Is ‘Forgiving Self’ Biblical?

By Kathy Pollard

That’s a great question! We often hear of the importance of being able to forgive ourselves, but is that actually in the Bible? We’re commanded to forgive others in multiple passages, but where is there any mention of forgiving ourselves?

While there isn’t a verse that states “you should forgive yourself,” it is certainly implied.

First, let’s make sure we understand how we’re using the word “forgive.” When God forgives us, He is removing the guilt of our sin. He is wiping away our sins (1 John 1:9). When we forgive others (or ourselves), we are not doing that. Only God can do that. When He asks us to forgive others, He is not asking us to take away the guilt of their sin. That’s His job. He is asking us to not harbor ill will toward them, to let go of our anger or any grudges, and to offer that forgiveness from the heart (Matt. 18). So when we forgive ourselves, we’re not saying we have the power to forgive our sins. That’s God’s role only. But we are saying we can release the burden we carry because of it. We can trust, from the heart, that we can let it go.

Second, consider Paul’s example. He had a “former life” he wasn’t proud of (Gal. 1:13). If we’re supposed to forgive ourselves, why doesn’t Paul say anything about forgiving himself? He may not come right out and say it but it seems like he does describe it. Paul wrote about “being anxious for nothing” and praying for the “peace of God that passes all understanding and guards your hearts and minds” (Phil. 4:6-7). He said even though he “persecuted the church,” he wanted a “righteousness of his own…through Jesus Christ.” How? By “forgetting what is behind and reaching for what is ahead.” That is the perfect definition of what it means to forgive ourselves (and others, for that matter). He then goes on to say “all of us who are mature should take such a view of things” and “join together in following my example” (Phil. 3:6-17).

Third, consider Peter’s example. Jesus told him that Satan was going to go after him and he was going to give in. Peter replied, “I’m ready to die for you!” Instead he denied Jesus. “When Jesus looked straight at Peter…he went out and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:31-34, 54-62). How that must have weighed on him! But somehow he went on to serve as an elder in His Lord’s church (1 Pet. 5:1) and serve on mission trips (Acts 9 & 10). When struggling with forgiving self, it can be very helpful to read 1 & 2 Peter with Peter’s denial of Jesus in mind. “Grace and peace be yours in abundance” (1 Pet. 1:2). “Cast all your anxiety/ worry on Jesus because He cares for you…and the God of all grace will make you strong, firm, and steadfast” (1 Pet. 5:7,10). Peter was able to move forward because he trusted God’s grace. And that gave him peace, strength, determination.

Fourth, what would NOT forgiving ourselves look like? It would involve hanging on to the burden of guilt and being weighed down by it. Or not being able to let the shame go. Perhaps it would include being unsure of our own salvation because of it. But it seems like all of the reassurances that God gives of His complete forgiveness are to remove those very feelings we might struggle with (Heb. 8:12; Micah 7:18-19; Psa. 103:12 and so many more!). He wants us to have faith and confidence in our salvation (1 John 5:13), in our cleansing (1 John 1:7-9), and in our righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). Forgiving ourselves just means that we take to heart God’s promises and assurances. We reach for that with both hands instead of dragging remnants of our past behind us.

Finally, why is it important to forgive ourselves? Paul wrote to Christians about how to treat a brother who had seriously messed up. He said, “forgive and comfort him…reaffirm your love for him.” Why? “So he will not be overwhelmed with excessive sorrow.” He went on to give another reason, “If there is anything to forgive, forgive…in order that Satan might not outwit us” (2 Cor. 2:5-11). Forgiveness is so important to the spiritual wellbeing of others and their ability to move forward and stay strong. Those same reasons are no less true when it comes to the importance of forgiving ourselves. Another reason it’s important to forgive ourselves is because it changes how we live, think, and act. There’s an observable conduct that points others to God’s mercy. Paul mentioned this when he called himself the “chief of sinners.” He said finding mercy allowed him to show others what Jesus is like (“longsuffering”) so others may believe in Him (1 Tim. 1:15-16). One more reason it’s important to forgive ourselves is that it will affect how we treat others. “Love keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Cor. 13:5). One might argue that this involves how we love ourself, too (Mark 12:31), but it’s perhaps more important to note that how we handle our own past mistakes could impact our ability to love others. We need to let go of them (in essence, forgive ourselves) so that we can offer that same love and grace to others as we’re commanded.

He’s Coming!

By Kathy Pollard

Neal and I are killing time in a hospital waiting room. We’ve been responding to messages, doing schoolwork, reading magazines, and playing cards. You see, our son and daughter-in-law are upstairs in Labor and Delivery. Our very first grandchild is ready to make his grand entrance into the world!

I can’t help but notice how very wonderful everything seems today. It’s bitterly cold and drizzly outside. Normally I don’t like being cold but I hardly noticed it when we trekked across the parking lot. Later, we ran across the street to Kroger to grab a notepad for scorekeeping. The first thing I saw in the store was a box of Valentine’s Day themed Moon Pies. They were a cheery red and the sign said, “I love you to the moon and back!” I said, “Aw! Look at these! How sweet!” We ordered some hot drinks to enjoy back in the waiting room. It was the best chai latte I’ve ever had. We played Five Crowns and for the first half of the game Neal was thoroughly trouncing me. I didn’t even care (and that’s saying something).

Why is everything so beautiful today? Because all I can think about is seeing our precious grandson for the first time. I can hardly contain my excitement!

While we were waiting on our drinks, Neal said, “Your eyes are sparkling.” When the barista laid down my drink, I blurted out, “Our daughter-in-law is across the street having our first grandchild!” She laughed and said, “Congratulations!”

He’s coming! And I want everyone to know. I’m breathlessly waiting. My heart wants to burst with the joy of it all and he’s not even here yet. I didn’t expect the anticipation of it to be so sweet.

Oh my friends, what a reminder to share our joy and excitement of the greatest event of all. It will be a glorious day, and the anticipation of that should show on my face. I shouldn’t be able to keep from telling even random strangers, “He’s coming!” And I can’t wait to see Him for the first time face to face.

So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

(Hebrews 9:28)

15 Fellowship Ideas

By Janelle Pollard

Not that I don’t love a good home-cooked meal with people I love, but sometimes it’s nice to mix things up. Many congregations have a regularly scheduled fellowship meal, but sometimes it’s beneficial to plan other types of activities. Spending time together as a church family has many benefits. We will be able to learn more about each other and lead to closer and deeper friendships, one of the many benefits for which the church was designed. If your congregation has become stagnant in one way or another, these activities and more like them will undoubtedly benefit everyone. 

Finding and being a part of these types of fellowship is good (and needed) for us as Christians. This also sets an example for the children in the congregation of how active and involved we should all be. If you have children, show them that being at every activity is a priority and they will be able to see what matters most in life by the standard placed in front of them 

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  -Proverbs 22:6

Here are some activities and ideas to try:

  1. Make of list of shut-ins and take baked goods to them. (If there are many on the list, assign groups, and divide and conquer!)
  2. Take the youth group to the nursing home (if they’re allowing visitors at this time) and sing church songs to them.
  3. Have a monthly craft night for women. (Bonus: take the crafts to the shut-ins as a gift!)
  4. Family picnic at the park
  5. Church league softball (if this is an option in your area)- the world needs to see Christians with good sportsmanship!
  6. Trunk of Treat (this one has become a fall staple at many congregations)
  7. Christmas ornament exchange (white elephant style?)
  8. Secret sister program
  9. Sporting event (ex. minor league baseball game)
  10. Family camping & canoe weekeng trip (or ski trip)
  11. Monthly or weekly family spotlight
    -Have a bulletin board for this- display photos of each family member with a few fun facts about each
    -Another option- mystery spotlight- don’t display the name & photo and have members guess who the person of the week is
  12. Widow’s Dinner (have the youth plan a dinner for the widows of the congregation and have them serve their dinner- this will likely mean a lot to them!)
  13. Community Heroes Cookout
    -Invite local police officers, firefighters, etc. to a church cookout as a thank you for their service.
    -Advertise on social media and with banners, etc.
    -This is a great way to get contacts for Bible studies and get the church’s name out there in the community.
  14. Work day
    -Help the one who cleans the building by going the extra mile to clean the building
    -Plant flowers/update landscaping
    -Update bulletin boards
    -Clean out classrooms
  15. Monthly singing and game night

-Ask for volunteers for members to open their home for this (different home each month).

-Guests can bring finger foods so the host doesn’t have to provide the meal. 

-Game examples: card games, board games, yard games (corn hole, volleyball, horseshoes, etc.)

-Ask boys in the youth group to lead singing, which will give them experience of serving if they’re nervous in front of the whole congregation!

The Harmful Effects of Pessimism

By Janelle Pollard

My husband Dale spoke at Polishing the Pulpit recently on the topic of pessimism and its effects on the church. As he ran through some of his points out loud, it got me thinking about how much can be paralleled with this topic and the design of the human body (I guess, as a nurse, I can’t help but make that connection). 

For example, if the kidneys start actin’ up, if you will, the other organs will be affected. And if this isn’t addressed correctly and in a timely manner, it can wreak havoc on the rest of the body. The other organs will overcompensate to try and keep the body healthy, but they will eventually become damaged and not able to perform at their optimum levels. The body is an incredible machine designed by a perfect Creator but we live in a fallen world and sometimes we do things, even subconsciously, that can harm our own health. Likewise, the church was designed perfectly but sometimes we can also do harm to this body. When we as Christians display pessimism, either subconsciously or knowingly, we can cause major harm to the Lord’s body. Attitudes tend to be contagious. If someone voices several complaints and negative remarks, it can discourage others and lead to more negative attitudes. The church will not grow and thrive if pessimism is commonplace. 

As we age, we must take care to treat our physical bodies with special consideration so that our health doesn’t deteriorate prematurely and we can enjoy a long life with those we love and in service to the Lord. In the same way, we must take care to treat the Lord’s body with special consideration, showing gratitude and love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. The church may not be perfect, but we can do things to help it grow and become stronger. 

Here are some practical ways we can each take it upon ourselves to combat pessimism in our own congregations:

  1. If we hear someone complaining about someone or something in the church…instead of going along with the complaints and contributing to negativity, make it a point to verbalize something positive that you’re thankful for related to the topic. 
  2. Do a character study of Barnabas. He was known as a great encourager and we could probably all learn a thing or two from him. 
  3. If you happen to know a Negative Nelly in your congregation, make it a point to compliment them. This is not meant to be manipulative or dishonest, obviously. Find something you admire about them, anything really, and let them know. It could work wonders on this person, who may not often hear personal compliments. Take time to get to know them and I bet you’ll find there’s more positivity to be found by them, it just needed to be uncovered by someone who took the time.

Let’s all do our part to show positivity instead of pessimism so the church can grow and God can be glorified!

A Place or A People?

By Janelle Pollard

“I’m going to church today.”

“Would you like to visit my church?”

“VBS meeting tonight at church!”

These are a few examples of the kinds of things many Christians (myself included) often say or have said when referring to the place that we worship. Well-meaning, and probably due to habit or for the sake of convenience, we can often be heard descibing “church” as the building in which we meet each week to fellowship with other Christians and worship God. But what is the accurate description of the church, according to the Bible?

The topic of “church” is mentioned throughout the New Testament. In Ephesians 5:25-26, the apostle Paul, inspired by God, writes, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,”

So does this mean the church is a place or a people? If we were to replace the word “church” with “building” or “place of meeting,” would it make sense? Let’s find out..

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the building and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.”

It wouldn’t make sense. So, why does this matter anyway? It matters because Jesus died on the cross and paid for the church with his own blood (Ephesians 5:25, “ Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her…” When we obey the gospel, we are added to the church, not by our own doing, but by God’s, which we read about in Acts 2 where Peter was preaching at Pentecost:.

41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

When we become a Christian through faith and obedience, we are added by God to the one and only church.

Romans 12:5, “so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”

Choosing to be a part of this family, the church, is the best decision you could make, and one that you will never regret. If you aren’t sure yet about this decision, but would like more information about the church, please reach out and we would love to answer any questions you might have!

Let’s Go for a Walk

By Chelsea Pollard

My husband and I have been trying to take advantage of the warm days by going for walks. We’ve enjoyed the breeze and the beautiful scenery around us!

There are several places in the New Testament where writers use walk/walking as a metaphor. It paints a clear picture of what our Christian lives should be like, which I find very helpful as a visual learner. We are told to walk in the light and to walk in love. Paul even describes life as a race (2 Timothy 4:7).

In the book of John, we see that Jesus is the Light: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it … The true light which gives light to everyone was coming into the world” (John 1:4-9).

Jesus was there in the beginning, He created everything, and He is the light. Jesus lowered Himself to become human. He came to earth so He could give all humanity for the rest of time the choice to walk with Him.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’” (John 8:12).

In 1 John 1:5-7, we see that God is light and there is no darkness in Him. We have to walk in the light as He is in the light if we’re going to be saved. If we choose to walk with Him, it’s a lifestyle change. It is a continuous walk. If you are trying to walk in the light, God’s got you covered. I love the walk metaphor because it reminds me that some days I just have to take it a step at a time. It can get really hard and you might not want to walk anymore, but God is with you every step of the way. Our Creator loves us and He wants us to succeed.

Ephesians 5:2 shows us that we need to walk in love, just like Jesus loves us and gave himself for us. This means we need to live a life filled with love. After all, we’re meant to be like Jesus. We need to reflect Him in our lives so we can bring other people to know Him. God is love, so that’s what we need to be.

In Romans 6, Paul tells us that once we’ve been immersed, we’ve died to sin. We have grace, but we need to be actively walking in the light to have that grace. Verse four says, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” All throughout Romans is an interesting contrast between life and death. We see death/sin on one side, and life with God on the other. Verse 11 says, “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

We have the chance to live a new life! So, let’s go for a walk.

The Pitcher Plant

By Janelle Pollard

My mother-in-law and my mom both have the greenest of thumbs. It seems they can look at any plant and tell me what it is, when and how it grows best, and its favorite places to shop. I, on the other hand, do not have this talent. However, I have always found nature documentaries fascinating.

While all plants are truly incredible in their own way, one plant that is especially interesting is the Pitcher plant. This sly specimen has a way of attracting insects to its sugary sweet upper rim. The insect, while enjoying this tasty treat, has just unknowingly become a victim of a cleverly designed trap that will lead to its own demise. Once the insect has landed on the upper rim, it will become stuck, unable to fly away. Eventually, it will fall deeper into the “pitcher” area of the plant and will ultimately drown in the plant’s digestive fluids.

While the circle of life can seem sad at times, it also offers us an important lesson, if we are willing to listen and learn from it. Just like the insect, we as humans can be enticed by certain things in life. Some of these things may be sinful and some may not be. However, if we let them take over our lives, they can lead to sin and death.

I don’t know how much forethought the average insect has, but I doubt that before flying onto the upper rim of a pitcher plant, it knew it would be its final flight. But once it landed, the sticky sweetness had taken hold and it was too late to for the insect to change its mind. Sometimes, we think we are in control and if we do something we shouldn’t “just once,” it won’t become a problem.

It doesn’t seem like someone stuggling with alcoholism or drug addiction made their first choice to partake while also thinking, “if I play my cards right, soon I’ll be a full-blown addict!” I don’t think anyone who develops a sin problem, whatever sin it may be, started out by thinking that one day it would become what it has. That’s the trap of sin.

Something may seem harmless at first, but once we start, our brain has developed new pathways and soon, we will be enticed more and more. We would all be wise to learn from the trap of the pitcher plant. If there is something we aren’t sure, or even know we shouldn’t do, we should be more wise and insightful that the victims of the pitcher plant and fly far far away!

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
(James 1:14-15)

pitcher plant about to trap an insect
Image credit: the NY Times

The God of Peace

By Janelle Pollard

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that we are living in a sliiightly stressful world these days. This may or may not be a good thing, but I hardly ever watch the news. In fact, if it weren’t for some of our friends at church, I would not have known about the last two tornados that were in the area recently or the snow storms that we have experienced over the past couple of months. But now that I know I can count on them for the weather, I really see no need to start! Next, I’ll slowly delete my social media accounts (where the news still seems to be loud and clear) and then happily retreat into my own little hermit world where the sad, scary, and anxiety-provoking headlines can’t find me. Now, I realize this isn’t really the answer, but sometimes it sounds like a good idea. Did you know that, according to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, over 50 million Americans report dealing with anxiety? I don’t know how accurate that number is, but I do know that 50 million is a really big number.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines anxiety as “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” If I had to describe that in my own non-dictionary words, I would simply say “a lack of peace.” For many, peace can seem so elusive sometimes. Now, I understand that some people suffer from clinical anxiety due to chemical imbalances and things outside of their control. This is not an attempt to cause guilt or shame to those people. However, some of us create these feelings of unease in our own lives when we simply don’t have to.

In Philippians 4, we read about the God of peace:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

The Cliff Notes of this text:

1. We are given the following command: ”Do not be anxious about anything.”

God doesn’t just leave us hanging, but is offering us help. Christians have the incredible blessing of belonging to a God at whose feet we can lay our greatest (and smallest) problems. And not as a burden to Him, but by His own command because that’s how much He loves us.

2. If you have known the peace of God, then you know that it truly does surpass all understanding. The verse says, that if we will let our requests be made known to Him, “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” What a priceless blessing!

3. We are given practical instructions on how to avoid unnecessary anxiety. Here are the things we should think about:


  1. True
  2. Honorable
  3. Just
  4. Pure
  5. Lovely
  6. Commendable
  7. Excellent
  8. Worthy of praise

Eight things we are given in this verse to fill our minds with. We should elevate our thoughts to a higher, holier mindset by constantly focusing on these types of things. The “Elevated Eight,” we shall call them. If we watch movies and shows filled with bad language, violence, and obscenities, or listen to music and podcasts centered around worldly topics, we can’t expect to have thoughts based on the “Elevated Eight.”

4. At the end of this verse, Paul and Timothy give us one last piece of advice: “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” We must take action and put these things into practice. They have given us great examples in their own lives and we would be wise to learn from them. If we just twiddle our thumbs and cross our fingers, while hoping to find peace, we will be greatly disappointed. We are not told that the God of peace will be with us by sitting idly by. However, we are promised that if we practice these things, then He will. And we may not be perfect at it at first, but as we’ve surely learned throughout life so far, practice makes perfect!

Managing Stress And Anxiety

By Kathy Pollard

I wish I could title this post, “Getting Rid of Stress And Anxiety,” but I don’t think that’s very realistic.  With the exception of perhaps childhood, each new phase in life presents its own unique set of challenges.  Maybe you find yourself in one of the following situations:

  • New marriage, new baby, new home, new work.  While these are exciting and wonderful, they also call for stamina and courage and wisdom.
  • Long-term care of an aging parent.  In addition to the physical exhaustion is the emotional turmoil of seeing your loved one suffer.
  • School/ work load.  I know some students right now who are being stretched in more ways than they ever expected.  Perhaps you’re in the midst of a project or job requirement that’s been going on for so long you can’t remember your last decent night of sleep.
  • Poor health.  After months or years of battling whatever is attacking your body, you wonder if you’ll ever simply feel good.
  • Financial worries.  Finding a job, paying your bills, wondering about retirement, health care…whether you’ve accumulated a mound of debt or you just long for financial security, money can be a very real and daily stressor.
  • Rocky relationships.  Perhaps your marriage is just barely hanging on.  Or you’re worried about your grown-up children or a spiritually wayward relative.  The people we love most can be a source of great anxiety.

Sometimes stress is temporary and we know it.  We can see the light at the end of the tunnel and we’re just trying to get through it.  Sometimes stress is ever-present and overwhelming, and we find ourselves trying to survive one day at a time.  Whichever we find ourselves facing, there are a few simple, proactive ways to manage stress and anxiety.

1.  PRAY

Prayer is probably the first reaction when something causes stress, and I don’t think God resents that.  We find many passages reminding us to turn to God in our distress.  We’re told to cast ALL of our cares on Him (1 Pet. 5:7).  Prayer brings peace in the midst of anxiety (Phil. 4:6,7).  When stress is long-term, our prayers can fade or turn sporadic.  A renewed desire for God’s listening ear can go far in calming anxieties.


I’m not encouraging “getting your Zen on, man,” but rather committing to quality time in Bible study.  I like the quote I ran across the other day– “Meditation is not an emptying of one’s mind, like some religions teach, but a filling of our minds with the truths of God’s Word” (Jen Thorn).  The Scriptures are powerful (Heb. 4:12) and strength-giving (Eph. 6:10-17).  Neglecting this crucial practice only exacerbates stress and anxiety.


It’s common knowledge that long-term stress takes a toll on our health.  Is there an area of your physical well-being that’s taking a harder hit?  See if you could make some small changes for overall well-being:

  • Exercise.  It strengthens the heart, clears mind clutter, and boosts stamina and self-esteem.  Take a walk in the morning and try yoga at night.  No one ever regrets making time to get the blood flowing.
  • Water.  The benefits are endless.  How easy it is to replace empty calorie drinks with water.  Add lemon for even more vibrancy.
  • Sleep.  Who hasn’t been robbed of some zzz’s?  Sleep is essential for mental clarity and emotional stability.  Young moms, get over your guilt and take a nap in the middle of the day when the opportunity presents itself.
  • Cleaner eating.  Bad food equals yucky mood.  Studies are now linking a healthy gut to an overall sense of well-being.  The last thing we need when anxiety is churning in our gut is to add processed foods or sugar to the mix.  Seriously, while it may not be fun to talk about, better eating choices are important when it comes to dealing with stress and anxiety.


We are attached to our devices, aren’t we?  They’re everywhere and in every room.  Unplugging for a while each day will allow us to focus on those around us, re-appreciate moments of quietness, and even remove some additional anxiety (unpleasant posts on social media, disturbing news, etc.).  It’s good to give our eyes a break from any kind of screen.  Unplug and listen for natural sounds instead like the wind blowing, leaves rustling, birds chirping.


Speaking of devices…we can remove some from our sleeping space for a more peaceful and relaxing environment.  Clearing counter tops of paper stacks and junk also helps clear our minds.  Taking the time and trouble to make the bed and straighten up makes it easier to drift off to sleep later.  Messy rooms add to a feeling of anxiety.


Yes, we could probably use that half hour to cross an item off the to-do list, but sometimes the wiser choice would be to intentionally unwind.  Don’t think of a soak in the tub as a luxury but as a way of promoting peace and health.  Discover the calming benefits of chamomile tea.  You might have to develop a taste for it, but consider it an all-natural anti-anxiety medicine.  Light a candle, rub your feet with lotion, and take deep breaths.  Even a few minutes of slowing down makes a big difference in a trying day.


Laughing relieves stress, lifts the mood, and burns calories!  Have you laughed today?

8.  LOVE

Looking for tangible ways to show our love for others will ultimately lead to our own happiness.  Giving feels good.  It allows us to step outside of our cares and focus on bringing joy to others.  In the midst of your crazy schedule, do something even crazier like adding in a visit to a shut-in or making a homemade, unexpected surprise for someone.

Hopefully these ideas for managing stress haven’t added even more stress.  You might be thinking, Who has time for any of THAT?!  Some of the tips can be combined, like sipping tea while studying the Bible.  Or praying while going for a walk.  It’s probably unrealistic to try to hit all 8 tips every single day, but we can be more intentional in handling our anxieties.  It will be good for us and for those around us.  God has given us many ways to combat stress.  We could even add singing, looking for beauty, and counting our blessings.  What tips do you have?

“In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul” (Psalm 94:19).


Wait for the Lord–a Bible-marking topic

By Kathy Pollard

Waiting is hard.  When you’re diligently praying for something and hoping for a quick answer, a delay can be a difficult and trying time.

-Waiting for test results

-Waiting for a Christian mate

-Waiting for a job change

-Waiting for wrongs to be made right

-Waiting for clarification/ answers/ knowing what to do

-Waiting for a heavy burden to be lifted

The advice given is usually something like:  Be patient.  Don’t run ahead of God.  You can trust Him.  He knows what’s best.  But when it’s been a long wait, you just sigh and say, “I know.”  And tap your foot.

This Bible-marking topic is for those times when you’re tired of waiting, and perhaps beginning to wonder if God even hears your prayers.  Be encouraged, friend.  God anticipated those moments and He has words for your heart.  

As you soak in the following Scriptures, keep in mind what the word “wait” means.  It does mean to be patient.  But it also includes an anticipation, a looking forward to something arriving or occurring.  It means to wait in place with expectation.  So the advice you’ve been given is biblical.  Don’t run ahead of God.  But also, don’t give up hope while you’re waiting.  In the front of your Bible, write:

Wait for the Lord- Psa. 25

None of those who wait for You will be ashamed

Read through the entire psalm.  Circle all three occurrences of “wait for You/ wait” (v. 3,5,21).  Notice what David is asking for while he waits (v. 4-7) and what he is doing while he waits (v. 15).  Now go through and underline the qualities of God.  At the end of the psalm, write 27:14.

Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.

This is another beautiful psalm written by David.  It shows his utter dependence upon God and his refusal to give up (v. 13).  Circle both occurrences of “wait for the Lord.”  Underline “be strong” and “take courage.”  Strengthen your soul with prayer, Bible study, and Christian fellowship.  God doesn’t want you to be discouraged.  He wants your heart to be filled with courage.  In the margin, write “(see also 31:24).” At the end of the verse, write 33:13-22.

Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.  For our heart rejoices in Him, because we trust in His holy name.

Circle “waits for the Lord” (v.20).  Draw a square around “hope” (v. 18, 22).  “Hope” in these verses means “to wait, to hope for.”  In the margin next to “hope,” write “to wait.” Underline the phrases that show God still sees and cares:  “the Lord looks” (v. 13), “He sees” (v. 13), “He looks” (v. 14), “He who understands” (v. 15), and “the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him” (v. 18).  Squiggly underline “our heart rejoices…because we trust” (v. 21).  At the end of the psalm, write 40:1-3.

I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.

Circle “waited patiently for the Lord” (v. 1).  Underline what God did for David (“He inclined,” “heard my cry,” “brought me up,” etc.).  Squiggly underline “many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord.”  In the margin next to that, write “Others are watching.”  When we wait patiently for the Lord, we are living out our faith and teaching others to trust in God!  At the end of the verse three, write 62:5-8.

My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him.

Circle “wait in silence for God.”  Why do we wait for God only?  Draw squares around what He is:  “my hope” (v. 5), “my rock,” “my salvation,” “my stronghold” (v. 6), “my salvation,” “my glory,” “my strength,” “my refuge” (v 7).  Underline all of verse eight.  At the end of the verse, write 130:5.

I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in His Word do I hope.

Circle “wait for the Lord” and “wait.”  Underline “in His Word do I hope.”  What better way to spend waiting time than in drawing hope from the Word?  At the end of the verse, write Prov. 20:22.

Do not say, “I will repay evil;” wait for the Lord, and He will save you.

Circle “wait for the Lord.”  Underline “He will save you.”  Remember, He sees everything and knows all the details.  Don’t take matters into your own hands.  Wait for God to make it all right in the end.  At the end of the verse, write Isa. 40:31.

Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.

Circle “wait for the Lord.”  Underline all the beautiful promises for those who wait:  “gain new strength,” “mount up with wings,” “run and not get tired,” and “walk and not become weary.”  At the end of the verse, write Lam. 3:25.

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.

Circle “wait for Him.”  Underline “the Lord is good.”  Notice what God wants us to do while we are waiting for Him.  At the end of the verse, write Micah 7:7.

But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation.  My God will hear me.

Circle “wait for the God.”  Underline “my God will hear me.”  Blessed assurance! At the end of the verse, write Isa. 30:18.

Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.  For the Lord is a God of justice; how blessed are all those who long for Him.

I know we’re backtracking but I wanted to end on this wonderful thought:  God waits for you, too!  Circle “He waits.”  Draw a square around “longs” and “long” and in the margin next to it write, “literally means ‘waits’.”  God waits for His people to trust in Him so He can bless them.  Remember His grace and compassion.  Remember His desire to take care of you.  

While you’re praying, “Please, God,” keep acting in ways that please God.  May the Lord bless you as you wait for Him. 


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