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  • Whatever Happens, Here's What You Should Do

    Posted on April 29, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ." Philippians 1:27a (NIV)

    I felt completely justified to blow it.

    Look up inconvenienced, worried, nervous, annoyed and rushed in the dictionary and that's where you would have found me a few weeks ago. So when one more issue got added to my day, I lost it. And the worst part was I thought I'd earned the right to let off steam.

    It started with my husband asking for a favor. He had bought two trucks for his company and needed me to drive across town with him and drive one of them back. Since we live in a large metropolitan area, that meant a one-hour drive each way.

    However, the only available window of time that afternoon was sandwiched between four different things I had to do. In two and a half hours we had one son getting out of high school (who had to go with us) and another one needing to be picked up from college (which is also across town), our youngest daughter having to be picked up after that (which is near home), then the high schooler had a practice.

    Since I live this crazy chauffeur-life every day, it was up to me to schedule this cross-town trip and get everyone—and two trucks—picked up on time.

    Of course everything takes longer than you think it will. Not only were we initially running late, but then the man with the trucks was late. This meant I was going to be late getting everyone picked up. Watching the clock, I felt the passing minutes squeeze like a vice grip.

    Realizing there was no way I could do it all, I changed plans and sent the high school boy to pick up the college boy and then head back and get himself to practice. I would wait for the truck and then get our daughter.

    Now, this may have your head spinning, but it sounded easy in my mind.

    However, those two teenage boys got very confused with the change of plans. They weren't sure what they were supposed to do, despite what I thought were pretty simple instructions.

    Thirty minutes later they called me frustrated and annoyed. Unfortunately, I was also frustrated and annoyed trying to drive a HUGE diesel truck across town. With a right side mirror that I couldn't adjust. On a busy freeway. In the middle of rush hour traffic. Realizing I would be late picking up my daughter.

    College son: "Mom! What is going on?!? Why is Robbie picking me up and not you? Are we supposed to go get some trucks? Robbie doesn't know what's going on!!" the college boy snapped.

    And in that moment, the stress of the afternoon had built, and I let it explode, feeling very justified.

    Me: "Seriously? Seriously?!? You are frustrated? Well, let me tell you about being frustrated! ... (I'm sure you can imagine the rest).

    I hung up the phone angry.

    And then I remembered a verse I'd read that morning. Right there on the freeway, God made Philippians 1:27 very relevant:

    Whatever happens ... (like an errand taking longer, rush hour, annoyed teenagers, a side mirror that doesn't work, three kids to usher around town)

    Conduct yourself ... (You mean, control myself God? Keep things in perspective?)

    In a manner worthy ... (in such a way that shows who I really am, what I believe, what I value ...)

    of the gospel of Christ (and Whom I represent).

    Before I had a chance to call my son, he called me. I rushed to apologize. So did he. Thanks to God's Word in my heart leading me to ask for forgiveness, we ended our disagreement on the side that is worthy of the Word and the God Whom we serve, rather than the angry resentful side.

    Philippians 1:27. What a powerful Scripture this has been to me. Just thinking "whatever happens" keeps me in check. Because the interesting thing about that word "whatever" is it means "whatever."

    I'm not sure what you're facing right now ... whatever pressures, deadlines, carpools, boss, spouse or bills surround you. But I do know we each have a choice how we will respond. So take a deep breath and remember to walk in a manner worthy of Whom you represent.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for your patience towards me when I blow it. Your grace and kindness make me want to show that to others. Help me remember that I represent You in all I do and say. In Jesus Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst will help you deal with those moments when you want to lose it.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Under what circumstances are you most likely to react badly?

    What can you do to prepare for those moments so your reaction represents the Gospel of Christ?

    Power Verses:
    Ephesians 4:1-2, "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Abundant Forgiveness

    Posted on April 28, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.”    Matthew 18:21-22

     

    Sin’s offense hurts. There’s no doubt about it. It wounds indiscriminately, and it is no respecter of persons. Sin builds walls, as it separates and ravishes relationships. Just the sound of the word elicits negative emotion. It is deceptive, carnal, Christless, unfair, sad, and sometimes sadistic. Sin follows a process of desire, conception, birth, maturity, and death. James describes its diabolical development. “Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:15). So sin is not to be taken lightly. Certainly its infliction of pain cannot be ignored for long.

     

    Sin invites a response from the one it offends. One option is to fight sin with sin. This is messy and can be long and drawn out. No one (except Satan) really wins when sin battles sin. Sin is rampant, and no one is immune from its consequences. It divides, belittles, and brings on relational suicide. Nonetheless, when you are sinned against, you are to forgive. When someone’s sin assaults your attitude, you are to forgive him. When someone’s sin berates your work, you are to forgive him. When someone’s sin violates your trust or steals your joy or crushes your dreams or steals from you, you are to forgive him. This level of forgiveness is counter-intuitive and countercultural, but it is the way of Christ. Forgiveness is God’s game plan. You will lose if you don’t forgive, for unforgiveness is tortuous to the soul. It is unhealthy to the body and the emotions. Unforgiveness leaves hollow lives in its wake. However, forgiveness is able to let go and let God be the judge.

     

    Forgiveness cuts through the varying degrees of guilt and erases the entire debt. True forgiveness comes from the heart of the one offended (Matthew 18:35b). Forgiveness is not a flippant acknowledgement. It is a sincere removal of anything that is owed. When the offended one forgives, he wipes out the expectation of an apology, the payback, or the change. It is forgiveness, clear and simple. Forgiveness is letting go. It is letting go of the hurt, anger, and shame. When you forgive, you are free. You are free from the shackles of sin. When you forgive, you trust. You trust God to judge others in His time. His judgment is fair and just. God can be trusted with the consequences of sin’s offense.

     

    Continue to forgive others because your heavenly Father continues to forgive you. The Scripture teaches, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). Without Christ’s forgiveness, you are lost and undone. Jesus does not deal in forgiveness quotas. The forgiveness of the cross was swift, full, final, and forever. Unlock your relational restraints with the key of forgiveness. Write a letter with tear-soaked ink that documents your forgiveness. Call or e-mail someone today and let them know that because you are forgiven, you forgive them. Set others free with forgiveness, and you will be free. There is freedom in Christ. Forgive fast and forgive often. The forgiveness of Christ is forever.

     

    Post/Tweet: Unforgiveness is tortuous to our soul. It is unhealthy to our body and our emotions. #forgiveness

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

     

  • Worldly Wisdom

    Posted on April 27, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace” (2 Corinthians 1:12).

    Worldly wisdom has a way of reducing Heaven’s wisdom to an afterthought. Using our worldly wisdom, we pray and seek to discern the Lord’s ways only after our ways do not work. It is tempting to rely on what seems to work instead of asking what the principles to live by are, based on God’s economy. Worldly wisdom is not only inferior but also competes with God’s grace.

    The Lord sees the world’s wisdom as foolishness, and the world sees His wisdom as foolishness. Some who embrace the wisdom of the world say there is no personal God, but God says in His wisdom, this thinking flows from a fool. “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1). Sadly, the world’s wisdom has no room for Jesus.

    “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21).

    Worldly wisdom is flashier and sexier in its appeal. It invites pride to perch over those who have not yet achieved a superior standpoint. Ironically, the created dismisses the Creator as antiquated and out of touch. The traditional tenants of an all-knowing and ever-present Sovereign God are silly and irrational to this irreverent system of belief. But whomworldly wisdom embraces as the truly enlightened, the Lord defines as educated fools.

    “Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20).

    Therefore, do not try to outsmart your Savior Jesus Christ with intelligence void of humility and the fear of God. Academics, without an infusion of faith in almighty God, lead down a reckless path of disconnection from Deity. However, wise is the man or woman who is full of the grace of God and studies truth long and hard for the glory of God.

    Faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God is not a leap into the dark; rather, it is a step into the light. Christian belief is based on the historical fact of His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. For some, the Lord’s wisdom wins out over their own, and they begin to seek out those people and places that possess His knowledge. “I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness” (Ecclesiastes 2:13).

    Prayer: Am I embracing and believing the wisdom of the world or almighty God’s wisdom?

    Related Readings: Isaiah 29:14; Jeremiah 8:9; James 3:13–18

     

    Post/Tweet: Whom worldly wisdom embraces as the truly enlightened, the Lord defines as educated fools. #truewisdom

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Hypocrites Exposed

    Posted on April 26, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:49-50

    There are posers who profess to know God, but He will one day say to them, “I never knew you.” It is scary to think an individual can believe they are ok with the Lord when they are not. Maybe they heard the truth of the Cross, but they did not receive the truth by faith into their heart. There has not been an exchange of trust in themselves to a total dependence on Christ. Fools may have good religious feelings, but they have not surrendered to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit.

    Have you truly trusted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Is your love and affection captured by the love of your Heavenly Father? If not, it is wise to be circumspect about your commitment to Christ. As Jesus stated, mingling with the good fish does not make you a good fish. A bad fish smells like a fish, looks like a fish and tastes like a fish, but it remains in its original state until it's drawn to heaven by God. Make sure the scales of sin are removed from your spiritual eyes.

    Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized. Acts 9:18

     

    It is uncomfortable to picture a loving God having a system of judgment that includes hell. However, would He really be loving if He did not punish sin and expose religious hypocrites for pretending to be something they're not--true followers of Jesus? We water down the Word of God when we feel like we have to apologize for the Lord’s consequences that accompany improper beliefs. Oh how He loves us, because on Judgment Day, wrongs will be made right in His sight.

     

    Therefore, in the meantime, pray for those who genuinely believe they are right with God but have yet to be born again. Teach those who are religious but lost about a desperate desire for the Lord that follows submission to the Lord. Help fellow church members move from a head full of knowledge to a heart full of passion to pray. Information about Jesus becomes alive, when you experience Jesus in a personal, loving and intimate relationship. Ask the Holy Spirit to flush out impostors today, before it is too late to change. Better  a hypocrite’s exposure now, than then.

     

    If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

    Prayer: Heavenly Father lead me into a genuine relationship with You through Your son Jesus.

    Related Readings: Matthew 7:21, 25:32; Romans 14:11; 1 Corinthians 14:21; Revelation 20:15

     

    Post/Tweet today: There are posers who profess to know God, but are not His possessions. #hypocrites

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Richard Stearns - A Vision For All Of Us

    Posted on April 26, 2013 by Family Christian

    Richard

    Richard Stearns lives in a magic kingdom.

    That’s how he describes the wealthy existence of most people in first world countries like the U.S. As World Vision President, however, he’s also familiar with those living in a “tragic kingdom,” where food, clean water and medicine are chronically in short supply. Stearns says the common denominator between the two is what both are missing: both the Magic Kingdom and the Tragic Kingdom need a breakthrough of God’s kingdom.

    Richard Stearns encourages readers to discover their unique roles in God’s Kingdom, regardless of where they live. His new book, Unfinished: Believing Is Only the Beginning, describes how to find a life of true significance and meaning. “I believe there is a direct connection between the unfinished work of God’s kingdom and our sense of feeling incomplete in our faith,” writes Stearns. “This is inevitable, because there is a direct connection between our story and God’s story. If we are not personally engaged in God’s great mission, then we have missed the very thing he created us to do.”

    Below are some questions about his new book.

    Q: Since the release of your first book, The Hole in Our Gospel, you’ve spoken to thousands of people while traveling on behalf of World Vision. What are you hearing from Christians?

    A: There is a powerful common thread of longing that I hear from them—a yearning for a
    deeper sense of purpose and significance in their walks with the Lord. They want to discover that one thing that God is calling them to do. They long to feel that they are doing something important for God and that their lives really count for something. Many of them tell me they feel incomplete, as if something about their lives is unfinished. They are young and old, male and female, wealthy and not-so-wealthy. They are lawyers and real estate agents, homemakers and students, accountants and engineers, receptionists and CEOs. All of them want to experience the satisfaction of really knowing that their lives matter and that they are living in “the zone” of God’s calling and purpose for their lives. They want to feel complete and whole, living lives in which their faith is integral and not just something they do on Sundays.

    Q: What perspective can you offer those who are seeking God’s call on their lives?

    A: If I have learned anything about the purpose, meaning, and significance of life over the
    years, I have learned that, for a Christian, it is not found in any job, even a job like mine. It is not found in any human relationship, no matter how important. Nor is it found in any
    accomplishment, no matter how significant. Meaning, purpose, and significance are found only by aligning our lives with God’s purposes in lives committed to following Jesus Christ. That bears repeating: The meaning, purpose, and significance of our lives are found only by aligning our lives with God’s purposes, in lives committed to following Jesus Christ.

    In other words, it is not our work that brings purpose to our lives; nor is it our spouses, our
    families, our educations, our abilities, our money, or our accomplishments. Rather, it is the
    purpose of our lives that brings meaning to everything else. And we find the purpose for our lives only in Christ.

    Q: If it’s that simple, why do so many first-world Christians lack a sense of purposeful
    living?

    A: We all know the familiar expression “He can’t see the forest for the trees.” It is used to
    describe a person who is so absorbed in the things right in front of him that he has lost a sense of the bigger picture. I believe that this is exactly what has happened to many Christians in the twenty-first century—we have become so absorbed by the “trees” of our everyday lives that we have lost a sense of the bigger story within which our lives take place. We grow up, go to school, begin careers, get married, have kids, and struggle daily with life’s challenges.These are the “trees” of our lives that occupy most of our waking hours.

    Our church lives aren’t all that different. We go to church each week, sing some songs,
    and listen to a sermon. Maybe we even pray before meals, read our Bibles daily, and participate in small group Bible studies. But they can become just more trees in a life already cluttered with trees. What happened to the forest; what happened to the bigger story? Who are we? Why are we here, and where are we headed? How do we fit into God’s big story? A hiker who no longer has a sense of the bigger landscape around him becomes lost and confused, often wandering in circles because he is disoriented and no longer knows where he has come from or where he is headed. If we are ever truly going to find purpose and meaning in our lives, we first have to rise above the trees to rediscover the forest—we have to understand what God is doing in the world and how we fit in.

    Q: And this re-discovery of mission is the theme of your new book, Unfinished?

    A: As the title of this book suggests, there is some unfinished business for followers of Christ in our world: And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matt. 24:14)

    I believe there is a direct connection between the unfinished work of God’s kingdom and
    our sense of feeling incomplete in our Christian faith, because there is a connection between our story and God’s story. If we are not personally engaged in God’s great mission in the world, then we have missed the very thing he created us to do. We are like birds meant to fly but living in a cage; fish meant to swim but floundering on the beach. It makes sense when you think about it. If the Author of the universe created us to play a key role in his unfolding drama but we have failed to find our place in that story, then of course we would feel incomplete.

    Q: How do you hope readers will respond to this mission?

    A: There are as many ways to join the great mission of Christ in our world as there are people. My book introduces just a few of the hundreds of people I’ve encountered who are living their own kingdom adventures. The one thing they all share is the unwavering belief that God made them for a purpose, to serve him and to build his kingdom. They have rearranged their lives to put Christ and his kingdom mission at the center. They have enlisted; they have joined the rescue mission to take back the world for Christ, to serve as ambassadors of his love and to herald the good news of the gospel.

    I hope readers respond by looking around them. What can you see? What is yours to do? In God’s expanding kingdom there is no unimportant job and no insignificant person. Is there a single mom who needs your encouragement, a child who needs your love? Do you see the elderly woman, lonely for a friend; a drowning teenager, hungering for a dad? Have you
    looked into the hearts of those you work with and seen the desperation in their lives? Is there an immigrant family struggling to adjust, needing a friend to guide them in a foreign place? Is there a social problem that you might mobilize people to solve? Do you have in your bank account the money that a floundering ministry needs to survive, that a homeless man needs to get a fresh start? Do you have skills and abilities that others need— in finance, as a doctor or lawyer, or as a handyman who can repair a broken-down car? Is there an issue of justice for which you can advocate, a wrong that you can right? Do you ache for the children who die from hunger, the orphans lacking a home, or the widow with children who just needs a loan? So many people are crying out to God for his help. Might you be the answer to one of their prayers?

    You are needed to help build God’s kingdom. This is where your adventure begins.

    As president of World Vision, United States, Stearns is responsible for fundraising among
    American donors, program management, and advocacy to the U.S. government on behalf of the poor and oppressed. Working in about 100 countries, World Vision (www.WorldVision.org) is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty.

  • The Best Marriage Advice

    Posted on April 26, 2013 by Van Walton

    Van

    "Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path." Psalm 119:105 (NAS)

    A joyful wedding party celebrated the new couple on an evening wrapped in good cheer and candlelight.

    The bride and her father danced, followed by the groom and his mother. Adoring eyes framed the room.

    Finally, couples young and old hit the dance floor. After a few musical notes, the DJ announced, "All couples married a year or less, step off the dance floor." Then he asked those married five years or less to take their leave. And so the invitation, to make room for couples married 10, 20, 30 years, continued.

    While dancing with my husband, I noticed how few people remained.

    "40 years!" The DJ broadcast to us last three couples dancing.

    When the song ended, our friends, their children - now young adults - and our son, reached out with high-fives, pats on the back, and "Congratulations!"

    Many asked, "How romantic ... what's your secret to staying together?"

    The question came as no surprise and their idealic vision of marriage made me smile.

    Romantic? Not so much. I would describe our years together as lots of tears shed over misunderstandings. Selfishness. Loneliness. Hard and difficult times, pushing through emotions I didn't understand.

    Painful words. Challenging moments. Loads of opportunities to compromise. We were stubborn - both of us! As I look over my shoulder on the past 42 years, I know the real glue that has kept us together has been God and the power of His Word.

    When I wanted to criticize my husband for offenses real and imagined, I read that love keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5).

    When I felt lonely, I read that God was with me (Zephaniah 3:17).

    When I thought I was right and my husband was wrong, I read that I shouldn't think too highly of myself (Romans 12:2-4).

    When the daily grind of work, chores, errands drained me and my wild heart longed for more, I read that when I leaned on the Lord, through Him, I could get through anything (Philippians 4:13)

    Marriage is like a triangle. Want to grow close to your man? Grow closer to God. As both of you reach upward you'll not only come close to God, you'll grow closer to each other. And if you are in a marriage where your husband doesn't want to draw near to the Lord, you keep on anyhow. In Him, you'll find the support, love and hope your heart desires.

    A long time ago I was a young bride, asking older married women for advice. I heard a lot of things like keep the fun and adventure in your marriage. "Life is a gift," my mother taught me. "Don't let the sun go down on your anger," Daddy shared with me. "Know your husband" a friend encouraged me. Understanding my man's personality and love language taught me about conflict and acceptance.

    I wouldn't hesitate to share any of these wise words to newlyweds. But the very BEST advice I learned along the way? The greatest marriage counselor and guide is God and His Word.

    Marriage can be hard, but it's easier when we spend more time focusing on God's encouraging truths and less time concentrating on our husband's faults. Today, let's start a practice of turning to the Bible for answers about our marriage, thanking God for our husband and the Lord for His wisdom.

    Father God, You alone are perfect. Help me to keep my eyes on You. I know that no one is an easy forever-partner. Remind me daily to curb my critical spirit. Teach me to see my husband through Your eyes. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Capture His Heart by Lysa TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are you looking at your husband through Jesus' accepting and grace-filled eyes or do you see him through needs you expect him to meet?

    Before today is over, pick 2 verses to pray for your husband and 2 verses to recall that will give you wisdom for your marriage.

    Power Verses:
    Mark 10:6-9, "But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.' 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Van Walton. All rights reserved.

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

  • Pearl of Great Price

    Posted on April 25, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. Matthew 13:45-46

    What is the Pearl of Great Price? Simply Jesus. He is the only One worth selling all to follow by faith. God made His children spiritual merchants on a quest for what’s most valuable in life. These earnest explorations of religion are empty, until the grace of God in Jesus Christ is uncovered and understood. Vain treasures are those mini pearls that are but a weak reflection of the genuine One. Sincere efforts to search out the most significant asset of God will find Christ.

    There are many fine pearls that draw our attention away from the Pearl of Great Price, Jesus. The pasty pearl of pride draws us away toward our own limited abilities. The flashy pearl of entertainment consumes our energy and dulls our senses. The fake pearl of religious hypocrisy creates an image without any spiritual substance. And the black pearl of unbelief keeps us from experiencing God. But, as we enjoy the Great Pearl in an intimate relationship, we need no more.

    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

    How do you steward well this, your greatest asset from Almighty God? What disciplines are you developing to not take for granted this your most valued resource? One way to value your most valuable belonging is to share it with others. It can’t be weakened by too much use. It can’t be ignored while on display in your life. You are truly wealthy when you are graced by the riches of God. But you are  utterly poor and spiritually bankrupt without engaging the Great Pearl of Christ.

    Lastly, sell and give away whatever is necessary to enjoy your riches in Christ. Your cluttered life can easily leave out the Lord. The complexity of stuff can cause you to miss the simplicity in Christ. Streamline your schedule, so you can go deep in your intimacy with your Heavenly Father, and    your relational engagement with those you love. Jesus Christ is your Pearl of Great Price. So, value Him greatly, by giving Him your full love and devotion!

    For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father I am grateful for the riches I have in your son Jesus Christ.

    Related Readings: Proverbs 22:2; Matthew 7:6; Romans 2:4; Ephesians 1:7; Revelation 3:17

     

    Post/Tweet today: Sincere efforts to search out the most significant asset of God will find Christ. He is most valued. #valuable

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Q&A with Citizen Way

    Posted on April 25, 2013 by John van der Veen


    Citizen Way was formed in 2004, when two sets of siblings - Josh and Ben Calhoun and David and Ben Blascoe - crossed paths while in college. Their camaraderie made for a foundation that went beyond their biological connection and combined their vision for ministry with their passion for music. The result is Love is the Evidence, an infectious pop-rock project with sensibility.

    The music on this album has a driving momentum that will connect to your core as a soundtrack for life. In the end, the guys of Citizen Way really just want to have a conversation with people, sharing stories that reflect Scripture, reveal the heart of God and speak to honest, human struggle. If they can accomplish that while inspiring people to walk with Jesus and find joy in the journey, then the brothers of Citizen Way will have done their job.

    1 - What is your background? Where did you guys grow up? What made you interested in music?

    We all grew up in Southern Wisconsin. The Blascoe boys are from Racine and the Calhoun boys are from Milton.

    Growing up, music was always around the Calhoun family. Our mother, Lannette Calhoun, is an accomplished concert pianist and she paved the way for Josh, our sister Sarah and I to have easy access to all kinds of great music. Our dad is a pastor and we learned how to lead worship and serve at our church.

    The Blascoe boys grew up in church and served on the worship teams as well. David started playing drums after watching “That Thing You Do” (our official band movie) and received his first drum set at age 12. Ben Blascoe was inspired to play bass during their first visit to their home church when he was 13 years old.

    We all played and sang in the school bands and choirs and we all made lots of noise in church basements with all of our bands growing up. We all love to hang out in the recording studio; it's like a kitchen for band geeks! We formed Citizen Way in college at Judson University, and we still practice at the studio I helped build on campus and are music ambassadors for the school: www.judsonu.edu/citizenway

    2 - What are your biggest influencers? Musically and spiritually?

    We are so thankful for our youth pastors and parents for leading us to the Lord when we were younger. Each of us came to know Jesus early on and as we grew up, music was how we most naturally connected with the Lord. We want to encourage young artists to walk with Jesus, allowing him to do a work in their hearts as only He, the author of art, can do.

    As a band, we will sometimes listen to the great jazz music of Dave Brubeck in the dressing room before a show on Ben B.’s portable record player. As individuals, Davd’s favorite band is P.O.D., Josh is a big Coldplay fan, one of Ben Blascoe’s favorite bands is North Mississippi All-Stars and my favorite band of all time is PfR.

    We all grew up on Christian music; it is foundational in who we are. One of our most memorable moments was opening for Audio Adrenaline, and now we're label mates--It's a dream come true!

    3 - What does your live show look like?
    The lights go up. The drums get loud. We definitely have a lot of fun out there –
    sharing our music and the stories behind the songs. We always love meeting everyone who attended the show and making new friends in each city we go to!

    4 - Coffee or Mountain Dew?
    We all like Starbucks!!!! Gift cards are welcome! ;)

  • Are You Ready to Go?

    Posted on April 25, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming." 1 Peter 1:13 (NIV)

    The Whitwer house has two beloved dogs - Kona and Sammie. First thing in the morning, or after being gone, the sight of them makes me smile. But although they both delight me, they are very different.

    Kona is a husky with a quirky personality. She pulls like she's in front of a sled, plays catch with herself and "talks back" when corrected. Sammie is a German shepherd who patrols the backyard perimeter, embraces her role as protector and has a serious personality.

    And while I adore both dogs, only one of them gets to go in car with me each morning when I take the kids to school. Perhaps I should try and describe typical mornings as we gather backpacks, purses and lunch bags:

    • Sammie sits and watches, head tilted, aware of patterns of preparation. Kona is asleep under the bed.

    • Sammie's ears perk up when I grab the car keys. Kona is sprawled on her back, head hanging off the edge of the couch.

    • Sammie watches my face, waiting for the "let's go" nod. Kona is in the backyard watching birds.

    So every morning, Sammie goes on an adventure with me. We pass bikers and women jogging. We see other doggies driving with their masters. If dogs could smile, mine would be grinning from ear-to-ear! She is thrilled with our outings and looks forward to the next one. And so do I.

    As I consider my two canine companions, I wonder if this same dynamic doesn't happen between God and us.

    We each have our own quirks, idiosyncrasies and tendencies. And yet we are equally loved and treasured because our Creator uniquely designed us just as we are.

    However, there are differences when God is looking to call someone into a place of service. The one who is alert and ready ... the one who is listening for the Master's voice ... the one who is watching for the Master's movement ... that is the one who is invited to go on an adventure.

    I've been both at times. I've been consumed with my own comfort at time. Hesitant and (when I'm honest) uninterested in being used. At other times I've mismanaged my time and energy so that I'm overwhelmed and exhausted, and miss God's invitation to join Him.

    Yet when my eyes are open, and my heart is saying "pick me, pick me," it's amazing how I see God move.

    For so many years I wondered does God really see me, can He use me, does He even want to? Now I realize the answer was "yes" all along. He was waiting for me to be watching for His "let's go" nod.

    Ready to go? Or ready to relax? Loved equally. But used differently. Which one are you?

    Dear Lord, thank You for inviting me to join You in Your work in the world. You have designed me in a unique way, specifically for Your pleasure and purpose. Help me to be alert and ready, watching for the signs that You are on the move. I want to join You wherever You go. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Do you want to be used by God but feel overwhelmed with life? You might enjoy I Used to Be So Organized by Glynnis Whitwer.

    What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you ever been certain that God asked you to do something? How did you respond?

    How would you describe yourself when it comes to being aware of God's movement in your life – alert or unaware? What can you do to be more aware of what God might be doing?

    Power Verses:
    Isaiah 6:8, "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'" (NIV)

    Luke 12:35-36, "Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Change Agent

    Posted on April 24, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough. Luke 13:20-21

    The word of Christ is a change agent for the Kingdom of God. Like small batches of yeast, truth leavens the Lord’s influence in a heart and soul. A little bit of Scripture goes a long way toward growing a moistened heart for the Lord. The firm, but loving fingers of our Heavenly Father work into our doughy soul the yeast of His love. Patience sees faith rise up and cause a life to smell appetizing, like the aroma of fresh baked bread. Truth is a change agent for the soul.

    Furthermore, it takes work to kneed the yeast of Yahweh into a life The Holy Spirit is like the diligent cook who works the dough with beauty and persistence. The dough of our soul is tossed and turned, pounded and made smooth, so the yeast of God’s love works its influence into our inner being. We feel unstable at times, but this trusting posture invites us to receive faith’s full affects. Yes, faith’s fermenting process grows a bold and robust belief. A little leaven transforms.

    A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough. Galatians 5:9

    Therefore, keep your heart moist with humility and pliable with prayer. A hard piece of dough is unable to grow, but a heart full of grace submits to the Holy Spirit’s control. Each day is an opportunity for Christ to bake fresh bread from our available life. Moldy and crusty bread is thrown out, fit for the trash, but fresh bread is the dinner table centerpiece for all to anticipate. Is your life an anticipation for Almighty God? The Bread of Life changes you into His bread of life.

    Lastly, be aware of unseemly influences that subtly change your heart’s desires. There is bad yeast, so beware! The yeast of greed quits growing generosity. The yeast of cynicism quits growing faith. The yeast of selfishness quits growing service. Thus, the best remedy for bad yeast is to replace it with the good yeast of God. Invite Christ to be your change agent for Him. Daily, kneel before your Heavenly Father, so He can knead His character into your doughy heart!

    Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?1 Corinthians 5:6

    Prayer: Heavenly Father keep my heart moistened by humility, so you can knead into my life what I need from You.

    Related Readings: Exodus 13:3; Matthew 16:6; Luke 12:1; 1 Corinthians 5:7

     

    Post/Tweet today: Like small batches of yeast, Scripture leavens the Lord influence in a heart and soul. #scripture

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

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