4 Times that God Needs You to be Angry

4 Times that God Needs You to be Angry

FistThe only people who are never angry are dead people – either dead literally, or dead-on-the-inside kind of dead. I’m going to go so far as to say that if you’re never angry, you’re mostly useless – to the people who really need you, and even to God. God needs you to be angry!

Of course that doesn’t mean we should live in a constant state of being “worked up” over every little thing. That’s dangerous to your own mental, physical, and spiritual health. And it doesn’t mean being the kind of volatile human being that everyone fears and would rather run away from. That’s dangerous to your own wellbeing and damages the kingdom of God.

But you need some fire in your soul if you ever want to accomplish what God has put you on this Earth to do.

Just days ago I was driving in heavy traffic, and felt my throat tighten and my blood pressure rise. I was facing some significant stress at that time that I had no control over, and piles of conflicting thoughts chased each other through my mind. I was tired emotionally and physically. And if one more person tried to cut me off in traffic . . . ?!!

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How to Find Unprocessed Food for the Soul

How to Find Unprocessed Food for the Soul

Preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, refined flour, extra sodium, trans fats – there are many reasons to avoid processed foods. You know they’re not good for your physical health, and that more natural, unprocessed options are almost always healthier.

When it comes to food for the soul, the same principles apply. “Processed” soul food is full of artificial excitement, manufactured emotional experiences, programmed relationships, and superficial spirituality. And just as with physical food, all that artificial stuff makes it taste good for a while, but ends up leaving you strangely unsatisfied. You’re not getting the true nourishment your inner being really needs.

What does processed soul food look like? How about reality TV, Facebook relationships, or emotion-only religious services. It’s not that TV, Facebook, or spiritual “highs” are necessarily bad: it’s just that those experiences don’t last. They’re like emotional fast food.

We don’t often think about taking responsibility for finding nourishing soul food; there are plenty of processed options easily available. But you have a choice in what you feed your mind and heart just as you do with what you feed your body. You don’t have to settle for the hyper-palatable junk food that popular media and popular religion often serve up.

So where do you find this unprocessed soul food? Here are some thoughts:

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How to Save Your Marriage With Prayer

How to Save Your Marriage With Prayer

The wake of the Ashley Madison scandal has left many marriages traumatized. Church members have discovered the indiscretions of their pastors. Wives and husbands have discovered the infidelity of their spouses. It’s not that we didn’t know even Christians often struggle to remain faithful to their marriage vows. But the sheer volume of data that was hacked and suddenly available publically has left many somewhat stunned.

There is no easy answer to the problem of marital infidelity. There is no guarantee that your spouse will not fall into some such sinful behavior, or that you yourself will not be sorely tempted. We are each fallen human beings. There is no hierarchy of sins with God. We are all in need of a Savior – today and every day until Jesus returns to take us home.

But that doesn’t mean you are helpless, or hopeless. You may wonder if your own marriage is destined for failure. While there are always many factors involved, I can point to some strong research showing you how to save your marriage with prayer.

Prayer provides a level of insulation against the common human vulnerabilities leading to marital infidelity. In a study of several hundred participants,

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Is One of these Character Traits Holding You Back?

Is One of these Character Traits Holding You Back?

SuccessSomething in your soul says you should be farther along than you are. You see others who seem to have so much more – a stronger marriage, a better job, a larger ministry, better health, a larger platform, a more vibrant spirituality. What do they have that you don’t have? Why does it seem so much easier for them?

A friend asked me that question last week, and it got me thinking. And I’m convinced that as unfair as life is, there’s a lot we can do about our own future. Could there be some character traits that are holding you back?

A smart education, good role models, and hard work are certainly important. But it’s not usually the best educated who have the most success. Some who work terribly hard never reach the goals they desire. God has different roles for each of us in His kingdom, of course. God’s favor certainly makes a difference, but does that mean He doesn’t think as highly of you if you’re not at the level you – or He – desire you to be? I don’t think so.

Character is one of the most important factors we can do something about. Character impacts your success not only in ministry, but at least as much in business, marriage, and life in general.

Consider these character traits that could be keeping you from the success you might otherwise have:

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What I Wish Christian Parents Would Teach Kids About Sex

What I Wish Christian Parents Would Teach Kids About Sex

At 15 years old she was scared. Her mother sat there silent. I confirmed that Angela (not her real name) was pregnant, and outlined what medical care during her pregnancy would look like. Her mother had raised Angela in church, and she certainly didn’t expect to ever be sitting in my office with her pregnant daughter. I don’t know exactly what Angela had been taught about sex, but it was clear one message had been “Don’t have sex before marriage.” She felt somewhat ashamed, and her mother was angry.

As an OB-Gyn physician I see many teens and young women who have become sexually active by default. Many conservative Christian churches, if they talk about it at all, have shouted “Don’t do it!” But that has generally been no match for the sexual cultural revolution. Popular media has equated sexuality with success, growing up, individuality, and feeling good. Divorce, domestic violence, and the popular media have made marriage look less desirable than ever. Many young women don’t see any viable alternative.

I can understand why Christian parents are reluctant to teach kids about sex. Many may feel embarrassed or guilty about their own sexual past or the state of their marriage or lack thereof. They may feel powerless to effectively counteract the cultural messages their kids are getting about sex, or feel those messages aren’t really that bad. Or they may be surprised at how early and how pervasively their kids are exposed to those messages. Many may be confused themselves about what messages they want their kids to internalize about sex.

Most studies investigating religion, spirituality, and sexuality conclude that increased involvement in religious activities decreases risky sexual behavior. But what is “risky?” A 2014 survey of Christian adults showed that 61% said they would have sex before marriage. And the problem of absent fathers even among Christians makes the likelihood of early sexuality even greater.

Guilt, fear, and shame are not the answer. Some young women find it difficult to overcome the negative messages and go from “No” before marriage to “Yes” in one given day. Guilt, fear, and shame only make it harder for kids and teens to tell their parents if they are struggling with sexual matters. And a majority of adolescents (93% of boys and 62% of girls in one study) have been exposed to online pornography, and they need a context in which to address what they see.

Messages to Give Kids About Sex

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