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Getting Ready to meet the Groom

by Julia M. Bruce, MSPC, Mental Health Coach,
Keynote Speaker, CEO, Wellspring Christian Ministrie
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A Bride Prepared

In the last few months, several people I know have had weddings: A staff, a former co-worker, and two nephews. As I read this verse about the wife making herself ready, I thought about all the months of planning the brides did to create their very special, magical moments for their wedding day. The bride chooses a dress, venue, flowers, cake, and caters. She chooses her maid of honor and bridesmaids. She chooses the music for the wedding service and the reception.

On the day of her wedding she sits for hours to get her hair done, carefully puts on her make up or hires someone to do it for this special day. She puts on her dress and veil. Slips on her shoes.  She takes the arm of her father or maybe an older brother or someone who has been a father-figure in her life and starts down the aisle towards her waiting groom to join her life with his.

No bride expecting a full traditional style wedding shows up without any preparations.

The Groom and the Bride

Throughout the Bible, Jesus is often referred to as the groom with His church being his bride. From the moment that Jesus ascended into heaven until the moment he returns for His bride, He has been making preparations to receive His bride. In John 14:2, as Jesus was assuring His disciples and telling them that He would be leaving them to return to His father he said, “I go to prepare a place for you.” He’s getting ready for His bride.

However, most brides and grooms choose a date and time for their wedding. But we, the Church and Bride of Christ, do not know when Jesus will come again. In fact, Jesus does not even know himself. He sits on the edge of his throne waiting for His Father to say, “Now is the time. Go get your Bride.” When that moments comes, what is commonly called the Rapture, the Bride of Christ – all Christians both dead and alive – will be gone from earth in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:52). In that extremely brief period of time, we will be changed from earthly bodies to glorified bodies. Since we do not know the date or time of our Groom’s arrival, we should be constantly ready for Him.

The Groom never promised an easy life for His Bride

Persecution and tribulation

While planning for a wedding can be exciting, it is also busy and stressful. As the bride of Christ prepares for her groom, it’s important to remember that Jesus never promised an easy life. In fact, Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:12, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” Jesus said in John 16:33, “In the world you will have tribulation.”

Chastisement

We can also expect times of chastisement (Hebrews 12:5-11). As Christians, God is our Heavenly Father and because of his great love for us, he will bring chastisement when we stray away from Him – not out of anger, but to bring us back to Him and restore us to fellowship with Him.

Wars, famines, pestilence and earthquakes

Jesus told us in Matthew 24:6-7, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” And in Luke 21:11, Jesus said, “And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.”

Grief beyond comprehension

And sometimes, things happen in this world that we simply cannot understand. I remember the morning my sweet sister-in-law called us to say that our niece’s two-month old son died in his sleep. Our tiny nephew was born 5 weeks premature and he was a fighter. He spent 12 days in the hospital before coming home. But he was doing great. All was well. And then He slipped away – into the arms of Jesus. They buried his tiny body in a tiny casket and still grieve his loss today.

There is no way to understand such a loss. We live in a broken world. When God created the world, it was perfect. But with the sin of Adam and Eve, God’s perfect world became broken and sinful. As a result, death arrived on the scene. But the loss of one so tiny and young is beyond our comprehension.

The minister that spoke at Baby Ben’s funeral shared two scriptures: the first was Deuteronomy 29:29 where Moses said that the secret things belong to the Lord. We can’t understand why some things happen, but we must trust these things to God. The other scripture the minister shared was about the death of David and Bathsheba’s infant son. David said in 2 Samuel 12:23, “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” Baby Ben’s family continues to greatly miss him, weep for him, and mourn his loss. We will not see him in this life again, but we know that at the appointed time we will go to him and be with him in eternity. Losing Baby Ben is not a “Goodbye”…it’s “I’ll see you later.”

Our Hope is in the Groom

We all know that life here on earth is not easy. But we have hope and peace when we place our faith in Jesus, believing in His free gift of eternal life. Every single one of us will experience death, unless we experience the rapture. But for the Bride of Christ, death is just the door that takes us to the Groom, the Lamb of God, our Redeemer and Savior.

We can know, without any doubt, that we will see Baby Ben later because of Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection that paid the price for our sins so that Jesus could offer us the free gift of eternal life. If we accept that gift by faith, then we become the bride of Christ and He is getting ready to bring His bride home.

Jesus told us in John 14:1-7, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.”

Our groom is getting ready and He is preparing a place for us!

Preparing for the marriage of the Lamb

What are we, the bride of Christ, doing to prepare for the marriage of the Lamb? Are we prepared to take our place beside Him? Have we yielded and surrendered to God so that we are ready when it is time? Are we walking by faith, obediently living for Him? Are we telling others about Him so that we bring them with us to the marriage feast? And are we daily reading His Word and developing a relationship with Him? We don’t often hear of arranged marriages anymore. Could you imagine marrying someone that you met once at the altar of a church but never saw again? We get to know the groom as we study God’s Word, attend church, worship with other believers, and through prayer. How well do you know the groom?

What are you doing to prepare for the marriage of the Lamb? The groom is coming!

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Tee of the Week: Giants

From the song, “Confidence” by Sanctus Reel. As we start a new year, what giants are you facing? What big thing is God asking you to do? Do you need faith like Daniel in the lion’s den? Hope like Moses in the wilderness? A heart like David? Do you need God to be your defense? If you have giants, you can face them with confidence because God is God of the impossibles.

Giants

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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:

  • 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.

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Did Jesus experience stress?

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

Stress. Just reading the word may have made you feel some level of stress. There is really no way to go through life without it. Babies experience it while still in the womb. Children feel it when separated from loving parents or when it is time for a test in school. Teenagers experience it learning to drive and beginning to navigate life with more independence. College students experience it learning to do life with roommates, learning to be responsible, and in making choices that will affect the rest of their lives. Newlyweds experience it as they learn to live together and do life together. It’s in the corporate world and the financial world. It’s in the medical world and in politics. There is stress in your senior years. It shows up at work, in your marriage, in your family, and even amongst friends.

Jesus said: “You will have suffering.”

Ministry is no different. Just because you answer the call to serve God, your obedient “yes” does not save you from stress. Jesus even warned the disciples in John 16:33 (HCSB), “You will have suffering in this world.” He didn’t say “if.” He said, “You will.” Sometimes the stress we experience is of our own making when we step out of God’s best for us. Sometimes it comes outside of anything we can control. The short of it is that you, and me, can be assured that we will experience stress.

Thankfully, Jesus didn’t end what He was saying to the disciples with just that statement. He went on to say, “Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” And that is very good news![1]

Jesus experienced stress while on earth

Jesus himself experienced stress while he was on earth. The Son of God who took on human flesh and walked on earth, lived among men, and had the hardest task ever given – one that would determine eternity for every person God created – knew what stress was. He knew exactly what would be lost if for any reason He failed in His mission. We would be lost. If he failed, we would not have a choice to accept Him as our Savior. It would mean that every one of us would have no hope of spending eternity in heaven. It would mean that all of us would be destined for an eternity in hell.

If anyone was ever under pressure to accomplish His mission, it would have been Jesus. On the night He was betrayed in the garden, we can hear the stress and anxiety His human body felt as he prayed for God to take “this cup,” the task of going to the cross, away from Him. He was under so much stress that the Bible says he sweated drops of blood while he was praying.

How Jesus handled stress

Ephesians 5:1-2 tells us that we are to be imitators of God and 2 Corinthians 3:18 says that we who are Christians are being transformed into His image. If we are to be Christ’s image-bearers and “Christ-like,” then we need to see how He handled stress and listen to His instructions for the moments of life that are stressful.

Jesus didn’t run away from the stress

The Bible doesn’t give us much information about Jesus’ growing up years, but we do know from the moment we see Him beginning His ministry at age 30 (Luke 3:23), He was faced with expectations by Jews who believed that if He was the Messiah, he would set up an earthly kingdom and free them from the Romans. He was spied on and questioned by Sadducees and Pharisees who constantly tried to trip Him up and discredit Him to the ones who did believe in Him. He was either greatly loved, or greatly hated. There was a constant demand to perform miracles, but He never ran away from the people.

Jesus made himself available and met the needs of the people with compassion and patience

Jesus didn’t use the disciples as bodyguards who people had to get through to get Him.  He even made Himself available to little children. He had the responsibility for training and preparing His twelve disciples to be the ones who would carry the gospel message to the world after He would return to Heaven. When the disciples failed to understand something Jesus was teaching them, we never see Him yell at them.  Even as He faced the cross, we don’t see Jesus arguing with Pilate when he sentenced Jesus to death just so Pilate could appease the people and avoid an angry mob.

In Mark 6, we find Jesus and the disciples exhausted. They had been so busy doing ministry that they had not even had time to eat. So, Jesus tells them to take some time to go away to a remote place and rest, but the crowds of people saw them leaving and ran ahead of them. When Jesus and the disciples stepped on the shore, he doesn’t send them away. Verse 34 tells us that Jesus had compassion on them and began to teach them. Then he feeds 5000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish.  

Jesus never crumbled under the load of stress

No matter what stress He faced, we never once see Him crumble. The Bible never tells us of one moment where Jesus felt lost or helpless or hopeless. When the disciples tried to send away little children who they saw as being in Jesus’ way, Jesus stopped them and welcomed them. It makes us want to ask, “How did Jesus do it all?” Of course, He was the Son of God, but He was also human, and therefore, our example.

Even as Jesus neared his death and upcoming crucifixion, He set the example for us. When Peter cut off an ear of a soldier who had come to arrest Jesus, He picked up the ear and miraculously put it back on. On the way to the cross, as He stumbled beneath the load of carrying the cross they would nail Him to, He turns to the women crying for Him and says, “Do not weep for me” (Luke 23:28). Even on the cross He cries out to God saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

Throughout His life, we see Christ model emotional strength, sense of purpose, and motivation. Yes, He was the Son of God…but do not lose the fact that while on earth, He was also human and He experienced stress just as we do. However, we never see Him giving in to the pressures of stress.

Jesus got up early to go out alone and pray

How did Jesus handle all the stress and not crumble under the load? Mark 1:35 provides the answer. Here, we find, “And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed.” This is the most important example that Jesus set for us. If the Son of God found it necessary to get up early and get alone with God in prayer, then how much more so should we? If we are to have victory in the spiritual battles we face and be able to handle the stress that Satan throws our way we too must get alone and pray.

The advantage to starting out your day in prayer is it fills up your spiritual tank and helps you manage the stress of the day in more Christ like way. When we start the day communing with God, it connects us to the Vine so we are nourished with the Living Water. Through prayer, we can become sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit and see where God is at work.

Imagine, for a moment, that as Jesus leaves to go out alone to pray, he turns and looks at you and softly invites you to join him. Picture him on his knees praying. Where would his attention be? Can you see the expression on his face? Is his head bowed or is his face raised up to heaven. Take a few moment and sit quietly with him.

Now imagine yourself asking him to teach you to pray. What would he say is lacking in your prayer life? Would he say that you do all the talking and no listening? Would he say that you treat him like a genie in a bottle? Do you think he would say that you pray without faith? Would he invite you to be still and wait? Would he invite you to worship and praise God? Spend some time alone with him now and ask him to show you how to pray better.

Do not worry

Jesus taught us that we should not stress and worry. In Matthew 6:25, Jesus taught, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” Then in verses 32-34, He says, “For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.” It sounds really good to just simply “not worry” but it isn’t easy in practice.

Where does your help come from?

In Psalm 121:1-2, David asks, “Where will my help come from?” Then he answers his own questions with, “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Habakkuk 3:19 says, “Yahweh my Lord is my strength.” And in John 14:26, Jesus told us, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit – the Father will send Him in My name – will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.”  Jesus not only set an example, He also gave us the power of God living in us through the Holy Spirit that can help us meet every stressful situation we face.

Yes, in this world we will have sufferings. But thankfully Jesus did not end the statement there. He said, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33)


[1] Do you know what the math book said to the pencil? “I’m full of problems.” But just as a math book is full of problems, the Bible is full of solutions!

Self-care course and coaching

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Pre-order for a 50% discount. You will get the complete set of downloadable self-care video-based course plus 10 group coaching sessions.

Pre-order now to receive a 50% discount! (Releasing December 2021)

You will get the complete downloadable self-care video-based course plus 10 group coaching sessions.

We know that ministry is hard! When you serve in ministry as staff or volunteer, you are on a spiritual battlefield 24/7. As you serve God, you fight for the Kingdom of God and our adversary is constantly attacking. He wants you to either lose your effectiveness in your ministry role or get you to quit. We must be sure we are reconnecting to the Vine (Jesus) so that we can refill, renew, and recharge. Then we can keep on pouring into others.

If you are feeling like you are losing the fight or struggling to stay in the fight, Jesus says to you, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” (Mark 6:31) Self-care is both Biblical and necessary, if you are going to stay in the fight and be effective in the Kingdom of God. Stress, burnout, and compassion fatigue are real weapons that the adversary uses against us.

Even if you do not serve in ministry, if you are a Christian, you too are in a spiritual battle. Every Christian fights the same adversary and our Biblical self-care principles are for every Christian.

What you get in this self-care course:

In Part 1 of this video-based course, you will learn about the spiritual dangers in ministry, discover if God is testing you or is Satan attacking you, understand that ministry is battlefield and how to be steadfast, immovable on the battlefield, learn how the devil uses his wiles and schemes against us, and remember how to use your Spiritual Armor. We will also breakdown stress, burnout, and compassion fatigue.

Part 2 is all about Preventing and Recovering from Burnout and Compassion Fatigue as we go through six areas that need self-care. In this part of the course we will provide you with practical ways that you can immediately begin practicing self-care. As you continue to serve God in whatever way He has called you, self-care is vital if you are not going to grow weary in doing good so you can reap at the proper time (Galatians 6:9).

Additionally, this packaged deal will provide 10 group coaching session where we will discuss the weekly assigned videos and do check-ins on where you are in each of the six areas of self-care that include: Spiritual, Sensory, Emotional, Social, Physical, and Intellectual.

Releasing in December 2021, this packaged deal will include the complete video-based course plus 10 group coaching sessions with the author, Julia Bruce. In the 10-week program you will complete weekly videos and assignments and then meet virtually for a group coaching session to help you apply self-care where you need it. 

But wait! That’s not all! Check out this Bonus to the self-care course and coaching program.

BONUS: While this course and group coaching is not releasing until December 2021, if you’re purchasing this material, we know you need help now. So, if you purchase before the release date, we’ll place you in our new private Facebook membership page for free through the end of 2021. In January, this group will require a monthly subscription of $19.99. But it will be yours free through the end of year when you purchase the pre-release of the course and group coaching sessions.  

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<<<NEW>>> In the Spreadshop Store:

Here in Florida, it does not feel like fall yet, but September is here and that means we are growing our fall line of t-shirt designs. Check out these two new designs:

Sweater weather

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See our other fall designs:

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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!

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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.

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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:

  • 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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John 16:33. The Overcomer

John 16:33 Overcomer

When God first created the earth and placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the world was a perfect place. But the moment Eve sinned, the world became a broken place and has, over time, become more and more broken then ever. Jesus never promised that following Him would make life easy. In fact, He told His disciples that they would have tribulation as long as they were in the world. We definitely see tribulations in our world every day, but thankfully, we have an overcomer.

Jesus never promised that following Him would make life easy. In fact, He told His disciples that they would have tribulation as long as they were in the world.

If we were to define “tribulation, ” it would be “a state of great trouble or suffering. Yes, the Bible talks about the great tribulation that is associated with the rapture of all the Christians from this world, but in this verse, Jesus was telling his disciples to expect trouble – even then in their day.

Today’s Tribulations

Today, one only has to turn the news on to hear countless stories of great trouble or suffering. We experience it when the news from the doctor isn’t what we wanted to hear. We experience it when we lose a job or a loved one. Or we experience it when we don’t get the promotion. We experience it through an unexpected and very expensive car repair. We experience it through divorce. It occurs when there is a miscarriage. From domestic violence to mass shootings, from pandemics to racial issues, tribulations are everywhere we turn. As long as Satan and his demons have free reign in this world, there will be tribulations. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:10 that we can expect weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.

The disciples all definitely experienced tribulation. While the Bible only tells how two of them died, but there are reports from history and legends that tell us what happened to them.

What happened to the disciples? The following disciples were crucified:

  • Peter was martyred in Rome about 66 AD  – crucified, upside down at his request
  • Andrew went to the “land of the man-eaters” (now known as the Soviet Union) where he is claimed to be the first to bring the gospel to that area. He also preached in Asia Minor, modern-day Tureky, and in Greece, where he is said to have been crucified.
  • Philip is said to have preached in North Africa and then Asia Minor where he converted the wife of a Roman proconsul. In retaliation the proconsul had Philip arrested. Some accounts indicate he was stoned to death and others indicate he was crucified upside down while still continuing to preach the gospel.
  • Bartholomew preached in India with Thomas, as well as Armenia, Ethiopia, and Southern Arabia. There are various accounts of his death, but they all agree that he was martyred by crucifixion, also upside down.

The other martyred disciples:

  • Thomas appears to have been most active east of Syria and traditions have him going as far as east India to spread the gospel. It is claimed that he died there when he was pierced through with the spears of four soldiers.
  • Matthew (the tax collector and author of the Gospel of Matthew) preached in Persia and Ethiopia. Some reports say he was not martyred while others indicate he was stabbed to death in Ethiopia.
  • James, the son of Alpheus is believed to have preached in Syria. The Jewish historian Josephus reports that he was stoned and then clubbed to death.
  • Simon the Zealot may have ministered in Persia where he was killed because he refused to sacrifice to the sun god. No documentation could be found regarding how he was killed.

Only One Disciples Died a Natural Death

John is the only one believed to have died a natural death from old age – but they did try to kill him. It is believed that he was the leader of the church in Ephesus and that he took Mary, Jesus’ mother, into his home when Jesus was crucified. When Christians were being persecuted under Domitian rule, he was cast into boiling oil at Rome and survived. He was then exiled to the island of Patmos where he wrote the book of Revelation.

Two identified Disciples after Jesus’ Death

After Jesus death, two additional disciples are identified in the Bible. The disciples chose to replace Judas who had betrayed Jesus. Matthais became the 12 disciple. Then on the Road to Damascus, Jesus Himself confronted Saul, commissioned him and changed his name to Paul. What does history tell us about these two disciples?

  • Matthais took the place of Judas, the betrayer of Jesus. Traditionally, it is believed that he preached in Syria with Andrew and was put to death by burning.
  • Paul, while not a disciple until after Jesus ascended into heaven, was responsible for the writing of many of the New Testament books of the Bible. He was a missionary and traveled to several countries to spread the gospel. Eventually, he was imprisoned and martyred in Rome about 66 AD under Emperor Nero who had him beheaded.

Man of Sorrows

If these disciples who followed Jesus experienced tribulation, why do people today think that the Christian life is rosy and sunshine? While Jesus walked the earth, he did not go through life as a “positive-thinker.” Isaiah 53:3 describes Him as a man of sorrows. If we read prophecy found Isaiah 52:13-53:12 we can see how much sorrow and suffering the Messiah would endure. He suffered first by leaving the glories of heaven and entering the human race as a man. Then He suffered all the things that humanity suffers, and then finally He suffered the wrath of God as the sin-bearer. Such suffering must have been all the more acute for Him, given His perfect nature. Who of us could ever understand the depths of what His righteous spirit suffered as He lived among fallen humanity?

The Joy Set Before Him

Even though Jesus suffered greatly, He did not live with depression or go around with a long face. Hebrews 12:2 tell us He could rejoice in His sufferings as He focused on the final outcome. In this verse we find that Jesus is “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.”

Just before going to the cross, Jesus and the disciples celebrated the Passover together in the upper room. There He washed the disciples feet, Jesus identified Judas as His betrayer, He broke the bread and shared the wine. But then the Bible tells us they sang a hymn of praise. Jesus knew that as they walked out of the upper room and into the garden to pray that he would be arrested and falsely tried. He knew everything He was about to endure and that He would die – and yet He could sing a hymn of praise. Why? Because He would have completed the task He came to earth to do – to bring salvation to us. He would become our overcomer.

The Simple Truth

The simple truth is that life is hard. There is no such thing as a “name it and claim” theology and anyone who preaches it, is a false teacher. Becoming a Christian doesn’t make life easy. In fact, it can make it harder. In John 15:19 Jesus warns us with the following: “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” Because we live in a broken world that is ruled by sin and Satan, we can expect that life will be hard. Jesus very clearly informed us in John 16:33 that we would have tribulation in this world.

The Good News

The good news is that Jesus didn’t put the period to the sentence at that point, but follows it with the word, “but.” Yes, we will have tribulation, but Jesus said we should be of good cheer. Why? Because Jesus has overcome the world and because He is our overcomer, we can have hope. Jesus overcame the world when he defeated Satan through His sacrificial death on the cross. Because of the cross, the power of sin has been defeated and eternal life is available to all who believe in Him. Because Jesus is the overcomer, we have the opportunity to accept the gift of eternal life that He offers to every person. We just have to accept it by faith. Then He becomes our overcomer.

Finding Peace in Tribulations

As a Christian, death does not get the final say. The world does not get the final say. No matter what we face in this life, it is temporary and when we step from this life into eternal life, all that was suffered here will be no more. It isn’t that we won’t have troubles in this life, but that we can have peace in the trouble as we go through them in the strength of God because of what Jesus did to make our eternal life secure. In John 16:20 Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.” Eternal joy, as we spend eternity in the presence of our Lord and Savior who is our overcomer.

Jesus said we would have tribulation in this world. Thankfully, He didn’t put the period there, but follows it with “but.” We will have tribulation, but we should be of good cheer because He overcame the world & because He did, we have hope.

#overcomer #tribulations #lifeishard #whathappenedtothedisciples

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If not, come join us as we read the Bible through in one year. Each day we post the scripture reading along with links to read it online.

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Lamentations 3:22-23

Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!

Do you serve in ministry? Great! The self-care blogs are here for you.

In this series of blogs, we breakdown why people in ministry need to practice self care. We explain the differences between stress, burnout, and compassion fatigue. Drawing from both psychology and Biblical principles, we teach self-care to keep ministry servants serving. Whether you are a pastor, missionary, small group leader, worship pastor, nursery worker, facility/maintenance staff, religious non-profit staff, or any other ministry staff, self-care is crucial to you continuing the work God’s called you to do.

If you can relate to this, then take some time to read our self care blogs.

Test your Bible smarts and see if you can answer our trivia questions. We post a trivia question every other day and the correct answer on the next day. Stop by the trivia page and grab a question or two and see if your friends and family can answer it.

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What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?

This book 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, Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobel. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.

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(Due to COVID-19, we are only tentatively booking speaking engagements for events after September 2020 based on the recommendations as issued by the CDC and our government officials.)

We are eager to be a part of your next church or ministry event – regardless of size. We can bring one of our ministry programs to your church, or we can tailor a message to your event theme. To request more information or schedule a booking, fill out the online form at the link below. Or call us at 904.239.8937.

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Psalm 55:22 What to do with burdens

Jul 28 Psalm 55 22.png

Burdens. Big problems that bring fear, worry, and hurt. Problems without any good solutions. The kind of problems when you don’t know what to do. The kind that makes your heart feel heavy and weighed down. We all experience them – it’s just a part of life. Sometimes they happen because of a choice or decision we made. Sometimes they happen outside of anything we could do. Burdens – like a health crisis, financial crisis, marriage crisis, betrayal of a friend, a wayward child, a job loss. Burdens – like trying to make an important life-changing decision, trying to understand God’s will for your life. Burdens – like watching the evil in the world destroying lives.

Burdens. Whatever they are, God wants us to cast them on Him – surrender them to Him and trust that He is in control. David tells us that whenever we are burdened, God promises to sustain us through the burden and the He will not let us be moved or shaken by it. God never promises us that burdens will not come our way, but He does promise that He will carry us through them. But how do we cast our burdens on the Lord?

Casting our burdens on the Lord begins in prayer. Hebrews 4:16 tells us, “Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.” As we get on our knees and cry out to God, we can tell Him all about our burdens. However, too often, when we do, we come to Him whining and wonder how God could allow this burden to happen. As we tell him about our burdens, rather than complaining, just tell him what’s going on in your life and how it is making you feel. It’s ok to tell Him you don’t understand what’s going on and ask Him to help you understand.

We can also, seek His face in the midst of the burden and ask that He resolve the issue. If, by his mercy, he does, then we can give Him praise and thanks for it. But God doesn’t always deliver us. At times, it is His will that we endure the burden so that we can grow in our faith and trust. In these times He is teaching us to be more like Him or preparing us for a specific plan He has for us. Problems can also be a means of God trying to get our attention or they could be a consequence to sin in our lives. So as we are on our knees, we need to be seeking His face as to why this burden has been placed on us. Ask the Holy Spirit to help reveal to you if God is trying to get your attention or trying teach you something, if there is sin that is the root cause of the burden. If you feel that God is trying to teach you something, then begin to research the Bible for what the scriptures have to say regarding what He’s trying to teach you. If the Holy Spirit reveals the cause of the problem is sin, then repent and confess it to God.

Lastly, we can ask God to show us solutions but also be willing to endure going through the burden, if that is God’s will, with a surrendered heart that says, “Thy will be done!” If you find you must go through the burden, then surround yourself daily with scriptures of God’s promises to never leave you, promises that He will give you strength,  the promises of Him carrying you, and the promises that God will provide for you in every circumstance. Some of these promises are:

  • Philippians 4:19 – for when you need God to supply your needs
  • Matthew 6:33 and James 1:5 – for when you need wisdom to make difficult decisions
  • Psalm 23:4, Psalm 119:76, John 16:33 and 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – for when you need comfort
  • 2 Corinthians 9:8 – for when you need grace to remain faithful to Him
  • Psalms 46:1 and Philippians 4:13 – for when you need strength to persevere
  • Romans 8:18 – for when you need to be reminded that the burdens we face today are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed to us in heaven.
  • Jeremiah 29:11 – for when you need to be reminded that God has a specific plan for your life – one that is for your good and not for your harm.
  • 1 John 3:1 – for when you  need to be reminded of God’s love for you
  • Isaiah 41:10 – for when you battling fear
  • Deuteronomy 31:8 – for when you need to be reminded that God will never leave you
  • Romans 8:37-39 – for when you need to be reminded that nothing can separate us from God’s love

When you truly trust and believe that God will sustain you through the burden, that He is able to deliver you from it if it is His will,  and that He will take care of every need the burden creates, then the weight that you feel in your heart will be lifted and you will know that you have cast the burden on Him.

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We have a new product line of Christian apparel and gifts available in our Teespring Store and our new Spreadshop Store. You’ll find tee shirts, hoodies, tanks, socks, leggings, tote bags, mugs, iphone cases and more. All proceeds go to the advancement of Wellspring Christian Ministries. Thank you for helping us grow!

Click here to view the Teespring store. 

Click here to view the Spreadshop Store which has a 15% discount through August 9, 2019

 

Cover_m God, Love and Marshmallow Wars: This book contains 365 daily challenges for couples to strengthen their relationships to each other and with God. Couples will complete activities such as Scripture memory, conversation starters, relationship builders, learning about Biblical marriage, romance builders, personal reflections, and date ideas. Click here to purchase your copy. (This link will open a new widow and take you to Westbow Press’ bookstore.) It is also available at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobel

 

book now summer and fall

Looking for a speaker for your next ministry event? Julia is now booking for 2019 and 2020 Christian events for women’s and couples’ ministries for both small and large events.
Book with us now.

Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants.

Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.

With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities.

Image result for form pngTo request more information or a booking, 
fill out the online form here.

 

Image result for phone clipart png
Or call us at 904.524.8073

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John 16:33. Overcomer

John 16:33 Overcomer

Jun 07 John 16 33

When God first created the earth and placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the world was a perfect place. But the moment Eve sinned, the world became a broken place and has, over time, become more broken then ever. Jesus never promised that following Him would make life easy. In fact, He told His disciples that they would have tribulation as long as they were in the world.

Jesus never promised that following Him would make life easy. In fact, He told His disciples that they would have tribulation as long as they were in the world. — click to tweet

If we were to define “tribulation, ” it would be “a state of great trouble or suffering. Yes, the Bible talks about the great tribulation that is associated with the rapture of all the Christians from this world, but in this verse, Jesus was telling his disciples to expect trouble – even then in their day. Today, one only has to turn the news on to hear countless stories of great trouble or suffering. We experience it when the news from the doctor isn’t what we wanted to hear. We experience it when we lose a job or a loved one. We experience it when we don’t get the promotion. We experience it through an unexpected and very expensive car repair. We experience it through divorce. It occurs when there is a miscarriage. From domestic violence to mass shootings, tribulations are everywhere. As long as Satan and his demons have free reign in this world, there will be tribulations. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:10 that we can expect weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.

The disciples all definitely experienced tribulation. While the Bible only tells how two of them died, but there are reports and legends that tell us what happened to them.

  • Peter was martyred in Rome about 66 AD  – crucified, upside down at his request
  • Andrew went to the “land of the man-eaters” (now known as the Soviet Union) where he is claimed to be the first to bring the gospel to that area. He also preach in Asia Minor, modern-day Tureky, and in Greece, where he is said to have been crucified.
  • Thomas appears to have been most active east of Syria and traditions have him going as far as east India to spread the gospel. It is claimed that he died there when he was pierce through with the spears of four soldiers.
  • Philip is said to have preached in North Africa and then Asia Minor where he converted the wife of a Roman proconsul. In retaliation the proconsul had Philip arrested. Some accounts indicate he was stoned to death and others indicate he was crucified upside down while still continuing to preach the gospel.
  • Matthew (the tax collector and author of the Gospel of Matthew) preached in Persia and Ethiopia. Some reports say he was not martyred while others indicate he was stabbed to death in Ethiopia.
  • Bartholomew preached in India with Thomas, as well as Armenia, Ethiopia, and Southern Arabia. There are various accounts of his death, but they all agree that he was martyred by crucifixion, also upside down.
  • James, the son of Alpheus is believed to have preached in Syria. The Jewish historian Josephus reports that the was stoned and then clubbed to death.
  • Simon the Zealot may have ministered in Persia where he was killed because he refused to sacrifice to the sun god.
  • John is the only one believed to have died a natural death from old age – but they did try to kill him. It is believed that he was the leader of the church in Ephesus and that he took Mary, Jesus’ mother, into his home when Jesus was crucified. When Christians were being persecuted under Domitian rule, he was cast into boiling oil at Rome and survived. He was exiled to the island of Patmos where he wrote the book of Revelation.
  • Matthais took the place of Judas, the betrayer of Jesus. Traditionally, it is believe that he preached in Syria with Andrew and was put to death by burning.
  • Paul, while not a disciple until after Jesus ascended into heaven, was responsible for the writing of many of the New Testament books of the Bible. He was a missionary and traveled to several countries to spread the gospel. Eventually, he was imprisoned and martyred in Rome about 66 AD under Emperor Nero who had him beheaded.

If these disciples who followed Jesus experienced tribulation, why do people today think that the Christian life is rosy and sunshine? While Jesus walked the earth, he did not go through life as “positive-thinker.” Isaiah 53:3 describes Him as a man of sorrows. The simple truth is that life is hard.

There is no such thing as a “name it and claim” theology and anyone who preaches it, is a false teacher. Jesus very clearly informed us in John 16:33 that we would have tribulation in this world. The good news is that Jesus didn’t put the period to the sentence at that point, but follows it with the word, “but.” Yes, we will have tribulation, but Jesus said we should be of good cheer. Why? Because Jesus has overcome the world and because He did, we can have hope. Jesus overcame the world when he defeated Satan through His sacrificial death on the cross. Because of the cross, the power of sin has been defeated and eternal life is available to all who believe in Him. As a Christian, death does not get the final say. The world does not get the final say. No matter what we face in this life, it is temporary and when we step from this life into eternal life, all that was suffered here will be no more. It isn’t that we won’t have troubles in this life, but that we can have peace in the trouble as we go through it in the strength of God because of what Jesus did to make our eternal life secure. In John 16:20 Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.” Eternal joy, as we spend eternity in the presence of our Lord and Savior.

Jesus said we would have tribulation in this world. Thankfully, He didn’t put the period there, but follows it with “but.” We will have tribulation, but we should be of good cheer because He overcame the world & because He did, we have hope. — click to tweet

shell divider

Cover_m God, Love and Marshmallow Wars: This book contains 365 daily challenges for couples to strengthen their relationships to each other and with God. Couples will complete activities such as Scripture memory, conversation starters, relationship builders, learning about Biblical marriage, romance builders, personal reflections, and date ideas. Click here to purchase your copy. (This link will open a new widow and take you to Westbow Press’ bookstore.) It is also available at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobel

 

book now summer and fall

Looking for a speaker for your next ministry event? Julia is now booking for 2019 and 2020 Christian events for women’s and couples’ ministries for both small and large events.
Book with us now.

Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants.

Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.

With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities.

Image result for form pngTo request more information or a booking, 
fill out the online form here.

 

Image result for phone clipart png
Or call us at 904.524.8073