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  • Chris Tomlin's Burning Lights - Deluxe Edition

    One of the most storied worship leaders of our time, Chris Tomlin returns with this deluxe tour edition of his hit album, Burning Lights. As the songwriter behind the worship favorites "How Great Is Our God," "Jesus Messiah," "Holy is the Lord" and "Forever," Chris continues to write songs that connect people to the heart of Jesus and lead them to a greater worship of Him.

    Burning Lights: Deluxe Edition includes special guest performances from Lecrae, Phil Wickham, Kari Jobe and Christy Nockels, as well as an all new talk from Louie Giglio. Recorded live at Red Rocks, the included bonus DVD is the next best thing to seeing Tomlin in concert!

    Check out God's Great Dance Floor LIVE

    Our God LIVE

    To read our Q&A with Chris, click here.

  • Accepting Forgiveness

    Wendy

    "Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit." Psalm 32:2 (NIV 1984)

    Many years were spent regretting sins from my past. These sins had hurt others and me. Day after day I would replay my decisions. Two decades later, the sting of past sin still had a hold on me.

    God had forgiven me; I'd told Him about my sin and asked Him to pardon me. So why couldn't I accept the freedom of His forgiveness?

    I wanted so badly to believe I was the person David mentions in Psalm 32:2, "Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit." Yet I struggled with accepting that God's grace could erase my sin, wiping it away as if it never happened.

    This can be a hard thing to accept for many of us. It sounds all well and good, but in reality, the weight of sin makes it difficult to believe a perfect God can forgive us.

    Yet, His Word assures us that God does not count our sin against us. So how can we live in this truth?

    The first step is to acknowledge our sin: to ourselves and to God. This opens up the door for honest conversations with the Lord and helps us stop hiding from the fear of being found out.

    The next step is to fill our hearts and minds with truth. Throughout the Bible, God teaches how an unaccepting heart can be changed and softened to accept His forgiveness. The following verses are truth from a loving God who longs to transform our lives through the grace of His forgiveness.

    My God doesn't condemn. "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1 (NIV)

    My master is grace, not sin. "For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace." Romans 6:14 (NIV 1984)

    My Savior Jesus has set me free, therefore I am free. "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:36 (NIV)

    My old is gone; because of Jesus Christ I am new. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV 1984)

    Are you lugging a load of sin that God has already forgiven? Are you ready to stop living in shame, shackled by regret? Life is too short to exchange the freedom of grace for the bondage of unbelief.

    Today, allow God to wash the hurt and regret from past sins away with the transforming power of His truth. And let's pray for an accepting heart that lives in the freedom of God's grace and forgiveness.

    Dear Lord, by faith I accept Your forgiveness and refuse to be a slave to sin You've already forgiven. Today, I confess and move on! I commit to believe Your transforming truths to live fully and freely in Your grace. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Reflect and Respond: "Do you struggle accepting God's forgiveness? Spend time talking with God and ask for help to accept His forgiveness.

    Use index cards to make several copies of the transforming truths above. Place a copy in your purse, car, Bible, desk, and other places you often go. Read them as long as it takes to experience the blessed life David speaks of in Psalm 32:2.

    Power Verses: Isaiah 1:18. "'Come now, let us reason together,' says the LORD. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.'" (NIV 1984)

    Isaiah 43:25, "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more." (NIV 1984)

    Matthew 19:26, "Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'" (NIV)

    © 2013 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

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

  • Transformational Teaching

    Boyd

    When the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority. Mark 1:21-22

    Jesus taught as none other: clear, compelling and authoritative based on Himself, the living Word. He also explained the Scriptures with clarity and conviction in a way that caused demons to tremble and shriek, exiting the body of the one they possessed. The religious leaders were jealous of this new younger teacher whom they feared as competition. Yes, Jesus ministered the Word to crowds with His Holy Spirit inspired teaching and then loved them individually.

    Transformational teaching handles the Word of God with humility. There is a reverence of God that points to Christ as the author and finisher of our faith. It’s out of a loving relationship with the Living Word, Jesus, that we are able to compassionately communicate the written Word of God. As we love the Lord with our hearts and minds, our teaching engages the heart and minds of our hearers. Thus, we bow before God in prayerful preparation, before we stand for God to teach.

    The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true. Ecclesiastes 12:10

    Furthermore, we are challenged to walk fresh in our faith and to invite His words to transform our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit. If you teach, teach what God has taught you, one broken person to another broken person. Speak openly where the Lord has brought you. Exhort and teach transparently out of your weakness, and Christ will show Himself strong. What you teach instructs and inspires, but how you live is a transformational model for others to follow.

    Lastly, we are wise to sit under the teaching of teachers who instruct from the authority of God’s Word. However, make sure to learn from those whose heart and head are engaged with Christ’s heart and mind. Learn from men and women whose hearts have been transformed by God on their knees in humble prayer, before they sit behind their desks to prepare their minds for teaching. Transformational teaching comes from the Spirit’s conviction and instruction. Learn from Him!

    Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants. Deuteronomy 32:2

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, transform my heart by Your transformational teaching inspired by Your Spirit and modeled by Your servants.

    Related Readings: Psalm 78:1; Isaiah 2:3; John 14:24; Acts 18:11; Hebrews 5:12

    Post/Tweet today: What we teach instructs and inspires, but how we live is what others follow. #transformationalteaching

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

  • Operation Christmas Child

    Since 1993, more than 100 million boys and girls in over 130 countries have experienced God’s love through the power of simple shoebox gifts from Operation Christmas Child. Samaritan’s Purse works with local churches and ministry partners to deliver the gifts and share the life-changing Good News of Jesus Christ.

    Two decades after it started, Operation Christmas Child continues to deliver shoebox gifts and the Good News of Jesus Christ to boys and girls around the world.

    Twenty years ago, Franklin Graham made a promise to collect a few gifts for boys and girls in war-torn Bosnia. Today, Operation Christmas Child has become a year-round, international project, delivering millions of shoeboxes to children in nearly 100 countries each year.

    Si Robertson, everyone’s favorite uncle and reed-maker for Duck Commander duck calls, has teamed up with Operation Christmas Child to get the word out about sharing God’s love through the joy of a shoebox gift. You can join Si and be part of sharing the Good News with children around the world by packing shoeboxes with a variety of small gifts.

    In July 1993, a man from the United Kingdom named Dave Cooke reached out to Graham because he needed help collecting gifts to send to children in Bosnia. Graham promptly agreed, then—as he tells it—just as promptly pushed the project to the back of his mind and continued focusing on various other projects at Samaritan’s Purse.

    Later that fall, Cooke called back asking when Samaritan’s Purse would send the gifts they collected. With the last-minute help of several pastors, Graham was able to deliver on his promise and sent 28,000 shoebox gifts for the children of Bosnia.

    Twenty years later, more than 103 million shoebox gifts have been collected and delivered in more than 150 countries, each one representing an opportunity to proclaim the Gospel.

    Whether their needs are physical or spiritual, the millions of boys and girls who have received shoeboxes have experienced powerful blessings through these simple gifts. Each gift is not only filled with toys, hygiene items, and school supplies, but also with the power of prayer.

    “We ask people to pray as a family as you pack the boxes,” Graham said. “Pray that God would use them. And He does. We have seen miracle after miracle of how God has used a box.”

    Twelve-year-old Dulce Maria lives in extreme poverty in Honduras with her father and four siblings. Her mother committed suicide in 2002 due to extreme depression over the family’s difficult financial situation. Her father takes her to school every day and then goes to do janitorial and maintenance work in households that hire him for a day.

    Dulce Maria always wanted a doll, but her father couldn’t afford to buy her one. Imagine the surprise and delight she experienced when she received a shoebox gift, opened it, and saw a doll! Jumping for joy, she said it was the most beautiful one she had ever seen.

    But her joy was not yet complete that day. The Gospel was shared during the distribution, and she learned more about Jesus through a children’s storybook offered with the shoebox. Dulce Maria went to her teacher and told her that she had received two gifts that day: the doll and eternal life in Christ.

    No matter who packs them, from three former U.S. presidents to the family down the street, each gift-filled shoebox throughout the past 20 years represents the joy of one more child, like Dulce Maria, who has been reached with a tangible expression of God’s love.

    “We are just getting started with Operation Christmas Child,” said Randy Riddle, director of the project’s domestic operations in the United States. “The potential is so great to reach more and more children.”

    Our goal is to collect 9.8 million shoebox gifts from 11 countries this year.

    The gifts will be delivered along with your prayers to places such as Argentina, Zimbabwe, Angola, Vietnam and more.

    And after 20 years delivering shoeboxes to 75 percent of the countries around the world, the motivation for sharing the gifts has remained the same.

    “I want the children of the world to know, I want their parents to know, that God loves them,” Graham said. “He cares for them, and He wants them to be with Him in heaven.”

    Suggested items could include:

    SCHOOL SUPPLIES: Pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons or markers, stamps and ink pad sets, writing pads or paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books, etc. TOYS: Small cars, balls, dolls, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, small Etch A Sketch,® toys that light up or make noise (with extra batteries), Slinky,® etc. HYGIENE ITEMS: Toothbrush, toothpaste, mild bar soap (in a plastic bag), comb, washcloth, etc. OTHER: T-shirts, socks, ball caps, sunglasses, hair clips, toy jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries) A PERSONAL NOTE: You may enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself or your family. (If you include your name and address, the child may write back.) DO NOT INCLUDE: Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; out- of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snowglobes or glass containers; aerosol cans.

    Drop off locations can be found by clicking here.

  • The Bitter Root

    Wendy

    "See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." (Hebrews 12:15 NIV)

    How dare she ask this of me?

    I reread her email, which only fueled my fury. Rather than reply immediately, I decided to forward the note to my husband for his advice. Any words I would've written to her at that moment would not have been kind.

    Bitterness took root as I typed a note to my husband, spewing out my frustration. When I finished, I reviewed my message with great satisfaction. I'd expressed myself well to a safe person. Then I pressed send.

    In that moment, I glanced at the "to" box. I was horrified when I realized I'd hit "reply" instead of "forward." My heart sank. All my hurtful words and anger were now en route to her, not my husband.

    I felt sick. What should I do? I picked up the phone and called my husband at work. We both agreed I needed to email her, explain what happened, and ask forgiveness. It was the hardest email I've ever written.

    Her gracious response astounded me. She thanked me for my apology and closed her response with these words, "I forgive you, so let's just put this behind us." Her words of forgiveness melted the bitterness that had consumed my heart just an hour before. I'm sure she was hurt. My words were harsh. Yet she chose to overlook and pardon my offense.

    It's easy to forget that we have choices when we're offended. We can surrender our hurt or hold on to our hurt. We can extend grace or harbor bitterness.

    Bitterness is like poison that infects our lives. The author of Hebrews compares bitterness to a root that overtakes our hearts and causes trouble in many other areas of our lives (Hebrews 12:15). Although our feelings of bitterness, anger, and resentment may seem justified, they are not. Instead, they're hurtful and destructive—to ourselves as well as to the person who hurt us.

    God's Word teaches us to forgive and instructs us not to let the sun go down while we're angry. When we do, we give the devil a place to work in our hearts and relationships. Instead of allowing the enemy room to plant relational weeds between us, my friend chose forgiveness, extended grace, and prevented a bitter root from taking hold.

    She became a living example of the apostle Paul's words to the believers at Ephesus: "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you" (Ephesians 4:32). Her wise example helped me move beyond my anger. My friend's gracious decision modeled humility. Her choice to forgive salvaged our friendship and changed how I react toward others who offend me. From that day forward, I've prayed that God's grace would flow through me, leaving no room for bitter roots.

    Dear Lord, search my heart. See if there is any bitterness in me. Lead me to forgiveness. Enable me through the power of Your Holy Spirit to let go of all bitterness and to extend Your amazing grace. In Jesus' name, Amen.

    Related Resources

    Remember Choosing forgiveness is the only way to prevent a bitter root from taking root in your heart and growing.

    Reflect Is there someone against whom you harbor unforgiveness? What is it that keeps you from being able to forgive this person?

    Respond Review the verses shared in this devotion. Prayerfully ask God what your next step is with this person. Ask Him to equip you to take that first step, and then take it.

    Power Verses Colossians 3:13; Romans 12:9

    Taken from Encouragement for Today: Devotions for Everyday Living by Renee Swope, Lysa TerKeurst and Samantha Evilsizer and the Proverbs 31 Ministries Team. © 2013 Proverbs 31 Ministries. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.

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

  • Humble and Gentle

    Boyd

    After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. Mark 1:7, 10

    Jesus was introduced by a humble man and a gentle dove. One came from earth as a reminder of the need for our confession of sins, and the other came from heaven as a reminder of God’s forgiveness of sins. City and country people came to be cleansed of their sin. Fiery spiritual revival spread across the villages into the towns, as John and Jesus were lightening rods for the Holy Spirit’s energy. Indeed, their humble and gentle attitude invited the Trinity’s trust and favor.

    We are drawn to preachers and teachers who proclaim and teach truth from a humble heart and a gentle spirit. Truth is convicting enough without the pride of man adding insult to injury. Yes, with humility we can say something hard with a smile and still solicit the trust of our friend. Our gentle words carry with them the blessing of God’s Spirit. Humble men and women point people to Jesus, not to themselves. Gentleness gets people to God. Here they feel His love and approval.

    Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I (Jesus) am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29

    Do you submit to God moment by moment so the fullness of His Spirit bears the fruit of humility and gentleness in your life? Union with your Lord brings out His best in You. Because He is gentle, you become gentle. Since He is humble, you become humble. You grow in support of your relationships by being available to satisfy their needs. Patience is your fuel for gentleness and prayer powers your humility. Your Heavenly Father is well pleased when you grow in these.

    God graced the globe with a gentle and peaceful dove. We felt His love as He pronounced His pleasure in His son Jesus.  Like Noah, who knew the storms were over when the dove’s beak clenched an olive branch, so Jesus was God’s olive branch to mankind’s mishaps. Grace is God’s rainbow of redemption to a world flooded with fear. Glory in the salvation of a forgiving Trinity. Rejoice, we are invited into the humble and gentle community of the Father, Son and Spirit!

    Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9

    Prayer: Lord Jesus, grow my spirit by the power of Your humble and gentle Spirit.

    Related Readings: Genesis 8:11; Joel 2:28; Acts 11:16; Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:2

    Post/Tweet today: Patience is our fuel for gentleness and prayer powers our humility. #humbleandgentle

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

  • Free Wallpaper for Your Mobile, Tablet or Computer - November

    Ahhh, November.

    It's the time of year that we all love. It's the cool mornings, followed by refreshing days, followed by cool evenings. It's the month where there seems to be a great aroma in the air. Either pumpkin spice... peppermint... bonfires... amazing baked goods... It's a month that just smells wonderful.

    It's the in-between month. Helping us move from October and it's too much candy to a time to be thankful. A time to remember. Ahhh, November, we are glad that you are here.

    Look below for some free wallpaper to decorate your desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile device. These are completely free to download. Just right click on the size that you need and you will be all set. To find out which size you need, click here.

    Both images are taking from our Coupon Calendars that we sell online and in our stores. Click here to find the Growth in Faith Calendar and the He Refreshes My Soul Calendar.

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  • Behind the Album with Mandisa

    Coming up her most successful album ever, American Idol alum and three-time Grammy nominee Mandisa returns with Overcomer. Produced by Christopher Stevens and David Garcia, Overcomer showcases her powerful vocals and pop-leaning hooks that blend effortlessly through all 11 tracks.

    With caution-to-the-wind melodies weaved throughout the record, anchored by emotional songs like her open letter to her brother in "Dear John," Overcomer may be Mandisa’s most impactful release to date.

    To read our exclusive interview with Mandisa, click here.

  • When You're Not Sure You Belong

    Suzie

    "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." Romans 8:16 (NIV)

    The moment we found out a beautiful gift might be coming to our family will forever be etched on my heart. My daughter and son-in-law were about to receive something they had desired for over three years.

    We'll never forget the day they heard they'd been chosen by a birth mother to receive the gift of her child. A whirlwind erupted as we all came together to create a nursery and buy the necessities. Five days later a perfect little baby boy was born, and Josh and Melissa brought their long awaited, beautiful miracle home.

    Walking with them through the adoption process made me treasure even more these words in Romans 8:15: "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, Abba, Father" (NKJV).

    Initially, we didn't know the baby's name, what he might look like, or even his ethnicity. We didn't know how old he would be, or whether he would be a bubbly little boy or a sweet baby girl. All we knew is that long before my daughter and son-in-law held him in their arms, we loved him.

    Now that the gift of this precious baby being adopted into our family is a reality, his parents are changing diapers and slogging through sleep-deprived nights. It's not easy, but he is worth every bit of sacrifice they're making.

    No matter how exhausted they are, Luke is still wanted. Still treasured. Still loved. Still a miracle in every way.

    Sometimes we may look at God and wonder if we are a bother. After all, we're a work in progress. We get busy and forget to treasure our times with Him. We promise ourselves we'll grow spiritually and then lose our temper with a loved one. Why would God choose to love us, even when we mess things up?

    The answer appears in Romans 8:16, "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." Perhaps today you struggle with accepting God’s love. You don't have to fear rejection, because you are adopted. God loves you just like Josh and Melissa love their son Luke, but in a God-like measure.

    Romans 8:14-16 promises that God's love for you is irrevocable. You are signed, sealed, and officially His child. Today, as His adopted child, ask the Holy Spirit to gently remind you one more time of Whose you are and how very loved you are by Him!

    Dear Lord, You are my Abba Father! Today I place all fear aside and place my trust in You. I walk into Your arms where I am welcome. Thank you for adopting me. Help me to rest in the assurance of knowing I am Your child Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Reflect and Respond: Write down Romans 8:14-16 and place it where you can see it every day. Read it out loud until it becomes anchored in your spirit.

    If Abba Father says you are His, that's the final word. How does that change the way you view your relationship with God?

    Power Verses: 2 Corinthians 6:18, "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." (NIV)

    Galatians 3:26, "So in Jesus Christ you are all children of God through faith." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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

  • Due Diligence

    Boyd

    Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.  Luke 1:3-4

    Simply put, due diligence is a process of gathering the facts. It is designed to validate assumptions and expose wrong thinking. Due diligence is necessary for wise decision-making. You go through due diligence when you buy a house. You explore comparable home prices in the neighborhood to affirm or deny the asking price of the house for sale. A home inspector is probably hired to check out the nooks and crannies. He is an objective third party that looks for roof leaks, foundation damage, electrical hazards, safe plumbing, and the overall sound structure of the home. His or her harvesting of information is vital to the final decision of the home purchaser.

    In some ways, you apply due diligence to a prospective husband or wife. You observe his attitude toward his parents. You look for love and respect. The same can be said for their reverence of God. Are they submitted to Christ and in love with Him? First impressions may be positive, but more is required to be a wise decision-maker. Due diligence can take time, depending on the complexity of the issue or the deal. When hiring someone, you look at past career success and the opinions of references. A credit check reveals a lot about the responsible—or irresponsible—handling of money. Purchasing a business requires a lengthy process of poring over financial audits, researching market trends, interviewing employees and customers, and defining the criteria needed to value the enterprise. Due diligence is required in all levels of life to be a wise steward. So what has been the extent of your due diligence on God? God deserves a thorough investigation, and your intellectual integrity requires a due diligence on God. Then you can have peace of mind knowing you objectively examined all the facts that relate to God. You may read books written by former atheists, such as C.S. Lewis, that document their struggles with truth and lies surrounding God. Their life experiences become a road map for your own search. More importantly however, is to read and research the Bible. Let the Scriptures stand alone. Do not depend on the conjecture and assumptions of others who may or may not be objective in their evaluation of Holy Scripture.

    Read the Bible with an open mind and ask God to speak to your heart through His Word. Yes, use sound rules of interpretation such as context and cultural implications. It is necessary to understand the immediate audience for whom the Bible was intended, but consider Scripture’s timelessness. What applied yesterday, often applies today. The commands and principles of the Bible transcend civilizations and centuries. In your due diligence of the Bible, explore the prophecies of the Old Testament. Consider the predictions that occurred hundreds of years before Christ and were fulfilled with mind-boggling accuracy. His place of birth, His method of death, and His provision of salvation are all embedded in the text. Study closely the life of Christ; begin your due diligence in the book of John. Jesus claimed to be God and the only way to God. If that is true, then it holds life-altering implications. Do not let the bias of another lead you down the path of least resistance. Your due diligence may very well lead you into a divine encounter.

    The Bible says, “For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways…” (Isaiah 58:2a).

    Post/Tweet: Intellectual integrity requires a thorough due diligence on God. #doesGodexist

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

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Activate Your Faith - Phillipians 4:13
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