How About A Little Peace?

“Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.” – C.S. Lewis.

“Peace on earth” is a phrase you will hear over and over during the Christmas season. For many people, peace is hard to find at Christmas or anytime  Sometimes we struggle to find peace with ourselves. We regret past mistakes, struggle with our present weaknesses, and worry about the future.  We struggle with the uncertainty of tomorrow and the turmoil going on in the world around us. World news brings few positive reports if any. We wonder if “peace on earth” is even a possibility.

Think about how much has changed from 1903 (Wright Brothers 120-foot flight) to 2021 (rover vehicle running on Mars). The world has seen an unbelievable amount of progress over every time horizon in those 118 years. Most people think things are so much better today. We are progressing, but even with the best of intentions, our human effort to be good and make this world a better place often falls short.

If you are looking for a solution for peace, then turn to Jesus Christ. God revealed himself to people through the person of Jesus. Jesus came to earth in a peaceful way as a baby in a humble circumstance of a manger and proceeded to live a humble life. Jesus came to restore our broken relationship with God so that we could first experience wholeness and peace with ourselves, and then extend it to others around us.

 “Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled,” is a line in Hark the Herald Angel Sing that gives a picture of Jesus as God’s gift of peace to us. Jesus demonstrated the kind of peace we all long for. He always treated people with respect, wisdom, and love. He brought peace to those around Him, and He ultimately wants to bring peace between you and God. If you want tranquility that is unending, you need to build a relationship with Jesus Christ. We, too, can enjoy the oneness that He and the Father experienced. When the Lord says, “My peace I give to you,” He is not referring to a loan. His peace is a free gift, available to every one of His children.

If we focus our attention on the Son of God, then He will give us perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). That does not mean we are immune to sudden shocks or occasional times when we are thrown off balance by circumstances. But the power of the Lord’s prevailing peace is adequate to carry us through anything He allows us to experience.

Peace is a gift that we can receive and give to others. Creating inner peace means that we don’t allow the outside world to define the state of our inner being. We take time to breathe, regain our composure, and think clearly. We take a moment to pause and pace ourselves in a healthy way, not letting the pressure of others and the holiday dictate our lives.

Discussion Questions:

  1. When you think of peace, what picture comes to mind? Where are you? What are you doing? What’s going on around you?
  2. What are some things we need to do in order to experience the “biblical” version of peace? How can the group encourage you when your life gets hard?

Helping The Hurting

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” – 2 Corinthians  1:3-4.   

Barbara Streisand sang a popular song in the 1960s called “People.” A line in that song said that “people who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” And isn’t it true? People need people. And we need one another even more in times of difficulty. So what do we do when people we know are hurting?

Christians will experience God’s comfort many times and in many ways, whether it is His mercy, grace, healing, and help. But God does not comfort us to make our lives better, He comforts us so we can comfort others who are hurting. We might have a tendency to try to hide our struggles from those around us. Yet, when we are vulnerable with others about our suffering, we find deep joy in Christian community. Our painful experiences can also open doors for us to come alongside others who are suffering.

Every follower of Jesus can have a ministry of encouragement because every believer has experienced pain or difficulties of one kind or another and has been comforted by God. The comfort that we received from God may just be the comfort that people who are hurting need.

Ask yourself several questions: first, are you approachable?  If people feel safe disclosing their problems to us, most likely we are approachable. Secondly, are you available? Don’t be afraid to approach a person in pain. Chances are, they want someone to listen. Inside, they may be like the Psalmist who cried, “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.” (Psalm 25:16). It doesn’t really matter what we say to comfort people during a time of suffering, it’s our concern and availability that really counts. We just need to be available, as Christ is available to us. When He was comforting His disciples before He left them, they were confused, questioning, and frightened. He said, “So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.” (John 16: 22).

Third, do we pray for those who are hurting? A simple prayer, a Scripture that has meant something to you can be a comfort to a hurting person. Rather than giving personal advice, how much better would it be for Christians to share God’s loving promises? It is a comfort to hear the words of God in times of stress.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are the ways we can show more mercy, love, and kindness to those who are hurting? Is there something we can stop doing? Do more of? Improve?
  2. In what practical ways can we better reflect God’s mercy this week?

Fix Your Eye On The Goal

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.– Hebrews 12:1-2.

There is no way to quantify this fact, but the Hebrews 12 passage of scripture may be preached on more than all others (although there are hundreds of candidates). One reason is the comparison between the Christian journey and a race. The other is because it applies to every believer.  Every believer could testify that there are things in our life that distract, hinders, or tangles us from heeding the call of God.  

But this passage will also help us refocus our attention on Christ. Taking our eyes off Jesus is one of the easiest things we do while keeping our eyes on Jesus is rarely an easy thing. Culture and the enemy are constantly conspiring against our efforts to remain faithful to the Savior. We can allow the cares of this world to push us away from the Lord instead of looking to Him in the midst of our trials and circumstances of life. This was the danger faced by the original audience of Hebrews. Their trials and circumstances were seen as reasons to abandon the race.  

That is why the author of Hebrews reminds us to look to Jesus. As we remember our Savior and His endurance for the sake of the prize, we will be enabled to press on and finish the race. Looking to Jesus, however, does not mean we do nothing ourselves. The remainder of the book of Hebrews focuses on those things that can be done to prepare us for the race ahead. As we follow the commands given by the author, the Holy Spirit will work through us and cause us to cling to Jesus.

When you are running a long distance, it is easy to get discouraged and frustrated that you are nowhere near the finish line. Often you cannot even see the finish line from where you are. But as a runner, you need to keep your eyes on the road ahead. When you start to get discouraged and look elsewhere, you slow down, you begin to doubt you can finish, and you begin to struggle.

But when you keep looking forward to the finish, you remain focused. So whenever you get discouraged or frustrated—feeling like you want to quit—fix your eyes on Jesus. Keep your eyes on Him, and He will keep you right on track to where you need to go.

Discussion Questions:

  1. In what area of your life are you successful at looking forward and being faithful? What are some practical ways you can apply your approach to an area of life in which you’re tempted to look backward and be fearful? 
  2. What is one thing you can do to fix your eyes on Jesus instead of safety, security, and comfort? How can this group support you?


A Little Encouragement Goes A Long Way

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

Have you ever had someone tell you something and it changed your whole day? Or maybe, someone told you something that changed the course of your life. Perhaps, it was just some encouraging words on a hard day or maybe someone shared their story or life experience. Words can be powerful tools to change our outlook on life for both better and worse.

The New Testament reveals that encouragement was a regular part of the early church’s life together, One example is Acts 16:40: “When Paul and Silas left the prison, they returned to the home of Lydia. There they met with the believers and encouraged them once more. Then they left town.”

The gift of encouragement is important in our lives. We can come alongside others and be there for one another. We can listen, comfort, console, and affirm. It’s a way of living out the command to extend grace and love to one another.

If you took a few minutes to think about it, each one of us could come up with any number of people who have encouraged us. Like the friend who made you laugh when you thought you may never laugh again. Or the aunt who listened to you while others just talked. Or the small group member who prayed with and for you when you were having doubts. Then ask yourself: “When was the last time I encouraged someone?” It’s not difficult, and the people you encourage are so blessed by it.

Ask God to give you a heart that loves others and the creativity to know how to show it. Ask God for the opportunities and desire to build others up. Ask God to be more like Barnabas. Barnabas was nicknamed the “son of encouragement” by the early church.”For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus.” (Acts 4:36). It is a fitting name, as we see him actively encouraging a young follower of Christ, a young church, and a young failure. His encouragement gives us an example to follow in encouraging one another in our own relationships.

Make encouragement a daily discipline. For some of us, encouragement comes naturally, for others, not so much. Find the time daily to send someone an encouraging note, email, text, or phone call. It just may be the encouragement they need. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you ever felt prompted to encourage someone? How did it turn out?  
  2. How is encouraging someone one of the most spiritual things you can do? Who do you want to encourage? How could you spiritually encourage them?

You Can’t Do Life Alone

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” –  Hebrews 10:24-25. 

Do you remember the movie Cast Away? Tom Hanks plays a Fed Ex executive en route to an assignment in Malaysia when his plane crashes over the Pacific Ocean during a storm. The sole survivor of the flight, Chuck, washes ashore on a deserted island. When his efforts to sail away and contact help failed, Chuck learns how to survive on the island, where he remains for years, accompanied by only his handmade volleyball friend, Wilson. He counts the days necessary to catch the northeast trade winds that he hopes will take him into the shipping lanes and rescue. Chuck isn’t certain where he is headed, but figures that he would rather die at sea than spend the rest of his life alone on the island.

No matter how tough you are, no matter how independent or self-reliant you are, and no matter how much you pride yourself in the belief that you don’t need anyone, it just is not true.

You and I cannot do life alone. Even in the perfect Garden of Eden, God said to Adam, “it is not good that the man should be alone.” We were created to be in community. We were designed to need and want other people. Life is meant to be shared and experienced with others. There is strength in numbers.

One of the most important things for a Christian is their desire to belong. They don’t just want to be another face in the crowd, people want to be known and cared for. When a group of Christians get together, it creates an opportunity to listen and talk to each other.

Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12 says, “two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” We need each other.

Going to church is obviously essential and even commanded, but you worship in a crowd and fellowship in a small group. That smaller group is what you need. We need to trust, rely on, and depend upon other believers. God gave us each other to walk alongside, encourage, and spur one another one in the faith.

James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” We are to carry each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), care for each other’s practical needs (Romans 12:13), and rejoice and mourn with each other (Romans 12:15).

I wish I could talk to each of you about small groups and community. Unfortunately I can’t. But, I encourage you to join a group if you are not already part of one.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. Do you participate in a small group? If not, why not?
  2. What do you see as the benefits of being in community?
  3. Join a group this spring.

I Have Found The One Whom My Soul Loves…

“As an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the young men. With great delight I sat in his shadow, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.” – Song of Solomon 2:3.

Believers not familiar with the Song of Solomon will probably be taken back when they start reading the 117 verses in the 8 chapters. The questions of why The Song of Solomon is in the Bible and why we should study it are one in the same. When we come to study The Song of Solomon we see a very different presentation than we are used to in our studies of Scripture. The Song of Solomon is regarded as probably one of the most obscure and difficult books in the Bible. It can seem risqué, but when considered for its message, it is in harmony with the truths and teachings found elsewhere in Scripture. Most new Christians probably do a double take when they come in contact with it, yet when read carefully and reflect on the verses, you will discover the keen insights, and how deeply it probes into human relationships. Which is why we are spending the next six weeks on the Song of Solomon.

Here’s the thing. God thinks love, romance and sex is important, and Scripture contains numerous guidelines for its use and warnings about its misuse. Perhaps the highlight of this is the Song of Solomon, an intimate story of a man and a woman, their love, courtship, and marriage. It is a moving story, drama, and poem, featuring the love dialogue between a simple Jewish maiden (the young woman) and (Solomon, the king). They describe in intimate detail their feelings for each other and their longings to be together. Throughout the dialogue, love, romance, sex and marriage are framed with a God-given perspective.

As we study the Song of Solomon over the next several weeks, remember that you are loved by God, and commit yourself to seeing life, sex, and marriage from His point of view.

God wants us to enjoy our relationships. Life in Christ is not boring, without pleasure, without intimacy, but quite the opposite. There is much we can learn about intimacy. There is no better place to learn about God, love, and sex than in the Song of Solomon.

From courtship to marriage to the assurance of love, Song of Solomon poetically presents a broad range of events and feelings in the days leading up to and during marriage, offering encouragement toward an enduring love amid the petty jealousies and fears sure to threaten even the strongest of relationships. We should heed Solomon’s words by continuing to appreciate the goodness and the beauty that comes from the union of two people in marriage.

Song of Solomon reminds us that both marriage and the physical union that follows originate in God; we should therefore consider each of them as evidence of His grace working itself out in the world.

Whether you’re married, single, or struggling in a relationship, we all have questions about God, love, intimacy and sex. I believe we have real life answers for real life relationships in the Unforgettable Love Story: A Study of Love, Marriage and Romance series.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you studied the Song of Solomon before?
  2. Are you happy with your relationships? Yes or no?
  3. Do you need to work to change your outlook toward intimacy? Should you value it more highly? If married, do you enjoy it to the fullest?
  4. Pray and ask God to speak to you during this series on marriage, relationships and intimacy.

What We Have In Common, Is What Sets Us Apart

“He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” – Ephesians 4:16 (NLT)

As Christians we are better at doing church than doing life together. And that is unfortunate because Christians always live better lives when we are connected to other believers. Simply put, we are better together than by ourselves. 1 Peter 3:8 tells us God’s intention for us: “Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.” That verse sums up why we feel so strongly about small groups at Northstar.

On Sunday we meet as a large group to worship and to hear God’s Word. As great as that is – you need something smaller – where you can really get to know others and let others into your world. Yesterday I outlined the advantages of corporate worship and small groups. In this devotional, I would like to give you two more good reasons why you should join one of our Northstar groups:

First, let’s talk about isolation. A couple of weeks ago we discussed the movie Frozen and Queen Elsa’s kingdom of isolation. It is all too easy to become isolated. That is not what God wants because isolation is unhealthy for us. God’s called us to “community.” God created humans to be interactive not isolated. Christians are called to engage others and to add to the lives of others. That’s why small groups in a church are so important. It’s the best laboratory for growing as a believer. In a small group we learn to care about others and share life experiences. We grow together and separately.

And second, a small group gives us opportunities to practice God’s love. As Roy said, there are 100 “one another” commands in 94 verses.  Among many commands we are told to “love each other”, “pray for each other”, “encourage each other”, “serve each other”, “teach each other”, “accept each other”, “bear each other’s burdens”, and be “devoted to each other”. That is hard to do in a corporate worship service. But it is easy to do in a small group. It’s where you can find opportunities to “flesh out” the Bible’s command to practice God’s love for others.

It is my heartfelt prayer that each of you will be courageous and join one of our church’s small groups this semester. I am convinced that once you do, you will discover how much more rewarding the Christian life is when you do it with other believers.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are your thoughts on the value/importance of small groups?
  2. Have you ever felt isolated, even in a large church?
  3. What are the obstacles to joining a small group?
  4. Find a small group that you find appealing and join today.

Only True Love Will Thaw a Frozen Heart

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”Isaiah 41:10

You can’t escape Disney’s phenomenon “Frozen.” It is the highest-grossing animated film of all time and one of Disney’s top franchises. It was the most downloaded movie from Apple last year, and kids everywhere are still singing the movie’s anthem, “Let It Go.” There are very few people in the country last year that did not have that song stuck in their own head, even if you have never seen the film. We were simply obsessed with Frozen. 

There are so many aspects of this movie that was endearing to all audiences. The fun-loving, persistent, optimistic and full of life nature of Anna. The fun and truthfulness of Olaf. The friendship of Sven. The bravery of Kristof. And then there is Elsa, the Queen. Elsa, who freezes Anna’s heart that only an act of true love can thaw.   

We may not be all that different. We are born with a hardened heart or frozen heart towards God and some of us in life also develop a frozen heart towards others.  Ephesians 4:18 says, “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.”  Our heart can grow cold for many reasons. It may be hurts, habits and hang-ups. Or failed relationships. Or maybe our heart is cold against one person in particular. Or past hurt, abuse, betrayal. Maybe it is fear or lack of trust.

Regardless of the reason we are fully capable of shutting God and others out, letting fear and mistrust take root, building walls and looking for ways to either run or isolate ourselves. We are all capable of finding ourselves in Elsa’s shoes. isolating ourselves. We are all capable of a frozen heart that needs thawing.

You see the sacrificial love of Anna for her sister Elsa. The sacrifice that led to her death, is what melted Elsa’s frozen heart. That same (and greater) sacrifice is found in the life and sacrificial death of Jesus, who died for us and his death and love can melt the most frozen, hardened heart. Jesus’ act of true love melts our hearts towards God and continues to melt our hearts when we are frozen towards others.

We should first examine our own hearts. God wants to do a work in each of us. He doesn’t want to leave you where you are—He loves you too much. He wants to increase your faith, your reliance upon Him, and your love for Him. Be willing to allow God to transform you. Give Him your heart.

Discussion Questions:

  1. If someone were to ask you “how are things with your heart?”—what’s your response? What words would serve as accurate descriptors of your heart’s inner condition at this time?
  2. In your past, what kinds of experiences have tended to be most wounding to your heart? In what ways have these things influenced your relationships and faith in God?
  3. Elsa ran from her fears. What are the potential dangers involved in allowing unresolved issues or conflicts to smolder in our hearts?
  4. Read Ezekiel 36:26. Do you find the promise in that verse encouraging? Why?
  5. What practical things can we do to protect our heart this week?

Under New Ownership

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”Isaiah 43:19

Looking for a fresh start, Benjamin Mees goes house hunting. Unfortunately, the only place he likes also happens to be part of Rosemoor Animal Park, a working but dilapidated zoo. He buys it hoping the zoo will bring his broken family closer. The zoo is under new management.

How often do you see a business put up a new sign that says, “under new management” or “new ownership”? There are various reasons for putting up a sign new management, but the inference is that the service will be better because the new management team is better. The new owners want you to know things are different so your experience will be different. The bottom line is that being under new management does not guarantee a better experience.

Unlike Benjamin Mees, however, it is rare to get a do-over, a reboot, a get out of jail free card and thus a chance to rewind and have a fresh start.  Often it seems that our original course and direction in life seems to be the long-term course and we are stuck under the old management. The beauty of the message of Jesus Christ, however, is that you can stick up a under new management sign on your heart and it will make a huge difference in your life. 

And when we are under God’s management, He wants to do new things in our lives.  He wants us to forget about our past failures and disappointments and look to the future with anticipation of what He is going to do. God desires to work in our lives as never before, but we must surrender to Him. There are great benefits to be derived from being where God wants you to be and doing what He wants you to do. 

God not only wants to do a new thing in our lives. He wants to clarify our focus so that we can discover what God wants for us. The question is do we see the possibilities or the problems in change? In Isaiah 43:19 God says, “I am making a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” God is able to transform the wilderness and desert areas of our lives.

God has already set into motion a new direction and a new purpose for your life — will you follow Him? When God says that He is going to do a new thing, you can be sure that He will follow through with His promise. God does have a plan for your life, but it’s not your job to sneak into his back office and try to find your file that lets you in on all the “secrets”. God’s not hiding something from you. We have the God-given abilities to think through options, assess the cost and dangers, pray for wisdom and direction … and then use 20 seconds of insane courage to prove that we are indeed under new management. 

 Discussion Questions:

  1. Are we more concerned about God’s mission and less concerned about our mission?
  2. If you had the ability, which part of your life would you like to put under new management?
  3. What’s one thing has God asked you to do that you are too scared to try?
  4. What can God do that I can’t concerning a new direction?
  5. Whom can I lean on to support my purpose? How can I reach out to support a friend’s new direction in life?

Will You Stand?

“A small change can make a big difference. You are the only one who can make our world a better place to inhabit. So, don’t be afraid to take a stand.” -Ankita Singhai

Many people seek to better their lives by leaving, changing, swapping, or modifying their commitments. But, God’s Word holds up a beautiful value that, while difficult, leads to deep satisfaction and great reward: endurance. It requires that we take a stand in our faith journey and remain firm to the end.

“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” – 1 Timothy 6:11

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” – Ephesians 6:13

Ask God to speak to you as you meditate on the above verses by answering these questions:
1. What are these verses telling us?
2. What application do these verses have on my life?
3. What commands are there in these verses?

In this week’s message, we talked about the stand that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego took when asked to bow down to idols. But for this blog, I would like to outline another biblical story of someone taking a stand. That person is Joseph of Arimathea. Joseph was the man who buried Jesus. John 19:38 tells us: “Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away.”  The facts were that he was a secret disciple of Jesus, but his fear of the Jews prevented him from taking a stand, even though he knew that he should have.

But now, Jesus is dead and His followers are hiding. Joseph gathered up his courage (Mark 15:43), and “went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body” so that he could give Him a proper burial. Joseph had nothing to gain and everything to lose by identifying himself with Jesus at this point in time. Jesus was dead and no one was expecting His resurrection. It would have been easier for Joseph to think this through and come to the conclusion that “Jesus was a good man and a prophet of God. It’s sad that this happened in such a grim manner, but life goes on. It will be better if I don’t cause waves or bring unnecessary attention on myself.” But in spite of the risks, Joseph came out of hiding and took a strong stand for Jesus by providing Him a proper burial. He gives us an example of taking a stand for Jesus in this hostile world.

No one knows why Joseph took this stand. Luke tells us that Joseph was “a good and righteous man, who was waiting for the kingdom of God” (23:50). Maybe the deciding factor was standing at the cross and watching Jesus die. Today on Good Friday, we celebrate the cross as the center of our faith. Paul summed up the core of the gospel, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). While we cannot stand and take in the events first hand, as Joseph and the others did that day, we should come often to the foot of the cross and think about its implications. If you go there often, you will not be the same. It will strengthen you to take a stand for Christ.

So take a stand. It my not be on a grand scale, but it doesn’t matter. Take a stand by your behavior, your attitude, and your quiet resolve not to compromise. Just “show up” in the sense of siding with Jesus, even if you aren’t clear about how to defend the faith. Show your commitment and love for the Savior, and He will use you as He used Joseph, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How do we know when to take a bold stand and when to be more diplomatic and polite?
  2. How can a people-pleaser learn to become a God-pleaser?
  3. God is bigger than anything we will ever face in our lives. What challenge or obstacle are you currently facing that you need God’s strength to help you endure through it? Does it involve taking a stand?
  4. In what ways do you experience God’s presence on a daily basis?
  5. Pray and ask God for the wisdom and the courage for when and how to take a stand for Him.