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Author Archives: Family Christian

  • In Me you may have peace

    Posted on August 22, 2014 by Family Christian

    "I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace.

    In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

    (John 16:33)

     

    Jesus spoke these words to His disciples in one of their last meetings together. In the hours that followed, Jesus would be severely beaten, mocked, humiliated and ultimately hung to suffer on a Roman crucifix. The disciples' world was quickly turned upside-down and sideways, simply because they followed a humble carpenter from Galilee.

     

    The same is happening today to hundreds of thousands of Christians around the world.

     

     

    The list goes on and on; persecution of Christians is taking place on a worldwide basis. Check out this list our friends at Open Doors USA put together. It's called the "World Watch List", and it shows you which countries have the most violence against Christians.

     

    Peace may seem hard to find in this chaotic and often-violent world.  When peace is elusive, at least in my case, anxiety is quick to set in. When situations and circumstances spiral out of control, my knee-jerk response is to worry and fret.

     

    "In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

     

    These simple statements a two-fold promise: you will face trials, but you will also overcome them. We often don't know how the Lord will help us get through a hardship, or when we will see Him act. But, the end result is promised: we will overcome.

     

    When you know how a story ends, it often provides peace to "ride out the storm" and endure whatever challenges come your way.  Please join me today in praying for peace and endurance for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ around the world.

    Tornadoes, like the one that came through our neighborhood earlier this year, can cause major destruction in a matter of minutes. How do you find peace when the tornadoes of life come?

    How do you find peace in the middle of life's storms?

    BY: Katey Hearth

    Katey is a Staff Writer/Social Media Coordinator at Mission Network News. She has a heart for global missions and desires justice for the “least of these” around the world, from victims of sex trafficking to India’s Dalit people.

    You can find her latest thoughts at Mission Network News.


  • Peace I leave with you

    Posted on August 18, 2014 by Family Christian

    John 14:27-Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

    Storytelling is something I really enjoy. I hope you enjoy my short feature.
    with god

    Gazing out my window I see the slight movement of the leaves as they dance back and forth upon their branches. The sun is shining but that slight breeze causing the leaves to sway back and forth is providing the perfect sense of relief. It was a stressful day and all I could think about were the tasks at hand and the obstacles I was to overcome. Overwhelmed with the stress of the unknown. Fear was setting in, but that tiny brisk breeze blowing in through my window was enough…enough to relax me for just a moment. A moment long enough to take my mind off of the fears…the unknown.

    Suddenly I was starting to see things in a different light. My mind was turning and as the light shown in through the window onto the wall in front of me I knew…I knew there was a light at the end of my dark tunnel. At that very moment it hit me that I was no longer in control of my situation, I never really was to begin with. How quickly we forget that we are not in control. How quickly we forget that even when it’s dark and all doors seem to be closing, there is always a bright light. We just need to wait in the hallway and open that door when the time is right!

    But how do I know when the time is right? How do I know when I’m going to feel that peace, that sweet peace that overcomes my body and leaves me with the most serene and calm feeling? When will I be overcome by peace? And then my mind started to wonder…

    But it didn’t take long for that breeze to sweep in through my window. It catches my attention and leaves me thinking…wondering…mind in motion…

    In an instant…a sudden instant, my fears, my worries…they seem to disappear, because it is in that instant that I realize I haven’t truly given my worries to God. For had I given my worries to God I wouldn’t be struggling to understand the things that just don’t make sense. And in that moment I hit my knees and I was overcome with peace…sweet peace.

    When life is just to hard to stand…kneel.

    I pray that you find that peace. I pray that you are overcome with a peace and understanding. I pray that you can be the bright light to others that are struggling with finding their peace.

    John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

    This post was written by Mandee Suchland. Mandee is a very busy woman! She has 5 BOYS and is writer and owner of the websitmee www.raisingmy5sons.com, a site all about Mandee's life as the only female in a house full of males. She says life is Crazy, Hectic and LOUD, but it's always full of love and laughter and she wouldn't have it any other way. As if that isn't enough to keep her busy, Mandee is also the owner of www.sheblogsit.com, a site where she shows a little more of her writing talents and shares her faith with others.

     

  • Finding Peace as a Christian Artist

    Posted on August 16, 2014 by Family Christian

    Chelsea

    I remember it distinctly-- the song “One of Us” by Joan Osborne softly played on the radio in my mom's car. My interest peaked as I listened to the words “what if God was one of us?”

    My version of Jesus was a perfect man wearing iridescent clothing, floating in the sky and shaking his head at my life decisions. Yet, these lyrics described a different Jesus-- someone who understood my pain, who could relate to me, and maybe even talk to me.

    At that time, I rejected the idea of Christianity, avoiding Christian music at all costs. Oddly enough, the secular-- even controversial-- song, “One of Us” still lingered in the back of my mind, along with the idea of a loving Jesus. Music was especially close to my heart since I had just started writing songs. As the years rolled by, my music evolved with it.

    Then at age 19, I gave my life to Christ. I began listening to Christian music non-stop to fuel up and draw close to God. That was about the time I ran into a dilemma-- now that I was a Christian, was I supposed to write Christian music?

    I tried over and over again to write a “Christian song”, but it usually felt unnatural and forced. My style of writing had always been metaphorical and illustrative, where the listener could derive their own interpretation and personally connect with the music.

    Every time I wrote a “Christian song”, I felt like I was robbing the song of its true story by spelling out how the reader should think and feel. I was living passionately for God, but I felt guilty every time I wrote a song that didn't explicitly say “God” or “Jesus” in it.

    Then God opened my mind.

    I took a break from songwriting and He showed me how limitless He really was. I began hearing him in songs that I once considered “secular”. I heard him in the quiet melodies of an acoustic guitar, in the gut-wrenchingly honest words of a broken-hearted songwriter, and even in the soaring harmony of a symphony.

    I realized that God is everywhere-- he's in every type of music, whether it's in the “Christian” genre or not.

    That revelation helped me reconcile my faith with my voice as an artist. I let God pour through my songwriting, without any fear or inhibitions getting in the way. As a result, I finally have peace as a Christian artist.

    For more about Brian and Chelsea, visit: brianandchelseamusic.com

  • His Eye is on the Sparrow

    Posted on August 13, 2014 by Family Christian

    Kelly

    "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" Matthew 6:25-26 (NIV)

    When I moved to Nashville years ago in pursuit of a music career, I never imagined I would land here. Here, on the Amazon River, where the day starts when the sun rises, and morning comes early.

    The complexity of the jungle sent my head spinning — the fact that all this grows and thrives without Wall Street, smartphones and us! I felt appropriately small. I couldn't get over the countless symbiotic relationships: this creature surviving off that tree, relying on that seed, transported by those birds. It was astounding how everything hung in this delicate balance, how in the beautiful and mysterious words of Colossians 1:17b, in Christ "all things hold together."

    Often I think I'm the one holding things together. I get busy with appointments, planning dinner, waiting to hear if a friend's news from the doctor is hopeful. I fall into this mentality that keeping all these plates spinning is life, while the jungle life appeared so effortless.

    The gentle and imposing stature of the jungle convicted and humbled me, as I crunched atop its brush and beneath its canopy.

    How much more, God seemed to be saying, do I care for you if I care for the birds who have no barns, the flowers who needn't spin nor toil for their splendor? In Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, He points to His custody of nature, proving if He cares for the tiniest of creatures, certainly we don't have to worry about what we're going to eat or drink or wear, because He knows our needs.

    I don't rely on this truth enough, since food, garments and shelter are readily available where I come from — at least for most people. I knew God called His people to meet the needs of the poor, to tangibly demonstrate He knows their needs and intently cares to meet them. I believed this, but what I didn't know was how personal it would feel.

    While there, I visited a village school in Chita. With about 20 children ages 3 to 10 in the room, our program included singing, a puppet show and Bible story.

    When asked if anyone would like to come up for prayer, a 4-year-old boy named Yan leaped from his chair. Yan turned back to grab his mother's wrist, dragging her forward. "We need a house," he said matter-of-factly.

    I bowed my head, realizing I'd never prayed for God to provide someone with a house before. Sure, I'd prayed with friends to "find a house," but what I meant was they'd find a good house in a solid school district with low taxes ... maybe near a swimming pool, good church and a park. I didn't actually mean find a house.

    When it was time to say good-bye to the villagers in Chita, there stood Yan alone on the shore. I hated to leave that little boy. As the wind blew across my skin and the banks thick with trees moved past us, I was lulled into reflection.

    A 4-year-old boy taught me something about dependence and prayer, and the jungle itself had also spoken. Walking through the rainforest was like walking through a cathedral.

    There was something holy about encountering creation the way the psalmist speaks of the heavens declaring God's glory, breathing out utterances that reach to the ends of the earth. Here I was, at the ends of the earth, and He was still there. And His eye was on the sparrow ... a little sparrow named Yan, and a slightly bigger sparrow named Kelly.

    Dear Heavenly Father, I proclaim You as my Provider. Worry, striving and fretting are not from You, because You care for my every need. Please give me the grace to trust You with all that's weighing on my mind and heavy on my heart. When my anxiety becomes overwhelming, give me the peace of Christ that transcends my understanding. Thank You for promising to never leave me nor forsake me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Matthew 7:7, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (NIV)

    Colossians 1:17, "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Pinpoint a present worry or concern, then meditate on the key verses of Matthew 6:25-26. What truth speaks to your current anxiety?

    We read in Colossians 1:17 that Christ holds all things together. What practical steps can you take to entrust your concerns to His Almighty care?

    © 2014 by Kelly Minter. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks David C. Cook for their sponsorship of today's devotion. Author photo compliments of Brooke Boling.

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

  • Peace: Unreasonable doubt or incomprehensible peace (scripture to combat mommy guilt)

    Posted on August 7, 2014 by Family Christian

    Bekah writes for  I Prefer My Puns Intended, a blog that explores the fact that life can be punny.  Her articles span topics like faith and family as well as education, wellness, and dapper infant style.  The titles of her posts may be cheesy, but the content gets feta.  Sorry. Better.

    I thought I was doing pretty well this morning.

    Little bear woke me up at 6 a.m., he ate at 6:30, and we played from 7:00 until 8:00.  He has gotten strong enough to sit up with the boppy and play with his toys.  It was an exciting playtime for this proud mommy.  I looked at the clock and thought, ‘if I leave now and run at my fastest pace with the stroller, I can be back in time for his nap time.’  It was a good plan.  I could, realistically, tick all of the boxes off of my very full mommy planner before our playdate.  Then, we could have the day free to do anything. No mid-afternoon sweltering run; just a nice, cool morning jog to start our day.

    Combatting Mommy Guilt

    Well, unsurprisingly, I didn’t hit my goal pace of 10:00/mile with the Bob.  I was struggling with side-stiches, which has been a new thorn in my side during my postpartum training. I was about a minute over my pace and six minutes away from home; my run had crossed over into nap time.  Most mommies know what happened next.  Little bear began to cry and fight the sleep he so desperately needed.  I felt horrible. There was nothing I could do but keep going and try to make it back home, ignoring the irritating pain in my side and devastating pain in my heart.

    And then, another runner passed by.  She was a tall, slender woman who looked to be in her mid-forties, and perhaps two miles into her run.  She glanced down at my little bear, and up at me.  I smiled, but she cocked one eyebrow up and pursed her lips.  It was a momentary glance that stuck with me the rest of our run home. ‘I bet she thinks I am such a selfish mom; I am sure she is wondering why I am out running when I should be tending to my baby. Am I selfish?’

    Little bear is asleep now.  He went right to sleep as soon as we made it home. No harm, no foul.  He will probably sleep for another hour or so.  So why do I feel so guilty?

    My mother-in-law once told me, “motherhood is guilt.”  Oh, how right she was.  My typical worries span the length of the day:

    Did I let him talk too much in his crib before I got him up for the day? Was he uncomfortable in his crib because of his dirty diaper and I waited too long to change it? Is this diaper rash my fault? Did I feed him enough? He threw up, did I feed him too much? Am I making enough for him to grow taller? Should I take him in to see his dad while he gets ready for work, or will that bother his morning routine?  Did I wake up his dad? Should I make myself breakfast? Should I just play with him and wait to eat when he takes a nap? Should I put him on his tummy now or will it upset his tummy? Am I interactive enough? Did I hold him too much? Did I hold him enough? I checked my phone.  I remember that article about checking my phone too much and missing out on time with my kids.  Will I teach him bad habits if I keep checking my phone?  I care way too much about how many people read what I have to say. The TV was on.  Bear saw the TV and watched it for a few minutes.  I remember those articles about how screen time ruins little brains.  Did I scar him for life? Did those two minutes of screen time delay his speech development? His eyesight? His language acquisition? Did he exercise enough? He is rubbing his eyes, but it isn’t nap time. Should I keep him up? If I keep him up too long he won’t sleep and then it is my fault for not putting him down soon enough.

    …and that is just a typical morning in our home. Imagine what your mind can do when your baby cries in public places; on a plane; in a restaurant…the guilt is unbearable. The doubt is unreasonable. Instead of looking to the real heart of the issue (i.e. baby is tired, hungry, or needs to be changed), moms tend to put all of the blame on their shoulders.

    In Psalms 38:4, David talks about guilt;

    My guilt is like a heavy burden.  I am sinking beneath its weight.

    Any moms in this boat? Pun intended.

    Some days, I find myself sinking in this endless sea of guilt.  Guilt, however, is stumbling block to righteousness and real relationship with Christ. If you aren’t a Christian, it is simply an obstacle to a fulfilled motherhood.  Instead of praising God (or celebrating the fact that we kept our baby alive through the night), we replace our joy with worries.  For Christians, this robs us of our witness.  For all mommies, this guilt gives us anxiety.  Here are a few scriptures that I use in order to replace worry,  doubt, and that ever-present “mommy-guilt” with joy and peace in the Lord.

    1. Take away my guilty thoughts.

    “Scrub away my guilt.  Wash me clean from my sin.” Psalms 51:2

    Am I sinning when I worry too much? Yes. Anything that takes me away from giving the glory to God is a sin.  I need to remember to let it go.  God has equipped me to be the mother that little bear needs. And that is enough.

    2. Remember the goodness of God.

    “You have forgiven the bad things your people did.  You have taken away the guilt of their sins.” Psalm 85:2

    It is so important to remember that God doesn’t keep a tally of our sins.  Or, if you want to think about it practically as a mom, he takes away our mommy-mishaps.  He promises to “take away the guilt.” We just have to let him.

    3. Direct us in how to “let it go.”

    “For my yoke is easy; my burden is light.” Matthew 11:30

    God has given us the power to leave our worries with him and take on a much lighter load to carry.  We just have to praise him in all that we do, and seek him first. Don’t seek to be the “perfect mom.” That particular role is elusive and impossible to attain. We are not gods, after all.

    4. Become healed from guilt.

    “Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for you are my praise.”Jeremiah 17:14

    No where in that prayer are the words, “my children are my praise.”  Parenthood is oh so important. We are tempted to believe that our children are our everything, however.  This is not the case.  God promises to heal our worried hearts and save us from the sinking ship of guilt if we focus on him.

    5. Release the guilt given to you from other people.

    “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

    I once read a Buddhist fable about a man walking up to Buddha and criticizing his teaching, sincerity, and intelligence.  Buddha said nothing and the man walked away.  An onlooker asked why he didn’t respond and Buddha simply said, “when someone offers you a gift you don’t want, you throw it away.  I refused to receive the negativity the man was offering, so I didn’t respond.”

    That really stuck with me.  God has promised us peace; the world gives us anxiety.  I would much rather choose peace; and yet some days I am riddled with guilt.  This particular scripture is so important when it comes to mommy-shaming, or even those sideways glances when you’re a few minutes from home and your baby starts crying.  Mommy guilt is real, but God’s peace is a much greater alternative than bearing it all on your shoulders.

    6. Live in the abundant peace that surpasses understanding.

    "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 4: 6-7
    Paul suggested that the people of Phillipi live a life filled with the peace of God that “transcends all understanding.” All mommies want to know if what they are doing is best for their children.  Somehow, God beckons us to live each day apart from the full satisfaction of knowing whether or not we made the right choices moment-to-moment.  Living in the worry of our guilt will never bring us satisfaction.  As our children grow, the guilt will only carry higher stakes.  The sooner we release our anxiety to the one who rescues, the sooner we can live a life separate from our guilt, and full of the presence and peace of God.

  • Join us for fun from around the world!

    Posted on June 25, 2014 by Family Christian

    Bring your child to our Summer Play Event!
    Saturday, June 28, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
    Bring your child or grandchild with you! See you on June 28!
  • Our latest and greatest

    Posted on June 24, 2014 by Family Christian

    Hope in Front of Me by Danny Gokey
    Duck Dynasty: Season 5 2-DVD set
    Sing Through the Bible DVD
    When Calls the Heart: The Dance DVD
    I’m Not High Maintenance Just Low Tolerance DVD
  • Our picks for summer!

    Posted on June 22, 2014 by Family Christian

    Handpicked for your summer
    Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers Child of Mine by Beverly and David Lewis Undetected by Dee Henderson
    Plan B Notepad Gift Set Life Is All About Plan B Gift Bag The Art of Celebration by Rend Collective
    Crinkle Infinity Scarves Cross Body Handbag
    Wristlet Clutch
    Cross & Flag Tee  Lightning Bugs Tee
    Shop our summer picks!
  • Shop our new wedding collection!

    Posted on June 22, 2014 by Family Christian

    Gifts for their special day!
    ‘Tis the season for weddings…and shopping for the perfect gift for the future Mr. and Mrs. We have a delightful collection of faith-filled gifts that the bride and groom will adore, from framed art and photo frames to crosses and coffee mugs.
    Together Forever Cross God Bless This Marriage Photo Frame Love Never Ends Personalized Plaque
    Together Forever Photo Frame Together Forever Mug Mr. & Mrs. Bride & Groom Plaque
    Joined Together in Love Photo Frame Joined Together in Love Plaque Joined Together in Love Cross
    Love Bears All Things Framed Art Love Is... Burlap Pillow Mr. & Mrs. Platinum Bow Photo Frame
    Shop all wedding gifts
  • Go deluxe with these new tunes!

    Posted on June 19, 2014 by Family Christian

    Bonus tracks & more from top artists!
    If We’re Honest: Deluxe Edition by Francesca Battistelli
    Sovereign: Deluxe Edition by Michael W. Smith
    Passion: Take It All: Deluxe Edition by Passion Band
    WOW Worship 2014: Deluxe Edition by Various Artists
    WOW Hits 2014: Deluxe Edition by Various Artists
    Majestic: Deluxe Edition CD/DVD by Kari Jobe

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