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Family Christian

  • Marriage Intentionality

    Posted on February 4, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Marriage should be honored by all.” Hebrews 13:4
    Successful marriages require intentionality. Indeed, most marriages that please the Lord do not happen by accident. There is a prayerful pattern of planning and wise choices that come with a meaningful marriage. The husband and wife honor one another by aspiring to each other’s interests. They connect at deeper emotional levels because they take the time to communicate their feelings. By God’s grace they understand each other's needs and help satisfy those needs.
    How can we be intentional with our spouse? Our acts of service are an example of how we can show them tangible ways we care. If we are the recipient of a deliciously prepared meal, we can insist on clearing the table and cleaning up the kitchen. If our car requires maintenance or repair, we can take the lead taking care of the need. Perhaps we collaborate over a grocery list and then quietly make a trip to the market and purchase the items. Intentional service shows love.
    “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13

     

    Moreover, intentional marriages set goals to get better. You may decide as a couple to dialogue daily, date weekly and depart quarterly. Daily dialogue is a sure fire way to keep the fire of your relationship burning brightly. Consistent emotional connection between husband and wife is necessary to feel loved. Weekly date nights give you an opportunity to romance one another and have fun. Intimacy takes intentionality. Make a marriage plan so life doesn’t make plans for you.

    Above all else, have spiritual intentionality in your marriage. Take the time for prayer walks and initiate talks about spiritual matters. Volunteer together at church and/or in your community. Keep your individual quiet times a priority and then share with one another what the Lord is teaching you. Perhaps you serve on a mission trip together at home and/or overseas. Marriage intentionality honors the Lord and honors you and your spouse. So, be prayerfully intentional!

    “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10

    Prayer: Dear Lord give us wisdom in our marriage to model Your intentional love and care.

    Related Readings: Psalm 133:1; Philippians 2:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Peter 1:22
    Post/Tweet today: Intentional marriages set goals to get better: dialogue daily, date weekly, depart quarterly. #marriage
    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry
    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • A Q&A with John Bevere on Relentless

    Posted on February 4, 2013 by John van der Veen

    John

    Marked by boldness and passion, John Bevere delivers uncompromising truth through his award-winning curriculums and best-selling books, now in more than 60 languages, including Extraordinary, The Bait of Satan, Drawing Near and Driven by Eternity. He is an international speaker and co-host of The Messenger TV program broadcast worldwide.

    John enjoys living in Colorado Springs with his wife, Lisa, also a best-selling author and speaker, and their four sons.

    Below is a question and answer that we did with John over his new book, Relentless.

    What drove you to write Relentless?

    In Ecclesiastes 7:8, Solomon wrote that “finishing is better than starting” (NLT). When we look at various areas of life—such as relationships, careers, or business endeavors—we know this to be true. How we finish is more important than how we begin. Yet I am honestly concerned that many believers are not going to finish well. As I have traveled and ministered for more than two decades, I have encountered so many who have walked away from the faith or lost their passion for God. Why? Because they were not armed to suffer. When trouble arose financially, physically, relationally, or spiritually they did not know how to fight in faith.

    Imagine an army going into war without any guns, bullets, or protective gear. It would be ludicrous! This army certainly would not win, and they might not even survive. This “strategy” sounds absurd, yet many in the Church are just as ill prepared for the hardships they will face in this life. And make no mistake, we will all face trials—Jesus promised as much in John 16:33. Therefore it is vital that God’s people are equipped for suffering. Relentless is a tool for arming believers with the Word of God so that they can fight these battles and come out on top.

    How did you wake up to "unlock your tenacity" for Christ?

    When I became a child of God in 1979, my mother told me, “John, this is one of your new fads. You’ll quit this just like you’ve quit everything else.” As stinging as her words were, they were not without cause. Whether it was sports, hobbies, or relationships, I had always given up. But I discovered that God gave me a new nature when I was born again. According to the apostles John and Peter, it wasn’t just a different human nature: it was God’s nature! (See 1 John 4:17 and 2 Peter 1:4.) Hebrews says, “Let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably” (12:28 NKJV). I discovered that God’s grace is what gives us the ability, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to live well and finish strong. Once I received these sure promises, I became a relentless believer.

    What are the biggest challenges Christian men face today and how can they be overcome?

    Standing for truth and not backing down to the crowd’s desire. The only way to overcome this is to have a close relationship with the Holy Spirit and regularly feed on God’s word.

    Do you think the evangelical church here in North America is doing well, or are we limping along?

    I am privileged to minister in some of the most innovative and passionate churches in North America. Yet I would still say that Americans are sometimes the hardest people in the world to minister to. The reason for this is that they are trying to understand kingdom principles from a democratic mindset. God’s kingdom is not a democracy: it’s a kingdom, and He alone is on the throne. This disconnect in the minds of American believers is especially apparent when teaching on subjects like honor and authority.

    What is your favorite winter sport? Why?

    Hockey. I played until I was 44 and then laid it down. Now it’s golf! It is my favorite sport every season of the year. So I bring my clubs wherever I go if the weather is suitable.

  • Follow Me - an intro to David Platt's new book Pt. 4

    Posted on February 4, 2013 by Family Christian

    David

    David Platt, author of the New York Times bestselling book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, wants to know: "What did Jesus really mean when He said, 'Follow me'?"

    Here is David talking about his new book.

    Praying the Sinner's Prayer

  • A Chat With Jake Ousley

    Posted on February 4, 2013 by Family Christian

    Jake

    Jake Ousley is a singer/songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee. And you are going to love him, if you don’t already. Sure, it’s his voice and songwriting that got you here. Because his songs pull at you like the feeling you get when you pull up to your house from being gone too long, or when you have a good night with great friends. That kind of sentiment in his songwriting is what got him here. But it’s also the talent and the time and the way he glides words up to music and makes them dance together.

    FCS: Can you give us a little background yourself?

    I was born in Jackson, Mississippi. I Lived there for the first 11 years of my life and then moved to Henderson, Kentucky when my dad’s department at International Paper got bough out by another company. I moved to Nashville, TN in 2003 to go to school at Belmont University, then spent 2008-2009 living right near Grand Rapids. So, Nashville feels like home now, but Grand Rapids is starting to become a close second as much time as I spend here.

    FCS: What’s it like living in Nashville?

    I love it. It’s a big city with a small town feel. You can get all the action you want on a Saturday night but still sit in a backyard in some neighborhood just 2 miles from downtown and feel like your miles from the city. I love that about it. Did I mention that it’s also a music town?

    FCS: You’ve been involved for quite a while with Young Life; how did that start with you?

    If I really think way back, I have to credit my sister Lindsay for introducing me to Young Life. Young Life had already been started up in Henderson, KY by the time my family moved there. My sister was the one who plugged in the local area as a Wyldlife leader. I was conveniently in middle school at the time, so, my early memories of Young Life were large gatherings of middle schoolers at this entertainment center place across the river from our hometown. A Hundred or so middle-schoolers terrorizing this place with video games and go –karts and everything else under the sun. Really fun.

    As I got older I became close with the area director at the time, Chris Dillbeck.  I grew up in the church, so I was familiar with what it meant to be a Christian, but Chris was the first person that I had ever encountered that seemed to really think about what it meant to connect what he believed and how he lived. It was an on-going conversation with him. Not only that, but he was more real than I had ever experienced anyone else to be. More raw. That helped me process the idea that faith and life are connected. I credit Young Life for that.

    From there, I had lots of involvement with Young Life. I spent several summers volunteering at different camps around the country doing what they call Work Crew, and Summer Staff.

    The most profound of all those experiences for me, though, was probably when I found Wilderness Ranch in Creede, Colorado. I spent one summer at this Young Life based backpacking ministry in 2007 and was hooked. I came back 3 summers after that serving as a Trail Guide. Trail guides were responsible for taking high school students on 6 day back packing trips. You can imagine the stories

    All of those summers during high school and college were so full, but my favorite of all was being at Wilderness in the San Juan Mountains in late may. There’s often still snow on the ground then…and its beautiful. Some of my favorites times have been with the community there at Wilderness.

    FCS: There is some great history with Young Life and the artists coming from the organization – is there anyone you look up to that’s walked this line before you?

    Oh man. Well… All of them? Ha. Ha. I mean… I was a Bebo Norman fan. I don’t know who wasn’t after Ten Thousand Days came out. I still listen to that record every now and then. And I’ve had minimal interaction with Ed Cash. I love his production, again…who doesn’t?

    But the first person I ever met at a young life event that kind of introduced me to the idea of what a special musician was, was Dave Barnes. Dave and I met at a weekend in Indiana and hit it off from the get go. He was the older, way cooler, version of me in my own mind. Ha. Maybe other 16 year olds were thinking the same thing, but we stayed in touch and became pretty good buddies when I moved to Nashville to go to Belmont in 2003. If you know Dave, you know that there’s not many people, that don’t like him. But he had a significant impact on me both personally and musically in those early days. We still hang out today. So that’s cool.

    FCS: I understand that you’ve spent time touring as a manager for another friend of FCS, Matt Wertz.  Tell us about that experience.

    Yeah! Those are funny days to look back on. I wasn’t cut out to be a tour manager. Matt really put with a lot to have someone out on the road as young and inexperienced as I was. Ha.

    I took a leave of absence from Belmont my second semester – that was the official term for it if you didn’t want to say you were “dropping out” – and went on the road with Wertz. Again, it was comical because I am an obvious, right brained, dreamer, creative type. So, to have a job where I was responsible for a lot of logistical, moving parts and a lot of major, day-to-day details was quite a stretch for my personality. Matt had a ton of grace with me. We luckily – thank the lord -  can laugh about it today.

    If I learned anything about an independent musicians career during that time it was how much it helps to show people that you are thankful. I remember very vividly the nights where Matt would wear out his voice from talking to people after shows. It put something in me deep to watch that.

    FCS: When did you decide that music was for you?

    I’m not positive I’ve decided yet. Ha! No… I kind of fell in love with the idea of the acoustic guitar as soon as I saw it. My dad had one tucked underneath his bed in our house in Kentucky. I think I tried to figure out to play it about 1,000,000,000 times before he realized I wasn’t going to stop and bought me an official lesson.

    As far as listening to music, it was probably early Chris Rice songs and some James Taylor stuff that really made me fall in love with the singer-songwriter thing. (I’ve told Chris that, now just need to meet James Taylor somehow…anybody?) There’s something really honest about just one person and their instrument. Ya know?

    FCS: So let’s talk a little about your music.  How do you describe your music?  Where do you find inspiration?

    That has become a challenge. Sometimes it depends on who you’re talking to. The more I’ve played though, the more I’ve been told that I sound like the guy from Rascall Flatts, and then occasionally James Taylor, and Hunter Hayes. I take all of those as massive compliments. Gary LeVox is probably one of the better singers I’ve ever heard. And Hunter Hayes is easily as talented. If I can sing half the licks those guys can in a few years, I’ll feel pretty good.

    The country thing is funny to me because it really just happened. All through college I was much more in to independent Singer-Songwriters like David Gray, David Mead, etc. Also, it’s apparent that I was into singers named David. Ha. But guys like that were definitely not country music. So, it’s funny to get compared to people that I wasn’t listening to in the beginning. I have warmed up to a lot to Country Music though in the last few years.

    This new record, Counting Down The Days is really a blend of Americana, pop, and country influences. There are some songs on this album that were intentionally written to a pop audience and then some more written to an Allison Kraus kind of vibe too.

    I find inspiration from everything. That sounds broad. I know. I just to mean to say that I’m a passionate person that loves living. That also sounds very general. Hang with me…ha… Most of my most heart-felt songs seem to center around relationship. Whether its one ending or beginning, or struggling to survive…a lot of my songs come from my own personal experience or experiences I’ve heard about first hand from friends.

    And then a lot of the time I’ll hear a song that will make me want to write a song. I wrote “When It Rains” with Josh Robinson after listening to “Even the Rain” by Gabe Dixon about a thousand times. I love the idea and the word pictures he creates in that song.

    FCS: You have a new album out, Counting Down the Days – tell us a little about it.

    Well…for one it was a ton of fun making it. Just Robinson and Matt Campbell – the guys who produced it – are really talented and did an incredible job finding the right production for these songs. The 9 songs were written over the course of about a year in 2011.

    I am more proud of this record than of anything I’ve done so far. I listen to it like its not my own sometimes. Ha ha. AND I feel really blessed to have been able to successfully fund the whole project through Kickstarter, a website that helps people fund creative projects. There’s no way I would have ever been able to record an album of this quality without the support of all the people that funded it through Kickstarter.

    FCS: You have quite the tour schedule right now – what’s been your favorite venue to play at recently?

    I do. It’s exciting. Well, I mentioned loving Grand Rapids. So, the Intersection isn’t bad. But a few others would be Common Grounds in Waco, Texas and then Natasha’s Bistro in Lexington, Kentucky. I’ve got some great friends in both places, and it always seems to be a good time if we go through those cities.

    FCS: Alright – one last question – energy drinks or Starbucks?  Given all your driving for your tours, I have to assume it’s one of them.

    I’m a massive coffee fan. I’ve had to develop some self-control in the coffee arena lately. I do a ton of driving so its too easy to pull off at every Starbucks I see. But I love straight, black coffee from Starbucks. No red-bulls, No monsters, No 5-hour energy. Just black coffee.

    Endorsements:

    “Jake has been a dear friend for a long long time, so when he told me he had started to write and sing i didn’t know if he was joking or not. But it’s no joke, my friends. His songs get stuck in my head, as much, if not more than some of my favorite artists out there. He has the unique gift of having a voice that perfectly suits his songs, both of which I LOVE.”

    - Dave Barnes

    “Jake Ousley sings with an earnestness and longing that draw me in every time. His songs, like Jake, draw from a deep well that is instantly endearing and relatable- you’re gonna love him!”

    – Matt Wertz

  • The Joneses are Overrated

    Posted on February 4, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen

    "For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well-fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:11-13 (HCSB)

    Psst ... I have a little secret.

    The Joneses are overrated.

    Oh, I know we'd never think that from the way the Joneses appear, but they are not all they're cracked up to be.

    In my mom's day, you only saw the Joneses a few times a week. Maybe you bumped into them on your way into church or perhaps at the PTA meeting. You know, as you were getting into your dented and faded grey mini van while they were piling happily into their new spit-shined Chevrolet.

    What a difference a decade (or two) makes! The Joneses now perpetually parade in front of our eyes nearly 24 hours a day. Where?

    On our computer news feeds. And smart phones. On Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. The "look at me!" Joneses and all their profile-picture-perfect lives. It can tempt us to become jealous and discontent.

    One day an online friend posted: "Fettuccini Alfredo, fresh beans from the garden, and my famous raspberry cheesecake. It's what's for dinner!" A second friend's status read: "Who-hoo! Paid off the mortgage. We're now debt-free!" And still another, "Our Jimmy got student of the month!"

    All of this took place while I was ordering pizza (for the second time that week!), piecing together the mortgage money and answering a call from the middle school vice-principal's office where my son sat, busted for an inappropriate prank.

    Yes, the Joneses invade our homes and our thoughts several times a day through social media and the Internet, robbing us of contentment. Why?

    Comparisons.

    Comparisons always deal a deathblow to our contentment. When we see others owning, enjoying, or experiencing what we do not have, but wish we did, it may make us discontent.

    In a letter to the believers in Philippi, the Apostle Paul penned Philippians 4:11-13 which begins "For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am."

    The Greek word rendered "content" here denotes more than just a throwing up of arms in reluctant acceptance. At its hub it literally means: "to be satisfied to the point where I am no longer disturbed or disquieted."

    God has already prepared a place of contentment for us when the car breaks down, the bills are hard to meet, and our "Johnny" acts out ... again. We find that place when we take our eyes off of our situation (and off of the screen) and fix them solely upon God.

    When we adopt this attitude, we live out the truth I once heard author Elisabeth Elliot declare: "The difference is Christ in me. Not me in a different set of circumstances."

    To truly embrace our circumstances, we must decide to stop pleading, "God, get me out of here!" and learn to humbly ask instead, "Lord, why have You brought me here? What are You trying to reveal to me that I would never discover if You were to suddenly pluck me out of this situation? What godly character qualities are You trying to grow in me? Patience? Trust? Faith? Compassion?"

    When we cease making comparisons and instead willingly embrace our current lot in life, welcoming all that God will teach us through it, we will finally unearth the secret Paul knew. True contentment is not merely having what you want, it is wanting nothing more than what you already have.

    We can only do this when we stop looking at the Joneses and turn our eyes to Jesus Christ who gives us strength.

    Dear Lord, forgive me for looking around and comparing myself or my circumstances to others. May I look only to You for contentment and peace. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    If you want more encouragement on this topic, check out Karen Ehman's new book and DVD curriculum LET. IT. GO. How to Stop Running the Show & Start Walking in Faith.

    Reflect and Respond:
    In what areas of your life do comparisons impact your contentment? Marriage? Children? Finances? Work? Relationships? Looks?

    Pick one of those areas and write out a prayer to God asking Him to shift your perspective from comparing to being content. Post it next to your computer screen or on your bathroom mirror.

    Power Verse:
    Proverbs 14:30 "A tranquil heart is life to the body, but jealousy is rottenness to the bones." (HCSB)

    © 2013 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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

  • Shattered Plans

    Posted on February 3, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “My days have passed, my plans are shattered, and so are the desires of my heart.”  Job 17:11

     

    Sometimes, our plans do not go as we had hoped. In fact they are shattered. They’re obliterated in front of our very eyes. You were almost breathless when  your dismissal finally sunk in. In your shock, you could have been pushed over with a feather. Certainly plans are made to be adjusted, but this one blew up in your face. You were devastated. You had positioned your career for this one opportunity, and it failed to materialize. Even now, your emotions vacillate between bewilderment and anger toward God, and your future feels gnarled and disjointed. You feel emasculated. It doesn’t make any sense. The money was there, along with the relationships and resources that were poised for deployment. It was as if the stars were aligned. Then suddenly, your plan became irrelevant and it vanished overnight.

     

    Now you are positioned to start over. It is hard to assemble the energy to withstand another assault on your vision. It is time to give up and give in to defeat because God is still in control. He controls your plans and their successful launch. He can still be trusted going forward. Just because things have not worked out according to your timetable is no reason to quit trusting Him. Trust the Lord with a re-engineered plan that will be better than the old one. His ways are much better than your ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).

     

    There is no human comprehension to what God has in store if you remain faithful to Him. Indeed, His ways (Isaiah 2:3) can be hard to understand. The cycle of digesting His will into your mind and soul is like “chewing cud,” a repetitive process that requires time and patience. The desires of your heart need validation. This is part of His plan, and this is where prayer plays a vital role. Take the broken pieces of your plan and place them at the feet of Jesus. He will take your shattered plan and piece it back together with His enhancements. A crushed plan in the hand of Christ has much more potential than your perfect plan buried in your grasp. You limit the Lord by holding on in distrust or fear.

     

    Lastly, like the expressed genius of an artist, the newly formed plan has the depth and breadth of a masterpiece. It is an original crafted by the hand of God. Therefore, do not settle for anything less than your Master’s plan. His master plan is monumental and can move mountains. Your desires may be dead, but now is the time to submit to God in a fresh and humble way. Watch in delight as He resurrects your desires to align and connect with His. He has slowed you down so your plans partner with His. See your shattered plan as a blessing, not a curse. God loves to take what is broken, lift it up, and make it whole again. Place your plans and your heart in His hands.

     

    He is the author and the finisher of your faith (Hebrews 12:2). He is the plan provider, and He makes shattered plans better.

     

    Post/Tweet: A crushed plan in the hand of Christ has much more potential than our perfect plan buried in our grasp. #plan

  • God or Money

    Posted on February 2, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money” (Matthew 6:24).

     

    How do you know if you love God or money more? Ask yourself if you worry more about missing your prayer time or missing your paycheck. Are you more anxious about what the Almighty thinks, or do you obsess over the opinion of others? Are you driven to seek God’s kingdom first or to blindly build your own kingdom? Devotion to the eternal or the temporal is a choice. It cannot be to both. One really captures your worship.

     

    Money makes promises it cannot keep, like security, peace, and prosperity. But the Lord makes promises He does keep, like grace, forgiveness, joy, and contentment.  When the commands of these two contradict, will you follow Christ or cash? Decide now, so when you are in the emotion of the moment you do not give in to glittering gold.

     

    What keeps you up at night? Is it how to make more money or how to make more of Jesus? Set your affections above, and you will be more effective below. The Lord is looking for His children with whom He can entrust more of His blessings. He longs for the faithful who use their finances to draw lost souls to salvation, hurting people to healing, and who boldly pray, “Your kingdom come…on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

     

    Perhaps you take your family on a mission trip to see how the masses live with little money but with a lot of the Lord. It is revolutionary for a soul that has been seduced by the mistress of money to see how believers without stuff affectionately embrace their Lord and Savior Jesus. Expose your faith to the poor, so you are liberated from wealth.

     

    This is a heart issue. Who captures your affections—your Savior or your stuff? Money makes a poor master but a useful servant. Indeed, Jesus is the trustworthy Master with whom you can place your faith and devotion. Money tries to maneuver itself into a place of priority, but by faith you can relegate it to serve righteous causes. Love Him, not it.

     

    “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

     

    Prayer: What masters my mind and holds my heart—God or money? Who needs my money?

     

    Related Readings: Malachi 3:8–10; Matthew 6:10; Colossians 3:1–10; 1Timothy 6:6–10

     

    Taken from the Febraury 1st reading in the new 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God” vol. 2... ... http://bit.ly/Tv6y9a

     

    Post/Tweet: Set your affections above, and you will be more effective below. #heaven

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Self-Deception

    Posted on February 1, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12

     

    Self-deception is the worst kind of dishonesty because it is so convincing. Subtly it convenes our mind and emotions to ally around a lie. For example, self-deception whispers into the ear of our heart, “You are so smart and capable,” but it forgets to include Christ’s influence in its instruction. Then we wander down a prayerless path, forged in our own strength, only to discover we missed God’s best by a mile.

     

    In reality, we are only as prosperous as our Lord allows. He makes our path straight and successful as He defines success. “I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths” (Proverbs 4:11). To which voice do you adhere—your own or your Savior’s? Perhaps His plan is for you to make less money and have more family time. Maybe you turn down this promotion and trust Him for a better one in a different season.

     

    “The pride of your heart has deceived you” (Obadiah 1:3).

     

    We can talk ourselves into anything, especially as it relates to money. I can easily justify a new house, car, kitchen, furniture, floors, or grill. But do I really need to upgrade or just repair what I have? How can the Lord trust me with something newer if I have not been a good steward of what He has already given me? Trustworthy people can be trusted with more, but the untrustworthy lose opportunities. Thus manage well your present possessions.

     

    Self-deceivers are self-destroyers; so avoid self-delusion by being accountable. Give others permission to ask you uncomfortable, even hard, questions. Better to be embarrassed sooner than humiliated later. Humility invites the inspection of loving friends into our lives. You do much better when others provide loving accountability.

     

    “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be” (Jeremiah 17:9 msg).

     

    Prayer: Am I transparent with my money and motives? What do God and godly advisors think?

     

    Related Readings: Psalm 1:6; Isaiah 59:8; Matthew 7:13–14; Galatians 6:3

     

    Post/Tweet today: Self deception convenes our mind and emotions to ally around a lie. #lie

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Follow Me - an intro to David Platt's new book Pt. 3

    Posted on February 1, 2013 by Family Christian

    David

    David Platt, author of the New York Times bestselling book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, wants to know: "What did Jesus really mean when He said, 'Follow me'?"

    For the next few days, we are going to be offering some video snippets from David regarding his new book.

    Customizable Jesus

  • How Do I Know If I'm Called

    Posted on February 1, 2013 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy

    "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

    I stood at the sink and gazed out the window. In that moment, the Lord impressed the strangest words on my heart: "Wendy, your house will become a house of prayer and teaching."

    The thought of opening my heart and home to share Jesus was not even a blip on my radar screen. I did not know a soul in this new town and had no idea what God meant by those words. Was He really calling me to teach and pray for women?

    As I sought God's will for that time in my life, He led me to Ephesians 2:10: "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." It was the start of God confirming His calling in my life at that time.

    Here are some steps the Lord showed me to know I was hearing Him correctly:

    Humble your heart before the Lord.
    Humility is necessary for a teachable heart. To discover our calling, we must set aside our agendas and surrender to God's. We cannot have a predetermined plan and then invite God to complete it. We need to ask, "What are You calling me to do right here and now?"

    Examine your life experiences and current circumstances.
    God uses life experiences (family, education, vocation, spiritual gifts, trials, etc.) to mold, train, and equip us. Sometimes what we want to hide - the horrible trials we want to forget - are the very things God wants to use the most.

    We all suffer trials. Sometimes we surrender and lean on God. When we do, we come out the other side victorious and God is glorified. Nothing is worthless. Everything has value. God uses it all to shape us for our calling.

    Apply your gifts, talents and abilities.
    Gifts and abilities will give you the strongest indication of what your calling is. God will match your calling with your capabilities. He equips those He calls.

    In determining your calling, look at your gifts:

    • What are your strengths?
    • What brings out your passion?
    • How do people respond when you act in your giftedness?

    Read, study and pray God's Word.
    As we seek God's calling, He will direct our steps and confirm what He says. The most common way He does this is through His Word. He can also use avenues like pastors, friends, and Bible studies to direct us, or even things in the culture around us.

    Trust in God's timing and in His answer.
    God will lead you to do things that require you to TRUST in Him. They will always be perfectly orchestrated and timed to display His honor and glory.

    The more you need God to do a task, the more you will rely on Him. If you feel rushed, unorganized, and lack inner peace, these are signs you are not in His will or it is not in His timing.

    As I opened my home for my first Bible study, joy and amazement filled my heart as the women came through the door one by one. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I remembered God's Word to me that first day in my kitchen. "Wendy, your house will become a house of prayer and teaching."

    What has He told you that you are called to do?

    Father in heaven, thank You that You have good plans for us. You know our every need, deepest desires, and hurting places. Lord, as we seek to know You and the calling You have on us more, would You open the eyes of our heart to see the wonderful things You have planned? In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Replace any lack of self-confidence with lasting God-confidence with A Confident Heart by Renee Swope!

    Reflect and Respond:
    Humble your heart before the Lord.
    Examine your life experiences and current circumstances.
    Apply your gifts, talents and abilities.
    Read, study and pray God's Word.
    Trust in God's timing and in His answer.

    Power Verse:
    Philippians 1:6, "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

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