iBelieve contributing writer

How All My Stuff Distracted Me from a Full, Joyful Life (and What I Did to Break Free).

Jesus came so that we might have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)Paul wrote that joy has nothing to do with ‘stuff.’ (Philippians 4:11) His own circumstances were often dire …shipwrecks, jail, abuse, and torment. To sustain a joyful countenance amidst that kind of suffering requires Holy Spirit power.

Modern-day lives are overwhelmed with images. Our days are posted, compared and sized up as we scroll through our social media channels. We all have vices that keep us from living in the full and abundant freedom and sustained joy that Christ died to give us. The journey to break free of the strangling grip of our stuff starts by clinging to God’s Truth, and leaning on Christ alone.

I recently realized the connection between having too much stuff and feelings of overwhelm, frustration and a lack of joy. Here’s what I’ve done to cut back on the stuff and put my focus back on what matters most. (click here to continue reading at iBelieve.com)

A Prayer for God’s Help in Times of Trouble

“May your God, who you serve continually, rescue you!” – Daniel 6:16

The Story of Daniel: The Power of Prayer and Faith in Times of Great Trouble

If anyone needed help in time of trouble, it was Daniel. This verse finds him sentenced to a pit of lions for praying to and worshiping God (Daniel 6:13-18). The administrators set to serve under the current reign of King Darius were bent on removing Daniel from his seat. Daniel had found favor with King Nebuchadnezzar and King Belshazzar prior to King Darius’ reign through his interpretation of dreams and godly wisdom. Click here to continue reading …

10 Harmful Types of Friends and How to Set Boundaries with Each

“I just can’t wait to be friends with everyone!” My friend, more reserved than my hyperactive, people loving self, laughed as if I’d lost my mind. The infamous mantra sticks nearly two decades later. When we seek God’s standard for friendship, and follow Jesus’ example, the Holy Spirit will help us spread the love of Jesus.

But what about unhealthy friendships? What is God’s standard for our friendship with those who drain our energy, deplete our resources and leave us feeling stressed and frustrated? God’s Word speaks truth into all of our relationships, and there is wisdom to be found for how to deal with that friendship that isn’t quite as healthy as it could be.

Here are 10 potentially unhealthy types friends, and how to love them within the good boundaries God has given us. Click to continue reading …

10 Steps to Survive Holiday Family Drama

When the holiday dinner scene freezes, as our ears digest reaction-inducing chatter intended to hurl us into a fury, everything in us wants to give in and let the lid off. Sometimes, even our efforts to back peacefully away from conflict end in a confrontational chase for answers. From new offenses to old skirmishes, reuniting with family over the holidays can be full of drama.

Family, “a group of persons of common ancestry.” (Merriam Webster) When family attacks, it’s hard to hide. They’ve known us our entire lives, and share fragments of the very blood that runs through our veins. What we know about God is that He places people in our lives purposefully, regardless of how difficult they are to be around. Exodus 20:12 commands, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”

“Honor,” in its Hebrew meaning, has a heaviness and a weight to it. The root of the word leads to another powerhouse …”glory.”  Though not all relatives are our parents, employing a similar thread of obedience can allow us to experience peace with in our extended families. Focusing on the fact that our relatives are a part of our lives, over whether we want them to be lends us a clearer perspective in how to get along as a family. In a sense, we are all drafted of the same ancestry, our immediate family line being the most reachable branches. (click to continue reading at iBelieve.com)

10 Short Prayers to Keep our Christmas Sanity

“Pray continually.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17

The holiday seasons lends new understating to God’s command to pray without interruption. The minute we break ties with His peace, calamity and worry seep in through the cracks in our psyche. It’s difficult to maintain a prayerful discipline amidst a normal routine, but the holiday hustle makes it even harder to concentrate our focus on Him.

“Pray continually.”A simple way to stay centered on Christ throughout the holidays is by placing this verse within eyesight. Write it out on notecards, in red and green for the season. Start a simple word doc and type this verse out a number of times, pasting Christmas inspired images before printing them. Stick each copy of this Scripture in visible places passed often throughout the day. On coffee grounds containers, as bookmarks, stuck in wallets or vehicle cup holders, or attached to the computer screen. Write it on mirrors or decorative chalkboards with craft markers to interrupt our business with a pause to pray. (click to continue reading at iBelieve.com)

10 Reasons Christians Shouldn’t Fear a Commercialized Christmas

“Commercialism” is a buzzword with a negative connotation, accused of stealing sincerity from the Christmas season. Big box chains and online retailers see the benefit of Christmas tradition in their bottom line, each year creeping further back into our Thanksgiving celebrations. The marketed rush of “have to haves” brings out a less endearing side of humanity, but no quest to cash in can take “Christ” out of Christmas.

“Commerce” defines the exchange of goods and services. Humanity has evolved from paying with chunks of precious metal to transferring funds online, and bartering the craftsmanship of our own talents has taken a back seat to free 2-day shipping. God is not surprised by the world-wide shift in commerce. Nothing He created or purposed can slip out of His omnipotent reach. Every commercialized push for Christmas lends an opportunity to elevate the gospel of Christ. (click here to continue reading at iBelieve.com)