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4 Reminders to Pray for Justice in a Hurting World

As Christians, we are to leave vengeance to God, but He made us inclined toward action. To say a prayer for justice can feel like inaction, but what if we were granted an audience with the most powerful leader in the community, state, or nation in the face of wrongdoing? We would go and make our appeal, and it would not feel as if we’d done nothing. When we pray for justice to our Creator God, we are making our case before the Highest Power in the universe.God calls us to enact justice when it is within our power (Micah 6:8), but the greater injustices are too often outside our human influence to redress. The people of God have suffered injustice throughout their existence. Many Christians around the world are treated unjustly even today because of the name of Jesus. We sometimes suffer daily injustices based on things about us we can’t change or because we encounter others who are largely out for only themselves. People all around us suffer injustice, whether they follow Jesus or not, and as we witness their pain, we may feel helpless and small, but God has given us an avenue to appeal on their behalf.Now, it’s true that justice can get confusing on this side of Glory. Our prayers can be muddled in a world with much deception and where people imagine themselves victims with sometimes very little evidence or cause. This is all the more reason to bring these cases before God, as He is perfect, knows all truth, and judges rightly.Psalm 89:14 says, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you” (ESV).Deuteronomy 32:4 reads, “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he” (ESV).So, how do we go about praying for justice? What can the Bible tell us about this process?Photo Credit:©GettyImages/olegbreslavtsev

4 Things You Should Know about Ordinary Angels

Sharon is a talented hairdresser with a can-do spirit and a candid tongue. She doesn't take no for an answer. She says what she thinks.She's also an alcoholic with an estranged adult son who resents her for her addiction. She drinks vodka for breakfast. She stumbles home from the bar late at night. Far too often, she covers her personal pain with a drink from the liquor bottle. Her friends try to intervene but have little success.Soon, though, Sharon discovers something that gets her mind off her failures: a newspaper story about a 5-year-old girl who is critically ill and whose mother recently died. Sharon can't get the story out of her head. She attends the funeral. She launches a fundraiser. She reaches out to the father. Of course, Sharon doesn't personally know the family. She just wants to help a neighbor in need."We all need to find meaning and purpose outside ourselves," she tells a friend. Will Sharon's assistance make a difference? And can she get her life back on track?The new faith-based movie Ordinary Angels (PG) tells the uplifting story of Sharon, her new friend Ed, and his family.Here are four things you should know:Photo credit: ©Lionsgate; used with permission.

7 Pieces of Bad Parenting Advice You Should Ignore

Inner rambling thoughts of nearly every mom or dad at some point or another when any piece of parenting advice is given:She may mean well, but it's a different generation that doesn't work today.Those words didn't just come out of his mouth, did they?But my life is different than hers, and I can't do that? Can I?He has got to be kidding. Oh, wait. He's absolutely serious!Oh, the many times I have heard advice from a "well-meaning" family member, friend, acquaintance, and yes, even a simple stranger (the grocery store is the worst), only to tell myself to let it go in one ear and out the other. Yep, it's a lot. I bet you can probably relate.While some advice is welcomed and helpful, like when my mom told me to put another diaper below the one I was changing (good call!) or the time a mentor couple at our church told my husband (in front of me) the best thing you can do for your children, is to really love their mother. That one made me smile. Other times, you get those words of advice that may leave you grinding your teeth, biting your lip, rolling your eyes, or just awkwardly smiling, awaiting the chance to slither away. Then there are those off-the-wall statements that just make you go, hmm.We've all been there. Getting advice, especially as a new parent, is like a rite of passage. The reality is that you are going to receive advice many times throughout this journey; it is unavoidable. The good news is that as parents, we can learn from one another and share our own stories, allowing us to shift the good advice from the not-so-good advice.So, with that, here is a collection of bad parenting advice, mostly for new parents, but could be applied for other seasons as well, that may spur on a few laughs, cause an "aha" moment, or give you a big virtual hug as realize you aren't alone.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/AleksandarNakic

5 Profound Reasons Why Showing Up Matters in Christianity

A famous adage says, "Half of life is just showing up." Although people may dismiss this statement, there's some truth to it. While technology tries to replace in-person church attendance, small groups, and other in-person communication, connection and intimacy can only be achieved through events that we do in groups or one-on-one. Technology cannot replace the connection and community we receive when we attend something in person. We make friends and receive strength, correction, and grace when we need it the most. Furthermore, when we attend in-person events, we not only receive encouragement from the people around us, but we give encouragement as well. Here are some reasons why showing up matters in Christianity:
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/artplus

5 Things to Know About the Women in the Easter Story

The Bible gets a bad reputation in modern times for being chauvinistic or even oppressive toward women. On the one hand, the Bible isn’t written with modern feminism in mind. At the same time, the Bible contains several themes and principles that treat women with equality, respect, and affirmation, especially in its day (2,000 years ago).For example, two books in the Old Testament are dedicated to the stories of women, Esther and Ruth. These accounts were extremely rare in those days and not the acts of a religion trying to dismiss women. Women are prophets, leaders, prophets, prophets, and heroes through the Old and New Testaments.Women are incredibly central to the Easter narrative. They participated in the ministry of Jesus, people he counted as friends and treated as disciples. We see women on every page through the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus.This Easter, take the time to revisit these amazing women. Here are five things to know about the women in the Easter story.Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/rudall30

3 Incredible Things You Can Do to Reflect Christ in Dark Times

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).Many Christians believe we are currently living through theverylast of the Last Days (akaThe End of the World As We Know It). And those paying attention to the nightly news, ranting on social media, or the culture war raging around us would likely point to Paul’s prophecy of 2 Timothy 3 as proof of that belief.These verses describe the end of this age using the phraseperilous times– meaning dangerous, tense, tumultuous, emotionally difficult times. These are times dominated by a “me-centric” humanity: spiritually bankrupt, morally twisted, and lacking self-discipline.Call me crazy, but that sounds spot on to me; people today are simply in love with themselves!But beingin love withis quite different thanlovingoneself, which is entirely Scriptural:“You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39).Everyone should love themselves. It’s the second greatest commandment out of the lips of Jesus — second only to loving God. And it implies that I can’t love you properly unless I love me as well! That is, the way I lovemedirectly affects how I love, treat, and respectyou.If I’m not happy with me, content, at peace and secure in myself, I will project my insecurities onto you, and be jealous of you, disloyal, harsh and unforgiving, unkind, envious and inconsiderate toward you. Because, if I don’t love me, I simply can’t love you either. And how I treat you is a reflection of me, more than it is of you.When you arein love withyourself, like when you are in love with someone else, you become excessively fond, attracted, infatuated with and self-consumed.This word is literally describing a worship of one’s self.In self-worship, every situation encountered is first filtered throughhow does this affect me?It is not a matter of fairness or justice, not mercy, nor right or wrong, and not what God says in Scripture, but is entirely based on the question: what is best for me?Photo credit: Unsplash/Josh Boot

5 Ways Couples Can Forgive and Move Past Disagreements in Their Marriage

Marriage is a beautiful covenant between two people who love each other. They make vows in front of God and their loved ones that they will love, honor, and cherish each other until the day they die. But as with any relationship, conflict is inevitable, even in the best of relationships. One of the signs of spiritual maturity and an emotionally healthy person is how they resolve conflict. Every couple could use better conflict management. Conflict is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be good for a relationship as it allows each person to express their deepest emotions and disappointments with the person and the situation. When each person hears the other person's concerns, it allows them to change their behavior and become better people as a result. But sometimes couples want to avoid facing the issue directly. They instead tried to ignore the issue, sweep it under the rug or project their issues onto the other person while avoiding their own behavior changes. Taking responsibility for their part in the conflict and making positive changes toward repentance makes people better in the end. Here are five ways couples can better handle conflict:
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6 Hymns That Have Been Teaching You Bad Theology

In his book, Doxology and Theology, Matt Boswell says this:When the church is gathered together in the name of God, only singing which glorifies Him is appropriate. We don’t sing corporately because it was our idea. We sing because it was God’s idea for His people. Since it is God who has commanded us to sing, it is God who will also determine what kind of songs we will sing. We are to sing to Him and for Him. Our songs are not meant to be entertainment, or a distraction from God. (Boswell, 7)This means we sing for the purpose of pleasing God and to edify one another. And God is pleased and we are edified by the truth of Scripture. An implication of this is that what matters most in the songs we sing as a gathered church is not whether or not we like the songs but whether or not they share biblical truth accurately.There are a few classic hymns which I believe have a tendency to teach us bad theology. I do not believe in the long term they edify the body. I love to sing some of these songs, they have sentimental appeal. But there are certain things taught within these six hymns which give me pause.Photo courtesy: Unsplash.com/@mgmaasen

8 Things Every Christian Needs to Stop Doing Right Now

Christians are not perfect. While we get a lot of things right, there are still quite a few things we get wrong.Some of these are detrimental to our personal walk with Jesus and our testimony to the world.For this reason, here is a list of 8 things every Christian needs to stop doing now.1. Stop Neglecting Your Personal Relationship with the Lord“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”--Mark 1:35The main reason God saved you is because he wants to have a personal relationship with you. Yet sometimes we treat spending time with God as an obligation and not a privilege.Do you really understand what it means that you can spend time in God’s presence? This is the same God who spoke and the world came into existence and he wants to be in relationship with you. We need to stop neglecting this time.When Jesus walked the earth, everyone wanted his time and attention, yet he intentionally got away from people so he could pray. Not only did this maintain his relationship with his Father, but it was his source of strength to face all the challenges of the day.I know there is a lot going on in your life, but make sure you find time to spend with the Lord. You will be better for it in more ways than you realize.Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Deagreez

7 Faithful Ways to Wrestle with Disappointment

Disappointment is an inevitable part of life. We all encounter moments when life doesn’t go as planned--unmet expectations,broken relationships, unexpected hardships, missed opportunities, and other disappointing situations. As Christians, we’re not immune to disappointment because we’re living in a fallen world.However, we have a loving and powerful God to help us in disappointing situations.Jesus warns us in John 16:33 that we’ll encounter disappointment in our earthly lives, but he also encourages us to rely on his help to overcome it: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”Romans 15:13 promises that when weask the Holy Spirit to help us, the Spirit will give us the hope we need: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”God never wastes hardship. When we trust God, he will bring us through disappointment and help us findpeace of mind andjoy in any circumstances.Let’s explore 7 ways Christians can wrestle with disappointment and handle it well.Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Fizkes

7 Biblical Truths to Guide Your Decision-Making

In a world filled with complex choices and moral dilemmas, we all need God’s guidance to make the best decisions.Praise be to God, the Bible features timeless truths that can help you make wise decisions in any situation.By grounding your decisions in biblical principles, you can make choices that reflect God’s will. Then you can experience the peace and joy that come from living the life God wants for you.Here are 7 biblical truths to guide your decision-making process:Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Pict Rider

5 Surprising Ways You May Be Destroying Your Relationship with Your Adult Children

As parents, it's easy to discipline and guide kids when they're little. As young children grow and form their own values and ideas, it's easy to simply follow what Mom or Dad says to do. They learn boundaries, and they learn to be comfortable within those boundaries. However, when they become adults, they want to be treated as adults. It's difficult for parents to let go of past child-rearing techniques and instead continue to treat their children like children rather than the adults they are. Overbearing or controlling parents may be difficult for children to be able to relate to as they get older. This, among other things, may strain an otherwise enriching relationship between parent and adult. Here are some surprising ways you may be destroying your relationship with your adult children:
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4 Vital Truths Christians Learn from the Season of Lent

Within the season of Lent lies a deep liturgical beckoning to turn. This 40-day journey asks those who believe in Jesus to once again fully embrace the rhythms of life-long learning that are inherent in the transformative call of following Christ. As the authors of the study “People of Remembrance” note, “It is a daily choice to let God’s past faithfulness shape and steer our thoughts, prayers, habits, affections, decisions, and relationships.”Matthew 11:28-29 recounts Jesus teaching the crowds in the town of Galilee. Within this passage, the reader will find the ongoing invitation to bring the substance of their exhausting and overwhelming lives to Jesus and to begin a daily choosing to allow the life and cross of Christ to “shape and steer” the entirety of one’s existence.“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”Jesus is inviting his audience to turn and learn; as he does, he is displaying the very core of his purpose and character. He has come to exchange our heavy burden of sin and purposelessness for his light, easy, and restful yoke of learning who he is and partaking of his gentle humility. His Kingdom Come.Turn and Learn.Often, Lent is associated with a time of fasting and giving up either a detrimental habit or something that one truly enjoys. Any season of intently giving oneself over to the contemplation and meditation of Scripture while also surrendering ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit is bound to draw us deeper in our love and understanding of God. This is true whether we are participating in a fast or simply wholeheartedly committing to the journey itself, and we find we are walking a Lenten Road in the footsteps of our Savior. As we lean into the lessons of Lent, there are four areas in which we have a genuine opportunity to learn of His humility and gentleness.Remember. Reflect. Relationship. Revive.
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7 Prayers for the Brand-New Momma

You are amazing! Just thought you might need to hear that right about now. You made it. You did it! Your love made that precious little bundle you have tucked so close to your heart, gifting you a title you never knew could come with so many emotional strings attached.Yet, here you are! You are a mom. A mom!You anticipated, waited, and earnestly prayed for this day, this new chapter. So, welcome to the club, sweet sister!It wasn’t easy, I know. Your body is weary, and your heart is still tender. It’s been quite a lot to endure lately. After all, you just carried a life inside of you for nine months and grew another tiny human. You did that! You dealt with mood swings and food aversions, watched your body morph in ways that brought forth both joy and frustration. You battled sleepless nights and wrestled a body pillow that practically kicked your hubby out of bed. You walked around even though you couldn’t see your feet, all while bracing yourself for lots and lots of (un)wanted advice. You prepped like never before, cleaning like a mad woman all while eating cereal like it was going out of style. You fought fatigue like a champ and read all the parenting books.You did all that, and now you are here! Holding this little human with shaky arms, unsure of how in the world you are going to do this. But, this is indeed motherhood.Sweet new momma, it’s okay to have all the feels and to be real and raw in the moment. You just underwent the most incredible yet physically, mentally, and emotionally draining procedure that a woman could ever go through. Sure, it was exhaustive, demanding, and intense, but oh, so beautiful.Yet, as surreal as that moment in time was, the journey has just begun! The healing will come, I promise. The emotions will eventually even out, I assure you. The fog will lift, and you will settle into this new role. Those motherly instincts will kick in and you will be okay. Trust that you are not only capable but so much stronger than you may think because God created you for this. And, He’s got you!In the meantime, as you snuggle that precious gift and settle into this new season of your life, take some time to get quiet before the Lord and let Him wrap you in His unfailing love. Below are some verses and pocket prayers to whisper up at any time. Let them bring peace and comfort to your new momma heart:Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Rawpixel

10 Ways to Help Kids Keep Their Faith

The headline screams, “Millennials Leaving the Church in Droves!” It’s enough to make a parent fear for their child’s faith. Is there anything we can do to turn the tide for our child? Any wisdom for helping our kids keep their faith?If you’re a Christian parent, no doubt you want your kids to follow Christ, too. The apostle John summed up this heart desire when he wrote, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4) When a child, teen, or young adult lives out their faith, there is simply no greater joy. But there is also no greater heartbreak than when a child leaves their faith.While parents can’t guarantee their children will keep their faith—their faith is their choice—there are some proactive steps parents can make to help. After more than two and half decades of parenting, here are 10 tips I’ve learned to help kids keep their faith.
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