Addicted to Hope
Victor Frankl once noted that people who lost hope while in concentration camps rapidly declined both physically and mentally. Mitchum is a licensed therapist, and she writes about the importance of hope during times of great difficulty, pandemic, war, and families battling addiction. It’s not all negative, she says. Our struggles provide opportunities for growth and further personal development (Wynantskill, New York).
Your Greater is Right Now
The biggest challenges facing today’s youth are not what you would think they are. Education, unemployment, and crime may lead some of the lists, but these are symptomatic to what’s happening internally with most youth. Failure to succeed has a source and that’s often the breakdown of the family which leads to poor self-esteem and self-management. Love is an educational specialist who believes youth are failing to thrive because they feel lost. “They need to change their perspective about themselves.” He believes a faith element is vital for understanding the big questions like “Why am I here?” “What am I born to do?” and “Am I relevant in the world?” Young people aren’t getting the answers to life’s biggest questions which leave them feeling hopelessness and helplessness (McKinney, Texas).
For the Faith of the Next Generation
Christianity, the church, and the home are all under attack and continue to face serious challenges to avoid declining. Kurz has more than 30 years of experience in children’s ministry, says “The best efforts of the church cannot replace the impact of parents in passing faith to their children.” Parents must see themselves as primary spiritual and moral influencers. The role of the church is to come alongside parents and support them as they disciple them. Kurz says, “Relationships equals influence and parents have a built-in advantage (Phoenix, Arizona).
A licensed biblical counselor, Edwards writes about the horrendous impact of sex trafficking on the young women and boys. From shame to loneliness and deep defilement, many can’t find a way out. The average age girls are recruited is 12 to 14. For boys, it is as young as 11. It is the fastest-growing business of organized crime and the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world. In America, perhaps as many as 300,000 are at-risk. Most from broken families or previously abused. Edwards helps us learn how we can make a difference (Yucaipa, California).
Perfectly Suited: The Armor of God for the Anxious Mind
“As my OCD escalated, unwanted, nonsensical ideas invaded my brain. They felt decidedly out of character, shocking, or shameful. Their very existence proved distressing, and their persistence caused me to wonder if maybe they really did represent me on some level.” Pastor Jeff explains that 77% of Americans experience physical symptoms of stress and 73% experience psychological symptoms. Today, and increasingly since the pandemic, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide (40 million American adults suffer from an anxiety disorder). Peabody interweaves his own struggles and the armor of God found in Paul’s writing to the Ephesians. We go about life thinking we can handle our problems, until we can’t (Seattle, Washington).
Wealth without Sorrow: A realistic approach to becoming debt-free
Kirk grew up impoverished but went on to run one of the most successful travel agencies in the Northwest before selling it just before the pandemic. Many have been forced many out of jobs, homes, or find themselves in dire conditions. Those who have lived largely debt-free have weathered the present conditions better than those with loads of debt. In times of hardship, God’s principles prove themselves every time says Kirk. Her can-do attitude coupled with solid biblical principles offers hope at a time when uncertainty rules and inflation is growing (Orlando, Florida).
Make Up Your Mind: Unlock Your Thoughts, Transform Your Life
“Having a healthy mindset is key to a victorious life” explains Pass. What we think matters to how we act. We are surrounded by so much negativity that some of us can’t see how our negative mindsets are bound in unhelpful attitudes and habits. We lack joy and peace when we entertain unhealthy ideas or beliefs. Pass helps readers overcome battles in the mind that lead to shame. “Our thoughts turn into beliefs, and beliefs turn into action or inaction,” says Pass. (Fredericksburg, Virginia).
Bags: Helping Your Kids Lighten the Load
Bullying. School shootings. Sexual indoctrination. Gender confusion. School used to be about reading, writing and arithmetic but today young people are up against far more challenges. From teen depression to suicide and broken families, many kids are struggling to keep it together in a world gone mad. Sasser has been working with kids for thirty years, counsels them, hears their stories, and helps them navigate an increasing complex and confusing world. He identifies eight specific areas where parents can make a difference in the lives of their kids (Wilmington, North Carolina).
The 7 Resolutions: Where Self-Help Ends and God’s Power Begins
“We’re all in recovery,” says pastor and radio host, Clauson. “Many of us struggle to overcome sins, habits, addictions that are ruining our joy and sapping our spiritual vitality. This is about how to win our biggest battles. He identifies seven of the biggest hurdles and says there is no such thing as self-help in God’s kingdom. He encourages us to look at the systems that are working in our lives and those that are broken (Chicago, Illinois).
Equipping Christians for Kingdom Purpose in their Work
During a time when the meaning of work has changed dramatically, Lutz encourages Christians to see it as “vocational discipleship.” He says everyone wants answers to three core questions: who are you? what is your purpose? and how will you fulfill your purpose? He holds a D.Min. at Covenant Theological Seminary and encourages Christians to see their work as a place for intentional discipleship (Atlanta, Georgia).
A former NFL star with the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings, Jackson realized his life was missing something when he surrendered his life to Christ. A graduate of New Mexico State University, Jackson went on to play with some of pro football’s greatest players. Now an evangelist, Jackson says, “Our generation has no moral compass. For the sake of inclusion, we’ve lost biblical reason and common sense” (Phoenix, Arizona).
God’s Plan for You
A whopping 70% of young people who grow up in church decide to leave by their late teens or early twenties. In general, churches are struggling to retain attendance, even for those who have attended for many years.
Outlaw was part of the statistic. Raised as a preacher’s kid, at 18, he left his church and ventured out on his own. While he eventually came back, he struggled in finding God’s plan and purpose for his life. He highlights twenty-one core issues that help us discover God’s unique purpose (Missouri City, Texas).
Fractured Faith: Finding Your Way Back to God in an Age of Deconstruction
“Sometimes, when you finally let go of all the clutter in you that you believe about God, you make room for Him in your life again” says Abujamra. She’s a pediatric ER doctor who left her scandal-ridden church and ended up in a crisis of faith. “My faith began a slow deconstruction into disbelief,” she says. She lists five things that lead to her own struggles and then unpacks each one surgically and then explains how she came back to Go (Chicago, Illinois).
Ecclesiastes and the Search for Meaning in an Upside-Down World
His father abandoned him and shortly thereafter he lost his godly grandmother to cancer. By the age of 12, he started using drugs. “I somehow missed a crucial lesson,” says Meek. “It’s important to express your emotions, to give a voice to your heartache and rage.” He is now a professor of Old Testament, philosophy, and ethics. It took years to untangle the knot of suffering, death, and injustice he felt. Now, says Meek, it is a mistake to look to something beside God for what only He can do – bring meaning and healing in our darkest wounds (Sandpoint, Idaho).
Keeping Hope Alive
Depression, hopelessness, and suicide are expanding dramatically in adolescents as well as adults. Youth, with few emotional tools to handle their hopelessness, feel lost. Thirty-seven percent of college students suffer from depression while 3,500 attempt to take their own lives each year. Fox says, “God’s goodness and unfailing love are near every day, even on the difficult ones and those we’d like to forget.” She observes, “It’s not a matter of if storms will come to our lives but when.” She encourages us to prepare for the inevitable disappointments and trials by clinging to the One who understands these (Vancouver, British Columbia).
Nearly two-thirds of Christian pastors and youth leaders have struggled with pornography. In a world where sexual imagery is everywhere and any kind of sexual behavior is deemed permissible, or celebrated, it’s no wonder addiction to sexual sin is wreaking havoc in homes and in lives. Superior Court Judge (Ret.), Levis explains the progressive nature of sexual sin and how it acts like a cancer in one’s life, marriage, and work. The solution, says Levis, is not to believe you can handle it on your own. When he finally gave up the secrecy and confessed, God met him and healed him (Cambria, California).
No Place to Hide: standing for Christ in a collapsing culture
“Today, those who claim to be tolerant actually seek to be dominant” says Lutzer. He says a cultural tsunami has arrived, and there is no safe ground. “Politics cannot be separated from morality, and morality cannot be separated from Christianity,” he says. Yet today many Christians are finding it difficult to find any middle ground. He claims the “woke washing” creates a collective demonization that preclude discussion or debate. “If we cannot control you, we will destroy you.” Lutzer believes churches are next; that those who preach Biblical truths will be targeted in the name of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (Chicago, Illinois).
100 Days of Freedom from Anger
Division, hatred, conflict, it seems the world is more divided than ever. “Peace is a scare commodity in these turbulent times,” says Arterburn. He encourages us to treat every single day as an “exercise in spiritual growth.” How do we find peace where there is so much negativity in the world? Arterburn offers 100 ways to reorient our lives, give up the conflict, and find lasting peace in our lives and relationships (Carmel, Indiana).
Visionary Church: How Your Church Can Strengthen Families
Many families are fractured, under stress, or suffering from the strain of day-to-day uncertainties. Parents are desperate for any help they can get as the culture offers temptations and struggles that seek to undermine Judeo-Christian values. While Dr. Rienow believes parents are ultimately responsible for the moral and spiritual guidance of their children, his book offers concrete ways that churches can equip and strengthen families so that faith will be passed down through the generations (Wheaton, Illinois).
From Transgender to Transformed
The gay and transgender lifestyles are touted as people embracing reality, being true to self, and finding genuine peace. These are lies says Perry. Born a female, she went through hormone treatments and mutilation to become a man. Instead, she found deep depression, unhappiness, and misery. After coming to faith in Christ, she de-transitioned and lives today as God designed her. Her story is a wake-up call to a culture pushing an anti-science ideal that produces misery and despair and leads to depression and high rates of suicide (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma).
When a Loved One is Addicted / Rebuilding Trust after Betrayal
Addictions are not decreasing in the U.S.; they are on the rise. From food to prescription drugs to social media, many people can seem to say no to the things that harm themselves or their loved ones. Dr. Jantz says living with an addict means trust is next to impossible, you will always be second place in their lives, they are crazy-makers, and their friends are often just like them. There is hope, explains Jantz, “God is much bigger than any addiction” (Seattle, WA).
Moving Forward in Hope: A Devotional for Families of LGBTQ+ Loved Ones
You may feel angry, ashamed, bewildered, and adrift when you face the reality that someone you love has announced they are gay or transgender. What do you do? How do you act? What can you say? Shick, whose own father told her he was a woman trapped in a man’s body, knows what it’s like to feel the awkward, hopeless feeling of betrayal. As we empty ourselves of deep disappointment and heartache, God meets us in our hurts (Waynesville, North Carolina).
STRESS, DEPRESSION, WORRY (booklets)
Many of us are overwhelmed by fear, worried about the future, and wondering what’s next. Hunt says depression is the #1 health problem today and Christians are not immune to it. In step-by-step fashion she identifies to root causes, gives Scriptural encouragement and then finishes with practical advice for how to overcome the often-debilitating control that rules our lives in and out of a pandemic (Dallas, TX).
Freedom Realized: Finding Freedom from Homosexuality
Born gay? Gay Christian? Not so fast. A new study shows that an astonishing 72 percent of same sex attracted people who want help and commit a year toward freedom from their sexual brokenness and addiction find it. An unprecedented survey conducted by Stephen Black and his colleagues included an initial 1,200 client files compiled over twenty-five years. The 185 respondents (main focus group of responders) came to First Stone Ministries as sexually broken (88 to 92 percent). According to Black, “There are tens of thousands of people across the United States who have permanently left a homosexual or gay identity” (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma).
Finding Freedom and Joy in Self-Forgetfulness
Living in the past is easy for most of us. All of the things we should have done or should have avoided. Regrets, sadness, looking backward. It never helps. Howe argues that we need to be intentional about forgetting the past and moving forward toward new hope, new direction, and accept the past for what it is, a learning experience. “Self-forgetfulness is the path to joyful inner freedom,” says Howe (Monroe, Michigan).