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Family Christian

  • Thoughts on Father's Day

    Boyd

    You see it in every Father’s Day commercial or Hallmark card, images of dad playing catch with his son, embracing his daughter, scenes of a blissful and carefree love of a father. However, that is not everyone’s reality.  For years, I lived the reality of a distant dad, and by God’s grace have gleaned wisdom through this process.

    Dad's distance began with divorce

    Dad divorced mom soon after I turned five years old. I remember a stern man who expected me to be thorough in my chores. As a young lad raking the leaves at our humble home was one of my assignments. Dad was quick to point out any missed leaves and slow to affirm the vast majority that found themselves wrapped warmly in mom’s old tattered blanket.

    My brother Mitch and I did spend summers with Dad and his new wife Pat. He met Pat at a bar in Grand Rapids, MI. She was a pretty and patient lady from England, who was able to stand up to my father with grace, and sometimes not so much grace. Pat accepted us, and always made sure we were fed and cared for during our brief time together.

    Dad took us fishing from a pier in Pensacola, FL. and to Six Flags in Dallas, TX. We always engaged in activities, but never engaged much in discussions. Busyness competed with our conversations. Dad seemed comfortable not showing much affection and buying us gifts to somewhat sooth his growing guilt.

    Dad's distance never changed until I did

    When Jesus Christ became a reality in my life at age 19, I learned that I was to forgive my dad as God, for Christ's sake, had forgiven him. It was freeing for me to release anger, resentment and self-pity. Now I was energized by God’s grace to love my dad to Jesus. Rita, Rebekah and I moved to Ft. Worth, Texas in 1982 to attend seminary, but with a bigger mission to know my earthly father with the leadership of my heavenly father. I decided it was time I pursued my distant dad.

    I learned to love dad in God’s strength, not my own. As a result he relaxed and bean to open up about his fears, dreams, work and upbringing. Though he was an accomplished technical writer of operational manuals in the Aerospace industry, he would lament that he was only a hillbilly from Kentucky. Amazingly, he even attended church with us one Easter where I pastored a small congregation outside of Comanche, TX.

    Dad's distance transformed to pursuit

    Fifteen years after I graduated from Seminary Dad had his third heart attack. It was in his horizontal state of sickness that he looked vertically to the Lord. He called and invited me to visit him! The next three years I traveled once a month to Dallas for work and stayed in Garland, TX. with my Dad and Pat for a day. It was rich as we went deeper in our respect and understanding of each other. We discussed the Bible and prayed together.

    Dad attended the Pastor’s Wednesday Bible study at the local church. He told me in the hospital that he believed in Jesus Christ as the Savior for his sins! In 2000 my father went to heaven. I wept tears of grief and tears of joy, because my distant dad was close to Christ and close to me. Here is just a sampling of the wisdom I learned from my Heavenly Father through this time:

    1. Pray, pray, pray and get others to pray for you and your relationship with your father.

    2. Pursue your father with grace and patience.

    3. Do not take his remarks personally, because unbelievers act like unbelievers.

    4. Find common ground like a grandchild, sports, investing, food, golf or chess.

    5. See your father as your Heavenly Father sees him: with compassion, forgiveness, love.

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

  • A Godly Legacy

    Boyd

    “When Jacob had finished giving instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.” Genesis 49:33

    Jacob gave his dying instructions to his sons as they waited at his beside. They lingered there out of love and respect. They had observed his life. And though not perfect by far, it was a life of overall faithfulness to God. The sons of the father wanted to receive his blessing and they were proud of the legacy left to them, a legacy of faithfulness to God.

    What legacy will you leave? If you died today, how would you be remembered? These are important questions for your children’s sake. Maybe your parents did not leave you a godly heritage. Nevertheless, you have a wonderful opportunity to start a new tradition, one based on the principles of Scripture. Lord willing, your legacy will start a godly lineage that will reach across the future for generations to come. Yes, your name will probably be forgotten, but what you stand for will be held in high esteem for all to remember.

    Perhaps you can start by documenting your family vision and mission. Write down outcomes you are praying for related to your family. Pray that your parental example of character compels your children to walk with Christ. Hold the Bible in such high regard that its commands and principles are lived out in love and obedience. Love your children with acceptance, discipline, training, and kindness. Follow the ways of God, and your children will see and secure a clear path of purpose to pursue.

    Moreover, consider a family credo that defines what you value as a family. Character traits like humility, hard work, community, forgiveness, communication, and relationship. Weave these beliefs throughout the language and behavior of your family. Challenge each child to be intoxicated by Scripture, so much so that God’s word is on their breath and seen through their behavior. Slow down and be intentional in legacy building. Then your children and your children's children are more apt to love Christ.

    “But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children” (Psalm 103:17).

    Prayer: Do I live life with legacy in mind, and do I uniquely and fully bless each child?

    Related Readings: Daniel 10:19; Joshua 24:27-29; Luke 2:29; Hebrews 11:13-22

    Post/Tweet today: Follow the ways of God, and your children will see and secure a clear path of purpose to pursue. #modeltheway

    Taken from Reading #3 in Wisdom for Fathers, click here: http://www.wisdomhunters.com/bookstore_category/books/

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

  • When You're a Run-Away Bride

    Samantha

    "I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people." Psalm 116:14 (NIV)

    As soon as the opening prayer ended, I knew I had to leave my wedding. Whispering a quick apology, I turned and ran.

    My patent leather shoes burned rubber, leaving my soon-to-be groom in a cloud of confusion at the altar. Fast down the aisle where my father and I had just walked. Past the curious wedding guests. Straight to the powder room where my purse and coat were waiting.

    I breathed a sigh of relief. There they were, my written vows, forgotten in the excitement of preparations.

    I hurried back to Joshua waiting patiently for me at the altar. Facing the man I loved, we exchanged our vows.

    It's not every day that a girl makes a lifelong commitment like that. But it is every day I get to carry one out. Not just to my husband, but to my God.

    Sadly, although I made a vow to follow God years ago, there've been times when I've left my vows behind. I've been a run-away bride, leaving Jesus and my commitment to Him in the dust as I took off for what I thought were greener pastures.

    The whole time, He waited patiently. Waited for me to return and say, "I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people" (Psalm 116:14).

    We can run all our lives, but we're never truly settled until we make and keep a lifelong pledge to the One to whom our heart truly belongs. In Him, we have all good things, including the gift of love—God's love.

    As I read my marriage vows out loud at my wedding, I realized they were vows my heart needed to make to Christ as well. So I took the promises I made to my earthly husband, and re-addressed them to Jesus, as a covenant with my Savior, to record my heart's vows to Him:

    There really is no place like home. I've come to know this with great certainty as my love for You, Jesus, has grown. You're my favorite place to be. That's because You are where I am most at home ... You are where my heart is settled, comforted and loved.

    I vow to always keep You as my home base. To never stray emotionally, physically, or in my thoughts.

    I vow to keep You as the center of my home. To seek You every day with all my heart, mind and soul, and to serve You with all that's within me.

    I vow to keep my home clean from doubt, strife and unnecessary cares, and will fill it with believing the best about You, humility, and prayerfulness.

    I vow to willingly submit to You as head of my life, to lean on You, and not be stubborn. And to allow You to serve me.

    I vow to stay healthy and keep active, inviting You into my everyday activities.

    I vow to dream and plan and pray for my future with You.

    I vow to love mercy, act justly, and to walk humbly with You.

    I vow to let You know every day just how very much I love and honor You. And to thank You for all the wonderful things about You that make You ... YOU!

    If home is where the heart is, then my heart will always be with You.

    I don't know where you stand with God right now ... how near or far you are. But I know from experience, the further away you are, the more lost you will feel. Today, let's run to Christ—and make or renew our vows to Him.

    Lord, You alone are worthy of all my heart, soul, mind. Please help me keep my vows to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Scripture is the best thing to read to reignite your relationship with God. The new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women is a great way to start.

    Reflect and Respond: Consider your relationship with God. Do you take it as seriously as a marriage covenant? Write your vows to Him today.

    Power Verses: Joel 2:12-13, "'Yet even now,' declares the LORD, 'Return to Me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping and mourning; And rend your heart and not your garments.' Now return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness And relenting of evil." (NAS)

    Ephesian 5:25-27, "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Dara Maclean Debuts New Single - Wanted

    Fervent Records’ soulful recording artist Dara Maclean’s eagerly-awaited new single, “Wanted,” is now available. “Wanted” is produced by Paul Mabury (All Sons & Daughters, Meredith Andrews, Hillsong) and written by Justin Ebach, Mabury and Maclean.

    “‘Wanted’ is about a universal need, speaking to the child in all of us that is desperately longing just to hear somebody tell us we’re wanted. Somebody to tell us that we’re cherished and that we belong,” explained Maclean. “To not be wanted based on your performance -- We all have those relationships in life where we are loved based on how good of a friend we are or how good of a daughter or son, sister or brother we are. It’s conditional and it never seems to be enough. This song is calling out to the outcast and saying, ‘You’re not unlovable. You’re never too far gone -- in your worst moment, in your loneliest moment, you are still wanted, just as much as the person that seemingly has it all together, is loved by everyone and looks to have this perfect life.’ The baby that opens its eyes for the first time and the hardened criminal that gets sent to jail for the millionth time, does God want one more or less? We are all the same, we are all in need of Jesus and we are all desperately wanted by a Father that won’t stop until He finds every child that is lost.”

    “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.” (Psalms 139:7-10 New King James Version)

    “I’ve been on the edge of my seat waiting to share with you my friends, the ones that have been such a support and on this journey with me, the heartbeat behind the song and ultimately, this record,” continues Maclean. “My prayer is that every note reveals the heart of God the Father and that His Love does what it always does. It heals, restores and makes new again.”

    Powerful vocalist and songwriter Dara Maclean first sparked the music industry’s interest with her 2011 debut, You Got My Attention. The album introduced a powerful new voice in Christian pop, steeped in Motown and soul and beaming a heart for the broken and struggling. The LP reached the Top 10 on Billboard's Christian Albums chart, and album tracks "Suitcases" and "Free" each hit the Top 20 on Billboard Hot Christian Songs chart. "Suitcases" appeared on the 2012 installment of WOW Hits, celebrating Christian radio's biggest songs, and You Got My Attention closer "Home" was included in The Bible: Music Inspired By The Epic Mini-Series, a companion to the smash History Channel series. The Texas-bred singer-songwriter earned a New Artist of the Year nomination in the 43rd Annual GMA Dove Awards, and spent nearly two years straight on the road with some of Christian music's biggest names, including Casting Crowns and Newsong, and on major tours including Winter Jam and the KLOVE Acoustic Christmas Tour. Maclean has earned high critical praise throughout, NewReleaseTuesday including her among its Top 10 New Female Christian Singers in 2012, noting that "Dara displays the strongest vocals I've heard in years." Maclean is also passionate about raising awareness and bringing an end to human trafficking and is an advocate for the International Justice Mission.

  • Sibling Rivalry

    Boyd

    “Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.” Exodus 37:3-4.

    Do you outwardly favor one of your children over another? Have you used a phrase like, “I wish you were more like your sister, she always gets an A on her tests?” If so, you are in danger of creating an environment that fosters rivalry between your children. Sad is a child who thinks they have to live up to a sister or brother’s unreachable standard.

    Jealousy jabs at the heart and causes a child to react angrily toward the  object of their parent’s affection. Since they don’t feel like they measure up, they try to discredit the favored sibling or they create chaos to draw attention to themselves. It is disheartening to see even grown children remain in a state of fierce competition. Cruelty needs to be replaced with calmness—and anger with forgiveness, patience and love.

    “Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy? Better is open rebuke than hidden love” (Proverbs 27:4-5).

    Is there chronic conflict between your children? Is it to the point that they are becoming a poor testimony to the model of Christ’s caring approach to relationships? If so, consider creating boundaries in the home that help prevent disrespectful—even mean behavior. Start early on and instill disciplinary actions for disrespect, dishonesty and disobedience.

    Perhaps you are one of the few Christians in your family and other family members treat you as suspect or strange. If so, prayerfully use your position of integrity to invest unconditional love and acceptance into their lives. Serve them unselfishly and forgive their insults expressed by their insecure attitudes and actions. You know better and they don’t.

    “Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace” (Acts 7:9-10).

    Eventually you may be in a position to crush or care for your siblings—it is of course God’s will that you extend compassion and forgiveness toward them. When those who should love you the most treat you unfairly—forgive them—and model the gracious way or our Lord Jesus Christ. God chose your family for you to influence them for Him.

    “But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them” (Genesis 50:19-21).

    Prayer: How can I embrace and celebrate the accomplishments of my siblings?

    Related Readings: Job 42:11; Luke 14:26; Acts 13:45; 2 Corinthians 12:20

    Post/Tweet today: Sad is a child who thinks they have to live up to a sibling’s unattainable standard. #rivalary

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

  • A Restless, Unsettled Heart

    Lysa

    "I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land." Psalm 143:6 (NIV)

    A few years ago, I sat with a beautiful young woman as tears streamed down her face. Six months before our meeting, her world was full. A loving husband, a healthy toddler, fun friends, and a new home.

    But part of her heart felt restless, unsettled, a little empty. She couldn't put her finger on it. She tried talking to friends, but they laughed it off as something that would pass.

    Only the feeling didn't pass.

    She felt detached from her husband and disappointed that his love didn't fulfill her. Why couldn't he make her feel loved? She'd always thought of marriage as the ultimate love. He was going to be the one to right her wrongs and fill up her insecurities, or so she thought.

    Questions bombarded her ... What is wrong with him? Why doesn't he say what he's supposed to say? Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm not pretty enough, witty enough, good enough?

    Then one day she met a man who said things she'd longed to hear her husband say. He made her feel pretty and witty. Soon, she rationalized that she'd never really loved her husband. She convinced herself she'd made a mistake marrying so young. That this new man was her true love.

    She fell into his arms. A web of lies was spun. The thrill of new romance clouded every decision.

    She had not wanted to come to the women's retreat. She knew it might make her feel guilty, and she was past guilty feelings. She was just waiting for the right time to leave her husband and start over with the real love of her life.

    But her friends had started to grow suspicious of her pulling away. So, to appease them, she went.

    Over the course of the weekend, the walls she'd so carefully constructed to keep everyone at a distance and her secret hidden started to crumble. By Saturday night, she sat down with me and confessed it all.

    She desperately wanted to know how I felt so full of God's love. She'd never known that kind of relationship with Him. She now recognized it wasn't the love of another man her heart craved; it was the love of God.

    I think this is true for many of us. We spend years chasing things we think will make us feel loved. But everything this world offers is temporary. Everything. And will leave our souls dry, crying out to God, "I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land" (Psalm 143:6).

    The kind of love our souls crave is lasting, eternal. And only God can fill up our hearts with that kind of love.

    Chasing love outside the will of God invites so much into our lives that is the exact opposite of love. First Corinthians 13:4-8 is a picture of God's perfect love. It is patient and kind. It does not envy ... it is not self-seeking ... it does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth ... it always protects and perseveres. Love never fails.

    This is not a description of what is inherently ours when we fall in love with a person. It's a description of God's love.

    Because our souls were designed for God's fulfilling love, if we aren't staying closely connected to Him, our hearts will start to feel empty. Restless. Unfulfilled. Parched.

    Let us never think we are beyond being tempted. If we're honest, we're only a few bad decisions away from the same mess my friend is untangling herself from.

    The kind of love our souls crave will never be found in the things of this world. Lasting, satisfying love will only be found when we stop chasing others or possessions, and thirst for the things of God.

    Dear Lord, please help me see my marriage for the sacred gift that it is. Help me to remain faithful in a way that honors You and brings joy to our home. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources: If you're looking to strengthen the connection and communication in your relationship, don't miss Lysa TerKeurst's marriage books, Capture Her Heart for husbands and Capture His Heart for wives.

    Reflect and Respond: If someone seems appealing enough to draw your heart away from the truth of God, will you pray about asking another godly woman for help?

    What step do you need to take to remove that temptation from your heart, mind, and soul?

    Power Verse: Ephesians 1:4, "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Friendly Makes Friends

    Boyd

    A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24, NKJV

    A friendly person is fun to be around. They are upbeat and look for the best in those they meet. Yes, friendly can come on too strong, but those with relational understanding are sensitive to not go too far too fast. Indeed, a friendly person makes you feel at ease and gives you unspoken permission to be yourself. You feel safe to share your feelings with those who feel what you feel. Friendliness adds emotional energy to the conversation and encouragement to the heart.

    Furthermore, your friendly spirit qualifies you to make friends. Friends want to be around friends who have the capacity to listen and love. Are you the giver or taker in your friendships? How can you be intentional to invest in those the Lord has put in your life? Perhaps you pray by name for the children of your friends or keep their children, so the parents can enjoy a 24 hour respite. Friendly takes the risk to make friends and follows with steps to retain friends. Friends care!

    An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends. Proverbs 18:1

    A bond of trust and loyalty grows between two friends who try to out serve each other. However, if giving only goes one way,  over time the giver may grow weary in their solo service. Perhaps your Heavenly Father is calling you to fewer, more fulfilling friendships. He wants you to ratchet back your relationships to a manageable number. Who needs you to go deeper in this season of friendship? Pray for your friend and be emotionally available to enter into their world.

    Most importantly, lock arms with the Lord Jesus in your growing friendship with Him. Your maturing friendship with Christ will develop your capacity to love and care for your friends. Friendship with deity brings reality to relationships on earth. Ask your friend to bow and pray with you to your mutual friend Jesus. Friends who pray together replace conflict with resolution and anger with joy. Confidants can be closer than blood relatives through the blood of Jesus!

    A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:7

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray Your Spirit will grow a spirit of friendliness in my heart.

    Related Readings: Exodus 33:11; Psalm 109:4; Proverbs 12:26; Acts 19:31, 24:23; 3 John 1:1

    Post/Tweet today: We feel safe to share our feelings with those who feel what we feel. #feelings

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

  • Matthew West Performs for Country Music Association

    Four-time GRAMMY® nominee and recent ASCAP Christian Music Songwriter/Artist of the Year winner Matthew West performed at the first-ever “Sunday Morning At The River” as a part of Country Music Association’s 2013 CMA Music Festival. The event also included performances by 14-time GRAMMY® winner and country/bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs, as well as country music duo Joey + Rory. Pastor Mike Glenn of Brentwood Baptist Church gave a special message.

    The special performance came at an important time in Matthew West’s career, as his second single, “Hello, My Name Is,” from the 2012 album INTO THE LIGHT, recently hit No. 1 at Christian Radio. The empowering song, which is inspired by a true story of addiction and recovery as a part of over 10,000 stories sent to West, holds the No. 1 spot atop the National Christian Audience, AC Monitored and AC Indicator charts with total audience impressions reaching over 10 million.

    We so often define ourselves by our failings....this song is such an important reminder of the amazing truth that we are not defined by what we do or have done, but rather by who we are in Christ Jesus. I need this reminder daily... - Dan H., Senior Buyer of Music; Family Christian

    Matthew West has also just announced his fall tour. The “Into The Light Tour” will feature special guests Sidewalk Prophets and Jason Castro, and will hit 35 cities nationwide in support of INTO THE LIGHT, the album that has been referred to by critics as “emotional,” “entertaining” and an “honest celebration of humanity.” Dates and cities will be announced at a later date.

  • New Video From Group 1 Crew - Goin Down


    Super pop duo, Group 1 Crew, just dropped their new music video for "Goin Down" off of their latest album, Fearless.

    The video has many cameo appearances from some other artists. tobymac, Capital Kings, Jason Castro, Jaime Grace, Chris August (maybe). Do you see anyone else?

    What do you think of the video?

    I LOVE Group 1 Crew....they always have such amazing & positive energy. Love all the cameo appearances in the video! - Dan H., Senior Buyer Music; Family Christian

    The title and theme of this record, Fearless, arose from a turbulent period for the group. While creating the album, they faced numerous challenges including evolving from a trio to a duo, the passing of Blanca’s father and learning how to balance newlywed life with a heavy touring schedule. Blanca and Manwell confronted these tests and have emerged stronger than ever before. Fearless takes listeners on a lyrical journey through the truths that they faced over the past couple years.

  • Beverly Lewis' The Confession

    In Beverly Lewis' The Confession, Katie is a young Amish woman on a life-changing journey to find her English (American) birth mother, Laura Mayfield Bennett, who is terminally ill. Katie's hopes to meet her mother are thwarted, however, by Laura's husband, whose elaborate attempt to inherit Laura's wealth conceals Katie's true identity. Despite Dylan's ongoing deception, Katie's quiet faithfulness speaks volumes to Laura, who discerns that Katie is much more than hired help.

    Watch the trailer here:

    Based on a beloved trilogy, this movie version of Beverly's book by the same name is available now. Starring Katie Leclerc ("Switched at Birth") and Sherry Stringfield ("ER"), The Confession is the middle story (The Shunning is the first) in Beverly Lewis' The Heritage of Lancaster County series. Once again directed by Michael Landon Jr., The Confession brings the story of Katie Lapp to life as fans experience this beautiful tale set in both the Amish and English worlds.

    The Confession is a well written and directed drama that is a follow up to The Shunning. In this heartfelt story, we follow Katie as she goes into the city to search for her biological mom. This wholesome, family movie will delight fans of both Michael Landon, Jr and Beverly Lewis alike. Alex M., Senior Buyer of DVD

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