November is one of my favorite months. It’s not that I’m not thankful the rest of the year, but there is something about being surrounded by an attitude of thanksgiving that makes me want to shout my blessings from the roof. I love reading all of the daily posts of thankfulness on social media, and hearing from friends and relatives what they are especially thankful for that day. The attitude of thankfulness is contagious! One of the things I am most thankful for is that my dad and mom taught me about thankfulness and stewardship when I was a child. What does one have to do with the other? God blesses me and provides for me. For this I am eternally thankful. As part of that blessing and provision, He gives me resources that I am called to steward. Stewardship should be a central part of our lives. Each of us are called to steward our finances, our time, our families, and we are to be good stewards of our environment. That stewardship not only opens us up to more blessings from the Lord, it also opens our lives up so we can be conduits of blessing. When we are good stewards,...

Love is not just a theory. It’s not just something we feel, or something we say to other people. Love is action. 1 John 3:18 says, “let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 1 Corinthians 13 shows us the importance of love in our lives. “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” (vs. 1). Your words may be full of wisdom, spoken righteously, and meant to bless others, but if you don’t speak with love they are nothing but noise. “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing” (vs. 2). Prophecy is a powerful gift from God. Faith, likewise, is one of the most powerful forces discussed in God’s Word. But even with both of those, without love “I am nothing.” “If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing” (vs 3). God calls us to give freely, but...

Did you know we are called to both TITHE and GIVE? What’s the difference you ask? Tithing is an act of obedience, mandated in Scripture. Tithing is giving a portion of everything you have back to God. The act of tithing reminds us that God is our provider and that He has called us to support His works. Giving, on the other hand, is an act of the HEART. In Exodus 25:2, God told Moses: “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give.” When we are prompted by the Holy Spirit, we are called to open our hearts and give freely. Here is what Scripture says about GIVING: “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9-7) “A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.” (Prov. 18:16) “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your...

Do you feel overwhelmed by stress and pressure? Stress is nothing new for Followers of Jesus. Scripture is full of encouragement for those who are dealing with the trials and tribulations life brings. And that encouragement is always based on faith. I want to share with you today a few lessons about dealing with stress that we can learn from just one of those encouraging verses. “For this reason, brothers and sisters, during all our distress and suffering we have been comforted and greatly encouraged about you because of your faith [your unwavering trust in God—placing yourselves completely in His loving hands]” (1 Thess. 3:7, AMP). Recognize your stress, don’t ignore it! “during all of our distress and suffering” Stress has a way of sneaking up on us, and by then it is already overwhelming. When you examine your life and acknowledge what is causing your stress, you can deal with it before it takes over. Keep Psalm 119:143 at the front of your mind as you face your stressors. “As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands.” You will be comforted. “we have been comforted and greatly encouraged” You are not alone. No matter how hopeless your situation may seem in...

Do you ever have one of those days when you just feel like a failure? You lose your temper with your kids. You said something nasty when someone took “your” parking space. A loved one is dealing with a critical illness and it seems like you can't do anything to help. Maybe you lost it for a minute when your boss wanted you to completely redo the project you had spent hours perfecting. It happens to all of us. Life gets a little too hard, too overwhelming, and just too much. There are days when all we can do is sit down, have a good cry, and then look at everything with fresh eyes. I want to encourage you today to not give up or give in when the going gets tough. God never promises that life will be easy, but He does tell us that He has “plans to give you a future and a hope …” (Jer. 29.11). It’s okay to go to your quiet place and have a good cry. Clear out the frustration, the anger, and the pain so you can start to move forward again. Because God has a PLAN FOR YOU! Verses to help you let...