In our everchanging world, Christians’ struggle to defend their faith in Jesus Christ is growing at record speed. Sure, God is the most powerful and doesn’t need defending but one of our jobs as Christians is to believe and make our belief known. There are millions of unbelievers in the world that either look at us like aliens or go a step further and want to hurt us because of our beliefs. The closer our relationship is to God, the more we will be criticized, persecuted, and judged as Christians.
As a Mom and owner of a business, I don’t have a lot of free time, so I choose my free-time activities wisely. Last Saturday, I decided to enjoy some college football. Since I only watch two teams play, TCU and Alabama, I decided to watch the Ole Miss versus Alabama game, which is usually pretty entertaining. This game, however, became very one-sided with Alabama defeating Ole Miss 66 to 3. It was a little embarrassing for Ole Miss. As I watched the game unfold, I started to wonder how a team, like Crimson Tide, can be so powerful. With that direction, I researched Nick Saban, Alabama’s coach since 2007. He not only has taken Alabama to the BCS National Championship three times and won the College Football Playoffs in 2015 but he also coached LSU to win the BCS National Championship in 2003. He is the only coach in history to win a national championship game with two different FBS schools. He is known as the greatest college football coach of all time.
Have you ever found yourself in a heated discussion with someone where you were determined to prove a point? Maybe you didn’t want to stop talking until they submitted and agreed that you were right? Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence in many relationships when two people have different opinions about an issue. It can be as simple as deciding where to eat for dinner or as complex as what investment to make together. A married couple often disagree about discipline for their children or financial issues and the discussion can easily lead to arguments and strong tension. God didn’t design husbands and wives to be resentful of each other or to have conflict. Rather, he designed Eve for Adam to have support. He didn’t want man to be alone and he knew Adam would face trials and tribulations and he would need a support system to help him through those times. From the beginning, God had a plan for man and woman to be a team and nurture and support each other (Genesis 2:24). How do we stay on the same team when we have different opinions, desire for control, cultural distractions in our lives, and an enemy who wants us to fail?
We have a battle raging around us in our world today that seems to be sucking the faith out of Christians and pulling them away from God. I see it in the workplace, in crowds, in churches, and in schools. More and more people are becoming more involved in fleshly desires and worldly needs and ignoring the eternal gifts that await them. In Ephesians 6:10-18, the first piece of armor Paul tells us to put on is the belt of truth. The truth is that our enemy wants us to fail. He wants to see broken marriages, addictions, idolatry, abusive behavior, and he wants us to be isolated so he can plan his attack. Our enemy wants us to fail at being who God wants us to be. As Paul describes in his letter, we are in a battle with an enemy who wants us to fail in our faith and our walk with God. Since the battle is against the father of lies then our defense should be the truth. John 8:32 says the truth will set you free.
In studying a healthy marriage, we will look first at Ephesians 5:22-33. These verses relay a picture of a marriage under Christ, as Christ purposed marriage to be. This section has been very controversial because it discusses a husband submitting to a wife and a wife submitting to a husband. In our society today, both men and women tend to want leadership and dominance in their relationships and understanding this scripture has been a struggle for many. We will dissect what Paul is teaching so we can better understand marriage and submission.
We stand on a battlefield daily. We are faced with challenges from work, family, friends, and life itself. In the midst of tragedies, the battle is more prevalent and God’s armor is in more need than ever. In Ephesians 6, Paul describes the battle with the enemy as not a battle against flesh and blood but against the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces. When Hurricane Harvey hit the coast of Texas on August 25th, communities were destroyed and families were uprooted from their homes. Disaster struck at the heart and souls of millions. In the aftermath of Harvey hitting Houston, a slogan hit the pages of newspapers and websites, “Houston Strong”. Proverbs 10:25 says when the storm has swept by, the righteous stand firm forever. Read More
A year after my husband and I were pursuing a divorce, my daughter came to me with this testimony. She told me that she wanted to share her thoughts and feelings so that other families could benefit from a child’s perspective. She told me that she wishes the turmoil she had in her heart on no one. So I share her letter with you today.
It was a nice day in May of 2016 and I was relaxing in a hammock outside our house. My parents had been talking inside the house and had asked me, my brother, and my sister to leave. After about 20 minutes of lying in the hammock I heard their voices get louder and louder and then shouting started. My Mom stormed out of the front door with my Dad following. She jumped in her suburban and drove away. All I wanted to do that second was sprint to my grandma’s house and spend the night with her. But I couldn’t. Dad was upset and I had to stay with him. The next day, mom picked us up and drove us to the hotel she was staying at and let us swim in the pool. I didn’t understand and was worried where this might be going. Read More
Why is it that truth can sometimes be awkward? What did Apostle Paul mean when he mentioned the belt of truth? In his letter to Ephesus, Paul writes to the Ephesians instructing them to put on the full armor of God, starting with the belt of truth buckled around your waist (Ephesians 6:14). To understand the armor, first imagine the actual purpose of the belt and its importance to a Roman soldier. The belt carried the weight of the breastplate and the sheathe for the sword, both of which were very heavy. Truth can be a heavy burden for Christians. It sometimes comes with consequences that we don’t want to deal with. Truth can hurt. Whether it is telling someone what you think of them, or bringing attention to someone’s mistake or fault, it can cause pain – just as a belt can be uncomfortable. In our modern society, we twist words and justify actions in an awkward situation so we can float by on an altered truth or reality. But we shouldn’t be afraid to speak the truth, right? For Christians, Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit is with us to give us courage to speak the truth and with that we can shine as Christians. So why is it sometimes so difficult? Read More
I sat in a large room with several other people, feeling defeated, confused, lost, and broken. I had been through a battle over the last 18 months where the values I held close were trampled and forgotten. I had almost lost my family due to some choices I had made and I had deserted my Mom who needed me more than ever, and for no reason that I could understand. It had been as if a blind fold was put over my eyes and my values & priorities had been crumpled up and thrown out the window. I had lost my purpose and my way and felt like a child being punished, sitting in the corner with a dunce hat on my head. But I listened to the bible study leader and heard Ephesians 6:10-20 for the first time and my life was turned around. I learned about a spiritual war that is taking place around us where Satan and his demons push temptation and turmoil to encourage us to fail as Christians. Ephesians 6 tells us about a struggle we all have with powers of a dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. I listened intently as I heard story after story from the people around me of how they experienced real life instances of these demons in their lives. I began to understand that what I had experienced was a spirit wanting me to pull away from God and the values I had held dear. Paul clearly states in Ephesians that the battle is not against flesh and blood or people, but against the rulers and authorities of this dark world. The more I understood about the truth, the less I blamed myself for my mistakes. Read More
I was only 10 years old and kept asking myself, “how could God let this happen?” Yet our culture often asks the same question and tends to analyze why bad things happen to good people. Why do people have to suffer from cancer, or forms of abuse, or deprivation? So why is it that God lets bad things happen to good people or even innocent children?
Between the ages of 4-6 years old, I was sexually abused by a member of my family. I was threatened that if I ever told, my parents would be killed. I was also raised in an abusive home with a drug dealer for a Dad who would beat and rape my Mom in front of me. At 10 years old, I witnessed my Dad beating and strangling my Mom and almost killing her before I pulled her to the car to drive away. Then I watched days later as my Dad was shot as he attempted to kill my Mom and grandparents with a machete. I thought at such a young age that if there was a God, he didn’t care very much for children or at least rescuing them from the kind of life I had. Read More
With the motivation from my best friend, I became a runner three years ago. A little challenging at the beginning to just run a mile, I kept at it to build by endurance. I remember the day when I ran my first five miles without stopping and the cheerleader I had beside me pushing me to keep going. It was such an encouraging moment. I didn’t stop there though. I continued to build the distance and ran my first half marathon in October 2016 in honor of my Mom who I lost the month before to cancer. The point is, I went from barely making a mile to running over 13 straight, in just 18 months. When I ask my friends to run with me in a 5k and they decline because they can’t do it or because they are out of shape, I feel rejected. It’s not an honest answer. They CAN do it and I know it. So I wanted to share a story with you of true determination and love. Team Hoyt is an example of the impossible becoming possible. There are no excuses! God gave us the will and the way and we can run the race! Read More
Do you remember the days of the past when we didn’t rely on cell phones to get us places or remind us to do things or to answer every little question that arises in our day? You may be too young to know such a time existed. But we used to rely on pay phones and paper maps and asking people for directions. I remember hearing a new word and pulling the dictionary off the shelf to find the meaning. When I traveled with my family or friends we would carry on a conversation most of the time and share memories and stories or play road games. When I had dinner with a friend we would talk about our lives and discuss real world events. These days I don’t see that very often. I can walk into a restaurant and see faces buried into cell phones with very little talking going on. I see people walking down the street or riding in cars with their heads down and fingers touching the screen of a device in their hands. I know parents who give their children devices to keep them quiet on road trips. I get it. I used to be one of those. Read More
I pray today for peace. Not world peace but simply peace in our hearts. We all carry such heavy burdens every day and battle with such crazy thoughts in our heads. Some of us may be worrying about our jobs or our families. We may have a broken heart from losing someone close to us or being hurt in a relationship. We may carry guilt from the past that is a heavy weight on our minds and hearts. Thoughts are running through our minds all day of what we should do with our worry or our pain. What can we do to stop obsessing over the hurt or the problems we face in our lives? Let me tell you, I’m there with you. Most of the time, I can’t even quiet the thoughts in my mind to know what direction I’m going. On top of that, most of us may have kids, work, spouse, church, community, friends, family, deadlines, dinner plans, weekend agenda, vacation schedules, and on and on. I have carried the guilt and the pain and the tremendous weight of it all. It’s exhausting. Read More
by Ginger Turner
In a society where more and more people are giving up on their marriage or giving up on life altogether, I felt such a need to understand why. The divorce rate is at its highest and suicide is now the 8th leading cause of death. Why such an increase in these fatal outcomes? I have lost a brother to suicide and almost killed my own marriage and I see so many people around me struggling with the same problems. In my research, I discovered that suicide and divorce can be the end result that is triggered by the improper function of a specific part of the brain. Read More
Would you rather be slave to sin or to righteousness? Do you know the difference? In Romans 6:16 Paul describes how we can offer ourselves to someone to obey them and we can be slaves of sin or righteousness…slaves to Satan or Jesus. Can we be obedient to two masters? Would you rather be a slave to Satan who makes promises he cannot deliver or to Jesus who provides freedom and eternal life? Romans 6:23 tells us for the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ. Think of wages that we work to earn. Every day we go to work and are slaves to the corporate world or the government and at the end of our lives we cash in our wages for death. Jesus offers us a a life of righteousness and at the end eternal life. Nothing in return from us. Read More
by Bret Collier
In order to have a healthy church, we are to submit to one another, Ephesians 5:21. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Last week we learned that in order to have a healthy marriage, wives are to submit to the husbands and the husband is to love the wife as Christ loved the church. Read More
Beginning in May, Alpine will have a Suicide Survivor Support Group. Everyone in the group has had someone close to them take their life and knows how devastating that experience can be. We have all experienced those exaggerated feelings of responsibility as we tried to cope with something we could not understand. We invite you to attend a meeting of the group, which meets at 7:00 pm on the first Tuesday of each month at Alpine Teak in downtown Alpine. There is absolutely no charge for participation in this group. Read More
Living with a broken heart is not easy. Waking up every morning with the challenge of getting on with your life and figuring out your purpose and reason why you are here. Asking several times a day, “what now God?” I lost my Dad when I was 10 years old, my brother to suicide after I turned 18, my Mom to cancer in 2016, and a cherished friend along the way. Every time I lose someone, I lose a part of myself and I spend the next few months or years searching for my identity again. It’s exhausting. But I know there is a reason for these storms. I ask God to help me through each and every one of them and I eventually find my way. Read More
I’m a survivor of suicide loss and this is my story.
I was privileged to have 4 older brothers growing up, the youngest being 7 years older than me. I was always protected and watched after and cared for. My three older brothers were half brothers from my dad’s first marriage and they had already moved out and started their own families by the time I was old enough to know who they were. Brian Keith was born April 27, 1971 to my mom, Barbara, and dad, Jerry. My Mom tells me he was always a sweet boy and very considerate and helpful. He was also fearless when it came to adventures. He rode dirt bikes and took part in races from the young age of 10. He was driven and determined to be the next Evil Knievel, hence his nickname “Evil”. My memories of him involved him picking on me, as big brothers are known to do, and him constantly aggravating me. One memory in particular was when he took the heads off of all my Barbie dolls and hung their bodies on a ceiling fan and turned it on high. I was so angry that I chased him around the house with a butcher knife. Read More
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Paul writes to the Philippians from prison to thank them for the gift they had sent him upon learning of his detention at Rome. Paul has gone through a lot by this point or had more than he needed. He has learned to be content with whatever the circumstances he is given. Whether he is locked in a house or chained to a roman guard, he finds the optimism and a special strength in a situation. Read More
Have you ever lashed out at someone and regretted it as soon as the words left your mouth? It happens too often in the middle of a bad day or struggling marriage or frustrations with your children when you just snap. You feel like you’ve lost control and the energy is so intense that you can’t even manage the thoughts running through your head and it seems like words leave your mouth without permission. We are guided in the bible to tame our tongues. Read More
Life is hard and we have more and more distractions coming into our lives every minute with advances in technology and as our kids grow and become more active in academics and sports. We juggle our schedules with work in addition to those of our spouses or children. How do we find time to have a relationship with God? Read More
What is intimacy any way? Is it all about physical touch and behind the bedroom door romance? No! Intimacy is much simpler than that. Between a husband and a wife, or even friends, it’s getting a PhD in that person. What are their childhood memories? What are their dreams and aspirations? What is their favorite song or book or movie? Getting to know someone better creates an intimate connection between spouses or friends. It’s easier to remember it as “in-to-me-see” and really finding out about a person you want to know. Peering into another person’s soul and connecting with them on another level is a form of intimacy. It’s a one-of-a-kind connection. Read More
This Saturday, Alpine celebrates its second annual Heart for Alpine race. Beginning at Jackson Field, racers have the option of running or walking a 5k, 10k, or 1 mile. A half marathon is also an option and starts 13 miles east of Alpine on Highway 90. The Heart for Alpine is a way to serve our community. Read More