Spiritual Formation
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How to Deal with Bitterness and Resentment
How to Deal with Bitterness and Resentment
Forgiveness is hard, but it sets us free.

Jenny was 92 years old when she died. For the 50 years I knew Jenny, she told the story over and over of a time her sister would not give her the dollar she needed for a pair of shoes. Her details made it seem like the offense had happened just days ...

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Standing on Holy Ground
Standing on Holy Ground
Is God going to be enough for my hurt?

I am an unnervingly present person. I rarely think about the future. I’m too caught up in the now to worry about what has to be done tomorrow. For some reason, pregnancy launched me into a preparatory nightmare. I couldn’t be too equipped. ...

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Finding the Providence in the Pain
Finding the Providence in the Pain
What we learn when we realize God doesn’t always protect us from hardships.

How long must I take counsel in my soul

and have sorrow in my heart all the day?...

But I have trusted in your steadfast love;

my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

I will sing to the Lord,

because he has dealt bountifully with me. (Ps. 12:2, 5-6 ESV)

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How God Can Redeem the Darkness
How God Can Redeem the Darkness
What I learned about seeing myself as God sees me.

The concert ran late and I knew I was breaking curfew, which spoiled any of the fun I had in the previous hours that night. I carefully tiptoed up to my room hoping that, for a change, my mother had already gone to sleep so my punishment would come in ...

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What Can I Do for the Persecuted Church?
What Can I Do for the Persecuted Church?
Practical ways you—and your church—can help.

How can a Christian who is undergoing persecution for their faith manage to keep perspective? Ziya Meral says:

For the average persecuted Christian, their prayers seem unanswered and they lack peace, strength, courage, and joy. Their humanness in a very ...
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10 Tips to Start Memorizing Scripture
10 Tips to Start Memorizing Scripture
Don’t miss out on this important way to grow spiritually.

A 75-year-old woman was constrained to a hospital bed after breaking her back. When a good friend of hers, a missionary, was home on furlough, he visited her in the hospital. She confided in him that she felt aimless because God had no purpose for her ...

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How to Start Reading the Bible
How to Start Reading the Bible
Tips for getting started and understanding what you read

It can be intimidating to start going to church every Sunday and hear about passages you didn't even know were in the Bible. How can you even begin to grasp this massive book? You want to understand the Bible for yourself, but the laws and stories ...

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Is This Gossip?
Is This Gossip?
9 questions to help you decide.

Vulnerability is the degree of openness between oneself and others. Finding the right degree is a balancing act. A related challenge in ministry is confidentiality—that is, how open can you be about someone else? These nine questions can help you ...

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Open Your Hand
Open Your Hand
Learn to let go of grudges.

I watched as Jude and Charlie got released from "time out."

"What do you have to say to each other?" Heather asked.

"I'm sorry I hit you," Jude said.

"I forgive you," Charlie responded.

"I'm sorry I screamed ...

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Forming an Inclusive Community
Forming an Inclusive Community
God opens his arms wide and so should we.

We experience community when we are with others who think like us, believe what we believe, and maybe even like what we like. Community is good, right? We form groups without being aware of it. Mention a sports team and in seconds you will know who is ...

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Learn to Listen
Learn to Listen
Listening is an important gift we can give others.

Have you ever been in a conversation with others and realized you had checked out? You see their mouths moving, but aren't engaged? Situations like this make me ask:

  • Why is it so difficult to stay in the present?
  • How can we remain engaged when we are in conversation?
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The "Zero Point"
Only when we get to the end of our selves do we find the beginning.

"I'm at the end of my rope!" Have you ever felt like this? Maybe you've experienced what David was feeling when he wrote, "I am poured out like water … my heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me" (Ps. 22:14). ...

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Following Christ with Our Actions
Following Christ with Our Actions
Authentic disciples vote with their feet and not mere words.

Josh, Brian, and I had agreed to meet in a local coffee shop around 10 a.m. Brian and I chatted as we waited for Josh.

"Being a missionary in Alaska was both challenging and rewarding," Brian said as he summed up his three years among the Athabascan ...

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Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine
Max Lucado explains why we must embrace the whole truth about grace.

Q: What better way to start than with your definition of grace?

A: To put it very simply, grace is God's best idea—it's his decision to ravage a people by love, to rescue passionately, and to restore justly.

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Saving the Planet Is Part of Our Calling
Saving the Planet Is Part of Our Calling
We gave up the American dream for a world of happiness.

It all began with two simple questions.

A few years back, my husband was a well-respected physician at the top of his career—director of emergency services and chief of medical staff. He loved taking care of patients, and I loved caring for our ...

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The Economy of the Kingdom
The Economy of the Kingdom
Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matt. 6:33).

I was riding in a car with Dallas Willard somewhere between Colorado Springs and Denver. I asked, "Hey, could I get your advice on something?"

I told him the following story: "Three years ago, I invited a young man to speak at our chapel ...

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Sanctuary of the Soul
Sanctuary of the Soul
Developing a "familiar friendship with Jesus"

In meditative prayer we are growing into what Thomas à Kempis called "a familiar friendship with Jesus." We are learning to sink down into the light and life of Christ and becoming comfortable in this posture. We experience the perpetual ...

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When God Fights Your Battles . . .
The good news is that you win.

Satan is good at being bad. Knowing our weaknesses, he camps out with bated breath just waiting for his chance to launch his missiles. And he does it with extreme accuracy. The good news is we can begin to recognize his tactics and watch his attempts ...

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An Extravagant Gratitude
An Extravagant Gratitude
Learn to give thanks in all circumstances.

Like many American kids, I loved Thanksgiving. But, like most of my peers, there was one thing I dreaded each year: The "everyone go around the table and say one thing they're thankful for" part before dinner.

On the one hand, my dread was ...

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Busyness Is Not a Spiritual Gift
Busyness Is Not a Spiritual Gift
'Wait' is a tough word to deal with in today's busy world.

I easily become overloaded, overburdened, and go overboard with busyness. I've often thought to myself that life would be perfect if bad times had fast forward buttons and good times had pause buttons. I'd also like to clone myself to get more ...

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