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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.

In The Power of Christ

In The Power of Christ

In The Power of Christ, Mom and Dad, Take a Stand!

By Luanne Botta

A year ago I was teaching a group of high school girls at a Christian school. We were talking about the sexual culture we are living in and their greatest concern was, “How in the world do we navigate between the voices of the world and the truth of God’s Word?” They were so hungry to hear answers on how to walk out their remaining high school years with integrity and character in one of the most vital areas…sexual integrity.

We spoke about how the entertainment industry lures their generation through the selling of desire, making it confusing to both them and their guy friends on how to handle the sexual onslaught coming at them on a daily basis. Once they understood their value as young women of God and their true worth, we had an amazing breakthrough in this area of their hearts.

“Despite what the culture says, self-control – not self-indulgence – frees you from a broken heart, shattered emotions, and spiritual detachment. Unfortunately, many Christian teens have been deceived and bought the lie that they don’t need to control their desires for sex but to indulge them. You are told, “You’re just being a kid,” or Who cares, it’s no big deal,” or “What’s wrong with you?  It’s a natural thing, what are you waiting for.” (Young Hearts. Pure Lives./Chapter 2 – You Are Worth Waiting For.)

May I speak to you directly as parents? The Lord has gifted you with your children. He has given you a calling and commitment far beyond any job you will ever have. You are undoubtedly faced with the challenge to bring them up in today’s culture that is spinning out of control and it can be exhausting. However, it is imperative that you are closely involved in your child’s life, staying active in what they watch and the friends they choose. You are their greatest influence and they will respond to what you allow or don’t allow.  

I want to assure you…this is NOT a losing battle! We are in a battle where Jesus is Lord!  “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” Psalm 127:1. He has your family in His control and He is crazy about your kids! 

I have been in youth ministry for over 25 years and I have had the unique opportunity to minister to hundreds of high school teenagers, both guys and girls. I have seen first-hand that they want to understand and emulate true love’s design including respect, honor, value, commitment, and deep intimacy.

If I can give you one major tool as a parent in this culture it is Be A Watchman! A watchman stands watch, sounds an alarm/warning and guards the home. You are in the fight for your family and you are your child’s greatest role model. You are not their friend; that will come once they start their careers and their own families. Parent them now, that is what they need to navigate this culture that is attempting to deceive them. 

Please understand that your prayers move heaven and you set the tone for your home. You are stewarding unto the Lord and you will find that His Word is a powerful guide. Specifically, the book of Proverbs is a wonderful tool to give you wisdom and direction to lead your teen through this journey.  

It is so easy to let the entertainment industry raise your kids, especially when you’re exhausted, but it is important to always be on-guard. I highly recommend no TV’s in the bedrooms, otherwise teens will retreat to  their “cave” and be influenced by the culture rather than parents. Another suggestion is to not allow cell phones in the bedrooms when going to bed. The almost guaranteed negative influence can happen fast without detection.

A problem parents are currently voicing across the globe is how much time they should allow their teen to spend on social media. It is a balance that is needed. Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok…these influences don’t come without consequences. And particularly with the overwhelming onslaught of human trafficking coming through social media, it needs to be monitored and balanced. Yes, parenting is demanding, but your children need you so much in these years, even if they act like they don’t want your opinion or rules. They are desperate to feel safe and your rules make them feel safe and make them feel loved, no matter how much they challenge you.

“He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.”  Proverbs 13:18

You are their watchman at the gate. Take your stand against this cultural onslaught and love them through truth and boundaries. You are not alone in this fight: there are thousands of parents just like you. Pray for your kids and over your kids. They ultimately belong to the Lord. He will guide you through all of the joys, rebellion, heartache and victories.  

I want to cheer you on and encourage you to stand! Then, keep Standing! Run to the Lord and He will give you the wisdom you need to raise your child. This is a promise.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

In all her years of experience with teenagers, God compelled Luanne Botta to author two books for high school students: one for girls and one for guys. Both books contain many topics that teen deals with through their high school years, including the media selling of seduction, wisdom in friendships, the battle of sexting, importance of a personal quiet time, a godly character and sexual integrity.  A professor from Regent University in Virginia Dr. Rick Nugara described the books like this: “There has never been a generation more at risk nor has there ever been a more timely message.”

For resources to help your teen, visit the author’s website at luannebotta.com.

Photo by Gerd Altmann 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.

Celebration

Celebration

Celebrating the Christmas Season means excitement and enjoyment. It involves spending time with the special people we love and enjoying delicious food. In your holiday festivities, remember to take care of your health too. Overindulgence can leave you feeling sick and regretful. Remember to enjoy yourself without sabotaging your health.

Many people aren’t aware of the effects that sugar can have on the body and mind. If you’d like to learn more, click here to read Brain MD’s article ‘What Do Sugar and Cocaine Have in Common?’

Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay.

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!