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  • The Lord’s Requirements

    Boyd

    “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

     

    God has expectations for His children: justice, mercy and humility are three of His requirements. These are not electives for the student of God’s Word, but three virtuous attributes that are required. Furthermore, the Lord does not ask His followers to behave in any fashion that He has not already modeled before them.

     

    He acts justly, He loves mercy and He walks humbly. He does not expect any behavior from His followers that He has not already exhibited. His justice is sure, right, and fair. His mercy is fresh, deep, and everlasting. His humility is authentic, tranquil, and service oriented. Jesus came to earth from heaven to give us a picture of God’s glory.

     

    We worship an awesome God who has shown us the way. Look at the life of Jesus and He exemplifies this trinity of character traits. He was a man who despised injustice and He confronted unfairness with passion. Jesus was a man on a mission of mercy. He could not wait to extend His grace to some unsuspecting and undeserving soul.

     

    He served humanity's worst with humility. He did not condone sin, nor was He condescending towards those caught in their sin. He spoke with conviction laced with glory to God,in real life application. He was a man of humility. “Gentle and humble” (Matthew 11:29) are the only two recorded words in scripture that Jesus used to describe Himself. God has modeled the way for us. He does not require what He does not do.

     

    For Christ followers, He is your life. As you walk with Him that realization becomes more apparent. You cannot walk with God and not change, as you become like the one you walk with. When you walk with the Lord you begin to grow in justice, mercy and humility. When you walk with God you are transformed into the image of His son Jesus.

     

    “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Romans 8:29).

     

    So what does it mean to walk with God? First, you quit striving in your own strength. Slow down and prayerfully channel that same energy heavenward. By faith trust God to work out the people and circumstances beyond your control. This is a walk of faith.

    Secondly, as you walk with Him listen to His voice and enjoy His presence.

     

    His voice is reassuring and His presence is calming. Justice, mercy and humility will come as you walk with your heavenly father. Walking with God meets His requirements, as He provides what He requires. Isn’t this just like our gracious God? Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. His requirements are rewarding and good!

     

    Prayer: Do I have a humble walk with the Lord that exhibits mercy, love and justice?

     

    Related Readings: Genesis 5:22-24; Joshua 22:5; Luke 24:1-35; 1 John 1:7

     

    Post/Tweet today: We cannot walk with God and not change, as we become like the one we walk with. #walkwithGod

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Coupons for Dad!

    We thought that we would put together some great coupons for the kiddos to give to dad. We even have a blank one for your family to be creative.

    BACON!

    BREAKFAST!

    BROWNIES!

    CAR

    RESTAURANT!

    MAKE


    What gift are you giving for Father's Day this year?

  • New Movie - The Book of Esther pt 3

    We have been giving some behind the scenes footage of the new PureFlix movie, The Book of Esther (Pt 1 and Pt 2). Here is the another look at the movie making process.

    Remember this film is staring Joel Smallbone from For King & Country.

    Good battles evil in The Book of Esther, based on the timeless story of Biblical heroism. The righteous Jew Mordecai and the despicable Haman square off for control of the young Persian King Xerxes. But Haman’s plans include something horrible for Mordecai and his people - and it's up to Mordecai’s niece Esther to win the affection of the King, unmask Haman’s treachery and save the Jewish people.

    Based upon the Book of Esther, this delightful and dramatic retelling emphasizes the values of courage, faith and obedience.

  • When the Pressure Crushes You

    Glynnis

    "We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself ... But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead." 2 Corinthians 1:8b, 9b (NIV)

    It seemed pressure came from every direction. It was unrelenting. Financial pressures brought worry. Children issues brought frustration. And an overloaded schedule kept me up at night. It got so bad I wanted to have a bonfire with all my to-do lists and make s'mores.

    Being a naturally self-sufficient person, my instincts led me to work harder. How could I make more money? What new parenting technique would make this child behave? If I pulled an all-nighter could I knock my emails down to a manageable number?

    I picked up the pace. Buckled down. Slept less. Instituted logical consequences for my child. And re-wrote my to-do lists. I was determined to pull myself together. After all, that's who I am ... at least that's who I was.

    In the past, my Lone Ranger attempts at managing circumstances worked. But not this time.

    Debts mounted. My child's problems increased. And consequently, I fell further behind. The pressure just kept increasing instead of going away.

    Never in my life had circumstances been so overwhelmingly beyond my control. I was surrounded by things I couldn't whip into shape, including my own emotions. I felt like such a failure, and was so ashamed that I couldn't manage the assignments God had given me. Finally, with no solutions in sight, I broke down before God, crying out in desperation, certain He'd be as disappointed with me as I was.

    After all, I was the girl He was supposed to be able to count on. I was the dependable one. And here I was falling apart.

    With my emotions a tangled mess, I poured out all my fears, weakness, and insecurities to God. Even my prayers seemed jumbled and incoherent. And in the midst of my tears, I declared "I can't even pray right!" Never had I needed God more. Well, to be honest, never had I really needed God.

    In the aftermath of my breakdown, something started to change in me. It was subtle, kind of like the dawn, when pitch black moments start to take shape.

    My self-sufficiency was slipping, being replaced by God-dependency. Peace snuck in where I didn't expect it. Circumstances didn't change, but my understanding did. God never needed to depend on me ... rather I was to depend on Him.

    Although I'd been a Christian for many years, and loved and followed God with what I thought was all my heart, it seemed I'd held something back. In the midst of that pressure-cooker time, I realized believing in God isn't the same as trusting Him. God used pressure that felt crushing to lead me to dependence that felt freeing.

    Recently I read a passage in 1 Corinthians that perfectly summarized what God taught me during that time: "We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself ... But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us" (vv. 8b, 9b-10)

    Pressure in life is never easy. But God can use it to take our faith deeper if we let Him. It started for me by admitting my insufficiency, and realizing God wasn't disappointed by that confession. In fact, He invites me to need Him.

    Heavenly Father, please forgive me for all the times I've said "I don't need You" through my actions. I admit I can't manage my life alone, and need Your help. Thank You for being all-sufficient and all-powerful and loving me enough to never shame me for what I can't manage. I love You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources: A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

    Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try Hard Life by Emily Freeman

    For daily encouragement, join our Facebook community.

    Reflect and Respond: What is your typical reaction when facing a problem?

    If you knew without a doubt that God would help in your time of need, how would that change things for you?

    Power Verses: 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." (NIV)

    Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Result of Worry

    Boyd

    Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:27

     

    The results of worry aren’t redeeming, productive, nor helpful. Worry doesn’t assist today and it only complicates tomorrow. Its ultimate sideways energy  sidetracks us from our Heavenly Father’s loving comfort. Worry is a dark alley in a loud, confused city. It's an untrodden trail off the beaten path of God’s will. Worry has a way of putting a wrench into the works of Christ. It's a subtle and not so subtle way to place our efforts ahead of God’s. Worry leads to a victim mindset.

     

    Worry can become a self fulfilling prophecy. Yes, we can work ourselves into a frantic state of self reliance, so much so that we begin to believe and live out lies. We predict the worst case scenario is imminent and then we act in ways that move us in that direction. We simmer in self pity, talking like a victim, then we become a victim. Worry whispers statements like, “What if you lose your job?”, “What if you have a disease?”, “What if he/she leaves you?” Worry’s results wreak havoc.

     

    Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15

    Praise the Lord there are remedies to worry! Shifting our focus from self to our Savior is a foolproof way for faith to preempt false thinking. Self is like a jealous lover who wants to be the center of attention, but Christ alone deserves this highest status of affection. When our idols of security, money, control and comfort bow to Jesus, worry runs away rejected. Worship embraces hope as courage for the heart. Courage and hope are fraternal twins that birth in us a living faith.

    Furthermore, the Lord sustains you when you cast your cares on Him. Your humility in confessing your ongoing need for Christ leads to spiritual sustainability. Healthy soul care requires you to invite your Heavenly Father to care for your anxious heart and nervous emotions. Submission to Sovereign God precludes a position for your pride to perch. Yes, Jesus’ spoken word in Scripture soothes your soul and brings peace to your war of worry. The result of trust is peace and calm.

    Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I bow in humility to You, trusting You with my cares and concerns.

     

    Related Readings: Psalm 55:22; Proverbs 12:25; Philippians 4:6-7; Hebrews 13:5-6

     

    Post/Tweet today: Worry is sideways energy that sidetracks us from our Heavenly Father’s loving comfort. #worry

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Skillet - Sick of It


    If you didn't know that Skillet has a new album dropping soon, you must be living under a rock.

    The new video from their new album, Rise, has arrived. What do you think of it?

    Interested in more Skillet? Check out our recent interview with them here.

  • But Then I Let Go

    Suzie

    "But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles." Isaiah 40:31a (NIV)

    I used to have a fear of heights. I think it has something to do with the fact that my dad held my little brother over the Grand Canyon when he was three, and I was 10. I completely panicked, thinking my brother would tumble over the side and be gone forever.

    Regardless of how it arrived, the fear was real.

    My son bought a zip lining package for two on sale so I could put a checkmark on my bucket list next to "get over fear of heights." When we arrived, I noticed several towers, zigzagging zip lines and people harnessed in a series of straps and buckles. My heart immediately went into overdrive when we were asked to climb a moderately high tower.

    The higher I climbed, the more my brain informed me that I was afraid. Yet I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. Up, up, up!

    My son flew from one tower to the next with ease. Then I stepped up. The platform was tiny. One inch in front of me there was nothing between me and the ground, hundreds of feet below.

    I put my gloved hands on the zip line. Everything in me was screaming to turn around and go back to solid ground. But then I let go ...

    .... and it was exhilarating.

    I soared through the air and slid in semi-smoothly to the tower where my son fist-pumped in the air with a "Way to go, Mom!"

    I wish my fear of heights was the only challenge I've ever faced, but sometimes God asks me to do something that seems just as impossible. That happens when He leads me into the harder parts of my faith.

    That looks different for all of us, but for me it was to forgive those who had hurt me in my past. God was nudging me to soar, but in order to do that I had to let go and trust that He knew what was ahead.

    Perhaps His request goes against how we feel, or it just doesn't feel possible in the natural. But when we choose zip line faith, we learn to release or overcome things that might otherwise keep us trapped.

    Is zip line faith (going down the harder paths of obedience) easy? No, it might challenge you. It might take you way outside your comfort zone. It might even cause you to fall down a few times as you practice. But you do grow through it, sometimes in surprising ways.

    A few weeks after my zip lining experience I was in a high-rise hotel. I stepped out on to the balcony because I heard music below. Peering over the edge, I watched a wedding in process.

    And then it hit me. I wasn't afraid!

    Before I zip lined, I couldn't have stood near the edge of the balcony, and I definitely wouldn't have peered over to the scene beneath. Stepping off that ledge and soaring to the next tower helped me to overcome a fear I thought was too big to conquer.

    Maybe I'm not ready to bungee jump ... yet. But my zip line experience showed me that my fears, though valid, didn't have the power to hold me back forever.

    Whatever God is speaking into your heart today, are you willing to climb up, up, up as you follow Him into the harder (and freeing!) parts of zip line faith?

    Dear Jesus, my heart longs to soar. Thank You in advance for walking with me through the tougher parts of my faith, and for dancing in celebration with me as I climb over that mountain to soar to the other side! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible with devos from the Proverbs 31 Ministries team, including Suzie Eller.

    Reflect and Respond: Write down the one thing you feel God is asking you to do.

    1. Does it line up with Scripture? 2. What is your greatest fear about this assignment? 3. What might you gain if you take a step of faith?

    Power Verses: Ephesians 3:16, "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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

  • God Bless You

    Boyd

    “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24–26).

    We have the opportunity to regularly encourage others with an admonishment for the Lord to bless them. This is the power of the spoken word. You can build up another by conferring upon them the favor of God. What a simple way to sincerely wish upon another the Lord’s best with a kind “God bless you.” We are not to say it glibly or  out of habit, but with deep feeling and a genuine desire for God’s commendation.

    We can also pray God’s protection on others: their health, their travels, and their relationships. In any situation of uncertainty and/or danger, we can ask God to “keep them.” Or maybe there are those who are in dire need of experiencing the fullness of God’s grace. They are tired of “trying to live” the Christian life and need a fresh “baptism” of God’s graciousness. You can see it in the hardness of their countenance or in the fatigue of their droopy posture. They are lacking in energy and drive. They need an outpouring of grace.

    “May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples” (Genesis 28:3).

    God’s grace is a safe environment to recover from rejection and hurt or to gain strength for the journey. Grace is inviting and invigorating. It is cool water for a thirsty soul. Life saps grace from our hearts while intimacy with Jesus infuses grace into our being. You can be a grace killer or a grace giver. People will flock to you because of your graciousness or avoid you like the plague because of your gracelessness.

    The secret to giving God’s grace is receiving God’s grace. Each day ask God to renew your grace quota, filling your grace tank so you can bestow grace on others. What a joy to extend grace to the ungracious and to receive grace from the greatest grace giver, Jesus. Furthermore, our benediction and admonishment to others can be for them to experience God’s peace. Once you discover peace with God, you have the peace of God.

    His peace can lie dormant in our hearts, or it can flourish like kudzu on a hot summer day. Be a peacemaker. Yes, you can win the argument, but you may lose the relationship. Why not bless with peace rather than curse with contention? When you bless others, you too enjoy the blessings of God.

    “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9).

    Prayer: How can I boldly bestow the Lord’s blessing? I want to receive His blessing so I can be a blessing.

    Post/Tweet: A soul’s hunger for God is an innate appetite that only He can satisfy. #satisfied

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

  • Intimacy through Brokenness

    Boyd

    The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

    Intimacy with God goes hand in hand with your brokenness. Your desire for intimacy with your heavenly Father will be accompanied by brokenness, as it escorts you into intimacy with eternal God. It is your date with destiny. A broken and contrite heart delivers intimacy with the Almighty. Do not despise your broken condition. Rather, delight in its opportunity for intimacy. You long to know Jesus in the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering (Philippians 3:10). These prayers were not in vain. Your brokenness is answered prayer. The answer may not be exactly what you expected. You may have anticipated a smoother route, a paved road free of bumps or pot holes. But the path of personal and intimate relationship with Christ is not always easy.

    Most of the time, intimacy requires difficulty. It is at this point of pressure and discomfort that some people disembark the train of intimacy. It is much easier to talk about an intimate relationship with Christ than it is to arrive at this point through brokenness. However, this is an exercise in convenience. It is like placing a “Do not disturb” sign on the door of our life, in place of the “Clean up my room” invitation. Brokenness is inviting God to come in and cleanse your life. He stands at the door of our heart and knocks (Revelation 3:20). When you invite Christ into your broken lives, He comes in. Intimacy is then unleashed on His terms, not yours. It is only when you surrender in total desperation and total dependency on God that you experience authentic intimacy.

    Intimacy with God through brokenness is not unlike what you experience in relationships with people. Hardships and brokenness are meant to grow you closer to other people. A crisis will either drive you further away from someone or closer together. God’s best for you is to make you relationally stronger with one another during a season of brokenness. But brokenness is not a one-time phenomenon. It is an ongoing part of the committed Christian’s life. It’s not as if you swallow this hard pill one time and are then set for a lifetime of intimacy with God. Once God has marked you with brokenness, then you are positioned for Him to build on this firm foundation. He will still use mini brokenness throughout your life.

    These regular occurrences are bricks of brokenness connected together by the cement of his grace. Over time, a life of brokenness becomes a stalwart structure of sanctification designed by God. Your brokenness is meant for your betterment. Indeed, you are much the better when you experience a defining moment of brokenness. It deserves your embrace, rather than your rejection. If you fight brokenness, you delay God’s best. You circumvent intimacy with Christ if you bypass brokenness. Focus your energies on changing yourself, not your circumstances. Christ will handle the circumstances while you adjust your attitude. A life of brokenness is an invitation to intimacy. His closeness and salvation are worth this time of brokenness. Don’t buck brokenness. Instead, rely on Him and get to know Him at this deeper level of intimacy. You are much better broken because brokenness leads to intimacy with God.

    Post/Tweet: Bricks of brokenness are connected together by the cement of God’s grace. #brokenness

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

  • The Lord Provides

    Boyd

    “But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.” Jonah 1:17

    The Lord provides. He provides because this is His heart’s desire. By His very nature He is a provider. He cannot, not provide. It gives Him great pleasure to provide. Just as an earthly father delights in providing for his children so does your heavenly Father. “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him” (Luke 11:13).

    When you fear, He provides peace. When you feel lonely, He provides companionship. When you suffer loss, He provides comfort. When you become proud, He provides humility. When you lack the necessities of life, He provides your needs. When you struggle with confidence, He gives you little victories to gain back much needed confidence. Your confidence grows out of your trust in Him. He gives you strength.

    “If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11b).

    God’s provision may come in a manner that you are not expecting. It may be an unsolicited check in the mail. It could be the compassionate prayer of a complete stranger. It may be a material provision that comes out of left field, because someone at church felt led by the Lord to provide for your need. They are blessed. You are blessed.

    God gets the glory, so do not underestimate the creativity of God. Do not lock His provision capability into a conventional box. He may have bigger and better plans. Do not limit God with false humility or lack of faith. He loves being your provider. Do not forget Him. The grace He provided yesterday will not suffice for the grace He provides today.

    You can trust that He has just the right life mate for you. Do not settle for someone other than God’s very best. He may very well do much better than your current relationship. He is in the relational business. He knows exactly the husband or wife for you. Be patient. Believe the Lord for someone who will love Him more than he or she loves you.

    Many times prayer is His avenue of provision. Prayer facilitates His powerful promises. You prayed for it and now He has provided, but be careful what you pray for—He may answer. Sometimes He answers swiftly and other times His answer is delayed. Do not compromise your convictions or give up. A saint who experienced God’s provision on a regular basis said, “God’s work, done God’s way, will not lack God’s provision”.

    “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17).

    Prayer:In what need do I need to be patient and pray for the Lord’s powerful provision?

    Related Readings: Job 36:26-31; Psalm 111:5; Matthew 6:25-34; Acts 14:16-17

    Post/Tweet today: The grace He provided yesterday will not suffice for the grace He provides today. #grace

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

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