As the editor of iBelieve, one of the best (if not the best) parts of my job is the privilege of working with my incredible team of writers who, with grace and talent, share not only their personal lives but also practical wisdom and insight to help each of us live the good life: a life that brings glory to God.
Having now worked as the editor of iBelieve for six years, I can say without a doubt that I am wiser because of the hours I have logged reading each and every one of their stories. And, each December, it's a treat to go back through the archives and spend time again with the articles that have gotten the most attention throughout the year.
Here are the top 10 most popular articles on iBelieve in 2018. I hope they bless you as they have blessed me.
Yours for the Kingdom,
Kelly Givens (editor of iBelieve)Design Credit: Rachel Dawson
1. What Will Heaven Be Like? (5 Amazing Things We Can Know for Sure)
By: Debbie McDaniel
"God’s Word clearly reminds us that we just simply can’t comprehend all that’s still in store. It’s that good. It’s that amazing. And in a world that can often feel dark and is full of struggles and worries, that thought can be hard to even begin to wrap our minds around. But His Word says this:
“’No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’” – But God has revealed it to us by his Spirit…” - 1 Corinthians 2:9-10
For those who have trusted Christ as Savior and Lord, we are promised an incredible future, an eternity, with Him. Just knowing that this life is not all there is can give us the perseverance to carry on through the toughest of times. We have so much to still look forward to!"
Photo Credit: Thinkstock/sakepaint
2. 10 Stories from the Bible that Rarely Make it into Sermons
By: Chara Donahue
"Tucked away in 2 Kings 2:23-25, this story may give you nightmares. After Elijah is taken into heaven, “...Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. ‘Get out of here, baldy!’ they said. ‘Get out of here, baldy!’ He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys.” After the touching goodbye and Elijah’s fiery departure, this story is a sobering reminder that God’s prophets were not to be trifled with."
Photo Credit: Thinkstock/Mfotophile
3. A Letter to the Christian Who Hasn't Been to Church in a While
By: Lindsey Maestas
“When my husband and I were engaged and first married, we attended Mars Hill together. We both felt “burned by” and heavily disappointed in the church for many reasons, even far before it all came crashing down due to the pastor’s sin and other circumstances…
I want to ensure you that I’m not sitting behind a computer screen, lacking empathy or compassion toward the hurt that many of you have likely felt. It’s all very real, and I have felt it too.
And I am also not ignoring the fact that the church is full of sinful people nor that there is hard pain and baggage to come along with it.
I am simply turning my eyes to Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith and my hope.”
Photo Credit: Thinkstock
4. A Prayer to Pray Before You Sleep
By: Debbie McDaniel
"Whatever's pressing on our minds and hearts tonight, may God give us the strength to lay it down...again. All our wrestling, and the worries and stress we carry, are useless. We can trust that he'll take care of whatever concerns us. He knows the best way; his timing is perfect. And he is able. He's the storm-calmer, the peace-giver, the burden-lifter, the hope-bringer. Nothing is too difficult for him. He truly is our peace."
Photo Credit: Ty Carlson
5. 10 Things You Can Expect in a Relationship with a Narcissist
By: Jen Grice
"Narcissists are great at using mind games to manipulate people to get their way. If they’re not using rage to manipulate, they’re using their charm. They use money, rewards, or whatever else they have to get what they want or to convince you of an alternative story. Another way to keep the lies hidden is by using a psychological tactic called gaslighting. This tactic is used to make you feel confused and wondering if your brain is correct about something happening or something that was said. The narcissist will deny and try to convince you that they know better than you do – they didn’t say that, you heard wrong, etc. You start to doubt yourself and wonder if you’re going crazy (he or she might even call you that) when all the while, you’re being manipulated."
Photo Credit: Thinkstock/STUDIO_GRAND_OUEST
6. How God Can Grow Our Faith in the Darkest Seasons of Life (10 Truths to Help You Press Through)
By Debbie McDaniel
"Recently when our family was walking through a very difficult trial, I found myself there. Night after night, I was awakened by the deep hurt and pain in my heart. I prayed, I cried, I longed just to sleep again. But often, the only thing I found that could bring peace and comfort to my spirit was God’s Word. I would say out loud every verse that came to my mind, praying His powerful reminders back to Him. Sometimes I would read chapter after chapter, until sleep came again. I would awaken, the Bible still laying open, right over my heart. It didn’t instantly make all our problems go away, when I woke up, they were still there. But through time, I realized this: my mind, heart, and spirit were being renewed day by day, night by night. His peace, healing, and comfort were washing over me every time I spoke his words, believing them to be true."
Photo Credit: Thinkstock/AH86
7. How to Study the Bible Like Billy Graham: 7 Powerful Habits to Cultivate
By iBelieve Contributors
“Don’t worry -- just because Billy Graham read a gospel each week doesn’t mean you need to do the same! But, Graham rightfully recognized the importance of the gospels in Bible. According to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, when asked where one should begin reading the Bible, he said this:
‘Instead of starting at the beginning (as we do with other books), I suggest you start at the center—that is, with one of the Gospels that tell us about Jesus Christ (I often suggest John). He is the Bible’s center; the Old Testament points forward to Him, and the New Testament tells us about Him. You can discover other parts of the Bible later.’
Ask God to help you as you read—not only to understand what is happening in a particular passage, but what it means for your life today. May Job’s attitude become yours: ‘I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread’ (Job 23:12).”
Photo Credit: ©BillyGraham.org
8. Here Are 10 Things Selfish People Always Do in Relationships
By: Jolene Underwood
"Considering selfishness in ourselves is one of the most challenging, yet freeing, things we can do as believers. It helps us notice where we put ourselves before God. Then, we can do something about it. Anytime we are of greater importance than Him, our relationship with God will be stunted. Where we are selfish, we are not surrendered. Where we are not surrendered, we are not living free.
We tend to think of selfishness simplistically as pride. While pride breeds selfishness, there’s often something else going on. Self-protection. We self-protect out of fear. Also, we may have unhealed hurts or unhealthy belief patterns that cause us to close in on ourselves. We work hard to prove ourselves because we don’t feel fully approved by God."
Photo Credit: Thinkstock/AH86
9. How to Make a Life-Giving Home: 10 Things We Do Each Week
By: Grace P. Cho
"During the terrible Southern California fires recently, our kids saw the footage and pictures of homes completely burned and asked what happened. We explained to them and told me we need to pray for the people who’ve lost everything and for the firefighters. For weeks on end they prayed one sentence about the fire and for the firefighters before dinner. They pray for the homeless as we drive by their community stretched along the river trail. They pray for friends who are sick. They pray carefree and childlike, and we are learning from their persistence and their simple approach to asking God for help."
Photo Credit: Thinkstock/AntonioGuillem
10. 10 Ways to Respond to the Unkind Person in Your Life
By: Nylse Esahc
“You have biases, and you get comfortable with those who are "easy" to love not realizing they are easy to love now because you have spent so much time with them. For your own growth, make yourself uncomfortable and grow your understanding of community. Find opportunities to interact with people who aren’t like you. Jesus loved those whom society would cast off. Who are you casting off and how can you grow?”
Photo Credit: Thinkstock/M Imagephotography
Originally published Monday, 10 December 2018.