If you pay attention to the news, then you are likely overwhelmed with the evil and tragedy in this world today. I know we are. Each time we hear of another earthquake, famine, tragic act of violence, or other painful event happening to mankind all around us, we wonder when all this will stop. When we will all live in harmony with one King? How long will this last? When will You come for Your bride, Jesus? There don’t appear to be breaks in the pain humans are experiencing anymore. We hardly have the time to fully grieve when yet another situation unfolds. Are you overwhelmed with the events unfolding before your very eyes? Do you fear? Or are you strategically handling each and every situation with delicacy and wise decisions?
“I don’t believe God disciplines anyone,” she told me as we stood outside the back doors of the hospital on our morning coffee break. I have to admit, I was caught off guard. Linda (name changed for privacy) had been doing prison ministries with me for a couple years. I found her full of God’s compassion, and I enjoyed hearing her speak about the Lord’s guidance over our lives. “Linda, the bible clearly tells us He disciplines us as a loving Father would,” came my automatic answer. “I know, but that was like what He did to Eli, or those other people in the Old Testament” was her reassurance to me. My conversation with Linda that day brought me to more and more of an awareness of how many people don’t understand the discipline we receive yet today. And without understanding that it is there, it can be hard to receive it as it was meant and change our thoughts and deeds in accordance with God’s Will.
We’ve all been there. Some of us more often than others, but nonetheless, we all share this dreadful, agonizing experience… We’ve all been attacked. As women, it doesn’t matter how we’ve been attacked or by whom, it turns emotional more than anything. But as Christians, we are called not to act inappropriately with those emotions. One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control. However appropriate it may be to feel and experience our emotions, when walking in obedience, we must try to control those emotions.
In our modern age, you have a plethora of resources available by which to gain encouragement and guidance in your life as a Christian. If you are in a free country, then you have churches available to you either in person, by postal mail, or via the internet. In many cases, it is easier to get a meeting with a pastor than it is a much needed medical professional. If you live in an area with other Christians, hopefully you see enough of them on a daily basis to feel encouragement through them. With all the resources and people around us, much can be learned about Jesus, his love for us, his perfect gift, and God’s original and modified plan for our lives. With all the facts and knowledge we can gain from listening to wonderful teachers, counselors, educated peers, and ministry leaders, there is still one thing none of them will ever be able to do for us.
More people attend church on Easter every year than any other day of the year. Friends, there is no doubt about it—if there is one day every year where more people will voluntarily subject themselves to hearing the message of eternal salvation, it will be on Easter. Do you take advantage of this help? Of all of the days of the year that you are asking your fellow human beings to come to church—offering to drive them to the service—calling them in the morning to make sure they wake up on time—even if you don’t celebrate Easter—are you asking them on this day? We get a lot of questions about “holidays” in our home. I understand those who do not celebrate Easter, and in my understanding, I still believe we should be taking advantage of this day. If you do celebrate Easter? Then you should have no excuse for not inviting people on a day when they are more likely than any of the other 364 days of the year to come hear about a heartbreaking love story written just for them.
How often do you repent? I mean really pray for forgiveness, vow to do everything in you to stop, and ask the Lord to help you stop? How often are you completely turning away from your sin? This concept evaded me as a new Christian. Wasn’t admitting I was a sinner and accepting Jesus’ sacrifice as payment for my sins enough? Wasn’t that the end of the road? Well, that’s enough to be saved from hell. But I want more. I am ever so grateful to be pardoned for my past sins and accept Jesus as my Savior which affects my eternal existence. But I want to be affected now. I want more than to stumble frustrated and lonely every day through this desperate and broken world waiting to be in His Glory. I want something now—a relationship that gives the joy I need to live the physical life I have been given now. I want to walk with Jesus now. But as the saying goes, Jesus will not walk with you when you are holding the devil’s hand.
The Lord has told us in His Word how to and how not to talk to each other. One thing he mentioned not to do was responding with the same foolish logic as someone else who has just spoken foolishly (Proverbs 26:4). There will always be people who disagree with you. And some of them will be very foolish in the way they react to their disagreement. One such foolish way is with words–words meant to degrade you, hurt you, insult you, embarrass you, or just tear you apart—all because the two of you think differently. Unless you are able to live where you don’t see or have any communication with such people, it will happen at some point in your life if it hasn’t already. For most of us, it will even happen behind our backs.
The bible has a lot to say about the effects of our words, what they reveal about our hearts, and what consequences certain types of words will have on us and others. Some verses are meant to teach us, and some are meant to warn. Others are meant to reveal our own hearts to ourselves. Specifically in the book of Ecclesiastes, there even appears to be a time for anger and other forms of being upset. This can lead to some misunderstandings. Some people feel passages that tell us to flee immorality, be wary of ear tickling teaching, and so forth translate to sometimes it’s okay to say mean things to those practicing immorality, and humiliate false teachers, etc. If you believe this, then I challenge you to find a verse that says either of the above is okay… I think you would have a bit of a problem on your hands. Well then, how are we to speak to each other? We’re in luck. Scripture tells us just how to and how not to talk to one another.
If you are a woman, or if you know one well, then you know they are their own encyclopedia of emotions. Along with the excitement, joy, and gratitude, they can also harvest resentment, embarrassment, and offense. For reasons no one (except another woman) could understand, things that probably shouldn’t hurt us do. And things that should only hurt for a little while hold on for a lifetime. It is our lot in life to be emotionally vulnerable. And the emotions we feel help us to feel great joy when others feel joy, to feel empathy for those in need, and gratefulness at the blessings bestowed upon us. We are not, however, to entertain the negative emotions to the point where they interfere with our lives, change our personalities, and run our days. So how are we to control our emotions when they are so good at controlling us?
Many people are solidifying their New Year’s Resolutions in the end of January, but some are still trying to pick out exactly what they want to focus on. If you’re looking to narrow down your choices, here’s a list of resolutions to get you started, mostly based on the Greatest Commandment: “thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” Mark 12:30 Go ahead, pick an area of weakness that you’d like to beef up and glean some ideas.