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Training with Erik Article

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The Sermon on the Mount at Christmas

How do we keep the Christ with us? Follow the Sermon on the Mount.

Be Grateful for the You God Made

Do we sometimes forget to be grateful for ourselves? God made us, too!

Pray with Authority

What results do we expect when we pray? Are we speaking with authority?

Build on the Rock

How do we weather the storms that rage in life?

Watch Out For Wolves in Sheep's Clothing

How do we know what's true and not get tricked by scams or lies?

The Power of Faith in Addiction Recovery

Addiction can be overcome. It takes faith, the right steps, and trust in God

Dust Specks and Logs

Criticism and condemnation hurt. How do we get rid of such attitudinal logs?

Live Worry-Free

How can we get rid of anxiety and stress when there's so much to worry about?

Safe in Humility

How do we stay safe? The Nativity story reveals the ultimate safety plan.

Re-Defining Fasting

Troubled by weight issues? Tired of dieting? Let's fast in a different way - and gain dominion.

Our Daily Bread Moment by Moment

Can we trust God to meet all our needs and so fully experience the present moment?

Quiet Giving

How can we give something of substance to those in need-practically, quietly, powerfully?

Turn the Other Cheek...Towards God

Is it practical to "turn the other cheek" these days? The answer may be surprising. It requires strength.

Salt and Light

Jesus expected us to be "the salt of the earth - the light of the world." Could we transform family dynamics, save failing marriages, overhaul careers?

A Christmas Roast

A burnt roast didn't ruin our family Christmas, which is about love. We maintained our God-given joy, celebrating Christ.

Disaster Preparedness

Is your family prepared to evacuate in case disaster hits? Here's how to prepare a grab bag that includes spiritual necessities, too.

Peace Amidst Storms

When disasters hit, how can we respond to help and heal?

The Screen Challenge

Putting away our phones and other electronic devices will actually transform the lives of our families and future generations.

Our Plan or God's Plan?

How do we respond when plans don't go as planned? How can we be sure we won't miss valuable opportunities, even healings?

Easter Redemption

What God gives you is yours and cannot be taken away. God redeems us as certainly as Jesus resurrected.

Love and Leadership

What makes a great leader? Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and Jesus all have it in common.

Be An Angel: Show Others Their Greatness

Will you be an angel and show others their goodness? Then accept your own innocence, too.

Christmas is Love in Action

Let's welcome the Christ into our lives and discover the unifying power of Love in action.

"The Good That I Would" ... I Can Do!

What keeps us from doing what we know is right? And how can we do what's good?

Go and Do Likewise

What type of world do we want for our children? Are we following Jesus' command, "Go and do likewise?"

Drop the Agenda

What would happen if we dropped our agenda and right there, in the moment of intensity, we loved?

A Ski Lesson: Lead from the Heart

How do you help someone who is struggling? I learned lessons helping my daughter ski.

Defeating Our Goliaths

We can defeat Goliath-like problems-life-threatening disease, financial crisis-as David did.

Slow Down, Be Present, Find Balance

It's easy to rush through our days. Slowing down and being present can help us enjoy a balanced life.

The Greatest Gift - "Love Extravagantly"

What is the greatest gift we can give? Is it not love? To love as Jesus loved?

There's Always a Way Out

If we feel trapped, scared by emotions or situations, we can trust God's loving hand to rescue us.

A Life Lesson from Noah: Patience

Technology has sped up our lives. If emails don't pop up instantly, something is wrong! Patience is waning. And then there's Noah.

Hear the Christmas Message

"Whoever has ears, let them hear!" Are we hearing-understanding with our heart-the message that Jesus came to share?

Be Grateful for You

You are God's beloved child. This Thanksgiving, be grateful for the wonderful you God made. Learn to love yourself as God loves you.

Key to Happiness and Harmony - The Sermon on the Mount

Jesus' Sermon on the Mount gives the key to lasting happiness, harmony that no storm can shake.

The Best Way to Fit In

Social media adds pressure for teens to fit in. Here are ways to help them fit in the right way. It applies to work, too.

Be Grateful, It's Healthy

Many recent studies prove the power of gratitude. Not only does gratitude help our outlook on life, but it actually improves our health.

Having Trouble Sleeping

You have a right to a good night's sleep. It comes straight from God, who watches over you while you rest!

Humilty - The Missing Virtue

How did we get to a place where we idealize self-importance and belittle meekness and humility? And how do we gain humility, which gives us true confidence and greatness?


Having fun is one of the best parts of life. But some activities we think are fun end up being harmful.

Motives for Success

Motives make all the difference, so how can we be sure our motives will help us succeed? Are we in it for ourselves or others, to make an impression or to glorify God?

How Can I Help You? vs. How Dare You!

When people do something wrong, we have a choice - to help or condemn. "How Can I Help You? vs. How Dare You!" shows how Jesus transformed lives through love rather than judgment - and how we can, too.

A Thankful Heart is a Happy Heart

In our search for happiness, gratitude is the best place to start. Things can't give us happiness. God gives us enough.

God Revealed As Seen Through Abraham's Eyes and Ours

Each time God talked with Abraham, the patriarch gained a greater understanding of God. We, too, can see God, El Shaddai, as sufficient to meet all our needs.

Judge Not

Judging others hurts us and limits our opportunities. Find out how forgiveness helps us replace criticism with compliments, focus on what's good, and bring healing.

Free To Be

We all strive to achieve something. However, that could be our first mistake. We don't need to achieve things to feel accomplished. Spending time with friends and love ones, and other activities that involve a less worldly outcome, should also provide us with a feeling of accomplishment.

Leave the Old For the New

Leaving behind an old job or school for a new one involves a lot of uncertainty. This uncertainty can paralyze us in fear, if we focus on what we don't know. Focus on what we do know, like God's love. With God leading us, we can't be steered wrong.

Are We Following the Star?

If you saw the star of Bethlehem, would you follow it? In the Bible, the wise men did, but no one else. The Christ is our Bethlehem star, and like the wise men, we should follow where it leads.

Food, Food, Food

Food is delicious. With that said, we spend so much time discussing how to grill the best steak, sauté the best chicken, or boil the best hot dog we lose sight of God. Ultimately, God is our sustenance, and no condiments are needed.

Abundant Blessings

If we become focused on receiving blessings from God, perhaps the change that needs to occur isn't with the blessings we receive but with out focus. When we focus on others and on God, we see more of the blessings around us, an even bigger blessing than we had hoped.

Employment – God's Provision

The only thing worse than being employed is being unemployed, and with the current economy, many people are facing unemployment. Luckily, we have a divine inheritance to fall back on. As we acknowledge God, and the worry fades away, his divine supply becomes apparent.

The Promise of Resurrection

The pain we face is temporary. The promise of our Resurrection is eternal. Live life without fear of pain or death.

A Healing Response to Violence

Unforeseeable dangers and disasters fly at us everyday. Instead of attempting to swat them away with matter, use the loving alternative.

Praise Lifts!

The best way to lift us up is by lifting our thinking to God and praising his glory. Joseph's life proves that praising God can lift us from even the most despicable situations.

Education: Credentials or Character?

The most important education is character focused. By traditional means our educations are measured by year or credential; yet, Jesus measured mean by character. Traditional knowledge should take a backseat to spiritual enlightenment.

Selfishness Is Not a "Right"

We have the right to be happy, but does that mean we have the right to be selfish? No. Selfishness hurts others and creates only temporary happiness. To find true joy we must be selfless.

A Golden Rule Life

The Golden Rule empowers those that apply it. Rather than taking a passive stance to life, the Golden Rule requires us to act. If we wish to be treated with Love, we must love others.

Rebuilding Lives

If a bridge collapses, it is not rebuilt to the exact specifications. We should treat each disaster as an opportunity to rebuild something stronger and better.

Become Like Little Children

In our efforts to grow up, we sometimes forget what is so precious about childhood. Jesus never did. Jesus valued the purity, openness, honesty, and unconditional love children express, as should we.

The Power of Flexibility

When a strong wind blows, the trees that remain standing are the ones that bend. We also have to learn to be flexible when it comes to our plans. It is important we bend to meet other people in compromise.

True Brotherhood

Jesus had an immediate bond with the people he met; they became a part of his brotherhood. We can also form brotherhoods with the people we meet by thinking of others as children of God, loving them like siblings, and respecting them.

Abundant Energy

We are like solar panels, except rather than absorbing sunrays; we absorb God's blessings. With such an abundant supply of energy, we have an everlasting opportunity to share those blessings with others.

Defeating the Goliath of Anger and Resentment

Anger and resentment help no one. In fact, they are consistently one of the main roadblocks to healthy relationships and happy lives. Anger and resentment are our Goliaths, and God has provided as many stones as we need to conquer them.

Cheating – What's the Real Price?

Honesty is central to good ethics and nearly all relationships we form. Yet, we often find a double standard for those that cheat and don't get caught. To maintain good ethics, we must maintain that cheating is wrong and works against God.

Study to Know and Feel God's Approval

Many of our actions are aimed at pleasing others. The views of others shift and change, and their criteria by which they judge us also change. God's criteria are constant and ever loving. Not to mention, gaining his approval is far more important.

Thanksgiving – A Healing Time

Thanksgiving should be a time when we all acknowledge the good in our lives. God provides us with all we need and more, and when we acknowledge those blessing they multiply even further.

Too Much To Do?

There is never a finite amount of the Good we can do in a day. Often we might feel pressured by the clock and think about falling short of our daily goals. If we trust in God we will find both time and peace.

Responding to Bad Weather

Bad weather can be a major downer. It can ruin plans, cancel flights, and seem like it might never end. Many of our Biblical forefathers faced challenges far greater than bad weather and worked through them by remembering that their challenges will pass, just like the weather.

The Next Step

Our lack of knowledge about God can be frustrating. Paul felt those same frustrations, but he felt there were still actions we could take to progress with God, despite our shallow understanding. We should all follow Paul and take the next step with God.

Be A Rebel: Be You!

We often try to fit in with others and spend a considerable amount of time worrying about not being popular. Jesus and Paul were two people that were unequivocally not in the popular crowd. They didn't worry too much. Take their lead and be yourself.


Everyone wants a second chance, and all it takes is a change in thought. If we stopped worrying about the situation or the mistakes we've made and focus on God, we will feel the instantaneous change in our thought, which will be reflected in our lives.

Make Room for Peace

Our minds are cluttered with distractions. To find peace, we need to make room. We need to let go of the earthly desires, let go of self-interest, and replace them with an interest in others and a desire to serve God.

When There's No Human Help, There's God!

When we are beyond the help of others, do we surrender to death? Of course we don't! Surrendering to the mortal world and the idea of death will never help us; however, surrendering to God is guaranteed to help

Siblings – Friends, Not Rivals

The Bible is full of stories of sibling rivalry, like Jacob and Esau. Through these stories we learn that man is an image of love and that sibling rivalry detracts from our expression of love. By loving our siblings, we might even find some blessings we had overlooked.

There Are Open Doors!

There is no such thing as a dead end. Even when we feel that all our opportunities have been wasted or there is nowhere else to turn, God opens a door for us.

Live Without Complaining

Most of us complain fairly often, about nearly everything. It seems natural and can feel good to let off steam. However, complaining is negative and detrimental. The act of complaining wastes time that could be spent gratifying our opportunities or working on solutions.

Our Response to Failure

Failure has a negative connotation, but many influential figures, like Thomas Edison, saw failure as a learning experience. Messing up doesn't mean we should give up, it means we have been given another opportunity in which to learn and succeed.

God is the Performer

With God's power Jesus was able to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out demons, which means we should at least be able to use his power to cast out fear of performance. God supplies the message and we are able to flawlessly communicate it.

Performing Without Fear: Be Self-Less

One of the best ways to express God is by performing in front of others. Although it has the potential to petrify some of us, when we focus on the audience and what we are able to give, it becomes the perfect opportunity to demonstrate love.

Love – The Communication Process

Our communication with God should be a model for our daily communication with our peers. We have to say what is on our mind, but we also have to listen. By listening to others, we identify how to best respond and how to best send our message.

Love Keeps Us Awake to God's Will

When we spend time listening to God, we might stumble upon the realization that what God wants isn't what we want. In this case, human-will interferes with God's will. We should shed our own desires and serve God's will.

Endurance: Bending Not Breaking

God made us with endurance in Mind. With qualities like patience, happiness, gratitude, trust in God, and Love, we are able to endure any hardship.

God's Government

With over three hundred million people in the United States, it is often a challenge for our government to make decisions that satisfy all of us. God's government, however, has a 100% satisfaction rate for those that listen. Not to mention, whatever the politics, God has the final veto.

Safe in Our Shepherd's Care

Most Sunday Schools and children's Bible stories stress the idea of God as our Shepherd, but what does that entail? As our Shepherd, God guides us, comforts us, and elevates us to our best. We are his sheep, and he has only our best interests in mind.

Competition – Bringing Out the Best

Competition is not about winning or losing. It is an opportunity to honor God by striving for our best and to pace us against peers. Whatever the outcome, when competition is done properly, all parties involved gain from the experience.

Where Do I Belong? With God!

We all want to belong and fit in, but what do we want to belong to? We should select the groups we associate with based on morals, not social standing.

God's Ever-Present Protection

Although we could all do with a little more common sense, common sense won't protect us from all harm. There is a lot that humans can't control, which is why we should put our trust in the One being that can protect us: God.

Independence: Your Divine Right – Claim it!

Independence means more than just attaining sole possession of our body and thoughts. Independence is the ability to act to our full potential without being limited. Our faith in God grants us the greatest independence, because it eliminates all limitations.

Sure-Fire Travel Tips

Travel allows us to see the great world that God has created. Don't allow yourself to become stressed or weary. Prepare for a successful trip by making your travels God-centered.

Peer Pressure Resisted

Ultimately, being tempted by peer pressure is an admission of our insecurities. We think that we might not be cool enough unless we do what the others are doing. Yet, if we are good enough for God, we are certainly good enough or our peers.

Temptation Overcome: The Story Rewritten

Just as it was not in Adam or Eve's nature to eat of the forbidden fruit before being beguiled by the talking serpent, it is not in our nature to give into temptation. We have both the conviction and the faith to stand strong against temptation.

What's Your Purpose?

When we seek to find a purpose in our lives, we are missing the most fundamental fact about being children of God: our purpose is to express love. No matter what we do in life, as long as we love, we are fulfilling our purpose.

The Attitude of Creativity

Creativity is an expression of God's infinite abundance. Despite how many concepts have already been created, there is still an infinite amount for us to design on our own.

Criticism's Antidote

When We're Criticized', explains how to handle critical attacks and constructive criticism. Just as important as knowing how to take criticism is remembering not to dish it out ourselves!

When We're Criticized...

Criticism can be both positive and negative. While positive criticism can help us grow, negative criticism can make us doubt ourselves. Choose carefully, through spiritual listening, which criticism you choose to acknowledge and which you choose to dismiss.

Hopeless? Never!

Nothing is hopeless. Today, we consistently limit ourselves by identifying things as impossible or hopeless. Yet, through the Bible we see that the feats most identify as hopeless are accomplished through faith in God. When we love God, nothing is hopeless.

True Charity is Love

Charity is often associated with the foundational set of Christian ethics. Yet, most people, even some Christians, don't realize that charity isn't just money. Be generous with your kindness, love, and compassion to spread true charity.

Healing Responses to Hurricanes

Disasters can wreak havoc on nearly all aspect of our lives, except our thoughts. We alone control our thoughts and can use them to turn a negative situation into a positive one. Combat disaster with prayer, faith, and kindness.

Lessons from the Balance Beam

The balance beam can teach you a lot. For instance, focus, look where you want to land, and trust in God to keep a healthy, balanced life. Not to mention, you'd learn a few tricks for the next time you see a balance beam.

No Need for Jealousy

Jealousy is very subtle. One minute we can be thinking about a friend's new car and the next we might be wishing it were our car instead. To combat jealousy we should rejoice in others accomplishments and take pride in our own.

Recreation Renews and Restores

Summer is a time for relaxation and recuperation, but how do we make sure that our activities reflect God? If they help us demonstrate Christ-like qualities and we balance relaxation and play then we are doing well!.

It's God's Decision

Humans make millions of decisions a day. We are decision-making machines; so if you have a big decision to make, don't panic. Take a deep breath, put the decision in perspective, and trust that God wont let you make a mistake.

Heal Gossip's Lies

We have the power to build a person up or lower their confidence through the spoken word. When we talk about others we should ensure that what we say is positive, genuine, and constructive, lest we take part in gossip and rumors.

Welcome Change

We cannot change others, but we can inspire them. Inspiring others starts with changing ourselves and can have a profound effect on those around us.

Effective Leadership

The best leaders are simply the best followers. By following God we can all be competent and effective leaders.

God's Mansions – Our Right Place

Are you in your right place? The answer is yes. There is never a wrong place. God is everywhere, which means all we have to do is choose to see him.

The Light of Newness

Most of us feel like we need a fresh start, but how do we achieve it? Instead of switching schools or moving states, all we really need to do is change our perspective. Look at the future success rather than the past mistakes.

Christmas Love

Christmas is a time to reflect back on the life of Jesus Christ and the love he demonstrated, which was often directed at the unloved. For Christmas we should focus on giving the gift of love, especially to those who lack it.

Spiritual Investment

Sound financial advice is almost as rare as sound moral advice. However, if Jesus were alive today and worked on Wall Street, he would advise you to invest in Love, the best commodity.

Integrity Matters – No Matter What!

Integrity keeps us from taking the easy way out and keeps us on the path to God. By following the path to God we learn to love and convey His message.

Face Down Fear

Fear can be petrifying, but only because we give it power. When we remember that God is beside us, all of our various fears that seem so real turn out to be nothing more than the monster under our beds.

I Love Who I Am

Who are you? As humans, we were made in God's image. We reflect his love and can be nothing short of great. You are God's child.

Joy Defeats Depression

Depression tells us that our joy can be taken away. This is not true. God provides our joy, which is eternal and ever-present.

Heart's Desire

Sit still and think about what you want. Not the cars, toys, gadgets, nor food, but the actual desires of your heart. If they are in line with God, chances are your desires are not far out of reach or they might already have been delivered.

Infinite Supply

God provides everything we need, which doesn't necessarily include an iPhone. Once we understand that all our necessities will be provided, our minds will be free from worry and able to focus on other things – like how to afford an iPhone.

Persecution's Reward

When it comes to dealing with persecution, modern day Christians have some spectacular examples to live up to. Our spiritual forefathers treated persecution as an opportunity to demonstrate God's grace, and with practice we can learn to do the same.

Defusing Anger

Anger can seem uncontrollable, but that is a false idea. Anger is a reaction. To defuse it, stop reacting and respond. If we take time, focus on peace, and then respond to the problems at hand, our anger will have dissipated.

Overwhelmed? Yes, by the Power of God

When tasks build up, do you become overwhelmed? You don't have to. When we realize that God provides us with all we need to complete our work, our panic fades away.

Stress is a Choice

It is easy to blame our stress on external factors – work, gas prices, projects. Yet, our stress is a product of our thought. We alone control our thoughts.

Who's In the Center of Your Family

Interacting with family isn't always the easiest. Fortunately, there are a few easy, God-centered steps that we can take to improve those interactions.

The Power of Gratitude

Being grateful is overrated, right? Wrong! Life is great, and as long as we maintain our grasp on what is good in our lives, despite what may temporarily be going awry, life can only get better.

Eliminating Labels – Taking Off the Masks

On a daily basis we put labels on everything, which can be helpful to organize objects. However, when we apply labels to people, we not only limit those people, but we also put limitations on God.

Prayer – A Remedy for Terror

While many of the top diplomats and politicians of the world search for a solution to the increasing threat of terrorism, is it possible that God has always provided a solution? The answer is a resounding yes, and the solution is prayer.

Choose Freedom

Gaining a sense of freedom and independence can be a tough battle. Fortunately, the battle is a whole lot simpler when you realize that freedom is not a physical condition, but a mental state. Moreover, God is always willing to help you get there.

The Gift of Purity – You're Worth It!

There can be a tremendous amount of social pressure on teens to lose their virginity; it's a pretty hot topic in high school. What most teens don't talk about, though, are the benefits of abstinence, which often far outweigh the benefits of having sex.

Two Brothers Reunited - The Story of Jacob and Esau

Two brothers reunited - the story of Jacob and Esau.

The Power of Forgiveness

It is easy to think we are doing others a favor by forgiving them. In actuality, we are doing ourselves a favor. We bless everyone, including ourselves, by forgiving others.

Love Heals Prejudice

Bullies can often be a tough challenge during our school years. Instead of ignoring them, which often doesn't work, or standing up to them, which can lead to physical confrontation, why not try loving them?

True Friendship

Friends help define and shape who we are and who we become. Yet, finding the people we want around us can be a challenge. Instead of searching for better friends, try being a better friend.

Our #1 Relationship

The relationships with our friends, parents, siblings, and significant others can overshadow our relationship with God. However, as Abraham demonstrated throughout his life, when we set ourselves right with God, and prioritize him in our lives, our other relationships fall into place.

Body and Weight

We often think counting calories, worrying about our weight, and slaving away at the gym will help us find satisfaction in our appearances, only to be disappointed. Read on to learn why you should focus less on your weight and more on God.