8 Habits of a Forgiving Heart

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How do we heal from those wounds for which no restitution can be made? How do we extend true forgiveness when we don’t feel like forgiving? How do we ease that burning in our hearts for justice?

Forgiveness is one of the most challenging commands given to the Christian. Sometimes complete forgiveness takes more than a day, a week, a month, or even a decade. What we feel on the inside must not dictate our actions on the outside. We must make a conscious effort to obey God externally while fighting the battle internally.

In the previous post, we discussed Peter’s flawed question of how many times we ought to forgive. Today, I hope to encourage you to develop a mindset of forgiveness, particularly for those hurts which run deep.

Forgiveness is not merely an action, it is an attitude we must develop and nurture until we return to dust. Continue reading

Depression: What it is and How to Fight Back

This is part 4 of the series “Invisible Illnesses.” To read the previous post, click here

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The problem of depression and the Christian is complex. As with PTSD, we need to educate ourselves before rushing to errant judgement.

Depression can be split into two categories (although they frequently often overlap): there is depression caused by physical/chemical triggers and there is depression as a state of the mind. It may seem like splitting hairs, but it’s an important distinction. Continue reading

Invisible but deadly

qpe5988qvom-quin-stevensonHe cradled his head in his rough, battle-scarred hands, breathing heavily. The accelerated pace of his heart drummed so loudly he could hear nothing else. Sweat beaded on his forehead as blood pounded in his temples. He inhaled deeply, attempting to calm himself. He was thankful to have found this temporary refuge, even if it was a grimy old bathroom. The grinding of the pneumatic impact wrench securing nuts on wheels sounded eerily similar to the battle zone. Before he could acknowledge the trigger, he’d felt his body go into a tailspin. With herculean effort, he stood very slowly, making a deliberate B-line for this small sanctuary.

This was all so humiliating.

Stupid, stupid STUPID! Why did he have to be weak like this?!?

None of the guys from the hundred and first had this problem! They were still smoking and joking about the war like it was some video game. Only the weak ones contracted this illness.

His hair brushed back and forth over his hands as he shook his head, acknowledging the lie as it snaked its way through his thoughts. Hadn’t he just been to Jameson’s funeral? Continue reading

What the World Needs Now

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Some songs make me cringe.

It’s not necessarily the lyrics—although cringe-worthy lyrics abound. Often it’s the style of singing or instrumentation. Sometimes it’s an associated memory. For instance, whenever I hear Andy Williams’ voice belt out, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” I can’t help but groan inwardly. I associate it with disgruntled black friday shoppers and unhappy ugly-Christmas-sweater people. I don’t know why…. it’s probably related to some lame commercial. Then there’s Burt Bacharach’s “What the World Needs Now.” The words aren’t bad, it’s just the way it was sung or the melody or… something. Think “nails on chalk.”

And yet… Continue reading

4 ways to shine your light to fellow Christians

(This article is part of the series “Building GenNext.” You can read the previous post by clicking here.)

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No matter how old you are nor how long you’ve been a Christian, it’s your job to be a good example whether you are with Christians or non-believers. Your choices and lifestyle reflect what is in your heart. Do these things encourage or discourage your fellow Christians?

If we want to see the church stand firm tomorrow, we need to be a solid example of faith today. How do we shine our light to each other? Continue reading

Don’t look back! (Day 24 of the #encourage marathon)

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Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

~ Philippians 3.13-14, ESV

Welcome to mile-marker 24 of the #Encourage Marathon. (If you missed yesterday’s post, you can read it here.)

Someone out there is clinging to the past. It might even be you.

My children love to race each other. It’s not exactly a fair race, as their difference in size makes it hard for the littlest one to keep up. My middle child, however, can outrun the other two (and usually does) as long as she doesn’t look back. She keeps her eyes focused on the “finish line” and leans her whole body towards the end. I’ve watched them run several of these little “races” and I’ve noticed that whenever my champion middle racer looks back, she slows down (and sometimes loses!)

In a race, runners don’t often spare a glance for who’s behind them, because they know it’ll slow them down. They have their peripheral vision to keep them apprised of who is gaining on them. Looking back in a race and in life will slow you down and trip you up. It isn’t worth it.  Continue reading

Be diligent (day 22 of the #encourage marathon)

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Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

~ 2 Timothy‬ ‭2:15‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Welcome to mile marker 22 of the #encourage marathon! I can’t believe we are almost to the end! I hope you have thus far been uplifted. (If you missed yesterday’s post, you can read it here.)

Someone out there is discouraged. It might even be you.

When I was twelve, I was seized by a strong desire to be a medical doctor. I wanted to help people, write legible prescriptions, and treat nurses with the professional respect they deserved. I made it my goal to graduate at the top of my class with a impeccable grades. I wanted to my transcripts to be so irresistible that top schools would snap me up in an instant. I worked myself raw, often staying up until 1 or 2 in the morning to produce the best work I possibly could.  Continue reading

Prepare yourself (Day 20 of the #encourage marathon)

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Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

Stand therefore,

having fastened on the belt of truth,

and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.‭

~ Ephesians‬ ‭6:13-15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Welcome to mile-marker 20 of the #encourage marathon! We are in the home stretch! (If you missed yesterday’s post, you can read it here.)

Someone out there is unprepared. It might even be you.

When a soldier prepares for battle, he or she “suits up.” They go through a process (usually the same process they’ve established each time) of putting each piece of gear in place—Undershirt, uniform shirt, pants, duty belt/gear belt, boots, bullet-proof vest, ammunition, helmet, and weapon(s). This process of preparation is vital, as each battle brings different challenges. A soldier must be in constant readiness.

Each morning, as we awake to face a new day, we are entering into a battle zone. We have no idea what that day’s battle will bring, though we usually have plans. We do not know what temptations, trials, or challenges our enemy will throw at us.

In the previous post, I noted that Paul encourages the Ephesians to take up the “whole” armor—not just selected pieces. He repeats this encouragement in today’s section in verse 13. “Take up the whole armor… that you may be able to withstand in the evil day.” We cannot withstand in the evil day if we haven’t readied ourselves. Continue reading

Renewed Strength (Day 5 of #encourage marathon)

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Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God”?

Have you not known?

Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles;

they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

~ Isaiah‬ ‭40:27-31‬ ‭ESV‬‬

It’s Day 5 of our 26-day #Encourage Marathon! (You can read yesterday’s post here.)

Someone out there is running low on strength. It might even be you.

There are times in our race when we feel like we’ve been running uphill in the burning heat for miles. Your muscles and lungs burn, your knees are skinned from falling and your heart begins to lose hope.

Then, you remember.

You remember that you can’t win this race on your own. You remember that your strength isn’t enough. You remember the promise of the Lord: “I will strengthen you.”

It is vital to commit the word to your mind and heart daily so when these times of exhaustion threaten to count you out, the promise of God will strengthen you. Satan wants nothing more than for us to despair and drop out. Don’t quit. Rely on the strength that comes from God.

Commit this passage to your memory for times of weariness and waiting. At some point in the race, you will experience both.

You may be waiting for something today. Maybe you feel as though God has forgotten you.

Doubt is easy. Trust is hard.

God promises to strengthen us. Keep running and praying—He will sustain you!


I hope you’ll continue to join me on Facebook, Twitter and here at Elihu’s Corner for this marathon. Share this verse on your Twitter feed or Facebook page (#encourage). Take time today to copy down this verse for yourself. Send an email or text to someone you know who would benefit from this encouragement.

Here is a picture of the verse I copied down yesterday for my Own benefit:

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[If you click on the link in the above passage, it will take you to BibleGateway.com. From here, you can click a share link which allows you to share directly to Twitter, Facebook or send an email.]

If you missed the original post listing all 26 passages, click here to download the PDF list.

More than Conquerors (Day 3 of #encourage marathon)

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“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

~ Romans‬ ‭8:35-39‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Welcome to Day 3 of the Encourage Marathon! (If you want to read yesterday’s post, click here.)

Today, someone out there feels like their fighting a losing battle. (It might even be you.)

The human mind is a powerful instrument. It has the ability to aid in triumph or loss. People have lived through unexpected events for no other apparent reason than “the will to live” (and, of course, because God allowed them to).

When we become a Christian, we enter a fierce race. Satan wants to trip us up, knock us down, and shove us out. If we go into the race thinking we’ll never win, then we do not have faith in the promises of God. The Lord promised that those who were His and endured to the end would have eternal life.

Do you believe that?

I do.

Satan can do all he dares to trip me up, but he cannot take me out of the race because I am more than a runner—I am a victor, a conqueror. Is it because I am strong? Nope. It is the love of God gives me the ability to make it to the finish line. He equips me with strength.

The only one who can disqualify me from the race is myself.

Are you getting tired? Feel like you’re gonna lose? Get your mind fixed on two things:

  1. The goal
  2. The guarantee

The goal is eternal life.

That’s where we are headed. The race is the means by which we get there. If you look down at the ground, you’ll soon become part of it and quit. If you keep thinking about your aching feet and sore muscles, you’ll slow to a stop. Fix your eyes on the finish line and keep moving!

The guarantee is victory.

If we are in Christ and we stay beside Him, He’ll get us to the finish line. As the above passage says, we are more than conquerors through Him. If you know that you can make it, you’ll keep going in spite of all the pain, frustration, and weariness. Again, the victory is only guaranteed if we keep going.

You can win through Christ! Keep your eyes fixed on the goal and the guarantee.


I hope you’ll join me on Facebook, Twitter and here at Elihu’s Corner for this marathon. Share this verse on your Twitter feed or Facebook page (#encourage). Take time today to copy down this verse for yourself. Send an email or text to someone you know who would benefit from this encouragement.

Here is a picture of the verse I copied down yesterday for my own benefit:

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[If you click on the link in the above passage, it will take you to BibleGateway.com. From here, you can click a share link which allows you to share directly to Twitter, Facebook or send an email.]

If you missed the original post listing all 26 passages, click here to download the PDF list.