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Freedom to Feel

Freedom to Feel

By Karen Baloy

Dr. Caroline Leaf’s ‘Brain Detox Program’ is designed to help you rid your mind of toxic thinking patterns and replace them with healthy thinking patterns. Dr. Leaf explains that the most important thing is to be honest about how you are feeling. Unfortunately, Christians sometimes feel guilty about being honest about negative feelings. 

In Philippians 4:6, Paul encourages us to take everything to God in prayer — including complaints, petitions, thanksgiving and praise. In the Psalms, David does all of this. 

One of my favorite things about David is his candor with God. He was considered to be a man after God’s heart and was so expressive with his language. I had spent years burying my feelings. It wasn’t until after reading several Psalms and learning about David that I finally felt the freedom to explore all of my personal feelings with God. 

Psalm 64 starts with David petitioning, “O God, listen to my complaint. Protect my life from my enemies’ threats.” Most of us can relate to David’s pain of having nasty things said about him. You can hear the fear in his voice when he pleads in verse two, “Hide me from the plots of this evil mob, from this gang of wrongdoers.” That is raw honesty. God encourages us to be honest. (It isn’t as if He doesn’t know our situation anyway.) In fact, He loves honesty. God wants to be engaged in our lives, the good, the bad, and the ugly. What freedom!

The other major lesson we can learn by reading about David’s life is he understands the importance of handing his problems over to God. David allows God to handle the situation in Psalm 64 as evidenced in verse seven, “But God himself will shoot them with his arrows, suddenly striking them down.” Lastly and most importantly, David closes most of his psalms by encouraging everyone to praise God. 

I’m now trying to apply David’s strategy to my daily life. I do it by acknowledging my feelings, discussing them with God, handing over what I cannot control to Him, and praising Him for His faithfulness. King David is such a great example of how we should engage God!

Photo by Jackson David from Pixabay.

Asking the “Whys” of God

Asking the “Whys” of God

By Emma Reaney

A version of this article was first posted on Start Your Day with Emma Clae.

I really struggle with asking God why. Big time.

I’ve had moments when I get really angry at God because oftentimes, I don’t understand Him. For a long time I didn’t understand why he gave me an eating disorder. I didn’t understand why I was having such a difficult first semester of college during freshmen year. I didn’t understand why I had to see my family hurting at times, especially when there was nothing I could do. Sometimes I just don’t know why God does the things He does. 

It makes me mad. So unbelievably mad. And I’m writing this during one of those “mad” times. Right now, I find myself asking “Why God?” and “Why the heck is this part of your plan?” and “What good is going to come out of this?” ***Disclaimer: I wrote this post about a month ago and am just now posting it so I’m no longer “unbelievably mad.”***

I don’t like His timing, I don’t like His plan, and I don’t like the way He is supposedly working in our lives. But you know what? Sometimes we aren’t supposed to like His plan. It may take months or even years before we finally understand why God did what He did…Click here to continue reading.

The Door

The Door

By Pastor Ben Hill (reproduced with permission)

Doors, doors, doors. How many doors do we go through every single day? Just stop and think how many you’ve gone through today! If we consciously consider every single one in our homes, at work, in our cars, at the stores and doctors’ offices it really would be amazing just how many there are. 

Some doors lead to new rooms or buildings. Some are a pathway to a never before seen place. To enter, you may have to turn a knob, push a lever, or pull a handle, and yet some open automatically. Others open by pushing a button, like your garage door.

Doors come in all sizes, heights, widths, and depths. Some are strictly utilitarian, others quite ornate. They all lead somewhere, and we are continually walking through them.

The point is that doors are everywhere. They’re so prevalent that we hardly even notice them. Many of these doors we can take or leave, use or not use with very little consequence. An example would be when visiting the hospital — do I go through the standard door or the revolving door?

BUT there is another door, it’s THE Door. We must be conscious of this door every day, and aware of what it means. IT is the door that no man constructs; it is the door that God puts before us. The door to an abundant life, a life of meaning and purpose, a door to what is right and true. It’s THE door to life everlasting! AND… this door is ALWAYS open! We just have to walk through it.

Jesus has opened the lock and torn it off with His own sacrifice! IT is open, have you walked through by faith? As His child, recognize the door to abundant living He puts before you. Step through the door every day. This door leads to greater joy and meaning in life than we could ever imagine. He knows the way, so trust Him and step through!

What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?

By Pastor Ben Hill

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

By what name are you called? What’s in a name? The one indispensable name in all of eternity is the Name of Jesus! Of this we are certain. But beyond that, what is in a name?

Juliet (of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare) is said to have opined: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

What’s in a name? I am Benjamin, Son of Reginal and Mary Ellen, Father of Brittany and Daniel, Husband of Debbie. But my name means more than that as well; I am Benjamin, Pastor, Counselor, and Teacher.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”

So collectively, what name have we been given? And how important is it? We are called Christian, “little Christ”, “Christ-follower”. What’s in THAT name? Well, a whole lot! It defines us, it separates us, it should motivate and direct us! To live as “Christian” is to love as Christ loved, to serve as Christ served, to warn the lost as Christ did. To “live as Christ” is to care deeply and passionately about the souls of man.

So embrace the Name… live the Name… wear the Name with humble purpose… Christian! No matter “who” you are, remember “whose” you are, and BE like Christ!

Wait

Wait

By Pastor Ben Hill (reproduced with permission)

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

In today’s fast paced and frenetic society, “wait” is certainly not a concept that is welcomed, much less appreciated! I remember as a kid there were certainly different kinds of “waiting.” Christmas Eve brought excited anticipation which then turned to excited anguish. On Christmas morning we had early breakfast, then hustled off to Christmas Sunrise Church service, then back home to FINALLY see and open presents! There was also the kind of “waiting” that came with knowing I had to show my parents a report card that was somewhere between less than good and awful!!

Today we wait for all kinds of things. We wait at red lights, on hold with the utility companies, in the doctor’s office, for a table at a restaurant on a busy weekend night, and in line at the DMV. We wait for the next blockbuster movie to come out, for the pizza delivery guy, we even have to inconveniently “wait” for the water to boil to make spaghetti! (A watched pot never boils). We spend a lot of time waiting.

Even in our walk with Jesus, the waiting sometimes becomes bothersome. We wait for when He will come back again and clean up this mess! We wait for “peace on earth,” which incidentally won’t come until the former happens. We wait for the time when we will finally stop making the same silly spiritual mistakes, and we often wait impatiently for OTHERS to just ‘see that we are right.’ Yes, sometimes we wait unrealistically! We wait for eternal rest, so we wait… and wait… and wait.

But this waiting shouldn’t get us anxious, or upset, or impatient, or depressed, or frustrated. This waiting should make us soar! Those who wait upon the Lord will have our strength renewed, and we will soar like eagles. We will run and not be tired. We will walk and not grow weary. How, you may ask? Because we are His children, heirs of His grace and mercy, and we will wait…. but oh, the joy that is to come!!

So, wait…just a little bit longer.