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Wisdom from Above

by Julia M. Bruce, MSPC, Mental Health Coach,
Keynote Speaker, CEO, Wellspring Christian Ministries

Word of Wisdom from James

The book of James gives us wisdom for practical, Christian living. In James 3, James first addresses the power of our words, but even a lost person can at times control their tongue. So in James 3:13-18, James contrasts the foolish wisdom of the world with Godly wisdom from above.

We all have been guilty of doing stupid things that we end up regretting. But God gives wisdom to all who ask for it. In fact, the Bible tells us that the most important thing we can do in life is to seek wisdom that comes from above. Proverbs 4:7 says, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting, get understanding.” Godly wisdom is the most precious thing we could pursue. Proverbs 16:16 tells us that wisdom is better than gold and understanding better than silver.

What is wisdom?

Wisdom by definition is, “The ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting; insight; common sense; good judgment, the sum of learning through the ages; knowledge.

Wisdom is not always linked with age, experience or education. Take children for instance. Patrick, age 10, says, “Never trust a dog to watch your food.” Michael, age 14, says, “When your dad is mad at you and asks, ‘Do I look stupid?’ don’t answer him.” Wise man that Michael, he also said, “Never tell your mom her diet isn’t working.”

Worldly wisdom vs. Godly wisdom

There is a big difference between ungodly or worldly wisdom and Godly wisdom. Warren Buffett is the second richest man in the world. He is worth over 44 billion. In June of 2005, buffet decided to raise money for his charitable foundation, by offering an online auction in e-bay for someone to have lunch with him. The winning bid was $351,100—the price of access to the world’s second richest man.

If the value of worldly wisdom is that high for a lunch appointment; what price would we put on the wealth of wisdom we have right here in God’s Word?

In James 3:13-18, the Bible asks the question who is wise and understanding among you? Wise describes someone with moral insight and skill in the practical issues of life. Understanding refers to one who is an intellectual and comprehends the world of science.

The Bible is defining the vast sum of wisdom and claiming how that wisdom will be demonstrated.

Godly Wisdom shown in conduct

James writes in verse 17, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy.” Godly wisdom is demonstrated in a life surrendered to God. This person does not have to boast about how wise they are, all will see it lived out in front of them.

In the first part of James, chapter 3, James says that anyone who is religious but does not keep a tight reign on their tongue their religion was worthless. We he also says that to be a Christian is more than saying we are a Christian, we must prove it by the life we live. Now, in verses 13-18, James outlines how this is done. He says in verse 13 that our good conduct, our works, will be evidenced by seven traits found in verse 17.

7 traits that provide evidence of good wisdom

1. A person with Godly wisdom is Pure

To be pure means to be clean or innocent. This is the wisdom that accomplishes good works with no false motives involved. It is a person whose life is a testimony of pure character and honesty before God.

2. A person with Godly wisdom is Peaceable

To be peaceable does not mean being a push-over. It is someone who strives to be at peace. One who remains calm under stress and has let go of anxiety.

3. A person with Godly wisdom is Gentle

Gentleness is a sensitivity of disposition and kindness of behavior, founded on strength and prompted by love. A gentle person is one who is mild mannered and patient. It includes showing care and respect for others in the way that you act and speak towards them.

4. A person with Godly wisdom is Willing to Yield

A person willing to yield does not mean he or she is easily persuaded but one who can listen to all sides and is willing to do the right thing even if it isn’t their idea. They have a teachable spirit.

5. A person with Godly wisdom is Full of Mercy and Good fruits

A person full of mercy lives a life of compassion and honesty. They are known by their forgiving spirit and their impeccable character.

6. A person with Godly wisdom is Without partiality

In other words, they are impartial. They do not take sides or involve themselves in frivolous arguments. They seek to be peacemakers.

7. A person with Godly wisdom is Without hypocrisy

They are genuine. What you see is what you get. They will not tell one person one thing or then tell someone else a different story.

This is how our conduct is supposed to be. We are to demonstrate these traits in our daily conversation our daily conduct should resemble Godliness.

Godly wisdom shown in Character

In verse 13, James tells us what kind of character we should show through our lives, “meekness of wisdom.” We tend to think meekness is weakness, but the word picture in the Greek for meekness is a horse under control. The bit in the horse’s mouths direct them where they need to go. Our character should be directed by God, and if it is then the power of God is flowing through our lives.

Those who possess this character, those who are truly wise, are empowered with their wisdom from on high. The fruit or evidence of this conduct is the righteousness in our lives. That word righteousness means character. The character of a Godly life is shown in peace. The word peace means prosperity.

The psalmist wrote: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:1-3)

God is saying the conduct and the character of this Christian will be seen by all and blessed from above.

Ungodly Wisdom

America today is looking for wisdom from the world. Oprah, Dr. Phil seem to be the leading authority for America to find help for their struggles.

In Dr. Os Guinness’ article entitled “America’s Last Men and Their Magnificent Talking Cure” he talks about how America has become the world capital of psychological-mind-set and therapeutic endeavor. Although America had only 6% of the world’s population, it boasted over a third of the world’s psychiatrists, and over half the world’s clinical psychologists. 80 million Americans have now sought help from therapists. An estimated 10 million are doing so every year. I’m not against psychiatry. In fact, I have a bachelors degree in psychology and a masters in professional counseling. However, we cannot ignore the need to be seeking biblical counseling if we are truly seeking wisdom from above.

Traits of ungodly wisdom

1. “bitter envying.”

Where there is bitterness it possesses the whole life. It’s when a person holds on to a hurt from years gone by. Envying what someone else has.

James is painting a picture of an unwise person that is afraid of losing something. They become uncooperative and competitive.

2. “self-seeking

This person is ambitious, asking what’s in it for me. The phrase actually means someone who shows an inordinate desire for power or prestige. It is hidden motives of wanting our own way.

3. It’s action “in your hearts”

The heart is the origin of all moral actions. Jesus said in Matthew 12:34, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” He also said in Matthew 15:18-19, “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.”

The heart can be so self-deceptive that we lie against the truth. When jealousy and self-seeking prevail in the heart we lie to ourselves. We begin to base our thinking off someone or some situation based entirely on lies. Paul teaches Timothy, ““And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:24-26

4. Does not come from above

Ungodly wisdom is the wisdom of the world, but really it is the wisdom from the evil one. It can be called psychology, philosophy, science or religion. But when it does not measure up against the Bible, it is worldly wisdom, not Godly wisdom. Sigmund Freud, the father of modern psychology, hated Christianity. He called himself, “a completely Godless Jew, and a hopeless pagan.” In 1918 he wrote, “I have found little that is good about human beings on the whole. In my experience most of them are trash.” Unfinished Business, (pg.121)

Because it does not come from above, earthly wisdom comes from the world’s system. It is tied to this world and it looks to the earthly standards of morality, success, and counsel. It has earthly motives and earthly methods.

5. It is opposed to spiritual wisdom

It is also opposed to spiritual, Godly wisdom. William Barclay in his commentary says this wisdom acts like an animal. It’s only thought is personal pleasure and fleshly desires. One only has to look to Hollywood to see this wisdom and how it has influenced our culture today.

6. It is demonically influenced.

John Wesley translated this word, “such as Satan breathes into the soul.” Jealousy and bitterness are the evidences of demonic influence. James tells us in verse 16 that where these things exist, confusion and evil are evident and the result is unruly confusion and every evil thing. That is exactly what the enemy wants to do in our lives and in our churches: cause confusion and bring in every evil thing. He wants our lives to be unruly and unstable so that our churches will be filled with people relying on earthly wisdom rather than Godly wisdom. Satan wants us operating in our own strength, because then we won’t walk in faith. He wans us operating in our own strength, because then we are not operating in the strength of God.

Satan also wants to bring into our lives every evil thing – the things that are useless or good for nothing. When the righteousness of Godly wisdom is absent every evil practice exists. This is how the enemy destroys us. Christians and churches can commit evil, because they are relying on earthly, fleshly, demonic wisdom to be the influence in their lives.

Are you measuring wisdom by God’s stands or the world’s?

Rather than seeking God’s wisdom and God’s standard for their lives, many believers have been brainwashed by the world and the church has lost its power and influence because the people have allowed the world to infiltrate the church.

Carl Sandberg, the American poet, wrote a massive volume on President Abraham Lincoln and the war years. The 68th chapter has an interesting title borrowed from a woodsman’s proverb. Its title is, “A Tree is Best Measured when it is Down.” You see, you cannot accurately measure the height of a tree until it is cut down. The point Sandberg was making was that only after the death of Lincoln could people assess the value and impact of his life.

Solomon’s wisdom was a gift from God, but his heart later turned away from it

But Lincoln’s many achievements were not at all as impressive as those of another man. This man was an author, diplomat, poet, song writer, theologian, a philosopher, philanthropist, architect, builder, engineer, extremely wealthy, and a king. King Solomon. Listen to what his dad told him in Proverbs 4:3-7, “For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” (KJV)

Young Solomon listened to his father King David. In 2 Chronicles 1:7, God asked Solomon to ask for whatever he wanted. In v.10 Solomon asked for wisdom and knowledge to lead God’s people.

King Solomon was the wealthiest, wisest man to ever live. The nation of Israel prospered under his leadership unlike any other time in their history. However, the King’s heart was turned in 1 Kings 11, The wisdom he had acquired as God’s gift he abandoned for earthly, sensual, demonic influence.

“Who is wise and understanding among you?” When our lives are measured do we show God’s wisdom in our daily walk?

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8 FREE Downloadable Resources

Joy To The World: A 25-Day Advent Bible Reading Plan

Advent is the time where we anticipate with great joy the coming of our Savior. Before Jesus’ birth, people anticipated his arrival as the Messiah. Today, we anticipate His coming again as our victorious, risen, Sovereign, King of kings! In this 25-day Advent Bible reading plan, you get 13 pages with Scripture from the Holman Christian Standard Bible included. The Reading Plan includes four themes as you focus on preparing for the Christmas holiday celebration: Christ is Coming, Christ is Here, Christ will Give, Christ will Come Again. Each day between December 1-25, start your day with the Scripture provided and spend time meditating on what God will say to you through His Word and allow Him to fill your heart with joy this season.

[Download not found]

Now you can enhance your Bible Reading with the Verse Mapping Template

Our Verse Mapping download is FREE and includes 6 pages: 3 pages of instructions for using the template and the 2 page template, plus the cover page. If you’re looking to go deeper into God’s Word, learn more about God and develop a stronger spiritual life, Verse Mapping will help you dig into the scriptures. As you apply God’s Word to your life, you will develop a more intimate knowledge and relationship with God.

[Download not found]

What Satan Does Not Want You To know

This trifold document includes Scripture verses that Satan does not want you to know about. As you hide these verses in your heart, you’ll be able to defeat the lies of Satan when he tries his wiles and schemes on you.

[Download not found]

Stress Journal

We all face stress. How we handle stress, however, has many variables. Learning how to recognize stress, coping with stress, and creating a self-care plan during times of stress can begin by journaling. Taken from our series on Biblical self-care for people in ministry, we’ve created this free download to help you through the things that cause you stress.

[Download not found]

2021 Bible Memory Verse Plan

We’ve put together 52 memory verses for you to hide God’s Word in your heart! You can download the full document for free and then print a new verse each week and as many copies as you’d like. Each verse prints four times on a page so that you can then cut them into index size cards and place them in prominent places where you will see them frequently throughout the day to help you remember to memorize them. Just because you visited our site, they’re yours for free! Download today.

[Download not found]

The Path to Sin

Satan is constantly trying to trip us up and he doesn’t even play fair because he uses our own desires as bait to get us to sin. James tells us the five steps that lead us down the path to sin in James 1:14-15, “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.” This download helps you identify your desires so that you can better recognize when Satan is baiting you and you can avoid falling into sin. When used along with prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to identify the desires that Satan baits you with, you can then ask the Holy Spirit to help you not become a victim to the bait of your desires. Download the worksheet today.

[Download not found]
Bible Reading Plan Download

One Year Bible Reading Plan

With just 30-40 minutes per day, you can read the entire Bible in one year. The One-Year Bible Reading Plan consists of both Old Testament and New Testament readings for each day of the year. The Bible is God’s personal Word to you. What is He saying to you today? Open your Bible and find out!

[Download not found]

Self-Care Wheel

The Self-Care Wheel provides ideas for practicing self-care in six dimensions of yourself: Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Sensory, and Social. NOTE: You will need 11X14 paper to print the wheel.

Want to know more about self-care? Our Self-Care blog series targets people who serve in any ministry position (paid staff or volunteer) and takes a Biblical approach to self-care.

[Download not found]

Need some music to get you through the day? Check out one of our Playlists on YouTube

Click here for the Contemporary Christian Playlist
Click here for the Southern Gospel Playlist
Or Click here for the Hymns Playlist

You can also watch our animated devotionals on the YouTube Channel


God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce

What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?

God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on.
  • Conversation Starters.
  • Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages.
  • Romance Builders.
  • Relationship Builders.
  • Personal reflections.
  • Date ideas.
  • Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples.

Available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.

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Enjoy Life With Your Wife (Ecclesiastes 9:9)

by Julia M. Bruce, MSPC, Mental Health Coach,
CEO, Wellspring Christian Ministries

To enjoy life, we must accept and stay within the boundaries God gives

The book of Ecclesiastes shows us that since we and our works are destined to perish, we must not waste our lives trying to justify our existence with pursuits that ultimately mean nothing. It examines major efforts of life in light of the reality that we all – eventually – die and warns us the  pursuit of intellectual accomplishments, wealth and luxury, politics, and religion. But it also recommends that we fear God and enjoy life. But in enjoying life comes with boundaries and in Ecclesiastes 9:9, Solomon gives wise instructions to husbands when he tells them to enjoy life with their wife.

To husbands, Solomon says, “Enjoy life with the wife you love all the days of your futile life.” When he talk about life being “futile,” he does not mean worthless, but because our lives are like a vapor, it is fleeting and temporary. For Ecclesiastes 9:9, Solomon is saying, “Since you only live for so long, enjoy life with the wife you love” and when he says “enjoy life” – he means in the full sense of “and Adam knew his wife Eve.”

“Enjoy life with your wife” means just what you think it means

Yes, Solomon is saying that you should find sexual pleasure with her. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, “A husband should fulfill his marital responsibility to his wife, and likewise a wife to her husband. A wife does not have the right over her own body, but her husband does In the same way, a husband does not have the right over his own body, but his wife does. Do not deprive one another sexually — except when you agree for a time, to devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again; otherwise, Satan may tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

Paul also in Ephesians 5:25 that husbands are to love their wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. And then in verse 28 he wrote that husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. Sexual intimacy in marriage should be an expression of the love you share. However, it is not the only way to express your feelings to your wife. Here are seven other ways to show her you love her.

Enjoy life with your wife through your actions towards her

Love her through your actions. There is a reason that people say, “When momma ain’t happy, aint nobody happy.” So if you want to enjoy life with your wife, be sure your actions are a demonstration of the love you have for her.

The word “love” is a verb – it’s an action. It’s what you do. But it’s also how you do it. Colossians 3:19 says, “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them” If you are to love her as Christ loved the Church, then your actions should mirror Christ’s. Your actions should always be kind and considerate. You can tell your wife you love her a thousand times a day, but if your actions don’t show it, she will never believe your words.

Enjoy life with your wife through consideration and respect

In 1 Peter 3:7, Paul writes, “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you in the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”

Being considerate means doing things for her – like doing the dishes or opening the door for her. Respecting her means you speak to her and about her as your equal because she is a co-heir in eternal life. She is not inferior to you. When Paul says the wife is the weaker partner, he was referring to physical strength. So, even if you both work outside of the home, use that brawn and strength God gave you to take some of her heavy load off her shoulders.

You can also demonstrate consideration by thanking her for what she does to keep your home neat and tidy – and don’t be part of the problem in it getting messy again.

Enjoy life with your wife through loving her as you love yourself

Ephesians 5:28 says: “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” The same way you take care of yourself is the way you should care for her. It’s treating her the way you would want to be treated.

Enjoy life with your wife through spending time with her

Love her by spending time with her. Instead of watching the game on TV, take her out to a memorable place that is special to the two of you. Go hiking together, take a walk on the beach at sunset or enjoy a picnic. Solomon advised that husband enjoy life with their wife because life is so short. We never know when the end of life will come so spend the time with her now. You may never get another chance to take that dream vacation, renew your wedding vows, or check of your bucket list. Never stop dating her. Don’t put it off. Spend time with her now.

Enjoy life with your wife by being faithful

Love her by being faithful. On your wedding day you made a vow to her and to God that you would love her (and only her) until death separates you. God considers adultery a very serious sin. There is no compromise. You can’t flirt with another woman, but claim to be faithful as long as you don’t touch her. In Matthew 5:28, Jesus said, “everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

This includes pornography. In today’s world with technology advancing all the time, it would also include virtual reality and programs that allow you to pretend to be another person and interact with people all over the globe in a virtual world.

Adultery, whether the physical act, or just lusting in your heart, destroys families. Even if it does not lead to divorce, the trust is broken and the relationship is never the same.  Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:3, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality.” Being faithful to your wife leaves no from for even a hint of sexual misconduct of any kind.

Enjoy life with your wife by loving her like Christ loves her

God appointed husbands to be the head of household and Christ to be the head of the man. In this role, the husband is the spiritual leader of the home. Ephesians 5:25-28 describes what being a spiritual leader means. Paul wrote in these verses, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” That’s a tall order!

The only possible way for husbands to achieve this is through the help of the Holy Spirit. Not only did Christ give his life for the church, he also came to serve and demonstrated it through washing the disciples feet. He forgave even when he was being nailed to a cross. He offers mercy and grace. Jesus gave Himself up for us and so husbands must give up themselves for their wives, including his own interests. If your wife is having a difficult time submitting to your leadership, then you might want to check and see if you are loving her like Christ, because if you are, she will have no trouble with Biblical submission.

Enjoy life with your wife by following 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

Demonstrate a 1 Corinthians 13 love. In verses 4-8, we find that love is patient, kind, does not envy, is not boastful or conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish or provoked, does not keep a record of wrongs, rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things and it never ends.

Cover_m

Enjoy life with your wife by being intentional and determined

You can’t be passive and enjoy life with her. If you need ideas of ways to intentionally love your wife, grab a copy of my book, “God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars.” This book has 365 activities to help you intentionally love each other. See the information on the book below along with links to purchase a copy.

#marriage #enjoylife #GLMW

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When we fight spiritual battles, we must put on the armor of God, who will fight our battles for us. He is our weapon, and the Bible is our ammo against the wiles of the devil.

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See our fall designs:

The slide show below highlights some of our favorite Christian Tees designs available in our Spreadshop and Teespring stores.

  • Revive Us Again, Lord

See our Canvase prints in the Teespring Store: All Things New

All Things New

We’ve added a new canvas print to the Teespring Store. These prints make great gifts or for decor in your home.

When we ask Jesus to forgive us and save us from our sin, He takes our old, sinful self and makes us new in Him. This beautiful canvas is a great reminder of what Jesus has done for us.

See our Canvase prints in the Teespring Store: All Things New

All Things New

We’ve added a new canvas print to the Teespring Store. These prints make great gifts or for decor in your home.

When we ask Jesus to forgive us and save us from our sin, He takes our old, sinful self and makes us new in Him. This beautiful canvas is a great reminder of what Jesus has done for us.

Do you have an event on the calendar and need a speaker?

We’re offering 30% discount on our speaker fees if booked by October 31, 2021. Call today and use the discount code: FALL2021.

We’re excited to be a part of your ministry and can’t wait to see you – no matter what size your event.

904.239.8937


Help support our ministry:


7 FREE Downloadable Resources

Now you can enhance your Bible Reading with the Verse Mapping Template

Our Verse Mapping download is FREE and includes 6 pages: 3 pages of instructions for using the template and the 2 page template, plus the cover page. If you’re looking to go deeper into God’s Word, learn more about God and develop a stronger spiritual life, Verse Mapping will help you dig into the scriptures. As you apply God’s Word to your life, you will develop a more intimate knowledge and relationship with God.

[Download not found]

What Satan Does Not Want You To know

This trifold document includes Scripture verses that Satan does not want you to know about. As you hide these verses in your heart, you’ll be able to defeat the lies of Satan when he tries his wiles and schemes on you.

[Download not found]

Stress Journal

We all face stress. How we handle stress, however, has many variables. Learning how to recognize stress, coping with stress, and creating a self-care plan during times of stress can begin by journaling. Taken from our series on Biblical self-care for people in ministry, we’ve created this free download to help you through the things that cause you stress.

[Download not found]

2021 Bible Memory Verse Plan

We’ve put together 52 memory verses for you to hide God’s Word in your heart! You can download the full document for free and then print a new verse each week and as many copies as you’d like. Each verse prints four times on a page so that you can then cut them into index size cards and place them in prominent places where you will see them frequently throughout the day to help you remember to memorize them. Just because you visited our site, they’re yours for free! Download today.

[Download not found]

The Path to Sin

Satan is constantly trying to trip us up and he doesn’t even play fair because he uses our own desires as bait to get us to sin. James tells us the five steps that lead us down the path to sin in James 1:14-15, “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.” This download helps you identify your desires so that you can better recognize when Satan is baiting you and you can avoid falling into sin. When used along with prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to identify the desires that Satan baits you with, you can then ask the Holy Spirit to help you not become a victim to the bait of your desires. Download the worksheet today.

[Download not found]
Bible Reading Plan Download

One Year Bible Reading Plan

With just 30-40 minutes per day, you can read the entire Bible in one year. The One-Year Bible Reading Plan consists of both Old Testament and New Testament readings for each day of the year. The Bible is God’s personal Word to you. What is He saying to you today? Open your Bible and find out!

[Download not found]

Self-Care Wheel

The Self-Care Wheel provides ideas for practicing self-care in six dimensions of yourself: Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Sensory, and Social. NOTE: You will need 11X14 paper to print the wheel.

Want to know more about self-care? Our Self-Care blog series targets people who serve in any ministry position (paid staff or volunteer) and takes a Biblical approach to self-care.

[Download not found]

Need some music to get you through the day? Check out one of our Playlists on YouTube

Click here for the Contemporary Christian Playlist
Click here for the Southern Gospel Playlist
Or Click here for the Hymns Playlist

You can also watch our animated devotionals on the YouTube Channel


God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce

What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?

God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on.
  • Conversation Starters.
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Good news, bad news

by Julia M. Bruce, MSPC, Mental Health Coach,
CEO, Wellspring Christian Ministries

Good news/bad news

Have you ever said, “I have good new and bad news.” Well, there was one young man who picked up his wife from the airport. They had been trying for a while to get pregnant. As they drove away from the airport, the wife said, “Good news! I’m pregnant!” Delighted, the young father-to-be looked at the sonogram and said, “Wait, what’s that?” The expectant mom smiled and said, “That’s the other one…” After pulling over to prevent a wreck the young couple decided to name them Alexis and Zoe, A-Z.

Image result for good news

Everyone loves good news and we all dread it when it’s bad. This was even true back in the day of Solomon who wrote in Proverbs 15:30, “A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” 

News in the Bible

The Bible is full of good news – from cover to cover. And it is full of news that isn’t so good.

Old Testament

Good NewsBad News
God created the heavens and the earthAdam and Eve’s first sin
Noah and His family will be saved from the coming flood by building an arkThe entire earth will be destroyed by the flood.
God will give Abraham a son; God wants him to sacrifice his only son
Joseph receives a coat of many colorsHis jealous brothers sells him into slavery
Joseph gets promoted to head of house Even though he was innocent, Joseph gets sent to prison
Joseph tells Pharaoh that there will be 7 years of plenty7 years of plenty is followed by 7 years of famine
Joseph tells Pharaoh his plan and he becomes 2nd in command of all of Egypt and keeps his family from starving.Joseph moves his family to Egypt and as a result the nations of Israel becomes salves to the Egyptians
The Jericho walls fell seemingly by themselvesBut before they fell, the spies sent out 40 years earlier told the people about the giants and how impossible it would be to conquer the land – that caused them to wonder in the desert for 40 years
Fire came from heaven and consumed a drenched sacrificeThen Queen Jezebel vowed to hunt down and kill the prophet, Elijah
Esther’s story tells of how she saved her people from annihilationHaman is caught in his plot and is hung on his own gallows he had built for Esther’s uncle
Ruth met and married BoazBut first she had to become a widow and move to a strange land
Nineveh repented of their sins and God changed His mind about destroying themBut before that, Jonah ran from God’s assignment, was swallowed by a great fish and then barfed up.

New Testament

  • An angel brought Mary good news and told her she was highly favored and chosen to be the mother of God’s son, followed by Mary having to explain to Joseph she was pregnant.
  • There is the good news given to the shepherds about the birth of Jesus which was followed by a decree from King Herod to kill on the male children 2 years and younger.
  • There is the good news of all the miracles and wonders that Jesus did, followed by the bad news of Him being betrayed by one of his own, crucified and died. But then there is the glorious news of his resurrection.
  • There is the good news of eternal life for those who believe by faith and accept Jesus as Savior and there is bad news for those who reject Him.
  • There is the good news of Jesus coming and again and the bad news for those who are left behind.

Reliable and Fake News

Today, we can turn on the TV, open an app, or browse the internet for all the news from around the world – some more reliable than others. But in Bible days, news traveled by word of mouth – which is only reliable as the mouth that is speaking and the brain that remembers what the mouth was supposed to say.

As early as a few centuries before Jesus, the Romans began to release something similar to what we call a newspaper. They had the Acta Diurna that reported on what the Roman army was doing. The Acta Senatus reported on the Roman Senate. The Acta Publica reported on trials, sacrifices, obits, and the like. However, without the printing press, there was no Roman youth who went door to door every morning to toss the paper in a subscriber’s driveway. Instead they were posted in public places periodically.

From there news-hungry humans developed and grew the concept of the newspaper all the way up to today’s 24-hour continuous coverage on CNN and Fox News. Yet still, even today the reliability of the news depends only on the integrity of the reporter. The result leaves us trying to sort through and decipher what is reliable news and what is fake news. And it seems that there is much more bad news reported than good news.

A Good and Joyful Message

Perhaps the best news we could ever hear comes from one who says, “Repent, and believe the good news!”  In the midst of world full of bad news, how refreshing it is to hear good news. John the Baptist and Jesus proclaimed the good news that the Kingdom of God was near. God’s message of the New Testament is “Good News.” The first four books of the Bible are called the Gospels. The word gospel means “Good news.” Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines “gospel” as “a good or joyful message.”

The heart of the Gospel is a birth, death, and resurrection

We all find a birth announcement as good news. The birth of Jesus was such good news that an angel told the shepherds about it and then a multitude of angels sang from a heavenly choir. Obituaries, on the other hand, are not often seen as good news (unless you are just a cold-hearted person of an extremely rich relative). When Jesus died, his mother, friends and disciples grieved like anyone would. But then three days later Jesus rose from the dead and the news was the best news ever. This is the good news that is available to all of us today – salvation and everlasting life simply by having faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Romans 10:9-10 says, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” To the church at Corinth, Paul wrote, “I told the Good News to you….For I delivered to you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he has been raised on the third day according to the scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:2-4).

The reliability of the Gospel

Since we have raised the question of the reliability of news – how reliable is the news of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection? The Bible gives us several eyewitnesses who saw Jesus alive after he was dead and buried:

People who saw Jesus after His resurrection

  • Mary Magdalene (John 20:14-16)
  • Mary, the mother of James along with Salome and Joanna (Matthew 28:9)
  • Peter (Luke 24:34)
  • Two Disciples on the Emmaus Road (Luke 24:13-16)
  • The Disciples with Thomas Absent. (John 20:19-24)
  • All of the Disciples (with Thomas this time) eight days later (John 20:26-28)
  • Seven of the Disciples at the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1-2)
  • The Eleven disciples on a mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-17)
  • Over 500 people at once (1 Corinthians 15:6)
  • James, Jesus’ half-brother followed by all the apostles (1 Corinthians 15:7)
  • Saul after Jesus’ ascension (Acts 9:3-5)

Luke wrote the Jesus presented himself alive

Additionally, Luke, who wrote the book of Acts wrote in Acts 1:3, “To these he also presented himself alive after his suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.

Jesus spoke of his own resurrection

Jesus also spoke of his own resurrection. In Luke 24:39, Jesus said, “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And in Revelation 1:18 He said, ” I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”

The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel

In Lee Strobel’s book The Case for Christ (which is also now a movie), he writes his own story of coming to faith. Strobel, a former editor at the Chicago Tribune and confirmed atheist begins to try to prove that Jesus of Nazareth was really the Son of God following his wife’s salvation. Using his reporter skills, he interviews biblical scholars seeking historical evidence (“Can the Biographies of Jesus be Trusted?”), scientific evidence (“Does archaeology confirm or contradict Jesus’ biographies?”), and psychiatric evidence (“Was Jesus crazy when He claimed to be the Son of God?”).

Instead of proving the non-existence of Jesus, Lee becomes thoroughly  convinced that Jesus is truly the Son of God and that everything the Bible records is true and accurate. If you struggle with believing that Jesus is the Son of God, I encourage you to read the book and watch the movie, then reach a verdict of your own. (see links at the bottom of the page)

What about you? Will you have the beautiful feet of one who brings the good news of eternal life to someone else today?

The Case for Christ DVD or Book at CBD

The Case for Christ, Blu-ray/DVD  -     By: Lee Strobel

The Case for Christ, Blu-ray/DVD/CD Combo
By Lee Strobel / Look Above LLC
A hard-driving journalist, Lee Strobel was exactly where he expected to be at work: on top. His award-winning investigative reporting recently earned him a promotion to legal editor at the Chicago Tribune. But things weren’t going nearly as well at home where his wife Leslie’s newfound faith in Christ went against everything Lee believed or didn’t believe as an avowed atheist.

Utilizing his journalistic and legal training, Lee begins a quest to debunk the claims of Christianity in order to save his crumbling marriage. Chasing down the biggest story of his career, Lee comes face-to-face with unexpected results that could change everything he knows to be true.

Starring Mike Vogel (The Help, Cloverfield), Erika Christensen (Parenthood, Flightplan), Faye Dunaway (The Thomas Crown Affair, Chinatown), and Robert Forster (The Descendents, Jackie Brown). Rated PG. Approx. 113 minutes.

The Case for Christ, Updated and Expanded, Mass MarketThe Case for Christ, Updated and Expanded, Mass Market
By Lee Strobel / Zondervan

If you were a journalist, how would you investigate the top story in human history? Join the award-winning former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune as he cross-examines scholars to uncover incontestable evidence supporting Jesus’ claims. Includes updated archaeological material, an interview with Strobel, and more. A powerful defense of the Christian faith! 464 pages, softcover from Zondervan.

#goodnews #badnews #gospelnews

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The Path to Sin

Satan is constantly trying to trip us up and he doesn’t even play fair because he uses our own desires as bait to get us to sin. James tells us the five steps that lead us down the path to sin in James 1:14-15, “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.” This download helps you identify your desires so that you can better recognize when Satan is baiting you and you can avoid falling into sin. When used along with prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to identify the desires that Satan baits you with, you can then ask the Holy Spirit to help you not become a victim to the bait of your desires. Download the worksheet today.

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God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce

What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?

God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

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What does it mean to “backslide”?

by Julia M. Bruce, MSPC, Mental Health Coach,
CEO, Wellspring Christian Ministries

What do you like best about Sunday School?

Students in one Sunday School class were asked to write down what they liked best about Sunday school. One little boy, who also happened to be the pastor’s son, thought for a moment and remembered all the songs the class had sung during the year. His spelling was not as good as his memory, for he wrote, “The thing I like best about Sunday School is the sinning.” Hopefully this little boy understood that when we backslide, God stands ready to forgive those who have a contrite heart means.

We might chuckle, but the sad part is too many people actually enjoy sinning. They do not have a contrite heart. Rather they have a heart of pride and arrogance. They would rather live their own way than live God’s way. In Isaiah 53:6, the prophet wrote: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way.” Or, in other words, we all backslide.

Only Christians can Backslide

A person who has never placed their faith in Christ and become a child of God cannot backslide. Why? Because they are still lost in their sin and have not yet accepted Christ as their Savior. Christians, however, can be guilty of backsliding and returning to their old sinful ways and habits. To backslide is basically to slide backwards into a previous pattern or behavior. They might, at least for time, enjoy the sin while they ignore the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit convicting them. But as a child of God, they will eventually become miserable in their sin because God will seek out His wayward child.

An old preacher used to say that if you are not moving toward Jesus, you are moving away from Him. There is no middle ground. No drifting or coasting along. No foot on this side of Christianity and the other foot planted in the world. When we backslide, we either choose to continue down the slippery slope of sin or we humble ourselves with a broken and contrite heart and come to Jesus for grace and forgiveness.

What does it mean to “backslide”?

As a Christian, we begin to “backslide” the moment we begin to move away from God. Most often, the word is used when Christians begin making sinful choices such as excessive drinking, sexual immorality, dropping out of church, cussing, gambling, setting up idols, or other sinful behaviors that were part of our life before we were saved. It is a backwards motion that takes us back to lifestyles we had before we became a Christian.

Backsliding doesn’t mean we lose our salvation

It’s important to understand that a Christian who backslides has not lost their salvation. We know this based on several scriptures:

John 10:28-29

John 10:28-29 tells us that once we’ve placed our faith in Christ, no one can snatch us out of His Father’s hand.

Romans 8:1

This verse says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Romans 8:35-39

In these verses, Paul wrote: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

To sum up, absolutely nothing can separate us from God – not even if we backslide. Through our faith and acceptance of Christ as Savior, our place in the family of God is secure even when we backslide. And because nothing can separate us from God, He stands ready to forgive the one who has a contrite heart.

Is the word “Backslide” in the Bible?

While you will not find the word, “backslide” in the Bible, you will see the phrase “fall away” or the Bible will tell us about people who moved away from their faith in Christ and returned to what they knew before. Both Paul and James write about Christians that went back to their familiar sins and wandered away from their faith (See Galatians 6:1 and James 5:19-20). This is exactly what it means to backslide.

What causes us to backslide?

What causes a Christian to backslide? While sometimes, it’s simply giving in to temptation and sin, life circumstances can also lead one to wander away from their faith. If we experience difficult circumstances, hurtful relationships, unfair treatment, or trauma, we might begin to question God’s goodness and wonder if He is still in control. We might question His love for us if He would allow us to go through these circumstances. We might wonder if He’s forgotten us. But it isn’t God that’s forgotten us. Rather we backslide as we move away from God, blame God, or lose faith in God. We forget God’s promises to us like the one found in Isaiah 43:2 that says, “I will be with you when you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you.

Overcoming Backsliding

When bad things happen, we become angry, depressed, bitter, confused, and overwhelmed. Instead of claiming His promises, we revert back to the sinful nature to try to soothe what we are feeling and lessen the pain of what we experience. Our Bibles stay closed. We drop out of church. We give God the silent treatment. However, it is in these moments that we need more than any other to stay grounded in His Word and our knees should be raw from kneeling in prayer. This is how we overcome backsliding. If walking away from our faith causes us to blackslide, then the antidote is to stay firmly planted in faith and we can only do that when we are connected to God through His Word and prayer.

God is waiting for the contrite heart

We all end up backsliding at some point. Remember that if you are not moving towards God, you’re moving away from Him and that is was it means to backslide. Thankfully, Jesus said He is our Good Shepherd and He seeks out His “lost sheep” (John 10). He doesn’t want us to backslide. He wants us trust Him. But as His children, He will call us back and pursue us with an everlasting love. When we come back to Him with a repentant and contrite heart, God will be there waiting. Waiting to revive our heart and spirit (Isaiah 57:15).  

Peter is an example

The greatest example of backslide in the Bible is Peter. Each one of us could be Peter. It’s a story of Peter’s pride and his failure. But it is also a story of grace, love and renewal. Let’s look at his story:

Peter’s Pride before Jesus’ Arrest and Crucifixion

Before Jesus’ arrest, Peter had declared that Jesus was the Christ – the Messiah – the one they had been waiting for. Then Peter tells Jesus that he would die for him to which Jesus responded, “Before the crock crows you will deny me three times.” Just as Jesus said, in His trial, Peter denied knowing Jesus three times… and then Peter heard the rooster. Jesus turned to look at Peter. In that moment, something changed in Peter. Something died. The pride and arrogance, his confidence that he would die for Jesus were killed. Peter, which means “rock”, was more like the shifting sand under the crashing waves washing in and out of the shore. As realization sunk in, tears began to fall down the his face. He ran away no longer bold and confident, but a broken sinner in need of forgiveness.

Peter hears of the empty tomb

Three days later, Peter receives the news of an empty tomb. He runs to the tomb. He had to know and see that Jesus had risen from the dead. It was his hope of restoration. If Jesus was alive, just maybe – Jesus would forgive him and he could be renewed. The weight of his guilt was more than he could stand. If only, he could be forgiven.

Peter grew tired of waiting for Jesus to show up

After the resurrection, Jesus sent a message to the disciples through the women that had come to the tomb. He told them to go to Galilee and wait for him. So they did, but they had to wait…and wait….and wait. Perhaps disappointed and losing hope, Peter grew tired of waiting for Jesus to show up (don’t we do that too?). Maybe Peter thought, “I knew he wouldn’t come for the likes of me.” Maybe Peter thinks that if he leaves the group, Jesus would come to the rest of the disciples. Whatever was going on in Peter’s mind, he decides to return to his old ways and instead of waiting on Jesus, he goes fishing.

Peter stopped fishing for men and went back to fishing for fish

Some of the other disciples followed him. (How often when we choose to backslide, do we take others with us?) He goes back to what he knows and trusts. In the boat, the fish doesn’t know of his shame and failure. They don’t point a fin at him and laugh about how he boldly proclaimed he’d die for Jesus and then turned around and denied knowing Him. His failure plagues him. Maybe it keeps him awake at night. Perhaps every time he sees the reflection of his face in water he sees shame, guilt, failure, and brokenness. Maybe he thinks, “I’m just a fisherman. Who am I to think that Jesus would choose me to build His church on? I’m no rock!” Maybe he stops going by Peter, the name Jesus gave him and started using his old name of Simon.

So, he goes back to fishing. He fished the entire night, but caught nothing. Not even one tiny, little fish. A failure at being a disciple. A failure at fishing. He’d let Jesus down. Maybe as Peter was exhausted from fishing all night, he collapses down on a bench in the boat and with his face in his hands and tears begin to flow once more, he wonders how he can go on.

The voice of a Friend

Peter hears something and looks up towards the shore and a man is there. He listens again and the voice says, “Friends! Have you caught any fish? Throw your net on the other side. You’ll find some over there.” Peter has a deja vu moment as he wonders “Where have I head that before?” He shakes his head as the memory of his last fishing trip before Jesus had said, “Come follow me” had a similar ring to it.

He’d fished all night and caught nothing on that night too and Jesus had been the one to tell him to cast his net on the other side. When he did, he and his companions brought in so many fish the nets began to tear and they were so heavy the boat was close to sinking.

He looks at the man on the shore again. Squints his eyes. Who was this? Was he just trying to pour salt into the huge, gaping wound in his heart? Still, Peter doesn’t talk back. Perhaps he thought, “What if it’s Him?”

He wearily stands and picks up the net. Tosses it on the other side of the boat with a splash into the sea. Just like before – there were so many fish, he couldn’t haul the net in. Perhaps Peter couldn’t bring himself to hope what His heart wanted to hope – that Jesus was the man on the shore because in the Bible, it’s John who figures it out. He cries, “It’s the Lord!”

Peter swims to Jesus

That’s all Peter had to hear. He jumps out of the boat. His only intention is to get to Jesus just as fast as he could and rowing back to shore with so many fish would just take too long – even if it was just 100 yards or so off shore. But when he gets to shore, he stand there with his clothes dripping water, looking at Jesus, and he has no words. It’s as if there are no right words to say to the one he had hurt and disappointed – the one whom he had failed. 

Breakfast with the Savior

Jesus fixes breakfast for them and they eat in silence. Peter needed for Jesus to say something. He didn’t need for Jesus to remind him of how he had failed. He didn’t need a sermon. And he didn’t need, “I told you so.” Peter was constantly and vividly aware of his failure. He was already at a place of having a contrite heart. What he needed was Jesus’ words of love, grace, and forgiveness. He needed to be made new – again. Peter didn’t need to be “saved” again. He had already placed his faith in Christ – he just needed for Jesus to forgive him.

“Simon, do you love me?”

Jesus turns to Peter and says, “Simon, do you love me?” Peter replies, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus tells him, “Feed my lambs.” Then, Jesus asks it again. Peter answers again and Jesus tells him to feed his lambs. Jesus asks a third time and Peter, feeling frustrated, answers for a third time and Jesus once again says, “Feed my lambs.” 

Peter re-commissioned

Peter is hurt. The man he had offended, denied, and rejected was asking him if he loved him. But, Jesus was tenderly reaching out to this wounded, hurt man who had made the biggest mistake of his life. Peter had denied Jesus three times, and three times Jesus asked Peter if he loves him, followed by “Feed my lambs.” Jesus then invites Peter to once again, “Follow me.”

For Peter to become the rock the Jesus said he would, Jesus had to re-commission him and invite him back to ministry by saying “feed my lambs.”

Although Peter had been the one in the wrong, Jesus went to and sought out Peter. The weight of Peter’s guilt was so heavy, that it kept him from being able to seek Jesus out to make things right. The same is true for us. We stay in our state of shame and guilt rather than seeking Christ’s grace and forgiveness. But, just like with Peter, our good shepherd will seek us out to heal us, restore us, renew us, and forgive us.

God is always with the one who has a broken and contrite heart. Like Peter, He tenderly seeks us out, longing to revive our hearts and call us back into serving Him. Don’t stay in the boat with your failures and sin. Jump in the water and get to Jesus as quick as you can. Can you hear him say, “[Your name], do you love me?”

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God is my Weapon

When we fight spiritual battles, we must put on the armor of God, who will fight our battles for us. He is our weapon, and the Bible is our ammo against the wiles of the devil.

Sweater weather

See our fall designs:

The slide show below highlights some of our favorite Christian Tees designs available in our Spreadshop and Teespring stores.