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Family Christian

  • Well Pleased

    Boyd

    “And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased’” (Matthew 3:17).

    Am I well pleasing to the Lord? Do I model a life of submission to my Savior? Do I defer all honor and glory to Him? For my heavenly Father to be well pleased with me is the heartbeat of humility. This means at times I displease others to please my Master Jesus. I will choose to embrace beliefs and behaviors that are otherworldly and can cause conflict.

    A Christian pleasing to Christ first learns that to be raised high means to begin low. Jesus did not begin His ministry baptizing, but rather being baptized. He required of Himself everything expected from everyone else. Humble leaders do this; they follow the agreed upon guidelines, realizing no one is above the rules. It is with a humble heart that a leader discerns the Lord’s ways and then lives them out in front of the faithful and faithless.

    Perhaps goodhearted people seek to place you on a pedestal of admiration and honor. It is at this point of recognition that you keep your spirit low, as your reputation is on the rise. The Lord sustains His blessing for those who defer honor back to Him. It pleases your heavenly Father to see you engage in humble acts, especially as your influence grows. The closer you grow to Christ, the more you see the need for His grace and forgiveness.

    You can only deal with the soul of another if Jesus has dealt with your soul. It pleases Him when you first pronounce yourself needy before heaven, before you point out the needs of another. Humility looks inward at the heart before it outwardly observes the issues of another. The Lord is pleased when you take the lead to repent.

    You go public with your faith after you have been private in prayer. This solemn preparation pleases your heavenly Father. Moreover, have you proclaimed your faith publicly in baptism? It pleases God for you to go public for Him. It is an honor and becomes your sacred accountability. Private intimacy with your heavenly Father leads to a public inauguration of your faith. He is well pleased with you when you publicly pronounce Him the Lord over your life. Humility pleases Him. Why? It listens and obeys.

    “Then the Lord spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice. He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments, which he commanded you to follow” (Deuteronomy 4:12–13).

    Prayer: Have I earned the right to publicly declare my faith because of my private obedience? Does my Savior smile when He sees how I honor Him with my attitudes and actions?

    Related Readings: Job 37:5; Haggai 1:12; John 5:25; Hebrews 4:7

    Post/Tweet today: You go public with your faith after you have been private in prayer. #wellpleased

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved. Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Keep Learning

    Boyd

    Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. Proverbs 1:5

    Wise men and women are lifetime learners. The knowledge and understanding that served us well last year will not be sufficient for following years. It is what we are learning today that prepares us for tomorrow. Wisdom and discernment listen and learn. They listen to people around them and learn what to do and what not to do. Another person’s unfortunate tragedy can be a teacher of decisions to avoid.

    When you see the use of irresponsible debt destroy a family, you learn the discipline of saving. Another person’s triumph can be a teacher of choices to embrace. The sacrifice of a mom who stays home to serve her family increases the probability of children with character. You listen and learn from her how to teach little ones to love Jesus; so keep learning.

    “Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning” (Proverbs 9:9). Your counsel increases in value as you grow in wisdom and discernment. Lazy learners are left to be by themselves. It is an educated life that others desire to learn; so seek out a mentor who models learning, with whom you can meet weekly to challenge your assumptions. Invite your mentor to question your answers more than answer your questions. Oral learning through the exchange of ideas unlocks and applies wisdom. You are positioned to learn in an audience of one with graying hair.

    Above all, learn by submission to God and His Word. A humble life can be trusted with God’s wisdom and the Holy Spirit’s discernment. It is out of your compassion and mercy that knowledge is converted to wisdom. Keep learning, and the Lord will lift you to new levels of influence. Stop learning, and you will lower into irrelevance. Learning expands your kingdom effectiveness and deepens your character.

    “Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning” (Proverbs 9:9).

    Prayer: What lesson do I need to learn today so I can better serve the Lord and others tomorrow?

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 5:1; 31:13; Job 34:2–4; Psalm 119:73; Hebrews 5:8

    Post/Tweet today: Learn by submission to God and His Word. A humble life can be trusted with God’s wisdom. #keeplearning

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved. Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

  • The Most Read Interviews of 2013

    In 2013, we had the privilege of sitting down and talking with some great individuals that have had such a huge impact of people all over the world. The ten interviews below are just a sampling of who we talked with.

    These are the folks who have been challenged greatly, and in their challenges, they continue to challenge others. To love more. To serve more. To hope more. To rest more. To seek more. To study more.

    The ten interviews below are the interviews that were read the most. Shared the most. For that, we are thankful. We look forward to many more interviews and discussions in 2014.

    Amy Grant - The Wife/Mother/Singer/Songwriter

    There’s nothing like life experience to provide a deeper, richer emotional palette for a songwriter to draw from when crafting new music. For Amy Grant, it’s been 10 years since her last full studio album and it’s been a decade marked by soul-shaking milestones. As she’s always done, Grant has embraced both the triumphs and challenges, distilled them to their essence and poured the lessons learned into songs that ache with honesty and reverberate with gentle wisdom.

    How Mercy Looks From Here is the soundtrack of a life well-lived. “A lot of major life changes happened during these past few years.” Grant says. “So on this record, there’s zero filler. Every song has a real story behind it.”

    In chatting with Amy, I saw, again, that here is a woman of deep faith. Deep love. Love for family. Love for art. Love for food. Yes, food. And love for God.

    Read the full interview here.

    Phil Robertson. Father. Teacher. Theologian. Commander.

    If you have never heard of Phil Robertson or the Robertson boys, well, you must be living under a rock.  The Robertson family has taken American TV by storm, along with it the hearts of almost every person. Along with Phil, his wife Kay and their boys, the reality TV show Duck Dynasty has been a gathering place for the whole family. In other words, it's been a breath of fresh air.

    Phil Robertson was born and raised in Vivian, Louisiana, a small town near Shreveport. With seven children in his family, money was scarce and very early on, hunting became an important part of his life.

    Read the full interview here.

    Question and Answers with Nick Vujicic

    Being unstoppable is about believing and achieving. It’s about having faith in yourself, your talents and your purpose and, most of all, in God’s great love and His divine plan for your life.

    Millions around the world recognize the smiling face and inspirational message of Nick Vujicic. Despite being born without arms or legs, Nick’s challenges have not kept him from enjoying great adventures, a fulfilling and meaningful career, and loving relationships. Nick has overcome trials and hardships by focusing on the promises that he was created for a unique and specific purpose, that his life has value and is a gift to others, and that no matter the despair and hard times in life, God is always present. Nick credits his success in life to the power that is unleashed when faith takes action.

    Read the full Q&A here.

    Pulling No Punches - an interview with Lecrae

    From “latch-key kid” to key player in the Man Up movement, Lecrae’s life is an example of God’s transformative power – and he’s not quiet about it. In his signature straight-shoot approach, new album Gravity calls Christians to open their eyes to the weight of need in their world and share the love of Jesus as never before.

    "There’s a saying that goes around that says 'If you crossover make sure you bring the cross over.' That’s definitely my heart and my aim. I want to remain distinct and authentically Christian in whatever realm I’m in. I don’t want people to walk away saying, 'Lecrae is a Christian because he said so. Lecrae is a Christian because they labeled him that.' But I want them to say, 'Lecrae is a Christian because I can tell by his life that he values Jesus.' That’s really what my aim is, for people to see I truly treasure and value Jesus and His Word. If [crossing over] happens then, by God’s grace, let their lives be changed."

    Read the full interview here.

    A Q&A with Capital Kings

    There’s no denying much of today’s music has the power to move the masses physically. Inventive beats and hooky choruses are the currency of the day. Now enter Capital Kings, a talented duo that blends pop, electronic dance music, and rap into an intoxicating musical mix that makes audiences want to move, and yet there’s a thought-provoking, life-affirming undercurrent. Capital Kings combine style with substance and introduce flash with a foundation.

    Jon White and Cole Walowac have parlayed a long-term friendship and shared passion for music into one of the hottest careers in the industry. Despite their young age, the duo’s history is a lengthy one. “We were in the nursery in the same church,” Jon says. “We moved away to Massachusetts for a few years, Cole and I met back up in the same middle school and we started playing in the youth group band. Cole would play drums and I would sing and that’s how we started making music.”

    Read the full Q&A here.

    Michael Landon Jr. - Leaving a Legacy in Film

    Michael Landon Jr., son of the late television legend, Michael Landon, has been in the film business for over 25 years.  Educated at USC and a Directing Fellow graduate of the American Film Institute, he has worked in just about every capacity of the movie making process including film loader, 1st and 2nd assistant cameraman, stedicam operator, Director of Photography, apprentice film editor, production assistant, and actor.

    "Just trust in Jesus. Trust Him. Trust that He's going to bring you through to the other side, and don't try to do it on your own strength. And I mean that sincerely. This is not just to tell an audience of Christians. When I was 18 years old, I was a wreck. I was a wreck. My parents had divorced, and I was completely lost in the world. And I fought. I fought The Message. I fought it all the way, all the way. I didn't want to have anything to do with Jesus, nothing. Yeah."

    Read the full interview here.

    Mandisa - Finding Freedom by Overcoming

    Coming off her most successful album ever, Mandisa returned to the studio to record her new album, Overcomer. Her previous album, What If We Were Real, has sold over 270,000 albums and featured the breakout radio hits “Good Morning,” “Waiting For Tomorrow,” and the #1 hit, “Stronger.” The American Idol alum and three-time Grammy nominee continues to be a voice of encouragement and truth to women facing life’s challenges. Mandisa also continues to have unprecedented media exposure for a Christian artist including two recent appearances on Good Morning America.

    I sat down with Mandisa at a local coffee shop to talk about new music, coffee vs. tea, family and what it means to be an over-comer. What follows is a real conversation. Mandisa, some would say is a true artist. She is that for sure, but she is so much more. She is a warrior in a huge battle. She is a fighter - fighting for the truth of the Gospel. That can be summed up with one statement from her, "There is joy unspeakable!"

    Read the full interview here.

    Skillet. The Rock Band That Doesn't Quit

    Skillet recently made headlines when their last album, Awake, became one of just three rock albums to be certified platinum in 2012, forming an improbable triumvirate with the Black Keys’ El Camino and Mumford & Sons’ Babel. The news that Skillet had sold more than a million albums in the U.S. came as a shock to all but the band’s wildly diverse horde of fans, male and female, young and old—known as Panheads—whose still-swelling ranks now officially number in the seven-digit range. This remarkable achievement was announced just as Skillet was putting the finishing touches on their eagerly awaited follow-up album, Rise (Atlantic/Word).

    "When our last record came out, there was a guy who basically sent me an email saying he heard our song on NFL. “Hero” was playing and he liked it. He said he went to their website and found out who the band was, and bought the song. He said he loved the song and came to a show. One thing led to another, and basically this guy and his wife were both in the pornography industry. They both were filmmakers. The guy got saved and ended up leading his wife to it too. So they were saved now and got out of that industry and have gotten into church. And it was all from hearing our song on NFL. Stories like that are amazing! It’s something only God can do. And we are so honored He is using our music to do it."

    Read the full interview here.

    God's Unfolding Story In the Life of Laura Story

    t’s one thing to write compelling, heart-stirring, emotionally rich songs of worship, praise and honor to Christ. People have been doing it for centuries, forming the backbone of faith traditions the world over.

    It’s another thing entirely to bare your soul, share your vulnerabilities and risk criticism and career success by challenging the mold and daring to say that God is not necessarily a God of happy endings.

    Instead, He is the God of every story. This is what Laura Story is learning day by day.

    On her new album, God of Every Story, Laura becomes the most vulnerable. In Great God Who Saves and Blessings we certainly heard the heart of who Laura is, but it was within the established relationship of artist and listener. With her new title, she attempts to bring those walls down, bridging the separation.  God of Every Story is an album where we don't just see Laura's heart in some sort of abstract way - from a distance, but she asks us to join her in seeing what God is writing in Laura's life.

    Read the full interview here.

    The Jason Crabb Interview

    GRAMMY and DOVE Award-winning Jason Crabb has become one of the most respected names and voices in Christian music. Working alongside accomplished producers Jay DeMarcus (band member of Rascal Flatts), Ed Cash and Wayne Haun, Jason has delivered his sophomore studio solo recording, Love Is Stronger. A moving collection of down-home gospel and contemporary songs that feature Jason’s incomparable voice and heartfelt performance style, the release offers inspiring and challenging messages of comfort through the love of Christ that conquers all. Loved by audiences of every age and background, Jason Crabb is fast-becoming a prominent voice of hope for his generation and for generations to come.

    "I absolutely love the Southern style living. I'm kind of a—oh, I don't know what you would call it--a hybrid, I guess. I love all of it. Fried chicken, the fried pork chops, I'm in the woods a lot, and I love the outdoors. I even like to hunt a little. That’s just the way we grew up. I grew up in the swamplands of Kentucky, with coal miners and different ones and that's pretty much who I am. But then again, you know, I love nice cars (that I don't have!) and the finer things in life as well. But if it ever came down to it, give me the rocking chair, the front porch and a cup of coffee and I'm in a good place."

    Read the full interview here.

    Which interview stands out to you as a favorite?

  • Unmixing Our Motives

    Amy

    "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." Philippians 2:5 (NIV 1984)

    I'll never forget when mixed motives almost killed my true calling. Soon after accepting a leadership position in the women's ministry of my church, a friend on the team came up to me. "Oh! We forgot to tell you," she said with a grin. "You're in charge of the annual women's conference."

    Despite the surprise, I loved every minute of organizing the event. But as I interacted with our guest speaker, envy began to wind itself around my heart. If it could have spoken aloud, it would have said, "I want THAT!"

    I wanted her platform.

    I wanted her eloquence.

    I wanted her audience.

    I wanted her cute outfit.

    Fortunately, I recognized these "wants" as signs of covetousness rather than signs of my calling. I knew God had called me to be the women's ministry director during that season—not to speak. And each time I desired what that speaker had, it took my focus off what God had for me.

    So I asked God to kill the weed of envy that was choking the life from my calling to lead women. I asked Him to purify my motives and steer my heart to the women He had called me to serve.

    It's so easy for wrong motives to creep in to our hearts. You might not want to be a speaker, but maybe you're the mom who dresses her children to impress others. Or maybe you're the employee who takes charge of the room to show your boss your readiness for the next step up.

    There's nothing wrong with cute children or promotions, but so many times our motives trip us up. Instead of being pure, our motives get mixed with other things that sully the outcome—emotionalism, pride, and strong personal preferences are just a few.

    Several years after my prayer to remove my "speaker envy," God started whispering to me about speaking as I prayed and read the Word. My first reaction was to think, "There's that old, nasty envy again. God, purify my heart!"

    But this time was different. As I unpacked my motives, I realized God had really changed my heart. He'd refined my motives to just one, and that was to obey Him.

    Philippians 2:5 states our ideal position: "Your attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus" (NIV 1984). Our one motive should be to follow Him and become more like Him. That's the motive that should supersede and reign over any others. How do we practically live that out?

    I think the clue is in the following verses. "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness" (Philippians 2:6-7, NIV 1984).

    Our focus has to be on becoming nothing. Nothing is not our status or worth. We are always holy and dearly loved children of the King.

    Nothing is to be our chosen position as a servant.

    How does this look in everyday life? Jesus is our perfect example. He is everything: the Lord of lords and the King of kings. He is so incredibly powerful and important that Colossians 1:16 says "all things were created by him and for him" (NIV 1984). Despite His exalted position, Jesus showed the purity of His motives toward us by giving up all He had.

    As I've thought about how to imitate Jesus in my motives, I ask myself two questions when making choices:

    • Does this put me or others first? • Is this a choice to be more or to be nothing?

    These two questions expose any twisted motives and bring me back to my chosen position of nothing. Day by day, my motives are refined. It's a painful process sometimes, but it's a good process that ultimately produces pure motives with divine outcomes.

    Lord God, You are the only One with uncontaminated motives. I confess mine are often mixed with pride, emotion, or personal opinion. Please purify my heart. Forgive me, un-mix my motives, and help me move forward with a pure heart. Amen.

    Reflect and Respond: What decisions are you making today? Are they cluttered by impure motives like unforgiveness, fear, pride, or overwhelming emotions?

    Pray and ask God to show you any impure motives that might affect your decision-making, and then ask Him to remove the ones He shows you.

    Power Verses: Psalm 51:10, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; And renew a right spirit within me." (ASV)

    Matthew 5:8, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

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

  • God-Size Goals

    Boyd

    “Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with men is possible with God”. Luke 18:27

    God-size goals are meant to challenge our thinking and further our faith. These Holy Spirit inspired ‘big ideas’ are crafted by our Creator to spur us on to good works and transformational living. God-sized goals make us uncomfortable at times. They are not guaranteed to happen, but they position us to pray more and believe in God better.

    It is through prayerful planning and implementation that gigantic goals move from mere possibility to a more sure probability. Huge objectives are a hedge against mediocrity, and a prod toward perfection. God-sized goals are given to govern your thinking, and determine your time, so you are intentional and focused on His big picture. Otherwise, you can drift around without a rudder of reality, destined to disappointment.

    Best of all God-sized goals get you to God. It is prayer and planning with significant progress that moves you from the realm of possibility to the place of probability. In most cases it is one man or woman’s passion and focus that proves catalytic to the creation and execution of the goals. The leader looks failure in the eye and extinguishes it by faith, wisdom, and hard work, which are all wrapped around a skilled and unified team.

    Christ-centered possibilities, way outweigh man-centered probabilities. Perhaps you need to get away in solitude for several days, and ask your Savior to sear your soul with His goals. Think out of the box of small belief, for the Lord is unlimited in His abilities and resources. God-sized goals arrest your attention, adjust your attitude and accelerate your actions.

    So, prayerfully set great goals, and He will grow your character in the process, while influencing others for His glory. Trust Him to teach you the way; to show you with eyes of faith way beyond the bounds of your experience, for His plan will prevail. The Bible says, “I know you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).

    Prayer: What goal is God giving me that I need to accept by faith, and work hard towards its accomplishment?

    Related Readings: Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:17; Matthew 19:26; Ephesians 1:19-20

    Post/Tweet today: Christ-centered possibilities, way outweigh man-centered probabilities. #Godsizegoals

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved. Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Blog Summary for December 2013

    Here are some of the most popular blogs that have been read by our followers during the month of December.

    Michael Landon Jr. - Leaving a Legacy in Film

    Michael Landon Jr., son of the late television legend, Michael Landon, has been in the film

    business for over 25 years.  Educated at USC and a Directing Fellow graduate of the

    American Film Institute, he has worked in just about every capacity of the movie making process including film loader, 1st and 2nd assistant cameraman, stedicam operator, Director of Photography, apprentice film editor, production assistant, and actor.

    Read the full interview here.

     

    Phil Robertson. Father. Teacher. Theologian. Commander.

    If you have never heard of Phil Robertson or the Robertson boys, well, you must be living under a rock.  The Robertson family has taken American TV by storm, along with it the hearts of almost every person. Along with Phil, his wife Kay and their boys, the reality TV show Duck Dynasty has been a gathering place for the whole family. In other words, it's been a breath of fresh air.

    Phil Robertson was born and raised in Vivian, Louisiana, a small town near Shreveport. With seven children in his family, money was scarce and very early on, hunting became an important part of his life.

    Read the full interview here.

    Pulling No Punches - an interview with Lecrae

    From “latch-key kid” to key player in the Man Up movement, Lecrae’s life is an example of God’s transformative power – and he’s not quiet about it. In his signature straight-shoot approach, new album Gravity calls Christians to open their eyes to the weight of need in their world and share the love of Jesus as never before.

    Read the full interview here.

     

    The Storm Inside - Sheila Walsh

    The chaos of life can be overwhelming, and women seem to get a heavier dose. Each day comes with its own pressures, heartaches and disappointments that slowly erode the joy, peace and closeness to God every woman needs. Chaos always feels like the enemy as it rages around us and inside us.

    In The Storm Inside: Trade the Chaos of How You Feel for the Truth of Who You Are, bestselling author and Women of Faith speaker Sheila Walsh invites you into ten life-changing, hope-filled transformations where hurt and heartache are divinely redeemed into joy and faith.

    Read the full post here.

    Question and Answers with Nick Vujicic

    Millions around the world recognize the smiling face and inspirational message of Nick Vujicic. Despite being born without arms or legs, Nick’s challenges have not kept him from enjoying great adventures, a fulfilling and meaningful career, and loving relationships. Nick has overcome trials and hardships by focusing on the promises that he was created for a unique and specific purpose, that his life has value and is a gift to others, and that no matter the despair and hard times in life, God is always present. Nick credits his success in life to the power that is unleashed when faith takes action.

    Read the full interview here.

    A Q&A with Capital Kings

    There’s no denying much of today’s music has the power to move the masses physically. Inventive beats and hooky choruses are the currency of the day. Now enter Capital Kings, a talented duo that blends pop, electronic dance music, and rap into an intoxicating musical mix that makes audiences want to move, and yet there’s a thought-provoking, life-affirming undercurrent. Capital Kings combine style with substance and introduce flash with a foundation.

    Read the full interview here.

    Mandisa - Finding Freedom by Overcoming

    Coming off her most successful album ever, Mandisa returned to the studio to record her new album, Overcomer. Her previous album, What If We Were Real, has sold over 270,000 albums and featured the breakout radio hits “Good Morning,” “Waiting For Tomorrow,” and the #1 hit, “Stronger.” The American Idol alum and three-time Grammy nominee continues to be a voice of encouragement and truth to women facing life’s challenges. Mandisa also continues to have unprecedented media exposure for a Christian artist including two recent appearances on Good Morning America.

    I sat down with Mandisa at a local coffee shop to talk about new music, coffee vs. tea, family and what it means to be an over-comer. What follows is a real conversation. Mandisa, some would say is a true artist. She is that for sure, but she is so much more. She is a warrior in a huge battle. She is a fighter - fighting for the truth of the Gospel. That can be summed up with one statement from her, "There is joy unspeakable!"

    Read the full interview here.

    Skillet. The Rock Band That Doesn't Quit

    Skillet recently made headlines when their last album, Awake, became one of just three rock albums to be certified platinum in 2012, forming an improbable triumvirate with the Black Keys’ El Camino and Mumford & Sons’ Babel. The news that Skillet had sold more than a million albums in the U.S. came as a shock to all but the band’s wildly diverse horde of fans, male and female, young and old—known as Panheads—whose still-swelling ranks now officially number in the seven-digit range. This remarkable achievement was announced just as Skillet was putting the finishing touches on their eagerly awaited follow-up album, Rise (Atlantic/Word).

    As soon as the master was turned in to the studio to finish post production on the new album, I sat down with John Cooper

    Read the full interview here.

    Running on Empty - devotional from Suzie Eller

    We were in between moves, living out of suitcases. My husband was working in one state while I was staying in another to sell our home. I had a bad cold, and coughing had interrupted my sleep for nights. I was so tired that the rings under my eyes had rings under them.

    When my husband suggested we take time away from the packing, selling, and traveling, just to rest, I mentally listed the reasons we couldn't. How could we manage our many to-do's if we took time off?

    Read the full devotional here.

    Combating Loneliness - devotional from Samantha Evilsizer

    "My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted." Psalm 25:15-16 (ESV)

    Don't look his way, her heart and mind insist.

    She doesn't want to look. Then again, she does. Though my friend did not check the "Plus One" box on her RSVP card, she wishes she had. Why had she come to this party alone? Maybe then she wouldn't gravitate to him.

    He's reckless and destructive. My friend knows better, but he's the only one who can relate to her. Even so, she avoids eye contact, hoping to make him believe she doesn't need him anymore.

    Read the full devotional here.

    Which blog posts did you enjoy the best?

  • Look What You've Done

    What a year this has been.

    262 people traveled with us on 20 mission trips.

    29,798 child sponsorships through World Vision.

    $50,000 raised to aid an orphanage in China.

    Raised through The Haiti Challenge: $280,33 funding for the first year of construction for a neonatal and infant orphanage.

    43 adoptions through our nonprofit ministry.

    4 new widow homes built.

    8 widow homes restored.

    16 fuel efficient wood-burning stoves installed.

    33 water purifiers provided.

    114,531 Bibles donated to military members and their families.

    And we couldn’t have done it without you.

    Together, let’s accomplish even more next year!

    When you shop, you give.


    How do you put your faith in action?

  • Triggers

    Lysa

    "So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ." Ephesians 3:17-18 (NIV 1984)

    I was elated one day when the number on my scale dipped below the plateau weight I'd been stuck at for two weeks. I did a little happy dance and thought, "Finally, I'm making some real progress in this journey. It's going to be such a great day. I'm super motivated. Bring on the raw veggies. Nothing's gonna stop me now!"

    Too bad things didn't stay that way. Life can be unpredictable and includes many variables, kind of like math. I'm no math whiz, but I do remember there being these things called polynomials. Polynomials are algebraic expressions that include real numbers and variables.

    That's the way my food issues are—they contain real numbers and variables. I suspect yours do as well. And while we must pay attention to the real numbers by eating less and moving more, we would do well to consider the variables in our lives as well.

    Variables are those daily triggers we didn't account for but will detour even the best intentions. Triggers can be as large as the stab of loneliness from a broken relationship or the memory of a childhood trauma. Triggers can be as small as a discipline "chat" with a teen out past curfew or stumbling across fresh doughnuts in the office break room. They can prompt the thought, "Life will be better if I eat that."

    Triggers have nothing to do with physical hunger or the need for legitimate nourishment. They are lies we've thought so routinely they've become well-worn paths to careless eating. Life is not made better because we overindulge in an unhealthy choice.

    The best thing we can do in these triggered moments is to pause and ask ourselves, "Do I want to eat this right now because I need nourishment or because I'm feeling empty emotionally or spiritually?"

    If I need nourishment, I can choose a healthy option. If I'm just feeling empty, I must realize food can fill my stomach but never my soul.

    The only way to negate an emotional eating trigger is to match it with truth. The truth is this: "I'm not physically hungry right now, but I need to be filled in another way."

    The Bible tells us that we can be rooted in love, not emptiness; that we have power to choose truth; and that as we comprehend the love of Christ, we will be filled to the measure of all the fullness—not of that brownie—but of God. Let's look at Ephesians 3:17-18 together: "So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ" (Ephesians 3:17-18 NIV 1984).

    Here's the great thing about truth: it contains no variables! Truth is stable, secure and a surefire way to get me through the unpredictable moments of life.

    Take time to pause and use God's truths to challenge your triggers. And, when you're truly physically hungry, that pause will give you the moment you need to choose a healthy snack. Then you will be truly full.

    Dear Lord, please help me to battle each of my triggers today with truth. Your truth. Moment by moment. I understand that food can fill my stomach but never my soul. Only You can fill my soul, and I am thankful for that. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond: This week write down what triggers determine an unhealthy pattern with your eating habits.

    Pause and use God's truths to challenge those triggers.

    Power Verse: Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Giant Opportunities

    Boyd

    “The Lord said to Moses, "Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites… Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it." But the men who had gone up with him said, "We can't attack those people; they are stronger than we are." Numbers 13:1a, 30-31

    As we face life, we can be overwhelmed by its giant obstacles, or be inspired by its giant opportunities. Challenges and uncertainty tend to corrode our confidence. It is in the face of the unknown that we can move forward by faith, or backward in disbelief. What giant obstacles are you facing? How can your obstacles be converted into opportunities? Obstacles are stepping stones for obedient feet to follow.

    Therefore, with aggressive patience, stay focused and you will eventually see some obstacles dissolve, and others transformed into treasures. Maybe a financial giant is looming large as an intimidating obstacle. If so, stay true to your integrity by not selectively suspending your core values for much needed results. Instead, remain faithful to wise stewardship and honesty, and the right results will follow at the right time. Trust God to use scary giants for His glory.

    God orchestrates giant opportunities for His greater good. He told Moses that He was giving His children the promised land; all they had to do was show up and receive His gift. Giant opportunities do require faith, planning, perseverance and hard work, as the reward of obedience and trust in the Lord is enough. So how are you facing the giants in your life; as obstacles or opportunities?

    Leaders look and pray for opportunities, and then explore them with energy and enthusiasm. Your relentless leadership inspires your family, friends and work associates to remain faithful and not freak out. Therefore, take the land of opportunity the Lord has given you. Difficult days and economic challenges are greater opportunities for God to get the glory. So be aggressive, increase your efforts, pound heaven in prayer and by faith receive what your Savior Jesus has already given you. Go after the giant opportunities with gusto and by grace.

    The Bible says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, NASB).

    Prayer: What giant obstacle can I trust God with to become an opportunity?

    Related Readings: Joshua 14:6-8; Isaiah 41:10-16; Romans 8:31-37; Hebrews 11:33

    Post/Tweet today: It is in the face of the unknown that we can move forward by faith, or backward in disbelief. #giantopportunities

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved. Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

  • My New Year's Offering

    Wendy

    "Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering." Romans 12:1a (The Message)

    Happy New Year!

    During this first week of January, many of us will begin anew. New diets and exercise regiments. New Bible studies and reading plans. New organization and time management routines.

    We'll commit to break bad habits, restore broken relationships, and be "better" people.

    We call these New Year's resolutions. I confess. I've made more than my fair share of these in the last 25 years.

    But most, like me, soon forget our good-intended resolutions. We mean well. But life gets busy. We return to our old habits. To that which is comfortable and doesn't require so much sacrifice.

    I want something better. Something new.

    What about you?

    Will you join me in doing a new thing this year?

    Let's begin the very best place we can ... God's Word. Romans 12:1-2 says,

    "So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering ... Fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it ... God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." (The Message)

    Using this passage, let's write a New Year's Prayer. But not just any prayer. Reread Romans 12:1. There is a powerful little word tucked in that first sentence. Paul tells us to take our lives and place them before God as an offering.

    Together, let's make a New Year's offering.

    We can make all the resolutions we want, but we can't change ourselves. But when we willingly offer our lives to God, He will change us. The NIV translation of Romans 12:2 says, "...be transformed by the renewing of your mind." The renewing of our mind requires inward change and comes from God at work in us. It requires diligence on our part. It requires changing our thoughts, our priorities, and goals to be aligned with those of Christ.

    It's baby steps. And it doesn't require changing everything all at once.

    Let's begin today with our first step ... a simple prayer, offering our hearts to God.

    How do we do this?

    We're going to write a prayer together. I'll start. You finish.

    Heavenly Father, I praise You this day as Elohim, God my Creator. You are the Author of my life. You are the Strength of my heart and my Portion forever. You are all I need. My heart's desire in this New Year is to grow closer to You. In knowing You better, I will know myself more because my identity is found in You.

    I want to become a woman after Your own heart. God, I ask You to help me each day carve out time to spend with You. Give me eyes to see, ears to hear, a heart to receive, and a mind to understand all that You will teach me. Make my heart tender to hear Your voice each time I meet with You.

    Take Your Word and penetrate my heart. Create a hunger deep inside my soul for more and more of You. May nothing else satisfy me more than You.

    Give me a heart of humility. If there is anything in me that keeps me from hearing You, reveal it to me. Convict me. Move me to confession. Cleanse my heart and renew a right spirit within me so I can be in perfect fellowship with You.

    Fill my heart with Your truth. Plant it deep so that it takes root. Move me. Change me. Transform me. Empower me to live out what I hear and learn.

    Every day of this New Year, make my life one long walk of obedience in response to Your Word and Your Holy Spirit Who lives and reigns in me. Let Your love and Your Word shape my life. This is my prayer offering. I ask this in Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Now let's commit together to pray our prayer throughout the year ... asking God to change us from the inside out ... in baby steps.

    Reflect and Respond: Read through Romans 12:1-2. Take some time in the next few days to make this New Year's prayer offering your own. After you've written it, tuck it in your Bible or journal and commit to pray it each day.

    Power Verses: Psalm 51:17, "The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God." (NLT)

    © 2014 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

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