Secondhand Faith

Written by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

Point your kids in the right direction— when they’re old they won’t be lost. (Proverbs 22:6)

I saw a quote this morning by Joyce Meyer that really spoke to me:

“You can’t get buy on secondhand faith. It doesn’t matter what your Mama believes. You have to find out what YOU believe.” -JM

It’s true that I am praying my guts out that my kids grow up to believe in Jesus Christ like my husband and I do. It is also true that they have the choice to believe in whatever they want.

I believe it takes so much more than words to leave an eternal impression on our children. We need to be living examples of God’s truth and love. We need to pray without ceasing for their salvation. We need to share with them the wonder of the miracles that God does in our lives; both big and small— both past and present.

I was raised in a bible-believing, faith-based home but I made my own decision to serve Christ at the age of thirteen. I was surrounded by generations of family that simply lived their faith in Christ out loud every day. Their faith stirred up a craving in my heart for a relationship with God – a relationship of my own.

This is what I so hope to be for my children; a living, breathing example of faith in Jesus Christ. I don’t simply want to pass down my faith to my kids. I want to live in such a way that my children are inspired to embrace an authentic journey of faith of their own.

God gives us lots of opportunities to share in his realness and goodness. Will you embrace these opportunities?

Jesus, thank You for my precious children. I pray for their hearts, that they would seek You first with all of their might. That they would turn to You at all times. That they would live in Your truths and share those truths with their children, and their children’s children. Jesus, I pray for my friends with young kids- please give them wisdom as they raise their children to serve You. I also pray for my friends with older children who are running from You……Jesus, I pray that You will give them peace and perseverance to continue living an example of truth. I pray for those kids who are running, please help them to see the truth and turn back to You. I ask these things in Your holy name, Jesus, Amen.

Comfort Those In Trouble

Written by: Conny Varga

We all have them. We all wish we didn’t. Hurtful experiences, disappointments, and losses are never enjoyable when we are in the middle of them. Yet they are common to all of humanity, and in this imperfect world, there is no way of escaping them.

Have you ever wondered what the point of it all is? Why do we have to suffer – sometimes severely – and live with the trauma and consequences, possibly for the rest of our lives? If you are a child of God, you know that He is not the One causing the suffering, but instead He is walking right alongside of you, holding you up, ready to pick up the shattered pieces and re-creating them into something beautiful. If we let Him, our loving Father can use our ugly past for our good, to make us more like Jesus. But there is another reason, bigger than ourselves: in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, we are told that God is the “God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

What does that mean? In His perfect plan, our Father intends for us to be instruments of comfort and healing to a desolate and hurting world. Just as Jesus went through more pain and suffering than we could ever imagine and can therefore relate to everything we experience, so we also can identify with people around us who are hurting because we have been hurt. We feel more compassionate towards someone who has just lost a loved one if we ourselves have lost someone near to us. We care more about the homeless person who is cold and hungry if we have ever been deprived of food and warmth. The urgency of rescuing the little girl who has been abused by her mother’s new boyfriend is much stronger if we can identify with her situation. The little boy who never knew his Daddy seems more dear to us if our own Daddy has been absent. This is the beauty of God’s comfort – just as He comforts us, we get to comfort those around us whom He places in our paths.

Perhaps the most hurting and vulnerable human beings on this planet are orphans. Not only have they experienced severe losses – often at a young age – but they also have no voice. In Proverbs 31:8, we are instructed to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” God cares so much for them that He wishes for us, His children, to “be God” to them, to comfort, care for, and provide for them.

What experiences have you gone through that you wish you could erase from your past? What hurts in your life has your Father in heaven been wanting to heal and transform into something beautiful? Don’t let the pain of your past cripple and incapacitate you. Today, will you allow God to comfort you with His perfect comfort, and let Him use you to bring healing and comfort into the life of one of His Little Treasures, the vulnerable and orphaned child? Do you have the means to sponsor a child halfway around the world and bring hope to their situation? Why not volunteer at an orphanage overseas and show God’s love to the children there in a tangible way? Or maybe God is tugging on your heart to open your arms and welcome one such child into your home. Jesus promises that if you do, you are, in reality, welcoming Him into your home. Just imagine – Christ, in your home! Child protection services always seem desperate to find good, stable homes for their children, and there are tens of thousands of children in North America alone, waiting to be adopted and to finally belong. Could it be that God chose you, with your unique past and life story, to bring comfort and healing to one of His precious children? In Jesus’ name, let’s step out in the glory of God’s grace and love and “comfort those in any trouble”!

 

Conny is a homeschooling mother of three children, foster mom, and farmer in Amherstburg, Ontario. She and her husband of fifteen years are passionate about the calling of God to care for His forgotten treasures – orphans and foster children. They are actively involved in their church, have been on several missions trips throughout the world, and are following the Lord’s direction to raise awareness and mobilize His people to defend the cause of the fatherless and those without a voice.

The Hard Work of Getting Along

Written by: Angela Mercer

My husband and I spent over 12 years in youth ministry. During those years I had my fair share of dealing with “girl drama”. Sometimes it was the kind that makes you want to roll your eyes. Sometimes it was the kind that makes you want to scream, and sometimes, it was the kind that rips your heart in two as you see precious young girls tearing each other apart with insecurity, jealously, gossip and a whole lot of misunderstanding.

I didn’t have a lot of girlfriends growing up. I was a “tomboy” early on, then I was “boy crazy” leaving my friends in the dust and then finally I just “one of the guys” as the only girl in the band for many years. But, if I was to be REALLY honest (and since I am all growed up and have a family of my own, I should just be honest) I didn’t want to be friends with girls because it was just too darn difficult. I didn’t want to do the hard work of getting along.

It seems as though our culture teaches us two opposite extremes of hard work. On one hand, anything worth doing is hard work. We work hard at our jobs. We work hard at sports and other recreational activities. Practices and rehearsals aren’t known to be fun but we know that the results will be beneficial. We work hard at our physical health. Eating right and exercising is hard work, but I know I have to if I want to achieve my goals. And we know when we reach our goals “all that hard work pays off”.

But as soon as we start talking about relationships, for some reason hard work doesn’t seem to apply. I think many people assume if you have to work that hard at a relationship it must not be meant to be… we just aren’t supposed to be together… we just don’t compliment one another. Then, we wonder if it is really worth it.

Anyone who has been married for any length of time knows that marriage is hard work. You cannot coast in a marriage and end up anywhere good. It takes a lot of quality time together, communication, investing in one another’s emotional needs. And our friendships need the same thing. If we don’t invest in our friendships and go out of our way for one another, the relationship will eventually fizzle out.

I love the advice given in James about relationships. He says:

Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.
James 3:17-18 (MSG)

There is a lot to unpack in this verse. A few years ago this verse adorned the chalkboard in our dining room so we could remember how to get along, and to work hard at it!

At the end of the day, we must remember that God wants us to live in harmony with one another.

So, how are your friendships? Is their one in particular that is especially challenging? Can I encourage you in this? It IS worth it. I think if we will approach this relationship with gentleness and honour, we just might surprise ourselves with how much the friendship will begin to flourish. Friendships are really just a whole lot of asking for forgiveness and extending forgiveness. The enemy would rather us live in offense and isolation. But then we will be missing out on so much!

I spend most of my Friday mornings with a group of girls in our neighbourhood. I have come to love these girls so much. We have shared heartache, illness, marriage difficulties, moving… you name it… together. We have come to rely on one another and depend on each other as we face life’s challenges. It is not always easy being vulnerable and asking for help. I don’t always wake up Friday morning wanting to get out of the house, I want to curl up and retreat. However, when I do, the Lord always shows me how important it is to share life together. Those ladies are such a blessing to me.

Community is simply a group of people working hard at relationship and the benefits far outweigh the challenges.

Just because your friendship requires effort, and sometimes, tender loving care does not mean it is not worth it. Don’t believe that lie or you could miss out on one of the greatest blessings in life.

Bound By These Chains…

Written by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.1 John 4:18

Has the pain of your past ever made it hard for you to believe God’s promises and and plans for your future?

One of the ways fear manifests in love is through control. What we fear, we try to control. Our relationships suffer due to fear and insecurities. It can manifest through jealousy, anger, selfishness and many other ways. However when fear is removed, we can operate in the spirit of love. With God, we have the ability to love the unlovable. We can love our enemies. We can love those that do not show grace to us. We can love those people that have hurt us. When we are free from fear we can love as we are loved by the One who loves us —perfectly.

Is there a part of your past that you are still hanging on to? Forgiving those who have hurt us is hard. Sometimes we are afraid to forgive because it might open us up to be hurt again. Sometimes we hang on to the shame and regret of a hurt that we have caused someone else to experience.

Is holding on to the shame, hurt and/or regrets from your past serving you well?

My guess is that your hurt has likely festered into many other aspects of your life. Maybe it’s affecting your health, your marriage/relationship, your finances, your friendships, your relationship with God, etc. If you do not let go of your hurt and pain and allow God to truly heal those wounds – you will always be grasping at temporary fills and missing out on the beauty of the extravagant love that God so abundantly desires to lavish on you. A love that literally wipes your heart clean from all that ugly shame, regret and pain.

Friend, our God is right beside you. He’s in front of you and he’s also behind you. He’s all around you right where you are, just waiting to bring healing to your heart. Will you let Him in? I love what the bible has to say in Lamentations about when life is heavy and hard to take:

When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The “worst” is never the worst. Why? Because the Master won’t ever walk out and fail to return. If he works severely, he also works tenderly. His stockpiles of loyal love are immense. He takes no pleasure in making life hard, in throwing roadblocks in the way. (Lamentations 3:28-33)

Letting go of pain is hard to do. It’s sounds silly, because truly, who wants to be miserable? So, how do we move on? What is the solution? The answer is found right in the word of God:

Cursed is the strong one who depends on mere humans, Who thinks he can make it on muscle alone and sets God aside as dead weight. He’s like a tumbleweed on the prairie, out of touch with the good earth. He lives rootless and aimless in a land where nothing grows. “But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God. They’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers— Never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, Serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season.” (Jeremiah 17:5-8)

Please, chose this very day to let go of your shame, regrets and pain. God is waiting right now to take them all away and fill your soul instead with His unfailing love. He wants to turn your mourning into dancing and your sadness into joy!

It is time to start moving forward.

Angels Watching Over Me

Written by: Margaret Connolly

Have you ever wondered about Angels?   I grew up with a framed print in my room that had belonged to my Mom.  It showed two young children walking across a rickety bridge at night, the girls arm tucked protectively around her little brother.  Up above them, with large wings outstretched, glowing white and magnificent was an angel – their guardian angel protecting them through this danger.  I would often fall asleep while staring at this print, and wonder about my guardian angel.

As a kid I was a big fan of Amy Grant, hers were some of the first cassette tapes I ever owned!  One of her songs was a particular favorite,  ‘Angels watching over me’ was about the idea that, as followers of Christ, we have angels with us always.  (‘Angels watching over me’ Amy Grant)  As I got older my fascination with angels continued.  As a tween my Grandpa gave me a book with stories in it all about people’s encounters with angels.  Amazing stories of protection, or provision where the only explanation was through some kind of supernatural being, presumed to be an angel.

While I have always believed that God has assigned an angel to watch over and protect me, as a teen I had an experience that confirmed this belief.  I was driving home in a bad snow storm one night.  The highway ahead was blocked off due to a bad collision, and police were re-routing cars off the highway to the nearest exit.  I had to slow down very quickly, and cross lanes to get to the exit.   While maneuvering the car over to the exit, I felt myself lose control of my vehicle as it began to veer toward a ditch, where another vehicle had recently plunged.  I vividly recall whispering a prayer and simply holding the steering wheel.  The front end of my car began to turn left away from the ditch and headed back toward the lane I needed to be in.  I didn’t turn the wheel myself, nothing I was doing to correct the direction of the car was successful in that moment due to ice and snow.  I knew that it was my Guardian angel – I felt it to the very core of my being – that my vehicle was moved for me, and not by me.

You might be thinking, ‘Really?  Angels?’   Well, what does the Bible say on the subject?  Two of my favorite verses about angels come from the Psalms.

Psalm 91:11-12 says “For He will give His angels charge concerning you to guard you in all your ways; They will bear you up in their hands that you do not strike your foot on a stone.”

Psalm 34:7 says “The angels of the Lord encamp around those who fear Him and rescue them.”

God has commanded His angels to watch over us, to keep us from harm, to protect us from danger!  I love knowing that my Heavenly father has sent angels to watch over me!   Not to mention the countless stories in the Bible where angels appear to protect one of God’s people from danger and harm.

As a mom, I pray for the protection of my kids all the time.  I know my Mom has done the same many many times!   I often think of the ‘what-ifs’ after we travel somewhere.  What if we hadn’t braked in time?  Or what if the salt truck hadn’t gone down the highway ahead of us?   All of these little things come to mind oftentimes.  And while, yes bad things do sometimes happen, I am thankful for the extra protection afforded to me by my guardian angel and take courage in knowing that God has commanded His angels concerning ME!

Truly Believe

Written by: Melissa Lefevers

Do you believe? That is a big question It could mean so many things. You could say yes I believe in Jesus. You may say yes, I believe my husband is the hottest man alive. You might say yes I believe my kids are the greatest.

What if I took that question another step and asked you: Do you believe Jesus is all that he says he is? Do you believe He will do what he says he will do? Do you believe all you are promised in the Bible?

That is a much different set of question. You would, I am sure of it, automatically say “of course!”
However, I wonder deep down if you would admit that at times you have doubted and wondered if this Christian life is all it is cracked up to be.

I wonder if you thought that what is going on in your life is just a little to much? I wonder if you have thought that maybe God forgot what he promised you? I wonder if you have ever thought, “God but why?” I know that I have at least said all of those things at least once. If not many more times than that.

I started thinking about believing, you know really believing. I was in the throws of planning and dreaming and God whispered, ‘Why do you doubt?” I didn’t have an answer except for maybe fear. Fear of letting my heart dream big and being crushed. Fear of stepping out and getting ridiculed. Fear of what if this situation doesn’t turn out good. The answer for me a lot of times in why do I not truly believe is because of fear.

We doubt when we can not see. We get fearful when we can not see. We don’t have to though. Over and over in the Bible we are told that if we would just believe and ask we would receive.

We will receive peace if we need it.

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

We will receive mercy and grace when we need it.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

We will receive all we need all we need to do is ask.

John 15:7-8 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

We have all we need all we must do is ask. Remain in Jesus, rooted in His word and truly believe that he can and will do what he says. Truly believe that he can and will do it. Truly believe even when the world tells you not to. Truly believe because he says you have everything in me. Truly believe when you doubt. Truly believe because Jesus is everything. Truly believe because he is faithful.

We do not have to be fearful of the unknown and the things we can not see. We can be confident in our answer of Yes, we believe. We truly have all we need to believe in Him.

Now, Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

He is faithful. Believe.

Life on Purpose: The Power in Resolve

Written by: Emily Pelley

One distinguishing feature of people who are living life on purpose is resolve. Resolve to complete their mission, to pursue their calling, and to reach the finish line.

What are you passionate about? Do you dare to imagine a world different than the one you are in now? One without injustice? One where hurting people are made whole? The truth is that we who have chosen to follow Jesus have been given a clear mandate- to share God’s love with our hurting world. While this is a straight-forward sentence, it is not a simple task. In order for us to see this become reality, we need to be a people of resolve; people who are committed to work and to sacrifice because we have placed this mission ahead of our own comfort or ambitions.

The definition of resolve is to decide firmly on a course of action. A more detailed definition states that resolve means- “to progress from dissonance (a tension or clash resulting from the combination of two disharmonious or unsuitable elements) to consonance (agreement or compatibility between opinions or actions)”.

Let’s think about this- resolve is to progress from tension to compatibility; from disharmony to harmony. Therefore, resolve does not originate from a place of strength or clarity. This means that you don’t have to wait until you are better or stronger, or have everything together, before you can follow Jesus completely- quite the contrary! What makes resolve so powerful is the commitment to push through the tension and struggle until there is unity; until there is resolution.

In the book of Psalms 119:1,2 it says:
You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him.

It is clear here that following God’s instructions will only benefit you. But what I love is that it doesn’t stop there. In verses 7 and 8, the psalmist says:
I thank you for speaking straight from your heart;  I learn the pattern of your righteous ways. I’m going to do what you tell me to do;  don’t ever walk off and leave me.

It is amazing that God doesn’t just ask us to be resolved to live out our calling, but He speaks directly to our hearts and gives us the encouragement we need to keep going. The key in all this is to not depend on our strength to be “resolved”, but to allow the powerful, wonder saviour named Jesus Christ to be the strength in our resolve. What does that look like? It means daily (sometimes hourly!) talking to Him, asking for His help, taking time to rest in His presence- thinking about who He is and everything He has done for you.

Let me encourage you today that even though life is chaotic and stressful- maybe you are dealing with a lot of dysfunction or hurt right now- this is not the place to give up! This is the place to become resolved. Right here- in the middle of the mess. I know you are tired. You may feel helpless and alone. But you are not alone! In Exodus 33:14, God reminds us- “My presence will go with you. I’ll see the journey to the end.” So continue on! Resolve that you will live your life on purpose, allowing our faithful God to bring you through.

Take a moment, listen to this song, and remind yourself of the amazing God who is here with you! (You make me brave- Bethel Music)

A’int No Mountain High Enough

Written by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

A few years ago I went to visit a sweet friend while I was in my hometown. This friend just had surgery the day before, and I just really wanted to do my best to bless her.

I drove to her home and started my journey down her long, hilly driveway. The location of her home is very familiar; both of my grandfathers are buried in a nearby cemetery, however, this was the first time I would travel the path to her home. About two thirds down this new territory I came upon some hills. I first journeyed down a pretty steep hill only to come upon a hill I was to climb that very quickly brought on the worst anxiety I’ve ever experienced to date.

At the bottom of the hill I gave myself a little pep talk….“You can do this. It’s just a hill. Obviously they go up and down this hill; you can too.” But, the longer I stalled at the bottom of that hill, the bigger my anxiety grew. I thought, “I will just leave her small bag of blessings in the snowbank and go back….I just can’t climb that hill. I can’t do it.” As I assessed this new plan, I saw the hill behind me and realized I had two choices; I could put the car in reverse and go back up the hill I had just travelled down, or, I could go forward up the hill that stood before me.

In just a few short moments that hill became an insurmountable mountain.

Thankfully, my friend’s hubby rescued me and the baby. He slid down the hill (yes slid, lol) and brought my car up the hill so that I was able to visit my friend. He gave me some tips on how to get out….but at that point I was imagining having to call on rescue helicopters for me, the baby and the car. I was so gracious, nonetheless, that he had brought us up.

Anxiety is something that has been more familiar than not, as of recently. As I sat and visited with my sweet friend, my fears screamed my insufficiencies across my mind. “You can’t do this. ‘Ya big baby. What a pickle you’ve gotten yourself into now.” I did my very best to suppress these feelings, but a few times they became so overwhelming I actually felt nauseas.

As I was walking out to my car after my visit, I felt that nudge from the Holy Spirit that I had so desperately been seeking and I recalled reading this verse just a few days before:

Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance: Just say, ‘Go jump in the lake’—no shuffling or shilly-shallying—and it’s as good as done. That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything. (‭Mark‬ ‭11‬:‭22-24)

I knew in the grand scheme of life, this hill would be a very small thing but in the moment it felt absolutely impossible. I got in the car, buckled up, recalled the tips my friends hubby had shared and began my decent down hill number one. In the lull before the mountain I soon faced, I prayed out loud, “Jesus, please help me!” I knew that I could not climb this mountain on my own because my fears far outweighed my courage.

The moment I called out His name, peace flooded my heart, and of course He saw me through to the very top of that hill.

I find The Lord personally offers comedic relief from time to time, and for the rest of my journey home I hummed along to the song “Ain’t no mountain high enough….”

As much as this song made me laugh, it’s true of Jesus. There “ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough, ain’t no river wide enough….to keep Him from you.” Friend, whether or not what lies before you is an actual mountain like I faced, or a figurative mountain like a scary health diagnosis, a financial crisis or the like; there is truly nothing that can keep Christ from you.

Call on His name today. He’s waiting.

Sometimes You Need to Know It’s Not Your Fault


Written by: Cindy Morrone

I remember sitting on a park bench with my Mom sitting beside me. It was a beautiful warm spring day and this park was well known for its floral kaleidoscope display. The scenery in all its beauty and newness seemed to mock me that particular day.

It was an urgent meeting.

I was supposed to be heading back to work after my laparoscopy but just couldn’t bring myself to face others.

With her work also close by, she responded to my need. There wasn’t much to say or do, so she just held me.
I had just received the news that my ability to become pregnant was unlikely. Despite a miracle, my heart’s desire to become a Mama was hopeless.
Had it been because of my years of promiscuity? Was I just not meant to be a Mother? Was it because when I aspired to be a full-time career person, I had said out loud several times that I never, ever wanted children?

Conceivably…..

And for years, these questions rolled around and around in my thoughts taunting me into shame and guilt and honoured my inadequacies.

Maybe for you it isn’t about bareness; maybe for you the struggle is different. Perhaps it is about a failed marriage, a sick child or financial demise.

I want you to hear that sometimes, it isn’t your fault. That there is nothing you have done or not done to cause such a fatality.

Perchance…..

There is another answer.

Jesus, in John chapter 9 heals a man born blind with spit and mud. When He was asked who sinned to cause this man’s fate, Jesus’ answer was inconceivable.
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” John 9:3

And now, even more awe-inspiring is how the Lord, no matter the cause, has used my happenings to display His work in my life because I have given them to Him to do just that. Now fully redeemed.

Now Living Abundantly

What Is Your Condition?

Written by: Megan Kincheloe

So I have done quite a bit of writing about the importance of having wise counsel. And while I believe wholeheartedly that this is essential in a walk with Christ, I am starting to vividly see and experience how much deeper it goes than this. You see, over the past little bit, I feel like I have been living life in a fog. Which isn’t really living. I go through the motions every day and frankly, haven’t seen a thing wrong with that because if I am being honest, I like my motions and have them pretty down pat. But I recognized recently that as much as I love people, I haven’t been loving them as I would like to. Like intentionally loving them and investing in them. And some recent conversations caused me to pause and think about what it really means to love someone.

The most important investment I could come up with is being concerned with their spiritual condition.

What I have noticed repeatedly is that people are overly concerned if you have a physical condition. You may hear comments such as, “You need to take care of yourself. You only have one heart.” Or, “Oh my goodness. I hope you feel better. Do you need anything?” Maybe they will even give you some suggestions of alternative treatments they successfully used for the same ailment. But how are your friends encouraging your spiritual condition? What do they say when you tell them the ‘old you’ no longer exists? What do they say when you tell them you don’t get drunk anymore? What do they say when you refuse to engage in gossip? Are they concerned with your spiritual condition?

See, here is what I know. Taking care of our physical condition is super important. 1 Corinthians 6:19 states, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself.” (NLT) And when I think about our spiritual condition, I think about how we arrive to a healthy place in this area. And I believe we get there by living the lives God called us to live. And while He has a different calling for each of us, one thing He calls all believers to do is live holy lives. 1 Peter 1:13-16, “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” (ESV)

The minute you make a decision to follow Christ, the old is gone. Leave it there. And surround yourself with friends who will support you leaving it there and will encourage you. Because the truth is, that physical condition may indeed kill you…but that spiritual condition determines where you are going when your time is up.