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  • Creative Reminders to Pray

    Wendy

    "I will pray morning, noon, and night, pleading aloud with God; and he will hear and answer." Psalm 55:17 (TLB)

    Why is it so easy to remember every word to my favorite 80's songs, but so hard to remember to pray for others?

    There have been many times when I've told a friend, "Yes, I will pray for you." Then time goes by and that promise slips my mind. Guilt fills my heart as days later I remember the forgotten prayer request.

    My heart's desire is to pray with purpose for each person and every need because I know God listens. The psalmist knew this too, and wrote these words in Psalm 55:17, "I will pray morning, noon, and night, pleading aloud with God; and he will hear and answer."

    That's my intention too. Unfortunately, life's busy schedule and my dwindling memory keep me from praying the way I want to.

    So I asked the Lord to help me in this area. And He answered that prayer in an unusual way.

    For some strange reason, I have the uncanny ability to remember the make and model of my friends' cars. God used this ability to help me generate prayer prompters. Seeing the make and model of a friend's car prompts me to pray for them.

    But God didn't stop there. He also showed me how to use other prayer prompters besides cars. Maybe my list will help you generate your own prayer prompts.

    • A red Honda minivan: Renee Swope and family (She used to drive one) • When my ears ring: Lysa TerKeurst (She had some damage to one ear) • Leopard print: Lisa Allen (She loves leopard print) • Purple, especially pens: Sharon Sloan (She loves purple) • Fog or low lying clouds: Kristi Butler (We call low lying clouds the glory of the Lord) • Wonderful, Merciful Savior: My former pastor (It is one of his favorite songs)

    There are many ways we can remember to pray. Enter prayer requests as an appointment on your phone with an alarm to remind you. Write names and requests on a calendar to pray on specific days for specific people. Keep a notebook with you and record prayer requests.

    Prayer prompts make it easier to pray morning, noon and night as the psalmist did. We can use red minivans or reminders on the calendar. Whenever the Holy Spirit prompts us to pray, God will hear and answer. Our prayers don't have to be long, with big and lofty words. We just have to remember and pray with a sincere heart.

    Dear Lord, I know that You hear and answer prayers morning, noon and night. Help me to be faithful to pray. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond: Think of one person you want to pray for faithfully. Ask God for a prayer prompt for this person.

    Purchase a spiral notebook to keep as a prayer journal. Ask God to help you fill it.

    Power Verses: 1 Thessalonians 5:17, "Pray without ceasing." (ESV)

    James 5:16b, "The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with." (The Message)

    © 2014 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

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

  • Emotionally Healthy

    Boyd

    Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

    The condition of our heart is an indicator of our emotional health. A wounded heart limps along vulnerable to fatigue and frustration, while a healed heart can resist the wiles of the world. Healthy emotions heal. A strong heart has access to an abundance of grace, so its capacity to offer forgiveness and exercise patience is vast. Yes, the grace of God gives health and wellness to all who engage its easy availability. When emotions are in good shape, we are in sync with the Spirit.

    Just as we care for our physical health, so must we manage our emotional well being. Check ups with a mature Jesus follower increase our understanding of where we stand. The expertise of a trusted spiritual advisor is necessary for us to be objective in our own emotional assessment. Like a trainer instructs in how to keep our body healthy with a balance of weights and cardio, so a spiritual trainer gives us insights in how to express our feelings and forgive personal offenses.

    "A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of"(Luke 6:45).

    Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is the best manager of our emotions. Just as a successful coach leads a team to work together to win, so the Spirit leads our emotions to work together for God’s glory. When our emotions are under the influence of the Holy Spirit, we walk in wholeness and holiness. Emotional health happens when our feelings are filtered by the Spirit. He removes distasteful impurities. Indeed, a heart controlled by the Spirit is able to give life to other lives.

    How’s your heart? Are you keenly sensitive to the Spirit’s leading or are you overly sensitive to fleshly feelings? Have your emotional wounds healed? Are you blessed with a healthy heart? Take a risk and be vulnerable about your past hurts, so you can experience present healing. Surround yourself with caring Christ followers with whom you can process your feelings. Most of all share your heart with your Savior Jesus, who will cleanse, heal, and make your heart whole!

    "The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden,like a spring whose waters never fail" (Isaiah 58:11).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I submit to Your Spirit to be the manager and filter of my emotions.

    Related Readings: 2 Kings 10:31; Proverbs 10:11; John 20:22; Acts 2:33; Revelation 22:17

    Post/Tweet today: When our emotions are under the influence of the Spirit, we walk in wholeness and holiness. #emotionalhealth

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Crash the Chatterbox from Steven Furtick

    Steven

    Chatterboxing

    I wish I had a little devil on my left shoulder. I could flick him off and tell him to go to hell. Then I could fist-bump the angel sitting on my right shoulder and get on with doing all the things God has called me to do. That would change everything.

    I’d discover an unshakable confidence. It wouldn’t be borrowed from the ever-changing assessments of others. I would instinctively offer my weaknesses as a platform for God’s power instead of typecasting myself as someone God couldn’t use due to my endless character flaws.

    I’d be unstoppable because the devil wouldn’t be able to dominate my mind with the kinds of fears that control me a lot of the time. Then I would be able to move forward in faith without being scared of failure or rejection or the sacrifice required to obey God.

    I’d never again be paralyzed by condemnation or bullied by feelings of unworthiness. And at the end of each day I’d go to sleep in perfect peace because I’d be finishing the day with no shame, no regrets, no need to sew any fig leaves to conceal anything.

    I’d be nearly immune from discouragement, because I would stop wondering if the sky was falling every time I faced a new challenge. I’d see my biggest obstacles as my greatest opportunities…and all the other stuff you read on Starbucks cups.

    Unfortunately, there’s no devil on my shoulder.

    What’s worse, there’s no angel either.

    Instead, I’ve got this ceaseless war going on inside my heart and my head. I’m waging it every millisecond of every minute of every hour of every day—nights, holidays, and weekends too.

    ####

    I wake up every day to the crow of the chatterbox.

    Here’s a transcript of my internal dialogue from a recent morning. It’s a real-time example of the kind of chatter that can derail my day before it even gets started. Sometimes over the most ridiculous things you can imagine.

    The thoughts are flying so fast now that I can’t keep track, much less sort them out and put them where they belong. Thinking about these thoughts at all only seems to feed them. That’s why they keep overpowering me, because I keep feeding them. I know this, but it never stops me from doing it. Not this time, not ten years ago, and it won’t be any different ten years from now, I’m beginning to believe.

    This is so stupid. I’m being so stupid.

    It’s only a light bulb.

    A burned-out light bulb has turned into a mini-midmorning meltdown in my mind, and I can’t find the switch to shut it off. The meltdown, I mean, not the light bulb.

    So I’m standing in the shower, and the light bulb is out, and it’s like the sky is falling.

    As soon as I stepped into the shower, I noticed, for the third time, that the middle bulb was out over the sink on the other side of the bathroom. Now that I’m in the shower, stranded, phoneless, how am I going to put in Evernote that the light bulb is out? With my pathetic attention span, what are the chances I’ll remember to replace the light bulb after I get out?

    I definitely don’t have time to change the light bulb—I’m already going to be ten minutes late for this meeting. If there’s no traffic. I’m always running late for meetings. I’m a late person. It’s because I hit the snooze button three times every morning, because I’m spiritually apathetic. Pastor Mickey used to get up at 5 a.m. and spend two hours with God, and he said, “He who runs from God in the morning will scarce find Him throughout the day.” They should put that on a Starbucks cup too.

    Either way, God is gone for the day, and it’s not even 9 a.m. And now I’m running twelve minutes late, and the light bulb is still out.

    I’m screwed.

    And who am I kidding? Even if I had time to change the light bulb, yeah, right, like I have a clue where Holly keeps them. Now that’s really pathetic. What would people think if they found out about that one: the woman changes all the light bulbs around that house! What kind of example am I setting for my kids?

    Did I even pray with the kids last night? the night before that?

    Dunno. But I did Instagram that sunset shot with the kids at the creek last Friday. So there’s that.

    “Cock-a-doodle-do.” The chatterbox informs me that I’m fourteen minutes late…and I suck as a person.

    I’m feeding the machine, and it’s eating me alive.

    And the chatter will continue to race through my mind until I decide to downshift and put things back in perspective: Calm down, Furtick. It’s. Just. A. Light bulb.

    Just like that, if only for a split second, the chatterbox gives way. And I get on with my day.

    Unfortunately, it won’t be long until the chatterbox sounds off again. Probably next time about something much more serious than a light bulb. So much doubt, panic, raw impulse, and bogus conjecture stream through my mind. My soul sometimes feels like a Twitter feed where I’m following a million of the most annoying people ever, and I can’t find the Unfollow button.

    ####

    But God is faithful to speak too. His voice rises from the pages of His Word, which is the exact expression of His will. He speaks, not only on Sunday mornings in the sanctuary where the congregation is gathered, but also in the stillness of His works scattered across the night skies. His Spirit speaks with promptings that are not audible—often they are much louder than that—always in perfect harmony with the Scriptures and always resounding with perfect wisdom.

    And in every season of my life, God has sent reminders to confirm that He has perfectly designed me and totally enabled me for everything He’s called me to do. Sometimes He’ll do that through a simple picture, song, text, or conversation that rings with affirmation for days.

    Other times, at critical junctures, God has spoken dramatic words of encouragement over my life.

    A few years ago I was on a plane headed home, and I looked out the window during the descent. The sunset seemed to be painting the skyline in neon orange, illuminating the city where I had just moved to start a church. It was a glowing visual that set the scene for God to speak to my heart: This is your city. I’ve called you here to pour out your life for My cause. Be confident, because everywhere you set your foot belongs to Me, and you belong to Me, and together we’re going to take this city for My glory.

    I’m sure my translation of this conversation isn’t word perfect, because you know how tricky cross-cultural communication with God can be. Plus, I can’t find the notebook where I frantically scribbled every word of those impressions. The part I’m sure of is that I heard God encouraging me at a time when I really needed it. We were only a couple of months into getting our new church off the ground. I needed some reassurance, and God delivered.

    And it was His voice piercing through the roar of my doubts that lifted my perspective. It was just enough to keep me moving forward in faith.

    ####

    Now I’d like to ask you a few questions.

    Is it possible to be the kind of person who can be distracted to the point of utter despair by a blown light bulb and still hear God calling you to do great things as you stare down at your city through a sunset?

    Can God’s voice coexist with maniacal chatter—within the same person?

    And how can I silence the voice of the enemy when the enemy is in me? Can you relate to this contradiction?

    I used to think that someone who struggled with the kinds of weaknesses I deal with daily was useless to God. I felt so often like I was drowning in internal dialogue I couldn’t control. It had been the soundtrack of my life for as long as I could remember. I had hoped these problems would finally be fixed when I became a committed Christian. And I hoped for it again each time I experienced spiritual highs along the way in my journey of faith.

    But the beat went on.

    Yet everything changed when I began to realize God has given us the ability to choose the dialogue we believe and respond to. And once we learn how, we can switch from lies to truth as deliberately as we can choose the Beatles over Miley Cyrus on satellite radio.

    Choosing to believe this, moment by moment, and acting on it is the most important habit you will ever develop. It is the key to pressing ahead and doing God’s will anyway, even as you are bombarded with thoughts, feelings, and even facts about why you can’t do it. Why you shouldn’t do it. And why you’ll never be able to do it. Why you’re too dysfunctional, too petty, too immature, too melancholy, too impulsive…

    I’m now awakening to the reality that we can access the power of God’s promises to constantly crash the system of our broken beliefs. I’m learning how to overpower the shouts of the Enemy by bending my ear to the whisper of God’s supernatural truths about my identity in Him and His strength in me. This isn’t something I did once and now it’s over or something I can afford to do occasionally when it’s convenient. It requires constancy. It’s the only way I know to be the father, husband, leader, friend, and believer that God says I already am, the kind of person I am straining to believe I can become. Winning the war of words inside your soul means learning to defy your inner critic. But that’s easier said than done. And I think many times, as believers, we sense we are losing this war. But we don’t know what to do about it because we don’t know where to find the weapons, and we wouldn’t know where to aim them if we did.

    In other words, we feel powerless to crash the chatterbox. And now would probably be a good time to explain exactly what I mean by that.


    Excerpted from Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick Copyright © 2014 by Steven Furtick. Excerpted by permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

  • Build Unity Into Your Marriage

    Lauren

    " ... Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless." 1 Corinthians 15:58b (NLT)

    For years my husband and I have looked for ways to build unity in our marriage. Amazingly, one of the best things we've ever done hasn't been fancy vacations or expensive dinners. It's been serving God together and allowing Him to use our life experiences to reach children.

    When my husband, Tony, served as a head coach in the NFL, we often visited classrooms in inner-city schools together. As a former sixth grade teacher, I loved encouraging students to develop a love for reading. Yet we soon noticed there were few motivational, values-driven books with characters and story lines these kids could relate to. That's when Tony and I began writing children's books.

    Every Tuesday for the past four years, we have read one of our books to third grade students in schools where there are a high percentage of children from impoverished and single parent homes.

    In our years serving together, my husband and I have seen God use our offering of time and storytelling ability to show His love to children. Even though it may seem like a small thing, 1 Corinthians tells us everything we do matters: "Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless" (1 Corinthians 15:58b).

    Often our best opportunities to share about God come from the questions we receive. Since many of our characters are based on our nine kids, students often ask, "Is this story true?" We explain that we turn real-life experiences into stories with a message — usually about problem solving with guidance from parents and from God.

    Another question students often ask is, "Are you two married? To each other?" We enjoy sharing that we've been married for over 31 years. "Wow, you're kidding me!" is a common response.

    Some of these children know very few married couples, and we are pleased to model for them — if only briefly — how a husband and wife interact with each other. We understand, even if these kids don't, that God designed marriage as a reflection of Christ's relationship with His church. In some small way, when we serve others, we are giving them a glimpse of God's lavish love.

    Once after we had discussed our story and talked about marriage, children and making wise decisions, a boy eagerly raised his hand. "Are you guys Christians?" he asked. I felt such joy that a third grader recognized our love for God and desire to follow His plan.

    When you and your husband use your gifts and resources to benefit others, you will experience that same delight. But in a world filled with desperate people, how do you know where to serve? The chaplain of the Minnesota Vikings once gave Tony some great advice: "Ask yourself: What can I do that no one else can do? What gifts, connections, and resources do I have to help those who might be overlooked by everyone else?"

    Volunteering has strengthened our marriage in interesting ways. Tony received many accolades as an NFL coach, but I believe his best moments have been interacting with young boys with no father figures at home. In addition, with six kids still living under our roof, we enjoy these few hours to ourselves every Tuesday.

    Our classroom visits often spark discussions as Tony and I explore better ways to answer students' questions and make God's ideas clearer to young people. How blessed we are to be able to impact our community while having fun together!

    What about you and your spouse? If you enjoy entertaining, why not invite those new neighbors over for dinner? If you like working together on your home, could you ask your church to refer you to an elderly couple whose home is in urgent need of repair? The opportunities are as rich as the gifts God has given you.

    As you and your husband seek God's direction, I don't know whether your prayer will lead you to a classroom like the ones Tony and I visit. But I do know this: the Lord is just waiting to show you something that only the two of you can do.

    Heavenly Father, sometimes I forget that marriage is not simply about me and my spouse, but was designed by You as a visible representation of Your endless love. Would You begin to show us how we might extend Your grace to others? In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond: When it comes to helping others, where do you and your spouse's passions intersect?

    Set aside 15 minutes this week to talk with your spouse about the gifts and resources God has given you. Begin brainstorming a few ways you might reach out to someone in your community. If you already serve together, discuss your satisfaction level.

    Power Verses: Acts 20:35b, "... remember the words of the Lord Jesus: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" (NLT)

    Philippians 2:4, "Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too." (NLT)

    © 2014 by Lauren Dungy. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Tyndale House Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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

  • Love Is Kind

    Boyd

    Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4

    Love is a “killer application” for Christians because we “kill them with kindness.” Kindness means you are pleasant to be around because your countenance is inviting and shows interest. It is as much an attitude as anything, and it is the ability to see beyond the immediate to the potential. Kindness means you go out of your way to love someone. People who are unlovable become prime candidates for your kindness.

    A family member who is far from God, deep down desires unconditional love and kindness. Kindness is a natural application of love because it makes one feel loved. It is the ability to be accepting when everything within you wants to be rejecting. It is a strategy for forgiveness when you are wronged or when someone takes advantage of you. When your trusting spirit has been violated, you still love by being kind; you stop fighting, and you start forgiving.

    Love keeps you kind, especially toward those who are closest to you. They do not deserve your dredging up hurtful, bitter, and unforgiving words from the past. Love is kind in its conversations. Harsh and abrasive speech is absent from kind conversation. Love produces words that are “kind and tenderhearted” (Ephesians 4:32). Love is able to extend kind words that cheer up heavy hearts (Proverbs 16:24). Pray to God for kindness to reign in your relationships with kids and teenagers. Children translate kindness into love, for it is their language of love.

    We all have blown up and lost our temper over disrespectful attitudes and actions from our offspring. The temptation is to disrespect when we have been disrespected, and the natural response is to become angry when someone else spews out his or her frustrations on us. But God has not called us to natural responses, but supernatural ones. Kindness in the face of frustration is a fruit of the Spirit, and only through submission to your Savior will kindness become front and center. The fullness of the Holy Spirit in your life is what causes kindness to come forth.

    Lastly, loving others with kindness does not preclude difficult decisions. Kindness is not patronizing, but authentic care and concern, and it is able to deliver hard truth that softens hard hearts. You can dismiss an employee with kindness. Likewise, you can disagree in a heated debate, with kindness. Harshness has no hold on those who are controlled by Christ.

    Therefore, kindly love people through difficult situations. Serve those who are experiencing financial difficulties, for example. Kindness is king for followers of King Jesus, so love with kindness and watch them come around and embrace Christ. Kindness kills sin and sadness, and it brings to life love, forgiveness, and hope. Allow Jesus’ loving kindness to flow through you, for kindness toward the needy honors God (Proverbs 14:31). Kindness resides where love is applied, because love is kind.

    Taken from the February 9th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 1”

    Post/Tweet today:Harshness has no hold on those who are controlled by Christ. #loveiskind

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Faithful Guide

    Boyd

    The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. Proverbs 11:3

    Integrity is an instrument of almighty God. He uses it to guide His children in the direction He desires for them. Have you ever wondered what God would have you do? Integrity is His directive to do the next right thing, trusting Him with the results. It is out of honesty that we begin to comprehend Christ’s desires. He delights in our uprightness.

    For example, are you totally honest on your tax return? Is your tax preparer a person of unquestionable integrity? We can trust professionals to represent us well, but we are ultimately responsible for an honest outcome. Furthermore, is there anything you are doing, if printed as a newspaper headline, that would embarrass you and your family? Indeed, integrity brings joy to heaven and security on earth. It is your guide for godly living.

    Moreover, the iniquity of the unfaithful destroys. The blessing of God is removed as it cannot be bought with bad behavior. Relationships are scarred and some even severed over dishonest dealings. Overnight, poor judgment can soil and potentially destroy a hard-earned reputation. Pride acts like integrity is only for others. It deceives itself and becomes a disgrace for its dishonest and duplicitous ways. Iniquity is an unfaithful guide.

    "I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most people do” (Nehemiah 7:2).

    So we ask ourselves, “How can I be a man or woman of integrity over the balance of my life?” There is a simplicity about those who base their behavior on the principles of God’s Word; nothing fancy, only faithful living in their daily routine. The grace of God governs their soul, the truth of God renews their mind, and accountability is an anchor for their actions. Honestly ask yourself, “Is integrity my faithful guide?”

    The Bible says, “May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you” (Psalm 25:21).

    Prayer: How can I better integrate integrity as a guide for my business dealings and behavior at home?

    Related Readings: Genesis 20:4–7; Hosea 13:9; Matthew 7:13; Romans 7:9–12

    Taken from the February 9th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 2”

    Post/Tweet today:The grace of God governs the soul and the truth of God renews the mind. #faithfulguide

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Too Blunt

    Boyd

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

    Just as a blunt object can bruise and bring injury to the body, so blunt words can hurt hearts and wreck relationships. Even some who pride themselves on being direct can drive people away. Sadly, like chronic bad breath, no one is willing to inform them of their offensiveness. Colleagues fear, lest they become the latest victim of the offender's verbal jabs. Direct speech is not a license for public sparing but private reproof. Words laced in grace accomplish more than caustic candor.

    How do we know if we are too blunt in our conversations? If we talk more than we listen, we have a higher probability of indiscreet speech. If we impatiently wait for another to stop talking so we can give our opinion, we may be guilty of tearing down instead of building up. If we are angry or dissatisfied we may communicate insensitive words. If we are really brave, we might ask a friend if the way we communicate is helpful or harmful. Direct people need direct feedback.

    "But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief" (Job 16:5).

    Comfort precedes confrontation in conversations that most effectively correct the hearer. Like ‘a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down,’ so words dripping with honey are ingested into the stomach of the soul. Truth administered like a sharp scalpel cuts with clean precision, while a jagged, dull saw only frustrates. So, place a caring arm around a friend’s shoulder before you shoulder them with specific concerns. Like Jesus, look for redemption in the conversation.

    Most of all, follow the Holy Spirit’s lead in leading others to understand their need to change. We can only model the way and not get in the way of the Spirit’s work in another’s heart. We can unselfishly serve and hope our actions will infect the ones we serve with a servant’s heart. The best conversations happen in the margins of our relationships. So, we prayerfully wait to bring up sensitive matters when their heart is most open to truth. Sharpened speech is Spirit led.

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

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, use my words as an instrument in Your Spirit’s hands to help build up.

    Related Readings: Psalm 15:2, 40:10; John 7:18; Romans 9:1; Matthew 12:36; Ephesians 5:4

    Post/Tweet today: The best conversations happen in the margins of our relationships. #tooblunt

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • One Nation, Under Attack from Grant R. Jeffrey

    Grant

    There Is Far More at Stake Than Most of Us Realize

    The United States of America is unique. In the last five thousand years kingdoms, nations, and empires have risen to power, extending their reach and rule over others. But never has there been the equal of the United States in power and world influence.

    America is the only nation that was conceived as a limited republic based on divinely inspired biblical principles. God’s revealed truth undergirds the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

    These documents clearly reflect an intentional recognition of God and His work in the world as well as the necessity of basing laws, liberties, and rights on His revealed moral law.

    In various ways, all of this helped to transform the thirteen colonies that broke away from England in 1776 into history’s most influential and dominant world empire. By the end of World War II, America was unsurpassed in military might and unequaled in technology, manufacturing, economic vitality, and world leadership. The nation that began with New World immigrants seeking independence from Britain replaced the British Empire by virtue of America’s international presence, economic leadership, and military power.

    The American Empire has been richly blessed by God from the beginning, but in recent decades America has given in to forces that oppose and deny God’s intentions for this great nation. The country that has done more than any other to guarantee personal liberties at home and to defend freedom around the world is seeing its power and influence diminish day by day. The American Empire soon will fall from its position as world leader, and its fall will affect every one of us.

    America is being pushed to the brink by economic reversals brought on by decades of unsound economic policy and more recently by an overextended military, a deadlocked Congress, and a federal government that chooses again and again to turn its back on the clear intent and wisdom of the Constitution. In a very short time, the United States will be pushed to the sidelines of world events. The center of power and influence will shift away from the nation that has served since the eighteenth century as the model of democracy and individual freedom.

    All of this is taking place just prior to the emergence of the prophesied Antichrist. Satan’s representative on earth will consolidate his power and first establish his dictatorship over the revived Roman Empire and then over the entire world. The American Empire that rose to power with the blessing of God will be so weak it won’t play a notable role in the culminating events of the last days.

    This is the greatest of ironies. The only nation in history that was intentionally founded as a limited republic based on God’s principles will be powerless to oppose the coming global tyranny of evil.

    The Rise and Decline of the American Empire

    America’s leaders from the start honored God and looked to God’s Scriptures for guidance. The colonies won their independence from England in 1783, adopted a constitution, and enjoyed steady growth in political, economic, and military power. By the early twentieth century the United States was coming to the aid of democratic allies around the world and winning the First World War. Then, in World War II, America accepted the responsibility to defend freedom by waging war in Europe, North Africa, Asia, and the South Pacific. At the end of the Second World War, America was the unquestioned, unrivaled leader of the free world. No other world power was positioned to block the threatened expansion of Soviet Russia and Communist China during the Cold War.

    In fact, the United States of America was far more than a powerful nation. It was rising to the status of a world empire. Empires expand gradually as they amass power, extend their reach, and assert their influence over the rest of the world.

    A commentator on global politics, Harvard professor Michael Ignatieff, wrote about the identifying characteristics of the American Empire. “Ever since George Washington warned his countrymen against foreign entanglements, empire abroad has been seen as the republic’s permanent temptation and its potential nemesis. Yet what word but ‘empire’ describes the awesome thing that America is becoming? It is the only nation that polices the world through five global military commands; maintains more than a million men and women at arms on four continents; deploys carrier battle groups on watch in every ocean; guarantees the survival of countries from Israel to South Korea; drives the wheels of global trade and commerce; and fills the hearts and minds of an entire planet with its dreams and desires.”

    Like all great empires, America could not hold the course and preserve the things that made it great. A gradual decline began before the end of the 1950s. In recent years external forces orchestrated a coordinated attack that has hastened the empire’s decline. Soon the American Empire will fall, and the collapse will come rapidly.

    Why Is America Absent from Biblical Prophecy?

    The United States is not mentioned specifically in biblical prophecy. It does not appear by name or by geographical reference in the detailed descriptions of events that will occur during the last-days generation. Jesus Christ will return at the Battle of Armageddon to destroy the Antichrist and establish His eternal kingdom on earth.

    But the one nation in the West that has benefitted from God’s blessing is absent from the prophetic accounts of the critical last-days events.2 There is a strange silence regarding the political and military presence and strategic influence of the United States leading up to the two major prophesied wars. In accounts of the War of Gog and Magog (see Ezekiel 38–39), when Russia and its Islamic allies will attempt to invade Israel and annihilate its Jewish population, there is no mention of America’s involvement. Ezekiel tells us that the Lord will intervene to supernaturally destroy the millions of invading Russian and Islamic soldiers. He will use earthquakes, fire and brimstone, plagues, and even madness to defeat the invading armies to save His chosen people from genocide. Where in all this is America, the declared ally of Israel?

    The Bible’s prophecies are equally silent regarding the role of America in the cataclysmic Battle of Armageddon at the end of the seven-year dictatorship of the Antichrist. The prophetic Scriptures provide significant details regarding virtually all the Eastern and Western nations and their military alliances as they relate to this final war on earth. Since every nation on earth will be involved at the Battle of Armageddon, it is certain that America will be present in some fashion, but the lack of a specific mention of America as a key player indicates that the United States will no longer be a leading power in the world.

    How can this be? The United States invests more in its military defense than the next ten top nations combined. America dominates the world with more power than any previous empire, including ancient Rome and the British Empire at the height of its supremacy. What can explain the lack of any prophetic reference to the American Empire?

    What combination of forces will be capable of draining America’s power in only a few short years?

    A study of history shows that world empires often were defeated by military conquest, but they also are vulnerable to internal forces. For example, while the British Empire found itself on the winning side of World War II, within weeks British citizens voted Prime Minister Winston Churchill out of power. They elected a liberal Labor government that created an enormously expensive and unsustainable welfare state.

    Wealth was drained from the private sector, and the governing Labor Party virtually disarmed the British military. Within three years the ruling regime dismantled the British Empire that had reigned over almost one-quarter of the globe for more than a century. The left-wing Labor Party abandoned the empire by withdrawing from the Commonwealth nations; Northern Ireland was the lone exception. It took only three years for the socialist Labor Party to destroy the legendary British Empire.

    One Nation, Under Attack

    The American Empire that saw its birth in the world’s first experiment in limited representative government has been undermined by international financiers working together with powerful socialist forces both inside America and overseas. These enemies of free-market capitalism are prepared to launch the final stage of a multipronged attack against America.

    Already they have succeeded almost beyond belief in weakening the U.S. economy. For evidence that their strategies are working you need look no further than any newspaper or television news program. They will not stop until they have crippled the national economy, transforming the once-great United States into an impoverished nation with a severely weakened military and no influence on the world stage. A powerless America serves their purposes because it will not be able to resist the movement—being led from within the European Union—that seeks to achieve global governance.

    The developments we will examine in the chapters that follow are deliberate and carefully planned. International financiers and other global interests have recruited hundreds of willing accomplices who occupy the most powerful positions in the federal government as well as officials of the European Union who are more than happy to do the bidding of globalist multibillionaires.

    No longer will there be a freedom-defending global superpower that works for human rights and fights against the military aggression of other nations. There will no longer be a world power that is committed to advancing free enterprise and the prosperity that comes as a result of free-market capitalism.

    One Nation, Under Attack will reveal the blunt truth, and much of it will be difficult to accept. If you love your country, you may not want to believe that your nation’s leaders are selling America to the highest bidder. But it is far better to know the truth than be deceived by the Washington propaganda machine.

    You need to understand what is taking place so you can protect your family’s financial future and safeguard your assets and your property. You need to act now so you will be positioned to withstand the coming collapse of the American Empire. The United States will fall into a state of near oblivion, becoming little more than a helpless bystander, while the most dramatic events in history unfold in Europe, the Middle East, and beyond.

    The Antichrist soon will rise to power and enslave the nations of the revived Roman Empire. Initially, he will rule the member nations of the European Union (EU) as well as a number of Mediterranean nations. Once the Antichrist has consolidated his power over this confederation, he will gain control of the entire world.

    At a time in history when the political influence, economic power, and military force of the United States could be called into service to oppose this unprecedented spread of evil in the world, America will be sliding into obscurity. The fall of the American Empire is already at an advanced stage. In fact, the end of America’s story will come in your lifetime.


    Excerpted from One Nation, Under Attack by Grant R. Jeffrey Copyright © 2012 by Grant R. Jeffrey. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

  • The Day I Almost Gave Up

    Leah

    "The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry for help ... The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, and delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:15-18 (HCSB)

    I gripped the steering wheel of my car and stared at the hospital emergency doors. My heart pounded furiously, like a time bomb waiting to explode. The pressure in my head was almost unbearable. The invisible weight on my chest felt like someone dropped a sledgehammer on me.

    Thoughts raced through my mind. I wanted to scream but could barely breathe a whisper. I just sat there lonely, afraid, shattered and completely empty inside.

    Should I check myself into the hospital?

    What if they admit me in the psychiatric ward and won't let me go home?

    Who will take care of my children?

    Will my husband still love me?

    What if my friends find out?

    Reaching for my phone, panic rushed over me like a tidal wave. A pool of tears cascaded down my face, as I cried, Jesus, please help me!

    Sitting in my car, unable to move, I continued to pray and ask God questions like, How did I get here? I'm a Christian for heaven's sake! Things like this just don't happen to Christian women – or do they? I feel like such a failure.

    Looking back now, I can see how years of worry and stress had brought me to that day.

    Concerns about my family's finances kept me up most nights. Stress over a high-pressured job caused erratic panic attacks. Worry about my children's health created knots in my stomach. Struggling to help my aging parents resulted in midnight crying sessions.

    My concerns consumed me. Worrying became an addiction, demanding my ongoing attention. I was trying to "hold it all together" on the outside, but on the inside, a sea of doubt and fear haunted me.

    Maybe you're in a similar place. Have the stresses of life caught up with you too? Are you worried about your finances, health, marriage, job or kids? Do you wonder if anyone sees your pain or even cares? If you're brave enough to cry out for help, will anyone rescue you?

    In today's verse, we are reminded we do have a Rescuer:

    "The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry for help ... the righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, and delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:15-18).

    God sees you and hears your cries for help, even when no one else does. He knows your heartache. He sees your pain. If your heart is broken and you feel crushed from all sides, God promises to be close to you. Though you may not see Him with you physical eyes, He is there.

    God rescued me that day in the hospital parking lot. After several hours of prayer, God calmed my heart and I called my husband. I reached out to close friends for help, and the healing started. Although I wanted an instant miracle, it took time, but God never left my side. He gently mended my broken heart and renewed my mind through His Word. He guided me along a journey that led to true freedom, for which I am forever grateful.

    Has the stress of life taken its toll, causing you to feel afraid, lonely or ready to give up? Is your heart broken today? Let God rescue you, friend. He is ready. He is willing. He is able.

    Dear Lord, it feels like my life is falling part. I desperately need You to rescue me. Thank You for hearing my cries and for delivering me from my troubles. Even when I am hidden from others, You see me, Lord. Thank You saving me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond: Read Psalm 139 and highlight every verse that tells of God's presence and protection over you.

    Write out a prayer thanking God for all the things you are grateful for today.

    Power Verse: Zephaniah 3:17, "The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." (NIV 1984)

    © 2014 by Leah DiPascal. All rights reserved.

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

  • Too Polite

    Boyd

    In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong. Matthew 5:37, The Message

    When we are too polite we can be guilty of deception. In the process of trying not to hurt someone’s feelings, we can communicate a false trust or conceal a hidden agenda. Certainly we are to avoid harshness and use kind words. However, if our conversation remains shallow and sentimental it only disrespects the need to ‘speak the truth in love’ (Ephesians 4:15). It's patronizing to be too polite. Politeness that masks fear is merely a poor player at courtesy.

    So, how can we be truly honest with our words? One wise approach is to ask questions, so our language is not accusatory, but helpful in discovery of what needs to be done. For example, a wife may feel alone in her role as a mom and wife. A encouraging question could be, What can your husband do to support you? Or, a husband may feel insecure in his position as the spiritual leader. Perhaps ask, How can your wife make you feel affirmed as the spiritual leader at home?

    "These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other" (Zechariah 8:16).

    Furthermore, trust is foundational to effective, forthright speech. Trust assumes the best and is not fearful of rejection. A feeling of goodwill between two parties gives everyone permission to speak freely. Trust builds over time as two people really know and understand each other. They accept one another, forgive one another’s weaknesses, and celebrate one another’s strengths. Mostly, trust in the Holy Spirit to heal hearts, apply truth, and create a spirit of loving dialogue.

    Lastly, let your words flow over your lips, but only after you have prayed to the Lord. Prayer is a buffer that keeps the flesh from making a fool of itself. Speech sanctified by the Spirit is kind, but clear. It keeps the conversation cordial, but corrective, if necessary. Our talk with God prepares us to talk with people. It engages our hearts with an emotional and spiritual connection. In a spirit of politeness we can still be to the point and trust the Lord for redemptive outcomes.

    "Speak to David privately and say, ‘Look, the king likes you, and his attendants all love you; now become his son-in-law'" (1 Samuel 18:22).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the faith to speak forthrightly in a spirit of comfort and love.

    Related Readings: Psalm 119:103; Proverbs 22:11; Ezekiel 33:31; 1 Corinthians 13:1

    Post/Tweet today: Prayer is a buffer that keeps the flesh from making a fool of itself. #toopolite

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

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