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Daily Devotion

  • Being Right Doesn't Mean I'm Righteous

    Posted on February 17, 2014 by Amy Carroll

    Amy Carroll

    "You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place." Revelation 2:4b-5 (NIV)

    I still have pounds to lose and overflowing closets, but this year my resolution isn't based on external goals. Instead, there's a heart issue clambering for attention, and God is filling me with a simple prayer: Lord, please make me completely righteous and not a bit self-righteous.

    The word righteous means, "acting in accord with divine and moral law, free from guilt or sin" according to Webster. But being righteous and looking righteous are two different things.

    Looking righteous is something I've mastered.

    I know how to follow the rules, play the game and fit into the church crowd. Maybe you're like me and are wired to work hard to get things done "right." I like to please my peers and check items off my to-do list.

    Often it wins me the approval I crave. I get pats on the back, and it all looks good on the outside.

    But on the inside — in the quiet moments — I can find myself exhausted. Defeated. Numb. Those feelings let me know I've crossed from being righteous through Christ into trying to earn righteousness myself.

    Sometimes my self-righteousness leaks out and reveals its ugliness through judgmental thoughts and attitudes towards others. That's when I find myself looking down my nose at those struggling while thinking I have it together or snapping with impatience when someone delays my next task.

    Then I read Revelation 2 in a new light. In this passage, Jesus commends the church at Ephesus for their good deeds. He praises them for hard work, perseverance, intolerance of wickedness, sound doctrine and endurance. It's a list of wonderful works indicating righteousness.

    But Jesus follows with a stunning and scathing indictment, "You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place" (Revelation 2:4b-5).

    Those verses highlight the root of the issue and reveal the Ephesians were in the same predicament as me. They were working hard, but without love they had become self-righteous, and God won't tolerate that.

    Could I have lost my first love? Was that the cause of my self-righteous thoughts? I began to think back to the days when I first fell in love with my husband. I was crazy about him, and couldn't get enough time with him. Love for him filled me with an explosive joy bubbling over on everyone around me. Not only did I want to hug him, everyone else was in danger of being hugged too!

    The same is true when my heart is overflowing with love for God. That joy bubbles over to those around me. It makes my heart sincere and gracious, rather than hard and judgmental.

    To maintain the right heart, God asks us to keep returning to our first love with Him. To rediscover the newness, lightness and joy we felt at first. He urges us to constantly rekindle passion for Him, which will deepen our love for Him and others.

    The beautiful part is God doesn't call us to love without Him setting the ultimate example. His love is "wide and long and high and deep" (Ephesians 3:18, NIV), and it surpasses our thoughts and the works done in our own strength.

    Pursuing righteousness solely through good works is an empty endeavor, always leaving us impossibly short of the goal. Returning to our first love ensures full righteousness as we follow Jesus, for He is our righteousness. "It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption" (1 Corinthians 1:30, NIV).

    Renewing our first true love produces righteousness. True righteousness creates more love for God and others. It's a beautiful cycle, and it's a goal that transforms us.

    Lord, please make me completely righteous and not a bit self-righteous. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What can you remember about your first days of falling in love with Jesus? Write down your memories of how you felt and what you did during that time.

    Has that first love faded? Spend some time in the quiet today offering a worship/love song to Him. Ask Him to rekindle your passion.

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 21:21, "He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor." (NIV)

    Luke 6:33, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Amy Carroll. 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 Revelation

  • Love Forgives

    Posted on February 16, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    It keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:5

    Love forgives continually and it forgives comprehensively. Forgiveness wipes clean the slate of offense, hence it is freeing for everyone. Indeed, forgiveness was the heartbeat of Jesus. Some of His last words requested forgiveness from God for the ignorant acts of His offenders (Luke 23:34). Christ’s greatest act of love was the forgiveness He extended by His voluntary death on the cross (Colossians 2:13-15). Jesus described His own act of love when He said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus was the epitome of love and forgiveness; He owns the trademark.

    Forgiveness is the fuel for living a life free from the clutter of cutting words or unjust acts. A life without forgiveness is a lonely life locked up in the solitary confinement of sin. Forgiveness flows when you have been authentically and thoroughly forgiven. Half-hearted forgiveness is the destiny of those who have not tasted the tender touch of forgiveness from their heavenly Father. Unless the forgiveness of God has graced your heart and soul, your capacity for forgiveness will be foreign and futile.

    It is the grace of God and faith in Him that fuels forgiveness in followers of Christ. The job description of Christians is to love with forgiveness because we have been forgiven (Colossians 3:13). Think about the depth and breadth of your forgiveness. Ignorant acts, they are forgiven; drunkenness, it’s forgiven; lust, it’s forgiven; immorality, it’s forgiven; hate, it’s forgiven; ignoring God, it’s forgiven; unbelief, it’s forgiven. Love forgives because it has been forgiven.

    Remember where you were BC (before Christ), and reflect on where you would be today without His love and forgiveness. Recall what it was like to be lost and bound up in your sin, and celebrate how far God has brought you. Love is extremely grateful for God’s goodness and redeeming power. Forgiveness is second nature and somewhat automatic for followers of Jesus who are consumed with Christ’s love. They are enamored with God’s love for them and others. When you have been forgiven much, you love much (Luke 7:47).

    Your capacity to love is directly tied to your willingness to receive Christ’s forgiveness. Accept the Almighty’s forgiveness so you can extend forgiveness. Let go of unforgiveness and replace it with His unconditional love. Love looks for excuses to eliminate hard feelings, as it replaces resentment and bitterness with love and forgiveness. Love by forgiving your family member who may not even know they hurt your heart. Love by forgiving your friend who volitionally violated your confidence. Love by forgiving your father and mother who are preoccupied parents.

    Love by forgiving your child who is ungrateful and selfish. Love by forgiving yourself for your stupid decisions. Forgiveness forgets the past, engages in the present, and hopes in the future. Extend forgiveness indiscriminately and receive it graciously. Delete any record of wrongs from the hard drive of your heart. Call, write, or initiate a freeing conversation of forgiveness. Reject the temptation for indignation and humbly receive God’s grace instead. Love liberally by regularly relying on forgiveness. Love forgives.

    Taken from the February 16th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 1”

    Post/Tweet today:Unless God’s forgiveness has graced a soul, its capacity for forgiveness is fleeting. #loveforgives

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 1 Corinthians

  • Influential Wife

    Posted on February 15, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. Genesis 21:12

    Listen to your wife; she can be God’s voice of wisdom and/or His heavenly sandpaper. Especially when you are in distress over a decision, she can bring perspective and calm to the situation. If you are tempted to make a dumb decision, she is there to remind you of your convictions. She is built-in accountability, even when you do not want to hear her voice. It may rub you the wrong way, but this irritation is how the Lord gets your attention.

    Why does God frequently speak through your wife? One reason is that she has your best interest in mind. You became one in marriage; as your decisions go, so go your marriage and family. She wants you to be successful because your success or failure is a reflection of your relationship with her. Furthermore, she wants you to make wise decisions because she loves you. “Love…rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6).

    Still it is sometimes hard to listen to your wife, even when you know it is God’s desire, and the benefit it provides is obvious. Perhaps you question her motive, or her way of communicating is overbearing. If it is a question of motive, ask her why she is suggesting her advice. If her method of communication is harsh or untimely, address this with her, but still receive the truth. Suggest to her how and when to speak the truth in love.

    You benefit by making wiser decisions, and she benefits by becoming a better communicator of truth. Value her objectivity, as she intuitively knows if someone or some situation does not feel right. God gives her uncanny discernment. So wives, share in love and in a timely fashion; and husbands, listen intently and respectfully with an eye toward implementation.

    Are you listening to learn from your lover? “It [love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:7).

    Prayer: What wisdom is my wife imparting that I need to heed and follow?

    Related Readings: 1 Samuel 8:7–9; Isaiah 46:10; Romans 9:7–8; Hebrews 11:17–18

    Taken from the February 15th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 2”

    Post/Tweet today: Truth may rub us the wrong way, but this irritation is how the Lord gets our attention. #influentialwife

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Radical Romance

    Posted on February 14, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah. 1 Samuel 1:19

    A radical romance is based on a rock solid relationship with Jesus Christ. When the Lord lights the flames of love between two faithful hearts it's heavenly. Their allegiance to the Almighty makes their allegiance to each other easy. Their love for the Lord ignites their love for one another. Their faith in God fuels their trust in each other. Their passion to know Christ produces a deep desire to know their lover’s heart. Radical romance flows from a radical worship of God.

    A romance with radical results starts in the margins of our relationship with our spouse. Margin is the white space in our schedule that makes us available to support our husband or wife. She may sign up for a couple's cooking class and would really enjoy your eager participation. He may love for you to accompany him to a sporting event, all decked out in his favorite team’s colors. Serve your spouse in a way they want to be served. Since it makes them happy, you are happy.

    “Our Master [Jesus] said, ‘You’re far happier giving than getting’” (Acts 20:35, The Message).

    Radical romance comes to couples who intentionally invest emotional energy in each other. It is the prayerful art of administering comfort before injecting truth. It is confronting Christ with my own sin before I confront my spouse with their shortcomings. Romance is the fruit of being engaged with our mind, will, and emotions, as we communicate respect and value. Intimate encounters flow from encouragement. Radical love shows a lost world that faith in God works!

    Most of all, be intentional in your time investment with one another. Perhaps you plan a long weekend to organize your calendar and budget for the next twelve months. Spend half your time working and the other half playing. Make it an annual goal to attend a marriage seminar. Study the Bible with other married couples and apply marriage best practices. Pray together for your children and aging parents. Radical romance blossoms from a radical resolve to love well.

    "The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband" (1 Corinthians 7:3).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, fill my heart with unconditional love so I radically love my spouse.

    Related Readings: Song of Songs 2:3; 1 Corinthians 13:8; Ephesians 5:23-33; Colossians 3:19

    Post/Tweet today: Radical romance comes to couples who intentionally invest emotional energy in each other. #radicalromance

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 1 Samuel

  • Le/Re - The Prefix Says it All

    Posted on February 14, 2014 by John van der Veen

    John van der Veen

    Back when I was in high school, the French car company, Renault, made a very unique car. Actually, I take that back, it wasn't very unique. It was just a car. It looked similar to that of my 1978 Honda Civic. What made this car stand out, I guess, was that it was not just any old car, but the French company added a "Le" to the front of it. They made "Car" into "Le Car."

    Perhaps the people who purchased and drove Le Car felt that they were experiencing the fullest extent of French living. In all honesty, I never owned or even drove a Le Car. I thought they looked funny.

    What intrigued me most, was the prefix. I assume that Renault felt that it would stand out more with the "Le" in front of the name. The prefix said it all. It wasn't just another car. It was "Le Car."

    I am not here to really blog about Le Car, but about prefixes. If you would like to know about Le Car, go here.

    So if the prefix "Le" can change the uniqueness of a car, I wonder if there are more significant prefixes...

    Wikipedia offers the following as samples:

    • unhappy : un is a negative or antonymic prefix.
    • prefix, preview : pre is a prefix, with the sense of before
    • redo, review : re is a prefix meaning again.

    I love the "re" prefix. Not so much the prefix itself, but rather how it radically changes words.

    For instance, think of the word "new." At one time we were all new. When we were born, we were new. Now, on the other hand, we are not new. We are all getting older. We are losing our innocence. We are losing our strength. We are not new.

    BUT

    If you add the "re" in front of the word "new" something dramatic happens. What was once old becomes new again. RENEW.

    Revelation 5:21 says, "And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

    The good news is that God is renewing. Right now. He is renewing you. Sometimes you may not feel it, and some days you may even doubt it. I assure you though, He who began a work in you is faithful to complete it. You are being renewed.

    How about generating. For many of us our lives consisted of generating the wrong things. Sin. Rebellion. Angst. Hate.

    BUT

    When you add the prefix "re" in front of generating, you find a completely different meaning. REGENERATED.

    Titus 3:5 says, "He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit."

    Think of all the possibilities here:

    1. restored/restoring
    2. recreated/recreating
    3. redeemed/redeeming
    4. reconciled/reconciling
    5. reformed/reforming
    6. resurrection
    7. relearning
    8. recreating
    9. replacing
    10. revitalizing
    11. reborn

    Never forget my friends, what our Savior is doing in us. Psalm 65:5 says, "By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas."

    Live in the freedom of the prefix today. It says it all.


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, John van der Veen and was tagged with Psalm, Titus, Revelation

  • When We Belong to Jesus

    Posted on February 14, 2014 by Renee Swope

    Renee Swope

    "For your Maker is your husband — the LORD Almighty is his name — the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit — a wife who married young, only to be rejected,' says your God." Isaiah 54:5-6 (NIV)

    We had what felt like a storybook Christian romance. Mike was tall, dark and handsome. He had a successful business and he loved Jesus. But to top it all off, instead of asking me for a date, Mike asked if we could "court."

    Our lives were connected on so many levels. We lived on the same floor of the same apartment complex. We attended the same church. And we had several mutual friends. We loved when people told us we made a great couple, in life and in ministry.

    Eventually we started praying about marriage and talked to our pastor. Not long after, Mike proposed.

    But two weeks into our engagement he looked into my eyes and said: "I've made a horrible mistake. You are not the one God wants me to marry."

    I was devastated and wondered what I'd done to make God change His mind.

    After counseling and walking through a painful process of forgiveness, I eventually recovered. Much to my surprise, Mike showed back up in my life and asked me to consider rebuilding our friendship.

    I was shocked and hesitant. But I also wondered if God wanted to redeem our story. Eventually I gave Mike a second chance. We spent time with friends and took things slowly. But in time, the topic of marriage came up. He proposed again. And he dumped me again!

    That time I got smart and kept the ring, holding it as collateral to get Mike to counseling with me. In our first session, the counselor explained that Mike had a fear of commitment. Having a name for it helped me feel better, but Mike felt embarrassed and ashamed.

    One night I woke up with a deep sense of concern for him, so I drove to his apartment. Sitting in the parking lot, I felt compelled to get in his van and pray for him. Afterwards I opened my eyes and noticed his journal sitting on the console.

    Though I shouldn't have opened it, I turned to the entries he had written when he called off our engagement. I came face-to-face with why he didn't want to marry. There were many things about me he wished were different.

    After reading Mike's journal, every time I stood in front of a mirror, doubt whispered: No man will ever want you. You'll never be good enough.

    Rejection. Betrayal. Abandonment. Our greatest fears can become reality. Maybe your father abandoned you, or your husband betrayed you. Maybe your best friend broke your trust, or your teenager has shut you out.

    The deep pain from broken relationships can make us doubt our value. We begin to see ourselves as disposable. Easily replaced. Not good enough.

    One morning, I woke up and felt the heavy weight of rejection. Opening my Bible, I read through the book of Isaiah and landed in chapter 54. There, God showed me He is my Maker, Husband and Redeemer - the One who bestows the honor and acceptance I long for.

    As devastating as it was, I learned two life-changing lessons from the pain:

    • I have to choose to separate myself, and my worth, from a man's decision to want me or not.
    • I have to hold others' words and preferences up to God's Word and choose which one I will rely on.

    Although people's preferences will change, God's desire for us won't. Others might not think we're good enough, but God always will. And even if someone decides they don't desire us anymore, God most certainly does!

    The truth is, when we belong to Jesus we are loved and accepted forever. We are covered in His goodness, and His goodness makes us good enough!

    Lord, I want to know and rely on the love You have for me and live in Your love. Remind me each day that Your goodness makes me good enough! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Has someone ever made you feel like you're not good enough?

    Ask God to help you separate yourself, and your worth, from their opinion. Hold their words and preferences up to God's Word and choose to believe and rely on His instead.

    Power Verse:
    Isaiah 30:18a, "Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Renee Swope. 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 Isaiah

  • Date Weekly

    Posted on February 13, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. Song of Songs 2:3

    Couples who calendar weekly dates subscribe to not taking themselves and life too seriously. A night of romance and fun is a surefire way to keep the flames of marriage burning brightly. Work and children are put on pause during this window of intimacy, so emotions can lovingly engage. A date is meant to be free from distractions (no electronics) and mental clutter. Indeed, weekly dates recalibrate a husband and wife’s relationship around love and laughter.

    When you sit in the shade of your spouse’s tree of trust, you find acceptance and affirmation. No one can give you more meaningful approval than your best friend. If he or she seeks approval elsewhere, you are in danger of emotional estrangement. Yes, dating gives you an excuse to pursue your precious marriage partner with romantic anticipation. You clean up and dress up just for them. Perhaps you take turns planning the date experience, so it stays fresh and exciting.

    "Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the young women" (Song of Songs 2:2).

    Date night can require a financial commitment, so budget accordingly. There is a cost, but you can’t afford not to invest in your most important relationship. It’s less expensive than a counselor or divorce. Be creative: a coffee shop, bookstore, walk in the park or park the car and quietly watch a sunset. Use date night as an excuse to buy new shoes or get a haircut. Do something special just for your special friend. Conversation and connection can lead to physical intimacy.

    Lastly, use your weekly time together to reminisce about fun times from the past. Ask questions like: What was your favorite trip we had together? What getaway would you like to plan together going forward? What past answered prayers are you grateful to God for answering? Your weekly date night is a remedy for getting stuck in the crazy cycle of no conversation and growing apart. Focused time with your sweetheart honors them and honors the Lord. Plan to date weekly.

    "Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me" (Song of Songs 2:13).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father give us conviction and creativity to calendar a weekly date night.

    Related Readings: Song of Songs 1:4; 1 Samuel 1:19; 1 Corinthians 7:3; 1 Peter 3:7

    Post/Tweet today: Couples who calendar weekly dates subscribe to not taking themselves and life too serious. #datenight

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Song of Songs

  • Hitting the Bottom

    Posted on February 13, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken." Psalm 55:22 (NIV)

    Why is it that the hardest person for me to be honest with is sometimes myself?

    I'm usually a happy, optimistic person. I want to look at life as half full. I like seeing the good in situations and in people.

    I believe those are good qualities about me.

    But sometimes the glass is half empty. And sometimes, I need to see the not-so-good in situations. Other times, I need to admit that there's not-so-good in people.

    I don't need to dwell on it and get all negative. But I do need to allow myself the freedom to be honest. To process with honest thoughts and feelings and hurt.

    Otherwise, I get this knotted feeling deep inside. And my smile on the outside doesn't match the sinkhole on the inside.

    Am I the only crazy person who deals with this? I don't think so. Actually, I think there are a lot of people walking around smiling and sinking at the same time.

    Have you ever had that dream where you are falling, falling, falling and then you gasp and wake up before you hit the ground?

    When I was a small girl swapping playground wisdom between the swing set and the seesaw, I admitted to my friend I had that falling dream. A lot. She whispered, "You know it's a good thing you wake up before you hit the ground in your dream. Because if you didn't, you'd die."

    And right then and there, I decided to never hit the ground. I decided to always be on guard to control that dream.

    Crazy, right?

    That's an exhausting way to sleep.

    And it can be an exhausting way to live. This not ever hitting the ground. This not being honest that sometimes people and situations in life can be completely disappointing.

    There is a bottom. Sometimes we hit it. Sometimes we can't wake up in time.

    And while this gut honest realization about people and situations can feel devastating or like a setback, I think there's a better way to look at it.

    Yes, maybe it's better to consider it an opportunity to grow in dependence on the Lord. An opportunity to embrace the freedom found in our key verse, Psalm 55:22, to bring my feelings to Him and to ask for His help.

    Psalm 55:22 says, "Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken." So I took God at His Word.

    As I prayed, I told God about my feelings in a recent situation. Lord, this stinks. It just does. The way this person treated me isn't good. What they said, it really hurt. Help!

    In praying through that situation, God challenged me not just to talk with Him and be honest about my feelings. But also to be honest with the person who had hurt me. God challenged me to hit the bottom I had ever-so-carefully been avoiding.

    So, I sat down with that person. I was honest. With myself and with them. I hit the bottom and I'm actually glad, because the internal sinkhole started to close.

    And the best part? I didn't die!

    Dear Lord, thank You for caring deeply about each detail of my life. Your ability to take my burdens upon Your shoulders is amazing. You are worthy to be praised! In Jesus' Name. Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you been putting on a smile when you feel everything but happy on the inside?

    Bring all of your feelings and burdens to the Lord. Ask Him for direction and freedom as you hand over your control of the situation to Him.

    Power Verse:
    Isaiah 41:10, "... do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. 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 Psalm

  • Dailogue Daily

    Posted on February 12, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

    Busyness is the uncaring culprit of inconsistent communication in marriage. Couples exhausted from a calendar of frantic activity have no emotional energy at the end of the day to engage in meaningful conversation. Like two sleepy ships they pass through the night unaware of the other’s tattered soul. However, hearts that dialogue daily are intentional with intimacy. It may be only 30 minutes of focused conversation after dinner, but wise couples stay verbally connected.

    Often, woman starve for words and men lack language. So husbands, make sure you unselfishly express yourself to your sweetheart. Ask the Lord to give your conversation clarity, compassion, and depth. And wives, be patient with your man who wants to share his heart, but his speech needs a safe environment for expression. Your respect and approval frees him up to speak freely. Daily dialogue gives couples emotional connection that facilitates trust, security and love.

    "Set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity" (1 Timothy 4:12).

    Make sure your children know your priority of communication as a married couple. Tell your little ones that mom and dad need to grow their friendship with each other, so they can become better parents. Teach your children to respect the space you need as husband and wife to grow a healthy home. Next to salvation in Jesus, the best gift you can give your son and daughter is a maturing marriage. Hence, growing relationships require regular doses of meaningful discussion.

    Have heart-to-hearts and your heart will grow fonder, and your faith will grow fresher. When you talk with each other make sure you talk together to your Heavenly Father. Communication with Christ as a couple draws you closer to Him and to each other. Words birthed out of prayer build up and bring great joy. Love is the language you employ to engage each other’s heart, mind, and soul. Indeed, dialogue daily and like dollar cost averaging, your relational equity will compound.

    "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (Psalm 119:103)

    Prayer: Heavenly Father I pray for an open, loving heart that shares daily with my spouse.

    Related Readings: Proverbs 22:11; Malachi 3:16; 1 Corinthians 13:1; Ephesians 4:15

    Post/Tweet today: Daily dialogue gives couples emotional connection that facilitates trust, security, and love. #marriage

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Growing in Christ

    Posted on February 12, 2014 by John van der Veen

    John van der Veen

    There are a bunch of "how to" books, seminars, conventions, pamphlets, etc. out there that deal with almost every topic under the sun. In fact there is even a great web site that shows one how to do most of everything. Click here to see for yourself.

    Now I am one that doesn't know a lot of information about much. In fact I know very little information about a lot of stuff. Which pretty much makes me dangerous. Don't ask me to come to your house to fix your plumbing, sew a hem on your pants, or help you train your dog to do tricks. I guarantee you, it would end up in a mess. I do know to how do the dishes though... (please don't ask me to help you with that)

    OK - I feel like I am rambling now. Back to the "how to's."

    In my head, I am always thinking on how to grow in Christ. So for fun, I thought I would check out the site to see if it could give me some good advice. Not really. Religious listing can be found here (with over 4,500 entries), but I wasn't satisfied. The closest thing I could get to actually growing in my Christian walk was found in this article on how to convert to Christianity.

    It's not what I was looking for.

    I guess, I should have known. The internet is good for a lot of things, but certainly not everything.

    Here are some basic principles that I have gathered through the years that, perhaps, would help you in your pursuit of Christ.

    1. The Word. First and foremost be in the Bible. Read the Bible. Pray the Bible. Share the Bible. Teach the Bible. Listen to the Bible. If you want to see Jesus, you must read the Word. I would suggest that most of us say that we are "lovers of the Word," but few of us actually live that out well. I don't want to guilt you into reading your Bible, but I do want to say that you will miss out on so much joy if you don't get into the Word.
    2. Exalt Christ. Many of you are probably saying, "Of course John. Duh." Let me must just say from my own personal experience that the draw of the things of this earth are so extreme it is very hard to keep a focus on exalting Christ. Of of life is about Christ and our goal should be to lift His name higher than any other name. When we do, it seems that the things of this earth are easier to deal with. Problems are easier. Life is easier. It's mainly because we aren't keeping our eyes focused on ourselves, but on Christ. Worship Him today. It will make your heart glad.
    3. Worship God in Every Area of Your Life. This is very different from item #2. Worshiping God in every area of our lives means to live doxologically. You know the hymn, work the lyrics of that song into your soul. Living doxological means to worship God in every moment of your life. When you are kissing your best friend - worship God. When you are riding your bike - worship God. When you are washing the dishes (did I say I wash dishes well?) - worship God. You get the picture here.
    4. Pray. Pray for everyone and everything. Bring it all to the Father. He hears and He cares. Bring every question, every thought, every concern, every tiff to your Father. Pray because we are at war. The devil prowls around ready to pounce. Have a stance of constant prayer puts us in the right mindset. Pray for your neighbors. Pray for your family. Pray for your school. Pray for your job. Pray for your spouse, or future spouse. To borrow the Nike phrase, "Just do it."
    5. Serve. Serving others helps us get our minds off of our own circumstances. As I have already noted, we get so bogged down by the stuff of earth. So do others. When we are serving someone else we quickly loose site of our own problems. We often forget to serve others. It's one of the hardest things to do, but once we do, we find that it actually was very easy. Serve someone today. If you need ideas, check out this book.
    6. Fellowship. Get together with your church family. Get together with someone's heart. Get to know me. I need to get to know you. Have people over for a meal, or dessert, or coffee, or a game night. It doesn't matter. Spend time together encouraging one another in a pursuit of Christ.

    Phil. 3:8 says "Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ"

    So there are some thoughts on growing in Christ. Let me also say that growing or sanctification is not just your doing. The Holy Spirit is doing a lot "behind the scenes" in your life as well. Trust Him and He will lead you.

    Now - I need to figure out to change the coolant in my car...


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Books, John van der Veen and was tagged with Missions, Philippians

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