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9 Powerful Prayers for Your Marriage

Do you pray for your spouse? Specifically and with purpose and intent? Or are your prayers more of a "help ______ today be the person I need them to be"? Hmm. How often do we, without paying attention, customize our prayers for our spouse to benefit ourselves? Or how often do we pray for our spouse and their weaknesses in order to get them repaired to a place where we can love them more easily?What constitutes powerful prayer for your marriage? Considering prayer is as powerful as a two-edged sword, it's probably wise to step back and carefully choose our words, investigate the intent of our heart, and consider how we can pray for the health and well-being of this sanctified relationship into which we entered.There are nine specific attitudes of prayer you can pray for your marriage and your spouse. All of them are based on the fruits of the spirit. If we foster these in prayer and our lives, it will be curious to see how they improve our marriages.Let's check them out:
Photo credit: ©Pablo Heimplatz on Unsplash

5 simple Ways to Stop People from Sucking the Life Out of You

All of us have been there–we are spending time with someone who is overly talkative, needy, and selfish, and without them knowing it, are frankly just sucking all of the life out of us. It can feel at times that they are a vampire, draining all of our energy away.If you have found yourself in this position before, know that you are not alone. Most of us know at least one person in our life who does this.The best way one could imagine ending this would be to stop talking with the person, but most times, it is not that simple. Sometimes the people who drain us the most are the people we have to encounter every day, such as coworkers, a difficult family member, or the judgmental lady neighbor you see all the time at the grocery store.All of these people are unavoidable, therefore, we have no option but to have to interact with them. If you have many people in your life who drain you, know that there are many things you can do to prevent them from draining your energy any longer.Through going to therapy and studying the Bible, I have learned that there will be people who will be unintentionally toxic and burdensome, but it doesn't mean that we have to let them rule our lives. Instead of allowing them to drain every ounce of hope out of our bones, we can take our stand and do things to help ourselves.These things can take time and work, but they are worth it. Anything good is worth working for, and this is no exception.The individuals who are draining you probably aren't just doing it to you. They are probably fatiguing many other people and causing them to feel overwhelmed. And while this doesn't solve your problem, it can help you feel less alone.Many of the people we encounter every day deplete us with just a simple word, remark, or facial expression, but we don't need to give them that much power in our lives. If you are tired of people sucking the life out of you, here are five ways to keep people from doing it.Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/MarioGuti

8 Unnoticed Ways God Is Blessing Your Life

When we think of God’s blessings, our minds often conjure up happy relationships, being financially secure, enjoying vacations, or gaining favor with people in power. We might even tend to think of only those “it’s good to be alive” moments.But God can often be blessing our lives in ways we don’t even notice, like when we’re dealing with a disappointment, an unexpected diagnosis, or a financial setback.I’ve learned by now that some of God’s best gifts to us are the things He withholds. And some of our most precious blessings come in the form of suffering. We often don’t realize it immediately, but in hindsight, we find we have much to be grateful for.So that you can live out God’s will for you and be thankful in all things (1 Thessalonians 5:18), here are eight ways God is blessing your life that might otherwise go unnoticed:Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Daniel de la Hoz

5 Comforting Reminders Moms of Teens Need to Hear Today

Parenting teens in today's world can feel beyond overwhelming - kind of like trying to stay cool when you're a piece of dry wood tossed into a dumpster fire. Many of us elder Millennials and Gen X'ers have parented teens through the evolution of smartphones, Snap Chat, and X-box Live. We have no earthly idea what we're doing. Yet, we're meant to serve as master-class-level digital police, culture war moderators, and spiritual warfare ninjas in an increasingly ludicrous world. Deep. Breaths.It's so difficult to keep the faith and remain optimistic while dealing with teenage mood swings, unforeseen drama, evolving personalities, and all the other magic that keeps our therapists equally horrified and entertained on the regular. However, just today, I had a God thought. It happened while spacing out at the kitchen sink, listening to my 14 and 16-year-old boys roam through the house, chattering away on their Air pods, leaving a trail of snack wrappers in their wake. The voice simply said, "They're both amazing. and they're both going to be okay." Admittedly, I was pretty caffeinated and high off a fresh Maverick City worship set, but my mind was heavily flooded with some assurances and truths I wanted to share with every mom of teens because, frankly, we never (ever) hear enough edification or comfort. We probably need to remind ourselves of these truths daily, but I hope this helps, even for today.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Galina Zhigalova

5 Unique Easter Traditions to Incorporate in Your Family’s Celebration This Year

Easter is the most important Christian holiday. Christmas has become the most popular over the past century due to consumer and media push, but before the early 1900s, Easter dominated the Christian calendar.Through this holiday, we celebrate the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus offered forgiveness of all sin, beat death once and for all, and opened the path through repentance and faith to full reconciliation with the Father. This event changed everything, a revolution of love, mercy, and hope covering the world. Even though academics today call it BCE and CE, modern dating still uses the existence of Christ as the hinge for all of history.Along with the holiday, traditions have emerged over the years. Whether big dinners, egg hunts, or passion plays, different cultures and families have their favorite ways to celebrate Easter week. However, as with all traditions, we can go through the motions, and those religious celebrations can lose meaning.Perhaps we could get creative and come up with some new ways to engage with the Easter holiday. Other traditions were new ideas once. What if we developed other options?Here are five unique Easter traditions to incorporate into your family’s celebration.Photo Credit:©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Anna Usova

7 Ways Your Clothes Speak Louder Than Your Words

Since the days of Adam and Eve, when they took a bite of that forbidden fruit, and God made coverings made of fur to hide their nakedness, people have been wearing clothes, at least in public.Through thousands of years and across a thousand cultures, there have been different styles and choices for clothing. Yet, as with most activities of the human race, like food and language, we have invested meaning within clothing.We say more through what we do than what we say. John 3:16 doesn’t say, “For God so loved the world he said he loved us.” God gave his son, who sacrificed himself for our eternal good. That action declared the depth of love God has for us.It’s important to remember, however, that we are speaking of first impressions or outward appearance. What we communicate on the outside might not be the best representation of our inward character. God is more concerned with the heart. At the same time, we know at least 70% of communication is nonverbal, so it’s wise for us to consider what our dress says about us to others.So what do we say about what we wear? Here are seven ways your clothes speak louder than your words.Photo Credit: ©Pexels/Ylanite Koppens

10 Reasons God Might Not Be Blessing Your Life

Are you looking around at other believers’ lives and feeling “skipped over” when it comes to God’s blessings? I’ve received emails from several people in the last month asking why God isn’t blessing their lives? Some of those emails recount all the things they are supposedly doing right and others complained that God wasn’t keeping His part of the bargain. We know from Scripture that God is a good God who loves to bless His children (Matt. 7:11). At the same time, God knows our hearts, our capabilities, and what’s around the corner for us, so if He choose not to bless in a certain area, that might even be a blessing in itself. Based on three decades of ministering to others as a pastor’s wife and Bible teacher, and seeing the blessings of God come and go in my life and in the lives of others, here are 10 Reasons God Might Not Be Blessing Your Life: Photo Credit: Unsplash/Benedict Tahjar

7 Goodnight Prayers for When You're Desperate for Sleep

It’s midnight-ish and while I fell asleep peacefully on the couch, now I must trudge off to bed. Then, this happens . . .12:10 a.m.: God . . . Are you there? It’s me! (Rambling thoughts while noticing the neighbor’s dog barking next door)12:30 a.m.: The hubby is peacefully (or rather loudly) snoozing. My thoughts track back over my day. I am suddenly filled with regretful remorse based on the events that took place this morning. My mind is a record on repeat, displaying my "bad momma" moment. Ugh. Why did I have to say that?1:00 a.m.: I’m just about to doze off to sleep but I thought I heard footsteps. Wait! Was that a creek in the stairsteps? (Pause to listen intently) All I hear is snoring. Ugh. Should I go check it out?2:00 a.m.: Hey God, it’s me again. Crisis averted it was just the dog, or maybe my active imagination. So . . . anyway, I have a bunch of things on my to-do list for tomorrow (or I mean today--Ugh, it’s today) and I really could use some sleep. Please help me rest. Please!2:30 a.m.: The dog next door is barking again. That’s it. I can’t sleep!2:33-3:02 a.m.: Staring at the wall wondering if I should just get up and binge-watch the rest of The Chosen.3:05 a.m.: If I fall asleep right now, I can get 3 hours of sleep. Maybe. God, please help me fall asleep!After a few more random thoughts, I finally doze off sometime after that only to be startled awake by the annoying alarm clock that blatantly reminds me, I must get up and face the day. Groan. Snooze. Everything hurts, aches, and reminds me that I need more sleep.Frustration grows as I throw myself out of bed. Today is going to be--a day!Maybe you can relate? Sleepless nights are no joke and when you are filled with worry or carry around the stress of the previous day (or days, weeks, months) it can bring you to a place of dread when bedtime rolls around.Then again, sometimes, there are those nights that are spurred on by absolutely nothing, you just can’t seem to catch a wink--Ugh! Well, my friend, let’s reclaim your sleep. Join me by putting into practice a bedtime routine that will help you catch some of those much-wanted and desperately-needed zzz’s, while also more importantly lifting up your heart to the Father!Below you will find 7 verses and prayers to exhale before you hit the hay. Whether you incorporate listening to soft music, stretching, taking deep intentional breaths, turning off the electronics, or avoiding caffeine, let’s reign it all in with Scriptures and prayer that will really set the tone for some peaceful slumber.Photo Credit: ©Gettyimages/Sam Thomas

7 Powerful Promises for the Discouraged Heart

It’s easy to get discouraged.Discouragement comes to everyone, regardless of race, social status, or financial situation. People think money or material wealth can fix life, but tragedy finds the rich, too. Crisis and brokenness are no respecter of persons. The rain falls on the just and unjust alike (Matthew 5:45).The first written book of the Bible is Job, a story where a man gets hit with tragedy after tragedy, and in his grief, he questions the goodness and justice of God. Job not only quits, but he wishes he had never been born.Most of us go through far less than Job, but crises cause us all to lose hope at times. We get discouraged.As Job is a prime example, the Bible isn’t ignorant of this reality. God’s word understands our plight and addresses it head-on. Through our discouragement, God comforts us and calls us to hope in his absolute goodness.Here are seven powerful promises for the discouraged heart.Photo Credit:©Unsplash/Jude Beck

7 Warning Signs That Legalism is Sneaking into Your Faith

Legalism is a huge buzzword in churches, to the point it has almost lost its meaning. But as a real concern, there are warning signs legalism is sneaking into your faith.What is legalism? Simply put, legalism is when we act with the belief that what we do saves us. Legalism relies upon the power of self and can express itself through religious duty and behavior.This lie leads to death. The letter of the Law kills, Paul tells us, but the Spirit gives life (2 Corinthians 3:6). The Law itself isn’t the problem; only us trying to adhere to it apart from God. Our own abilities can’t save us or make us righteous. We need God and his grace for both.Here are seven warning signs legalism is sneaking into your faith.Photo Credit:©iStock/Getty Images Plus/SIphotography

7 Prayers Every Christian Should Pray Regularly

The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16), revealing prayer is a central call for Christ’s disciples. What should every Christian pray about regularly?Jesus is the great High Priest, the intercessor before God’s throne. When we are born again, the Spirit of Christ, the intercessor, resides within us. With Christ in us and us in him at the Father’s right hand, we each have become intercessors and priests (Revelation 1:5-6).Through prayer, we serve God and one another in love. The disciples asked Jesus about prayer, and along with what we call the Lord’s Prayer, the Son of God told stories about the importance of persistence in prayer, like the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8). Jesus’ disciples are called to endure in prayer.Let us take up our role as priests and intercessors with joy and confidence, blessing ourselves and others with the desire for good and eternal things. Pray these prayers individually and also corporately. The Father’s house is a house of prayer, according to the Son (Luke 19:46), and we are his house. His family and his temple in this world. Let us take this role seriously and be persistent in prayer for the good of all.Here are seven prayers every Christian should pray regularly.Photo Credit:©GettyImages/pondsaksit

4 Reminders to Pray for Justice in a Hurting World

As Christians, we are to leave vengeance to God, but He made us inclined toward action. To say a prayer for justice can feel like inaction, but what if we were granted an audience with the most powerful leader in the community, state, or nation in the face of wrongdoing? We would go and make our appeal, and it would not feel as if we’d done nothing. When we pray for justice to our Creator God, we are making our case before the Highest Power in the universe.God calls us to enact justice when it is within our power (Micah 6:8), but the greater injustices are too often outside our human influence to redress. The people of God have suffered injustice throughout their existence. Many Christians around the world are treated unjustly even today because of the name of Jesus. We sometimes suffer daily injustices based on things about us we can’t change or because we encounter others who are largely out for only themselves. People all around us suffer injustice, whether they follow Jesus or not, and as we witness their pain, we may feel helpless and small, but God has given us an avenue to appeal on their behalf.Now, it’s true that justice can get confusing on this side of Glory. Our prayers can be muddled in a world with much deception and where people imagine themselves victims with sometimes very little evidence or cause. This is all the more reason to bring these cases before God, as He is perfect, knows all truth, and judges rightly.Psalm 89:14 says, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you” (ESV).Deuteronomy 32:4 reads, “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he” (ESV).So, how do we go about praying for justice? What can the Bible tell us about this process?Photo Credit:©GettyImages/olegbreslavtsev

4 Things You Should Know about Ordinary Angels

Sharon is a talented hairdresser with a can-do spirit and a candid tongue. She doesn't take no for an answer. She says what she thinks.She's also an alcoholic with an estranged adult son who resents her for her addiction. She drinks vodka for breakfast. She stumbles home from the bar late at night. Far too often, she covers her personal pain with a drink from the liquor bottle. Her friends try to intervene but have little success.Soon, though, Sharon discovers something that gets her mind off her failures: a newspaper story about a 5-year-old girl who is critically ill and whose mother recently died. Sharon can't get the story out of her head. She attends the funeral. She launches a fundraiser. She reaches out to the father. Of course, Sharon doesn't personally know the family. She just wants to help a neighbor in need."We all need to find meaning and purpose outside ourselves," she tells a friend. Will Sharon's assistance make a difference? And can she get her life back on track?The new faith-based movie Ordinary Angels (PG) tells the uplifting story of Sharon, her new friend Ed, and his family.Here are four things you should know:Photo credit: ©Lionsgate; used with permission.

7 Pieces of Bad Parenting Advice You Should Ignore

Inner rambling thoughts of nearly every mom or dad at some point or another when any piece of parenting advice is given:She may mean well, but it's a different generation that doesn't work today.Those words didn't just come out of his mouth, did they?But my life is different than hers, and I can't do that? Can I?He has got to be kidding. Oh, wait. He's absolutely serious!Oh, the many times I have heard advice from a "well-meaning" family member, friend, acquaintance, and yes, even a simple stranger (the grocery store is the worst), only to tell myself to let it go in one ear and out the other. Yep, it's a lot. I bet you can probably relate.While some advice is welcomed and helpful, like when my mom told me to put another diaper below the one I was changing (good call!) or the time a mentor couple at our church told my husband (in front of me) the best thing you can do for your children, is to really love their mother. That one made me smile. Other times, you get those words of advice that may leave you grinding your teeth, biting your lip, rolling your eyes, or just awkwardly smiling, awaiting the chance to slither away. Then there are those off-the-wall statements that just make you go, hmm.We've all been there. Getting advice, especially as a new parent, is like a rite of passage. The reality is that you are going to receive advice many times throughout this journey; it is unavoidable. The good news is that as parents, we can learn from one another and share our own stories, allowing us to shift the good advice from the not-so-good advice.So, with that, here is a collection of bad parenting advice, mostly for new parents, but could be applied for other seasons as well, that may spur on a few laughs, cause an "aha" moment, or give you a big virtual hug as realize you aren't alone.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/AleksandarNakic

5 Profound Reasons Why Showing Up Matters in Christianity

A famous adage says, "Half of life is just showing up." Although people may dismiss this statement, there's some truth to it. While technology tries to replace in-person church attendance, small groups, and other in-person communication, connection and intimacy can only be achieved through events that we do in groups or one-on-one. Technology cannot replace the connection and community we receive when we attend something in person. We make friends and receive strength, correction, and grace when we need it the most. Furthermore, when we attend in-person events, we not only receive encouragement from the people around us, but we give encouragement as well. Here are some reasons why showing up matters in Christianity:
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/artplus

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