Fill It with Him

"But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy." Psalm 5:11 Sometimes things happen in our lives that leave a void. The death of a loved one, divorce, an estranged child or parent, the loss of a job, a move, or changing friendships can all leave voids in our lives. Yes, it is okay to be sad, and we should go through the grieving process. But what then? What can we do about the emptiness we may feel inside? How can we cope with these losses? The Bible reminds us, "The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with

In Christ

"Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives." -Romans 6:2-4 What does it mean to live "in Christ"? Most of us have a mental knowledge of what it means to be in Christ and believe in Him, but we may not have a true heart knowledge of what that means. Being "in Christ" means much more than we realize. Once I was with one of my mentors and a friend of mine, and I confessed to him that I had a fear of public

The Real Thing

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener." - John 15:1 What is real? What is 'the real thing?' Cola-Cola markets itself as "the real thing". But is real anything money can buy? What is real to you? When I was 17, I attended a New Age workshop. I was looking for the real thing — that is, I was looking for an authentic faith experience. I was looking for God. I had grown up in environments that were pretty religious. But my heart wanted more. I was looking for authenticity — a tangible faith — something I could experience for myself. During this workshop, we did all sorts of meditation, Reiki, and visualization techniques. We tapped into the spiritual and soul realm through doi

Love & Respect

"However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." -Ephesians 5:33 Have you ever heard the phrases "men need respect", and "women need love"? I have to admit this idea was branded into my brain as a result of some amazing marriage coaching my husband and I had after we were engaged. But it wasn't until recently that these words jumped out at me as I was reading scripture — and how true they are! We are all wired so differently — men and women, young and old, with different likes and dislikes, different desires and different motivations. Wouldn't it be true that we could best motivate and encourage each other if we knew what made

Do Not Be Afraid

"I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side." -Psalm 3:6 All throughout the scriptures, God informs us that He does not want us to be afraid. "But isn't that contradictory?" you might say. "Doesn't God want us to fear Him?" Yes, but that's a different kind of fear. There are in fact three different types of fear mentioned in the Bible. The first comes from the Greek word phobeo. Phobeo is not a bad type of fear but is described as when someone has seen a heavenly being like an angel or something out of the ordinary. The second is eulabeia, which means to have the utmost respect for something, or someone. This is the appropriate, godly fear we are to have of God, o

Salty Sweet

"Kind words are like honey — sweet to the soul and healthy for the body." -Proverbs 16:24 What does it mean to be salty or sweet? A friend of mine put together a website that parallels the internal state of our hearts with flavors. I thought it was such a great way to think about guarding our hearts and making sure we stay at a good balance of "salty" and "sweet"! I love being around salty sweet people. To me, this means a person who has an understanding of the love of God in their life, (sweet) and also an understanding of His boundaries and revelation (salty). These two words can also parallel spending time with God, as Mary did, (sweet) and also doing the work of God (salty) — as Mart

Having the Grace for It

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them — yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me." -1 Corinthians 15:10 Have you ever noticed that some things are far easier when God is with us? "God is always with us," you may say, which is true, but have you ever noticed God's favor on some activities and not all activities? Have you ever done something you knew God wanted you to do? Likewise, have you ever done anything you knew God didn't want you to do? Sometimes what God wants us to do is confirmed by several things in our lives: God's word, the agreement of other trusted people in our lives, God's peace, a

Free Will

"The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the Lord God warned him, 'You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden — except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.'" -Genesis 2:15-17 Did you know that, in the beginning of time, God gave us a very important gift? The gift He gave us wasn't life, or work, authority, or companionship — although those are very important things that did He give to us. But God gave us something very powerful that most of us don't even realize: He gave each of us the ability to choose. He gave us the gift of free will. We may think that we know what free will is, an

Confidence in Christ

"But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence." -Jeremiah 17:7 I remember when I first decided to follow Jesus, after I finally realized that He loved me. Because I still had a lot of brokenness in my life, I was hungry to learn more about God and develop my relationship with Him, hoping that He would fix the brokenness I felt. One of the areas I was very weak in was my confidence. God began to help me in this area through many resources, and it wasn't until God had proven Himself over and over in my life that I began to become more confident — not necessarily in myself — but in Him and in His plan for my life. I began to feel confident bec

The Search for Significance

"Come and follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." -Matthew 4:19 Have you ever felt insignificant? Have you ever felt like nothing you did would matter to anyone else? Conversely, have you ever felt valued? Like, what you did really mattered to someone in this world? If you ever ask a young person what they want to be when they grow up, they'll likely say something like, "An astronaut!" "A fireman!" "A ballerina!" "A rockstar!" Even from an early age, we're searching for significance. We're searching to do something "cool" that makes an impact on others. Unfortunately, so much of our American culture today focuses on who is in the spotlight. We confuse the spotlight for

Knowing We're Loved

"Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments." -Deuteronomy 7:9 "Marriage looks good on you!" came the remark. I was flattered. I knew it too — I had never felt so loved in all my life, outside of feeling loved by God. "Thanks," I said, sheepishly. It had been three months since I had gotten married, and I was really soaking in the whole experience. I felt like a sponge! My home family life growing up had been very different from life with my husband — I was like a thirsty traveler in a desert who had found an oasis of life! Many of us in the body of Christ

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