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  • Birth, Behavior or Bloodline

    Posted on May 27, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called 'uncircumcised' by those who call themselves 'the circumcision' (which is done in the body by human hands)—remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ." Ephesians 2:11-13 (NIV)

    Some days I'm pleased with who I am. Some days I've really got it together. I start the day with some quiet time with just me and God. Normal morning hassles getting three kids ready don't bother me. Throughout the day I'm confident in my decisions and abilities.

    Other days I exhaust and frustrate myself, especially when I'm not quite so pleasant. Annoyance starts with the first step out of bed if I've overslept, or woken up too early thinking about all I have to do. Graciousness evaporates as I allow life's demands to dictate my mood. Insecurities prompt defensiveness. Doubt overshadows faith.

    One day I'm smiling and kind; the next day I'm scowling and grouchy. So which is the real me?

    We can all struggle with wondering who we really are, especially when we fall short of who we really want to be. And when the answer seems to be different day-by-day, it's easy to give up even trying to change ... to be a better person.

    To settle this question, I've had to dig deep. For I believe God wants me to know the answer. Knowing who I really am in God's eyes is a game changer. It changes my motivations, which changes my goals and inspires me to be consistent in who I am and how I act. God's truth about my identity serves as a filter for the world's lies and the judgment of others. It protects my heart from damage.

    So where do we find this definition?

    Are we defined by our birth? Are we who our parents are? Do their professional and personal successes or failures define us? Does it matter where we are born or to whom? Two of my children were born in an African war zone. Is that who they are?

    Or are we defined by our behavior? For years I defined myself by achieving success and accomplishing tasks. The more checks to the left of the items on my to-do list, the better I felt.

    There's a problem with both of these definitions. The first is out of my control. I have no say about where I was born or to whom. And it can give me a false sense of entitlement or discouragement. The second is undependable at best. Sometimes circumstances are out of control too. And even when my behavior is in my control, I can react from my human yuck-filled side.

    Thankfully, there is another way to define ourselves. It's found in our bloodline as a child of God. A lineage that was bought for us through the death of Jesus as Ephesians 2 tells us. "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ."

    His sacrifice defines who we really are: Loved. Chosen. Treasured. Ransomed. Forgiven. Worth it. When I accept and believe these definitions for myself, I'm inspired to change. I believe it's possible.

    Thankfully, we didn't have to be born in the "right" place, or behave "just so" to get this new identity. It's not based on our checkbook, scale or what our friends think of us. We receive it when we accept Christ as our Savior.

    Birth, behavior or bloodline? I know which one truly defines me. Do you?

    Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to die for me, so that our relationship could be reconciled. Help me to remember that it's in Your bloodline that I find my true identify. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Follow us on Pinterest for inspiring images. Click here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    How would you act differently if your identity were found in Jesus' bloodline? If you truly knew you are loved, chosen, accepted?

    Power Verses:
    1 Timothy 2:5-6a, "For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people." (NIV)

    Romans 3:23-25a, "... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Remain True

    Posted on May 26, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    When he [Barnabas] arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.    Acts 11:23

     

    Remain true to the Lord, for He has remained true to you. Remain true because the grace of God compels you to. Remain true, for He knows what is best for you; remain true because you know it is the right thing to do; remain true while others encourage you; remain true because your obedience encourages others; remain true with all your heart so that the Kingdom of God advances aggressively for His glory. It is easy to sign up as a Jesus follower, but follow through requires faithfulness, so remain true to your commitment to Christ. It does matter that you follow through for Him. It matters to Him, to you, to your family, and to your credibility. It matters to those you have encouraged, those you are encouraging, and those you will encourage. It matters that you remain true.

     

    Satan will try to suppress your commitment by his limited power of disease, discouragement, and discontentment. He wants you to forget God’s faithfulness and fall into his trap of temptation. He wants you to walk away from your family and follow your own selfish desires. He wants you to think you are an exception to the rule of law and accountability. He will feed your pride until you starve humility into non-existence. Jesus said, “I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me…” (Revelation 2:13a). The hand of the Lord is on those who remain true with all their hearts. However, He moves on from those who drift into hypocritical behaviors of pretending one thing and doing another. Begin by exposing any unauthentic living, and seek to reconnect with Christ and others.

     

    The grace of God creates an environment of encouragement. You can encourage others to remain true because God’s grace has been extended to you. Grace encourages faithfulness. Grace realizes there is room for mistakes but still offers opportunities to remain true. Failure and faith can coexist. Encouragers engage others on a heartfelt level. You have the opportunity to come alongside husbands and wives, friends and relatives, new and mature Christians. You can encourage them to remain true to the Lord and to each other. Encouragement extends hope rooted in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Your eternally based encouragement is not sentimental or shallow. It is a heavenly hope evidenced by answered prayer.

     

    You encourage others exponentially when you petition Christ on their behalf. Cry out to your heavenly Father and ask that He keep your teenagers true to Him. Pray for your friend’s body to be healed by the hand of God; pray for married couples to learn how to love and respect each other under the influence of the Holy Spirit; pray for your Pastor to remain true to his calling and to the One who extended his call; pray for opportunities to pray with those you are encouraging. Prayer is without exhaustion in its encouragement. Above all else, receive encouragement from the Lord and others to remain true. Then simultaneously and spontaneously extend encouragement to others to remain true with all their hearts. Remain true because there is no limit to what the Lord can do. Giving up is not for you.

     

    Post/Tweet: The hand of the Lord is on those who remain true with all their hearts. #remaintrue

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Trust Enough

    Posted on May 25, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them’” (Numbers 20:12).

     

    A mature and robust trust in God can open the door of opportunity, while a flippant, immature, or irreverent trust can slam shut the door of opportunity. I have to ask myself an honest question: “Do I trust God with my whole heart or only when it is convenient?” There is such a thing as not trusting in God enough to honor Him as holy. How can I make sure I trust in God enough? I can say I trust God, but do I really mean it?

     

    Do I, deep in my heart of hearts, trust Him? Do I really trust Him with my job, my boyfriend or girlfriend, my future, my health, and my finances? If my trust is contingent on how I think things should go, then I really do not trust God. My trust has to be unconditional, good or bad, pretty or ugly. I will trust Him, even when I disagree or I am confused with my circumstances. Sometimes God tests you to authenticate your trust.

     

    “Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant” (2 Samuel 7:28).

     

    He wants you to know if He is sufficient or if you find Him lacking. The test is for your benefit because He already knows if you trust Him enough. You may be failing, just passing, average, or an honor student in God’s school of faith. Are you convinced that you trust in God enough? Or is yours still an infant faith wrapped in insecurity?

     

    Moving to the next level of trust is not always easy, but it is necessary for the maturing follower of Christ. The easy part is becoming a Christian; the hard part is being a Christian. This happens over time as God tests our trust to grow us up in Him. We can complain, or we can thank Him that He cares so much He does not want our trust to remain raw and disfigured. He is all about developing us into dedicated disciples of Jesus.

     

    Even enemies of Jesus recognized His total trust in His heavenly Father. “He trusts in God” (Matthew 27:43).

     

    Prayer: Is my trust wholly dependent on the Lord alone plus nothing else?

     

    Related Readings: Psalm 37:3–5; Isaiah 12:2; John 14:1; Titus 3:8

     

    Post/Tweet: The easy part is becoming a Christian; the hard part is being a Christian. #Christian

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Wise Dating

    Posted on May 24, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14 (NKJV)

     

    What relational path honors the Lord and honors my dating? Ask objectively; is there agreement in faith, family and values? Dating relationships that honestly ask heart felt questions flush out communication and prepare a couple for success, as God defines success. Wise dating waits for God’s best and is not suddenly smitten by surface feelings.  If, for example, an older teenager, college student or single adult is “in love” with someone who does not practice faith in Jesus Christ, then the probabilities for a long-term successful relationship is very low. It’s hard enough to work through personality differences, diverse family backgrounds and character development without adding disagreement in the foundational issue of faith in God and obedience to Him.

     

    Start with belief in Jesus Christ and love for Him as your beginning point for being together in a dating relationship and you have a good base to build upon. Like a beautiful house with a cracked cement foundation are two pretty people without both being disciples of Jesus. Committed Christian relationships are not perfect, but they persevere.

     

    “Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (4:11-12).

    Be careful to not let the feeling of “being in love” trump the reality of the other person being a genuine follower and lover of the Lord. Emotions can accelerate bad decision-making, if not tempered by wisdom and accountability. This is why wise young people engage the wisdom and counsel of their dad and mom. Wise dating is accountable. You are accountable to the Lord and you are accountable to your parents. Choosing to date someone is not like spontaneously shopping for what’s on sale—it is a prayerful and prudent process. Much better to stop an unwise relationship in the beginning, than to later have to untangle a complex web of emotions and physical indiscretions. Be wise to date in groups—don’t be alone together in compromising situations. Wisdom is preemptive.

     

    Lastly, wise dating honors the Lord by honoring your body with purity. True love does not prove itself in sexual intimacy, because “love is patient” (1 Corinthians 13:3). When you wait and save yourself for your wedding day—it’s honoring to your marriage and to the Lord. Focus your energy and emotion into spiritual growth—you will have no regrets. Wise dating prayerfully recognizes a greater objective that is purposed in Christ.

     

    “With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ” (Ephesians 1:8b-9).

     

    Prayer: Does my dating relationship honor the Lord? Am I accountable to Him and my parents?

     

    Related Readings: Genesis 24: 3-4; Psalm 24:3-5; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; Ephesians 6:1-3

     

    Post/Tweet today: Emotions can accelerate bad decision-making, if not tempered by wisdom and accountability. #emotions

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • The Prescription Everyone Needs

    Posted on May 24, 2013 by Lynn Cowell

    Lynn

    "My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye." Proverbs 7:1-2 (NIV)

    Constantly churning and aching, the pain in my daughter's stomach just wouldn't go away. From the time she was small she complained, but her doctor didn't seem to have a permanent solution.

    After years of discomfort and searching for answers, we finally found a doctor who was able to pinpoint the problem: my daughter's body was sensitive to the foods she was eating. Even though her friends could eat anything, she couldn't correctly process common, everyday items. Sadly, what she was taking in and storing in her system was working against her, instead of working for her.

    Based on the doctor's advice, my daughter completely changed the foods she eats. But that wasn't enough to maintain a pain-free body. She also was prescribed supplements to her diet daily. These build up a storehouse of helpful nutrients that keep my daughter's body healthy and whole. She's a new girl!

    Like the daily supplements my daughter takes to build her up on the inside, the Bible tells us to do the same with God's Word. Proverbs 7:1 instructs us to "... keep my words and store up my commands within you."

    One of the meanings for the word "commands" in the original Hebrew language is "prescription." My daughter needed a prescription of supplements; often we need one as well. Our hearts and minds have messages and thoughts coursing through them that have the potential to harm. These untrue messages are working against us, and we need God's Word as the healing prescription.

    Here are just a few of His prescriptions that bring healing to me:

    For low self-worth: Take Psalm 45:11, You are enthralling to Me!

    For rejection: You are Mine, two times a day (Song of Solomon 6:3).

    A messy life: You are perfect to Me, at breakfast, lunch and dinner (Song of Solomon 4:7).

    When we store up God's commands and truths within us, we can access them quickly to take and combat ailments. He encourages us to not simply apply them like a quick ointment to a wound, but to "keep" His words. Cling to them and be secured by them.

    Proverbs 7:2 contains the benefit to keeping God's words and storing up His commands within us. "Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye." God promises that as we cling to and are secured by His Word, we will live. He will make us alive - preserve, refresh and rebuild our soul. I love how one of my study Bibles puts it: "Man gains life from God's words. Life is completely related to the Word of God" (Old Testament Lexical Aid Hebrew-Greek Bible).

    Not only does God's Word heal today, it can prevent future ailments. His truth is our daily supplement, building us up so we can stand strong against those things that come to attack our mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.

    Whether you need healing or preventive measures, be intentional today to take God's Word as your prescription and store it deep within your heart.

    Dear Lord, I am making a choice today to take Your prescription; giving my heart and body exactly what I need for my well-being today. Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Help a teen girl in your life learn to keep and store up God's Word every day with Lynn Cowell's book Devotions for a Revolutionary Year - 365 Days of Jesus' Radical Love for You.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    What ailment is your heart struggling with today?

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 4:20-21, "My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight; keep them within your heart." (NIV)

    Proverbs 2:1, 5, "My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you ... then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

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

  • Comfort in Loss

    Posted on May 23, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “And many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.” John 11:19

    Have you lost someone or something close to your heart—a baby, a spouse, a friend, a job or an opportunity? A great loss requires great grace or the pain is unbearable. Why do some expecting mothers have a stillborn child and others don’t? Can we truly understand these puzzling matters until we get to heaven and  are able to ask, “Why Lord, why?”

     

    Where is God when emotions run raw and a great hole of hurt embeds in the heart? We don’t always understand the ways of God, but we can always count on Christ’s comfort. The Lord lingers long close to those caught in the pain of great loss. What others cannot totally understand, your Heavenly Father fully comprehends. Grace soothes aching hearts. Christ’s comfort nurses like cool cough syrup flowing down a swollen, inflamed throat.

     

    “For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:5). The Lord’s comfort is limitless in its capacity to cure.

     

    Furthermore, Christ comforts us, so we are able to extend His compelling comfort to others. Productive pain pays it forward in a faith-based solution to other sad souls. Giving is therapy in God’s economy, so those of us saved by grace are not stingy with its application. Who do you know that needs a listening ear, a silent prayer or a caring visit?

     

    If comfort is kept closed up in the closet of our busyness, then we miss out on one of life’s great joys. Shame on any servant of Jesus that only has time to hear the heart of the spiritually healthy. Be aware, as tears hover under the surface of a tender heart in your circle of influence. Look around; who is struggling with health, work or relational issues? Comfort them, as your influence ripples like a rock slicing through a still body of water.

     

    Noah was known as the comforter, “He named him Noah and said, “He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the LORD has cursed” (Genesis 5:29).

     

    Say a prayer for someone in despair; send flowers to a young mom who just lost her little one after the first trimester of pregnancy, network for an acquaintance in career transition, pay the rent for a struggling relative, or introduce someone broken to the uplifting love and saving power of Jesus Christ. Comfort is your platform to proclaim God’s grace. You cannot over comfort others, so join the Body of Christ in loving  another hurting heart.

     

    Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

     

    Prayer: Where do I need Christ’s comfort and who do I know that needs His comfort and joy?

     

    Related Readings: Job 42:11; Psalm 86:17, 119:76; John 14:1; 2 Corinthians 7:6-7

     

    Post/Tweet today: Christ’s comfort nurses like cool cough syrup flowing down a swollen, inflamed throat. #comfort

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Chris Tomlin Makes Career History with Tour

    Posted on May 23, 2013 by Family Christian

    Chris


    GRAMMY® winner and multi-platinum recording artist Chris Tomlin just completed the most successful tour of his 13 year career, with his spring 2013 “Burning Lights Tour” not only seeing a 53% increase in average show attendance above his 2011-2012 tour, but also selling out 25 of its shows, including major U.S. markets like New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago. Additionally, Houston, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Seattle each saw ticket sales in excess of 10,000.

    Upon the completion of the tour, Tomlin has announced the continuation of “The Burning Lights Tour” this fall, which will hit 21 cities across the country beginning October 3rd, and once again feature friend and pastor of Passion City Church/Communicator/Passion founder, Louie Giglio. Dates will be announced soon, with presales beginning in June. All tour details will be available at www.ChrisTomlin.com/tour.

    Chris


    The final night of the spring run, also a sell out show at Denver’s famed Red Rocks Amphitheater, was filmed before an enthusiastic crowd for what will be Tomlin’s first Live DVD project. The two-disc Burning Lights Deluxe Tour Edition, due in October, will include the live DVD along with the Burning Lights CD. The packed-full project will feature a glimpse into Tomlin's full live tour experience and will feature the powerful moments of "Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies)," "Revelation Song" performed with Kari Jobe and Louie Giglio's full 45 minute talk.

    This January, Tomlin accumulated the biggest first-week sales numbers of his history-making career when his latest studio album, Burning Lights, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. With more than 72,000 units sold, Burning Lights marks Tomlin’s first trip to the top of the Billboard 200 and only the fourth time in history that a Christian music album has entered that chart at No. 1.

  • Tobymac Welcomes new artist Ryan Stevenson to Gotee

    Posted on May 23, 2013 by Family Christian



    Tobymac introduces the latest signee to Gotee Records - Ryan Stevenson. Watch the lyric video below to see the intro and hear Ryan's new song.

    Ryan is a husband and father of two boys. He currently serves as worship leader at Vertical Church Boise. Prior to his full-time music career, Ryan spent seven years as a paramedic. He has performed at Creation West, Fish Fest and Lifest, among other top Christian festivals around the country, and has toured with such artists as Group 1 Crew and Rachael Lampa.

    What do you think?
    To purchase Ryan's new single, click here.

  • Where Life Will Never Die - Tenth Ave North

    Posted on May 23, 2013 by Family Christian

    Most of us who have heard Tenth Avenue North have really appreciated their art. Their music. The depth of lyrical content. For those of us who have seen them in concert, we are allowed to experience not just their music, but also the great words of wisdom.

    Mike Donehey (lead singer) is never shy about sharing the truth of God's word. In the video below, listen to Mike as he shares his passion for a much glorious reality - namely Christ.

    Pick up the latest from Tenth Ave here.

  • The Story of the Bible

    Posted on May 23, 2013 by Family Christian



    Have you ever used a Life Application Bible before? I have used a New Living version of this Bible for a number of years. It fits like a "ball in the glove" for my devotional time.

    Recently, I was exposed to the New Living Chronological Life Application Study Bible. It's certainly not a "new" Bible, but the new is found in how it's arranged. Here are some of the highlights:

    • Timeline/header on each page. This allows the reader to see where they are within the context of the whole Bible.
    • Notes. Notes about history, context, culture. So much information here that allows the text to come alive.
    • Charts. Maps. Diagrams. Illustrations.
    • Dictionary/concordance.
    • The 30,000 view - a commentary of the whole Bible.
    • Application. Thousands of contextual applications. Again, if you are familiar with any Application Bible, this is standard.

    If you are looking to go a little deeper in your walk with Christ, I would highly recommend the NLT Chronological Life Application Study Bible. You will never run out of applications to be challenged by.

    Don't take my word for it, here is what a few of our customers have said about the Bible:

    I am new to reading the bible and I found this Life Application bible and I love it. It explains with so much depth! Love that it has a timeline at the top of each page. It's definitely the perfect Bible if you are really wanting to learn and study! Love this!
    - Love this Bible! by Kaitlin

    I have read with Prayer, the first 200 pages. And, I have read into the New Testament. I must say, this is a gift from God. Thank You whoever all were responsible for listening to God to put this Bible together. Much appreciated.
    - NLT Chronological by James

    This is a Bible that I would recommend to all my friends and family. It is by far one of the best ones I have come across.
    - Best Bible Ever by Drew S.

    I have to say, this version of the Bible is fresh and exciting. I have never had a chronological Bible before so this is new to me. I love how this Bible is divided into time eras and within the eras all of the books are in timeline order. This really helps with the OT as well as how the Epistles are intertwined with Acts. The full color photos make it like the NIV Archaeological Study Bible. Full color charts add flavor to the notes. The best part is the Life Application notes as well as Bible character focuses. Wrap that all up in the NLT translation that is easy to read yet maintains integrity to the original Bible text and you have something that is great for today, tomorrow, and years to come.
    - Brings the Bible into a great new light by Dave T.

    The NLT Chronological Study Bible by Tyndale House Publishing is the most intriguing and compelling Bible release over the past few years as there is truly nothing quite like it. Whether you already own one Bible or have a library of several, this new Bible provides unique resources to the reader that fosters increased engagement, understanding, and perspective. Reading the Bible has never been more illuminating. Enjoy!
    - Jim Gager, Senior Buyer of Bibles, Reference, Electronics, & Church Supplies at Family Christian

    Here are few resources that are available.

    Download a sample PDF.

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