• Store Locator

Author Archives: Family Christian

  • Widow Connection: A History

    Six years ago, Miriam Neff walked into a Family Christian store with her daughter, Valerie, and three adopted grandsons, who were in foster care at the time. Our store was hosting an orphan care event, and while the boys enjoyed a craft and snack, Miriam struck up a conversation with a store manager, expressing how impressed she was with the event for orphans and adopted children.

    Miriam with Picture of Grandsons Miriam proudly showing us her grandsons.

    She was thrilled to learn about our commitment to supporting orphans and widows in need through James 1:27, which says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (NIV)

    “That’s awesome! Most people don’t get it. They may do the orphan piece, but they don’t understand that it also says widows,” Miriam said, reflecting on that day.

    In 2006, Miriam became a widow after her husband, Bob, lost his battle with ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Immediately she felt ripped apart—feeling as if she was no longer whole—since when people marry, they become one, and Bob was taken away from her.

    Unfortunately, before his passing, Miriam had scheduled her retirement for that same year. So halfway through 2006, she was without her husband and a job.

    It left a large void in her life—one that she was unsure how to fill.

    At first, she tried to find resources that would provide her with guidance financially, emotionally AND spiritually, but what she found was very limited.

    Then she sought to find fulfillment by spending time with Bob’s friends and trying to connect with memories she struggled to hold onto.

    One of these trips led her to Burkina Faso, Africa, where she was asked to teach a group of widows about the Bible. The widows enjoyed it so much they asked her to come back at the same time the next day.

    That night, which also happened to be the seven-month anniversary of Bob’s death, Miriam was sitting in her hotel room when she realized God was calling her to serve widows.

    “I’d never had a calling before,” Miriam said, adding that God asked, “‘Miriam, if you’re not finding these resources, what are you going to do about it?’”

    That was the birth of Widow Connection.

    Miriam began by launching the website, WidowConnection.com, which has grown substantially into a place where widows can seek comfort by reading shared stories from other widows and find resources for their own current situation.

    Next , Miriam wrote her book, From One Widow to Another, and then began thinking about how she could further spread the word about her ministry and serve more widows—that’s when she asked us about our widow outreach, and our partnership would begin.

    Continue reading about how Family Christian and Widow Connection work together today.

    Join us in giving hope to widows around the world. Donate $10* to Widow Connection by texting FAMILY to 52000.


    *Your one-time donation of $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your pre-paid balance. Message & data rates may apply.

  • Pray America: How You've Been Helping Feed Families

    Last November, we shared with you how families in Guatemala were still seeing the effects a drought in 2014 had on their food supply. Many of you donated to help purchase dry ingredients, including corn, rice, beans and salt, for Pray America to distribute to the neediest families in Chichicastenango.

    Your donations helped provide over 90,000 pounds of food. Your donations helped provide over 90,000 pounds of food.

    We’re thrilled to announce that your generous donations have raised enough for 1,733 food kits! Each food kit contains 52 pounds of food and will feed a family for 30–45 days.

    Let’s take a closer look at how God’s amazing plan unfolded:

    Winter 2015

    • Guatemalans are still seeing the effects of a drought in 2014. Ron Morin, Founder and Director of Pray America/Manos de Jesus, asks God how his ministry can be prepared if the drought returns. God responds to build a bodega, or food storehouse. Ron and his team begin to build, not knowing if they’ll have the funds to complete the project. He trusts God and acts.

    Spring 2015

    • God leads Family Christian to develop a ministry plan that includes a 10-day focus on famine relief in Guatemala. We commit to match the first $25,000 that is raised by our guests.
    • We share the great news with Ron, and through tears, Ron proclaims that he now knows why God called him to build the bodega. Still without the funds to finish construction, Ron is firm in God’s plan and continues to walk by faith.
    • A man in the U.S. contacts Ron, saying God put on his heart to donate money to Pray America for a special project. Ron is overjoyed. The funds pay for the bodega’s roof.

    Summer 2015

    • The bodega’s construction is complete. Now the need is to fill it with dry, natural food—corn, rice, beans and salt—that Guatemalans can survive on.

    Fall 2015

    • In November, our 10-day campaign to raise funds to purchase food for the bodega kicks off. Our guests respond, and more than $50,000 is raised in donations!
    • In early December, we learn the famine crisis continues to worsen in Guatemala.
    • Ron travels to our office in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He graciously accepts the funds to purchase the food for the bodega, and we celebrate God, our Provider.

    January 2016

    • The dry food is purchased and begins to fill God’s bodega.
    • The last week of the month, a mission team from Family Christian travels to Guatemala to serve with Pray America. The team distributes the critically-needed food to families in famine-stricken communities—and the team’s overwhelmed by the joy and relief from each recipient. God’s provision is clear.

    This is a great accomplishment, but there are still so many Guatemalans who need food, and YOU can help! Donate now >

  • Swing Like No One is Watching

    Swing Like No One is Watching by Shelly Faust

    Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)

    Week after week I watch my boy strap on his helmet, grab his bat and walk trembling to the batter’s box. Each time the ball comes, he stands paralyzed, unable to move. Starting Little League baseball as a rookie 10-year-old can be quite intimidating, especially in a small Texas town where most of your teammates have been playing since birth.

    But something about this night feels different. I watch him strap on his helmet, grab his bat and walk — still trembling — to the batter’s box. He digs his cleats in a little deeper, grips his bat a little tighter and stares with a determined focus at the pitcher. This time when the ball comes, he sends it flying into the outfield.

    This new baseball mama wants to jump over the strategically placed barrier fencing between us and tackle #21 as he slides into third base. But wisdom (and my husband) encourage me to practice restraint. So instead, I yell like a crazy woman from my side of the fence.

    What made this night different?

    I can’t say for sure, but maybe my boy decided he finally felt ready. Or maybe, as evidenced by his still trembling knees, he felt afraid but decided to push through the fear that kept him paralyzed all season, frozen in the ready position. Maybe he decided to swing the bat like he did every evening at home in the absence of his peers and opponents.

    Maybe he decided to swing like no one was watching.

    The truth is, my boy isn’t the only one who has stayed frozen in the ready position by fear and intimidation. I have too often given in to this enemy who wars against purpose and potential. I have sometimes walked to first base but rarely have I risked it all at the chance to get in the game and bring my teammates home.

    Maybe you can relate. You’ve trained, prepared and spent intimate moments with Jesus about this thing you’ve been called to do, but your arms and feet just won’t move. It feels too big, too risky.

    Like trusting God with your marriage.

    Leading a Bible study.

    Sharing Jesus with your neighbor.

    Or writing a book.

    The Words from our own Coach, God Almighty, challenge us to “be strong and courageous.” They command us to “not be terrified or afraid,” and remind us “the LORD your God goes with you.

    Whatever the assignment before us, no matter the opposition against us, God is always with us. And the opposing team is put on notice when we choose to act even when our knees tremble.

    Two innings later as my boy steps up to bat, we hear a voice from the outfield nervously yell, “Big hitter!” and the whole team takes a step back.

    The enemy goes scrambling when we choose courage over fear.

    When we believe God will do what He says He’ll do, we can do what we’ve been called to do.

    When we swing the bat like no one is watching, preparation and purpose explode in God’s power.

    Dear Lord, Thank You for creating me with purpose and empowering me to do the things You’ve called me to do. When fear tries to intimidate me and my knees start to tremble, remind me that You are with me. Let courage and strength be my companions. Help me push past every obstacle preventing me from playing my part in Kingdom-building here on earth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Isaiah 41:10, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (NLT)

    Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or dismayed (intimidated), for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (AMP)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: What is one thing God has asked you to do but you’ve been afraid to do it?

    Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what is keeping you from moving forward. What can you do today to take that first step of obedience?

    © 2016 by Shelly Faust. All rights reserved.

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

  • When My Happy Gets Bumped

    When My Happy Gets Bumped by Lysa TerKeurst

    Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:11-12 (NIV)

    Most days, I wake up fairly happy. It’s not like I wake up in the mood for a party, but generally I’m not grumpy when I arise. I wake up and things seem pretty good, level and fresh with possibilities. But then inevitably something — or someone — will bump into my happy.

    An early morning meltdown by one of my people.

    Or a difficult email that makes my heart sink.

    Or me underestimating my time and suddenly everything is rushed, hurried and stressful.

    Or my husband, Art, lowering the thermostat in the house to 68 degrees and I can’t stop shivering until the temperature hovers closer to 72. It’s amazing how much difference four degrees makes.

    Things happen. Things that bump into my happy. And suddenly I’m a little off-kilter and a little less nice.

    Can you relate?

    Well, I’m learning something about a little mental perspective I need to have when things bump into my happy. In that moment, Satan is scheming to have me help him out. If he can just get me jostled to the point where I react out of anger, it’s like lighting a spark near a puddle of gasoline.

    Even the smallest spark can ignite quite a fire. A fire that can spread and feel much bigger than what the situation ever should have been.

    Take the temperature situation, for example.

    It should be just a simple discussion about the thermostat. But, add a little anger and suddenly things in my brain escalate to the point where I’ve just about convinced myself Art is completely insensitive and couldn’t care less about me.

    Is that true? Of course not. He just likes to sit in his house without sweating. Surely, we could find a compromise with the temperature or I could go put on some socks and a sweatshirt.

    Instead, when he bumps into my happy, a “growth opportunity” ensues that leaves us both feeling a little burned.

    In other words, I play right into Satan’s scheme and help him out. Remember, Satan’s plan is to cause separation. Be it a temperature issue, tight finances, a misunderstood statement or one of the millions of little things that can bump into our happy … we have a choice.

    We can choose to play into Satan’s schemes and enable his attempts to separate us from God’s best. Or, we can choose to fight for our relationships and against Satan’s divisive attempts. When I think about it in these terms, it helps me identify the real enemy.

    My real enemy isn’t any of the people who bump my happy. My real enemy is the one who tries with all his might to get me to jump into a grumpy mood and help him tear down all that I love.

    Knowing I need a strategy against these attacks, I turn to the wisdom found in Ephesians 6:11, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

    You better back up and back off, Satan. I’m onto your schemes. You are the real enemy, not my people. And now I have a totally new game plan for when my happy gets bumped.

    Starting with finding just the right pair of socks and a sweatshirt to wear in the ice cave.

    Dear Lord, sometimes my happy gets bumped and my emotions get the best of me. Help me react in a way that honors You instead of reacting in a way that will fuel Satan’s agenda. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: James 4:7, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: What bumps into your happy and sends you off-kilter?

    Are there any relationships in your life where Satan is using those very things to cause division and strife? Stop and ask the Lord to help you see who the real enemy is and to bring healing and restoration to those relationships.

    © 2016 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • A Note from Karen Kingsbury

    People ask why I chose to write about angels, why I was drawn to the light side of the supernatural. The easy answer is this: It’s in the Bible. In Hebrews 13 we are advised to entertain strangers, because in doing so some of us have entertained angels without knowing it.

    But there is another reason I wrote my Angels Walking series.

    It happened in 2007 on a hot, summer afternoon, when my father suffered a massive heart attack. One minute he was talking with my mom, and the next he was out. Laid back in his recliner like he’d fallen into a deep sleep.

    My nephew Andrew was thirteen at the time. He called 911 and an operator talked him through giving my father CPR for the next fourteen minutes. By the time paramedics arrived, my dad was blue and unresponsive. Andrew ran into the next room and started sobbing. He thought he’d done something wrong.

    The house was chaotic, the paramedics working feverishly on my dad. Suddenly a police officer rushed into the house and pulled my mother aside. “Do you believe in Jesus?” he asked.

    “Yes!” she cried. “We’re believers.”

    With a peace-filled intensity, the man looked straight into my mom’s eyes. “We’re going to pray that the power that raised Lazarus from the dead breathes life into your husband right now.” He pointed back to where young Andrew was still crying. “Otherwise that boy will spend the rest of his life thinking this was his fault.”

    The very second the officer said, “Amen,” from the other room the head paramedic yelled, “We have a heartbeat!”

    My dad lived another six weeks. We laughed and talked and remembered every wonderful moment. We prayed every possible prayer. When he died, our family was at peace. Later my mom tried to find the officer who randomly came into the house to pray with her that day. She called the police station. No one had ever heard of the man.

    We came to believe that the officer was an angel, sent in response to prayers being cried out from Atlanta to Los Angeles. An angel maybe on an Angels Walking mission. Now you know why I wrote this series, and why I can’t wait for you to read the final installment: Brush of Wings.

  • When You’re Not Ready for the Season of Life You’re In

    When You’re Not Ready for the Season of Life You’re In by Chrystal Evans Hurst

    Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16b (NIV)

    It's official ... I’m the mother of the mother of a child. Just call me the #MMC.

    I hope you understood what I’m trying to say because I can’t bring myself to say the “G” word yet.

    My daughter and her husband graced us with their daughter the day before Christmas. Yes, our new little princess is beautiful. Yes, I feel all of the love in the world for her. Yes, her birth was wonderful and beautifully surreal.

    But her birth means a change in seasons for me. And I’m not ready.

    But it doesn’t matter because she’s here, and I’m officially a gr … Mother of a mother of a child.

    Seasons change, don't they? Life shifts.

    One day you can describe yourself and your life one way, and the next day that description can totally change.

    Sometimes those shifts are welcomed and celebrated. Other times those shifts are regarded with a bit of anxiety. Life is always changing.

    Maybe the changes you've recently experienced or anticipate in the near future have you so excited you can't stand it. Or maybe those changes are making you so nervous that you shake a little in your boots every time you think about them.

    Either way, life has seasons — some of which we are ready for and some we simply don’t think befitting or suitable for who we think we are or what we think our life should look like.

    I don’t think Ruth expected her season of widowhood.

    A young girl gets married expecting to be happy, to have a family, to live together for a long time. Instead, as we read in Ruth 1:3‑5, Ruth faced a childless, widowed and destitute existence after her husband passed away. There was no one to ensure financial security, nuclear community or generational progeny. Her future was not what she expected, and her identity shifted as a result.

    Maybe your season in life has shifted unexpectedly...

    • Young wife. Now widowed.
    • Working. Now unemployed.
    • Healthy. Now ill.
    • Married. Now divorced.
    • Calm. Now stressed.
    • Comfortable. Now stretched.

    Not all shifts in seasons are negative. Some simply push us into places that require a major adjustment in our hearts, mind or will...

    • Employed. Now the promotion is more than you bargained for.
    • Childless. Now motherhood is the hardest thing you’ve ever done.
    • Single. Now marriage is not as straightforward or simple as you thought it would be.
    • Content. Now God has led you to a place where dependence on Him means discomfort or uncertainty and forces you to grow in your faith.
    • Unbeliever. Now you know Jesus Christ, but reading the Bible is like reading a foreign language and you’re frustrated trying to figure out this Christian thing.

    The book of Ruth is the story of girl who trusted God with the unforeseen, the unanticipated and the surprising. She teaches us that by embracing the changing seasons of life and the circumstances that God allows, we can come to see God in a new light as we walk through new situations.

    Yet as we see in today’s key verse, Ruth tackled her new season head on. Even though her shift in season was unexpected, life-changing and unsettling, she embraced it.

    She moved fully into the season of life God allowed, trusting that in the end it was God who was her Sustainer and Provider. She trusted Him with her identity, her station in life and the direction of her story. And in trusting Him she learned that new seasons, even the unexpected ones, can lead to the most beautiful places.

    What does it mean to be a gr … grandmother?

    I have no idea.

    But I do know that Ruth’s decision to walk with bravery and boldness into a new season paved her way to be the grandmother of King David and ultimately in the lineage of Jesus Christ.

    Even though I probably will forever consider myself to be 27, I think embracing this new life-changing, redefining season of my life will allow me to see what God looks like as I walk fully in this place. And I might even be surprised by the impact He allows me to make in His power.

    What does it mean for you to be widowed or a wife, unemployed or promoted, divorced or in a blended family, financially strapped or financially responsible, a new Christian or a seasoned saint?

    I don’t know.

    But I do know we should walk boldly into the seasons that God allows, trusting that He will show us how to maximize each moment we have there.

    Dear God, I don’t know how to handle the season I’m in. Please show me how You would have me to operate in this place and give me strength to move forward in a way that brings You glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Proverbs 31:25, “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” (NIV)

    Psalm 33:11, “The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart from generation to generation.” (NASB)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: Do you believe that the God Ruth served is the same God we serve today? If so, how do your words or actions show you trust Him?

    Do you have practical tips to share for embracing either the welcome or even the unwelcome seasons of life? Share those in the comment section so that they might be an encouragement for someone today.

    © 2016 by Chrystal Evans Hurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Learning to Talk with God

    Learning to Talk with God by Lisa Harper

    Then Jesus said to them, ‘Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?’” (Mark 4:13, NIV)

    The single most difficult thing my adopted daughter Missy and I dealt with during our first few months together was not her HIV+ status.

    It also wasn’t the frequent hospital trips or learning (and remembering) how to dispense her twice‑daily doses of three different medications.

    It wasn’t even my futile, scalp-torturing attempts to learn how to micro-braid her gorgeous Haitian hair.

    The most difficult, sometimes heart-wrenching, aspect of our first nose-to-nose season was learning to communicate.

    On my five visits to Haiti during the adoption process, we’d managed to sort of understand each other with a few common words of Creole and English coupled with facial expressions and charades. I wasn’t prepared for the heartache our communication gap would cause once I finally brought her home to Tennessee.

    The harsh reality of that gap became glaringly apparent one night after we arrived home. I’d gotten her changed into pajamas and settled into her special pink and white bedding and was singing a lullaby to help her sleep.

    However, instead of becoming drowsy, she got more and more agitated. So I picked her up and did several things experts had advised me to do to let her know she was safe and secure. But my actions only seemed to make things worse.

    Finally, after more than an hour of her growing increasingly fearful and me vainly trying to soothe her, I got out the Creole dictionary and attempted to ask if she was in pain. The second I began trying to articulate that foreign phrase, her head snapped toward me, her brown eyes focused on mine with laser‑like intensity and she began talking as fast as she could.

    A torrent of unfamiliar words poured from her mouth. After a minute or two, when she could tell by my expression I didn’t understand, she put both of her hands on the sides of my face and began to speak very intently.

    Eventually I replied in English, “I’m so sorry baby, but I don’t understand what you’re saying.” At which point she dropped her hands to her side, looked away from me with hopeless resignation and began to sob uncontrollably.

    My little girl cried herself to sleep, and when her breathing finally settled into the rhythm of slumber, I walked into the living room, sank into the couch and cried until I didn’t have any tears left either.

    I felt like the precious daughter I’d longed for since I was a young woman and fought for through an arduous two‑year adoption journey had tried to give me her heart, and I didn’t have the hands to receive it. She threw a relational lifesaver in my direction with every ounce of her 4‑and‑a‑half‑year‑old might, and I missed it.

    What followed were some long, heart-wrenching hours. My own dark night of the soul. And it’s one of the main reasons one seemingly insignificant verse in Mark 4 — which I’d read hundreds of times before without really noticing — now packs such an emotional wallop for me.

    Then Jesus said to them, ‘Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?’” (Mark 4:13)

    I think Jesus was trying to give the disciples God’s heart, and they didn’t have hands to receive it. Just like that horrible evening when I fumbled Missy’s feelings, they simply couldn’t see what God wanted to communicate with them.

    Not many experiences have been more precious than the moments of real connection Missy and I shared in the days and weeks after that terrible night of total incomprehension.

    Gradually, Missy’s English has improved. And the ah‑ha look that lights up Missy’s face fuels both of us each time she learns a new English word or concept.

    Sometimes reading the Bible and learning to know God is like this. It’s hard in the beginning. Communication doesn’t feel natural as we’re learning how to talk with our Father in Heaven. But when we push through the hard parts, and actually grasp one of His promises or apply a scriptural principle to our lives, we are rewarded with our own spiritual ah‑ha moments.

    The delight in each new facet of knowing Jesus satisfies our souls in a way nothing else can — it leads us to pursue our Savior with more and more passion.

    Even more than Missy and I were made to be mother and daughter, you and I were made for deep connection with our Creator Redeemer! When we taste even a tiny morsel of the communion with the God we were created for, we’ll be ravenous for more!

    Heavenly Father, I long to talk with You. Thank You for your desire to communicate with us. Help me to be still, close my eyes and pay attention to all that You want me to hear. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: 1 Corinthians 13:12a, “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror dimly, but then we shall see face to face.” (NIV)

    Mark 4:8-9, “‘Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.’ Then Jesus said, ‘Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.’” (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: Think of the last time a tribulation or storm threatened your faith. Did your spiritual roots and foundation hold firm or did you find yourself pulled away from Jesus and shaken to the core of your beliefs?

    © 2016 by Lisa Harper. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks LifeWay for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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

  • The Passing of Joey Feek

    We were saddened to hear that over the weekend our dear sister in Christ, Joey Feek, passed away after a two year battle with cancer, but we rejoice in the fact that her suffering has ended. All the pain and tears are gone and she now resides in Heaven with her Savior. As her husband Rory said on his blog, Joey’s “greatest dream came true.”


    Losing a loved one is incomparable to any other feeling in this world—a piece of you goes with them and leaves an unfillable hole within. But in Christ, we can find joy and comfort in the fact that death on earth means new life in Heaven. Our life on earth is just a snippet of the eternity we will spend with Christ if we believe in Him and accept Him as our Lord and Savior. An eternity spent without pain, without suffering, and without tears.

    Rory echoed this idea in his last blog post on the This Life I Live blog:

    “Though this is, and has been, a time of many tears of sorrow, it has also been a time of countless tears of joy ... When a person has been through as much pain and struggle as Joey’s been through, you just want it to be over. You want them to not have to hurt anymore, more [than] you want them to stay with you. And so, it makes the hard job of saying goodbye just a little easier.”

    We say goodbye to Joey today, but with the confidence that she is happier now than she’s ever been.

    Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” – John 11:25–26 NIV

    Join us in praying for Rory, their children and their friends and family during this difficult time.

    Photo Credit: joeyandrory.com

  • Lord I Want to Know You

    Lord I Want to Know You by Renee Swope

    “Those who know your name trust you, O LORD, because you have never deserted those who seek your help.” Psalm 9:10 (GW)

    I’d heard great things about him, but it wasn’t until we served together in ministry that I really got to know him. And I only discovered some of his unique personality traits by “doing life” with J.J. — like his dry sense of humor and the way he naturally encourages people without even trying.

    As our friendship deepened, J.J. became someone I could depend on. When I needed him, he came through.

    Like the time my mom was diagnosed with cancer and scheduled for immediate surgery, JJ offered to drive six hours to join me at the hospital so I wouldn’t be alone. I didn’t think he was serious and was hesitant to let him come when I was in such a vulnerable place of need. But he showed up, and I realized this guy was reliable.

    Over the years, I’ve seen how my relationship with God has grown closer in the same way. And I’ve noticed the same for others.

    At some point in our lives we hear things about God, but we don’t really get to know Him until we spend time with Him — talking, listening and observing who He is and depending on Him.

    We learn to trust God’s heart by interacting with Him and experiencing His character in personal ways, just like I did with J.J.

    In the book of Judges, chapter 6, an angel of the Lord appeared before Gideon and told him he would become a mighty warrior and defeat a huge army of his enemies. But Gideon didn’t believe him.

    You see, Gideon only knew about God. He had heard of His faithfulness in others’ lives, but he didn’t know God personally.

    It’s hard to trust someone you don’t know.

    Gideon told the angel of the Lord, “‘If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.’ And the LORD said, ‘I will wait until you return’” (Judges 6:17-18, NIV).

    When Gideon brought his offering, the angel of the Lord touched it with the tip of his staff and fire flared from the rock, consuming it. Then Gideon realized it was in fact the angel of the Lord and exclaimed, “Alas, Sovereign LORD! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!” (v. 22b, NIV).

    Up to this point, Gideon had called Him “LORD.” But now he added the word “Sovereign” to describe his Lord because he had experienced God’s sovereignty.

    Confidence and trust increased when Gideon witnessed God’s power.

    Gideon must have looked terrified, because immediately, “the LORD said to him, ‘Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die’” (v. 23, NIV). I love what Gideon did next: “Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD Is Peace” (v. 24a, NIV).

    God had revealed His character by demonstrating His power and by giving Gideon peace to help him overcome his doubts and fears.

    Gideon not only knew about God, but now he was getting to know Him personally. He would learn that it’s much easier to trust someone you know — someone you have experienced life with in a personal way.

    Just like my relationship with J.J, whom I ended up marrying, my relationship with Jesus has grown closer over time. I’ve come to love Him as I have experienced His love for me. I’ve learned to depend on Him and trust Him deeply as I’ve come to know His heart and His character.

    We will not know God as Jehovah Rapha, our Healer, until we experience and recognize His healing in our lives — whether spiritually, emotionally, mentally or physically.

    We cannot know Him as Jehovah Jireh, our Provider, if we are not in need.

    We will not know Him as Jehovah Nissi, our Banner, unless we need Him for victory.

    When we take time to deepen and grow our relationship with Jesus, our confidence in Him deepens too. And we will live in the promise of today’s key verse: “Those who know your name trust you, O LORD, because you have never deserted those who seek your help” (Psalm 9:10).

    Dear Lord, I want to know You for who You really are. I desire to trust and follow You more and more each day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Proverbs 18:10, “The name of the LORD is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.” (NLT)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: Take a few minutes to say these names of God out loud and thank Him for being each of these things for you. “Lord, thank You that You are …”

    Emmanuel: My God with Me (Matthew 1:22-23) El Roi: The God Who Sees Me (Genesis 16:13-14) El Sali: God of My Strength (Psalm 28:7) Jehovah Rohi: The LORD My Shepherd (Psalm 23:1) Jehovah Shammah: The LORD Is There for Me (Ezekiel 48:35b)

    © 2016 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

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

  • Q & A with Logan Wolfram

    FC: Your life has taken you from wife, to mom, to blogger, to CEO and Host of Allume and now to author! What has that journey been like for you?

    LW: Um….pretty nuts actually. If ever there was a person qualified to write about following God curiously into the unknown it’s me! And funny enough I’ve felt completely UNqualified for pretty much all of the tasks…but God, He makes his own set of qualifications for where He takes us and the first one is just “Will you follow me into the unknown?”

    But also, to really answer the question practically, it has taken a lot of shifting within my family and friends to accommodate the changes in pace. I’ve had to ask for lots of grace as I learn to balance new responsibilities that pile on top of the ones that were already there. Some days it means being ok with chicken nuggets for dinner and falling asleep putting my kids to bed at 8pm too. Honestly I’m just trying to steward the moments and the opportunities well so that when I stand before the Lord in the end he says “well done my good and faithful servant.”

    FC: Curious Faith. That is a curious title! How did you land on that for a title and theme of your book?

    LW: I talk about it in the book, but mostly the thought of curiosity as a theme of faith occurred to me when I was watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory one night with my kids. I was looking at these kids in Wonka’s factory and the thought struck me that in these 5 children I saw pieces of myself. Throughout the movie they were disqualified from the tour because of pride, selfishness, gluttony, impatience, etc, and the kid who won the whole kit and caboodle in the end was the one who was humble and curious and trusted the vision of the creator. Once that thought occurred to me, I realized that it totally applies to the Kingdom of God. God calls us to have a childlike faith, and by my estimation, that lands us squarely in the middle of a curious one too!

    FC: Writing a book like this often causes the author to deeply examine their own faith/life. What surprising thing(s) did you learn about yourself while writing Curious Faith?

    LW: Oh mercy! SO MUCH! Writing a book is so hard because I think throughout it’s such a clarifying process too. Not only do I have to wrestle with the Lord on things in my own life, but I have to do it to such a point that I can turn around and sufficiently explain the process and lessons to others. I have to REALLY REALLY learn what I’m talking about, otherwise I just won’t make sense. And also, after writing the book when life just started to get overwhelming, I’ll be honest and say pieces of me started to lose my own curious faith (which feels practically blasphemous to say that I lost my own curiosity after writing about it), but I went back and reread my own book and God used the testimony of my own words to reignite my own faith. It’s sort of like you write all this and then the enemy comes after you and the Lord allows it as if to say, “Did you mean what you wrote?” So the rubber of faith means the road of living and in the end what I can tell you is that “YES…I meant every word and still do!”

    FC: You say you want to help readers to “rescue your now”? What exactly does that look like?

    LW: It means that there is manna for today. There are blessings of God to uncover NOW. That even in the midst of not knowing where we are going, we can still be curious about what God has for us right where we are. In the book I wrote it this way and I think it sums it up, but “The certainty of our faith isn’t found in where we are going, but in the ONE we are following.” When you know WHOM you’re following, your now…your today…and even your unknown tomorrow can be rescued and given new hope!

    FC: If there is one idea you really want your readers to grasp from reading Curious Faith, what would that be?

    LW: Ack…that’s so hard! I wrote nearly 250 pages and I hope lots of it sticks! But the biggest thing I hope is that people fall in love with the Lord all over again. I pray that they remember who He is to us and who we are to Him…because it’s from that place of security that we walk in the freedom of a curious and open-handed life. When we remember that, and we apply it throughout different circumstances, we really do rediscover hope and possibility.

    FC: Speaking of reading, we would love to know what you are reading right now?

    LW: Right now I’m actually doing the Open Your Bible study from my sweet friends Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams of SheReadsTruth and I love it! Also as an author I get lots of books in the mail so I have a big stack that I’m desperate to get through faster than I have time to do! I got a book in the mail recently called Praying Upside Down by Kelly O’Dell Stanley and honestly I have a huge heart for prayer and was intrigued by it. It’s really good so far!

    FC: So…..Curious Faith is releasing on 3/1. Do you have any plans after that? Another book in the making? Big family vacation?

    LW: Oh heavens I actually hope to sit still for a little bit. I’ll be returning from CHINA on the night of March 1 because my little brother is getting married on Feb 27th! He has been living and working in China for a few years and is marrying a precious gal who is Chinese, so we are loading up the whole crew and heading to China. I’m contracted for another book but plan to take a good while before diving into that. I always want to write out of the overflow, so I plan to be intentional about taking time to fill back up after all this book fun too!

    FC: We are so excited about Curious Faith and appreciate you taking the time to chat with us today. In closing, we’d love to ask how we can be praying for you and your family?

    LW: You know, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that the enemy doesn’t like when people follow hard after God. And if you’re following hard and being super public and inviting others to do the same, it just about puts a target on your back. When I feel the fiery arrows I figure I must be doing something right for the Kingdom of Heaven, but it can sure make the day to day messier and harder. And my family has seen that increase significantly since I started writing this book. And the closer it has gotten to launching, the more complicated things all around us have gotten too. Mostly I’d love to ask you to pray that our faith would continue to increase, that our family would grow stronger through the things the Lord asks us to walk into together, and that Jesus would be magnified even in our messy moments! And for stewardship of this all. It is my heart’s desire that I steward this opportunity in such a way that I honor the Lord and that the Kingdom expands because of my obedience in doing the small part God is asking me to do.

Items 191 to 200 of 1164 total

…to look after orphans and widows in their distress. James 1:27
Loading... Loading...