Renewed Strength - Christian journey "but those who trust in the LORD will renew their strength..." -Isaiah 40:31 http://renewedstrength.org/rs/ http://www.rssboard.org/rss-specification BlogEngine.NET 2.7.0.0 en-US http://renewedstrength.org/rs/opml.axd Renewed Strength Renewed Strength 0.000000 0.000000 The Simple Joy of Being Available <p><img src="rs/image.axd?picture=%2f2014%2f02%2fUntitled.png" alt="Use me Lord" width="229" height="229" align="left" hspace="12" /></p> <p>To anyone passing by, they just looked like two copy paper boxes. If you were a little more observant, you might have noticed that each box appeared to be full of random food items. A loaf of bread in this box, cup of noodles in that one.</p> <p>But to one couple, it&rsquo;s salvation.</p> <p>To one family it&rsquo;s proof of Philippians 4:19</p> <p style="text-align: center;" align="center"><em>And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.</em></p> <p>For one father, it&rsquo;s proof that God never intended for us to worry; we only have to ask.</p> <p style="text-align: center;" align="center"><em>Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.</em> (Phil. 4:6)</p> <p>David and I live a hectic life. We each work two jobs. David works as a therapeutic behavioral specialist for a social services firm in San Bernardino County. I write for various publications. We&rsquo;re both youth pastors. If we aren&rsquo;t at work or doing work, then we&rsquo;re receiving text messages and phone calls about work. We hustle from one event to another, there are meetings for something every week, and in our &ldquo;down time&rdquo; we are often swamped with planning events and teachings or paperwork.</p> <p>We don&rsquo;t get much time to spend together as husband and wife. I&rsquo;ll leave it up to you to imagine how much time we feel like there is left to make ourselves available to God for anything else.</p> <p>We were taking a quick break to have tea together one morning before dashing off to a staff meeting at church when I received a text message. It was my mom asking if our church still had a food ministry.</p> <p>My first thought as I read the text to Dave was worry for my mom.</p> <p>Turns out, she was not asking for herself.</p> <p>I grew up with very generous parents. It is not something that I took much notice of as a child, but whenever we would pass by someone in need my mom would always give what very little money she could spare. People in need only have to tell my dad that they&rsquo;re struggling before he is thinking of ways to help them.</p> <p>I do not know how hard life was when my parents were growing up but I remember going with my mom to the food bank when I was a little girl. I know that my parents did not always know how they were going to feed us. I know that people helped us. I know that God always made sure we had what we needed.</p> <p>When it came to generosity, there was no shortage of good role models in our home. So the next text message I received was no surprise.</p> <p>Through a work conversation, my mom happened to discover that one of her co-workers, a man who had only recently been hired, was desperately struggling each evening to figure out how he was going to feed his family the next day. Married with six children, the man and his wife were having a difficult time bridging the gap that occurs with a change of jobs.</p> <p>&ldquo;Does your church still have a food ministry?&rdquo;</p> <p>Heck yeah, we do!</p> <p>In a brief text message, we received details of how many children and the age of the youngest child. Then I told my mom that we would pack up some food while at church for our meeting and bring it to her office.</p> <p>It was going to be hard to make it work. Staff meetings run from 11:00 until 12:30, <em>if</em> everything runs on schedule. Dave had to leave for work (an hour away) no later than 1:00, mom works 15 minutes away and we only have 1 car.</p> <p>That is not counting the time it would take to pack the food.</p> <p>Do you know what God does when you make being available to Him a priority, despite an insanely busy personal schedule?</p> <p>Do you know what God will do to take care of the people He created; who bear His image?</p> <p>God cancels staff meetings. God makes sure that there is enough food and even hygiene products to care for a family of 8. God even makes sure there are cookies for the kids. God provides grocery store gift cards.</p> <p>Is there anything God will not do to take care of people?</p> <p>It does not matter if this family believes in God or not. God is real and He cared that they were struggling.</p> <p>For one couple, it means they no longer have to worry so much about how they will feed their children.</p> <p>People are afraid to ask for help. They do not want to seem &ldquo;weak&rdquo;, &ldquo;worthless&rdquo;, or &ldquo;lazy&rdquo;. However, they will not necessarily say &ldquo;no&rdquo; if help is offered.</p> <p>They didn&rsquo;t ask for it. It was offered to them freely. It was not a reward for hard work, though I am told the husband works very hard. It was provision for a need.</p> <p>It was just a couple of boxes of food and a couple of people being available to God even before we knew how we would fit it into our schedule.</p> <p>There is a great deal of joy to experience when we make being available to God a priority.</p> <p>Are you offering help to the people around you? Do you make yourself available to God?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Jennifer Arman is a pastor and blogger whose motivation is to speak challenging yet encouraging messages. She currently lives in Ontario, California with her husband David, studies ministry and leadership at Life Pacific College and has a passion to see people embrace a life of total faith. Find her on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/JennArman.Writer" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and check out her blog <a href="http://oneradicallife.com/" target="_blank">1 Radical Life</a>.</p> <p>(Image credit: Jennifer Arman )</p> http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/The-Simple-Joy-of-Being-Available admin@renewedstrength.org http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/The-Simple-Joy-of-Being-Available#comment http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post.aspx?id=06e9136e-7b15-4b5b-9e2c-b00ccca67516 Tue, 25 Feb 2014 20:27:00 -0500 Christian journey Serve Others RS_Admin http://renewedstrength.org/rs/pingback.axd http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post.aspx?id=06e9136e-7b15-4b5b-9e2c-b00ccca67516 6 http://renewedstrength.org/rs/trackback.axd?id=06e9136e-7b15-4b5b-9e2c-b00ccca67516 http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/The-Simple-Joy-of-Being-Available#comment http://renewedstrength.org/rs/syndication.axd?post=06e9136e-7b15-4b5b-9e2c-b00ccca67516 From Christ to Christianity <div class="float-left" style="width: 56%;"> <p>click to enlarge<a href="http://renewedstrength.org/rs/image.axd?picture=%2f2014%2f01%2ftimeline.jpg" target="_blank"><img style="width: 100%;" src="/image.axd?picture=%2f2014%2f01%2ftimeline.jpg" alt="History of Christianity" /></a></p> </div> <div class="float-right" style="width: 42%;"> <p>Christianity is one the three most prevalent religions on the globe. Despite this fact, many people have little to no idea regarding its actual development and historical time lime. Christianity involves far more than the mere life of Jesus Christ. By exploring the highlights of the following time line, you can get a better idea of just why this religion plays such a large role in so many people's lives.</p> <p>Jesus was born around the time 4 B.C., according to most experts. However, he did not begin his actual ministry until 27 years later at which point he had only three years remaining to spread his message. He was crucified and died at the age of 30. After his death, Paul, who was one of the main disciples of Jesus, traveled over 6,000 miles in order to continue spreading Jesus's teaching. By the year 50 B.C., the first Church Council is actually formed, laying the groundwork for the Christianity that we now see in most of the world today.</p> <p>Various factions of Christianity and opposing religions were rejected by the church as time moved forward, including Gnosticism in the year 202. The first major victory for Christianity, however, came in the year 380 when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. Christianity prevailed all throughout Europe through the Middle Ages until the King James Bible was produced in 1677. Modern Christianity was beginning to take hold and we see important events such as the inception of Methodism in 1729 and the first Vatican Council in 1869.</p> <p>Christianity has spread across the globe quickly, acquiring 804 million followers in North America alone. Europe currently has roughly 565 million Christians among its population. Out of all the factions of Christianity that are growing, Evangelical Christianity has the lead by a landslide. They grow an average of 71 percent with each year that passes. Along with this growth has also come a boom in the amount of Christian literature and media that is present in the world. There are over 6 million Christian books in print in addition to the 50 million downloads and CDs produced each year that are dedicated to Christianity.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/From-Christ-to-Christianity admin@renewedstrength.org http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/From-Christ-to-Christianity#comment http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post.aspx?id=29971e11-a632-4bc4-bae3-eefaf6ad0824 Wed, 08 Jan 2014 07:35:00 -0500 Bible Christian journey RS_Admin http://renewedstrength.org/rs/pingback.axd http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post.aspx?id=29971e11-a632-4bc4-bae3-eefaf6ad0824 6 http://renewedstrength.org/rs/trackback.axd?id=29971e11-a632-4bc4-bae3-eefaf6ad0824 http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/From-Christ-to-Christianity#comment http://renewedstrength.org/rs/syndication.axd?post=29971e11-a632-4bc4-bae3-eefaf6ad0824 Treasures in Heaven <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/image.axd?picture=%2f2013%2f10%2fUntitled.png" alt="Treasures in Heaven" width="366" height="366" /></p> <p>&ldquo;The way you store up treasure in Heaven is by investing in getting people there.&rdquo; ~Rick Warren</p> <p>Mr. Warren&rsquo;s quote is truly a great one, and one of my favorites. It helps us stop and think about what is really important in this life and what is really worth investing in. What is the one thing in this life that we can take with us to heaven? Our friends and family!</p> <p>It&rsquo;s interesting to stop for a second and put life in this world in perspective, compared to the life we will be spending in Heaven. I have heard some good illustrations of this where a speaker will roll out this long strand of toilet paper that rolls out to over 20 feet long and then say &ldquo;This roll of paper represents all of eternity&rdquo;. Then the speaker will place a small item, like a speck of sand, on that paper and say, &ldquo;This speck of sand represents the history of Earth, and smaller than that piece of sand, is your time on Earth.&rdquo; Of course, that is not even a perfect representation of the actual comparison. The true comparison would have to be a piece of paper that rolls out forever, with no end. But it still serves as a great visual.</p> <p>So what do you want to invest in? The things we can keep during that speck of sand, or the things we can take with us for the entire roll of that toilet paper?</p> <p>Investing in getting people to heaven may be time consuming work. It may keep you from being able to do the various other activities in your life that you enjoy. But take a moment to think about this quote and decide if the other activities are worth the same investment. You will get joy from the investment you put in others as well. Jesus promises us that.</p> <p>This reminds me of the parable in Matthew 13:44: &ldquo;The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.&rdquo;</p> <p>At first glance, the parable is not directly related with the quote but it does speak to the type of investment this man thought heaven was worth. Every item he had acquired over the years, from working hard all his life, he joyfully sold because he knew how much more heaven was &ldquo;worth&rdquo;. Let&rsquo;s make this type of investment in the friends and family in our lives. The investment is worth it.</p> <p>Who in your life could you spend a little more time with? Invest more in that person&rsquo;s &ldquo;stock&rdquo; and reap the rewards for eternity!</p> <p>For more Christian quotes on images, visit <a href="ChristianQuotes.info" target="_blank">ChristianQuotes.info</a>. All of the images are free to use on your website, blog, Facebook, or other social media sites. The list of quotes and images are added to every day, ranging from popular authors of 100s of years ago, to some of the most famous living pastors and authors. We also feature some of the most popular Bible verses.</p> http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/Treasures-in-Heaven admin@renewedstrength.org http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/Treasures-in-Heaven#comment http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post.aspx?id=f28b70c9-4496-4336-892a-1595895cf4ea Wed, 09 Oct 2013 15:38:00 -0500 Christian journey Trust in the Lord RS_Admin http://renewedstrength.org/rs/pingback.axd http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post.aspx?id=f28b70c9-4496-4336-892a-1595895cf4ea 12 http://renewedstrength.org/rs/trackback.axd?id=f28b70c9-4496-4336-892a-1595895cf4ea http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/Treasures-in-Heaven#comment http://renewedstrength.org/rs/syndication.axd?post=f28b70c9-4496-4336-892a-1595895cf4ea Does Mega Church equal Mega Business? <div class="float-left" style="width: 56%;"> <p>click to enlarge<a href="http://renewedstrength.org/rs/image.axd?picture=%2f2013%2f09%2fmega-large.jpg" target="_blank"><img style="width: 100%;" src="/image.axd?picture=%2f2013%2f09%2fmega-large.jpg" alt="Mega Church" /></a></p> </div> <div class="float-right" style="width: 42%;"> <p>Megachurches, made possible by a perfect storm of exponential population growth, more freedom to worship than at any time in history and charismatic leadership, are a rapidly spreading phenomenon of modern religion. A megachurch is defined as a church with an average weekly attendance of over 2000. The number of megachurches has increased from 10 in the 1970s to over 1600 in 2013. Although megachurches make up less than one percent of all churches, they serve over 10 percent of all regular church-goers. They also draw in an estimated $7.2 billion annually, all of which is exempt from taxation. Megachurch members are overwhelming white, although several notable African-American megachurches have come to the forefront in recent years. States below the Mason-Dixon Line lead the way in the number of megachurches, although California, with its large population base, also makes a respectable showing.</p> <p>Megachurches not only provide for the religious needs of their members, many megachurches offer fitness centers, game rooms and other extras to draw in new members and serve their local communities. America was founded on free market competition, so it is not surprising that some of those same principles have spread to religious organizations and churches. However, megachurches are not a strictly American institution; the largest church in the world is located in South Korea and claims to serve over 850,000 members. Much like big-box stores are accused of hurting smaller businesses, megachurches are often blamed for drawing away members of other churches in numbers significant enough to lead to the closure of some churches. On the other hand, six percent of attendees of megachurches represent people who have never attended church on a regular basis.</p> <p>Most megachurches are founded and led by a single pastor. Some megachurches also have a presence on local and national television, which spreads their popularity further afield and draws in additional funds. The fact that some megachurch pastors have apparently strayed from the Biblical principles of austerity and poverty seems not to trouble the faithful who attend their weekly services, watch on television, buy their books and open wallets to provide donations. Multimillion-dollar estates, private jets and luxury vehicles are among the perks enjoyed by several well-known megachurch ministers, although many do fund charities and engage in other types of charitable giving.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/Does-Mega-Church-equal-Mega-Business admin@renewedstrength.org http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/Does-Mega-Church-equal-Mega-Business#comment http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post.aspx?id=582480b6-03e5-4886-a089-ef6f2143002b Fri, 13 Sep 2013 07:18:00 -0500 Christian journey Serve Others RS_Admin http://renewedstrength.org/rs/pingback.axd http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post.aspx?id=582480b6-03e5-4886-a089-ef6f2143002b 6 http://renewedstrength.org/rs/trackback.axd?id=582480b6-03e5-4886-a089-ef6f2143002b http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/Does-Mega-Church-equal-Mega-Business#comment http://renewedstrength.org/rs/syndication.axd?post=582480b6-03e5-4886-a089-ef6f2143002b Laying It Down <p><a href="http://www.renewedstrength.org/image.axd?picture=clip_image001.jpg"><img title="clip_image001" style="border-left-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; background-image: none; border-bottom-width: 0px; float: none; padding-top: 0px; padding-left: 0px; margin-left: auto; display: block; padding-right: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; margin-right: auto" border="0" alt="clip_image001" src="http://www.renewedstrength.org/image.axd?picture=clip_image001_thumb.jpg" width="154" height="154"></a> <p>&nbsp; <p>After I became a Christian in 1996, I grew hungry for three things: my Bible, church, and Christian media. I had grown up listening to the world’s view of life, and it rarely mentioned forgiveness. However, the word kept surfacing over and over again as I studied Christianity. But I wasn’t angry with anyone—or was I? <p>My parents had divorced when I was one year old. I do not remember questioning why or even caring that they had divorced at all. It was easy to accept the facts since they had been divorced for as long as I could remember. However, the Lord gently revealed to me that in my heart I was angry with my dad for not being a part of our household as I grew up. In my inner being, I felt abandoned and failed to have my needs met. The Lord assured me He would fill those needs. <p>After that I was able to confess my anger towards my dad and even explain why I felt this anger for him, but forgiveness was as elusive as ever. It has never been a part of my nature to tune into feelings. I had always relied on my brain and eyes to tell me how to accomplish things in the past. Accomplishing “forgiveness” seemed an enigmatic mystery. After wondering for some time, the Lord led me to simply say aloud I had forgiven my father. <p>So I said it, but I felt no different afterwards. I appealed to the Lord, and He told me to repeat it over and over again. The Lord caused me to remember all of the times my dad had let me down and was not the perfect dad. Each time he let these issues rise up in me, I responded, “I forgive my dad.” <p>At last, I felt victory in the area of forgiveness towards my dad! The Lord presented an opportunity for me to take a huge leap of faith and move from Atlanta to Saint Louis (where my dad lived). Our relationship was reborn. I met my husband, and my dad walked me down the aisle. I gave birth to my daughter, and her first steps were walking toward my dad on her first birthday. <p>Then one day, I received a frantic phone message from my stepmother saying she thought my dad was having a heart attack and that I should come to the hospital as soon as possible. I rushed to the emergency room to see him. As I entered, I saw all of my dad’s brothers, sisters, and family lined up against the hospital wall. No one answered when I asked how he was doing. Finally, my aunt told me he had just passed away as she embraced me. <p>The doctors allowed me to enter my dad’s room. His body was lifeless and pale. A priest commenced a final prayer. I grabbed my dad’s hand and noticed his body still felt warm. It was as the priest committed his soul to heaven that his hand turned cold—as if his soul was being literally released into heaven according to his words. <p>It has been over ten years since my dad died, but the Lord showed me that I have been carrying grudge. This time it was not towards my dad. It was towards everyone who had tried to save his life but failed. My anger was targeted at the emergency medical technicians, doctors, and hospital staff. Our Lord told me it was time to let go of that anger and un-forgiveness. <p>Seconds later, I was confessing my anger to the Lord. I told him how much it hurt. I told Him how I felt. Then, I envisioned myself laying down that anger and let go of it by opening my hand. I trusted God with my feelings and prayed a blessing over the entire hospital staff. <p>By forgiving things the deep things in my soul, a weight was lifted from me. The act of forgiveness seemed so difficult at one time, but I have come to understand how important it is and how to do it. I set myself free to have a closer relationship to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. <p>God’s Holy Word mentions “forgive” 121 times. That tells me forgiveness is important to God and should be a priority in any Christian’s life. The Bible reminds us to award forgiveness to our brothers and sisters without growing weary of it. Mark 11:25 states, <span class="verse">“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”</span> Who do you need to forgive today? <p>&nbsp; <p> <hr> Kim Bond writes Christian short stories featuring humor and honest commentary about society. Her writing appears in over thirty publications—both online and in print. She recently released The Footstool: A Christian Short Story Collection. Connect with Kim Bond by visiting her at her website: <a href="http://www.kimbond.webs.com">www.kimbond.webs.com</a>. http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/Laying-It-Down admin@renewedstrength.org http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/Laying-It-Down#comment http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post.aspx?id=13ac4160-a954-4521-b8da-0da8e9c158c6 Mon, 17 Jun 2013 09:24:11 -0500 Christian journey RS_Admin http://renewedstrength.org/rs/pingback.axd http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post.aspx?id=13ac4160-a954-4521-b8da-0da8e9c158c6 6 http://renewedstrength.org/rs/trackback.axd?id=13ac4160-a954-4521-b8da-0da8e9c158c6 http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/Laying-It-Down#comment http://renewedstrength.org/rs/syndication.axd?post=13ac4160-a954-4521-b8da-0da8e9c158c6 What is your ministry <p><img style="float: none; margin-left: auto; display: block; margin-right: auto;" title="What is your ministry" src="http://www.renewedstrength.org/image.axd?picture=6854613579_1ea95dfcf6_n_thumb.jpg" alt="Confused about your ministry" width="244" height="184" />About a year and a half ago, this question really got me thinking and sparked a big change in my life. About 6 months prior, I felt that God was calling me to stop being a &ldquo;back row Baptist&rdquo; and actually serve Him. I grew up in a Christian home and was active in the Church. I have considered myself a Christian for as long as I can remember. The problem is that I was going through the motions rather than actually living my life for Him.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>While in a Bible study prayer meeting, one of the other members looked at me and said that he could tell that God had a special purpose for me and wanted me to serve Him. I was speechless! I completely agreed with what he said, but how did he know? My wife and our Pastor both knew what I was feeling, but how did this man know that?</p> <p>Well life went on as usual. I constantly thought about how much I would love to be in full time ministry, but there was no way I could do that right now. Working my current job to provide for my family trumped any possibility of going to seminary to become a Pastor. Then about six months later, I ran into this man at McDonalds. We got talking and he plainly asked me, &ldquo;What is your ministry&rdquo;. Again, he rendered me speechless. How can I have a ministry? I&rsquo;m not a preacher.</p> <p>I spent a lot of time thinking and praying about what he said. In Ephesians 4:11-13, The Apostle Paul writs <span class="verse">&ldquo;And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God&rsquo;s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ&rsquo;s fullness.&rdquo;</span></p> <p>That's when it hit me. I don&rsquo;t need to be an apostle, prophet, or pastor to build up the body of Christ. We are all called to serve Him. <a title="The Great Commission" href="http://www.renewedstrength.org/post/The-Great-Commission">The Great Commission</a> applies to all of us.</p> <p>Ok, so now I knew that I was being called to serve Him in growing His kingdom. I knew that I did not have to be ordained to do it. But how was I to have a ministry? I started thinking about the gifts I have been blessed with. Although it is not my profession, I have several years of experience in web development so I thought I could start an online ministry. Renewed Strength was born.</p> <p>Now this too was a hard move for me. I am very technical minded but I am not a heavy reader, much less a writer. I barely passed high school English. Then I remembered Romans 8:28; <span class="verse">&ldquo;We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.&rdquo;</span>&nbsp; It doesn&rsquo;t matter if I am a good writer, I definitely don&rsquo;t claim to be, and I don&rsquo;t need to be. I know that my ministry here is prayerfully considered and led by the Holy Spirit. He has blessed me with the opportunity to have an online ministry that reaches thousands every week.</p> <p>So what is your ministry? How can you use your own God given talents to help others?&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: xx-small;">Image courtesy of </span><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcmonahan/6854613579/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><span style="font-size: xx-small;">Flickr user</span></a></p> http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/What-is-your-ministry admin@renewedstrength.org http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/What-is-your-ministry#comment http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post.aspx?id=8dc2b059-7f22-41a5-9817-f9c871dd0794 Thu, 25 Apr 2013 13:19:00 -0500 Christian journey Serve Others Trust in the Lord RS_Admin http://renewedstrength.org/rs/pingback.axd http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post.aspx?id=8dc2b059-7f22-41a5-9817-f9c871dd0794 7 http://renewedstrength.org/rs/trackback.axd?id=8dc2b059-7f22-41a5-9817-f9c871dd0794 http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/What-is-your-ministry#comment http://renewedstrength.org/rs/syndication.axd?post=8dc2b059-7f22-41a5-9817-f9c871dd0794 Afraid to Enter In: The peril of Spiritual Abuse <p><img style="float: none; margin-left: auto; display: block; margin-right: auto;" title="ID-100142578" src="http://www.renewedstrength.org/rs/image.axd?picture=ID-100142578_thumb.jpg" alt="Spiritual Abuse" width="244" height="184" /></p> <p>There was a time when I use to count the number of days I attended Church. I absolutely dreaded missing a Sunday because I knew someone would want an answer for my absence or worse: I&rsquo;d return the next week feeling ashamed that I had &ldquo;put myself above God&rdquo;.</p> <p>As a new believer I didn&rsquo;t know much about &ldquo;being a Christian&rdquo;, but I knew the basic promises of God: peace, joy, and freedom. From the time I could conceive the idea of salvation; I began to seek the Lord. I developed a new life in Christ. Friends and family witnessed a transformation in me and some eventually gave their lives to Christ. However, as time went on the light of my new life grew dim.</p> <p>It wasn&rsquo;t that I lacked faith, or failed to connect my troubles to eventual &ldquo;spiritual breakthroughs&rdquo;. I found myself in chains unable to enter the promises of God because I had been spiritually taught that all of those promises were indicative of my own works e.g.</p> <p>&bull;If I had more faith, God would bless me.</p> <p>&bull;If I gave more money I would be financially secure.</p> <p>&bull;If I worshipped more, God would bless me.</p> <p>On the outside it appeared that everyone else had it all together. Inside I felt like a failure, like I just couldn&rsquo;t get anything right. To be honest, I was in spiritual bondage. I was stuck between earning my righteousness and knowing that the scriptures read differently. I was without peace, without joy and certainly not free.</p> <p>What was I to do? Leave? If I left, I would be considered &ldquo;backslidden.&rdquo; If I left, perhaps God would look at me differently.</p> <p>So I stayed&hellip; until God said, &ldquo;Go&rdquo;. And then the real journey began.</p> <p>For the next ten months, the fingerprint of God became alive. I could see, I could touch and I could hear all that those lines encapsulate as divine. I even saw myself as alive to Christ. Though I was no longer earning my righteousness, I was transforming all at the hand of the Holy Spirit. Why did it take so long for me to come to this? How could I be afraid? The peril is just that: fear.</p> <p>Spiritual abuse has a way of creating the illusion that if we fail at something we&rsquo;ve lost the approval of God. So instead of failing, we culminate the fear of it. This fear has put a chain around experiencing spiritual growth, something we cannot microwave or attempt to manipulate with our works. Something that actually looks a lot like trial and error backed by the fullness of grace received by believing in Jesus Christ. Here&rsquo;s what saved me:</p> <p>For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are. Romans3:20</p> <p>There is no self-effort in faith. The natural inability to fulfill the commands of the law (written &amp; unspoken) had produced an unhealthy fear of God and his promises. So I died to it. Just as Paul wrote in Galatians 2:19: I stopped trying to meet all its requirements&mdash;so that I might live for God. In that leap of faith, I found myself living in joy, peace and freedom.</p> <p>________________________________________________________________________</p> <p>Sabrina C Anderson is the author of <a href="http://www.afabulouslifeinchrist.com/p/books_6.html" target="_blank">How to Live a Fabulous Life in Christ</a>, Ten Lessons: A Woman&rsquo;s Guide on Spiritual Growth. Sabrina wrote this book inspired by the Holy Spirit as she received healing for her own spiritual wounds. She blogs at <a href="http://www.afabulouslifeinchrist.com/" target="_blank">A Fabulous Life in Christ.</a> You can connect with her on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/sabrina.c.anderson" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/Fablifechrist" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Twitter.</a></p> http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/Afraid-to-Enter-In-The-peril-of-Spiritual-Abuse admin@renewedstrength.org http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/Afraid-to-Enter-In-The-peril-of-Spiritual-Abuse#comment http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post.aspx?id=fe3ccf99-f835-473d-9ddd-c378c6ec0688 Sat, 13 Apr 2013 16:44:00 -0500 Christian journey RS_Admin http://renewedstrength.org/rs/pingback.axd http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post.aspx?id=fe3ccf99-f835-473d-9ddd-c378c6ec0688 6 http://renewedstrength.org/rs/trackback.axd?id=fe3ccf99-f835-473d-9ddd-c378c6ec0688 http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/Afraid-to-Enter-In-The-peril-of-Spiritual-Abuse#comment http://renewedstrength.org/rs/syndication.axd?post=fe3ccf99-f835-473d-9ddd-c378c6ec0688 Falling in love with someone who isn’t Christian <p><img style="background-image: none; padding-left: 0px; padding-right: 0px; display: block; float: none; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; padding-top: 0px; border-width: 0px;" title="Partner isn't Christian" src="http://www.renewedstrength.org/rs/image.axd?picture=2_thumb.png" alt="Christian Couple" width="244" height="185" border="0" /></p> <p>Some say that you can&rsquo;t help who you fall love with, but what do you do when you fall for someone who doesn&rsquo;t share your religious beliefs? Do you try to convert them or just agree to disagree? This article discusses falling in love with someone who isn&rsquo;t a Christian.</p> <p><strong>Follow your heart</strong></p> <p>When entering into a relationship, seek the Lord&rsquo;s guidance and follow your heart. But what do you do if the one that makes you happy doesn&rsquo;t share the same religious beliefs. Let&rsquo;s start by looking at what the Bible tells us about having an unbelieving spouse. I have heard someone use the following passage of scripture to prove that it is acceptable to marry anyone they want, even if the person is not a Christian. In 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul writes to the Church of Corinth saying; <span class="verse">&ldquo;But I (not the Lord) say to the rest: If any brother has an unbelieving wife and she is willing to live with him, he must not leave her. Also, if any woman has an unbelieving husband and he is willing to live with her, she must not leave her husband. For the unbelieving husband is set apart for God by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is set apart for God by the husband. Otherwise your children would be corrupt, but now they are set apart for God. But if the unbeliever leaves, let him leave. A brother or a sister is not bound in such cases. God has called you to live in peace. For you, wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband? Or you, husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife?&rdquo;</span> 1 Corinthians 7:12-17</p> <p>With the above scripture, you could argue that the Bible says it&rsquo;s ok to marry an unbeliever. Notice though, that it refers to husband and wife, not boyfriend or girlfriend. In this passage, Paul is talking about a man and a woman that marry while they are both unbelievers. If one of them accepts Jesus Christ and becomes a Christian, they are not to divorce their unbelieving spouse. You should stay with your unbelieving spouse and be the example to them in hopes that they will also know to know Christ through you.</p> <p><img style="background-image: none; padding-left: 0px; padding-right: 0px; display: block; float: none; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; padding-top: 0px; border-width: 0px;" title="Christian Relationships" src="http://www.renewedstrength.org/rs/image.axd?picture=1_thumb.png" alt="Stained Glass Window" width="185" height="244" border="0" /></p> <p>A more accurate scripture to answer the question about marrying an unbeliever is found in 2 Corinthians 6:14. <span class="verse">&ldquo;Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? What agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?&rdquo;</span></p> <p>This should clearly answer your question.</p> <p><strong>What should I do now?</strong></p> <p>Start by praying for your partner, that they will come to know Christ. Pray for God&rsquo;s guidance for you in talking to them. Explain to them, the reasoning behind your beliefs and why being Christian is so important to you. Don&rsquo;t assume that they are against Christianity; they may not know any better. Maybe no one has ever shared the Gospel with them.</p> <p>You can&rsquo;t (and shouldn&rsquo;t try to!) force Christianity on someone else but, by showing them how it makes you a better person and why it plays such an important role in your life, you may convince them to follow in your footsteps and accept Christ. Don&rsquo;t get offended if they don&rsquo;t, maybe this relationship isn&rsquo;t what God has planned for you.</p> <p><strong>Find someone who shares your beliefs </strong></p> <p>Now that you know the importance in finding a partner that is also a fellow Christian, make sure that is a priority in your search.&nbsp;</p> <p>Religion is a deal-breaker for many people. Falling in love is<a name="_GoBack"></a> the most amazing feeling, and it will happen to everyone at some point. Just make sure you are not sacrificing who you are and what you believe, just to find someone to settle down with.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Photos courtesy of <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/sparker/3611605160/">http://www.flickr.com/photos/sparker/3611605160/</a> &amp; <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/bsabarnowl/6210030910/">http://www.flickr.com/photos/bsabarnowl/6210030910/</a>.</p> <p>This is a sponsored article on behalf of eHarmony UK.</p> http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/Falling-in-love-with-someone-who-isnt-Christian admin@renewedstrength.org http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/Falling-in-love-with-someone-who-isnt-Christian#comment http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post.aspx?id=48e72e7e-93cb-42d7-84f1-c409767a6003 Wed, 27 Mar 2013 14:13:00 -0500 Christian journey RS_Admin http://renewedstrength.org/rs/pingback.axd http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post.aspx?id=48e72e7e-93cb-42d7-84f1-c409767a6003 12 http://renewedstrength.org/rs/trackback.axd?id=48e72e7e-93cb-42d7-84f1-c409767a6003 http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/Falling-in-love-with-someone-who-isnt-Christian#comment http://renewedstrength.org/rs/syndication.axd?post=48e72e7e-93cb-42d7-84f1-c409767a6003 What does your Facebook say about you? <p><img style="background-image: none; padding-left: 0px; padding-right: 0px; display: block; float: none; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; padding-top: 0px; border-width: 0px;" title="What does Facebook say about you" src="http://www.renewedstrength.org/rs/image.axd?picture=facebook_post_thumb.png" alt="What does Facebook say about me" border="0" /></p> <p>I spent some time today lurking around on Facebook. Viewing the pages of some of my Christian friends and some of you who have &ldquo;Liked&rdquo; this page. It was quite surprising! Statuses about prayer and their walk with God, mixed in with statuses about drug use and promiscuity. Liked pages about religion along with Liked pages showcasing half dressed women. What are you telling the world about yourself and what it means to call yourself a Christian?</p> <p>Sadly, the actions of some Christians has given the world a bad view of a Christian is. Think of the man who goes to Church, then comes home and goes back to beating his wife and getting drunk. What does this teach his family about being a Christian man? What about the car with the Ichthys (The Christian Fish) on the back of their car that curses at you or gives you the finger if you don&rsquo;t let them pull in front of you? Without a doubt we can agree that these actions can very quickly send mixed signals about us being &lsquo;followers of Christ&rsquo;.</p> <p>How can we tell others about the importance of following Christ if we are still pursuing our sinful desires and flaunting them online? There is a lot of truth to the saying &ldquo;actions speak louder then words&rdquo;. No matter how many religious pages you share, it is quickly negated when their displayed next to eye candy! During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told us <span class="verse">&ldquo;If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell!&rdquo;</span> Matthew 5:29-30</p> <p>Is it a coincidence that the two body parts He mentioned are the eye and the hand. Think about that for a few minutes guys&hellip;&hellip;</p> <p>I&rsquo;d like to challenge everyone to really evaluate how they are letting God&rsquo;s love <strong><em>show</em></strong> through their life. Take the time to go through your social media accounts. Look at the items on your desk at work, the jokes you tell or even laugh at. Are you telling others that you are a Christian or are you showing them?</p> http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/What-does-your-Facebook-say-about-you admin@renewedstrength.org http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/What-does-your-Facebook-say-about-you#comment http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post.aspx?id=aabf23bd-0136-41bb-ba1d-9227182d00cd Thu, 14 Mar 2013 13:52:00 -0500 Christian journey Men RS_Admin http://renewedstrength.org/rs/pingback.axd http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post.aspx?id=aabf23bd-0136-41bb-ba1d-9227182d00cd 8 http://renewedstrength.org/rs/trackback.axd?id=aabf23bd-0136-41bb-ba1d-9227182d00cd http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/What-does-your-Facebook-say-about-you#comment http://renewedstrength.org/rs/syndication.axd?post=aabf23bd-0136-41bb-ba1d-9227182d00cd Girl Power <p><img style="background-image: none; padding-left: 0px; padding-right: 0px; display: inline; padding-top: 0px; border-width: 0px;" title="Girl Power" src="http://www.renewedstrength.org/rs/image.axd?picture=usp-mma_-ufc-157-rousey-vs-carmouche_003-4_3_r536_c534_thumb.jpg" alt="Girl Power" width="244" height="183" border="0" /></p> <p>Two weeks ago, a historic moment in women's sports took place as Liz Carmouche and Ronda Rousey fought in the main event of UFC 157 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The first-ever MMA fight seen on Pay-Per-View made headlines even before the winner was announced because we rarely see female wrestlers showcase their REAL power.</p> <p><br />While I'm happy that Rousey won via submission, I was reminded of how the famous women in the Bible succeeded despite the trials they faced. First up is Sarah. Who would have thought that she would bear a child at the old age of 90? She may have laughed when she heard her husband Abraham and the Lord talking about the possibility, but she knew that God would give her a son, and that's what God told her -- that nothing is too hard for Him (Genesis 18:4).</p> <p>&nbsp; <br />Next is Moses' stepmom. She could have let the baby Moses flow further into the river, but she knew that she should not waste the life of someone. So she took care of Moses and her care was an influence of how he led the Israelites to freedom.</p> <p>&nbsp; <br />Take the case of Rahab too. Yes, she may be among the worst of sinners, but she never let the Israelites Joshua sent to spy in the land get killed even though she didn't know them at all. She let them in and hid them. Because of that, Joshua spared her life and family when his family attacked that town. Joshua's sparing was the sign that God forgave Rahab's sins.</p> <p>&nbsp; <br />How about Delilah? "Wait a minute! She should not be here," that's what you're thinking. Yes, she may be an antagonist in the Bible, but the Lord let her come into Samson's life, because if not, he would have totally forgotten the true source of his power and will continue to veer away from his mission.</p> <p>&nbsp; <br />Esther's life is worth reading too. She knew her people were in danger and her uncle was in deeper danger too, but she held on to what God promised her and governed as the queen. And the Lord was and is always true to His Words.</p> <p>&nbsp; <br />Finally, Mary the sister of Martha. Martha may have found it weird that Mary sat down and talked to Jesus while Martha was all alone doing the chores, but Mary did the right thing. She stayed with the Lord, and so was Martha. With that, they saw the miraculous power of Christ, the most amazing being the resurrection of Lazarus.</p> <p>&nbsp; <br />God's power was revealed (directly or indirectly) through these women. There are still women who I haven't mentioned here, but by reading God's Word, you would also see the power of the Lord. This International Women's Day, let us remember, especially the distaff readers of this article, the real Source of girl power (and boy power too). If you're finding it difficult now, turn to God, and He will grant you that girl power you need to succeed in life.</p> <p>&nbsp; <br />Ivan Saldajeno is a BS Mathematics student at the University of the Philippines-Los Ba&ntilde;os. He accepted Jesus as His Lord and Savior when he was 11. He has a Christian blog called "<a href="http://theLordismyCoach.blogspot.com" target="_blank">The Lord is My Coach</a>". You can add him on <a href="http://facebook.com/batangproject8" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and on <a href="http://twitter.com/batangproject8" target="_blank">Twitter</a>.</p> <p><br />Note: Photo Credit: Jayne Oncea of USA Today</p> http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/Girl-Power admin@renewedstrength.org http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/Girl-Power#comment http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post.aspx?id=9e2c52f5-3b0d-4ee1-a0b5-1297e1393701 Fri, 08 Mar 2013 00:00:00 -0500 Christian journey RS_Admin http://renewedstrength.org/rs/pingback.axd http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post.aspx?id=9e2c52f5-3b0d-4ee1-a0b5-1297e1393701 5 http://renewedstrength.org/rs/trackback.axd?id=9e2c52f5-3b0d-4ee1-a0b5-1297e1393701 http://renewedstrength.org/rs/post/Girl-Power#comment http://renewedstrength.org/rs/syndication.axd?post=9e2c52f5-3b0d-4ee1-a0b5-1297e1393701