Tag Archive: Christ


It’s not only the type of food that you eat or lack of exercise that can make your heart unhealthy.

Heart

Your heart can be unhealthy, because it abhors or houses hate in it. If you love God, then you should love others as well. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen (1 John 4:20).

I agree that people, including your own families, friends, or spouse can hurt and hate you in the worst way, but you do not have to return the compliment. You can show them the love of Christ, so that they know there is something different about you. Showing them love does not mean that you have to allow people to walk all over you, or that you have to be in a relationship of any sort with them, if that relationship is negative and toxic. However, you can still maintain peace and love when you see or talk to them.

Hate in one’s heart can cause a lot of different tension and stress.  Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses (Proverbs 10:12). On the other hand, love makes your heart more healthier. Anyone who does not love, does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:8).

By and large, try to maintain a healthy heart, by eliminating any hate that may be in there; because hate causes too much hurt in one’s heart.

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Valley I Grow

Sometimes life seems hard to bear,
Full of sorrow, trouble and woe
It’s then I have to remember
That it’s in the valleys I grow.

If I always stayed on the mountain top
And never experienced pain,
I would never appreciate God’s love
And would be living in vain.

I have so much to learn
And my growth is very slow,
Sometimes I need the mountain tops,
But it’s in the valleys I grow.

I do not always understand
Why things happen as they do,
But I am very sure of one thing.
My Lord will see me through.

My little valleys are nothing
When I Picture Christ on the cross
He went through the valley of death;
His victory was Satan’s loss.

Forgive me Lord, for complaining
When I’m feeling so very low.
Just give me a gentle reminder
That’s it’s in the valleys I grow.

Continue to strengthen me, Lord
And use my life each day
To share your love with others
And help them find their way.

Thank you for the valleys, Lord
For this one thing I know
The mountain tops are glorious
But it’s in the valleys I grow.

By Jane Eggleston

P.S.  Just a reminder, that the God on the mountain tops is the same God in the valleys. Hope you enjoy this poem.

Praying for Peace And It Does Not Come

  • I’ve been a committed Christian for over 40 years.
  • I’ve served in vocational ministry for over 30 years.
  • I’ve earned a master of divinity and a doctor of ministry.
  • I’ve preached over 1,000 sermons.
  • I’ve memorized hundreds of Scriptures.
  • I practice spiritual disciplines such as prayer, solitude, and fasting on a regular basis.

You’d think that with that spiritual pedigree, I should always experience God’s peace or at least when I lack it, should immediately regain it through prayer, quoting scripture, etc.

Not so in my experience.

One of my all time favorite scriptures is Philippians 4:6-7:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

That verse, as do many others, implies that when we feel anxious and lack peace, if we turn to the Lord, cast our anxiety on him, pray, and yield our wills to His, then emotional peace should readily follow.

When I’ve done these things, sometimes I have regained His peace. At other times I haven’t. Not only have these experiences perplexed me, but when I faced difficult times with our oldest daughter’s rebellion and chronic illness with our youngest daughter, no matter how hard I prayed and quoted scripture, peace would sometimes elude me.

When peace didn’t come, an accusing voice inside me would add to my misery by suggesting that something must be wrong with me.

Maybe I didn’t have enough faith (so I would try to muster more of it).

Perhaps unconfessed sin was in the way (so I’d confess any unknown sins that I may have somehow missed).

Possibly I didn’t pray correctly (so I’d reframe my prayers).

Mostly these techniques failed. So I soldiered on, figuring something was still wrong with me.

My neatly packed theology hit a brick wall. It was like when Neo in the movie The Matrix said, “Something was just not right, something was missing, something was lacking, something bothering me like a splinter in your mind.”

My spiritual coping strategies fell short. I don’t mean to imply that we reduce Christianity to pragmatism. We love and obey God simply because He is God and is worthy of our worship and allegiance. Even so, I finally allowed my honest questions to bubble to the surface.

Why, if I did the right things, did peace not come?

Then… I began to understand how our brain works.

I began reading about the brain and enrolled in a master’s program in neuroleadership (a process that applies neuroscience insights to leadership principles). I began to understand that our brain is not simply like a computer, but also like a pharmacy. It’s constantly releasing chemicals into our blood that profoundly affects emotions like peace, anger, fear, and anxiety.

I’m learning that I can be right with God in all respects, and yet not feel emotional peace in the current circumstance. What a relief to learn that lack of peace does not necessarily mean I’m messed up.

As a result of these new insights, I have begun to see how we can use this incredible gift from God, our brain, for healthy living and productive leadership.

Have you ever struggled with this issue? How are you dealing with it?

This week’s article is written by Charles Stone (www.charlesstone.com), author of the book, People Pleasing Pastors. Submitted by Russ Olmon, President of Ministry Advantage, and Deb Mertin, certified Ministry Advantage coach. For more on this and other helpful subjects, go to www.ministryadvantage.org.

Most people have no trouble finding things to complain about: traffic is slow, gas is too expensive, the weather is bad, prices are too high. Yet in every single situation, that same person also has a lot to be thankful for: he can drive, has a car, has a shelter to be protected from the weather, and has the money to purchase necessary items.

Your circumstances may not be all that great, but wherever you are it is God’s will that you give thanks in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18). As a Christian, that is possible because no matter what your circumstances are, you can always thank God for deliverance through Christ (see 2 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 7:24-25).

Indeed, the Israelites knew that thanksgiving was so important that part of the official duty of the tribe of Levi was to thank God: They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord (1 Chronicles 23:30). They had heart of thankfulness and were instructed to be thankful regardless of what happened that day.

The psalmist wrote: Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name (Psalm 100:4). Notice that we can’t even enter God’s gates unless we’re thankful.

It certainly is possible to live giving thanks to God the Father for everything (Ephesians 5:20), because thankfulness depends on what is in your heart, not what is in your hand.

Contributed: Christ Notes

Enjoy the Fruit of Your Labor

“You will eat the fruit of your labor: blessings and prosperity will be yours” (Psalms 128:2).

fruits

Now you have worked hard, developed ideas, plans, creativity and innovation, along with your faith in God to accomplish your long desired dreams. However, ever since God has begun to bless and prosper you, there might be people around you who have become envious, jealous and hateful of your blessings and prosperity.  Regardless, you have all right to eat and enjoy the fruit of your labor.

While you were going through your trials and tribulations, only a few genuine people may have stood by your side when you needed them the most. Other than that, no one might have seen your blood, sweat and tears; but now they see the fruit of your labor and have become hateful. I will share a few lines of one of my favorite poems by Thomasine Robinson:

You See My Glory, But You Don’t Know My Story
I’ve been through trials and tribulations seen and unseen
I’ve cried myself to sleep, but I held on to my dream
My dream to rise to the top, Knowing with God, I can’t be stopped.

No one can prevent God from blessing you, unless you give them permission. With that being said, ignore the haters, and enjoy the fruit of your labor!

Most people have no trouble finding things to complain about: traffic is slow, gas is too expensive, the weather is bad, prices are too high. Yet in every single situation, that same person also has a lot to be thankful for: he can drive, has a car, has a shelter to be protected from the weather, and has the money to purchase necessary items.

Your circumstances may not be all that great, but wherever you are it is God’s will that you give thanks in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18). As a Christian, that is possible because no matter what your circumstances are, you can always thank God for deliverance through Christ (see 2 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 7:24-25).

Indeed, the Israelites knew that thanksgiving was so important that part of the official duty of the tribe of Levi was to thank God: They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord (1 Chronicles 23:30). They had heart of thankfulness and were instructed to be thankful regardless of what happened that day.

The psalmist wrote: Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name (Psalm 100:4). Notice that we can’t even enter God’s gates unless we’re thankful.

It certainly is possible to live giving thanks to God the Father for everything (Ephesians 5:20), because thankfulness depends on what is in your heart, not what is in your hand.

Contributed: Christ Notes

Don’t Run From Your Trials

Everyone faces many trials; however, these trials are not in vain. God uses them to do a work in us, developing us into mature Christians.

In James 1:2-4, we are told, Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. In other words, God uses the tough times in life to sharpen us, making us mature and complete Christians.

Furthermore, God will not permit you to remain in the same trials all of your life; in His proper timing He will deliver you. Psalm 34:17 says, The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.

So don’t run from your trials, because the testing of your faith develops you into a mature and complete Christian.

Contributed: Christ Notes

In Matthew 13:3-6, Jesus told this parable: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.” One point Jesus makes in this parable is that people without deep roots in God will fall away from faith whenever persecution or trials come on account of the word (see Matthew 13:20-21).

Similarly, Jesus encourages his followers to build their house (i.e. their life) on “the rock” (see Matthew 7:24-27). Even though the wind and storms beat against that house, it did not crumble because it was founded on the rock. If you have deep roots in God, your life will be built on the Rock—Christ. As one hymn says, “On Christ alone I stand, all else is sinking sand.”

It is no surprise, then, that Paul encourages believers to be rooted and built up in Christ, strengthened in the faith (Colossians 2:6-7). If you are strengthened in faith, then you won’t crack under the pressure of difficult situations because you will be able to dig deeply into the word of God on which you are firmly grounded. Unfortunately, too many Christians have a cracked foundation.

Make it a priority to have deep roots in God so that you will not wither under the heat of life. Invest time into reading and memorizing God’s word, praying, and communing with God. Be rooted in God.

Contributed: Christ Notes

Most people have no trouble finding things to complain about: traffic is slow, gas is too expensive, the weather is bad, prices are too high. Yet in every single situation, that same person also has a lot to be thankful for: he can drive, has a car, has a shelter to be protected from the weather, and has the money to purchase necessary items.

Your circumstances may not be all that great, but wherever you are it is God’s will that you give thanks in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18). As a Christian, that is possible because no matter what your circumstances are, you can always thank God for deliverance through Christ (see 2 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 7:24-25).

Indeed, the Israelites knew that thanksgiving was so important that part of the official duty of the tribe of Levi was to thank God: They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord (1 Chronicles 23:30). They had heart of thankfulness and were instructed to be thankful regardless of what happened that day.

The psalmist wrote: Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name (Psalm 100:4). Notice that we can’t even enter God’s gates unless we’re thankful.

It certainly is possible to live giving thanks to God the Father for everything (Ephesians 5:20), because thankfulness depends on what is in your heart, not what is in your hand.

Contributed: Christ Notes

Most people have no trouble finding things to complain about: traffic is slow, gas is too expensive, the weather is bad, prices are too high. Yet in every single situation, that same person also has a lot to be thankful for: he can drive, has a car, has a shelter to be protected from the weather, and has the money to purchase necessary items.

Your circumstances may not be all that great, but wherever you are it is God’s will that you give thanks in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18). As a Christian, that is possible because no matter what your circumstances are, you can always thank God for deliverance through Christ (see 2 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 7:24-25).

Indeed, the Israelites knew that thanksgiving was so important that part of the official duty of the tribe of Levi was to thank God: They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord (1 Chronicles 23:30). They had heart of thankfulness and were instructed to be thankful regardless of what happened that day.

The psalmist wrote: Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name (Psalm 100:4). Notice that we can’t even enter God’s gates unless we’re thankful.

It certainly is possible to live giving thanks to God the Father for everything (Ephesians 5:20), because thankfulness depends on what is in your heart, not what is in your hand.

Contributed: Christ Notes

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