• Store Locator

Family Christian

  • Me and My Mama Mouth

    Karen

    "She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." (Proverbs 31:26 ESV)

    The other day my son, a smart preteen, was up to the challenge of washing the dishes. He didn't give me an attitude when asked. He wasn't disrespectful. He didn't drag his feet. So why was I battling the urge to harshly point out how he was doing it all wrong?

    Because he wasn't doing it my way.

    He started with the grimy pots, then moved to the plates and silverware. Finally, he had to bubble up more water to spit-shine the glasses. While working, he stacked plastic cups in a pyramid.

    Irritation welled up. An unkind reaction was itching to come out. I could easily have let my momma mouth take over: It uses way more water to wash the dishes in that order. Plus the water is filthy now! Stop playing with those cups while you work. You're so slow.

    I wanted to be a control freak. I wanted to fire off the unkind words hidden in my unspoken thoughts: The only way to do the dishes is my way. I see different as wrong. I interpret a preteen being a preteen—with a slight distraction of fun—as "slow."

    But when I unload on junior, or anyone, it has the potential to damage our relationship and plant mental seeds of his mom's view of him, whether verbalized or implied (lazy, wasteful, distracted, and slow). It does not, as Proverbs 31:26 states, come close to resembling a woman who "opens her mouth with wisdom and speaks with kindness on her tongue."

    It's better if these potentially frustrating scenarios play out differently. So let's replay that scene with a Spirit-controlled response.

    As I see my son doing the dishes, I can make a mental note to explain how to do it next time in a way that will save water, money, and time. I can praise his efforts, keeping in mind his age and abilities. I can acknowledge his unique method. I saw the clever way you stacked those dishes. You always make work fun.

    I can ask myself questions that will help keep my mama mouth in check. Questions like: Does it matter now or will it matter tomorrow? Will it affect eternity? Is God trying to teach me something? Can I pause and praise instead of interrupt and instigate? Is this really an issue that needs addressing? Am I being a control freak? Do I need to let it go?

    The interaction wouldn't damage; it would nurture. It would be wise. Kind. And there would be no lost time, regrets, or need to call in the United Nations peace-keeping forces for intervention.

    This mama would be less control-freakish and more Proverbs 31-womanish. It might not come easily—trust me, it usually doesn't—but with the Holy Spirit, it is possible to speak with kindness.

    Dear Lord, may I purpose to temper my words with Your Holy Spirit as I interact with my family today. In Jesus' name, Amen.

    Remember My mouth can be a powerful tool of encouragement or a weapon of destruction.

    Reflect Which of the questions posed in the devotion (Does it matter now or will it matter tomorrow? etc.) do you most need to ask yourself when tempted to over-control?

    Respond Think of an incident from the past where you did not use your words in a way that was kind or loving. Revisit the situation. How could you have spoken in a way that would honor God? Could you have used a different tone of voice? Word choice? Timing?

    Power Verses Psalm 139:4; Psalm 37:30

    Taken from Encouragement for Today: Devotions for Everyday Living by Renee Swope, Lysa TerKeurst, Samantha Evilsizer and the Proverbs 31 Ministries Team. © 2013 by 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

  • Teachable Heart

    Boyd

    “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying God is one and there is no other but him.” When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God…” Mark 12:32, 34a

    Jesus affirms a teachable heart, for He knows it has potential to learn and understand the things of God. Thus, a teachable heart is positioned to receive truth, and has an attitude with more questions than answers. However, a teachable heart does recognize truth when it comes knocking. It invites truth in to be examined, understood, and applied. Truth invigorates the teachable heart, and there is a rush of spiritual adrenaline when it intersects with an open mind and heart. Pride plateaus in its learning, but a teachable heart continues to scale the mountain of truth. Thus, when God discovers someone who is teachable, He calls him wise. Wisdom comes from God; therefore, a teachable heart learns the ways of God. God is not offended by teachability, though there is a tension that arises when truth begins to facilitate changes in behavior and attitude. This change of heart seems somewhat innocuous from the outside looking in, but most of us do not like to be told what to do. Change doesn’t come easily, even as you understand that God has your best interests in mind. But the transformation is telling. Your character and behavior fall more in line with Jesus' and your spouse and children notice something different; your patience, rather than your intimidation, becomes dominant; your bad beliefs are replaced with good ones; so let your teachable heart start first with God.

    God is one. He is not many gods, but one God. He is not a mini-god, but the great and glorious God of the galaxies. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are all one God. His oneness is to be worshipped and celebrated. Thus, your love relationship with the one true God is not to be rivaled by any other gods. Any acceptance of other gods is unacceptable to God. He is jealous for you. Your love for anyone or anything will pale in relation to your love for Christ. To love God is to make room for God in all aspects of your life. You love Him when you love others, when you give sacrificially, when you strive for excellence in your work, and when you pray for and forgive others. Love is action; therefore, love Him and allow Him to love you. Let His expectations mold yours, because what God thinks trumps any other thinking. The Holy Spirit within you has the answers to the questions that consume your thinking. Follow His internal promptings, not the external clamor. What you believed yesterday will be dwarfed by what you learn tomorrow. Know God, love God, and learn of Him. He affirms a teachable heart as one who fears the Lord. The Bible teaches, “Assemble the people—men, women, and children, and the aliens living in your towns—so they can listen and learn to fear the LORD your God and follow carefully all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 31:12). Stay teachable in your understanding of God.

    Post/Tweet: A teachable heart is positioned to receive truth. It has an attitude with more questions than answers. #teachableheart

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

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

    Starting this month, we are going to be providing you 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.

    Facebook 800 x 600 1024 x 768 1280 x 960 1280 x 1024 1600 x 1200

    Mobile 1280 x 720 1280 x 800 1438 x 900 1680 x 1050 1920 x 1080 1920 x 1200

    Facebook 800 x 600 1024 x 768 1280 x 960 1280 x 1024 1600 x 1200

    Mobile 1280 x 720 1280 x 800 1438 x 900 1680 x 1050 1920 x 1080 1920 x 1200

     

  • Forgetful Friends

    Boyd

    “The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him” (Genesis 40:23).

    Sometimes friends forget. They forget birthdays, anniversaries, commitments, and what is important to their friends. The forgetfulness of friends facilitates frustration and disappointment. After all, some of these friends have been past recipients of your help and encouragement. You have been there for them during their days of discouragement. Now when the tables have turned and you are in need, they do not seem to be near.

    Maybe they are too busy with life, maybe they are buried in their own troubles, or maybe they have simply forgotten you. Unfortunately, some friendships are tentative and unpredictable. When adversity strikes, you are able to filter out false friends from forever friends. Fair-weather friends will fly in and out of your life. Some friendships are expedient for the moment while others compound in loyalty and love as the years pass.

    However, be careful not to place expectations on your friends. Expectations increase the chances for disappointment. Friends will let you down if you hold lofty expectations over them. If your friends feel the pressure to perform a certain way, they will push back in fear or resentment. Friendships are meant for release—not control.

    Companions are a gift from Christ. Steward them well so you can be trusted with more. It is tempting to take our friends for granted, especially long-term friendships, because they are low maintenance and tend to get the least attention. But, in reality, even old friends need nurturing. They need a phone call, a visit, or written correspondence. They need time. Friendships grow or atrophy, but care and attention fertilize a friendship.

    Moreover, make it a goal for your spouse to become your best friend. You and your spouse sleep and eat together. You raise children together. You manage the home together. You budget money together. You hurt together. You laugh together. You vacation together. You are growing old together. Since you spend so much time “doing life” together, it is imperative you fortify your friendship. You are not just tolerating each other for the children’s sake. Your goal is to become best friends, so when the children move out, you are not bored and relationally bankrupt. Fun friendships are intentional.

    The marriage relationship is a friendship not to forget. If you ignore this friend, you will wake up one day with regrets. Remember your spouse’s birthday, your anniversary, and all those little things that make him or her feel special. When you remember a friend, you honor a friend. When you remember a friend, you feed a friendship. Friendships fatigue for lack of attention. Remember a friend today. Remind this friend how special he or she is to you and to God. Love this friend, and expect nothing in return. Be a friend and you will have friends.

    “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24 nkjv).

    Prayer: Am I a friend worthy of friendship? What friend do I need to love and encourage?

    Related Readings: 1 Samuel 20:42; Job 16:20–21; Proverbs 27:10; John 15:13–15

    Post/Tweet: Some friendships are expedient for the moment, while others compound in loyalty and love as the years pass. #forgetfulfriends

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

  • Unintentional Sin

    Boyd

    “If the entire Israelite community sins by violating one of the Lord’s commands, but the people do not realize it, they are still guilty.” Leviticus 4:13

    Unintentional sin still has very real consequences. For example, I can forget to report extra income to the Internal Revenue service, but I still owe the taxes and interest on the overdue obligation. Or, I can make a flippant remark to my spouse or children as a weak attempt at humor not realizing how badly I hurt their feelings. My good intentions mean well, however the consequences of sinful actions still need genuine forgiveness.

    It’s not enough to say, “I didn’t mean to”, or “That’s not what I meant”. Inadvertent actions that bruise relationships, question our integrity, or violate the Lord’s commands require a response of confession and repentance. It’s woefully inadequate to blame memory loss or ignorance on behavior that assumes things are ok when sin is present.

    “In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).

    This is especially true with children for they need behavioral boundaries. Parental love defines and enforces limitations with their little ones (soon to be big ones!). Children need to understand in their formative years that respect, honesty and obedience are rewarded but disrespect, dishonesty and disobedience are punished. Grace gives good guidelines.

    Perhaps with your older children you draw up a one page “contract” that clearly defines appropriate attitudes and actions. Access to their cell phone and car can be contingent on carrying out the commitments outlined in the agreement. Other family members can witness what’s written down with their supportive signature and prayers. Indeed, intentional actions that create clarity and accountability impede unintentional sinning.

    “Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4, Amplified Bible).

    Furthermore, what intentional guidelines do you have in place to preclude unintentional sin in your life? Educating yourself in the ways of God is fundamental, as defined in His word. Spend time listening to the Lord and to friends who hold you accountable with caring questions like, “Is your company compliant with government regulations?” “Are your motivations in alignment with Almighty God’s agenda? Be intentional to be right.

    “Would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:21).

    Prayer: How can I be intentional with my attitude & actions not to be guilty of unintentional sin?

    Related Readings: Psalm 90:8; Ezekiel 45:20; Matthew 7:21-23; Hebrews 9:7

    Post/Tweet today: Intentional actions that create clarity and accountability impede unintentional consequences. #unintentionalsin

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

  • All You've Ever Wanted (lyric video) from Casting Crowns

    So many of us today are simply surviving. But we were not made to survive, we were made to Thrive! Like a tree planted by the water (Jeremiah 17:7-8) we should be digging into God's word to know Him and know who He has made us to be. We should be reaching out to the world and showing others who He is through our lives and our stories - knowing Him and making Him known.

    Thrive, from Christian music’s flagship artist Casting Crowns, is packed with the band’s signature style of songs about real life that redefine our identity in Christ, pointing us to our purpose from Him so that we may carry it out through Him. We were made to THRIVE!

    Check out their new lyric video for All You've Ever Wanted.

    What do you think of the song?

  • Be Happy Now

    Valorie

    "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)

    "I'm not happy with my job. I'm not happy with my body. I'm not happy with my life."

    It seems that at some point in our lives, we each struggle with unhappiness, a spirit of discontentment, with wanting more. I remember a couple of years ago being frustrated as I sat in my comfy living room chair, Bible open, listening to the Lord. Well, maybe it was more like talking at Him, telling Him what I wanted.

    What I wanted was to be happily married and have a family of my own. At 38, my "clock" was ticking, and I was still faithfully believing God for marriage and family.

    If God would just give me the desires of my heart, I knew I could be happy. That's when this thought came to me: Be happy now. If you don't learn to be happy while you're waiting for what you want, you'll never be happy when you get what you want.

    To be clear, happiness cannot be the sole aim of our existence. Living out my purpose by serving and loving others as Christ does is my ultimate goal. When I stop focusing so much on what I want, and focus my gaze on what God wants to do in and through me, contentment follows.

    In fact, happiness is an external indication of internal contentment.

    This realization stopped me in my tracks. The list of things I felt I needed to check off my list for me to be happy was tiring. The idea that I could choose happiness was refreshing. The first step was to embrace life exactly as it was; in other words, to be content. I counted my blessings more, started traveling, and did things that being single uniquely afforded me. Most importantly, I decided to wholeheartedly trust God.

    When Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians, the word he used for "content" actually means to be contented with one's lot in life. We can spend so much energy pushing against our reality when life doesn't turn out the way we planned it. But resisting what is, and trying to control what is beyond our control, can cause anxiety. Frustration takes over. Anger prevails.

    Instead of making the most of our circumstances, it's easy to lament the fact that things are not where we believe they should be.

    What if we stopped pushing against what is and learned to embrace our present circumstances?

    When that shift is made, it feels like a heavy burden is released from our shoulders. It can also feel scary at first. But truly accepting where we are helps us relax and see the good God has in our present circumstances. We cast our cares, content in trusting that all things indeed will work together for our good.

    When I embraced what is, I discovered happiness greater than any I'd experienced before. Just like Paul tells us to do in Philippians 4, I made intentional choices to be content with my present circumstances—and in the lot God had given me for that season. I stopped making happiness a destination and began making it my way of journeying through life.

    Lord, help me embrace what is and live each day with thankfulness for the life I've been given. Give me the grace to be happy while I wait for what I want, rather than insist that I cannot be happy until I attain it. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Follow us on Facebook:


    Reflect and Respond: What current reality are you in that you are resisting?

    What would it look like for you to be content?

    Power Verses: Matthew 6:33, "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (ESV)

    Psalm 16:5, "LORD, You are my portion and my cup of blessing; You hold my future." (HCSB)

    © 2013 by Valorie Burton. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Harvest House Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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

  • Value Others More

    Boyd

    “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4

    The value of something or someone determines its importance. For example, if a hobby is highly valued it gets attention, even to the exclusion of relational investments in a needy child. It’s easier to get lost in leisure than to face the reality of a broken relationship. But by predetermining a high appraisal of someone, a high priority is credited them in hard times.

    Indeed, there is a tension between our own interests and the interests of others. After all, doesn’t the Lord want us to take care of ourselves? Of course He does—but it is not hiding behind our own issues and ambitions to the exclusion of placing others above ourselves. Humility esteems the good in others while recognizing its own struggles.

    “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you” (Romans 12:3).

    Pride places a lower priority on others and a higher priority on self. Pride does its due diligence and ranks the issues of others much lower in value than its own needs and wants. It’s only from the assumption of a humble heart that we are capable of valuing others as Christ values them. Jesus humbles us so we in turn can humbly serve others.

    Therefore, what interests the people in your life? What are your spouse’s interests? What do your children value? What are the personal goals of your work associates? Perhaps you do a relational audit around their interests and become intentional in helping them fulfill their needs and desires. It takes faith to first fulfill another’s agenda over yours.

    Paradoxically, when we place the needs of others above ourselves, God fills in the gaps. His favor shines on servants of Jesus—who without guile—go the extra mile on behalf of those who don’t deserve extra attention. God’s favor flourishes in your life when by faith you keep your faith, family and friend’s interests in high esteem above your own. Jesus is very clear that those who place others above themselves are greatest in His kingdom.

    “Within minutes they were bickering over who of them would end up the greatest. But Jesus intervened: "Kings like to throw their weight around and people in authority like to give themselves fancy titles. It's not going to be that way with you. Let the senior among you become like the junior; let the leader act the part of the servant” (Luke 22:24-26, The Message).

    Prayer: Whose interests do I need to understand and value above my own?

    Related Readings: Ruth 1:16-18; Matthew 23:11; Luke 9:46-48; 22:27-30

    Post/Tweet today: It’s easier to get lost in leisure than to face the reality of a broken relationship. #valueothersmore

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

  • The Moment

    Lysa

    "And yet I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." (1 Corinthians 12:31 – 13:1 NIV)

    Each morning, I have a routine with my husband. It's simple. Nothing profound. Nothing for which we'd ever stop and snap a picture.

    It's just a moment.

    He asks me to help him pick a tie. He then goes away to fuss with this fixture of his professional job. Soon, he returns with a flipped up collar and a pressed down, knotted tie. He needs gentle hands to fold the collar over. Actually, he doesn't need. He wants gentle hands to fold the collar over.

    And I do.

    It's just a moment.

    But it's a moment when we follow the "excellent way" of love. In the intersection of this moment, we're once again saying to each other: I love you; I love you too.

    Now, please don't get an overly idyllic picture in your head of our marriage. Heavens, no. We have plenty of those "growth opportunity" moments too.

    But this moment with the tie, it's like a spot of glue ever tightening the bond between us day by day. It's so simple, and yet something I would miss with the deepest ache imaginable if today were the last of the moments.

    If today.

    Tears slip as I think about this. Dear God, help me think about this. Let me snap a hundred of these moments with the lens of my heart to be stored and appreciated and thought of as the great treasure they are.

    Let my mind park there.

    Let my heart relish there.

    Let my mouth dare to whisper what a joy this is. I love you. I love us. I love this moment each day.

    Our relationship isn't perfect; no relationship is perfect. We're two very strong-willed people with vastly different approaches to life. And, oh, how easy it would be to list all the differences. He likes the towel hanging in the same spot. I am more creative. But I stop the list there.

    I stop because great love isn't two people finding the perfect match in one another. Great love is two people making the choice to be a match. A decision. To fold his collar and snap the heart lens and find myself grateful to the point of tears. Tears of relishing today are so much better than tears of what was missed.

    It's just a moment.

    Or is it?

    Dear Lord, help me to appreciate each moment given to me. I want to park my mind on the daily moments I too often take for granted. Thank You for this joy, so simple but so sweet. In Jesus' name, Amen.

    Follow us on Facebook:


    Remember Let me snap a hundred "I love you" moments with the lens of my heart to be stored and appreciated and thought of as the great treasure they are.

    Reflect In what ways can you turn everyday moments into treasures? It may be as simple as relishing a moment in your heart or it may mean beginning a new moment every day, such as folding a collar over a necktie.

    Respond Discuss your "moments" with your spouse, your family, or a friend. Ask what stands out to them as important and meaningful and choose together to relish them. Take a photograph or journal about one moment.

    Power Verses 1 Peter 4:8; Psalm 90:12

    Taken from Encouragement for Today: Devotions for Everyday Living by Renee Swope, Lysa TerKeurst and Samantha Evilsizer. © 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

  • Spirit Led Living

    Boyd

    “So he said to me, ‘This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel.’ Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Zechariah 4:6

    The Holy Spirit is God’s fuel for living. He leads, convicts, comforts and gives courage. On the other hand the world promotes power and might. The world’s approach is forceful: If the door is closed knock it down, if you have the power and authority use it to make things happen. Lack of faith can panic and prematurely force unrighteous results.

    On the contrary, Spirit led living is about dependence. It is dependence on God rather than any other form of reliance. Money, might, and power are cheap imitations of God dependence. These temporal fortresses are fleeting. When all is said and done, they are undependable. Money, control and your title can be here today and gone tomorrow.

    But the Spirit of God wants you to grow in His awareness and follow His lead. Like a hurricane that gains strength as time passes, so does God’s Spirit. You cannot accomplish His best without the leadership and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. He may even lead you to places of discomfort as His desire is to place you in positions of dependence.

    The Holy Spirit led Jesus to the wilderness to be tempted by Satan, but the Word of God became Christ’s defense. He deflected the darts of the devil with the truth of God. It was an exercise of faith and obedience that drew Him closer to His heavenly Father. Instead of driving Him from God, it drew Him to God. The Holy Spirit’s goal is to get us to God.

    “Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him” (Matthew 4:10-11).

    Submission to God revives the Spirit of God. Come under the authority of God and you have a source of strength that is limitless and energizing. God’s Spirit also produces fruit and creates character. This is another benefit of Spirit led living. It is not about techniques and tactics. It is first and foremost about the character of Christ transforming your life.

    Power explodes from within your heart rather than exploiting others with threats. There is quiet confidence that comes from a deep abiding in Christ. Spirit led moms pray more than they worry. They train and teach their children and all the while trust them with God. Anxiety is replaced with abiding. They do their part and trust God to do His part.

    Spirit led living is all about engrafting the Word of God into your life. The Holy Spirit ignites the fuel of God’s Word into a blaze of obedience. This is the power that changes lives and communities for the greater good of God. This exhibition of power may only make the headlines of heaven. Wait on God—Be Spirit led—Watch His power prevail!

    “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life” (John 6:63).

    Prayer: Where is the Holy Spirit leading me that requires uncommon faith and obedience?

    Related Readings: Exodus 31:3; John 3:34; Acts 4:25-31; 2 Timothy 1:7

    Post/Tweet today: Lack of faith can panic and prematurely force unrighteous results. But trust in God waits on His best. #Spiritledliving

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

Items 1391 to 1400 of 2583 total

…to look after orphans and widows in their distress. James 1:27
Loading... Loading...