Melanie Campbell is a member of Oregon Christian Writers and ACFW. Her debut novel, One Woman Falling, won the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Award and is a finalist for the Selah Award. She lives in Oregon’s beautiful Willamette Valley with her husband, their three children, and several spoiled pets. You can learn more about her writing and sign up for her newsletter by visiting her website at melaniecampbellauthor.org. You can also follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
What does life look like with a special needs child? Just as no two children are the same, there is no blanket answer to this question. A child’s challenges may come in the form of medical, developmental, behavioral or mental health issues. Each of these scenarios presents various concerns for the child’s parents: Am I doing enough? Will my child be okay? Why is this happening?
The uncertainty and struggles can lead to feelings of loneliness, despair, bitterness and hopelessness. When we acknowledge our feelings and surrender them to God, we find hope and encouragement. We may wonder where God is and what He has to say about parenting our special needs child. Turning to God’s word shows us the answer! Below are fourteen verses to encourage parents with special needs children.
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Shocking news stories. Ranting Facebook posts. Hateful Tweets. Virtue Signaling (or, “an attempt to show other people that you are a good person, for example by expressing opinions that will be acceptable to them”).
Everywhere we turn these days, there is an opportunity to take offense. It seems that overnight our world has changed and become more digitized than ever. At the same time, our country has become more politicized. Unless you live in complete isolation, devoid of any interaction with others online or in person, you are bound to find people you disagree with—and often the matter of contention is something that ignites strong emotion.
As Christians, we are not called to argue every topic and post our stances as statuses on social media. We are called to love others and be peacemakers. “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
But how do we accomplish this with someone we strongly disagree with?
We can look to Scripture for guidance. In 1 Corinthians 13, we read what love is—and what it is not:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
However, reading about something and actually putting it into action are two different things. Below are five ways we can walk out loving those we disagree with.
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Change is always hard. When the change involves trying to return to living a “new normal” life after spending months at home, it can feel overwhelming. Sometimes the anxiety causes us to resist change or stirs up turmoil in our hearts, draining the joy and peace from our lives. As believers, we are called to walk in faith and not be anxious about anything. Philippians 4:8-9 says our thoughts should be on “whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise.” How can we focus on these good things, though, when our hearts are anxious?
Anxiety is rooted in fear. When we are battling fear, our first response should be to turn to God in prayer. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
But what, exactly, can we pray? Below are five prayers to comfort, encourage and empower you as our society moves toward a full re-opening from the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if you don’t have anxiety over the reopening, the prayers below can help you pray for those who do.
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Jesus spent most of his ministry surrounded by His disciples. While we know the names of the twelve who were closest to Him, there were countless others who followed Jesus during his time on earth. They were there when he was questioned by the religious authorities and when Jesus healed the sick and demon-possessed. The twelve were with Him at the Last Supper.
When we read the passages in the Bible about Jesus’s arrest, prosecution and crucifixion, we find that his disciples have disappeared. We know that Jesus died to make atonement for our sins. Because of His sacrifice we can have a relationship with God and eternal life through Him. But when it came time for Jesus to die for our sins, He was alone. His disciples abandoned Him. But have you ever wondered why He had to do this alone?
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When we watch the news or peruse social media, it can seem like good moral character is in short supply. Additionally, as Christians, we may find ourselves in situations where we are condemned or punished for our beliefs. Each day, our character is tested. Often our true character comes out during times of great stress. We can choose to have faith, be courageous and kind, or we can choose to give in to the pressures of the situation and act cowardly or pridefully.
We can see examples of these different character reactions in the book of Jeremiah and the story of the muddy cistern.
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I love the Old Testament. The stories within its pages provide timeless, multi-layered lessons for God’s people. One such story is Jacob’s wrestling with God, found in Genesis 32:22-32. In this short passage, there are key points we can apply to our own lives. Let’s take a look at the significance of this story and how it relates to our walk with God.
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Reaching the lost might sound like a daunting, even hopeless task in an atmosphere that is already teeming with discord, distrust and disenchantment. Some people speculate that what our world is going through now is the beginning of End Times. If that is true, then as followers of Christ our mission to reach the lost should be more adamant than ever. If it is not true, then it’s a good opportunity to test our faith and put God’s Word to practice.
But do you have what it takes to the reach the lost? The answer is yes. Jesus has already given believers everything they need to not only share the Good News but also to be effective witnesses of his power, authority, mercy and love. What’s more, as His disciples, He’s given us instructions on how to go about this even in the face of adversity.
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Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. - 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Need a little extra encouragement? The Bible says we are to encourage one another, but sometimes that can be difficult if we are feeling discouraged ourselves by the events going on in our lives. We can still turn to God’s Word, as well as to the words of other people of faith. Below are fourteen quotes by Godly women to encourage you. Some are from the Bible, several are from our history, and a few are our contemporaries.
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What comes to your mind when you consider God’s sovereignty?
When I was new to my faith, the concept intimidated me. It reminded me of how I often felt when I stood on the beach and watched the ocean. Though I was in awe of the beauty and vastness of the sea, I was wary of the destructive force of the water. I live in Oregon and on our beaches, it is not unusual to have sneaker waves—large, powerful waves that appear without warning. They are impossible to predict and often surge high up on the beach with deadly force.
I felt just as insignificant and powerless standing on the edge of the ocean as I did in my relationship with God.
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Afraid, alone and misunderstood — these are some of the common feelings among survivors of domestic abuse. The abuser’s tactics have a significant and long-lasting psychological effect on their victims, leading to fear, depression, panic attacks and even physical health problems.
But there is hope for survivors of domestic abuse. Understanding that God is for you, loves you, and wants to protect you will help you see how precious you are in his sight. God’s word is full of comfort, direction, reassurance and healing for survivors. Below are fourteen verses to encourage and empower survivors of domestic abuse.
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