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Family Christian

  • New Movie - The Book of Esther Pt. 2

    Good battles evil in this 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. It is 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 retelling emphasizes the values of courage, faith and obedience.

    Stars Jen Lilly, Robert Miano and Joel Smallbone (For King & Country).

    Behind the scenes Pt 2:

    The Book of Esther trailer:

    View Part 1 by clicking here.

  • Live Where You Live

    Suzie

    "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." Philippians 4:11 (NIV)

    The spring air was crisp. Just right for a hike up Sparrow Hawk Mountain. Richard and I stood at the edge of the cliff, watching the winding river meander along the banks below.

    When we moved here three years ago, this quickly became one of our favorite places to hike. "It's so beautiful," I said. And then with a sigh, "I wonder if we'll live here after you graduate."

    Richard took me by my hands. "We live here now, Suzie," he said. "Don't you see that?"

    No, honestly I didn't. We had moved to this small college community when Richard went back to school to receive his master's degree. We stayed on as he earned the 3,000 hours needed for his license. I saw our move as temporary, and even though it had been three years, I mentally lived in limbo.

    I thought about our next move often. Where would God take us? Would it be somewhere new? Perhaps God would lead us back to our old community. I dreamed and planned it out over and over again. Not knowing where we'd end up made me discontented. I didn't feel settled or at peace.

    That day, after coming down the mountain, I wrote in big letters in my journal: Live where you live.

    It was time to put down roots right where I was, and be content in the present, regardless of where God might take us in the future.

    Paul the apostle never knew exactly where he might be next. He landed in extremely difficult situations for a few days, and at other times lingered with new friends. Sometimes the doors opened immediately for his next move, and at other times he waited for years. But Paul was content where he was, wherever that might be, in whatever situation he found himself.

    What was his secret? One commentary shares it like this:

    Paul learned to leave it to others if they would, to be discontented. But he, on his part, learned by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, and the dealings of Providence (Hebrews 5:8), to be content in every state.*

    As I determined to "live where I live," rather than living with my thoughts and heart wrapped around a future I could not see, I began my days like this:

    Father, show me Your plan for today and help me accept it.

    God, let me not be so farsighted that I miss the miracles around me right now.

    Lord, help me to celebrate small gifts of this day.

    Slowly the door to contentment opened. I began to invest in the community I lived in, enjoyed the scenery even more, and developed relationships with those around me.

    It's been two years since our conversation in Sparrow Hawk. Richard and I found out this past month that we are moving. God did indeed open a door that will uproot us to a new state with a new church, new friends and new possibilities.

    I'm packing my house and preparing for the move, but just yesterday my neighbors dropped by with their girls.

    Trinity, who is six, showed me a turtle she had found. Macey, age two, climbed in the flower bed to peek at a purple-striped petunia.

    Yes, there are new adventures ahead, but today I celebrate the joy of having close neighbors, and am satisfied with sitting with a sweet toddler with a pretty petunia in her hair.

    Dear Jesus, You are the God of my future. You whispered plans in my heart, but the journey to that destination is just as important. Help me plant roots in today, and be content with what is in front of me as I trust You with tomorrow. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Let. It. Go.: How to Stop Running the Show and Walk In Faith by Karen Ehman

    Follow us on Facebook.

    Reflect and Respond: We often celebrate the greater events in our life, but today let's celebrate the smaller ones: A neighbor who is kind. A good meal. Laughter of a child. A beautiful sky.

    Breathe a prayer of thanksgiving as you celebrate each and every one of those gifts throughout the day.

    Power Verses: 1 Timothy 6:6-7, "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it." (NIV)

    * Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Php 4:11). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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

  • Happy Mother

    Boyd

    He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD.      Psalm 113:9

     

    What makes a mother of children happy? Is it just the child? If so, there would be a world of happiness. Children certainly contribute to a mother’s joy. Jesus said, “A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world” (John 16:21). However, offspring cannot be the only reason for a mom’s feelings of fulfillment. In fact, if a mother’s happiness is contingent on her children, she will quickly become discontented. There is a greater source of happiness based on gratitude to God and His glory. She can rejoice because God opens the womb and invites intimacy with Him.

     

    The Holy Spirit initiates the miracle of conception (Matthew 1:20). Pregnancy is a gift from Providence. The Bible says, “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him” (Psalm 127:3). Therefore, you can be extremely grateful for the gift of God’s child. Your son or daughter is a stewardship from your Savior. This new life is not competition for your time and money. Rather, it is an opportunity to serve, build your faith, and become more like Jesus. Have you written your Heavenly Father a thank you note for the gift of your child? Happiness comes to mothers who experience hilarious appreciation for the Almighty’s entrustment of children. Be eternally grateful for the Lord’s unspeakable expression of love through the life of your little one.

     

    Of course, children will frustrate you and let you down, just as you have your parents and God. So learn to liberally apply love, grace, forgiveness, and discipline in the same way you administer ointment to their ailments. Teach them the truth of Scripture, model faith for them, and joyfully watch as they enter into a personal relationship with Jesus. The Disciple John experienced this. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4). Mothers experience happiness when they praise God for the privilege of being a parent. Your role as a mom is your glory to God. You smile because you know that as you serve your child, you are serving Christ (Mark 9:36-37).

     

    Therefore, be happy, because your Heavenly Father has blessed you. He has given you the gift of His son for your barren soul and the gift of a child for your joyful service.

     

    Post/Tweet: A mom’s role is her glory to God. They smile because they know as they serve  their child, they serve Christ. #moms

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Happy Mother's Day!

  • A Mom’s Mothering

    Boyd

    “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Dear woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home” (John 19:25–27).

     

    Moms are magnificent, especially the ones placed in my life by the Lord. My mom and the mother of our children, in particular, are emissaries of encouragement. They are messengers of comfort and care. No one loves more unconditionally than mothers. They see only the good and forget the bad. A mother’s love extends way beyond what is required creating a reservoir of hope.

     

    Furthermore, they are not afraid to speak the truth laced with an attractive attitude. It is not unusual for moms to become their child’s best friend. This is a natural outcome of their acceptance and relational relentlessness. Because their emotional intelligence quotient is high, they are able to discern and remedy heartfelt needs in an instant. Indeed, they are compulsive givers with a propensity to out-serve everyone.

     

    “Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing” (Psalm 100:2 nkjv).

    This outlandish outpouring of love concerns me. It does not bother me that moms love so generously. What troubles me is their need for unconditional love. Are moms being mothered to the extent that their needs are being met? An un-mothered mom is a good candidate for a miserable mom. If moms are not receiving what they need in emotional and spiritual support, they whither under the pressure. Like a flower in an arid climate, they need the saturating love, nurture, and security of their Savior Jesus.

     

    Lastly, they value being valued and desire acceptance. They are secure, living in security, and long to be loved.

     

    Lord, lead me to model this for my mom and the mother of our children. Show me how to shower on them what they have rained upon relationships, season after season, in unselfish service. I want to give back to them in the same way they have given to me and our children. I long for You to bless moms!

     

    “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her” (Proverbs 31:28).

     

    Prayer: Lord, lead me to another mother whom I can mother on Your behalf.

    Related Readings: Ruth 1:22; 1 Timothy 5:4; 2 Timothy 1:5; Titus 2:2–4

     

    Post/Tweet: No one loves more unconditionally than mothers. They see only the good and forget the bad. #moms

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Shrewd for Jesus

    Boyd

    The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. Luke 16:8

     

    Christians can be guilty of not being shrewd for Jesus. I can falsely feel like the Lord will take care of things without my best efforts. On the contrary, Christ expects us to be as innocent as a dove and as shrewd as a snake (Matthew 10:16). Gentleness and astuteness go hand in hand. The gullible miss out on God’s best, but the shrewd know how to manage well the wisdom of God. Engaged and mature thinking considers creatively and calmly how to capitalize on a difficult situation.

     

    Apathy breeds despair and panic creates contempt. However, we who know God, have the mind of Christ. The Holy Spirit is our advocate, whose insights transcend conventional solutions during tough times. The Spirit will lead us as we move forward by faith, but if we remain immobile in an anxious state, we will fail. As children of the light we have heavenly resources at our disposal. God’s favor rests on us when we attempt to influence people for His purposes.

     

    Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. 1 Corinthians 14:20

    How do you use your resources to reach people for Jesus Christ? One gauge of your effectiveness for the Lord is how well you make friends who grow in their faith. People are attracted to your authenticity and audacious faith. Bold risks breathed over in prayer become trophies of God’s grace and work. Use your business or work as a platform of creativity for Christ. Shun the status quo and lean into innovation. Last year’s success needs this year’s relevance.

    Lastly, do business with other believers who are excellent in their field. You support the economics of God’s Kingdom when you support other brothers and sisters in Christ. Yes, Christians will let you down, but learn how to work together and look for those whose values and maturity are similar to yours. Unite your community of faith around Christ. Use the synergies of other Jesus followers to leverage service to society and in the process build eternal dwellings!

    For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Corinthians 5:1

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me Your wisdom to be shrewd for Jesus.

     

    Related Readings: Exodus 1:10; Psalm 18:26; Ecclesiastes 11:1; Ephesians 5:8

     

    Post/Tweet today: The gullible miss out on God’s best, but the shrewd know how to manage well the wisdom of God. #shrewd

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Matthew West Takes Home ASCAP’s Christian Music Songwriter/Artist of the Year Award

     

    Matthew

    “Hello, My Name Is” continues to impact and inspire radio at No. 2 on the charts

    Announces headlining tour "The Into The Light Tour" for this fall

    Matthew West, a four-time GRAMMY® nominee heralded by the New York Times as a “vivid and compelling songwriter,” celebrates the distinguished honor of being named ASCAP Christian Music Songwriter/Artist of the Year at this past Monday night’s ASCAP Christian Music Awards. As a veteran recipient of ASCAP’s Christian Music Song of the Year, West’s career highlights boast four No. 1 hits along with songwriter credits including cuts by Rascal Flatts, Billy Ray Cyrus, Diamond Rio and more.

    The award comes off the heels of West’s nomination in the first ever K-LOVE Fan Awards. West is up for “Male Artist of the Year” and is scheduled to perform at the event on June 1.

    Adding to his recent award successes, West’s second single “Hello, My Name Is,” off his powerful project Into the Light, continues to gain momentum on charts claiming the No. 2 spot on the National Audience Chart, No. 5 at Christian AC Monitored and No. 3 at AC Indicator this week. The singled garnered over 8.5 million audience impressions this week. After a successful run pre-headlining Winter Jam, the No. 1 tour in the country, the acclaimed artist will hit the road this fall on a headlining tour with guests Sidewalk Prophets and Jason Castro as part of “The Into The Light Tour.” Cities and dates will be announced soon at www.MatthewWest.com.

    From L to R: Paul Williams (ASCAP President and Chairman), LeAnn Phelan (ASCAP), Matthew West, Michael Martin (ASCAP) and John LoFrumento (ASCAP CEO)

  • To Have and to Hold

    Sharon

    "Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful." James 5:11 (ESV)

    "Love is patient, love is kind ... It always protects ... always hopes ... always perseveres." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)

    As I sprayed the front porch with my water hose, dirt and bugs poured down the side of my house. Blasting those things was exhilarating. Everything came off under the pressure of that water. Everything except one big spider web.

    So I got a stool to stand on, edged in even closer, and blasted that web again. The silken threads thrashed to and fro with each gust of water. But the spider, the web, and her eggs stayed intact.

    They weren't going anywhere.

    Flabbergasted, I thought to myself, "Spiders must have an inborn instinct to have and to hold. Under the greatest pressure, they don't let go.

    It reminded me of a time several years ago, when a friend came to me in devastation. Her husband told her he didn't love her—in fact, he said, he had never loved her.

    "It's over," she told me.

    We talked and I then asked, "Can you hold on to the marriage for just a while longer? You have nothing to lose. You've already lost him."

    I told her to become his greatest admirer. Find the good in him. She did. It didn't work.

    I told her to make his favorite dinners and desserts. She did. It didn't work.

    I told her to make love to him as never before. She did. It didn't work.

    I told her to do the things she knows he likes done. She did. It didn't work.

    I told her to pray non-stop for him. She did. It didn't work.

    I told her to tell him, "I vowed to you that I would hold on no matter what." She told him. But he didn't care.

    After a month she came to me with tears in her eyes and said, "It's not working Sharon."

    "He's not gone yet is he?" I said. "I know it's hard, but keep doing it ... because love always protects, always hopes, and always perseveres."

    She took a deep breath.

    She chose to keep doing it. And very gradually things started shifting. He started enjoying the dinners at the table and all the other things she was doing for him—even intimacy.

    A year later they found themselves passionately in love with one another. For the first time.

    Now, I know the story is not going to turn out the same for everyone. I've given the same advice to others without the same results. But I can give you this advice with confidence: when the storms come—and they will—hold on tight, just like the spiders on my porch.

    God calls us to have a love that perseveres and hopes. We can't choose what kind of love the other party will give in return, but there is power in God's kind of love—a holding-on kind of love.

    To have and to hold means you've got to hold on when the storm rages. And even if it knocks you off kilter, ask the Lord to give you strength to get back up and hold on some more.

    I finally got all the spiders and their webs off my porch. It looked beautiful.

    As I was gathering my cleaning supplies and enjoying the clean porch, I saw spiders crawling back up the wall.

    I smiled. If I can't get rid of them, at least I can learn a lesson from them!

    Dear Lord, help me to have a love that perseveres through hard times. Help me to love the way You've called me to love. Give me hope, strength and wisdom as only You can do. You know I need it. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    For real hope for real life, soak up God's Word. It offers strength for trials, wisdom for tough decisions, and encouragement for weary moments. The new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women has the Proverbs 31 Ministries team's devotions interspersed throughout.

    Reflect and Respond: Are there areas of your marriage that you need to work on? Have you lost hope because you haven't seen the fruit of all your labor?

    Ask God to help you and show you areas where you can grow. Ask Him to show you practical ways you can love better. Make an action plan of how you are going to tackle these areas.

    Power Verses: James 5:11, "We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful." (NAS)

    2 Thessalonians 3:5, "May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Sharon Glasgow. All rights reserved.

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

  • Moral Police

    Boyd

    The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. Luke 15:28-29

     

    Some religious people feel responsible for monitoring other’s behavior with moral smugness. They judge people’s motives, while their own heart becomes filled with a sense of superiority. These defenders of their definition of decency feel no need for mercy, nor do they offer mercy. The Bible becomes a “billy club” to whip people into shape with bouts of shame and guilt. Ironically, moral police lack moral authority. Their pronouncements are birthed from pride, not pity.

     

    The moral police person is driven by anger. They are not satisfied until everyone they know conforms to their standards. They become especially perturbed when a sinner repents and is accepted back into the fold of faith. Cynically they say, “Is his conversion real?” “If anyone deserves recognition and rewards for their behavior, I do, because I have always been a good person.” Indeed, their pious prayers preach down to those less religious. They become a closed minded judge and jury.

     

    But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry... But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry? Jonah 4:1,4

    Has your religious zeal drifted into the arrogant attitude of the older brother in Jesus’ story: jealous, judgmental and joyless? Are you bound up within because life doesn’t seem to listen to your demands? The same Lord you represent can free you from being a self appointed judge. Take a step off your religious pedestal of pride and kneel in humble brokenness. Confess the need to be free from an attitude of moral superiority and admit to being a chief of sinners.

     

    The moral police of Jesus’ day had Him crucified. Today we are called to be crucified with Christ, so we are reminded of our weak condition outside the love and grace of God. Yes, there are standards God expects us to obey. Christ calls us to a high level of moral and ethical behavior. However, it is the inner work of the Spirit that conforms us into the image of Christ. Truth transforms us from the inside out, so we walk in humility not pride. God is our judge.

     

    Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Matt. 7:1-3, The Message

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, forgive me for judging others and neglecting my own proud heart.

     

    Related Readings: Luke 6:41-42; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5, 5:12; James 4:11

     

    Post/Tweet today: A person who feels morally superior is not satisfied until everyone else conforms to their standards. #moralpolice

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • The Most Important Lesson

    Lysa

    "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 11:18-19 (NIV)

    Early in my motherhood adventure I realized I could solve my kids' problems for them. Not every problem. But for the most part when they had an issue I could step in and be the solution.

    Or ...

    I had another option. I could mentor and equip my kids to solve their issues. This approach is much more time consuming, brain draining, and sometimes quite frustrating.

    But for me, the most important lesson I want to teach my kids is how to think.

    It's that whole "give a man a fish" thing. Give him a fish and he'll eat for a day ... or teach him to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime.

    I don't want to train my children to always turn to me for solutions. I want them to learn to think in biblically and emotionally healthy ways and process life's choices in grounded, mature ways. Eventually, they will become solution finders.

    If I only tell my kids what they can and can't do, I'm establishing rules for them to follow. This is a part of parenting for sure, but it can't be the whole part.

    If I teach them how to think, I'm establishing healthy processing patterns that will serve them when they're no longer under my immediate watch.

    For example, texting while driving is deadly. I've taught them this rule. But to help them learn to process the dangers of driving while distracted, I decided to have a family discussion.

    Recently, I asked each of the kids to come to a scheduled family dinner equipped to present a brief report on the dangers of texting and driving.

    As they presented their reports, I saw the light bulbs coming on in their thought processes. They weren't just learning a rule; they were discovering how to think about this dangerous habit. They were passionate about it. And the best part? They independently committed to not text and drive.

    They owned it. Not because I preached a rule at them. But rather, because I helped them learn how to think through this danger for themselves.

    The Bible instructs us to teach our kids the truths of God by talking and processing with them all throughout the day. Obviously, texting and driving isn't a biblical truth, but how powerful it is to apply a Biblical mindset to every issue we face.

    So, be it a Scriptural truth or processing life stuff in general, I think the secret is tucked within the beautiful words of our key verse, Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (NIV):

    "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many..."

    Yes, may our days together be many. Learning. Thinking. And processing each problem through the filter of God's Truth.

    Dear Lord, thank You for the opportunity to teach my children how to think in a way that is honoring to You. Use me as an example of Your love and compassion in their lives. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Equip your daughter or a young woman you know to think in biblically and emotionally healthy ways with Lysa TerKeurst's new book, What Happens When Young Women Say Yes to God, co-written with her teenage daughter Hope. Click here to purchase your copy.

     

    Reflect and Respond: How can you begin to implement this way of thinking with your family?

    Start small – direct your child to Scripture, say a prayer with him/her, or make it an overall family discussion!

    Power Verses: Proverbs 22:6, "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it." (NIV)

    Isaiah 54:13, "All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

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    WHAT WE'RE ABOUT

    “to look after orphans and widows in their distress...” James 1:27 NIV

    Our heartbeat is to help orphans and widows in need, as our Father calls us to do.
    And with every purchase you make, you’re making an amazing difference in their lives.

    We are not for profit, and all for purpose
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