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Family Christian

  • Kind But Direct

    Boyd

    But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ Matthew 5:37, NKJV

    Love uses direct language laced in grace. There is no ambiguity with those who care about communicating clearly from a caring heart. Yes, they take the risk of hurting someone’s feelings when being forthcoming with the facts, but better to be aware and adjust now, than to remain ignorant and unmoved. Insightful questions from a compassionate heart are a respectful way to show someone the way. Indeed, kind but direct conversations grow deeper relationships.

    Yes, wise are we to receive what may feel like a rough response from a friend. Because they love us, they will not leave us to languish in unwise behavior. When we are blinded by our own ambition, greed or self righteousness, we need words from our spouse, boss or mentor that challenge our unhealthy thinking. Our ability by God’s grace to ingest another’s instruction into our mind and heart, moves us closer to Christ. Be grateful for good friends who don’t hold back.

    Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. Proverbs 12:25

    Therefore, pray and prepare your heart before you deliver a direct message to one who means so much to you and to your Master Jesus. See them like the Lord sees them: a sheep without a shepherd, a child in need of nurture and instruction, or a novice hiker in want of a guide. Take the time to tell a loved one the truth in love and one day they may thank you. Better for them to be a little offended now than to wander down a destructive path later. Love is kind, but talks direct.

    Moreover, make sure to cultivate a culture of prayer in your home and community of friends. Prayer is relational lubricant that opens the heart of those who need to hear. It gives grace and courage to those whose speech needs to be straight forward. Talk with the Lord before you talk with those who need the Lord. Better to have a little talk with Jesus, before you have a big talk with a child or coworker. Your initiative to kindly instruct another in God’s ways is a gift.

    The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction. Proverbs 16:21

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, use me to speak kindly to those who need a gracious but direct word.

    Related Readings: Proverbs 8:33, 9:9; Jeremiah 17:7; Acts 5:40; 1 Corinthians 1:5; Titus 2:8

    Post/Tweet today: Talk with the Lord before you talk with those who need the Lord.

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

  • New Album from The City Harmonic

    Internationally acclaimed band, The City Harmonic, is set to release globally its highly anticipated sophomore album, HEART, September 3 through Integrity Music.  The 14 songs on HEART are underscored by the cinematic and communal aesthetic prominent in all of the band’s music while building from where the band left off with its widely acclaimed, JUNO Award-winning I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home).  Reflecting life lived by the band members since their full-length debut, the new album shifts from the dream of what could and should be to the complexities of how to follow the true humanity of Christ’s example in the world.

    Co-produced by the band - vocalist/songwriter and pianist Elias Dummer, bassist Eric Fusilier, guitarist Aaron Powell and drummer Josh Vanderlaan - and Jared Fox, HEART places Christ at the center while delving into themes of grace, discipleship and being, and becoming, truly human, all the while giving the listener permission to sing out in hope, in hurt.

    “We set out to write an album ‘on being, and becoming, human,’ but, in a way, it’s about image bearing,” says Elias.  “By that I mean that yes, we’re human — and the Bible tells us that we’re made in the image of God and each and every human has an inherited dignity as a result. But there’s more to it than that…God made this universe around us and often refers to the cosmos as a temple. I mean if you stop and think about the role an ‘image’ or ‘statue’ might play in a temple, you begin to see that we humans have quite a role to play. Whatever our present circumstances, the biggest challenge before us is to recognize that in Christ we’ve been given the responsibility and capacity to become like Him, and as we do, we are becoming exactly the kind of humans we were meant to be from the beginning.

    “People have always talked about ‘the square’ representing the physical, the tangible, and the circle representing the spirit, God,” continues Elias, making reference to the new album cover artwork. “How do you square the circle? How do you make these things connect?  Jesus was the perfect man and God.  Only in Jesus do we have the ability to say, ‘I’m a whole person, not a broken apart thing, whole but broken.’ On HEART, we try to unpack what it means to be fully human.”

    At the core of the new album is the first radio single, “City on a Hill,” which is steeped in the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5.

    “‘A City On A Hill’ takes the high concept view of Christ and brings it down to earth in the form of the very things he said in the Sermon on the Mount,” says Elias.  “It also forms a natural transition into the balance of the album which attempts to marry the ideals with our real lives.

    “In Christ, God has given us the perfect example to live by, and the means to live that way,” adds Elias. “For the Christian, discipleship isn’t simply adding knowledge to our lives, but it’s to become increasingly more like the human example we’ve been given – to become ‘little Christs,’ and carry our cross through the mud and mire of a broken world in the knowledge that by the grace of God we arise brand new.”

    In the past two years, life has hit The City Harmonic ‘square on.’ They went from working day jobs to recording and touring full time. Aaron had his first child, Josh was married, Elias had his fourth child and Eric was diagnosed with cancer. In a very real sense, life set the context for HEART.

    One of the songs on the album, “Strong,” written by Elias and Eric, grew from a place of vulnerability in the middle of Eric’s battle with cancer. “I wasn’t really in a place to write anything,” Eric confesses. “Emotionally, I felt like a child who had been let down by his parents for the first time.  I just couldn’t see [my illness] as a blessing.  I couldn’t connect with God. To confront that stuff and write, ‘I am strong in my weakness,’ was really difficult because I couldn’t deny how I really felt...”

    Near the one-year anniversary of the stem cell transplant that saved his life, Eric’s cancer is in remission. “Being on the other side of it, my emotions now line up with what I believe. God really has been there the whole time, using this for the good. It’s a clear picture of God’s people coming together, working together... a profound experience.”

    With Eric planning to rejoin the group on the road, having been sidelined since his cancer diagnosis early last year, The City Harmonic launches their headline tour with special guests Shawn McDonald in October.

    Forming nearly three years ago, The City Harmonic went from anonymity to widespread acclaim, headlining tours across North America and gathering numerous awards along the way.

  • White As Snow

    Suzie

    "Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow." Psalm 51:7 (NIV)

    We were friends in youth group. That led to Saturdays at her house. Double dates. And slumber parties where we talked about boys and did each other's hair.

    But more than silly teen stuff, Michelle and I were among the few in the youth group who attended church with no family support. Consequently, we encouraged each other spiritually and often knelt and prayed together.

    A year after high school, sadly we lost touch. We moved to different cities. Married. Had children. Our lives no longer intersected.

    Until three decades later.

    Her message on Facebook caught me by surprise, and I couldn't wait to see her again. When we met she told me all that had transpired in thirty years, and my heart hurt for my friend.

    So much had taken place, beginning with college and the party scene. She met men who said they loved her, but hurt her instead. Those unhealthy relationships led to more than one marriage. She endured abuse, and eventually began to believe that somehow it was what she deserved.

    Bravely, she left the abusive men. She went back to school and secured a job, taking care of her children on her own.

    But there was still something missing inside of the heart of this woman. Though she had once found sanctuary in an altar at a small church, she wondered if she had strayed too far to find her way back. Did too many men, too many parties, too much sin stand between her and Jesus?

    In Psalm 51:7-9, the Psalmist confronted those same fears. It led to this prayer of repentance.

    "Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity" (NIV).

    Like the Psalmist, Michelle felt the sorrow of her sin and the path that had taken her so far from her once-vibrant relationship with God. But she also knew there was a place to find restoration.

    Not just to be forgiven, but to be restored, renewed, and to rejoice in Whose she was again.

    Michelle reached out for God's love saying, "I knew that I couldn't go back and try to fix the past. I could only make amends and claim the forgiveness that God had ready for me."

    Maybe you know of someone ... maybe you are that someone ... who believes you've gone too far.

    Repentance begins with sorrow or remorse over sin and leads to a change of direction. You turn away from your old life and turn toward God to accept His immense forgiveness. The burden of sin is removed as God cleanses you and takes your sin and replaces it with His righteousness.

    If this is you, return to the love of Jesus. Put the past behind you as you accept the complete forgiveness He freely offers. Don't wait one more moment. Your past may shape you, but it doesn't define you, and it certainly doesn't limit what God can do in and through you.

    Today Michelle is an example of what takes place when we are washed white as snow. She no longer feels ashamed or guilty for her past actions. A light heart and a joyful perspective have replaced these feelings. She volunteers in a rehabilitation home for women who have been abused or are homeless. Michelle delights when a woman opens her heart to receive God's cleansing and healing touch. She knows first-hand the hope and freedom that comes when anyone takes a U-turn back toward all God freely offers.

    Dear Jesus, it is no accident that I read this today. You are inviting me to change my direction and to run toward You for forgiveness. I do so freely and with joy. Thank You for washing me white as snow. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness by Suzanne Eller

    Reflect and Respond: When God enters the picture, your past is reframed. How can your past story be used to encourage others to live free?

    Tell one person your story today.

    Power Verse: Matthew 9:6a, "But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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

  • Disconnect to Reconnect

    Boyd

    “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns” (Matthew 14:13).

    There are times when the crowds crowd in on me. I need relief—relief from the routine, relief from responsibilities, relief from relationships, or relief from the raw pain of losing a loved one. Jesus felt this intense emotion as John the Baptist, His friend and spiritual confidant, was brutally beheaded. The pain of severe loss led Him to be alone.

    Are you on the edge of complete exhaustion? Is your tolerance for any more trouble at the tipping point of chronic fatigue? If so, it is time to disconnect from distractions so you can reconnect to your relationship with the Lord. You preclude coming apart emotionally and physically when you come apart relationally with your Savior Jesus.

    Our private investment in solitude gives our public service sustainability. If we are always available to everyone, then we are not effective with anyone. A soul that is always exposed to the light of life is unable to discern the desperate state of hurting humanity. So we schedule time on the calendar with Christ in seclusion, and He empowers us.

    Your responsibilities will not rest while you rest, but trust the Lord to take care of any crisis that may arise. For you to disconnect from your duties means you prepare ahead of time to transition from your tasks while you are away. Do not be ensnared by your ego that always wants to be wanted. Let others learn what you know so you can go away and grow. We grow stale if we reject retreats, but we are energized when we engage them.

    When we disconnect, we trust God to get things done through others in spite of our absence. Your break from work and home is an opportunity for a colleague to step up and be blessed with a new opportunity to be stretched. Why keep all the challenging circumstances to yourself? Let go so others can gain invaluable experience. Once you have truly disconnected from your phone, enjoy your soul reconnecting with Christ!

    “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).

    Prayer: What relationship or responsibility do I need to disconnect from for a season? When and where is the best place for me to reconnect with Christ?

    Related Readings: 2 Chronicles 15:4; Daniel 9:3; Acts 17:27; Hebrews 11:6

    Post/Tweet: Our private investment in solitude gives our public service sustainability. #solitude

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

  • Desert Experience

    Boyd

    At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. Mark 1:12-13

    Sometimes the Holy Spirit sends you into a desert experience. The purpose of this hard time is not punishment, but purity. God wants to purify your faith and grow your dependence on Him. Naturally, the enemy does not sit still when he senses someone has escaped eternity’s cover. He does, however, miss the principle that God uses all things for His good, even your enemies. Times of trial are full of temptation from Satan, for he appeals to your pride, your physical appetite, and your spiritual vulnerability. He wants to bring you down when you are at your weakest. He sees you alone and ready for the kill. Satan smells blood, but the blood he smells is not your demise, it is your salvation. It is the blood of Jesus Christ that covers you during this crisis time in your desert of life. Your desert experience may involve a child who is away from God and away from home. It may be that your health is failing quickly and you are on the fast track to heaven’s gates. Your desert experience may encompass loneliness and a Lord that does not seem to answer prayer. Heaven may be silent during this time of stress and distress. Your marriage may be in the ditch and even on the way to divorce court, so be careful not to make a dumb decision during your desert time. He will carry you through. His angels are not passive to your plight, but present to minister to your needs.

    Your heavenly Father is sending reinforcements for your faith, so stay immersed in the Word of God because His word is your anchor during this troubling time. The promises of God rain down like manna during desolate desert times. Feed your soul with Scripture, and you will have strength to make it through this time of turmoil. Look to the Lord, for He cares. He is willing to make you whole and to walk with you through this desert of distress. Do not attempt to gut it out without God and people. Lastly, you will be stronger as a result of this faith-stretching situation. What was meant to drive you away from God will draw you closer. The Holy Spirit knows better than you what you need to become more like Jesus in your faith and deeds. This desert experience will pass, so don’t waste this pain and discomfort, but use it to go deep with the Divine. Turn the tables with trust, for your faithfulness inspires others to remain faithful. The irrigation of God’s love, grace, and forgiveness will flood your desert with new life and will be beautiful to behold. Jesus creates a paradise of character where once existed a desert of temptation. The Bible says, “Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert” (Isaiah 35:6).

    Post/Tweet: Feed your soul with Scripture, and you will have strength to make it through times of turmoil. #Scripture

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

  • Faith Living

    Boyd

    For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

    Faith living is focused on God living. It is the road less traveled. Even for believers in Jesus Christ, faith living is not always predominant. Why settle for anything less? If we limit ourselves to our efforts, our logic and what we can see, then we only tip God with our faith. He is calling us beyond the honeymoon stage of our faith to mature faith. A faith that only thinks of the past is anemic and stunted. Faith alive is focused on God’s vision for the future. It is caught up in the possibilities of today with no fear of tomorrow.

    By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going (Hebrews 11:8).

    Faith living enjoys God’s ability to create. For example, He can create resourceful relational opportunities, as He is the connector par excellent. By faith He can be trusted to lead you to just the right people. People whom you can serve and people who can join you to accomplish God’s will. Determine ways to bring value to the other person. It is not about what you can get from them, it is all about how you can serve them.

    Moreover, faith living is not irresponsible living. This is not some blind excursion that ignores the needs of your spouse and children. It is wrought with prayer and godly advice. This implies that faith living is not lived in a vacuum. It is living in concert with those around you. Abraham went by faith to a new country and cared for his family.

    By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise” (Hebrews 11:9).

    Yes, it requires sacrifice and service, but not in the guise of unwise decision-making. Faith living trusts God’s timing. It does not rush into battle without weapons or a plan. You trust God to prepare you and provide  you the needed resources to carry out His will. You are no match for Satan without the weapons of spiritual warfare.

    Furthermore, trust the Lord with how He has gifted you. Your part is to become more self aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Allow God and others to leverage your strengths and shore up your weaknesses. Be who God created you to be and come alive in Christ. Pursue Him, live by faith and execute His will. Live by faith and not by sight. Faith living is the only way to live for God. You are not really alive until you live by faith in Jesus!

    Prayer: How can I better position my life to live by faith and not by sight?

    Related Readings: Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 2:20; 3:11; Hebrews 10:38

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

  • Petra Celebrates 40th Anniversary

    To celebrate their illustrious 40-year career, Christian rock band, Petra, will release an exclusive CD project on July 30 featuring the band’s biggest and most-loved songs.  The standard edition of 40th Anniversary will include 27 of Petra’s hits, while the deluxe edition (digital copy only) will include 37 songs.  Both versions include a new recording titled “Holy Is Your Name.”

    “’Holy Is Your Name’ is a thank you to all our fans, but mostly a thanks to God for all the wonderful years!” says Bob Hartman, founding member of Petra.  “We are happy to include it on the 40th Anniversary compilation."

    Compiled by Hartman, 40th Anniversary displays Petra’s four-decade career of music and ministry featuring hits like “This Means War,” “Beyond Belief,” and “Creed.”  Long-time vocalist John Schlitt joined Hartman on a seven-city reunion tour this summer to share Petra’s anniversary celebration with fans.

    Over the course of their 40 years, Petra has released 24 projects, sold over 7 million albums, garnered four GRAMMY® Awards, 10 Dove Awards and several #1 radio hits.  Considered the “pioneer” of Christian rock, the band has successfully paved the way for numerous artists and has helped create a new genre of rock music.

    40th Anniversary Track Listing DISC 1 01. Why Should the Father Bother? 02. Killing My Old Man 03. For Annie 04. Without Him We Can Do Nothing 05. Angel Of Light 06. Road To Zion 07. Rose Colored Stained Glass Windows 08. Judas' Kiss 09. Stand Up 10. Bema Seat 11. Grave Robber 12. Beat The System 13. God Gave Rock And Roll To You 14. Voice In The Wind

    DISC 2 01. Thankful Heart 02. This Means War! 03. He Came, He Saw, He Conquered 04. All Fired Up 05. Hit You Where You Live 06. Beyond Belief 07. Creed 08. Dance 09. Sight Unseen 10. Midnight Oil 11. Enter In 12. Jekyll & Hyde 13. Holy Is Your Name (NEW RECORDING) Additional Songs on the Deluxe Edition (digital copy only): Chameleon, The Coloring Song, All Over Me, More Power To Ya, Godpleaser, Not By Sight, Computer Brains, Fool’s Gold,  You Are My Rock and Mine Field

  • Avoiding a Spiritual Stumble

    Tracie

    "'Yes, come,' Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. 'Save me, Lord!' he shouted." Matthew 14:29-30 (NLT)

    The loud noise and screams suddenly coming from upstairs caused immediate panic.

    That morning my daughter had set out to run a few miles on our treadmill. Everything was going just fine until the worst happened.

    She lost her focus, then her balance, and stumbled. The treadmill violently threw her off and trapped her between the mat, the floor and the wall. She managed to wiggle free, but not before the treadmill wreaked havoc on her back, legs and arms.

    When tears dried and Band Aids had been gently placed over the raw wounds, I asked her how the accident happened. It turned out she had a lot going on besides just running. For example, a blaring television, incoming text messages (which of course needed urgent attention), a loose shoelace and fatigue in her legs.

    There were a lot of distractions that caused her to fall, and she was too weak to regain her balance. She vowed then and there to never get back on another treadmill. Ever.

    My daughter's tumble is a lot like what happens in our Christian walk. We fully intend to stay focused on Christ, but life's distractions cause us to shift our focus, stumble in our faith and leave us feeling too beaten down to get back up.

    Matthew 14:29 shows us how Peter took a tumble of sorts when he lost his focus. Peter and the disciples were caught in a terrible storm with their boat being tossed around by torrential waves. When Peter saw Jesus standing on the water, he asked to do the same thing. Let's pick up the story there: "'Yes, come,' Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. 'Save me, Lord!' he shouted" (Matt. 14:29-30).

    When waves of fear, insecurity, discouragement or stress crash around me, I stumble too. These quickly become my focus instead of fixing my eyes on Jesus. Without fail, I sink under the weight of these circumstances and fall.

    My "fall" looks like this: instead of praying, I worry about my dad's health. Rather than praising God and looking to Him for provision, I stress about paying bills. And instead of trusting He will help me complete a task at hand, I doubt if I'm able to get everything on my agenda done. All these distractions pull me down and pull my faith away from Jesus.

    Here is the amazing thing about Jesus. When Peter began sinking, he cried out for Jesus to save him. And Jesus did. Just as Jesus didn't hesitate to pull Peter out of the rough waves, He will pull you and me back too as soon as we ask.

    Life has stormy seasons. Unexpected health diagnoses', years when children decide to walk away from the Lord, rough patches in our marriage ... all cause waves of doubt, stress, worry or fear. These can cause us to stumble and fall if we only focus on them.

    The best place to fix our eyes is on Jesus. He's our peace, source of hope, and the One person we can trust will always be there for us. And when we do fall, as soon as we call out to Him, He'll pick us up.

    Dear Jesus, I confess I lose focus on You while running through the distractions of life. I have fallen many times. Help me to trust and have faith in You, and avoid letting life distract me from Your truths. Amen.

    Related Resources:

    NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women is interspersed with 366 devotions written by the Proverbs 31 Ministries team.

    Stressed-Less Living: Finding God's Peace In Your Chaotic World by Tracie Miles

    Reflect and Respond: In what ways has life been distracting you, causing you to inadvertently lose focus on Christ?

    Close your eyes and visualize yourself standing in a storm looking at Jesus. Be bold and walk towards Him. Have faith that no matter how much life has caused you to get sidetracked, He is ready to reach out and pull you close once again.

    Power Verse: Proverbs 4:25-27, "Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don't get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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

  • Friends Follow Up

    Boyd

    Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing. Acts 15:36

    Friends need follow up. A growing relationship requires catching up and checking on how they are doing. Since life happens every day, a friend’s needs can change overnight. They may suffer from a sudden sickness,  experience a career change or a teenage child might require prayer. Wisdom in financial stewardship may trouble them so their walk with the Lord needs nurturing. A follow up visit carries compassionate care and concern.

    It is not enough for us to proclaim truth to people without providing ongoing discipleship tools and further teaching. Like a fruitful garden requires daily care and cultivation, so do those eager to grow in their relationship with Christ. Yes, wise are we to take hungry hearts by the hand and pray with them, read and study the Bible together, and experience the joy of sharing the gospel with others. Friends are loved and valued as we take time to follow up on their faith and family.

    Because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 1 Thessalonians 1:5

    Furthermore, make it easy on your friends when you visit with them. Be careful not to take advantage of their hospitality by being demanding or expensive in your tastes. Be content with what they have, even if it requires your inconvenience or adjustment to their environment. You are called to serve, not to be served. Pay for your expenses when possible and offer to cover theirs. Be intentional when you travel overseas to adapt to their culture and not be a burden.

    Lastly, let the Lord lead you in your endeavors to encourage friends in the faith. Make sure people want you to come and see them before you announce your intentions to intrude on their lives. Life is short and you have a limited amount of time and energy, so invest wisely in those who genuinely want to grow in their daily walk with God. The Holy Spirit will show you the way to go and what to do, so pray earnestly. Follow God as you follow up with friends.

    During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. Acts 16:9-10

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me to love  those who are hungry to learn Your word and grow in Your grace.

    Related Readings: Psalm 138:8; Proverbs 18:24; John 15:13; Philippians 1:5-6, 4:1

    Post/Tweet today: Like a fruitful garden requires daily care and cultivation, so do those eager to grow with God. #encouragefaith

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

  • Keith & Kristyn Getty Release Live Album

    Getty Music announces the release of the first live album from Keith and Kristyn Getty, which was recorded at The Gospel Coalition in Orlando, FL, this past spring. Keith and Kristyn Getty Live at The Gospel Coalition is produced by Ed Cash and features 13 previously-released songs that are heard live on a recording for the first time, along with a new tune, Lift High the Name of Jesus (co-written by the Gettys and Cash), and some of the Getty’s favorite traditional hymns. The project will be available September 10, 2013.

    “Working with Keith and Kristyn has been one of the great joys of my career,” says Cash. “First and foremost, their songs are packed full of theological truth, but their commitment to musical excellence and great melodies with respect to church tradition is unparalleled. This album is a fabulous collection of songs recorded in a live atmosphere with a real congregation exalting the Almighty. I tend to crave authenticity, especially with live records, and this project is chock-full of it. At the same time, the album has a professionalism due to the extremely high caliber nature of the players, and of course the driving excellence of Keith's piano playing and Kristyn's voice.”

    Keith and Kristyn Getty Live at The Gospel Coalition is comprised of several performances occurring during the 5-day conference that included sermons from such well-known speakers as Tim Keller, Senior Pastor of Redeemer Church in New York City/Author; John Piper, Founder/Teacher of desiringGod.org; and Don Carson, Research Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Keller adds, “The 2013 Gospel Coalition National Conference blended the spoken Word and the sung Word in an unforgettable way. Substantive expositions of the Biblical text were interwoven with the Gettys’ theologically-rich worship hymns. Together they truly did ‘tune our hearts to sing His grace.’”

    The Gettys are in their homeland of Northern Ireland spending time on a songwriting sabbatical and reconnecting with family and friends. When they return to the States in late August, they will begin rehearsals for a fall tour in support of the new project that will run September-November and crisscross the country.

    For a recent interview with Keith, click here.

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