. (Isaiah 43:7) Paul wrote in Galatians 5:1, "So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law." We don’t have freedom to sin, but a freedom from sin! We are bondservants of Christ, captured by His love, fully forgiven and free to give our lives for Him!

One Author said, “Like jars of peanut butter on the store shelf, we all have an expiration date!” The sobering truth is we will all die one day. But those who know Jesus will forever be in His presence blameless, with great joy (Jude 24).

Sadly, those who have rejected the claims of Christ die and their souls go immediately to eternal punishment. The unsaved person’s body remains in the ground until Christ’s return when they will join their souls for the final sobering day of judgment (Matt. 25:31-46; John 5:28-29; Rev. 20:12). At this time, people who have rejected Jesus will not have a second chance to trust in Christ after death. Hebrews 9:27 says, “And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment.” Since we know these realities and our ‘expiration date’ is coming, we have the privilege of spreading the great message of Jesus Christ so others can be with us one day in heaven in Jesus’ presence blameless, with great joy (Jude 24). 

Feelings of loneliness and fear can trap all of us. Psalm 23:4 says, Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” Even though we have to walk through hard times, God never wastes them. He is using them (Romans 8:28-30) to shape us and strengthen us (Romans 5:3-5).

 

Philip Keller, wrote in his book A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, “The simple fact is that just as water can only flow in a ditch or channel or valley – so in the Christian’s career, the life of God can only flow in blessing through the valleys that have been carved and cut into our own lives by excruciating experiences.” Sparks might fly in our life, but God is always the Author of their source and holds you in His arms. When fear and loneliness want to trap you, He is with you, has forgiven you, for you, and loves working in and through you (Phil. 2:12-13). You will make it!

Watching church on TV is great for listening to a variety of good preaching and worship. Some people because of injury, illness, or age-related maladies have only that one privilege.

 

But God loves His church (Matthew 16:18) and promises to build it, bless it, and loves when we engage in it. God desires us to celebrate the dynamic of corporate worship that cannot be experienced on our own (Hebrews 10:24-25). We experience the power of preaching (2 Timothy 3:16-17), nurturing relationships, wisdom from others, encouraging others with our gifts, and numerous support systems where relationships thrive in the family of God at church. (Acts 2:42; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12),

 

When we attend church, we are encouraged by others, and have the privilege of encouraging others and be pastored by a shepherd who loves his flock of people God has entrusted to him (Ephesians 4:11-16). Let’s work at being part of a local church.

Music is a wonderful gift to mankind and used throughout the Bible. Like anything, music can be used for good, evil, or be a waste of time. Paul gives us wisdom in I Corinthians 10:23, “You say, ‘I am allowed to do anything’ but not everything is good for you. You say, ‘I am allowed to do anything’ but not everything is beneficial.” A better question might be, “Is this music beneficial or does it edify me?’”

 

The Bible describes many styles of music but the style is not as important as the lyrics or content. What we think when we listen to music is critical. Paul encourages us when he says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2). One writer said, “We become what we meditate on.” We can see this deeper in Philippians 4:8 which says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Whatever music we choose, let it edify and encourage you and others.

Everyone has to trust something, but our trust is only as valid as its object. Since people are made to worship and trust something, what we trust in, is paramount. Life gives evidences that point to a Creator. For example, we have a conscience, and know right from wrong pointing to a moral Being. We have incredible design in our make-up as human beings, pointing to a Creator wo designs. We share the gnawing questions of humanity like “Who am I?” “Where did I come from?” “What is the meaning of life?” and “Who is God?” pointing to an awareness of eternal things.

 

The good news is God promises to answer all of those questions in the bible. God says, "All Scripture is inspired by God (2 Tim 3:16). That simply means the Bible proceeds from the very heart of God. The bible is truth (John 17:17) and even Jesus quoted it when dealing with lies and temptation from the Devil (Matthew 4:1-11). The Bible can be trusted because amidst the scrutiny of its critics, it is still the most sold book in history. Even Scientists discovered the Dead Sea scrolls in 1947 and the bible comparisons were impeccably accurate. God's word is a reliable guide for our marriages, families, trials, and questions to all who embrace it (Psalm 119:105). My friend, millions of people alive today, and many millions who are now in heaven would say, “You can trust the Bible!” God has preserved it forever, so we can trust Him to base our lives upon it.

The Wicca religious belief system centers around gods, goddesses, and nature worship; not the Jesus of the Bible. (John 14:6) Wicca is based on harmony with nature and all aspects of the god and goddess divinity, instead of loving God. (Matthew 22:37-40)

 

Wiccan practice involves the manipulation of nature through various rituals in attempts to gain power, prestige, and love. They believe in reincarnation and karma, even though the bible says we die once and then meet God (Hebrews 9:27). Wiccan uses symbols but do not have a structure of clergy. It does have priests and priestesses which are in leadership positions within covens that have witches. The varying traditions of Wicca have different requirements for attaining the level of priest and priestess. Paul dealt with beliefs like this in Colossae who viewed Jesus as less than God. But Jesus is God and Paul shared the way to true understanding is found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:15-20).

Here are five ways that God directs our steps:

  1. The Bible. The Bible is our GPS.  Psalm 73:24 says, “You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.” As we read and study the bible, the Holy Spirit directs us to truths presented in Scripture.
  2. Prayer. We can seek God’s guidance through prayer. James 1:5 says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” Spend time talking to God. Tell Him your thoughts, desires and dreams.
  3. Seek Wise Counsel of Mature Christians – We are blessed to have people who love Jesus guide us. Speak with mature, godly people asking for their counsel in your situation and listen carefully to their stories. This counsel may also come from sermons, books, videos and/or radio programs by godly people.
  4. Circumstances. You might consider these questions: What are your talents, training, experiences and desires? What responsibilities do you have and what/who will be impacted by your decisions? Psalm 37:23 says, “The LORD directs the steps of the godly.” Look at the circumstances surrounding your situation. All of these work together in making your decision.
  5. Peace. When we are following God's plan, we often have peace in our heart. "Be still in the presence the Lord and wait patiently for Him" (Psalms 37:7). Wait for that peace. We encourage you to use all five of these sources of direction as you seek for God's will for your life.

God does speak to us today. The primary way He speaks to us is through the Bible. The Bible is God’s Word for us and to us. It says, “For the word of God is alive and powerful...” (Hebrews 4:12).The Bible is primarily what we know about God and Jesus and His word contains what He wants to speak to us. 

Through His Word, we can discern if it is really God speaking to us as opposed to our own heart's desires (2 Tim. 3:16-17, John 10:5,17, 27) or other unhealthy voices. God also speaks to us through His Spirit as He guides us through life like a Silent Shepherd. His leading will always be in keeping with His Word and the glory of Jesus (John 16:14). He also speaks through the teaching of the bible (Ephesians 4:12) as communicators rightly divide the Bible and share it in all its beautiful truth.

Grief and Comfort

Suffering, sickness, and trials are all threats to our faith. The life of faith boils down to one question: “Do we trust God?” The Bible tells us in Romans 8:28 that, “All things work for the good.” Notice God did not say everything was good, but he will make all things work for our good. Our job is to keep our eyes fixed on Christ and his promises when trials come our way. Hold on to the truth and the character of God. We mustn’t make premature statements about God when we hurt. Our view of God will help us navigate the seasons of suffering. Therefore, how we view God matters! Meditate on the goodness of God. Deuteronomy 31:6 states, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them. For the Lord, your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Remember that God will never leave you.
Getting through the pain of a breakup is a process. It is okay to let the tears flow. Do not suppress your pain; express it. Call on friends and family who can support you as you walk through the pain. Do not isolate yourself. Make sure you establish a good support system. Look into counseling and do not be ashamed of reaching out for help. Remember, God uses people to heal us and it’s important we do not eliminate the role of the church when we are hurting. Eventually, you will have to accept the breakup. Don’t believe the lie that this is the end. God is still at work and he has a great future for you. This breakup does not define who you are. You are still perfectly loved by God, fearfully and wonderfully made in his image. Take time to heal and do not jump into a relationship too quickly. Turn to the God of all comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3 reminds us God is the “Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.”
One common mistake is to avoid the one that is grieving because of the fear of what to do or say. Put your arm around the person and hug them. Your job is to be a calm, non-anxious ministry of presence. You don’t need to have the answers. Sometimes the person who says nothing but shows they care by physical interaction can mean more than all the words. Let the person talk about their loved one and don't be afraid of tears. Tears are better released than bottled up inside. Avoid simply clichés like, "they’re in a better place now" or "I know how you feel." Even if you have experienced a loss, it will never be the same because each person handles grief differently. Remember, it's your presence that will be most meaningful in one's time of loss.
Grieving for a loved one who has passed away is a normal part of life. It just proves that we loved someone deeply, and now that they are gone, we miss them. It’s important not to suppress your emotions in the grieving process. Take time to express your emotions and take your pain into the presence of God. Surround yourself with friends and family who can mourn with you and support you in the process. Connect with church, counselors and grief support groups like Griefshare.org. Talk freely about your loved one. Share fond memories and details about them. These stories can help others grieving as well. Let God's word comfort you. Here are some scriptures for your meditation. 1 Thessalonians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 5:6,8; Revelation 21:4; Psalm 23; Matthew 5:4. And lastly, practice good self-care as you grieve. Don’t neglect your health. Take time to engage in life-giving activities, stay hydrated, and keep a healthy diet.
Losing a child is a painful experience. As you take time to grieve, it’s important not to blame your spouse for the loss. Since you expressed your love for your child in different ways and because your roles were different, you will also grieve differently. You must give yourself permission to grieve. Grief is a process and it must run its course. You might even believe your pain is greater. Allow me to suggest that you do three things: (1) Find Help: Parents who find a support system have a major advantage in the healing process. (2) Tend to the needs of others: You need to remember that other siblings grieve too and you must move outside yourself to help others. (3) Let Relatives and friends offer help in the grieving process: Never let go of God and each other. Take your pain into the presence of God, for he understands your pain and can empathize with you. (Hebrews 4:15) Focus on 1 Thessalonians 4:13, “You may not grieve as others do, who have no hope.” Remember, we are people who grieve with hope. One day, God will wipe every tear from our eyes.

Healing

The Bible is very clear that God is a healer. Psalm 103:2-3 says, "Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases." It may be a physical illness or emotional distress, but God can heal. Sometimes our healing occurs naturally, medically, or supernaturally. These are the three primary ways God heals us.  Regardless of how healing takes place, the Bible makes it clear that God is a healer. This does not mean he guarantees to heal. God will either heal us today or in heaven when we will be made whole and without pain and suffering. Our job as Christians is to pray. The results are up to God. 
2 Corinthians 1:3 reminds us that God is, “The father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” The God of comfort is more than able to bring healing from the pain of an abortion. This is comforting news for anyone that has had an abortion. When a woman realizes the guilt of having an abortion, she may find it difficult to forgive herself, but God offers forgiveness to anyone who asks for it (1John1:9). What has been done cannot be undone, but you can experience healing and recovery after an abortion. Romans 3:22 says, "We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.” God offers this forgiveness, and He also offers peace of mind, if we will only receive it by putting our faith in Christ Jesus. You do not have to walk under the weight and burden of past sin. There is grace available to you.

"Forgive" is a financial term as well as a spiritual term, which means to cancel the debt. The person recognizes the debt as such and makes the internal personal decision to release the offender from his/her indebtedness. Forgiveness is often confused with such things as ignoring the offense, trying to forget it, and reconciliation of the relationship. The reality is, the impact from the offense will have to be considered for the past, present and the inevitable future. Choosing to forgive is a personal, conscious and powerful choice of the will and you may have to ask the Lord to help you to forgive truly. Choosing to release the offender from his or her indebtedness is to be like the Lord Himself (Matthew 6:12; Matthew 18:21-35). Remember, our lives as Christians are based on a man who forgave us. Our greatest need is to be forgiven of sin, and Christ has provided that forgiveness for us. With the Lord’s help, we can choose to forgive.

We all live in a world that is demanding more and more from us, and if we are not careful, we may find ourselves burnt out. Therefore we must practice good self-care and engage in life-giving activities. Establishing healthy rhythms of rest is possible, but only with intentionality. To deal with burnout, we must begin by accepting your human limitations. We have limitations of emotional, physical, mental, and time, and we must learn the secret of saying no. You may find that you need to prune some activities from your life and find some downtime to relax and get some exercise. Learning the art of obeying the fourth commandment and refreshing your life is necessary. Self-care is not selfish!

Our culture puts a lot of emphasis on physical appearance, and Hollywood portrays what that image should be. This is nothing new. God's prophet Samuel fell into this trap when God sent him to anoint the next king among Jesse's sons in 1 Samuel 16:7.  God corrected Samuel and said, "The Lord does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."  Proverbs 31:30 says, "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing." 1 Peter 3:3-4 says, "Do not let your adornment be merely outward, arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel, rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God." Remember, your worth ultimately comes from God. You are fearfully and wonderfully made in his image. Don’t allow your worth to be determined by the job you work, the car you drive, or the clothes you wear. You are a child of the king of the universe!
The question of why God allows sickness can be a difficult one, especially for those during suffering. We must remember that God, in His love for us, always looks at the result, not just our present circumstances. Romans 8:28 tells us, "In ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose." Sickness was not God’s original intent, but because we are fallen people living in a broken world, we must deal with pain. John 16:33 reminds us that “In this world, we will have trouble.” It is a promise that we will experience pain in this world.  However, the good news is that through Christ, we have the victory, and we can rest in the fact that God will never leave us nor forsake us during our pain (Deuteronomy 31:6). According to scripture, sickness and suffering can be an opportunity to exercise our faith and draw us closer to the Lord. Suffering is a result of the fall of man, being sinned against by someone, demonic activity, or suffering can be self-inflicted. May we never forget that in our suffering, we have a God who will never leave us.

Marriage and Relationship Advice

Anger is a common emotion of struggle. Some people get angry by ‘blowing up,’ and everyone sees their anger. Others ‘clam up’ and are just as upset but sit in their room. Either way, by God’s grace, we can overcome our anger by applying these two ways to defeat anger.

  1. Attack the problem, not the person. When we get frustrated, instead of attacking people, we can channel that same energy toward problems instead of people we love. Anger is a God-given emotion, but it can be very destructive if not controlled. Ephesians 4:26 gives us the boundaries of anger, "Be angry but do not sin. Do not allow the sun to go down on your wrath."
  2. Slow down. Godly people have a long fuse. Anger can be harmful when we react quickly instead of responding slowly. Proverbs 16:23 says, "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty." Delaying our response is a key in anger management, and “cooling down, biting our tongue, or counting to ten” are techniques we won’t regret. As you endeavor to love God and people better, we can break the back of anger because we have a long fuse and a large love for Jesus. 

The good news is God is not trying to take away physical desire; He is trying to purify it (I Thes. 4:3-9) within the bounds of marriage. God created us to be attracted to each other and to desire physical intimacy in marriage (Genesis 2:23-25). Here are a few strategies to observe:

  1. Begin with group dating. When you are with a group of friends, the allurements of temptation are smaller and the success of the relationship is higher. It is also a great way to get to know someone.
  2. Avoid tempting situations. God provides an escape for temptation (I Cor. 10:13), but intentionally walking into the quicksand of impurity is unwise. One pastor said, “90 % of all temptation can be avoided if we AVOID the tempting situation.” That is wise counsel.
  3. Find an accountability partner. Shouldering the issues of relationships helps when we walk together with an accountability partner of the same gender who is a mature Christian. They will care about you enough to ask the tough questions and pray for you.
  4. Become the right person. The best way to FIND the right person is to be the RIGHT person who chases the will of God (Deut. 6:5). When we seek God vertically, it oils and enhances our horizontal relationships. Instead of feeling guilty, a heart that seeks God and honors others will yield healthy friendships and even a thriving marriage in God’s time.

People who ask this question should be encouraged because it displays a key quality in marriage: teachability. A person who is spiritually mature and walking with God is more prepared for marriage than anyone else. Marriage demands commitment, passion, humility, love, and respect. These traits are most evident in a person who has an intimate relationship with God. As you prepare yourself for marriage, focus on allowing God to shape you and mold you (Romans 8:28-30) into the man (I Cor. 16:13-14) or woman He wants you to be. If you submit yourself to Him, He will enable you to be ready for marriage when that wonderful day arrives. We also encourage people to get pre-marital counseling since having an enduring marriage is better than just a pretty wedding. As you spend time with your pastor, Christian counselor, or mentor, it will help every believer be ready for the great gift we call marriage.  

Having a mosquito in a tent is a big problem. Addictions to alcohol are larger and even harder to remedy. The closer a relationship becomes, the deeper heart issues begin to surface. Since relationships and marriage are enjoyable but hard work, waiting to cultivate a relationship with a person of self-control is essential (Galatians 5:16-23). Indeed, the more the relationship grows, the fruit of the Spirit becomes more important to manifest. One writer said, “the only person you can change is you,” and life-change is part of a life that follows Jesus. To expect to stop someone from drinking or tolerate, it sets the relationship up for failure. People change when they know Jesus (John 14:6) and want to change. The story of the prodigal son in Luke 15 shows the young man desired to change and come back home when he reached his extreme desperation. We encourage people to keep praying, waiting, and be the right person of character and watch God answer your prayers in His perfect timing.

Trusting God for a potential mate can be demoralizing and cause us to make decisions out of fear that results in regret. The disappointment we might feel now pales in comparison to the heartache of relationships and marriages that end in divorce. Because God wants to prevent needless heartache, He continually warns his people not to marry unbelievers, non-Jews because the non-Jews worshiped many other gods. God knew that His people would compromise and start to worship false gods. This is what happened when God’s people married non-Christians. In the New Testament, Paul reiterates this same thought when he writes, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14). God has great plans for your life so resist the temptation to settle for less by marrying the wrong person. Keep praying and becoming the right person and in His time, God will give you the desires of your heart as you delight in Him (Psalm 37:4).

Most couples start marriage "in love," but the divorce statistics reveal we need a deeper love to endure in marriage. Since God is the author of love and the Maker of marriage, success is found only in Him. Here are three reasons to take pre-marital counseling.

  1. Marriage can be extremely challenging under the best of circumstances. When couples come together, two selfish people come together in need of God’s grace (2 Peter 3:18).
  2. Marriage is full of male/female differences. A different family of origin and a host of other perspectives on marriage collide. Premarital counseling can help each person understand the latent biases that both people bring to the marriage.
  3. Marriage is full of expectations. One Author called expectations, ‘silent killers.’ When expectations are realistic, there is unity. But unrealistic expectations tarnish many marriages that can end in divorce. Pre-marital counseling flushes out unhealthy expectations and male/female differences in a neutral setting. Pre-marital counseling equips you with the tools to love your spouse as God has designed and brought glory to him by having an enduring Christ-centered marriage.
Adjusting to marriage and uniting to our spouse is a process for all married couples. The biblical foundation for this principle is in Genesis 2:24, where Moses writes, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." The word "leave" means to "forsake dependence upon." It means to turn our allegiance away from our parents toward our spouse. We are leaving their authority and cleaving to our spouse for help, comfort and advice in decision making. This "leaving" still honors our parents but exercises a physical and emotional ‘leaving’ that sends a clear message that our new marriage relationship is a priority. Failing to "leave" can create discord within marriages and disunity in the family. Pray as a couple and discuss how you can both honor your parents, yet lovingly set appropriate boundaries that parents can admire, and the world can see that our marriage is first place and models a one-flesh relationship.

Pain associated with an affair can be overwhelming.  To move forward, here are a few steps to consider: First, grow yourself. Amidst the turmoil of the situation, spending time reading God’s word and stabilizing yourself is critical. Reminding yourself how God loves you and is for you is important. (Romans 8:31-39) You might also get some exercise and eat healthy to help you through this season. Second, receive counseling as soon as possible. Speak to your pastor or a Christian counselor since you cannot shoulder these burdens alone. Third, consult trustworthy family and friends.  Share with them what happened and what you need from them. Be clear about how confidential you want them to keep what you share with them. Finally, get connected to a local church. They should be another support system as you can not should these burdens alone. As you apply these principles and know the healing powers of God's grace, you can still have a thriving marriage as God works in both of your hearts.

God is the author of love, the maker of marriage, and the creator of sex and great relationships. Jesus answered whether there would be marriage or sex in heaven in Matthew 22:30 when he said, "At the resurrection, people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven" (verse 30). Jesus teaches us that marriage is a relationship to be enjoyed in this life, but it will not carry forward into the next life. While we retain our identity in heaven (Luke 16:23), we will not hold the same relationships that we do on earth and our existence will be different but better than here on earth. The appetites and desires of this world will give way to higher and infinitely more gratifying delights in the world to come. The best and most satisfied we have ever been while on earth will pale in significance with the insatiable joy we will experience in heaven. The psalmist knew this when he wrote of the pleasures of heaven saying, “In your presence is fullness of joy, in your right hand there are pleasures forever.” (Psalm 16:11) We can enjoy life and marriage now, but because of God’s great love for us in Jesus, heaven is going to be the best!

Divorce can be a snap reaction or the end of a series of disappointments. Here are a few principles to ponder amidst a potential divorce. First, know God’s love for you. Jesus does understand and is for us (Romans 8:31-39). Second, Trust God to build your house. The Bible says in Psalm 127:1, "Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain." Third, pray for your marriage. Even if you cannot pray together, God answers and hears our prayers (Psalm 18:6). Fourth, Find a church community. Attend service each week and join a small group that can help develop relationships with godly people who you can lean on for encouragement and support. Fifth, Embrace God's attitude about marriage and divorce. The Bible says that when two are joined together in marriage, they are no longer two, but one. (Genesis 2:23-24; Mark 10:8) Divorce is allowed for sexual immorality (Matthew 19:9), and if a believer leaves (1 Corinthians 7:12-14, 16) but encouraging reconciliation is a noble course.  We all are married to imperfect spouses and at one time or another, could justify divorce because of "emotional desertion." But take heart; God loves you and wants the best for you and can even transform an unsatisfying marriage into a great one.

Remember that you did not cause this, you can’t control his actions, and you can't cure this; only God can. Begin with prayer and follow with a day-to-day commitment to love your husband the way God loves you. There may be times where feelings of hurt, anger, rejection come up. When this happens, you mustn’t isolate yourself. You’ve been deeply hurt and need other women to express your pain to; women who can provide support, comfort, and who can pray with you. Once your husband begins the road to recovery, don't expect him to become completely free from all sexual sin overnight, especially if he's spent years saturating his mind with lust. I would also encourage to speak to your husband about connecting to a Christian, Bible-based counselor. Remember, with the Lord’s help and with your support; he will overcome the battle with lust. Your job is to continue to pray and extend grace to your husband.

The first step in rekindling your marriage is to start paying attention again.  Do you remember how much attention you gave your spouse before you were married? The quickest way for you to put the spark back into your marriage is to start affirming, appreciating and admiring the strength of your spouse. Don’t focus on their weaknesses; name the strengths you see. Remember your words have the power to build your spouse or destroy. Remember how affectionate you were when you first started dating? It’s important to bring that back into your marriage each day. You had an adventure when you had romance. Don’t lose that adventure! When everything is predictable, a marriage is usually stagnant. All work and no play makes a dull marriage. Be intentional about setting up date nights with your spouse and take time just to have fun. Go back to that first love and rekindle the passion in your marriage. With the Lord’s help, you will make it! Remember: The couple that prays – and plays – together, stays together.

Forgiveness is foundational to every healthy relationship. We are imperfect people, and we hurt each other and let one another down regularly. Learning to forgive each other is crucial for preserving loving relationships.  These nine words can save your relationship, "I was wrong. I am sorry. Please forgive me." Use them often as they have great power in maintaining closeness in relationships. Forgive early. Don't allow a lot of time to pass. Very often, the greater the time-lapse, the greater the damage is done to the relationships.  Jesus sets the bar in forgiveness. He says we are to forgive others as God has forgiven us. Do we deserve this forgiveness? No Jesus said, "If you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive you" (Matt 11:26).   Choose to be one who forgives quickly and often, allowing God’s grace to prevail in your relationships!

Poor communication in marriage is one of the main problems that can plague relationships. Communication is the foundation of every good relationship, especially marriage. In Colossians 4:6, the apostle Paul writes, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Too often, this exhortation is ignored in marriage relationships, and a lot of hurtful things get said. Proverbs 10:19 says, “In the multitude of words, sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” If emotions are high, give one another permission to take a timeout to cool off. Here is a rule of thumb: Let your emotions subside before you decide. Studies show that couples who use hurtful speech will erode over time and chip away at the relationship until there is nothing left. James 3:6 tells us that though the tongue is a small member, it can kindle a great fire and has in it the power of life and death. Proverbs 15:1 says, "Choose today, to tame your tongue, as a soft answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger." Determine to replace the harsh tongues in your marriage with words of graciousness that will bring life rather than death blows

Living in an abusive situation is not God's will for your life. He loves and cares for you, and desires that you experience his love, peace, joy, and the abundant life that only He can give. Abusive behavior was never a part of God's plan for marriage.

The first step toward new life and freedom is to recognize that there is a need for a change in your life which can be difficult. Do not try to make changes on your own. You will need help during the recovery process, and you will need help as you address the abuse. Psalm 72:14 says, “He will save them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious to him.” Realize the Lord is with you and he will help you as you move forward. Taking that first step to confront the problem is always the hardest. Next, be sure to establish clear boundaries with your spouse. Boundaries must be established right away because what we allow is what will continue. Remember, you cannot “fix” your spouse; only God can. Therefore, you mustn’t blame yourself. And finally, consider seeing a counselor. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help. There is no shame in asking for help

Paul teaches in the New Testament that regulation of sexual behavior is necessary to preserve the sacred meaning of intimacy and marriage and that two people become "one flesh" (1 Corinthians 6:15-20). Sexual intercourse outside marriage violates God’s purpose, destroying the meaning of total union that He intended. The order that God established in regards to marriage is to “Leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife”(Genesis 2:24). That is to say that the goal of dating is to marry and become one, not fornicating and living in sexual sin. Once a person commits to marriage and becomes one, God’s desire is for us to enjoy sex in the context of marriage.

Remember, your spouse is not a project. You do not have the power to save them; only Jesus does. If your spouse is not a Christian, your job is to model Jesus to them every day. Notice the good in your spouse and openly share it. Name what you appreciate and be an encourager.  I would also strongly encourage you to pray for your spouse’s salvation. Their salvation is ultimately in the hands of God. Your job is to pray and be a light in the home! Don't let the matter destroy your marriage. Live your life and be an example. Mathew 5:16 says, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Salvation/Rededication to Christ

Finding the right church is important for us to grow and connect with other believers (Hebrews 10:25). Here are a few things to consider when looking for the right church. First, attend a church that teaches God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17). As a church teaches the Bible, they will honor Jesus (John 16:14) and His grace. Second, ask God to lead you to a church that teaches the truth about Jesus and helps you grow in your relationship with Him. Third, look for a church that teaches it is only Jesus' death on the cross that can pay for our sins. Fourth, a good church will look after you and desire to build God’s Word into you. If the church has a large congregation, then join one of the small groups (i.e., Bible study, cell groups, etc.) to meet and get to know other Christians. Look for a solid church, not a perfect one. No one is perfect and since churches are made up of people, they will not be perfect either but we can still serve the perfect Jesus.
The Bible tells us in Romans 10:9, "If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." To be saved means to be forgiven and that you will go to Heaven. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” God is in heaven, and that is where all Christians go when they die. Jesus also said, “In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go prepare a place for you. And if I go prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may also be” (John 14:3). Jesus is in heaven and alive today. You will be with him forever if you know Him as Lord and Savior. Let’s live for Jesus and prepare to see Him in heaven as we live here on earth.
Wanting confidence to know we are saved is a common concern for Christians. But there are three wonderful assurances from God’s Word for the Christian: First is Assurance of Salvation. God assures us of our salvation in Jesus Christ in 1 John 5:11-13, where John writes, “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." How encouraging to know God wants us to know we are a Christian! Second, is the Assurance of Answered Prayer. As a child of God, we have the unique privilege of speaking to God and come confidently into His presence (Hebrews 4:16) and talk to Him about everything (Philippians 4:6). He assures us that He does answer our heartfelt prayers (John 16:24; I John 5:14) since we are His children now and forever. (John 1:12) Third, is the Assurance of Victory Over Temptation. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, we are promised victory over temptation because “…with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). The Apostle Paul proclaimed, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).  Where you cannot overcome temptation alone, God can provide the grace to make you an overcomer since you are forever His child!  

Even the apostle Paul knew the struggle we all have with sin in life. (Romans 7:19) But Jesus is the direction of our life, not the perfection of it. Baptism is an important act of obedience and does not save us or wash away our sins. It illustrates a believer's union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. If we know Jesus Christ as Savior and understand what baptism signifies when we are baptized, then we do not need to be baptized again. If we did not know Jesus as Savior when we were baptized, then we need to be baptized again because it is essentially ‘believer’s baptism.’ But if a person has received Jesus as Lord and Savior, He is a child of God and will one day be with Jesus in heaven. (John 14:1-3, 6)

Like physical food, daily Bible intake feeds our soul and keeps us healthy. The Gospel of John (21 chapters) is a good starting point because it is the most fundamental presentation of Jesus and the Gospel. John wrote this book to show that Jesus is the Christ, the chosen one, who came to save humankind. The book of John will guide you as you start your new journey! 
Even though baptism is not required to go to heaven (i.e., the thief who died next to Jesus on a cross), it is an important step of obedience after we are saved. In Acts 2, the early church was growing, and people were coming to Jesus. After Peter gave a sermon telling people to turn to Jesus, he commanded people to follow through with the act of obedience by getting baptized. In that culture, people declared their allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ by surrendering their life to Jesus and then getting baptized. Baptism is an important first step in following Jesus after a person becomes a Christian. Baptism is a confession of faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 6:3-4) and does not wash away sins. Water baptism is an outward expression of an inward change that God has done identifying us with Jesus (Acts 2:38) and His church (Ephesians 4:4).

The Bible teaches that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but the rulers, powers, world forces, and spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12). These demons or evil spirits are fallen angels who, along with Satan, rebelled against God and desire to deceive the whole world (Revelation 12:9). Long ago, Satan took one-third of the angels with him (Ezekiel 28:12-15) to rebel against God and deceive those who follow and worship God. (Isaiah 14:12-15) Since God created us for His glory (Isaiah 43:7), we should avoid either imbalance of dismissing the presence of evil and demons, as well as being too preoccupied with their evil potential. Ultimately, God wins and He who is in us is greater than the evil one who is in the world. (I John 4:4)

Forgiveness is our greatest need, so knowing how to accept Him is a significant question. Someone once said, Jesus was either a liar, lunatic, a legend, or he was Lord.” The Bible teaches Jesus was not just a prophet or teacher, but God in human flesh (John 1:14). Jesus came to offer Himself as a sacrifice for sin for everyone who trusts in Him. The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of his perfect standard (Romans 3:23), but God sent Jesus to die for us and grant us forgiveness. This happens when we observe the ABC’s of coming to Jesus. First, admit we are sinners in need of a Savior. Sin separated us from God and Jesus paid for our sins. Second, believe in Jesus Christ as the only one to save us from our sins. Third, commit to following Jesus. Jesus wants our whole lives to progressively surrender to His Lordship since He is Savior and Lord (Romans 10:9-10). If you want to accept Jesus as your Savior, you can pray something like this; “God, I admit I am a sinner but I believe Jesus took my place so I could be forgiven. I receive Your forgiveness and place my trust in You for salvation. I accept Jesus as my personal Savior and Lord! Thank You for saving me.  Amen!”
The Church of Jesus Christ is the institution that God promised to build and bless (Matthew 16:18). When we trust in Jesus Christ, we are made a member of his family and the body of Christ-the church. As a family, being part of a church allows us to encourage one another, serve one another, teach one another, and use the gifts that God has given us to help others grow. (I Peter 4:10-11) For a church body to function properly, all of its “body parts” need to be present and functioning to help others (1 Corinthians 12:14-20) reach spiritual maturity. As we receive the encouragement of other believers, we grow to be more like Jesus and are a part of God’s amazing creation – the church. (Ephesians 4:16).

Spiritual Growth

We all have moments where we struggle with ‘gray areas’ in life. But everything we know about reality, right and wrong ultimately comes from God. We discover this truth by learning the bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17) as it teaches us that anything that displeases, and dishonors God is sin. Hence, it should be our noble desire to please God (2 Cor. 5:9). We often know we do wrong by our conscience and feel guilty. We can know right from wrong observing the Ten Commandments. It is a list of wrong things like stealing, lying, dishonoring our parents, all which spring from a lack of love for God. Thankfully, Jesus loved us so much that He fulfilled the ten commandments on our behalf by dying for us. Jesus knew all the wrong things we did and died for all of them. As we commit to Jesus (John 3:16), and delight ourselves in Him, (Psalm 37:4), He changes our lives to help us do the right things that please God!

The good news is every believer has at least one spiritual gift! 1 Corinthians 12:7 says, "A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other."  Although we all have a spiritual gift, we can struggle with what it is and how to use it. Here are three ways that can guide us.

  1. Knowing what brings your heart joy is a good first step to discovering your spiritual gift. How you naturally respond to a situation will offer insight to what gifts you possess. For instance, a person with the gift of exhortation will immediately begin to encourage someone facing an obstacle.
  2. A tool to aide you is a spiritual gifts assessment test. There are numerous ways to take these online and they provide invaluable insights. 
  3. Exercising what you believe to be your gift helps to determine whether you possess a certain gift. If you like to learn and share the Bible, consider teaching a sunday school class. If you like to care and pray for people, consider serving in a prayer ministry or hospital care. You are a unique, spiritual snowflake and God desires to use you and takes pleasure in working in you. (Phil. 2:12-13)

Everyone struggles with prayer. Improving our prayer life is a noble challenge, and prayer is communicating with God. Since God knows everything, and is a prayer-hearing God, He loves open and honest conversation with Him. We can tell him what is on our hearts without blushing. We can pray while we sit, stand, or lay down since God is interested in the condition of our heart. 1 John 5:14-15 says we can have confidence when we come to God in prayer, knowing He hears us and will grant whatever we ask as long as it is in His will.  Philippians 4:6-7 tells us to pray without being anxious, to pray about everything, and to pray with thankful hearts. The Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) includes a pattern of things to pray for.  It includes worship, confession, prayer for others, prayer for yourself, and victory over sin. Keep praying since God is worthy to be sought.

We all make mistakes. Thankfully, God does not judge us by our personal spiritual performance, but on His grace (Romans 3:24). Because Jesus loves us, died for us, and is gracious, He has made us right relationally with God. But the truth is we still struggle with sin. When we blow it, we can go to a forgiving God who tells us in 1 John 1:9-10, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness." Everyone makes mistakes and poor choices, but we have Jesus who knows every sin we have committed and loves us and is still committed to growing us (Phil. 1:6). His promise is that if we confess our sins to Him, He will forgive us, and restore us and promises not to condemn us. Romans 8:1 says, "So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus."  Take your bad choices and sins to the One who loves you and died for all of them-Jesus Christ.

We all have moments where we feel stale spiritually. A key way to revitalize your spiritual life is to reflect on three things.

  1. Consider what might be crowding out our love for Jesus. “Is Jesus the One I love the most?” can be a good question. Jesus never called us to a religious list of rules but to a vibrant relationship with Himself. Reflect on other loves that might be in the way and let’s open our hearts for a fresh inrush of Him.
  2. Remember when you first believed. Jesus said one way can remove staleness is to remember what our love for Him was like when we first believed. Allow your former passion, obedience, and love for the Word to ignite new passions in you by turning from what detours us. (Revelation 3:19)
  3. Return to the things you did when you first believed. It will help you recall your priority and prevent us from outward religion. Let’s encourage one another to love Jesus genuinely today.
The Bible is amazing and unlike any other book. The Bible is a collection of Books that God inspired (2 Tim 3:16-17). As a collection of books it is not necessary to start from the beginning in Genesis and read to the end. Reading the Book of John is a great start. It is easy to read, and it relates who Jesus is and why He came to earth. We recommend that you find an easy to read translation of the Bible like the New Living Translation (NLT) There are a lot of different translations of the Bible and some are easier to read than others. Read, study, memorize, meditate, and share your Bible. As you read and taste a steady diet of God’s Word, you will taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8)
Studies show we speak about 7,000 words daily and have 60-80,000 thoughts daily. The path to renewed speech is a renewed mind. In Romans 8:5-6 says, "Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace." We daily battle in our minds between the temptations we follow, and our new nature in Christ. We can win this battle, but it happens when we change the way we think. God is on your side (Romans 8:31) and changing the way you think happens when we bring our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:5), model the mind of Christ (Phil 2:3-4) and think on the right things (Phil 4:8). As you do these things your mind will become aligned with what the Spirit desires and move through life with more power and joy as you delight yourself in Jesus (Psalm 37:4).
Staying committed to Jesus is a challenge. Sometimes, people can get apathetic and even ‘lukewarm’. In what are people lukewarm? Jesus had some strong words for these types of people. In Revelation 3:14-22, Jesus challenged “lukewarm” churchgoers who are not really followers of Jesus, by calling them “poor, blind and naked.” He says that they need to be clothed in a white garment and he is about to spit them out of his mouth. Strong language because they are not a genuine child of God. We are always saved through the work of Jesus on the cross and not by our own works (Eph. 2:8-9). Jesus died for us and promised full forgiveness for everyone who places their faith in Him. But true faith will display fruit and deeds (Gal. 5:22-26; James 2:18-22). Periodic self-examination is helpful to verify our lives are displaying fruit and deeds that are evidence of a genuine faith in our Savior which is the opposite of luke-warmness. Jesus loves us so much that He also disciplines ‘those He loves.’  Let’s love Jesus today and leave lukewarm living in the rear-view mirror.

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