Fruit of the Spirit: Self-Control through the Love of Christ

My preschool-aged daughter sat on the ground, wailing. We had been at the playground for hours, but now it was time to go. Her little friends had left with no drama other than some whining, but my kid’s piercing shrieks drew appalled stares from other parents and their better-behaved children.

How Martin Luther Approached Mental Health Issues

While increasing mental health awareness might seem newfangled, the topic of mental health was addressed by our own church fathers, including Martin Luther. As you seek to extend Christian love to your neighbors, consider what Luther has to say about how to support people who are struggling with mental health issues.  

This blog post is adapted from Martin Luther on Mental Health Practical Advice for Christians Today.

Passing Down the Faith to the Next Generation

I’ve attended what seems like a lot of funerals over the past few years at my church. More and more of the names in funeral announcements are familiar, particularly as the generation ahead of me—those who welcomed us into the church community more than a dozen years ago—has aged.

How to Answer 5 Common Questions about Jesus Christ

The Bible is a massive book comprising so many important stories of biblical figures. Yet, when reading through it or listening to the readings on Sunday, many things about Jesus can come up. Here are some ways to answer five common questions concerning Jesus Christ and His forgiveness. 

Grace and Mercy: How God Loves Us

We all use words without thinking too much about their meanings. People say “Hi!” and “How’s it going?” interchangeably, even though they technically have different meanings. The words grace and mercy are often used without differentiation, although, like the phrases we use in casual conversation, they carry similar but separate meanings. By diving into a proper understanding of grace and mercy, we can add insight to our faith conversations and develop a deeper understanding of Jesus’ love for us.

Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness Bends

Every Sunday in church, a wonderful man in my parish ushers. He hands out bulletins, directs people for Communion, and holds the offering plate. He carries the cross in during the procession that begins the service and out at the end of the service. We’ll call him W.

Five Devotions for Holy Week

Holy Week and Easter are incredibly important times in the Church Year. Jesus prepared for His crucifixion, and we, too, should reflect as we move through Holy Week, knowing that His death is coming, but so is His victory over death and the devil. Even as we mourn Jesus’ suffering and death on Good Friday, we rejoice that He won the battle for the forgiveness of sins on the cross, triumphantly proclaiming, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Then we await the tomb’s stone to be rolled away as Christ rises from the dead, promising our own resurrection when He returns. Prepare for Holy Week and remember the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made for you with these five devotions from Portals of Prayer Devotional Bible below. 

Three Reasons It Is Difficult to Repent

Turning from your sins, wrongdoings, and difficulties is hard for even the most devout Christian. Sometimes the sin doesn't feel all that serious, or it just feels good to do it. Other times we fear appearing weak by admitting our failures. Still other times we think we can avoid the consequences of our sins if we don't own up to them. Are you finding it difficult to repent? Read this blog post adapted from Unforgivable? How God’s Forgiveness Transforms Our Lives  to see three reasons you might be finding it hard to repent. 

Five Books That Equip You to Share Your Faith

As Christians redeemed by Jesus, we get to live with the joy of the victory that Jesus has already won for us. We also live under the Great Commission—the instructions that Jesus spoke to His disciples in Matthew 28 to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (vv. 19–20). Although Jesus’ words in the Great Commission were clear, we might not know how to approach conversations about Jesus with friends and family. But we know that God uses us as instruments to share the Gospel with those around us and that the Holy Spirit works faith in us and others. Here are some books that you can use as tools to help build up the confidence to speak clearly, share the joy of salvation in daily life, and carry out our calling to make disciples.

3 Principles to Guide Your Study of the Old Testament

The Bible makes it clear that Jesus is the main focus of the New Testament. After all, it was His sacrifice on the cross that saved us. But the importance of Jesus as the Messiah can’t be understood just from the New Testament. The prophecy of a Messiah started in the Old Testament, and that prophecy is key to understanding how Jesus perfectly fulfilled that role.

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