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  • God Bless You

    Posted on June 9, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24–26).

    We have the opportunity to regularly encourage others with an admonishment for the Lord to bless them. This is the power of the spoken word. You can build up another by conferring upon them the favor of God. What a simple way to sincerely wish upon another the Lord’s best with a kind “God bless you.” We are not to say it glibly or  out of habit, but with deep feeling and a genuine desire for God’s commendation.

    We can also pray God’s protection on others: their health, their travels, and their relationships. In any situation of uncertainty and/or danger, we can ask God to “keep them.” Or maybe there are those who are in dire need of experiencing the fullness of God’s grace. They are tired of “trying to live” the Christian life and need a fresh “baptism” of God’s graciousness. You can see it in the hardness of their countenance or in the fatigue of their droopy posture. They are lacking in energy and drive. They need an outpouring of grace.

    “May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples” (Genesis 28:3).

    God’s grace is a safe environment to recover from rejection and hurt or to gain strength for the journey. Grace is inviting and invigorating. It is cool water for a thirsty soul. Life saps grace from our hearts while intimacy with Jesus infuses grace into our being. You can be a grace killer or a grace giver. People will flock to you because of your graciousness or avoid you like the plague because of your gracelessness.

    The secret to giving God’s grace is receiving God’s grace. Each day ask God to renew your grace quota, filling your grace tank so you can bestow grace on others. What a joy to extend grace to the ungracious and to receive grace from the greatest grace giver, Jesus. Furthermore, our benediction and admonishment to others can be for them to experience God’s peace. Once you discover peace with God, you have the peace of God.

    His peace can lie dormant in our hearts, or it can flourish like kudzu on a hot summer day. Be a peacemaker. Yes, you can win the argument, but you may lose the relationship. Why not bless with peace rather than curse with contention? When you bless others, you too enjoy the blessings of God.

    “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9).

    Prayer: How can I boldly bestow the Lord’s blessing? I want to receive His blessing so I can be a blessing.

    Post/Tweet: A soul’s hunger for God is an innate appetite that only He can satisfy. #satisfied

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


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

  • Intimacy through Brokenness

    Posted on June 8, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

    Intimacy with God goes hand in hand with your brokenness. Your desire for intimacy with your heavenly Father will be accompanied by brokenness, as it escorts you into intimacy with eternal God. It is your date with destiny. A broken and contrite heart delivers intimacy with the Almighty. Do not despise your broken condition. Rather, delight in its opportunity for intimacy. You long to know Jesus in the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering (Philippians 3:10). These prayers were not in vain. Your brokenness is answered prayer. The answer may not be exactly what you expected. You may have anticipated a smoother route, a paved road free of bumps or pot holes. But the path of personal and intimate relationship with Christ is not always easy.

    Most of the time, intimacy requires difficulty. It is at this point of pressure and discomfort that some people disembark the train of intimacy. It is much easier to talk about an intimate relationship with Christ than it is to arrive at this point through brokenness. However, this is an exercise in convenience. It is like placing a “Do not disturb” sign on the door of our life, in place of the “Clean up my room” invitation. Brokenness is inviting God to come in and cleanse your life. He stands at the door of our heart and knocks (Revelation 3:20). When you invite Christ into your broken lives, He comes in. Intimacy is then unleashed on His terms, not yours. It is only when you surrender in total desperation and total dependency on God that you experience authentic intimacy.

    Intimacy with God through brokenness is not unlike what you experience in relationships with people. Hardships and brokenness are meant to grow you closer to other people. A crisis will either drive you further away from someone or closer together. God’s best for you is to make you relationally stronger with one another during a season of brokenness. But brokenness is not a one-time phenomenon. It is an ongoing part of the committed Christian’s life. It’s not as if you swallow this hard pill one time and are then set for a lifetime of intimacy with God. Once God has marked you with brokenness, then you are positioned for Him to build on this firm foundation. He will still use mini brokenness throughout your life.

    These regular occurrences are bricks of brokenness connected together by the cement of his grace. Over time, a life of brokenness becomes a stalwart structure of sanctification designed by God. Your brokenness is meant for your betterment. Indeed, you are much the better when you experience a defining moment of brokenness. It deserves your embrace, rather than your rejection. If you fight brokenness, you delay God’s best. You circumvent intimacy with Christ if you bypass brokenness. Focus your energies on changing yourself, not your circumstances. Christ will handle the circumstances while you adjust your attitude. A life of brokenness is an invitation to intimacy. His closeness and salvation are worth this time of brokenness. Don’t buck brokenness. Instead, rely on Him and get to know Him at this deeper level of intimacy. You are much better broken because brokenness leads to intimacy with God.

    Post/Tweet: Bricks of brokenness are connected together by the cement of God’s grace. #brokenness

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


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

  • The Lord Provides

    Posted on June 7, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.” Jonah 1:17

    The Lord provides. He provides because this is His heart’s desire. By His very nature He is a provider. He cannot, not provide. It gives Him great pleasure to provide. Just as an earthly father delights in providing for his children so does your heavenly Father. “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him” (Luke 11:13).

    When you fear, He provides peace. When you feel lonely, He provides companionship. When you suffer loss, He provides comfort. When you become proud, He provides humility. When you lack the necessities of life, He provides your needs. When you struggle with confidence, He gives you little victories to gain back much needed confidence. Your confidence grows out of your trust in Him. He gives you strength.

    “If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11b).

    God’s provision may come in a manner that you are not expecting. It may be an unsolicited check in the mail. It could be the compassionate prayer of a complete stranger. It may be a material provision that comes out of left field, because someone at church felt led by the Lord to provide for your need. They are blessed. You are blessed.

    God gets the glory, so do not underestimate the creativity of God. Do not lock His provision capability into a conventional box. He may have bigger and better plans. Do not limit God with false humility or lack of faith. He loves being your provider. Do not forget Him. The grace He provided yesterday will not suffice for the grace He provides today.

    You can trust that He has just the right life mate for you. Do not settle for someone other than God’s very best. He may very well do much better than your current relationship. He is in the relational business. He knows exactly the husband or wife for you. Be patient. Believe the Lord for someone who will love Him more than he or she loves you.

    Many times prayer is His avenue of provision. Prayer facilitates His powerful promises. You prayed for it and now He has provided, but be careful what you pray for—He may answer. Sometimes He answers swiftly and other times His answer is delayed. Do not compromise your convictions or give up. A saint who experienced God’s provision on a regular basis said, “God’s work, done God’s way, will not lack God’s provision”.

    “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17).

    Prayer:In what need do I need to be patient and pray for the Lord’s powerful provision?

    Related Readings: Job 36:26-31; Psalm 111:5; Matthew 6:25-34; Acts 14:16-17

    Post/Tweet today: The grace He provided yesterday will not suffice for the grace He provides today. #grace

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


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

  • What Were You Thinking?

    Posted on June 7, 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer

    Samantha Evilsizer

    "Do you think David is honoring your father by sending envoys to you to express sympathy? Haven't his envoys come to you only to explore and spy out the country and overthrow it?" 1 Chronicles 19:3b (NIV)

    A sepia tint covers the photograph of her sunscreen-lathered face at the beach. This same coloring alters the picture he took of the dinner he made last night, and discolors their new puppy in the snapshot of him snoozing at the foot of the bed.

    Everywhere I look—Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr—photographs are edited with a yellowish-brown filter to create a vintage look. I appreciate the artistry of it, but what happened to the bright vivid colors? Why does faded yellow get to layer itself over the clear blue eyes of a sweet child, making her appear like someone she's not? Or discolor the true pinks and oranges of a fabulous sunset, giving it a different appearance than it truly has?

    I've used the sepia filter when editing photographs. But I'm ready to see things as they really are. Not just with photographs, but in real life.

    For far too long I've colored things based on my fancies, moods or ideas, just like the men in 1 Chronicles 19 did. You see, King David, being kind, sent out a group of his men to console another king whose father had just died. But when the king's men saw David's group approaching, they assumed the worst.

    In verse 3 we get a snapshot of their conversation with their king: "Do you think David is honoring your father by sending envoys to you to express sympathy? Haven't his envoys come to you only to explore and spy out the country and overthrow it?" (1 Chronicles 19:3b NIV).

    Their suspicion and assumptions about David's intentions led them to treat David's men poorly, which started a war between the two countries ... all because these soldiers colored David in an unfair and incorrect light.

    If I'm honest, I can do this quite easily myself.

    When my husband says he prefers broccoli to carrots, I've read between the lines and inferred he means I can't cook yummy carrots. I'm no Julia Child, so this perceived jab adds to my insecurity. My assumptions lead my emotions, and before I know it, I've cooked up an internal battle between fact and fiction. Rather than suspecting my husband's words contain a hidden meaning, I'm learning to take them at face value.

    It can happen beyond our home too. When we hear of a friend's party—that we aren't invited to—it can be easy to conclude they don't really like us. We pull away from our friend, causing a rift. It may be tempting to talk about the suspected snub with other friends who weren't invited either, causing more division. But the truth is, an intimate dinner party is just that, intimate: small and reserved for a few. Instead of coloring the lack of an invitation with malicious intent, it'd be best to step back and see the bigger picture of a smaller gathering.

    Layering life with thoughts that discolor other's true intentions is easy to do.

    But only God knows what a person is thinking. If we want to know, we have to ask for clarity and set aside the thoughts our imaginations conjure up (2 Corinthians 10:5). Instead of being easily offended, we can overlook another's actions and offer a way to create harmony (Proverbs 19:11).

    Negative assumptions almost always lead to war: either with others, or within ourselves. Let's commit to believing the best, before assuming the worst. And see through a different filter: the truth of God's Word. That's true blue (not yellow!).

    Dear Lord, please help me not infer more than what is said. And if I have questions, please give me the words to ask for clarity. So in all things, You will be lifted high. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Maybe you've struggled with knowing God's true intentions toward you. All you need to know about His character and heart is written in His Word. The new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women is full of God's truth and inspirational devotions written by the Proverbs 31 Ministries team.

    For more hope and encouragement, visit our Facebook page.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Do you readily jump to conclusions without substantiation?

    What will happen in your heart and relationships when you choose to believe the best and take others at their word? Is there anything you need to ask for clarification on from a friend or family member?

    Power Verses:
    2 Corinthians 10:5, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (NIV)

    Proverbs 19:11, "Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 1 Chronicles

  • Don't Kick the Anthill

    Posted on June 6, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception." Proverbs 14:8 (NIV)

    I stood at the dirt mound watching ants. They were busy. I was not.

    The afternoon had been slow for me. Several of my friends had been invited to the community pool. Another friend was at camp for the week. Even my last resort, the pigtailed aggravation that lived in the apartment below, was busy. "She's napping," her mom had informed me.

    I walked away thinking, She's six years old. Only two years younger than me and she still takes naps? That's the awfullest thing a mom could do to her child. And this is the awfullest afternoon ever.

    I sat on the swing of the little playground behind our apartment complex. I scuffed the toes of my red sneakers, making lines in the dirt as I moved slowly back and forth. If a child could have died from boredom, I felt quite terminal at that moment.

    Then I spotted the anthill.

    I walked over and stood there. Just about the time I was thinking about how lucky all those ants were to have so many friends, I heard a scratchy little voice call out to me.

    "I bet you won't stick your foot through that anthill." Pigtail girl had woken up from her afternoon slumber. And for heaven's sake I would not, could not, be shamed by a girl who still took naps.

    I knew in my mind I shouldn't kick the anthill. I knew in my heart I shouldn't kick the anthill. And I knew deep down in my soul I shouldn't kick the anthill. Every part of me knew I should walk away from the anthill.

    But some silly part of my mouth betrayed me.

    "Yes I will!" I declared as I kicked my foot into the middle of ant Hades.

    It didn't take long to feel as if someone had lit 1,000 needles on fire and stabbed me mercilessly.

    Since that day I haven't kicked an anthill. At least not in the literal sense.

    But I have gotten myself into situations where I invited trouble into my life that just didn't need to be there. Especially in the area of saying yes to something I absolutely should say no to.

    I will know in my mind I should say no. I will know in my heart I should say no. I will know deep down in my soul I should say no.

    But then my mouth will betray me, "Yes, of course I will do that."

    And then?

    The sting of the three D's comes ...

    Dread — As I write yet another thing on my schedule, I feel the weight of overload.

    Disappointment — In order to make this happen, I will disappoint someone.

    Drama — Dread and disappointment will ratchet my emotions to a tipping point. A tipping point that's not healthy for me or those with whom I do life.

    Here's what I'm trying to preach to myself: Just because I can do something doesn't mean I should do it.

    I kicked the anthill that day for three reasons ... I thought it proved I was something. I thought it would impress nap girl. And I didn't think through the cost beforehand.

    Proverbs 14:8 says, "The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways." As a little girl on the playground, I was neither wise nor prudent. Thankfully I know now that God's wisdom is readily available.

    I've learned that if I pause before making an impulsive choice, and ask God what to do, He will answer. In fact, He's given me some questions to ask myself that help me determine whether something is an assignment from Him or an anthill that will get me into trouble.

    Before saying yes to one more thing on my schedule, I ask myself:

    Am I trying to prove something?

    Am I trying to impress someone?

    Have I thought through the cost of saying yes?

    It's not bad to say yes to opportunities. But we really should give thought to our ways and consider whether this is an assignment or an anthill.

    Take the assignment if it's yours. But don't kick the anthills.

    Dear Lord, I'm asking for Your guidance as I discern assignments from anthills. Thank You for Your direction. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    For more daily encouragement, visit our Facebook page.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Write down the three questions above. Then, the next time you're tempted to add something to your calendar, process your decision through those questions.

    Power Verse:
    Isaiah 30:21, "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'" (NIV)

    © 2013 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 Proverbs

  • An Uncompromising Life

    Posted on June 5, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Daniel 1:8

    Does every person really have a price? Their purity? Their integrity? Their lifestyle? Their identity? Daniel’s price was death. He was willing to die rather than defile himself with ungodly influences. Behind enemy lines he could have easily blended in with the culture. However, fear of the Lord is not conditional on the cultural mores of the day. An uncompromising life resolves not to be bought by any force outside of faith in Christ, Not bowing to money or status, only God.

    What is your price? Are you willing to be a little dishonest to gain a lot of authority? The enemy does not try to destroy your good name in one fell swoop. He  shrewdly  chips away at your character with questions like, “Did God really mean this for me?” “Haven’t I grown beyond the need to be accountable?” Indeed, a weakened character is set up to fall, but a character grounded in God withstands the Tempter’s trysts. The Bride of Christ is faithful to  One, Jesus alone!

    And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11

    Yes, be shameless and humble to declare your focused allegiance to your Heavenly Father and no one else. Take your marching orders from your Master Jesus. Let the Lord define your lifestyle, not those whose style of life tip God and flirt with sin. Culture and less honorable friends and family will attempt to mold you into their definition of a meaningful life. But, you look to heaven for your standard of living on earth. Embrace by grace an uncompromising lifestyle.

    Above all, accept and enjoy your identity  in Christ alone. Yes, rest in the way your Creator has created you. Be who you were made to be. Be content with the lot in life the Lord has given you. If you strive to be someone you’re not, you will have an inner knot of anxiety that haunts you. However, you enjoy peace when you accept yourself for who you are in Christ. Indeed, you are loved and forgiven by your Heavenly Father. His Spirit strengthens your uncompromising life!

    He [Job] is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you [Satan] incited me against him to ruin him without any reason. Job 2:3

    Prayer: Heavenly Father give me the righteous resolve to stand uncompromising for Christ.

    Related Readings: 1 Chronicles 29:17; Psalm 25:21; Proverbs 11:3; Mark 12:14; 2 Corinthians 1:12

    Post/Tweet today: Fear of the Lord is not conditional on the cultural mores of the day. #fearofGod

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


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

  • When Fear Paralyzes Your Faith

    Posted on June 5, 2013 by Renee Swope

    "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

    Renee Swope

    When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:1-2 (NIV)

    As I crawled in bed, fear came over me. My husband was out of town for work and I was afraid to go to sleep. Fear had become a constant companion during his nights away.

    I needed to trust God, but I didn't. I went through the motions of what I knew I should do: pray, read scriptures, and tape verses to my bedside table and bathroom mirror. But there was also a phone on my pillow, and a neighborhood directory and Bible next to the bed.

    One night I took it a step further. I put toys on the stairs to trip possible burglars, brought my children into my room to sleep with me, and moved the dresser in front of the bedroom door.

    Still fear kept me awake. I thought I was controlling my circumstances, but instead fear had taken control of me. Frustrated I still couldn't sleep, I opened the Bible and read these familiar words:

    "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze" (Isaiah 43:1-2).

    That night God showed me something I'd never seen: my fears were like flames and my efforts to protect myself were like gasoline. Every feeble attempt to ease my fears was like pouring fuel on the fire, and now fear was consuming me. Gently, the Holy Spirit reminded me that God had not given me a spirit of fear but a spirit of power and love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

    The only way I would overcome fear was by walking through it.

    I had to put away the props in which I'd placed my faith and go to bed trusting God, realizing that even if my fears came true He would be with me. Crawling out of bed, I started putting everything away. The dresser went back in place. My kids went back to their rooms and I went to sleep without my phone on the pillow.

    For me, it was like walking through the flames of fear, doing what God was calling me to do–to fear not. And you know what? I slept better than I had in weeks.

    Fear lost its power when I actively put trust in God's promises.

    To be free from fear so we can walk in faith, we have to hold on to God's truths, replacing our natural ways with the steps He offers to guide us.

    Let's ask God to show us fears that paralyze our faith and keep us from living confidently in His peace and freedom. And then let's give God a chance to come though for us as we courageously walk through our fears, holding God's hand and trusting His heart to lead, protect, and preserve us each step of the way.

    Dear Jesus, help me walk through my fears by facing them instead of being paralyzed by them. I want to take Your hand and trust Your heart with all that is within me. Give me courage today to take the first step. In Jesus' Name, amen.

    Related Resources:
    Could you use the encouragement of a friend to help you overcome your fears? In her life-changing book, A Confident Heart, Renee Swope will walk you through a powerful process of identifying and overcoming any fears and insecurities so that you can live with confidence and courage!

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are there fears that paralyze your faith or hinder your everyday life? Ask God to show you one step to take today to walk through a fear that keeps you from trusting God completely.

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 34:4, "I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears." (NIV)

    © 2013 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 Fear, Isaiah, Faith

  • Trained for Service

    Posted on June 4, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service. Daniel 1:5

    Thorough training precedes effective service. Even the most gifted need their skills developed under the watchful eye of a wise mentor. As a virgin blade of steel is honed down to its sharpest condition, so a novice to a new field of study or work needs time to gain understanding, acquire wisdom, grow accustomed to the culture and increase in physical, emotional and spiritual maturity. Wise are those who take the time to prepare, before rushing off unequipped to serve.

    Daniel and his friends made sure not to compromise their conviction in God, as they trained under a hostile authority. The Lord also continued His hand of favor on their faith. He worked through a sympathetic supervisor to carry out His purposes. Perhaps you face a college professor who dismisses your beliefs in Jesus, or you have a boss who blames God for a tragic event he experienced. Regardless, use your training time to learn and grow into a skilled leader for Christ.

    I [Paul] studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. Acts 22:3

    Your training may seem laborious and long, but in the Lord’s big picture it is a small dot on His eternal thread. Stay mentally engaged where you are and do not become distracted by overly anticipating the future. Maybe you engage a mentor outside of your formal training, so you have a trusted advisor to help you process what you are feeling and learning. A seasoned sage can help you clarify your calling, coach you in your commitment to Christ and your wobbly convictions.

    Above all, stay in the training process, so you become a better ambassador for the Almighty. If you give up, you are giving up on God. He is faithful! He will see you through! He will not put on you more than you can bear! If you stay true to the process, you will use a similar process the rest of your life to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ. The Lord is using this defining season to place His faithful fingerprints on your life. He is preparing you for His purposes!

    Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

    Prayer: Heavenly Father keep me in Your training process, so I can represent You better.

    Related Readings: 1 Chronicles 25:7; Luke 6:40; Hebrews 5:14, 12:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:24

    Post/Tweet today: Stay mentally engaged where you are and do not become distracted by overly anticipating the future. #focus

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


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

  • Feeding Your Family a Feast

    Posted on June 4, 2013 by Zoe Elmore

    Zoe Elmore

    "Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children." Titus 2:3-4 (NIV)

    Mothers-in-law are often the source of unflattering jokes. But my mother-in-law, Catherine, was the furthest thing from a punch line.

    Catherine was a spiritual giant wrapped up in a tiny 4-foot-10-inch bundle of sunshine. Down-to-earth, kind, and unpretentious. She modeled the woman we are urged to be in Titus 2.

    When you entered her home you were greeted with warm hugs and the aroma of her latest creation wafting from her tiny kitchen. She was one of the best cooks I ever met. Preparing food never seemed arduous or tedious for Catherine.

    She took great pleasure in feeding her family, spending days preparing a sumptuous dinner just to have it consumed in moments. Empty plates and platters were her delight. Sending home leftovers were her bliss. Before the meal we all would bow our heads to hear her words of blessing and gratitude.

    Catherine's spiritual life was a lot like those meals. It was satisfying and full of nourishment. She poured the Word of God into our lives as easily as she filled our glasses with sweet tea.

    Toward the end of her life, she broke her wrist and needed personal care. It was my privilege to assist her with bathing and dressing each morning. After I feed her breakfast, I'd sit on the floor at her feet while she fed me from Scripture. My mother-in-law recited her favorite verses from memory and read to me from her daily devotion book. Her prayers were like honey, sweet with remembrances of God's goodness and faithfulness to her. Those prayers were infused with gratitude for His enduring strength and perfumed with her love for Jesus.

    The angels surely paused long enough to add an amen!

    I used to wonder how she managed to turn out delectable meals from her small kitchen and how she became a professional at serving up God's Word to her family.

    She told me, "Honey, it all begins on your knees. If you spend enough time with my Jesus, He will teach you everything you need to know about feeding your family."

    Not long after Catherine went to be with Jesus, I found this "recipe for life" in her belongings.

    Begin with a case of Joy
    Add a heaping spoonful of Gratitude
    Fold in a large dollop of Kindness
    Stir in a handful of Forgiveness
    Sprinkle liberally with Love and cover with Peace
    Always serve with a large side of Faith
    (Author unknown)

    Warm angel biscuits and sweet tea aren't the only things I miss about my mother-in-law. I miss the fresh servings of prayer she whispered while feeding her family and the filling scriptures she served in our conversations around her table.

    Yes, her kitchen now sits quiet and dark, but her family is feasting on her spiritual legacy of love for God and His Word.

    Dear Lord, help me to be a wife and mom who feeds her family from the kitchen and from Your Word. May I leave a legacy for those You've entrusted in my care. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Taste and see the Lord is good by reading His Word! Sit down with Proverbs 31 Ministries' devotion writing team as they serve up devotions that teach from the new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women.

    Introduce your family to Bible stories with the fun-to-play Bible Brainstorm Game.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Try the "saltshaker encouragement" over dinner tonight. Each member of the family takes a turn at holding the saltshaker. Every other person at the table should share one thing they will pray for the person holding the saltshaker.

    Power Verses:
    1 Peter 2:2-3, "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Zoe Elmore. 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 Titus

  • Hearing and Listening

    Posted on June 3, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Then they asked him, “What did he [Jesus] do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too? John 9:26-27

    Hearing does not guarantee listening. Eye contact and engaged body language can still lead to no heart comprehension. Someone can act like they are listening without really understanding. People who lack humility and empathy lack the ability to really listen well. Pride and ego run over another’s sentences before they finish. An unbridled intellect interrupts with solutions and new ideas before they truly listen to the heart of the one making conversation. Hubris is deaf.

    So, there is skill involved in learning to listen with understanding. Good listeners lean into the one speaking and seek to know what the one speaking knows. They take in the spoken words, but simultaneously they process the emotional meaning behind the speech. Listeners hear without any preconceived notions or preemptive conclusions. We hear and listen well when we enter into the emotional world of the speaker. We learn to listen by asking clarifying questions.

    After three days they found him [Jesus] in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Luke 2:46

    The Holy Spirit is also involved in illuminating true meaning and providing discernment to humble and wise hearts. So, we prayerfully listen beyond the logic of the spoken language to the unspoken promptings of God’s Spirit. A person’s words may say they want one thing, but in their heart of hearts, they know they need something different. The Lord’s Spirit working through your spirit will give you insight into what they need to consider. Listen for the Spirit’s quiet leading.

    Most of all, be a hearer, listener, and a doer of God’s word. Scripture is like fertilizer for your faith. If the Bible is only revered on a bookshelf it is useless, but if it is spread over your life it makes things grow. Therefore, hear, listen and apply God’s Holy Word to your life. Once you listen and learn then allow His truth to transform your being. Wise listeners of Christ’s words integrate His principles into their behavior. They pray, “Speak Lord for I am listening for You.”

    Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. 1 Samuel 3:9

    Prayer: Heavenly Father speak to my heart and I will truly listen to You and obey.

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 34:9; Job 38:1-3; 1 Corinthians 14:21; Hebrews 4:12; 1 John 4:6

    Post/Tweet today: Prayer listens beyond the logic of spoken language to the unspoken promptings of God’s Spirit. #listeningprayer

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


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

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