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Family Christian

  • Come And See

    Posted on January 1, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    "Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip." John 1:45-46

     

    Come and see. Come and see Jesus the Son of God. Come and see Jesus the Savior of the world. Come and see Jesus the forgiver of sins. Come and see Jesus, a best friend and servant. Come and see Jesus: teacher, student and healer. Come and see Jesus: Master, Lord and King of Kings. Come and see Jesus and be saved for evermore. Eyes of faith feast on a relationship with Jesus. 

    We have the privilege as Christ followers to invite people to come and see Jesus. When the lost encounter Christ they can see the way more clearly. By God's grace seekers can see His work of grace in our speech and in our unspoken words. They see our kindness in the face of unkindness. They see our respect when we are disrespected. They see our love when we are unloved. They see us forgive when we are rejected. Christ in us is a window into the wonders of God's grace.

    "You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts." 2 Corinthians 3:3

    Who do you know who needs to know God? Who can you invite to come and see Jesus? Indeed, you earn the right to invite by first investing in their life. You invest, then you invite. You invest in prayer and fasting for a friend to come to faith. You invest in caring for a child, so perhaps their parents might become children of God. You invest financially in a needy family, so they can receive the true riches of a relationship and fellowship with Christ.

    You appeal to a person’s intellect with Christ’s fulfillment of prophecy and then conversion to Him is sealed when they experience Jesus in their heart. Facts without faith creates knowledge unredeemed. But when you introduce others to Jesus in a loving relationship they are redeemed by Jesus. Keep your passionate fellowship with your Savior fresh and you will naturally want others to meet your best friend. You can say come and see Jesus, because you have seen Jesus!

    “You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.” Acts 22:15

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me courage to invite others to come and see Christ.

    Related Readings: Job 13:1; Isaiah 66:19; 1 Corinthians 2:9;  1 John 1:1

    Post/Tweet today: We earn the right to invite someone to Jesus by investing in their life. #invest

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • The Honeymoon Life

    Posted on January 1, 2013 by Sharon Glasgow

    Sharon

    "Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come." Proverbs 31:25 (KJV)

    My heart sank as she told me the tragic end to her love story. When she and her husband married, they couldn't afford a nice honeymoon. Kids came and the money to do something special together just never seemed to be there. Her husband worked all the time, so for years she dreamed and planned for the trip she longed for with him—the perfect honeymoon.

    When their last child was leaving for college, they finally set up their honeymoon trip. But something awful happened right before they were ready to leave. Her husband was tragically killed in a car accident. Her dreams were shattered.

    With a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, I stood by her feeling helpless to offer the right words. All I could say was, "I'm so sorry."

    Her story affected me deeply. Although my husband was still alive, I didn't have the honeymoon of my dreams either. On our wedding night we stayed at a state park. For years I too dreamed of the day I would have a "real" honeymoon. After hearing her story, I changed my thinking and made a new plan.

    I didn't want to pin my hopes on a fancy trip. On that day I decided to live every day as if it were my honeymoon.

    Rather than a honeymoon trip, I wanted a honeymoon life.

    Hearing her story made me worry. What if my husband died too? What if I didn't have the chance to show him how important he was to me every day?

    I went before the Lord and committed, "My husband is Yours. I don't know how long my days will be with him. But, I trust You to teach me how to spend our time wisely. I trust You that when our days are done, I will have no regrets. Teach me now how to be a lover of You first. And by loving You, I will know how to love my husband fully every day, especially when the days are hard, the storms rage, and the sun sets at the close of our life."

    On that day the Lord gave me a peace that flooded my entire being. A scripture from the Bible came to my mind after I prayed. It was Proverbs 31:25, "Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come."

    I knew God was telling me to not be afraid of what tomorrow might bring. He would give me the strength to live the honeymoon life successfully. That truth helped me rejoice at my future knowing that I would live married life to the fullest.

    Just a few weeks later my husband and I celebrated our anniversary. We couldn't afford a special trip, but that didn't discourage me. This was the start of a new way of looking at my marriage ... of celebrating a honeymoon life every day. I packed a simple picnic of his favorite foods and the two of us enjoyed it, and each other, in the middle of our field.

    No trip around the world, no lavish hotel, nor any gourmet dish could have competed with that field, the picnic dinner, and the way God changed my perspective.

    From that day on, I chose the honeymoon life. Not just dreaming of it but living it every day. I've set my heart to cherish the simple things, like making my husband's favorite foods and eating together by candlelight, going to bed at the same time, reading and praying together. Even mundane trips to the store together.

    We've been living the honeymoon life for 16 years now and have been married for 31. With God's help, I've been able to see every day as an opportunity to love my husband in a special way. We may never go on that honeymoon trip, but I'll take a picnic in a field with the one I love any day.

    Dear Lord, give me the ability to live the honeymoon life with my husband. Help me to stop focusing on the what if's of the future and to start focusing on loving to the fullest today. Help me not to have any regrets of how I've lived out my married life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Capture His Heart by Lysa TerKeurst

    What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood

    Reflect and Respond:
    It isn't anniversary trips, diamonds or flowers that make our marriage. It's how we live married life every day that makes it romantic and priceless.

    What are some things you could do for your husband that would jumpstart the honeymoon life today?

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 31:10-11, "Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain." (NKJV)

    Hebrews 10:24, "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works." (NKJV)

    © 2012 by Sharon Glasgow. All rights reserved.

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

  • Hot For God

    Posted on December 31, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:15-16

     

    Institutions of God can lose their intimacy for God. Like the marble floor of a stoic cathedral, the culture of a once vibrant ministry can become cold and hard. Indeed, Christ calls out His church to make a clear commitment to His commands and not waffle like a reluctant bride or groom at the altar. A community of faith fossilizes for a lack of faithfulness to the tenets of the truth. Lukewarm disciples are repulsive to the Lord. 

    Is your faith on fire or is it simmering under the influence of sin? There is no room for neutrality toward religion rooted in Christ. Are you for Him or against Him? Apathy is a vote against Him. Passivity to prayer and public worship is lukewarm leadership for your home. Thus, use the beginning of the new year to attend church with your family. Join a friend in a year long Bible reading plan and/or sign up for a mission to serve the poor.

    “This is war, and there is no neutral ground. If you’re not on my side [Jesus’], you’re the enemy; if you’re not helping, you’re making things worse.” Luke 11:23, The Message

    The world wants us to make everyone happy, but how can we at the expense of disappointing our heavenly Father. Companions who cool our commitment to Christ are not wise to be around. It is our red hot heart of righteousness that needs to rub off on those unsure of their salvation. Our humility and compassionate care are like kerosene to another’s flickering flame of faith. Our combustible love explodes another’s faith in God.

    Therefore, come out of the closet with your commitment to Christ. Do not be ashamed of the gospel, but instead proclaim it. Because you have been given so much--you can give much! Be bold in your faith without being obnoxious. The cross of Christ carries its own offense without any added judgments. Look to your heavenly Father to fuel your faith and to the Holy Spirit to ignite it. Burn hot and bright for God’s son Jesus Christ!

    “Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” 1 Kings 18:21

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, create in me a hot heart for what is important to You.

    Related Readings: Joshua 24:15; Psalm 119:113; Matthew 6:24; Romans 12:11

    Post/Tweet today: There is no room for neutrality toward religion rooted in Christ. #bold

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Hurry is a Heart Condition

    Posted on December 31, 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "Let all that you do be done in love." 1 Corinthians 16:14 (NASB)

    Hurry had a tight hold on me.

    When my children were young, you would have found me rushing from one task to another, usually pushing or dragging a frustrated child. I was either in high gear, or crashing in the aftermath of the frenzy ... often holding back tears, and berating myself for not being able to get it together.

    It was an exhausting way to live. But an inner drive to achieve fueled the fury of my days. Refusing to admit I couldn't do it all, I tried to keep up the same pre-child schedule. Sadly, everyone in my family paid the price, especially my little boys who weren't genetically wired to sit quietly and color while Mommy attended a meeting.

    During that time, "hurry up or we'll be late" was commonly heard, yelled from the kitchen or hissed while we scurried into the back row at church. There was too much to do, in too little time. Life was blurry with hurry.

    Sadly, I thought everyone lived like this. That was until I read about hurry sickness in The Life You've Always Wanted by John Ortberg. My heart was skewered when I read one of the symptoms is a diminished capacity to love. My children could have told you I had a problem. Only it wasn't hurry sickness, it was hurry addiction.

    I didn't want to be that woman who rushed through life. I didn't want my children to look back and say, "Wow, Mom got a lot done!" I wanted them to be convinced, thoroughly and utterly, of my love for them. And not just my children, but my husband, parents, sisters, and so on.

    The Bible is clear that loving others is critical. And not just in public. First Corinthians 16:14 says, "Let all that you do be done in love" (NASB). Which means when I'm trying to get out the door in the morning, or finishing up a project before a deadline. God clearly was telling me to slow down, and prioritize the person in front of me rather than the task on my to-do list.

    Eliminating hurry from my life took years of hard work. I had to choose to walk and talk slower. I had to eliminate responsibilities from my life, and plan ahead. Most importantly, I had to deal with the hidden issues that motivated me to hurry.

    In the process, I learned hurry is not a required byproduct of one type of lifestyle. We can't point our fingers at anyone and say, "Look sister, here's your problem – you need to quit _______."

    The truth is, a homeschooling mom can be more hurried than an executive. And a retired person can be more hurried than a working mom of five. Hurry is a condition of our hearts. It's the result of following my to-do list, rather than God's. And loving those around me is always on God's to-do list.

    Hurry has different roots. For some it's procrastination. For others it's people-pleasing. For me it was a need to prove I still had it, even though my life had been slowed down by the blessings of children. Whatever the root, the result is the same: a rushed woman who doesn't make time to show love to those around her.

    You'll still find me hurrying at times. Especially when my husband or children spontaneously invite me away from my work to spend time with them. But now I'm hurrying to love, not to finish a task. And that makes all the difference.

    Dear Lord, thank You for patiently showing love to me. You always have time for me. Help me to give that same gift to those around me. Please show me the root of my own hurry issues. I want to be more like You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    For more practical help on managing your days, you might enjoy I Used to Be So Organized by Glynnis Whitwer.

    A Confident Heart by Renee Swope can help you deal with some of the heart issues causing hurry sickness.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What times of the day, or situations, cause you to hurry?

    Besides a diminished capacity to love, what other negative side effects does hurry sickness cause?

    Power Verses:
    Galatians 5:13, "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." (NIV)

    John 13:34-35, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Gods Purpose Accomplished

    Posted on December 30, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God’s words are fulfilled.”  Revelation 17:17

     

    God will accomplish His purpose. It may be with or without us, but He will execute His will. God does not back down or hold back when it comes to the fulfillment of His wishes. He knows what is best and is bent toward carrying out His good will. Nothing can stop God from accomplishing His purpose. War cannot stop His purpose because He will draw people to Himself during the atrocities of war. Illness cannot stop His purpose because He will reveal His care, compassion, and sometimes, healing, during the eventual breakdown of the body. Death cannot stop His purpose. God will graduate believers in Christ to heaven and non-believers in Christ to hell.

    Sin cannot stop His purpose because Christ forgave sin by His death on the cross. Sinners cannot stop His purpose because there are consequences for wrong, and ultimately, judgment by God. Satan cannot stop God’s purpose because what the devil means for evil, God can use for good. God’s purpose is a freight train that travels down the tracks of obedience and disobedience, saints and sinners. Its momentum on behalf of mankind cannot be stopped. He will not be denied. Even the delay of His ultimate purpose gives more lost souls the opportunity to get on board by placing their faith in Jesus. He will ultimately reign on earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords! In the meantime, there is still time for others to voluntarily bow to His kingship, instead of ultimately being forced to bend their knee to God. His purpose will happen, so it makes sense to work with God, not against God, to accomplish His purpose.

    So what is God’s purpose? One purpose of God is to adopt everyone into His family who believes Jesus is His son. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved and this accomplishes one of God’s greater purposes.

    Another purpose of God is seeing you complete the work He has given you to do. Jesus said it best: “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4). Your individual obedience to God accomplishes His purpose for you. This is a significant thing. Your obedience matters. You are contributing to the greater heavenly mosaic of God’s glorification. Your fulfillment of God’s purpose helps others to do the same. So, do not apologize for this. Stay laser-focused on executing God’s purpose. Pray about it and seek the Scripture to better understand God’s purpose for you. Equity in eternity never depreciates, so buy a lot—and buy early. His purpose will be accomplished. Find out where He is working, and join Him to fulfill His mission.
     

    Post/Tweet: Equity in eternity never  depreciates, so buy a lot—and buy early. #eternity

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Agreed Expectations

    Posted on December 29, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?”
    (Amos 3:3).

     

    Sometimes it is difficult to agree upon expectations, and in reality, we deal daily with expectation management. We are expected to do certain things at work, at home, and in friendships. We also project expectations on others. We know God expects faithfulness from us, and we have our expectations of Him, but expectations can get us into trouble.

    We can expect the wrong things Our expectations can be unclear or unrealistic or unrighteous. The same can be said of what others expect of us. At work you thought one outcome was expected while your supervisor expected something different. Even after the goals were put into writing, there were still different interpretations of the facts.

    Indeed, it is easy to corral expectations of simple tasks. I can expect or even require my children to complete their homework. This is not unreasonable. I would be an unfit parent if I did not provide some framework of expectations for my children. However, I would be an equally ineffective parent if I had expectations of my children but did not communicate them with grace and understanding. Clarifying expectations takes time.

    “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

    Furthermore, the more your trust grows in a relationship, the fewer the expectations Trust precludes the need for expectations. Trust causes many expectations to expire. When you place your total trust in God, you default to character expectations. You expect His love to be unconditional. You expect His forgiveness to be infinite. You expect to avail yourself of  His wisdom. Your expectations are character driven rather than cynically driven.

    It becomes about God’s will, not our wants. Healthy expectations revolve around God and His desires. The focus is off me but on God and others. He orchestrates the concert of life; so the goal is to discover His role for me and follow His lead. Then the motive with people becomes one of serving them in order to carry out God’s plan for their lives.

    How can you facilitate understanding God’s will for your spouse, child, or work associate? This is not always easy to discern but character-driven expectations can get to the point of their true need, and you can help meet that need. Focus on building trust in the relationship, and communication will flow more clearly and compassionately.

    Focus on fewer expectations and more on trust. Allow your expectations to begin and end with the character of God. Expect less, you will receive more. You can expect His faithfulness. Agree to expect what God expects, and allow your expectant desires to birth God’s will. “And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us” (2 Corinthians 8:5).

    Prayer: What does the Lord expect of me in the life roles He has assigned to me?

    Related Readings: Job 29:21; Psalm 5:3; Matthew 20:1–16; Philippians 1:20 

    Post/Tweet: Focus on fewer expectations and more  trust. Expect less,  you will receive more. #expectations© 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Love is Loved

    Posted on December 28, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” John 15:9-11 NASB

     

    Love requires love or it will not last. There is a limitation to loving well, without drawing on the deep well of the Lord’s love. Like an adult child feels at home in the house of his or her childhood, so followers of Christ are comfortable remaining in His love. As they abide in His abode of love they feel the secure embrace of their heavenly Father. Love will languish without being loved  by the Lord. Love is loved, so it can love long. 

    How did your heavenly Father love His son? What is the essence of Christ’s love for you? The Lord’s love for you is tender and tough--it is patient and productive. His love will not allow you to stay stuck in bad habits or unhealthy relationships. Because He loves you He disciplines you, because He loves you He forgives you, because He loves you He pursues you, because He loves you He gave His life for you. His love gives life!

    “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13

    Are you tired of loving loved ones and not being loved in return? If so, return to the restful love of your heavenly Father. Engage with eternity’s agenda and love will energize your actions. You remain in Christ’s love as you remain faithful to His commands. Love becomes shallow and sentimental if sin soils your soul. So, like a blanket of fresh snow let the Lord’s love cover your sins and free you to freely love. Confess and be refreshed!

    Furthermore, Christ’s love for you causes you to sacrificially give in His name. His compelling love for you compels you to share the love of Jesus. He laid down His life for you, so you can lay down your life for your wife, husband, children, parents and friends. God’s love disciplines you to be disciplined, so that you can discipline your children to be disciplined. Indeed, let your love be loved by the Lord and you will love like the Lord!

    “The LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” Proverbs 3:12

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I invite you to love  me, so I can love others like You.

    Related Readings: Genesis 44:33; Proverbs 12:1; 1 Corinthians 12:31; Revelation 3:19

    Post/Tweet today: You remain in Christ’s love as you remain faithful. #love

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Overplanners Anonymous

    Posted on December 28, 2012 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie

    "In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps." Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)

    I sat with pen in hand, surprised by the words on the page in front of me.

    "You will not find my Peace by engaging in excessive planning; attempting to control what will happen to you in the future. This is a commonly practiced form of unbelief." (Sarah Young, Jesus Calling)

    Planning is one of the things I do best. I have my list of things to accomplish every day. I have a list of goals in ministry. I even have a bucket list!

    Planning is a good thing, right?

    However, as I read those words in my devotional book, the Holy Spirit revealed to me the way I must often appear to my Heavenly Father.

    There are so many things I want to do. Instinctively I know that God's timing isn't mine, but sometimes my litany of lists are in the hopes that if I work hard enough and plan long enough that God will get on my schedule.

    It's not that planning is wrong. With our busy lifestyles, our lists keep us from dropping off our young daughter in a cowgirl costume at the neighbor's house ... when the party is scheduled for the next Friday (yes, it really happened).

    But this was a deeper heart issue. How many times did I plan and plan and plan some more, only to be disappointed as my lists got longer and my goals farther away.

    My planning was less about organization, and more about worry. I felt more in control if I made lists because I felt like I was doing something.

    I sensed God saying, "Lay it down. All the planning, all the worry about how things will work out."

    In 1 Peter 5:6-7 we are encouraged that, "God's strong hand is on you; he'll promote you at the right time." In the very next verse, Peter warns us to be aware that, "... the devil is poised to pounce..." (The Message)

    It's no accident that Peter shared a promise, but also a warning.

    The promise is that God is in control. He knows exactly where He is taking you, and as you trust Him, His promotion may look very different (and far more fulfilling) than your carefully drawn plans.

    When we are trapped in excessive planning and things don't work out the way we want, it can create anxiety, frustration, or anger towards God—all traps the enemy would love to use to discourage and distract us.

    I didn't stop writing lists. They keep me from forgetting what I need to do.

    But I have stopped excessive planning.

    God's ways are higher than mine. And if I keep that truth above my planning, then I am open to go in whatever direction God leads.

    I didn't have to sign up for Overplanner's Anonymous. Instead, the first thing on my plan every day is to simply "trust God."

    Dear Lord, I know that being organized is a good thing, but my excessive planning is tied to worry. Today I give You all my cares. You have my future in Your hands. I trust You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst

    It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know by Rachel Olsen

    Reflect and Respond:
    Planning is a valuable tool as we map out our day or figure out how to accomplish a huge task. But Jesus often led His disciples to investigate the heart issue beneath their actions. In light of that, ask these questions:

    Am I organized or do I plan excessively?

    What is my reaction when things don't go as I planned?

    Do I believe that God orders my steps?

    Take those answers and get alone with God as you hand your future plans to Him.

    Power Verses:
    Luke 12:25-26, "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? " (NIV)

    Proverbs 16:3, "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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

  • Love Listens

    Posted on December 27, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” Mark 9:7

     

    A heart full of love listens first to the Lord. There is a humility that remembers God created two ears and one mouth for a reason. The tongue, untempered by love, is a prime target for the tempter, Satan himself. However, love longs to listen and understand what Christ says, before making conversation. Words incubated in a heart of love have a positive affect on hearers. Love listens to Jesus before jumping to judgment. 

    We need the words of our heavenly Father to work out our wrong thinking, before we share potentially abrasive words. For example, we pause during family conflict to contemplate Christ’s teaching to be peacemakers. We become a voice of reason and patience where angry words have broken trust and erased respect. We listen to both sides and then offer solutions based on forgiveness and an ongoing process of godly counsel.

    “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” Luke 6:27

    Furthermore, listen to others even when you don’t feel you are being heard. Your patient love does not have to make its point, because listening to and understanding the other person’s viewpoint is more important. As you lovingly listen you learn, from friends and enemies alike. Your quieted spirit becomes a student of anyone you meet. Perhaps you learn kindness from a cashier or acceptance from a greeter. Love listens and learns.

    Love is slow to speak and quick to listen. It doesn’t seek to impress people with its smart and clever speech. Instead, it carries a conversation with emotional comfort and caring words. You are most comfortable in your own skin when your goal is to first listen to the Lord and then His precious children. Lovingly listen, some will invite your influence into their life. Consecrate your conversations to Christ and He will speak.

    “But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.” Hebrews 1:2

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, use me to lovingly listen to You and Your children.

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 30:20; Isaiah 55:3; Proverbs 10:19; James 1:19, 2:5

    Post/Tweet today
    : Consecrate your conversations to Christ and He will speak. #listen

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • The Unraveling of a Marriage

    Posted on December 27, 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves." Romans 12:10 (NIV)

    I had a favorite sweater I loved wearing. It wasn't too bulky but was still warm and cozy. The only problem was the threads were loosely woven together. It would snag on things, so I had to be careful.

    I was mindful of the delicate nature of this sweater so I could protect it, make it last, and enjoy wearing it time and again.

    Until one day I was in a hurry, grabbed some things I needed and rushed to my car. I tossed my stuff on the passenger seat, including a spiral notebook whose metal binding wire caught on my sleeve. As I pulled my arm toward the steering wheel, the notebook came with it and pulled a huge snag in my sweater.

    I unhooked myself and assessed the damage. I should have taken the sweater off and later taken time to repair the snag the correct way.

    But in my rush, I made the decision to do what seemed easiest in the moment. I snipped the lose threads and hoped for the best.

    That decision started an unraveling process that ended the life of my beautiful sweater.

    Recently, my husband and I got into an argument. In front of the kids. Over something so stupid. Right before we were about to head out the door to go on a date.

    In the heat of the argument he announced the date was off. He no longer wanted to go. Honestly, I didn't either.

    I wanted to sit in a coffee shop by myself and make a mental list of all the reasons I was right. All the reasons he was wrong. And justify my perspective.

    But it's at this exact moment of resistance an unraveling can begin.

    Doing what seems easy in the moment often isn't what's best for the long term.

    I pushed for us to still go on our date. It wasn't fun. It wasn't easy. There were tears.

    There were awkward stretches of silence. But we pushed through the resistance we both felt, and eventually talked.

    Talking through the snags. The pulls. The things that threaten to unravel us.

    There is a delicate nature to marriage. It's so easy to forget that. It's so easy to take it all for granted and stop being careful. Stop being mindful. Stop being protective.

    The unraveling can happen so quickly. And the unraveling doesn't just happen in marriages. It can occur with best friends, children, in-laws ... especially during the holidays.

    Yes, during what's considered the happiest season of the year, stress levels can be at an all time high. Between coordinating family get-togethers, shopping blow-out sales, and spending time with that relative you might not be friends with if you weren't related, Christmas can feel anything but merry and the New Year anything but happy. And all that's pulling at you can make tempers flare and your relationships feel like they're coming apart at the seams.

    Be intentional about catching the snags in these relationships. Today. Right now.

    For me, being intentional required an apology to my husband. By admitting I was wrong and asking for forgiveness. Repairing the snags the correct way—tying a knot and tucking it back into the weave of our relationship fabric.

    Dear Lord, thank You for special relationships. I let my emotional state get the best of me sometimes, but I want You to be in control of how I react. Please give me the spirit I need to build up people around me instead of tearing them down. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    In her New York Times best selling book Unglued, Lysa TerKeurst shares how to respond with no regrets by managing your tendencies to stuff or explode. Click here to purchase your copy.

    Do you have a few friends drowning in relationship stress? The Unglued Bible study bundle makes a great gift you can all enjoy together and study in the New Year.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What's something you can do today to invest wisely in your relationships?

    Write down two people you will commit to improving your relationship with this month. Note things that are special to them such as favorite hobbies, ways they are encouraged, places to eat, etc. Use this information to bless them in the time you spend together.

    Power Verses:
    Hebrews 10:24-25, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

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