Next month, we are offering a group called Abiding in Christ. Group leader Kirby King agrees that abiding can look like many different things. Click here to read her in her own words What Abiding is NOT.
“For with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1”37).
This is the verse that drives Luanne Botta, founder of Guarded Heart Ministries, both in life and in ministry to women and teens.
Luanne came to know Jesus at 22, after spending time in the party scene. Several years later, she began serving in ministry. She served as a leader of a women’s ministry at her local church for many years. Serving women is one of Luanne’s passions. She knows what it’s like to experience weariness in her walk with Christ. As she serves other women she hopes they will find the encouragement to keep going. God has not left them and He is not done yet.
With God nothing is impossible.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Luanne was a teacher in a Christian high school for 17 years. During the 2nd week of her first year, a senior girl came to her for help. The student told Luanne that she was having sex with her boyfriend. Through tears, she admitted that she no longer wanted to do that. Luanne’s heart-broke for this girl. Over the course of the next 17 years, Luanne continued to hear the same story day after day. She realized that God was bringing these students to her in their brokenness.
“On a daily basis, the Lord brought one teenager after another into my office crying out for the truth about their relationship with the opposite sex,” Luanne says.
Luanne saw that these teens needed two things. First, they needed Jesus – His grace and His love. Second, they needed someone who would boldly teach them how to fight against their culture by walking in sexual integrity. God was calling her to be that person.
Luanne began to speak to her students about Jesus. She showed her students that their hearts were really longing for Jesus. Her students began to understand how God saw them. They began to realize that they were worth waiting for and how much God loved them. The importance of purity began to make more sense in light of their relationship with Jesus. Luanne challenged her students to rebel against their culture.
With God nothing is impossible.
Teaching her students about purity in light of the gospel has led Luanne to write 2 books. Young Hearts. Pure Lives reminds young women of how God sees them, how much He loves them, and that they are worth waiting for. The Warrior Within challenges young men to embrace their identity in Christ and pursue sexual integrity. In both books, Luanne uses the Word to deal with issues facing both teenage girls and boys. She is unafraid to deal head first with the tough issues that others avoid, such as pornography and sexting.
Luanne continues to minister to both teens and women today. A move from Pittsburgh to South Carolina has given her more opportunities to do both. Through Guarded Heart Ministries, she is often invited to speak at high schools around the Upstate. She recently had the opportunity to speak at the Beautifully Broken conference, hosted by Life In Abundance. Life In Abundance is thrilled to partner with Guarded Heart Ministries to present an upcoming workshop for parents and teachers on September 25, 2020. Details for that upcoming event will be posted on both websites.
With God nothing is impossible.
Luanne’s hope is that in the next 5 years teens and parents across the country will be using her books. She wants to see teens all over America choosing to trust in Jesus and choose purity. It is a tough battle. There have been many times she’s wanted to quit, but God keeps her going. She believes it is through His power alone that this battle will be won.
With God nothing is impossible.
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.
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.
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!
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!