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  • If We're Honest Francesca Battistelli

Monthly Archives: May 2012

  • Too Wonderful

    Posted on May 16, 2012 by Family Christian

    By Amber Brandt
    FC Content Developer

    You’re standing in front of the ocean. You hear the crashing waves and feel a subtle spray on your face. So vast and powerful. Seemingly infinite. Then all at once you become keenly aware of your size in comparison. Wow… and for a moment it’s almost too much.

    That must be how David felt just before he wrote Psalm 139. I imagine he was daydreaming about God’s love, the sheer size and weight of it, and he too felt small. “I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too – your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful – I can’t take it all in!”

    Did you catch it? There’s one distinct difference at play. God’s love may be massive, but it’s too wonderful to grasp. It’s deep, living and wide.  You could never quite get your arms around His love, and so He invites you to simply be swallowed up instead.

    When your kids are screaming, your house is a mess and you’re crumbling under the ocean of tasks that must be done… Pause, focus and feel His love for you.

    When your roommate leaves every cupboard in the kitchen open (again!), breathe, relax and ask Him to give you His love for her.

    And when you feel like everything you’ve done still doesn’t measure up, remember that His strength is made perfect in your weakness…

    Then simply let the waves of His love overtake you.


    This post was posted in Uncategorized and was tagged with Psalm, God's Love

  • Generous Toward God

    Posted on May 15, 2012 by Family Christian

    “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.” Psalm 63:1-3

     

    The God of the universe looks for those who would be with Him. The Lord longs for His children to take time to experience His tender loving presence. Almighty God is not needy, but wants His creation to come before Him in humble dependence. He knows prayer is what’s best for those He bought with His son’s blood. Generosity toward God in daily doses of solitude and communion are the wisest gift. Our presence gratifies God.

    Like an earthly father revels in the joy of being close to his precious child, so our heavenly Father smiles to see us—His children—sit next to Him. The grace of God is not garnered with a drive-by life. Rather, when we park our lives in His presence and turn off the engine of our activity, we activate His perspective in our heart and mind. We invest in intimacy with our heavenly Father in order to fulfill His agenda in our daily calendar.

    “For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them.” Isaiah 58:2

    Furthermore, be careful not to slip into a routine of perfunctory prayers that miss the heart of your Master. Your generosity toward Jesus with your time, doesn’t buy you time to do your own thing. Rather, you engage with Christ, so that He can love you to better understand His heart, and embrace His better way. By exposing your life to the Lord, He bathes your behavior with a body wash of grace and holiness.

    Your generosity toward God in your time with Him can take on a variety of applications. Maybe you commune with Christ as you walk alone in a stoic cathedral, or perhaps you celebrate Jesus in raucous worship with other Christ followers at Sunday church services. You may engage Him as you stroll in your neighborhood, sit by a quiet fire, rest by a bubbling creek, or as you watch His heavenly handiwork in a brilliant sunrise or sunset. Above all else, be still, know He is God, be loved by Him, and then love on His behalf!

    “He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I long to give you my time, to be loved by You and to love.

    Related Readings: 1 Chronicles 22:19; 2 Chronicles 14:4; Acts 10:2; 17:27

    Post/Tweet this today: Our presence in prayer gratifies God. #prayer #gratifies

    Wisdomhunters.com is dedicated to Applying Unchanging Truth to a Changing World.


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • More than a Mission...

    Posted on May 14, 2012 by Family Christian

    James 1:27 describes the purest form of religion as caring for the “orphan and the widow in their distress.” So we know that adoption and orphan-care are close to the heart of God.  At Family, we’ve committed our hearts and action to their cause. In fact, 10% of what we make goes to support our non-profit foundation, The James Fund who passionately lives out this “true religion” every single day. So every time you shop with us, you’re causing this good work to continue – and changing lives forever.

    Fore more on The James Fund, click here.


    This post was posted in Missions and was tagged with Featured, The James Fund, Serving, Missions

  • Happy Heart Giving

    Posted on May 14, 2012 by Family Christian

    “Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.” Deuteronomy 15:10

     

    Happy heart giving is with a grateful, not begrudging, heart. Greed is exiled to the isle of selfishness, but generosity takes command in the country of contentment. A joyful heart never gets over Jesus’ great gift of salvation, abundant life, and eternal reward. Indeed, a blessed heart cannot help but be a blessing to those without life’s necessities. Oh, how delightful to see other’s needs met for Christ’s sake! Glad giving gets God’s attention.

    The Lord wants to bless us more when we have been a blessing to the less fortunate. Our abundance isn’t meant for our own accumulation, and our indulgence and insecure facade, but rather it’s to be deployed into rich deeds and aggressive charity. When our heart is free to give, it is free indeed. We are free to forgive debts and offenses. We are free to find ways to engage the poor and needy by meeting their physical and spiritual needs.

    “I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.” 1 Chronicles 29:17

    Furthermore, your happy heart giving is contagious to other Christ followers. When they see and experience your hilarious generosity, they want to get in on what the Lord is doing. Your life of liberal giving infects others with life-giving antibodies that fight against the germs of greed. Your integrity leads you to invest in others compelling them to be carriers of Christ’s love and service. Glad giving leads others to the Lord.

    Are you remaining faithful to do good, even when times have turned bad? Are you still giving to the poor, even when you have become poorer? Joyful generosity needs your participation at small and large levels. Don’t wait until you have a lot to do a lot, on behalf of your Savior Jesus. Happy heart giving is as excited about giving one dollar as it is one thousand. Give generously today and you will most likely give generously in the future. Once your heavenly Father can trust you with a little, He will trust you with more.

    “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:21

    Prayer: Lord, who needs my happy heart giving to help meet their needs in Your name?

    Related Readings: Nehemiah 9:8; 2 Corinthians 8:5; 9:7; Philemon 1:7

    Post/Tweet this today: Glad giving gets God’s attention. #glad #giving

    Wisdomhunters.com is dedicated to Applying Unchanging Truth to a Changing World.


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • A Moms Mothering

    Posted on May 13, 2012 by Family Christian

    “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Dear woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home” (John 19:25-27).

     

    Moms are magnificent, especially the ones placed in my life by the Lord. My mom and the mother of our children are emissaries of encouragement.  They’re messengers of comfort and care. No one loves more unconditionally than mothers. They see only the good and forget the bad. A mother’s love extends way beyond what is required, and becomes a reservoir of hope.

    Furthermore, they are not afraid to speak the truth, laced with an attractive attitude. It is not unusual for a mom to become their child’s best friend. This is a natural outcome to their acceptance and relational relentlessness. Because their emotional IQ is high, they are able to almost instantly discern and remedy heartfelt needs. Indeed, they are compulsive givers with a propensity to out-serve everyone.
     
    Lord, this outlandish outpouring of love concerns me. It doesn’t bother me that they love so generously. What troubles me is their need for unconditional love. Are moms being mothered to the extent that their own needs are being met? An un-mothered mom is a good candidate for a miserable mom. If they are not receiving what they need in emotional and spiritual support, they may whither under the pressure. Like a flower in an arid climate, they need the moist love, nurture, and security of their Savior, Jesus.

    Lastly, they value being valued, and desire acceptance. They are secure living in security, and long to be loved. Lord, lead me to model this for my mom and the mother of our children. Show me how to shower on them what they have rained upon relationships season after season in unselfish service. I want to give back to them in the same way they have given to me and our children. I long for the Lord to bless moms!

    “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her…” (Proverbs 31:28).

    How can I love on my mom or another mom who needs encouraging?

    Related Readings: Ruth 1:22; 1 Timothy 5:4; 2 Timothy 1:5; Titus 2:2-4

    Post/Tweet this today: Moms need their own mothering of love and security. #mom #love

    Taken from Reading #27 in the NEW 30-day devotional book, “Wisdom for Mothers”… http://bit.ly/InvUdR


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • A Mothers Love

    Posted on May 12, 2012 by Family Christian

    “As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children” (1 Thessalonians 2:6b-7).

     

    A mother’s love reflects the love of the Lord, deep in its capacity and generous in its application. She awakens in the middle of the night to nurse a hungry infant or care for a sick child. Her intuition injects love at points of pain and in situations that require extensive encouragement. A mother’s love lingers long in conversation and understands with her sensitive heart. She loves, because Christ’s love compels her to love like Him.

    Moreover, a mother’s love is loyal and longstanding. A child may be in trouble, but Mom is always close by, full of compassion and acceptance. Her love can be blind in its loyalty, but her offspring never doubts where they are welcome. Jesus was rejected by angry, jealous men and abandoned by His closest friends, but His mother was waiting with Him to the bitter end, “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother…” (John 19:25a).

    A mother’s love even has the capacity to be a mother to those who are not biologically her own. Amazingly, she can informally “adopt” people for a season and love them emotionally, physically, spiritually, and relationally. She opens her home, shares her food, gives her time, dispenses her wisdom, and encourages obedience to follow Christ. Paul experienced this. “Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too” (Romans 16:13). Moms sometime mother greatness not their own.

    Lastly, a mother’s love is gentle, the way God is gentle toward His children. He calls us to love and to lead like Jesus. Love serves people and does not rule with rigor. “God's servant must not be argumentative, but a gentle listener and a teacher who keeps cool, working firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey” (2 Timothy 2:24, TM).

    Prayer: Do I model gentle and patient love? Do others feel safe to share their sorrows with me?

    Related Readings: Genesis 47:12; Ruth 4:16; John 21:15-17; James 3:17

    Post/Tweet this today: Moms sometime mother greatness not their own. #mother #love

    Taken from Reading #13 in the NEW 30-day devotional book, “Wisdom for Mothers”… http://bit.ly/InvUdR


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Gift of Wisdom

    Posted on May 11, 2012 by Family Christian

     

    Dear Fellow Wisdom Hunter,

    We are extremely grateful to God for your faithful readership of the daily devotional, your prayers, and your financial support. Wisdom Hunters is a non-profit, Christ-centered, 501 c 3 ministry, blessed with a prayerful Board of Directors, who steward well this—the Lord’s work. After much prayer and planning with our 19-member Advisory Board, we believe the Lord is leading us in the following ways in 2012 and beyond:

    Vision
    Connect people to Christ through God’s Word.

    Mission
    Applying unchanging truth to a changing world.

    Goal
    By the end of 2012 trusting God for 200,000 daily devotional readers (currently-80,382) globally and in the U.S.

    Testimony (click here for more: http://bit.ly/K2ZZVT8)
    Your daily emails show up right on time every time …with Gods word and guidance for what ever I might be rejoicing in or struggling with that day …for you see God has just brought me BACK into the fold I strayed for many long years. Anonymous

    Needs for 2012

    By God’s Grace Wisdom Hunters 2012 Objectives
    • Increase countries that read the daily email devotional from 73 to 125
    • Continue to reduce costs per reader to just over $1.00 per reader.
    • Chinese and Spanish translations of the daily email devotional posted on web site
    • Write and publish eBooks Wisdom for Life, Wisdom for Marriage, Wisdom for Work
    • Write and publish 90-day devotional book Seeking God in the Proverbs
    • Write and publish 365-day devotional book Seeking Daily the Heart of God, vol. 2
    • Begin “Wisdom Minute” radio spots and video blogs
    • Update the Wisdom Hunters web site for an ease of searching by topics and Scripture
    • Create and distribute Wisdom Hunters app for iPhone, iPad and Android
    • Increase eBook and book sales to 25,000 units

    Total financial costs for 2012- $225,000

    Prayer
    If you have been a regular reader for six months or longer,please prayerfully join us in how the Lord might lead you to participate financially. If you are being blessed by the daily writings and could help us reach others for Jesus Christ then you can give online (monthly’s help most, start at $2) by clicking http://bit.ly/KArLE5 or mail your check to:

    Wisdom Hunters
    PO Box 800062
    Roswell, GA 30075

    Thanks so much for your prayerful consideration.

    In Christ,

    Boyd Bailey
    President, Wisdom Hunters

    “I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ” (Philemon 1:6).


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Self Destruction

    Posted on May 10, 2012 by Family Christian

    “But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment, whoever does so destroys himself.” Proverbs 6:32

     

    Lack of judgment can lead to self-destruction. There is an inherent life implosion for those who continue down the path of unwise decision-making. The result of poor judgment is self-destruction; the root of poor judgment is self-deception. Pride seems to pursue and capture those who are unwilling to understand and apply wisdom. They deceive themselves into thinking they have it all figured out, without the counsel and accountability of others.

    For example, adultery is poor judgment, but a sequence of unwise decisions started long before the act of unfaithfulness. Stealing is poor judgment, but the feeling of desperation could have been addressed early on, inspired by personal humility and teachability. Self-destruction can be avoided with openness to Christ and wise counsel. Therefore, listen and learn from those who love you and who love the Lord.

    “It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:5

    Indeed, poor judgment destroys spiritual vitality, tarnishes the trust of others, and can remove the hand of God’s blessing. So how do we avoid poor judgment and its unseemly outcome? One remedy is to repent of self-sufficiency, surrendering in total dependence to our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the foundation of faith and hope in Him which fuels our fear of Him, leverages our love for Him, and accelerates our obedience to Him. Self-denial precludes self-deception.

    A second cure is to invite a reality check from those who know you well and desire good consequences for your life. Ask for their advice and as you discover themes of timely truth, do what they suggest. Lastly, pray over God’s Word, learn from its wisdom, and be transformed by its application. An abundant life awaits you, as you die daily to self and come alive in Christ, act on wise advice, and marinate your mind in Scripture.

    “And let not your behavior be like that of this world, but be changed and made new in mind, so that by experience you may have knowledge of the good and pleasing and complete purpose of God.” Romans 12:2, BBE

    Prayer: What current decisions do I face that require the wisdom of God and godly counsel from trusted advisors?

    Related Readings: Genesis 41:39; 2 Samuel 12:1-14; Romans 1:22-24; I Corinthians 15:31-34

    Post/Tweet this today: The result of poor judgment is self-destruction, the root of poor judgment is self-deception. #judgment


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Monetize Your Mission

    Posted on May 9, 2012 by Family Christian

    “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” Luke 16:8-9

     

    Creating an economic structure around passion and purpose can be a prayerful and godly goal. It could be converting informal free advice into a formalized fee for coaching, consulting, or counseling. It may mean engaging a hobby of painting, writing, or singing and moving it into the market as a valued product. God gives gifts and skills to create a living. There are times to give away time and expertise, and times to monetize our mission.

    Money is not our motivation, but it is a by-product of producing value around what wakes us up in the morning. Why waste our lives just working for a paycheck, when we can creatively come up with ways to channel our energies and experiences into an economic endeavor. Christ commends shrewd servants of His who innovate new ways to make friends and influence people. Indeed, we are called to be creative for Christ’s sake.

    “So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.” His master replied, “You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.” Matthew 25:25-27

    You are wise to work in your area of expertise, but avoid ruts that lead to complacency. Pray about how the Lord wants you to steward the relationships, opportunities, and gifts He has given you. Perhaps there is a small group of friends who will pray with you and even invest some seed money to eventually monetize God’s mission for your life. Truly, compared to eternity—life is a blink of an eye, so don’t hesitate on His direction.

    Sad are servants of Jesus who remain in a scared state of inertia. Instead, follow by faith the sensitive promptings of the Holy Spirit in your heart. Do not allow your head to talk you out of following an unconventional course for your career. The world will watch with admiration a shrewd servant of the Lord, who, with an eye on eternity, invests in people on earth. Your life is attractive when you live out your mission with passion and productivity. Trust God to give you the wisdom to make a living from living for His call.
     
    “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24

    Prayer: Lord, how can I monetize my mission for the sake of your Kingdom?

    Related Readings: Proverbs 22:29; Ephesians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 5:1; 1 Timothy 6:17-19

    Post/Tweet this today: Sad are servants of Jesus who remain in a scared state of inertia. #sad #scared


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Lustful Longings

    Posted on May 8, 2012 by Family Christian

    “Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes…” Proverbs 6:25

     

    Lustful longings lead us away from loving the Lord, because our affections become attached to something that isn’t ours. In the beginning it can seem like innocent flattery, but it quickly grows into emotional attachment. Indeed, our emotions are meant for intimacy with our spouse and none other. Confiding in a beautiful person other than your spouse may feel good, but it is a pseudo solution, a problem waiting to happen.

    If you are engaged in a relationship that causes your heart to race and feeds racy fantasies, you need to flee. It may mean having your assistant transfer to another department at work, or even letting her go. It’s flirting with fire to forge ahead in relationships that enflame your lust, so douse the flames with the water of accountability and walk away.

    “Can you build a fire in your lap and not burn your pants? Can you walk barefoot on hot coals and not get blisters? It's the same when you have sex with your neighbor's wife: Touch her and you'll pay for it. No excuses.” Proverbs 6:27-28, The Message

    Furthermore, the Internet can become a contributor to lustful longings, a tool for good Satan uses for bad. Make sure others monitor your machine, so your heart and mind do not meander to illicit images. Install computer software that forces you to be selective in your web surfing, producing a report to be reviewed by an accountability partner.

    Moreover, make it your motivation and desire to pursue loving God and people. This will crowd out fleshly lusts from your heart. The Bible says, “Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord with a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22, NASB).

    Do your soul a great kindness by distancing yourself from and detesting the sight of, sin. Eyes focused on fidelity, faith, and authentic love lead to freedom empowered by the Holy Spirit.

    “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16

    Prayer: How can I protect my eyes from lustful images, focusing instead on the beauty of my spouse?

    Related Readings: Genesis 39:8-10; Job 31:1-9; Matthew 5:28; I Peter 2:11

    Post/Tweet this today: Eyes focused on fidelity, faith, and authentic love lead to freedom. #pure #fidelity


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

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