In a world where larger than life Victoria’s Secret ads brazenly plaster store windows, form-gripping black leggings have somehow asserted themselves as viable options for pants, and girls as young as twelve are paraded around in mini skirts and halter tops, how are Christians supposed to react? Our ever-progressive society has relegated modesty to the Victorian era, while stores like Abercrombie & Fitch are burgeoning, unabashedly promoting their jeans with nearly nude images.
Endearing sweet, irresistibly cuddly, and oh-so-photogenic! Yes, babies are all of those things, but they are also incontrovertibly needy. Babies are born into this world utterly dependent upon their parents. Parents play a key role in determining how their baby-turned-toddler-turned-child is disciplined, educated, and influenced. Hence, it is the parents’ inherent responsibility to
“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” –Matthew 18:12-14 NIV The following excerpt from Francine Rivers’ The Prophet offers a narrative depiction of
Oppressively dark. Joyless. Pleasure-driven. Appetitive. Self-seeking. Sin indulged. Exploitative. Desolate. Mercenary. Evil masquerades as good, and righteousness is derided. Utter depravity reigns. Jeering smiles conceal haunting emptiness. Senseless vanity governs lives. Morality is scorned. Obscenity is praised. Death prevails. This is what happens when you allow the world to conform you.
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” -1 Peter 5:8 NIV
This is the reality we are living with. A spiritual battle is raging all around us, and there are countless people who
“Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees.” -Corrie ten Boom
10. Pray habitually. Pray at the same time every day so that your time of conversation with the Lord becomes engrained in your daily routine.
9. Pray specifically. Rather than spouting off overly generalized prayers such as, “Lord, please heal the sick,” specify exactly who and what you are praying for. For instance, you might pray that God would eradicate the lymphoma your work colleague was recently diagnosed with.
8. Pray thankfully. Are you tempted to spend most of your prayer time voicing an endless stream of complaints about the problems in your life? Make it a point to silence your grumbling; instead identifying the aspects of your life you are thankful for. Embrace a grateful attitude for the blessings He has given you.
7. Pray audibly. When in the appropriate environment, praying aloud can drastically eliminate the distractions that appropriate your mind, enabling you to concentrate entirely on your time with God.
6. Pray in writing. Recording your prayers in a journal allows you to tangibly track your prayer requests and the manner in which God has answered them.
5. Pray collectively. Joining in unified prayer with other believers can be incredibly powerful. Furthermore, if your group opts to meet regularly, your prayer life gains an avenue of accountability.
4. Pray in repentance. The Lord is a forgiving God who loves unconditionally. Repent from sin, which separates you from Him. Seek the redemption of Jesus and realign yourself with God’s will.
3. Pray quietly. Be still and know that He is God. Pursue moments of silence before the Lord, listening intently to what He may say.
2. Pray honestly. Whether or not you voice them, God already knows all your struggles, temptations, doubts, and insecurities. Be authentic. Open your heart to the One who made you.
1. Pray humbly. Before the King of Kings and the Ancient of Days, acknowledge His supremacy. Renounce your pride. Kneel before the Creator of the universe and recognize your smallness.
A BOUNTY OF THE DESTITUTE
“Being justified freely by His grace. . . .”
The Gospel of the grace of God awakens an intense longing in human souls and an equally intense resentment, because the revelation which it brings is not palatable. There is a certain pride in man that will give and give, but to come to accept is another thing. I will give myself in consecration, I will do anything, but do not humiliate me to the level of the most hell-deserving sinner and tell me that all I have to do
Stress, or anxiety, is often rooted in a failure to trust in God. If we’re apprehensive about trusting God with our families, agendas, financial burdens, and deepest wounds, we are voluntarily signing up for an unhappy invasion of stress. When we’re uncomfortable with waiting on His perfect timing to guide our lives, and we willfully seize the reigns to self-direct, we are asking for more anxiety. Edging God out to expropriate the parts of our lives we feel most troubled about will only result in
If you’ve ever checked your kids into our Children’s Ministry at Reliance Church, chances are they’ve come home singing The Rizers – a band comprised of our own Zach Hodges (worship leader), Katelyn Hodges (vocalist) and Scott Leavenworth (Multimedia Director) designed to teach kids how to memorize scripture. Recently, The Rizers teamed up with Mars Hill Church to produce a music video for their new curriculum. Enjoy the vid and feel free to share it with others!
Last Sunday we examined 1 Corinthians 5 and explored the significance of heeding the company we keep with discernment. Paul continues to impress upon the Corinthians that they must think biblically rather than culturally. He emphasizes, “bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 14:33 NIV). Corinth was a pagan society accustomed to rampant