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Family Christian

  • An Unhurried Holiday

    Posted on December 10, 2012 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger." Luke 2:16 (NIV)

    "Hurry up! We're going to be late to the choir concert!"

    "Come on kids. Help me unload these groceries right now. I've got to get these cookies baked before bedtime."

    "Is it 6 a.m. already? I gotta get to that door buster sale as soon as it opens so I don't miss out on the deals!"

    With the holiday season upon us, the music at the mall announces that folks are dreaming of a white Christmas. That may be true. But in reality, many women are dreaming of something else white: a little more white space on our December calendars!

    Pageants. Parties. Shopping trips. Baking days. Wrapping nights. At every turn there are people to see, things to do, stuff to buy. The hustle and bustle of this supposed-to-be-happy season can knock the holly-jolly right out of our holidays and replace it with hurried-up headaches instead.

    As a result, our calendars become overloaded, crowding out the spiritual significance of the season.

    I wonder if the participants in the original Christmas story ever dreamed that the celebration of Christ's birth would become so hassled and hurried. The shepherds? The angels? The wise men? Mary and Joseph too?

    Was hurriedness present the night Jesus was born? We might think that it was not. But actually, there was hurry present that night. However, it wasn't to the mall or grocery store that people were rushing.

    The shepherds were working in the fields when suddenly an ensemble of angels told them the Christ Child had been born. Luke 2:16 says they hurried off to find Him lying in a manger.

    If I had been one of those shepherds, I would have been quiet and amazed once I got there. Being around a newborn baby makes me speak in a hushed tone and feel such awe as I see new life. In the presence of Jesus I wonder if those men too were settled and silent.

    Maybe we could do the same today. In the midst of our holiday hustle and tasks, we could stop; leave our work. We could slow down long enough to hurry in another direction. We could put our activities on hold so we might quietly meet with our Lord. We could be settled and silent in the presence of Jesus.

    As a result we just might discover an unhurried holiday: a season that will strengthen us spiritually instead of sapping our energy and joy.

    How about it? Will we pause and purpose to hurry into His presence instead of rushing from task to task? Dare we linger long enough to be refreshed by the company of the One whom the holiday is really about? The tasks will wait while we do.

    Here's to more "white space" this Christmas; space that creates more room in our days for meeting with Jesus!

    Dear Lord, remind me daily that it's You I should rush to during the holiday hustle. Not things. Not activities. I want to seek and find only You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    LET. IT. GO.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith by Karen Ehman

    Reflect and Respond:
    What activities and responsibilities threaten to make you rushed and stressed at the holidays?

    Pull away from the holiday hustle and spend time with Jesus.

    Power Verses:
    Luke 2:15, "When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.'" (NIV)

    Proverbs 8:17, "I love those who love me, and those who search for me find me." (HCSB)

    © 2012 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Luke, Holiday

  • Foolish Denial

    Posted on December 9, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good. Psalm 53:1

     

    Fools foolishly deny God. Denial of Deity is the default of the degenerate. It is an excuse for loose living without the Lord. It is the rejection of righteousness. It is their hope that there is no God. Somehow, godless belief justifies godless behavior. Denial of God is a pushback against His principles. To deny God is to deny His law. Denial of God’s laws leads to moral and ethical anarchy. There is no stability in a society where everyone does what is right in his or her own eyes (Judges 21:25). Atheism is an excuse to do our own thing. There is no new atheism. It is all old and foolish. It is corrupt in the eyes of Christ. 

    Corrupt is how God describes those who deny Him; corrupt and vile. These are not just nice people who have lost their way. They shake their faithless fist in the face of God and demand that He disappear. This is what they did to Jesus. He came claiming to be the Christ. He was the Messiah for the salvation of mankind. But some men did not want God. They were gods unto themselves. So they paid Jesus back evil for good. They also made fun of the men and women who, by faith, followed Him. Some were so offended by His teachings that they ran Him out of town. He taught submission to God’s authority over their list of man-made rules. He made the undercover atheists irate because He rivaled their authority and power. So they attempted to kill God. But Christ’s crucifixion drove the final nail into the coffin of their nihilism. After three days He came alive. God is not dead. It’s ironic that corruption tries to kill others, but winds up wounding itself.

    As a follower of Jesus, you may feel the pressure from outside forces to deny Him. There is no need to go there. Do not allow the persuasion of unprincipled people to force you into a faithless box. Atheism is for the uninformed How can someone deny the existence of God when his or her understanding of all knowledge is relatively minimal? An atheist can only say in their heart, while Christians can know in their heart. We know because the evidence for God is overwhelming. We know because we have experienced God. We know because we know Him. Like Paul we are persuaded to remain faithful because of God’s faithfulness (2 Timothy 1:12 KJV). Belief in the absence of God is foolish. It is the opiate of the uninformed. Belief in God is wisdom. It is what makes sense out of life.

    So be there for those when they finally figure out that atheism is not working for them. It may be a crisis that turns them to Christ. It may be in a respected relationship that they begin to see authentic faith lived out and they desire the same. It may be reading the Holy Scriptures and mining out mounds of Gospel gold that point them to their heavenly Father. Pray for the Holy Spirit to penetrate the deceived heart of an atheist. God wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). The reality of God shines through you and melts away their denial. Your faith is a reality check for fools. Wisdom is the way to God. Spirit-filled Christians are a compelling case for Christianity. You are an attractive advocate for Almighty God. Therefore, love atheists to the Lord.

    Taken from Reading #39 in the 90-day devotional book, “Seeking God in the Psalms”... http:// bit.ly/InvUdR

    Post/Tweet this today: An atheist can only say in their heart there is no God, while Christians can know in their heart there is God. #assurance

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Psalm, 1 Timothy, Foolishness, Judges

  • Pray About That

    Posted on December 8, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Pray that the LORD your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do” (Jeremiah 42:3).

     

    There is wisdom in praying about “that,” whatever “that” may mean. It may mean waiting on marriage because one parent has yet to bless the engagement. “That” could represent a check in your spirit over a business deal or an additional financial obligation. Praying about “that” is the Lord’s way to protect, preserve, and provide for His children.

    What are you currently facing that needs your prayerful attention? Perhaps it is a career transition—pray about that, consider changing churches—pray about that, tempted to quit school—pray about that, or weigh an opportunity to volunteer—pray about that. Prayerfully ask, “What does the Lord want for my life and what is best for His kingdom?” 

    “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:12–13).

    It is in the discipline of waiting that we discern the best course of action. Consider cloistering yourself with Christ for twenty-four hours just to listen and learn. It is rare that prayer is a waste of time; indeed, it saves time. When you pray about “that,” you allow the Holy Spirit to tap on the brakes of your busy life. Slow down and listen to Him.

    Prayer positions you to be productive in the ways of God. Abraham’s senior servant experienced this. “Then he prayed, ‘LORD, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham’” (Genesis 24:12).

    When you, your family, your church, your company, or your ministry prays about “that,” you receive liability insurance for your life from the Lord. Where He leads, He commits to provide. Where He reroutes, He creates the necessary resources. Where He shuts doors, He opens another with greater kingdom possibilities. So pray about that knot in your stomach, and watch Him free you in effective service for your Savior Jesus.

    “Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man” (Nehemiah 1:11).

    Prayer: What am I facing that needs my patient prayers? Whom can I engage to pray with me?

    Related Readings: Ezra 8:23; Daniel 9:20; Luke 22:40–46; Acts 4:23–31

    Taken from the December 9th reading in the new 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God” vol. 2... http://bit.ly/Tv6y9a

    Post/Tweet: Prayer positions you to be productive in the ways of God. #prayer

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • Walk in Wisdom

    Posted on December 7, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16 NKJV

     

    The wise walk with a humble posture always learning from their Lord Jesus. They avoid a proud, protruding chest that leads to fits of folly. A wise walk is circumspect of its motives, seeking to remain prayerful and pure. Wisdom requires a regular audit of its actions so gullible assumptions and arrogant attitudes are kept at bay. Evil is on the prowl to produce fools who impatiently ignore wisdom for immediate emotional gratification. 

    Our walk in wisdom is meant to be steady and sure. Yet, there will be times we take two steps forward by faith and one step back to readjust from a reality check. Yes, a wisdom walk is not without temporary detours from human frailty, as we learn and grow. But, humility and a heart of obedience bring us back to the wise route. We walk wisely when we keep our eyes focused ahead on Jesus. He is our wisdom and He gives us wisdom.

    “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God— that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” 1 Corinthians 1:30

    Your walk in wisdom contributes to a wise stewardship of time. Fools waste time, but the wise redeem time. Literally, foolishness goes into debt to pay back squandered days, while wisdom is credited with time to spare. For example, by God’s grace you take time with your young children to instruct them in the ways of God, so in the long run you save time by reaping the benefits of your adult child’s wise decisions. Invested wisdom compounds.

    Yes, because you live in the last days, there is no time to frolic with fools. Be intentional to walk with the wise and invest wisdom in emerging faithful leaders. Your wisdom is an asset from Almighty God given for you to grow and give away. You manage wisdom best when your pride decreases and your humility increases. So, humbly walk in wisdom!

    “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” James 3:13

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow me in humility as I walk in Your wisdom.

    Related Readings: Proverbs 13:20; Hosea 14:9; 1 Corinthians 1:24; Ephesians 1:17

    Post/Tweet today: Fools go into debt to pay back squandered days, while wisdom is credited with time to spare. #wisdom

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • Love Rest

    Posted on December 7, 2012 by Amy Carroll

    Amy Carroll

    "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love." John 15:9 (NIV)

    I read books about it. I listened to sermons about it. I wrote about it. I sang about it. I thought about it. I was completely immersed. So why couldn't I get it?

    God loves me.

    It's a simple truth. How could a 44-year-old woman who has loved Jesus since she was 10 not feel loved by God?

    Deep down I was going through the motions of believing ... hoping ... but truthfully, I had fallen into the mindset of working for God's love and acceptance. I could have given a theological dissertation on grace and salvation by faith, but my perfectionistic, I'll-do-it-myself attitude blocked a full, heart-changing understanding.

    One day I blurted out to a dear friend and mentor, "Why can't I feel the love of God? I'm working so hard!"

    She let the silence sit before a big grin spread across her face. "Did you hear yourself?" she asked.

    "You can't work to know the love of God. You need to rest in the love of God." Then she encouraged me to relax and pray, asking God to reveal His love to me in a deep, transforming way.

    Several months later, still in the midst of my wrestling match to understand God's lavish love, my eyes drank in the site of a bent and wrinkled woman wearing a bridal veil and carrying a tattered bouquet of silk flowers as she hobbled down an aisle of women. I was in Kolkata, India, helping with a mock wedding at a women's conference. Although the atmosphere and the message on being Jesus' bride was largely celebratory, tears streamed down the old woman's face.

    The scene gripped my heart. Here was an elderly woman who, because of the fear and superstition of her native religion, missed the love of God most of her life. He, however, had loved, drawn, and wooed her heart. She had resisted until the onset of sickness and the pronouncement of her numbered days spurred her to abandon everything to take hold of His love.

    As she walked feebly down that aisle, His love healed her of a lifetime of hurts and made her radiant and strong, despite her fragile frame.

    As I watched her weep, something broke inside me. I found myself kneeling on the cold, concrete floor sobbing.

    In John 15:9, Jesus tells His followers, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love."

    Growing up, I learned of His love every day as my mother and father watched me mature from an infant to an awkward teenager. But I didn't stay and rest in His limitless love that had surrounded me from birth to adulthood.

    I had walked into a place of self-sufficiency that left me with a weary hollowness that only God's presence and love could fill.

    Seeing an impoverished, old woman who had little left to give to God be fully encompassed in His love illuminated truth like a piercing ray of sunshine through a foggy morning.

    It's a simple truth. He loves me, not because I have anything to give Him, but simply because I'm His. God doesn't call me to manufacture a feeling but simply to rest in His love and remain it.

    He loves you too. Limitlessly. Profoundly. Lavishly. Relax, rest and bask in His love today.

    Dear Lord, Your very nature is love. You surround me and fill me with it just because of who You are. Help me to rest and remain in Your love instead of walking in the exhaustion of my own efforts. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Crazy Love by Francis Chan

    Reflect and Respond:
    What makes you feel loved? Reflect and journal about times that God has revealed His love for you in these ways.

    Pray and ask God to help you remember evidences of His love and to see new ones today. Relax and watch.

    Power Verse:
    Jeremiah 31:3, "The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: 'I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.'" (NIV 1984)

    © 2012 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with John, Amy Carroll, Love

  • Walk in Love

    Posted on December 6, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:2

     

    A walk in love is a walk that imitates Christ’s love. It is a journey with Jesus that stops and stoops down to assist those who have fallen into a ditch of discouragement and despair. It is a stroll with our Savior that seeks out sinners—not in condemnation, but in compassion and forgiveness. A walk in love looks for ways to bless without expecting anything in return. Like Jesus love still loves as it walks through difficulty, even death. 

    Our walk of love looks out for the poor, the widow, the orphan, the single parent, the sick and the sinner who is far from God. We are compelled by Christ to love the lowly and the outcasts of society, because we were once enemies of God in desperate need of love. We can now sing from the depths of our hearts, “Love lifted me, love lifted me!” We were stuck in sin’s pit and love lifted us up to love. Love elevates us to offer grateful love to all.

    “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

    Who do you know who needs a loving word or kind deed? Perhaps you anonymously assist in the yard work or home repair of a single parent or widow in your neighborhood. Love may lead you to quietly pay for the school tuition of a friend’s child who can’t afford to further their education. Pray for ways to creatively use your relationships and resources to bring hope and solutions to other struggling souls. Love is intentional.

    Above all, lean into the Lord’s love as the source of your service and love. Check your motivation and make sure it is for your Master’s glory and from the Spirit’s power. Do people smell your life as a perfume of praise to Jesus? Are you a pleasant aroma of grace and forgiveness? The deeper you develop your love relationship with Christ, the deeper and wider you will love others. Walk in love as a witness to your radical love for God!

    “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, love me deeply so I can love others deeper.

    Related Readings: Leviticus 19:18; Psalm 21:7; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Peter 1:22

    Post/Tweet today: The Lord’s love lifts us up to lift up others in love. #love

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • 2012 Grammy Nominations

    Posted on December 6, 2012 by Family Christian

    It's that time of year again - Grammytime.

    Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance
    Jesus, Friend Of Sinners
    Casting Crowns
    Track from: Come To The Well
    [Beach Street/Reunion Records]
    Take Me To The King
    Tamela Mann
    [Tillymann Music Group]
    Go Get It
    Mary Mary
    [Columbia Records]
    10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)
    Matt Redman
    Track from: 10,000 Reasons
    [sixstepsrecords/Sparrow Records]
    My Testimony
    Marvin Sapp
    Track from: I Win
    [Verity Gospel Music Group]

     

    Best Gospel Song
    Go Get It
    Erica Campbell, Tina Campbell & Warryn Campbell, songwriters (Mary Mary)
    [Columbia; Publishers: EMI April Music, It's Tea Tyme, That's Plum Song, Wet Ink Red Music]
    Hold On
    Cheryl Fortune, James Fortune & Terence Vaughn, songwriters (James Fortune &

    FIYA, Monica & Fred Hammond)
    Track from: Identity
    [Light Records/eOne Music]
    I Feel Good
    Phillip Feaster, Fred Hammond, Jonathan Miller & Calvin Rodgers, songwriters
    (Fred Hammond)
    Track from: God, Love & Romance
    [Verity Gospel Music Group; Publishers: fHammond Music/Bridge Bldg Music/CJMS Music/Music Feast Productions/Jonathan Miller Publishing]
    My Testimony
    Aaron Lindsey & Marvin Sapp, songwriters (Marvin Sapp)
    Track from: I Win
    [Verity Gospel Music Group; Publishers: Universal Music-Brentwood Benson Songs/Marvin L. Sapp Music/Ardent Media]
    Released
    Donald Lawrence, songwriter (Bill Winston & Living Word Featuring Donald

    Lawrence)
    [Source Media; Publisher: Quiet Water Ent.]

     

    Best Contemporary Christian Music Song
    Jesus, Friend Of Sinners
    Mark Hall & Matthew West, songwriters (Casting Crowns)
    Track from: Come To The Well
    [Beach Street/Reunion Records]
    10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)
    Jonas Myrin & Matt Redman, songwriters (Matt Redman)
    Track from: 10,000 Reasons
    [sixstepsrecords/Sparrow Records; Publishers: Thankyou Music/sixsteps Music/worshiptogether.com Songs/Said And Done Music/Shout! Publishing]
    When Mercy Found Me
    Jeff Pardo & Rhett Walker, songwriters (Rhett Walker Band)
    Track from: Come To The River
    [Essential Records; Publishers: Sony ATV Music, Ships In A Bottle/Simple Tense Songs]
    White Flag
    Jason Ingram, Matt Maher, Matt Redman & Chris Tomlin, songwriters (Passion &
    Chris Tomlin)
    Track from: White Flag
    [sixstepsrecords/Sparrow Records; Publishers: sixsteps Music/worshiptogether.com Songs/Vamos Publishing/Said And Done Music/Valley of the Songs Music/Sony ATV Timber Publishing/West Main Music/Windsor Hill Music/Thankyou Music]
    Your Presence Is Heaven
    Israel Houghton & Micah Massey, songwriters (Israel & New Breed)
    Track from: Jesus At The Center Live
    [Integrity Music; Publishers: Integrity's Praise! Music/Sound of the New Breed, Regenerate Music]

     

    Best Gospel Album
    Identity
    James Fortune & FIYA
    [Light Records/eOne Music]
    Jesus At The Center Live
    Israel & New Breed
    [Integrity Music]
    Gravity
    Lecrae
    [Reach Records]
    I Win
    Marvin Sapp
    [Verity Gospel Music Group]
    Worship Soul
    Anita Wilson
    [EMI Gospel]

     

    Best Contemporary Christian Music Album
    Come To The Well
    Casting Crowns
    [Beach Street/Reunion Records]
    Where I Find You
    Kari Jobe
    [Sparrow Records]
    Gold
    Britt Nicole
    [Sparrow Records]
    Eye On It
    TobyMac
    [ForeFront Records]
    Into The Light
    Matthew West
    [Sparrow Records]

    This post was posted in Music and was tagged with Marvin Sapp, TobyMac, Lecrae, Chris Tomlin, Britt Nicole, Matthew West, Kari Jobe, Matt Redman, Casting Crowns, Grammy, Tamela Mann, Mary Mary, Fred Hammond, Donald Lawrence, Rhett Walker Band, Israel Houghton, James Fortune, Anita Wilson

  • Why I'm Breaking Up with My "Quiet Time"

    Posted on December 6, 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa Terkeurst

    "You, God, are my God; earnestly I seek You; I thirst for You, my whole being longs for You, in a dry and parched land where there is no water." Psalm 63:1 (NIV)

    I'm taking a break from having a quiet time. Because sometimes I can get in a rut. Even with good things. And having a daily quiet time is a good thing. Until it becomes more about routine than actually connecting with God.

    When God becomes routine rather than revival, it's time to switch things up.

    Otherwise, I might start seeing this time as less important. It becomes the second or third thing I do. After other things. Seemingly more pressing things. Before I know it, it's been days since I connected privately and personally with Truth.

    And then my soul feels a bit off and sluggish. Like when my stomach has been denied food, a desperation starts creeping over other parts of my body. That happens with soul hunger too.

    Only the triggers for stomach hunger are much more apparent. My brain quickly reminds me, "You feel awful because you need to eat."

    Sometimes my brain isn't as quick to pick up on soul hunger. So I just lumber forward but wonder, "What's wrong?" I think of a list of reasons ... I'm tired, I haven't had enough fun, or my butt looks big in these jeans.

    And while some of those things may be true—it's not why I feel off.

    I need more time with God.

    Not more quiet time.

    More listening time. Like the writer in Psalm 63:1 needed. "You, God, are my God; earnestly I seek You; I thirst for You, my whole being longs for You, in a dry and parched land where there is no water." (NIV)

    This morning as I sat with God with nothing but willingness to listen, three things popped into my mind. I can't say "God spoke to me" but it felt right. I need to do some new things as I listen.

    Study wisdom by reading a chapter in Proverbs everyday.
    Ask God to reveal "my verse" for the day and think of ways to apply it. I listen.

    Read something from someone I admire.
    I need to study leadership in this season of my life. So I pick up a book written on this topic by someone I admire and glean from their wisdom. I listen.

    Read something from someone I trust.
    There's a book I'm reading right now that is whimsical and grounded all at the same time. It makes me feel like this writer gets me. They get my struggles and offer up advice I know I can trust. I listen.

    Maybe you think all this still sounds like a quiet time, but to me it's different. It's a listening time. A time to shake things up a bit and get outside my normal routine. A time to listen to God speak. And He does speak ... through His book of wisdom, through someone I admire, and through someone I trust.

    And this morning? My soul felt that thrilling and comforting full feeling. Complete. Satisfied. Deeply nourished.

    Dear Lord, I'm seeking to grow a stronger relationship with You today. Help me to break out of the routine so that I can connect with You and hear You speak. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    It's important to exchange whispers with God before shouts with the world.

    In Lysa TerKeurst's New York Times bestselling book, Unglued, she shares practical ways of spending time with the Lord.

    In the midst of the holiday season, take time to gather with a few trusted girlfriends who get your struggles and study Unglued together. Click here for more information on the Unglued Bible Study bundle.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What do you need to break up with so you can connect more closely and listen more intently to God?

    Write a list of things that you are placing as priorities before your time with God. Consider how you can prioritize so that God comes first, and to make sure that your time with Him isn't just another thing on your "to do" list.

    Power Verses:
    Jeremiah 29:13, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (NIV)

    2 Chronicles 7:14, "... if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Psalm, Lysa TerKeurst

  • Walk Against Culture

    Posted on December 5, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind.” Ephesians 4:17 NKJV

     

    Followers of Jesus are called to walk against the grain of a Godless culture. Indeed, Christian character is meant to be like a thermostat influencing the spiritual temperature of culture, unlike a thermometer that merely measures the degrees of decadence. Prayerful pursuits are probably not a path of least resistance or conflict free efforts. A walk of intimacy with Jesus and ethical behavior invite push back from culture.

    Our goal is not to create controversy, but to be peacemakers who win over accusers with counter-cultural kindness. However, there are those who may never change, who are quick to categorize our values as narrow, intolerant and insensitive. These skeptical souls need our grace during disagreements and our forgiveness over fractured relationships. Do you have a family situation that requires you to take the high road of restoration?

    “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

    Furthermore, your ultimate opponent is Satan and his menacing demons of deception, distraction and discouragement. You are engaged in a spiritual battle in the heavenly realms that is only overcome by the blood of Christ and His testimony on your behalf. In prayer you boldly confess the blood of Jesus as your salvation and security. A cultural canopy of darkness is lifted by the Lord’s loving light. So, walk empowered by the Spirit.

    Yes, be in the world but not of the world. Be attractively different without being repulsively weird. Your walk against the culture is a mission of mercy that requires perseverance and prayer. Some who dismiss you now will one day search you out in their season of suffering. Culture needs the calm of Christ delivered by your winsome walk with Him. Without apology, model acceptance while risking rejection. Walk wisely.

    “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to walk against the culture as a loving light for You.

    Related Readings: 2 Kings 6:16; John 16:33; Romans 8:31; Ephesians 2:2

    Post/Tweet today: Some who dismiss you now, will one day search you out in their season of suffering. #persevere

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Ephesians, 1 John, Culture

  • Battle in the Night

    Posted on December 5, 2012 by Lynn Cowell

    Lynn Cowell

    "By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me - a prayer to the God of my life." Psalm 42:8 (NIV)

    How could this have happened? What could I have done to stop it? One of my kids had made a decision that sent my emotions into a tailspin.

    Another sleepless night was upon me; my mind wouldn't shut off. I had done so well during the day, trying to focus my heart and mind on God's promise to make all things work together for good. But as day faded into night, the struggle to trust became more than I could take.

    Many nights as I lie in bed, my mind pulls me into a spiral, tempting me to focus on my troubles. It's then and there that the battle is the most intense. A war is waged between my faith and my fears.

    What if my loved one never knows Jesus?
    Will my kids make the right choices with their peers?
    What can I do for my friend who struggles with cancer?

    Even though my body is still, the battles rage in my heart and mind.

    Do you ever struggle in the quiet of the night? Maybe you have thoughts like: Nobody else has troubles. Other people are just enjoying their lives. Why is mine so hard? The battles we face are real, and rob us of sleep and joy.

    We can take a cue from King David's words in Psalm 42:8. During the day he allowed the Lord's love to direct him. Knowing he was loved gave him the strength to make the hard choices that were the best choices.

    At night he put away all the words and hard thinking and just praised God.

    Might we give David's ways a try and do the same? When the lights are turned out, we can choose a song of praise, arming ourselves with truth and worship for the only One who can carry and fix our troubles. When our minds try to take a turn and go around that problem one more time, let's make the choice to stop and sing (even if only in our heads).

    I gave this a try the other night while stewing over my worries. It reminded me of a sign my mom has in her home. "Give me all your troubles before you go to bed. I'm going to be up anyway." — God.

    Right now, let's pick a song we'll sing at night when trouble comes knocking and worry wants to run rampant in our heart and mind. Make your prayer a song to God and choose a song of praise to sing to Him all day long - from sunrise to late in the evening. Watch your heart go from fear to faith as you trust in the Lord.

    Dear Lord, I feel stronger in the day than in the night. Bring to mind a song of praise I can sing that will lift my heart and cause me to trust in You, morning and night. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Write Psalm 42:8 on an index card. Put it next to your bed to remind you to look to Him as you go to sleep.

    When the lights are turned off, we can choose a song of praise, arming ourselves with truth and worship for the only One who can carry and fix our troubles. When our mind tries to take a turn and go around that problem one more time, we can choose to stop and sing our song of praise.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 94:18-19, "When I said, 'My foot is slipping,' your unfailing love, LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy." (NIV)

    Exodus 15:2, "The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him." (NIV 1984)

    © 2012 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Psalm, Lynn Cowell

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