Jessica Brodie is an award-winning Christian novelist, journalist, editor, blogger, and writing coach and the recipient of the 2018 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for her novel, The Memory Garden. She is also the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism. Learn more about her fiction and read her faith blog at jessicabrodie.com. She has a weekly YouTube devotional, too. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and more. She’s also produced a free eBook, A God-Centered Life: 10 Faith-Based Practices When You’re Feeling Anxious, Grumpy, or Stressed.
Making friends is something that’s stressed me out since childhood. As a painfully shy, highly sensitive kid, I preferred being alone with my books and my mom to spending time with anyone else.
Moving around a lot throughout my youth helped dissolve this shyness, as did joining the speech and debate team and falling in love with acting onstage. But making real, deep friendships proved to be difficult until I reached full maturity.
That’s when I looked around — yes, in my thirties — and realized I didn’t have a single genuine relationship with any other Christian believer outside of my family.
I tried to befriend people at church, but while I was pretty great at making friends, keeping them was a different story (turns out you have to pour a lot of effort and time into lasting relationships).
Eventually, I learned how to cultivate Christian friendships, and today I count myself blessed to have a number of these in my life.
Here are seven tips on how to cultivate Christian friendships based on my own experience.
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I jokingly call myself a “recovering type-A personality,” but it’s not such a joke. By nature I’m a fast-paced person, always on the move, on the go, driven, and achievement-oriented. I’ve been this way since childhood, and while it’s a blessing in some regards, it means I’m horrible at one very important thing: learning to rest.
Give me down-time and I’ll do my best to fill it with tasks and chores – and this creates a lot of spiritual, emotional, and physical tension within me. (Seriously: I have to put “relaxation time” on my schedule to make it a priority.)
But in the last few years, God has laid an important truth on my heart: Rest is a gift. And I’m starting to cultivating the concept of rest as a spiritual discipline.
If you’re like me and need to intentionally carve out more time for rest in your life, I offer the following six tips for embracing rest as a spiritual discipline.
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The Bible is indeed a well-organized collection of writings penned by more than two dozen authors spanning thousands of years. Instead of being organized chronologically, it is organized by literary genre. For example, books from the prophets are all together in one section, while books of history are in another.
Some people wake up, grab their phone and start scrolling through news headlines or social media to start the day. Other people slink toward the coffeemaker or lace up their running shoes to hit the gym.
But one of the most meaningful and important morning routines can begin even before we get out of bed: by taking a few moments in prayer with God.
Why pray upon rising? By starting our day with the most important thing — and person — in our lives, God, we prioritize our faith. It’s an act of honor and respect, and it reminds us of our true purpose in life, which is to share the Gospel and glorify God.
Praying first thing in the morning also has other benefits, such as decreasing our anxiety, increasing our productivity, and helping us better connect with and hear the Holy Spirit.
Here, then, are seven short daily prayers to start your day.
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You might have heard the Nicene Creed in church as part of a worship service, or been taught the words in a confirmation or Sunday school class. But what is the Nicene Creed, and can praying through it help us grow stronger in our faith?
Indeed, praying through this powerful affirmation of who God is — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — can enable us to focus on our core beliefs in a world filled with chaos, foster unity, and develop into stronger and more focused Christians.
Here, let’s explore how to pray through the Nicene Creed.
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My friendships are going to look unique, not like what everybody else has. I need to stop expecting things will look a certain way and instead just accept things as they are. Maybe my friends and I don’t dress up and take selfies by the beach, or kick up our heels at a spa, but we have a good time, and I care about them. That’s what matters.
It’s good to go to church, to set aside a sabbath and worship the Lord, to gather with other believers so the Holy Spirit can move through the body of Christ and ignite the world through us. The early church is lifted up in Acts 2:42-47 as an example of the good way the Spirit worked through the fellowship of the believers, and this is a positive and important thing.
People offered burnt offerings as a way to atone for their wrongdoings, to show appreciation for the Lord, and because they saw it as a way to appease God, whose wrath they feared. They hoped it would serve as a symbolic representation of their wholehearted apology for any and all things they had done wrong or would potentially offend the Lord, whether intended or not.
While the star of David doesn’t appear in the Bible nor is it advocated as an “official symbol” of Judaism, it is a meaningful representation of a faithful people and the oldest monotheistic religion in the world.
It’s common knowledge that the teenage years can be a hot mess for many families. These kids are a walking, talking whirlwind of chaos and change on so many levels. Their hormones are out of control, their biological instincts to procreate and seek independence are starting to kick in with a vengeance, they seem often hardwired to go to bed late and wake up even later, and that phrase teenage rebellion? It’s a cliché for a reason.
But the pandemic exacerbated troubles that have been brewing for a long time, and now we all have an increased awareness about mental health and young people. The number of suicides are up, and teens struggle with living their private lives in a very public sphere thanks to social media, something that can haunt them for years to come.
Often there is no easy solution when our teens are going through tremendously difficult times.
Psychiatric medication doesn’t always work. Counselors are not always the best fit, and heavy-handed discipline — or it’s reverse, a too-permissive parenting style — can backfire
The important thing to know is that God is walking with you, your family, and your teen while you navigate this difficult season.
Here are eight things that can help when your teen is having trouble.
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