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Family Christian

  • When I Stray

    Posted on January 15, 2013 by Lynn Cowell

    Lynn

    "I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them." Hosea 11:4 (NIV)

    How could I have messed up, falling for that same old trap? I didn't mean to. It wasn't like I purposefully tried to make her look bad. Yet, once again, I didn't think before I spoke about a mutual friend during lunch. My careless words cast my friend in a negative light.

    I felt awful and questioned if I'd ever be who I wanted to be: a woman who guards her words wisely. Though I purpose each day to live in a way that brings honor to God, some times I stray from His ways. And that was one of those times.

    Later that day I threw myself into busyness to push down the shame of my conversation. But no matter how much I vacuumed, carpooled or read, the only relief I could find came through prayer.

    Prayer should have been the first place I turned. It's in conversation with Jesus that He leads me away from my unwise choices and whispers, "I forgive you." He invites me to accept His forgiveness. When I mess up, Jesus' tenderness and love draws me back to Him and His ways. As Hosea 11:4 says, love is the "cord" He uses to bring us again into fellowship with Him.

    God has a lot of experience when it comes to drawing back runaways. In fact, God's people, the Israelites, strayed from Him by choosing sin and walking apart from His commands. Time after time they left their Lord and time after time He pursued them ... with love, as seen in Hosea 11:4. "I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them" (NIV).

    God contrasts His gentle guidance with that of a farmer bringing back a runaway animal. The farmer, frustrated with the heifer's action, might drag the animal back to the pen with a heavy rope. Unlike the firm hand the farmer may have to use to lead the cattle, the Lord tells us that when we run from His best, His hand leading us home is tender and kind.

    After asking for forgiveness of the friend I'd spoken with, I was glad when I discovered my words hadn't altered our relationship. The grace I received from my friend, and God, has caused me to be more careful. God's kindness makes me want to be like Him, extending that same gentleness in my words and relationships.

    Some days, our sin weighs us down and leads us far from the Lord. Yet, God is there, waiting to lead us back, with love, to Him. Today, instead of being stubborn or unresponsive, let's follow God's gentle pull back to His heart and His ways.

    Dear Lord, thank You that YOU don't throw me in the pit of my own mistakes. I love You for the way You love me ... so perfectly! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Help a teen girl in your life learn Jesus' perfect love and forgiveness every day of the year! Lynn's new book Devotions for a Revolutionary Year - 365 Days of Jesus' Radical Love for You is a great resource!

    Reflect and Respond:
    Write Hosea 11:4 and have it in a handy place to remind you of the care and tenderness of your Father.

    Do you resist following the Lord's lead of love? Sit in prayer today, asking Him to give you a heart of obedience.

    Power Verses:
    Leviticus 26:13, "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high." (NIV 1984)

    Jeremiah 31:3 "The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: 'I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.'" (NIV 1984)

    © 2013 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

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

  • A Friend's Rejection

    Posted on January 14, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God.” Psalm 55:12-14

     

    The worst kind of rejection may be the rejection of a friend. You expect it from an enemy, but not from a friend. It doesn’t make sense that someone you communed with around Christ would come back and crush you with rejection. Rejection integrated with religious pretense is rough. It challenges our trust in people in general, and our faith in God in particular. With a recognized foe you can see it coming, however, with a pretend friend it takes you by surprise. You feel ambushed by unauthentic living. One day you are laughing together around life’s little peculiarities and the next day you are dazed by the anger of an unstable man. It is haunting and humbling at the same time. You don’t know whether to lash back or languish in disillusionment. Friendly betrayal is frightening.

    Reproaches from those we have been intimate with cut to the quick. They know our strengths and our weaknesses. They know where we are vulnerable. They know how to exploit our struggles, taking advantage of our good will. It is like you have been emotionally naked with someone, and now you feel embarrassed because of his or her indiscretions. What happened to the person you once knew? How could you have been so deceived? It may have been a decade of deceit embedded in your marriage vows. It may have been financial fraud and embezzlement over a long period of time. It may be a hidden addiction that has all the while hijacked your relationship for their creditability.

    Our Lord Jesus of course had one for whom he trusted to the point of managing the money. He was close to Christ in proximity, but far away in faith. For Judas it was all about the cash. It was money that motivated him in the beginning, and money that was his downfall in the end. Money motivated men may be pleasant on the outside, but they are full of themselves on the inside. They set you up for their own selfish plan. We see it after the fact. It is so clear. But in the beginning we can be easily deceived. Therefore, really get to know someone before you heavily invest. In time they can be trusted.

    Lastly, avoid the temptation to reject those who have rejected you. This is our natural response. However under the influence of the Holy Spirit our right response is to forgive their failings, regardless of how radical their behavior. We are all candidates for sin, even gross sin. Without God’s grace and the accountability of a committed community of believers, we are deceivers with the best of them. The worst deceivers have been the most deceived. Paul stated well our role toward those trapped in sin, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). Yes rejection by a trusted friend is fiendish and false hearted. However we are called to be forgiving and pure hearted. Do not stoop to their standards that are sub par with your Savior’s. By God’s grace rise above rejection!

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the grace to accept those from whom I feel rejected.
    Related Readings: Isaiah 33:1; Jeremiah 12:6; Matthew 27:3-4; 1 Corinthains 11:23-24

    Post/Tweet today: Rejection integrated with religious pretense is rough on relationships. #rejection

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry
    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • New Dreams for a New Year

    Posted on January 14, 2013 by Family Christian

    Amy

    "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)

    Adulthood often seems like the place where dreams go to die. As a little girl my heart brimmed over with dreams. My parents' and teachers' encouragement convinced me anything was possible, so my prospects increased by the day.

    I pictured myself traveling the countryside curing animals like James Herriott in All Creatures Great and Small. I envisioned myself as nanny-extraordinaire like Mary Poppins or an exquisite singer like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music.

    The advent of middle school challenged my girlish dreams. Not-so-encouraging peers, realizations of my limitations, and a few failures and hard knocks made me more cautious about my future. Although some dreams remained, others died along the way.

    Sitting in a room of friends recently, I listened attentively as they shared a graveyard of dreams. Some dreams were killed by belittling from people who should have been supporters. Other dreams died a slow death when the realities of rent and grocery bills took precedence. Still others had been set on a shelf under a dusty dome of "some day." They wondered if God had forgotten the dreams in their hearts.

    They aren't alone. The Bible records story after story of dreamers who had to wait for the fulfillment of their dreams.

    Abraham dreamt of a promised nation.

    Isaac dreamt of a beautiful woman in a strange land.

    Hannah dreamt of a child.

    Samuel dreamt of a godly king.

    God is not only the weaver of dreams, but He answers them as well. God has limitless creativity, and His creation longs for the opportunity to create and build and produce things of value. He is the one who plants dreams in our heart to be held until the time is right to bring them to life.

    I encourage you today to take out your dreams, resuscitate them if necessary and examine them. There may be childhood dreams that need to be allowed to slip away, like balloons gently released into the sky. But what about the others?

    Are there any buried dreams that need to be dusted off, held in your hands and offered back to God? He's the one who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine with the ideas He's given. Offer those dreams a new start in this New Year.

    Dear Lord, I embrace the dreams You've given me. Help me resist discouragement and hold on to them until I see Your power bring them to reality. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Do you ever feel like you're not good enough, smart enough, or valuable enough? If you struggle with self-doubt, pick up a copy of A Confident Heart by Renee Swope for biblical truth and encouragement!

    Reflect and Respond:
    Is there a dream you've let die and need to bring back to life?

    Start a journal and write down your dreams. Read them aloud to God and ask Him to show you the ones that He's placed in your heart to hold.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 37:4-6, "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun." (NIV 1984)

    Psalm 20:4, "May he grant you your heart's desire and fulfill all your plans!" (ESV)

    © 2013 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

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

  • New Dreams for a New Year

    Posted on January 14, 2013 by Amy Carroll

    Amy

    "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)

    Adulthood often seems like the place where dreams go to die. As a little girl my heart brimmed over with dreams. My parents' and teachers' encouragement convinced me anything was possible, so my prospects increased by the day.

    I pictured myself traveling the countryside curing animals like James Herriott in All Creatures Great and Small. I envisioned myself as nanny-extraordinaire like Mary Poppins or an exquisite singer like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music.

    The advent of middle school challenged my girlish dreams. Not-so-encouraging peers, realizations of my limitations, and a few failures and hard knocks made me more cautious about my future. Although some dreams remained, others died along the way.

    Sitting in a room of friends recently, I listened attentively as they shared a graveyard of dreams. Some dreams were killed by belittling from people who should have been supporters. Other dreams died a slow death when the realities of rent and grocery bills took precedence. Still others had been set on a shelf under a dusty dome of "some day." They wondered if God had forgotten the dreams in their hearts.

    They aren't alone. The Bible records story after story of dreamers who had to wait for the fulfillment of their dreams.

    Abraham dreamt of a promised nation.

    Isaac dreamt of a beautiful woman in a strange land.

    Hannah dreamt of a child.

    Samuel dreamt of a godly king.

    God is not only the weaver of dreams, but He answers them as well. God has limitless creativity, and His creation longs for the opportunity to create and build and produce things of value. He is the one who plants dreams in our heart to be held until the time is right to bring them to life.

    I encourage you today to take out your dreams, resuscitate them if necessary and examine them. There may be childhood dreams that need to be allowed to slip away, like balloons gently released into the sky. But what about the others?

    Are there any buried dreams that need to be dusted off, held in your hands and offered back to God? He's the one who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine with the ideas He's given. Offer those dreams a new start in this New Year.

    Dear Lord, I embrace the dreams You've given me. Help me resist discouragement and hold on to them until I see Your power bring them to reality. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Do you ever feel like you're not good enough, smart enough, or valuable enough? If you struggle with self-doubt, pick up a copy of A Confident Heart by Renee Swope for biblical truth and encouragement!

    Reflect and Respond:
    Is there a dream you've let die and need to bring back to life?

    Start a journal and write down your dreams. Read them aloud to God and ask Him to show you the ones that He's placed in your heart to hold.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 37:4-6, "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun." (NIV 1984)

    Psalm 20:4, "May he grant you your heart's desire and fulfill all your plans!" (ESV)

    © 2013 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

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

  • Wise Living

    Posted on January 13, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Who is wise?  He will realize these things.  Who is discerning?  He will understand them.  The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” Hosea 14:9

     

    Wise living keeps the realization and understanding of God in the vortex of your thinking.  God awareness is a centerpiece. “What would Jesus do?” becomes a way of life.  His desires, His motivations, His thoughts, and His character become paramount in your thinking.  This leads to wise living because it is based on Christ-like living.  God’s ways are the path to wisdom.  The wisdom of God is unfathomable.  But He is willing to share it.  In fact, His preference is to shower His children with raindrops of wisdom.  He delights in imparting His game plan for living.

     

    However, it takes a regular realization on our part for the wisdom of God to penetrate our thinking.  We must become people of the book.  Joshua said it best: “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8).

     

    Wise living includes the ability to discern right from wrong and good from best.  Use the Bible as your guide for wise recommendations.  Your ability to discern will grow as you mature in the faith.  You may be a pretty good judge of character, but God wants to grow you in this area.  Your discernment is a gift to your husband for protection against unwise decision-making (I Corinthians 2:14).  He may not appreciate this yet, but if he is wise, he will.  Therefore, present your insights with grace and humility. By faith, extract your overly aggressive emotion and replace it with a prayerful appeal.  Hold your suggestions with an open hand,trusting God to work on your husband in His timing.  He is accountable to God.  Sweet relief.  You don’t have to change him, but God can.

     

    What God changes stays changed.  What you change has a tendency to revert to its old way of doing things.  You see what needs to be done as clearly as the nose on your face.  Be patient.  Let your husband fail.  Plant seeds, pray, and watch the Holy Spirit turn the heart of your husband toward the right direction.  It is not about you convincing him. Rather, it is all about the Spirit of God convincing him.  If he is wise, he will seek your discernment (Proverbs 18:15).  He may have to fall on his face first.  Use your discernment as a steady-handed and skilled surgeon would a sharp scalpel.  Avoid bludgeoning him with your accurate insights.  The right timing, tone, and transparency are terrifically effective.

     

    Wise is the husband or wife who listens to their spouse.  Therefore, be humble and teachable.  Understanding and discernment will follow.  This is wise living.

     

    Post/Tweet: It is unwise to flirt with friendships that dilute growth with God. #friends

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Hate Evil

    Posted on January 12, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech” (Proverbs 8:13).

     

    The word hate makes us uncomfortable. It has a harsh and uncaring ring and reputation. However, there is a holy hatred of evil that is allowed and even expected by almighty God. Authentic Christianity is not easy on evil because it breaks the heart of God and destroys the soul of man. Evil is an encroachment by the enemy on eternity’s agenda.

     

    It takes down leaders who let pride and arrogance seep into their thick skulls and stay there. Indeed, if the rules apply to everyone but the leader, then it is just a matter of time before the fear of the Lord becomes a foreign concept. Sin is out of bounds for any child of God who abounds in His love and grace.

     

    It is the wisdom of Christ that warms the heart, instructs the mind, and leads the way into behavior defined by truth. The Bible says, “God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2–3 NASB).

     

    Gossip, greed, jealousy, and lies are all evil intentions that corrupt a culture of transparency, generosity, contentment, and honesty. Stress can bring out the best and worst in others; so make sure, by the grace of God, you rise above the petty politics of blame.

     

    Wisdom and maturity take responsibility and seek to lead the team in excellent execution of a proven strategy. If you do nothing, the naysayers will negotiate in fear and division. Furthermore, fight evil without fanfare, but by faith and wise work deliver constant and creditable results, and your antagonists will grow quiet.

     

    It is the humility and wisdom of Christ that defeats evil initiatives. Therefore, give Him the glory, get the job done, and trust the Lord with the results. Hard times can produce hard hearts, unless you overcome evil with a humble heart of prayer and bold faith. Evil is extinguished through intense intercession of prayer from pure people.

     

    The Bible says, “Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with” (James 5:16–17 The Message).

     

    Prayer: What does a holy hatred of evil look like in my life?

     

    Related Readings: Amos 5:15; Zechariah 8:17; Romans 12:9; 2 Timothy 2:19

     

    Post/Tweet: Sin is out of bounds for any child of God who abounds in His love and grace. #sin

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Big Challenges

    Posted on January 11, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:36-37

    Big challenges challenge those strongest in the faith. David faced the biggest challenge of his young life when his life and liberties (economic, political, religious) were at risk. However, the Lord is larger than any hard times looming on the horizon. Heaven’s resources are more than adequate to face down earth’s formidable giants of fear or hopelessness. Challenges are Christ’s opportunity to lead us into intimacy and innovation with Him. The Lord likes a challenge.

    What big obstacle are you facing that threatens your security? Look back on God’s track record of faithfulness and take heart at His effectiveness. You may face the giant of loneliness in your home. You can feel lonelier married than single, if the one you love does not love you back. Get alone with your heavenly Father for His comforting presence. He cares. Seek out the support of a safe community with whom you can be vulnerable. Giants flee in the face of praying friends.

    “We boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.” 1 Thessalonians 1:4

    Perhaps uncontrolled anger is consistently the big challenge you face. The stress of life has led you into unhealthy habits. Alcohol is like a fuse that detonates an explosion of anger in your mind. It numbs your heart. Allow the grace of God to heal your hurting heart or you will continue to hurt others. Take your pain to the cross and crucify it where Christ died for your sins. Healing comes as you are honest with yourself, God and others. Receive God’s forgiveness and forgive yourself.

    Above all else, look into the face of your heavenly Father as you face big challenges. He will give you the wisdom to get the work done. He will give you the relationships and resources that resonate with what needs to be accomplished. He will give you the faith to keep moving forward. There is no mountain of tribulation that you cannot traverse  with  trust in the Lord. Stay on the journey with Jesus and He will see you through. Big challenges reveal your big God!

    “None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” Romans 8:37-39, The Message

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for facing down my big challenges for Christ sake.

    Related Readings: Job 16:20; Isaiah 41:10; John 16:33; 2 Peter 2:9; Revelation 3:10

    Post/Tweet today: Look into the face of your heavenly Father as you face big challenges. #trust

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • A Comfy Girl on Adventure

    Posted on January 11, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie

    "They asked him to stay longer, but he declined." Acts 18:20 (NLT)

    I have a comfy throw I snuggle in when watching my favorite TV program.

    I wear faded and worn jeans at home.

    I have a pair of shoes needing to be retired, but they fit in all the right places, so I keep them handy. Just in case.

    I love comfort; yet following Christ means that God often leads me out of my comfort zone.

    Paul the apostle modeled a life far from comfort. When he wasn't in prison for preaching about Jesus, he had a packed travel schedule. He preached in Thessalonica, traveled to Berea, spoke in the synagogue in Athens, made his way to Corinth, set sail for Syria, and made a brief stop in Ephesus. At Ephesus the crowd was eager for him to stay.

    After all that travel, can you imagine how tempting that invitation must have been? It would be so easy to settle in with new friends to enjoy a respite from the unfriendly religious leaders, accusations, and fatigue of ministry.

    Instead, Paul said a simple goodbye with a promise to return one day, God willing.

    Five years ago I was invited to speak in Europe. Sounds amazing, right? It was, except for the fear that lodged right in the center of my chest as God called me away from my cozy throw and faded jeans. We were traveling to three countries and six cities in 10 days. There were language barriers to overcome. The speaking schedule was intense. And massive cultural differences had to be hurdled, especially in the area of faith.

    There were times I was far outside my comfort zone on that journey. But I also had a front row seat to watch God work.

    We witnessed the faith of moms whose families and neighbors weren't Christians light up with encouragement as we shared the Word of God. We drank thick Turkish coffee with immigrants in a refugee camp, praising and worshiping God together.

    God was powerful in our own lives as we traveled by train, plane, and car—filled to overflowing in spite of the demanding schedule as we led Bible studies in homes, spoke at conferences, and ministered one-on-one.

    Paul surely experienced this spiritual excitement on his journeys. Maybe he didn't linger in comfortable places because he had discovered the joy of walking straight into the lives of those who needed a Savior.

    Since my first trip I've returned twice more with the team. Different countries. New challenges. Each time I was reminded that faith is an adventure and God sometimes calls comfy girls away from their safe places.

    Maybe like me, you love to get comfy. It feels good to be settled. It's nice to know what to expect. But if you sense God inviting you out of your comfort zone, are you willing to go?

    When God leads us out of our comfort zones, we experience uncharted territory. We might even come to the end of ourselves.

    But we also have the privilege of being a small part of a big plan, offering our willing hearts and seeing the work only God can do.

    Dear Lord, I'm willing to step outside my comfort zone to discover Your plan, not just for me, but for those You love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst

    Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    "A characteristic of our comfort zones is that they have restraints. We will only go: so far in loving; so far in serving; so far in forgiving; so far in ministering; so far in witnessing; so far in giving; so far in sacrificing; so far in supporting and encouraging each other; so far in submissiveness; so far in our struggles against the spiritual forces of wickedness." ~Mark King

    Sometimes when we read the words "go" (Mark 16:15) or "follow Me" (Mark 1:17), we might put restraints on those words, but what might happen if we begin to take those words to heart?

    Read the scriptures above today with an open heart to God's leading. What is God speaking to you?

    Power Verse:
    Luke 9:23, "Then he said to them all: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'" (NIV 1984)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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

  • Youthful Courage

    Posted on January 10, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.” 1 Samuel 17:34-35

     

    Courage created in youthful days is most likely appropriated in later days. David, under the authority and canopy of God’s creation, learned courage as a shepherd, the protector of the sheep. Teenagers placed in challenging situations like sports, academics and standing alone morally have an opportunity to be courageous for Christ. These early life lessons become memories of God’s faithfulness etched into their moldable minds. Courage gives confidence. 

    Be careful not to overprotect your child, so that they miss out on seeing the Lord work through their courageous acts of service. Perhaps you encourage them to get a job, so that they can learn how to be like Jesus in the workplace. Or, you allow them to attend public school, so under your prayerful support, they become salt and light to their fellow students and faculty. Better for a teenager to learn courage in your accepting home, so that you can coach them. Challenges are courage builders.

    “And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity.” 1 Timothy 4:12, The Message

    Have you lost your courageous edge for Christ? What are you attempting that is risky for the Lord? Maybe He is calling you back to get a graduate degree, though its been over 20 years since your college graduation. Your moral courage can become a flood light of faith in spiritually sterile academia. Take heart and courageously keep your marriage commitment or your volunteer assignment. Setbacks are meant to bring us back to bold dependence on God. Be bold for Him!

    Ask Christ to give you the courage to overcome your fear of rejection, your fear of public speaking or your fear of death. Courage from within understands it's all about Him, not you. You risk misunderstanding and mistreatment for the sake of the gospel, but Christ was courageous for you. Remember your bold initiatives for God right after you tasted His grace for the very first time. Use the memories of your youthful courage as a conduit for boldness. Courage overcomes!

    “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me Your courage to take risks for You.

    Related Readings: 2 Samuel 7:27; 2 Chronicles 5:8; Ezra 10:4; Matthew 14:27; Acts 27:25

    Post/Tweet today: Setbacks are meant to bring us back to bold dependence on God. #courage

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Questions to Ask Yourself/Self Evaluation

    Posted on January 10, 2013 by John van der Veen



    As we go through life, some of us will do self-evaluation exercises with ease. Others of us would prefer to dig deep. The following is a list of questions that we should periodically be asking ourselves. How about now? Take the time to go through the list, you may hit on something that needs a little spiritual work.











    Husbands and Wives:

    • Did you love your spouse by putting love for Christ in front of the love for them?
    • Did you pray for your spouse?

    Singles:

    • Did you support the married families in the church?
    • Did you provide positive discipleship to those younger than you?

    Married:

    • Did you show the singles a positive view of marriage?
    • Did you provide positive discipleship to those younger than you?

    Husbands:

    • Did you display sold Christian leadership in the home?
    • If your wife is an unbeliever, did you pray for her salvation?
    • If your wife is a believer, did you pray for her to grow in her sanctification?
    • Did you show love to your wife?
    • Did you meet the emotional and physical needs of your wife, placing her above yourself?

    Wives:

    • Did you submit to your husbands spiritual leadership?
    • If your husband is an unbeliever, did you pray for his salvation?
    • If your husband is a believer, did you pray for him to grow in his sanctification?
    • Did you show respect to your husband, encouraging him, meeting his emotional and physical needs and placing his needs above yours?

    Singles:

    • Did you pray about whether you are called to marry?
    • Did you pray for your future spouse?
    • Did you find full sufficiency in Jesus alone?
    • Have you been selfless in your relationships with your closest friends?

    Parents:

    • Did you demonstrate the love of Christ and His grace to your children?
    • Did you spend time this week teaching your children about the greatness of Jesus?
    • Was your life a confirmation of the Gospel for your children this week?

    Children:

    • Were you obedient to your parents this week?
    • Did you attempt to live at peace with your siblings?

    All:

    • Did you spend regular time in prayer this week?
    • Did you spend regular time in the Bible this week?
    • Did you do your best to make Christ your treasure this week?
    • Did you, at any point, allow something besides Christ to be your treasure this week? What was that thing? How will you (or did you) deal with this?
    • What ministry are you serving in this week? At church?
    • Did you share Christ with anyone this week?
    • Who are you actively attempting to share Christ with?
    • Who are some friends you are praying that will meet Christ?
    • Did you give undue emphasis to money this week (spending recklessly, worrying constantly, being stingy)?
    • Were you sexually pure this week? Did you guard your heart, mind and eyes?
    • Did you attend church this week?
    • Did you seek to connect with others in the body this week?
    • Did you support the church with time and/or money this week?
    • Did you seek out friendship and fellowship with church members this week?
    • Are you letting other members of the body of Christ speak into your life?
    • Have you confessed your sin to the Lord?
    • Were you dependable?

Items 1491 to 1500 of 2080 total

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