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Monthly Archives: March 2013

  • How to Let Peace Rule

    Posted on March 12, 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer

    Samantha Evilsizer

    "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." Colossians 3:15 (NIV)

    No more able are we to drive the rain back into the clouds by holding hands to the sky...

    Or to stretch a rainbow's colors wide by grasping its tails...

    Or to force the tides to retreat by running at the sea...

    No more capable of these feats are we, than pursing and capturing peace.

    Peace.

    That for which the world wars. Families crumble. People roam. That for which we compromise, and improvise, and televise: It's here ... if only you race after it with your time, your money, your life.

    But for all our chasing, we never lay hold of peace. Not until we reckon with nine words that beckon a stillness. A truth that causes shoulders to fall and jaws to relax. This scripture tells us there's peace a' plenty, free for all:

    "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts." (Colossians 3:15a NIV)

    If we're to find peace, we must become a pupil of He who is our Peace, Jesus Christ. He who is the Word. And this bit of Word, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts," is a fine educator.

    This truth teaches us to slow down. Those two strong words, "let" and "rule" mean to "umpire" our hurried heart. So when circumstances crumble and we worriedly scramble to right them, we are taught to pause and call our heart to peace.

    How do we do this? Through intimate knowledge of He who is our Peace.

    Christ is just, as Esther's courage and Haman's defeat reflects. (Esther 7)

    Christ redeems, as Job's great loss and even greater gain assures. (Job 42:7-17)

    Christ is trustworthy, as His promised resurrection proves. (Matthew 28:1-10)

    Christ controls the storms, as calmed winds and waves attest. (Mark 4:35-41)

    It will take time to teach our hearts who Christ is and to let peace rule. Umpires don't begin careers in the World Series. Indeed, umpires go through rigorous training and schooling. They must work for years in the minor leagues before even dreaming of the majors.

    We too must set our heart and mind to learning. A good place to start is with the minors. Calling our hearts to peace when running late, dinner burns, scrapes and bruises happen, and fender benders occur. This is our practice and preparation for when the doctor calls, the pink slip is given, the papers are served, and the accusations fly.

    We call our hearts to remember and trust in He who is faithful to us in the small things, so we learn His character again and again. This gives our hearts the training needed to know He is trustworthy to us in the big things, the in-between things ... everything.

    Each call leads to another, which leads to a place of calm and rest. A place where the chase ends. And peace begins.

    Dear Lord, You are my Peace. Teach me Your ways, direct me in Your truth. Help me relax my shoulders, loosen my tense jaw, calm my hurried heart. I want to know You more and more. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    Think of a circumstance you’re currently in that you need peace. How are you going to let the peace of Christ rule?

    Memorize one verses about peace today. Call it out to your heart when trouble comes.

    Power Verses:
    Isaiah 26:3, "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you." (NIV 1984)

    Isaiah 9:6, "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Colossians

  • Belt of Truth

    Posted on March 11, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist. Ephesians 6:14
    Truth supports the other weapons of spiritual warfare by providing clarity and context. Yes, God’s truth is a reality check that protects from foolish diversions. Wisdom from above gives courage and conviction below to stand firm for what’s right. Moral resolve results in a life girded with the belt of truth. Jesus spoke with authority because He based His teaching on truth as defined by His Heavenly Father. Thus, spiritual armor buckled by the belt of truth is secure.
    First, it is necessary to know and understand truth as taught in Holy Scripture. The Bible is clear: The Ten Commandments (Exodus 34:28), The Greatest Commandment (Matthew 22:37-39), The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) and the The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) are foundational for serious followers of Christ. Paul’s Epistles dig deeper into the why, behind what is true. Yes, Jesus is truth, so to know Him is to know truth. Freedom equals understanding truth.
    We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 1 John 5:20

    Furthermore, the belt of truth is a reminder to always be truthful, especially when it costs something. You may need to forfeit a financial opportunity, because truthfully, it is not a right fit for you and your family. You may fear your forthright response may jeopardize a friendship, but better to be clear in the beginning, so there are no surprises in the end. Honesty is heaven’s mandate. Therefore, tell the truth, so all the facts are apparent to everyone. Truth tellers eventually earn respect.
    Lastly, speak the truth in love. Direct language laced with grace solicits a grateful and rational response. The spirit of our words is as important as their accuracy. How we say what we say prepares the listener for the truth. So,we need to ask the Lord for an extra measure of humility and grace, especially if we are gifted in wisdom and discernment.. The belt of truth clarifies our beliefs, so we know who we are in Christ and how we are able to stand firm by faith. Truth protects.
    I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. Ephesians 1:17
    Prayer: Heavenly Father by faith I buckle the belt of Your truth around my heart, mind and soul.
    Related Readings: Isaiah 11:5; Proverbs 16:21, 24; John 1:14, 7:28; Philippians 1:9
    Post/Tweet today: Direct language laced with grace solicits a grateful and rational response. #graciouswords

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry
    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Ephesians

  • One on One with Keith Getty

    Posted on March 11, 2013 by John van der Veen

    Keith & Kristyn Getty

    Keith & Kristyn Getty Irish singer/songwriters and recording artists Keith & Kristyn Getty are among the preeminent modern hymn composers of this generation. Best known for “In Christ Alone” (penned by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend), the world-renowned hymn has been recorded by numerous artists over the past decade—including Owl City, Natalie Grant and Newsboys—and is a classic sung in churches around the globe.

    I recently had a phone chat with Keith, where we were able to catch up on life in the Getty home.

    John:    Hello, Keith. Could you share a little bit about your background.

    Keith:   Sure, well I come from Belfast in the north of Ireland. I grew up in a Christian home and learned music when I was about ten, and I have been involved in it ever since.  After college I went into the music industry professionally, and wrote hymns in my spare time and fell in love with a girl called Kristyn. Soon after, we got married—when I turned 30. We quit the music industry work to focus exclusively on writing and developing hymns.

    John:    Then together you set out to inspire so many people all over the world, in a sense, to rediscover a deeper theology in worship. Is that something that you guys set out to do from the beginning?

    Keith:   Well, that's a very kind thing to say. I guess at some level we were trying to do that, but we never could have imagined the degree to which it would have happened and we're very grateful for that.

    John:    When you look at the discography of the songs that you guys have produced, what do you think is the most important song you have written in your history?

    Keith:   Well for me, obviously, the most popular and significant hymn in my history as an artist was the first one I wrote, which was “In Christ Alone.”  The ones that I'm most excited about, of course, are the ones that I'm working on at the moment. We are working on three or four new songs, looking at subjects such as prayer and passion and different things I mentioned. I’m very excited about those.

    John:    How did it come about that you and Stuart Townend have been able to work together? Are you part of a network of songwriters?

    The Getty's

    Keith:   Well, Stu was introduced to us by our publishers, and that really was the most significant production partnership that we ever had, in the sense of being able to work with someone who is older and really was a guide to me. So I'm always grateful for that relationship and what it brought.  Other than that it has just been people that I have met along the way who I enjoy spending time with. That’s how those things work out, I guess.

    John:   What is your overall goal in going into the songwriting process? You mentioned the fact that you're currently writing a few. What do you hope to come out of those songs?

    Keith:   I guess with the songs that we write there are two or three real things that we're passionate about. One is what you so eloquently mentioned earlier which was to write songs that teach the faith. That's what hymn singing and God’s people’s singing has been throughout history, throughout the Old Testament that led their faith. Martin Luther and John Calvin talked about catechizing the congregation through what they sing. Luther had a vision of reforming the Church through the preaching and the singing of the Word, so that's a really important thing to us. But all of the music is congregationally central, which is important to us. And we would love to write music that blesses others… that perhaps has an opportunity to last a little longer. So, those are our goals, at least, and if we could achieve any small amount of that, we would be more than thankful.

    John:    So in that process, as you just said (I 'm going to paraphrase a little bit), Calvin and Luther talked about teaching or helping the congregation grow in the theology that they are singing about, and that to some extent, that is your goal in the songwriting process, right?

    Keith:   Yes, absolutely.

    John:    I know that you have been here in the states as well as over back home. Do you guys travel all over the world?

    Keith:   We travel mostly in the West.  For the most part, we work in the USA.  We spend a couple of months back in Ireland every year.  We tend to do concerts in the UK on average, every couple of years, but primarily work throughout North America.

    John:    Would you say that you reside here in the United States now?

    Keith:   Yeah, our main home is in Nashville, but we have a little tiny place on the coast of Ireland, which we go back to, to hide and write in the summer.

    John:    Keith, do you and Kristyn have any children?

    Keith:   Yeah, we are just so thankful to have a little girl called Eliza Joy.

    John:    That's wonderful.

    John:    As you and Krysten hear new music coming from various music labels, are you worried about the worship music “scene?” Are you encouraged by what you're hearing from other artists? What are your thoughts as a songwriter?

    Keith:   On one level, of course, it's not my business what other people do, and certainly most labels are simply commercial companies trying to sell music. So, the weight of that is on the church and on the writers to write music that is rich. To look for music that is rich and to desire music that is rich, and I think if that becomes an overwhelming desire, then other things will follow.

    John:    So in other words, maybe we do have some room to grow in our worship here in the West?

    Keith:   Oh, absolutely.

    John:    Are you guys book readers?

    Keith:   Yeah, my wife is more so than I am, but I do enjoy reading.  I tend towards reading biographies and books more on vision and leadership and that kind of thing. And then I also read poetry.  My wife tends more towards reading novels and she enjoys that very much.

    John:    Have you guys toured with other artists in your past, or is it primarily just you and Kristyn together?

    Keith:   Really, yes.  When we go to the UK we bring Stuart Townend with us because he is so much a part of what we do. When we tour in America, we always have done it ourselves.  We have had a few guest artists, like Ricky Scaggs guested on the Christmas tour, Buddy Greene guested on the Christmas tour and we have a couple of people guesting with us at St. Patrick's at the Ryman in three weeks’ time. But, for the most part, we tend to just work with our own team. We've also been privileged to have a wonderful band and so we've been trying to develop their identity in the show and are trying to emphasize their own personal brilliance, which has been really inspiring for people, and we thoroughly enjoy that.

    John:    Keith, thank you for taking the time to chat today. I so appreciate it.

    Keith:   Well, thank you so much. Thank you, indeed.

    John:    God bless you. Bye-bye.

    Keith:   Bye-bye. Thank you back.

    Hymns for the Christian Life

    To see more from Keith & Kristen, click here.


    This post was posted in Interviews, John van der Veen and was tagged with Featured, Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, Stuart Townend, Hymns, Ricky Skaggs, Calvin, Luther, Buddy Greene

  • Cranky Pants

    Posted on March 11, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    "Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all." 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (ESV)

     

    I thrashed the covers in the small bed, punching my pillow, trying to ignore the green numbers on the clock that flashed 2:00 a.m.

    Recovering from a recent illness, I was exhausted. My laptop was evidently just as sick as I was, for when I booted it up, numbers and scrolling messages exploded on the screen.

    This normally happy girl was grouchy ... overly sensitive ... emotional.

    Earlier that evening I had been quiet. if I opened my mouth, I wouldn't be happy with what came out. The last thing I wanted on this ministry trip was to be the girl with her cranky pants on. Yet here I was wearing them with a capital "C."

    As the numbers flashed to 2:30 and then to 3:00, I wrestled with God.

    Lord, what is wrong with me?

    Father, how can you use a girl who's wearing such a giant set of cranky pants?

    That's when the scripture came to mind. Soft. Gentle. Like a whisper it played through my thoughts, filtering down to my heart:

    "The LORD your God is in your midst..." (Zephaniah 3:17 ESV).

    Right then. Right there. He was with me.

    "He will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by His love." (Zephaniah 3:17 ESV).

    My spiraling feelings. My fatigued brain and body. He saw them all, and yet His gladness poured over me. He would quiet my whirling thoughts with His love.

    "He will exult over you with loud singing." (Zephaniah 3:17 ESV).

    That's when the tears came, because right there, even in my cranky pants, God saw me and was singing a majestic lullaby over His daughter.

    I curled up in the blanket, closed my eyes, and sleep finally came.

    Maybe today you're wearing your cranky pants with a capital "C." You're out of sorts. You're biting your tongue to keep harsh words away from those you love. You're tired spiritually or emotionally, or maybe it's been a long time since you've rested physically.

    He sees you. He sees all of you. Not just the cranky pants, but your heart, and that you want nothing more than to be yourself again.

    My prayer is that you hear that lullaby gently playing. That you sense Him drawing you close. I pray that you'll remember that we all have those days when we are out of sorts, or when everything seems to be going wrong. But most of all, I pray that you remember that our Heavenly Father doesn't turn away from us in those moments, but brings peace to our troubled thoughts when we hold up them up with absolute honesty.

    That next day I woke up tired physically, but rested on the inside, and my cranky pants were nowhere in sight.

    I know they'll pop up again. Life does that sometimes. But when it does, rather than hide from God, I'm going to run to Him instead ... cranky pants, and all.

    Dear Father, some days I stay away from You because I am ashamed of my feelings. Thank You that I can rest in Your grace as You pour out peace and quiet my thoughts with Your peace. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness by Suzanne Eller

    Unglued Devotional by Lysa TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    God's grace is needed on good and bad days, but it's often sought only on those days when you feel worthy and approved. But whose approval are you looking for? Yours, or the One who knows you best?

    When you have your next cranky pants day, ask this question: Will I live today ACCUSED or will I be RESCUED by my Heavenly Father who promises to quiet me with His love?

    Power Verses:
    Zephaniah 3:17, "The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing." (ESV)

    Philippians 4:6-7, "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 2 Thessalonians

  • Window of Opportunity

    Posted on March 10, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Since you ignored all my advice and would not accept my rebuke, I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you.” Proverbs 1:25–26

     

    Windows of opportunity are finite, and before long they are gone. It may be a pending deal at work that requires you to negotiate; so do not allow greed to abort a closing. You may have a brief time to woo your woman back into a healthy home, but it requires humility and forgiveness from you as a servant leader. Or this may be a season for you to sit at the feet of a seasoned servant of the Lord.

     

    His or her availability will soon pass, and you will be the one to whom others look for answers. God opens windows of opportunity for you to prayerfully move forward in faith. The Lord’s clear glass of possibilities allows you to view vistas of His faithfulness and grace that become companions on your next great adventure in following Jesus. Windows of faith are passages into God’s purpose for you.

     

    “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

     

    However, those who ridicule a relationship with Christ will look ridiculous to Him and His followers. Calamity crushes those without Christ and causes them to look foolish as they flail away without faith and hope. There is a time after death that the window to knowing God is shut. The last judgment is the Lord’s opportunity to ask, “What did you do with my Son Jesus?”

     

    At this point it is too late for a faithless life, that person has the misfortune of spending eternity in hell without God. This is why Christians labor in this life to love people to the Lord. Their window of faith will soon be shut, but in the meantime you can show them your Savior Jesus with your words and deeds. Pray for the relational windows around you to be open and won for Christ.

     

    “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:30).

     

    Prayer: What current opportunities from the Lord do I need to immediately pursue by faith?

     

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 1:8; Judges 9:33; Luke 14:17; Acts 3:11

    Post/Tweet: An open door may be a passage into God’s purpose for you, so take one step of faith and see.  #faith

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Proverbs

  • When in Doubt

    Posted on March 9, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?’” (Matthew 11:2–3).

     

    Doubt seeks to destroy our faith. It is in our discouragement—even despair—that we begin to question God. “What did I do wrong?” “Lord, did you call me to this place of confusion?” “Where is my joy and hope?” “Are you even real or just a figment of my imagination?” Left to its natural conclusion, doubt crushes our faith in Christ.

     

    Fortunately, faith does not have to take a furlough when we are frustrated and fatigued. It is in your confinement that Christ wants to remind you of His great power. So cry out to Him in your confused circumstances, and He will earnestly listen in love. “In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears” (2 Samuel 22:7). He does not leave His loved ones alone and in doubt.

     

    It is okay to be in doubt, but it is not okay to remain in doubt. What doubt challenges your faith in God? Is it His provision, His promises, His presence, His character, or His care? When these questions assault your confidence in Christ, take a step back and review His track record. The reality of your salvation sets you on the productive path of peace and forgiveness. Answered prayer over the years is proof enough of His love and concern.

     

    Furthermore, use this temporary time of distrust to go deeper with Jesus. The pressure you feel on all sides is your Savior’s way of soliciting your attention. When in doubt, seek out the Lord, learn to love Him completely, and discern more fully His profound promises. Use doubt to dig deeper into the truth of Scripture; marinate your mind. “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8).

     

    When in doubt, stay steadfast in seeking out your Savior. Wait on Him, especially when you wonder what is next. Where there is true faith there may be a mixture of unbelief; so remain faithful, even when questions manipulate your faith. Perseverance will one day free you as a stronger and more-committed follower of Christ. See Jesus for who He is. Doubt dissolves in His reassuring presence. Doubt starves to death when it is not fed.

     

    “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—the Lord, who remains faithful forever” (Psalm 146:5–6).

    Prayer: What doubts do I need to acknowledge and release to God? Is Christ trustworthy?

     

    Related Readings: 2 Chronicles 33:12; Job 36:16–19; John 20:27; Jude 1:22

     

    Post/Tweet: Doubt starves to death when it is not fed. It dissolves in the presence of Jesus.

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Matthew, Doubt

  • Satanic Schemes

    Posted on March 8, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:11

    Busyness is a compelling strategy of Satan’s. He knows if he can lead believers in Jesus to be perpetually busy for Jesus, prayer is postponed. A schedule with no time for solitude is not sustainable over time. So, the devil and his demons get in the head of sincere Christians and have them heading in 14 different directions. A chronically active servant of Christ is spiritually impotent compared to a focused, contemplative child of God. Too B U S Y is Being Under Satan’s Yoke!

    Pride is another preferred tactic of the devil. He wants us to think we can out smart the Lord. So he whispers in our mind, “What has God really said?” “Aren’t you an exception to Christ’s expectations?” Pride dismisses prayer as impractical and wills its way into getting its way. The enemy understands that God distances Himself from the proud, but He is drawn to the humble. Thus, we deflate our ego by deflecting praise of man back to God. We glory in the glory of God!

    Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ”Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. Matthew 4:10-11

    Fear is a favorite scheme of Satan. He knows that fear and faith cannot coexist, so a fear-based believer is stuck in a scary cycle of infant belief. Just as a child fears the dark and is frantic, so an immature faith is paralyzed and threatened. Fear immobilizes your confidence, but intimacy with your Heavenly Father flushes out fear and replaces it with faith. The dark side of the devil’s domain has no dominion over you. Worship and praise the name of Jesus and Satan flees in fear!

    Lastly, call the devil’s bluff with your bold belief in God’s grace and protection. He cannot do anything that your Heavenly Father doesn’t first allow. However, don’t test the Lord by dabbling with temptation and giving Satan a foothold in your faith. What you tolerate in moderation the enemy will escalate to excess. So, fear God and fear of the enemy will evaporate. Be diligent to feast on God’s word and fast from the devil’s delicacies. Above all else, rest in the palm of your Heavenly Father’s hand;there you are safe from satanic schemes. In Christ, you overcome evil!

    The word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one. 1 John 2:14

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father I rest in the palm of Your hand and I trust in Your protection.

    Related Readings: Genesis 3:1; Job 1:12; John 10:28-30; Ephesians 4:27; 1 Timothy 4:1

    Post/Tweet today: Be diligent to feast on God’s word and fast from the devil’s delicacies. #scripture

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Ephesians

  • Is God Leading You to Africa?

    Posted on March 8, 2013 by John van der Veen


    Help to change the life of a child this summer by serving on a 10-day mission trip to central Kenya with Good Goers.

    Kids Alive was founded in 1916 and is a Christian faith mission dedicated to rescuing orphans and vulnerable children – meeting their spiritual, physical, educational and emotional needs. They provide children with the love and care every child deserves, and raise them to be contributing members of their society and witnesses to their family and community. While serving in Kenya, you would work alongside the children in their residential program as well as community children in their school. For fun, you would visit an animal orphanage.

    Meredith Melby has been working in Kenya with Kids Alive since 2011. We ask her to share a bit about life on the mission field.

    Meredith Melby

    Family Christian (FC): What brought you to Kids Alive?

    Meredith (M): My involvement with Kids Alive started before I was born! My great grandfather was the first president of KAI, and my grandfather and father have both served on the KAI board, so I’ve always been aware of the work that they do, but honestly, I never thought I’d end up working for them. I began sponsoring a little girl at the KAI home in the Dominican Republic when I was 12 years old, and had the opportunity to visit her when I was in the 8th grade. What an amazing experience! That trip, along with several other international experiences in high school and college, sparked my interest in cross-cultural ministry. During my Senior year at Wheaton College, I felt God’s call to work abroad. and as I researched different opportunities and organizations, I found that I strongly agreed with the thoughtfulness of the ministry philosophies espoused by Kids Alive – an organization that had been right under my nose for so long! I applied and was accepted as a Kids Alive Missionary, spent some time preparing and fundraising, and finally moved to Kenya in October, 2011. It’s exciting to be able to continue my family’s legacy with this ministry, and I absolutely LOVE my job here. I feel so blessed to work with such a dedicated Kenyan team, and I really enjoy being able to expose our US, Canadian and British teams to God’s work here in Kenya.

    FC: Can you share with us some examples of Gospel transformation that you have seen with others?

    A few months ago, one of our missionaries was walking through our local town with one of our older boys who is now studying international relations at a top university in Nairobi. He is a strong Christian young man, leads worship at his church and disciples his younger brothers in the home when he visits on school holidays. Our staff are all excited about his potential, and can’t wait to see what God has in store for him. As they walked, He pointed to a group of street boys, high on glue and suffering from brain damage due to years of drug abuse, and said “those are the guys I used to hang out with when I lived on the streets. If Kids Alive hadn’t rescued me 10 years ago, I’d be just like them now”. When I heard this story, my heart burst. It burst with love and praise for my God who rescued this young man from such desperation and has given him such purpose, and it broke for those young men still living on the streets – what could they have become, if we’d had the resources to rescue all of them?

    Just last week I was talking with some of our middle school girls for whom I lead a weekly Bible study. All of them come from desperate backgrounds, and each has her own story of trauma, struggle and redemption. I asked them what they had done over the weekend, and they told me that they had heard that our social worker was visiting one of the more needy families in our community and asked to go along. The girls receive about $5 every other month for personal spending, and often use it to get their hair done or buy some new shoes, but upon hearing about the visit the social worker was planning, they decided on their own to pool their small resources and buy enough cooking oil, rice, flour, sugar, tea and soap for this needy family of 4 for a whole month. When I asked them why they’d chosen to do this, they responded “God had given us so much – it’s only right that we give back to His people in need”. My heart swelled with pride and praise to God for these beautiful young women He has rescued and redeemed, and is using even now at their young ages for His glory and service.

    FC: Did you have to get used to some new types of food while living in Kenya?

    I really enjoy Kenyan food. The fruit here is incredible – makes American fruit taste like cardboard. We eat a lot of rice, beans, maize and potatoes on a daily basis, and on special occasions we cook a flat bread called chapatti. The strangest food I’ve eaten in Kenya is goat head. It’s a delicacy usually reserved for men and respected older women, but I was allowed to try the cheek once. I actually found it tasted pretty good! I wasn’t brave enough to try the ear though, which most people say is their favorite – it still had fur on it!

    FC: Is there anything that you miss on a daily basis from the US?

    Fast internet, vacuum cleaners and Dove chocolate.

    FC: How has God grown you through your experience with Kids Alive?

    These kids are amazing!

    My experience with Kids Alive has taught me to trust God in a deeper way than I’ve ever had to before. From fundraising to working through culture shock, building relationships with the kids and my Kenyan coworkers to dealing with the CRAZY drivers here, God has proven to me again and again that He can and will take care of me no matter what circumstances I

    meet. I’ve also gained much more confidence in my God-given abilities and talents. There are so many things I do here that I initially think “I don’t know if I’m qualified for this”, but then I take a deep breath and jump in, trusting that He’ll pull me through, and God has always given me exactly what I need to perform well and succeed in the work He’s given me to do. It’s a crazy adventure He’s taking me on, and I absolutely love it.

    FC: What is your biggest burden in Kenya?

    I think there are two: knowing that there are so many more needy children in our community who we currently don’t have the capacity to help, and trying to find the best ways to nurture and guide the children who are in our care to produce responsible Kenyan young adults who are serious about their faith and want to give back to their home communities.

    FC: How can we pray for you?

    Personally, please pray for continued strength to do what God has called me to here in Kenya, and that He will continue to fold me closer into his loving arms and perfect will. Please also pray for the work of Kids Alive Kenya, that we as a staff will be able care for these children in a way that is glorifying to God, and that we will prudently use the resources He’s given us to thoughtfully and effectively further His important work here in Kenya.


    If you’d like to know how else you can pray for me or are interested in following my adventure with Kids Alive in Kenya, please visit my blog: Gracious Becomings

    For more information on how you or your family can be a part of short term trip to Kenya, visit the Good Goers web site.

     

     


    This post was posted in Interviews, Missions and was tagged with Featured, GoodGoers, Kids Alive, Meredith Melby, Kenya

  • Enter to Win Tickets to the Creation Museum

    Posted on March 8, 2013 by Family Christian

    Prepare to Believe


    Have you or your family experienced the Creation Museum yet?  This state-of-the-art 70,000 square foot museum brings the pages of the Bible to life, casting its characters and animals in dynamic form and placing them in familiar settings. Adam and Eve live in the Garden of Eden. Children play and dinosaurs roam near Eden’s Rivers. The serpent coils cunningly in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Majestic murals, great masterpieces brimming with pulsating colors and details, provide a backdrop for many of the settings.

    Enter to win tickets for you and __________ to the Creation Museum.


    This post was posted in Contests and was tagged with Creation Museum

  • Building Up Your Marriage

    Posted on March 8, 2013 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie Miles

    "However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." Ephesians 5:33 (NIV)

    When I married my husband over 23 years ago, I fully intended to unconditionally love, respect and admire him. I had great intentions of being the perfect wife, offering kind words, a romantic kiss and dinner on the table every evening.

    But then careers took off, bills increased, children were born, laundry piles grew, and life became chaotic. Along the way I subconsciously created a measuring stick of expectations for whether my husband actually deserved my love and respect.

    When marriage didn't meet the unrealistic expectations I had before the wedding, and real life kicked in, it became easy to fall into the habit of tearing down my husband and marriage.

    It seemed the longer we were together, the easier it was to see each other's flaws, and mercilessly criticize them. This eventually led to short tempers, less tolerance, and a lack of marital bliss. Not what I dreamed my marriage would be when I said "I do."

    Maybe you can relate? Have you noticed too that as a result of these frustrations, the gifts of unconditional love, respect and admiration that we fully intended to offer become gifts we withhold?

    A few years ago I picked up a book written for wives. I was hoping to rekindle some passion in my marriage. Little did I know God would use truths shared in that book to get my attention and help me make some inward changes.

    As I read, God convicted my heart about things I had said to my husband just days earlier. Critical comments that rolled off my tongue so easily, I now regretted deeply. Although I had fully intended to be my husband's biggest encourager, I had become one of his worst critics.

    God helped me see the powerful influence I have on my husband and marriage when choosing words that build up. Words that encourage instead of discourage. Words that heal, not wound.

    As women, we can build up or tear down our husbands every day, merely by the respect we give, the words we choose, and the amount of faith in him we convey.

    Respect and admiration are two of the most powerful tools a wife has to influence her husband. Realizing I had fallen short in giving those two precious gifts to my man, I asked God to help me control my tongue. I asked Him to fill my heart and mouth with words that would make my husband feel admired, respected and loved, regardless of whether I felt he deserved it.

    I knew I'd need God's help to follow through on my renewed intentions, so I asked for a gentle nudge from the Holy Spirit when critical thoughts crept into my mind. God helped me avoid the temptation to say them out loud.

    Within just a few weeks, I saw a change — in me, in my husband's demeanor, and in our relationship. A change that rekindled unconditional love, respect and admiration within my heart, thoughts and actions toward my husband. A change that reflected what I set out to give him all along.

    Through our words of respect, and admiration, we can help our husbands become the great men God created them to be, and in turn, have we can have the marriages we fully intended to build. It will take patience, humbleness and grace, but it'll produce love, happiness and togetherness.

    Dear Lord, help tame my tongue and focus on building up my man. Help me break free of the habit to criticize, even when warranted. Open my eyes to the positive, not the negative. Draw us closer, and help us both nurture a strong and loving marriage. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Tracie Miles' new book Stressed Less Living: Finding God's Peace In Your Chaotic World can help you have a less stressed marriage.

    Capture His Heart and Capture Her Heart by Lysa TerKeurst are great wedding presents for the newlyweds in your life! Or purchase a set for you and your husband.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Think about how important your husband's love is to you and consider how much your respect means to him.

    If your marriage seems strained right now, think about conversations with your husband lately. Have your comments been encouraging and uplifting, or discouraging and destructive?

    Power Verses:
    Genesis 2:24, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." (NIV 1984)

    James 3:5b-6a, "Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body." (NIV 1984)

    © 2013 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Ephesians, Marriage

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