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  • Heart Knowledge

    Posted on June 12, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10

    There is a very important distinction between heart knowledge and head knowledge. A person can know facts about God in her head, without applying it to her heart by faith. A man or woman can hear all the right things, say the right things, attend church, and still be 18 inches away from heaven—the distance between the head and the heart.

    We can play church, masquerade our true heart to others, and even fool ourselves, but God cannot be fooled. We can volunteer in ministry, give money and have accolades from genuine Christians, but has our heart truly been transformed by the grace of God? Evidence of conversion is a public declaration of Jesus as Lord, and an internal confession that God raised Him from the dead. A heart engaged with eternity is saved from sin.

    “The Lord says: 'These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught'” (Isaiah 29:13).

    Where are you on the continuum of your commitment to Christ? Are you still seeking? Have you crossed over the line of belief by bowing in humble submission to your Savior and Lord Jesus? Be honest with yourself and God if you have not given your heart to heaven. Pray for the Lord to help your unbelief, and be bold to request prayer from others.

    What life event will it take to lead you to authentic faith and repentance? Marriage? The birth of a child? The loss of a child? The loss of a parent? Health issues? Financial brokenness? When we are on our back, our heart looks to heaven for help. When we drop to our knees in humble prayer, we see the Lord lifted up, and we invite His warm embrace.

    Don’t fight the hang-ups in your head—instead surrender your heart to Jesus. The enemy will always find an excuse for your mind to excuse eternal life in heaven. Do not dismiss childlike faith in Jesus for this is the entrance into His Kingdom. We are first born again with infant faith then we mature by grace and the meat of God’s word. Have you made this initial move of heart-felt faith? Take this first step of trust and start your walk with Jesus.

    “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation” (Psalm 13:5).

    Prayer: What obstacle to faith do I need to lay at the feet of Jesus, and trust Him?

    Related Readings: Job 33:3; Psalm 21:2; Mark 7:6; John 3:3; 2 Timothy 1:9

    Post/Tweet today: When we are on our back, our heart looks up to heaven for help. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Romans

  • Bestselling titles he’ll love

    Posted on June 12, 2014 by Family Christian

    Books Dad will enjoy!
    One Nation by Dr. Ben Carson with Candy Carson
    Four Blood Moons by John Hagee
    Instinct by T. D. Jakes
    The Reason for My Hope by Billy Graham
    Good Call by Jase Robertson with Mark Schlabach
    Out of the Depths by Edgar Harrell with David Harrell

    This post was posted in Books and was tagged with Featured, Billy Graham, John Hagee, Jase Robertson, T.D. Jakes, Ben Carson, Edgar Harrell

  • The Difference

    Posted on June 12, 2014 by Renee Swope

    Renee Swope

    "My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ ..." Colossians 2:2 (NIV)

    I noticed something was different as soon as he walked in the door. Andrew, my 16-year-old son, had come home from exercising at the gym and instead of looking exhausted, a bright smile stretched across his face like a crescent moon.

    Before I could ask what was up, Andrew said, "The custodian stopped me in the hallway and told me I 'looked like a champion' after working out."

    The comment made Andrew feel great. Just knowing someone actually noticed his hard work lifting weights made him want to give the guy a hug! But that felt awkward, so he just said "thanks" and kept walking.

    "But, when I got to the exit door," Andrew went on to say, "I decided to drop my bag and run back to thank the guy for encouraging me! And it made me feel so awesome!"

    The next morning, Andrew told me he couldn't stop thinking about what had happened at the gym. He said, "From now on, any time I feel like I'm supposed to encourage someone, I'm gonna do it! Not just because of how good it will make them feel, but because of how good it makes me feel to focus on other people and not be so focused on myself all the time."

    I did everything I could to hold back the tears. Yes, I was proud of Andrew's decision, but more than anything I was captivated by the difference I saw in my boy's eyes. And with his permission, I want to share why.

    For months, we watched our outgoing, happy, encouraging kid withdraw from us and from friends. We listened as he vented deep doubts and questions about God, compounded by frustration and uncertainties about his own purpose in life.

    Overwhelming concerns had occupied every square inch of my thoughts. My greatest concern came as I watched Andrew sink into a pit of discouragement as he insulated himself with negative anger towards God, his circumstances, and consuming self-focus.

    My husband and I prayed. We wrestled with God. We talked through Andrew's questions and doubts whenever he was willing. And we loved on him as much as we knew how.

    But now, many months later, I am still amazed by the difference a few words of encouragement made. Words offered by a stranger who noticed him, encouraged him and inspired him to give away what he had received.

    In today's key verse, the Apostle Paul shares how his life's goal was that others be "encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:2-3).

    Could it be that encouragement unites our hearts in love with God and each other? Then it unlocks spiritual riches of understanding to help us grasp all that is ours in Christ?

    Just today, Andrew told me again how his heart changed that night after coming home from the gym. He said for the first time, in a long time, he felt the power and presence of God's love, which he had been shutting out for months. And in the days that followed, he started to turn back toward hope and ultimately turn toward God.

    Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of Your encouragement. Help me slow down to hear You speak words of hope into my life, reminding my heart that You see me, value me and have a purpose for me! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Colossians 2:6-7, "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:

    Think of a time when someone's words of encouragement made a difference in your life or in your faith. Ask God to show you someone to encourage today. Then pray for the words of reassurance they need, and let your life make a difference in theirs!

    © 2014 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Colossians

  • Quiet Rest

    Posted on June 11, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest". So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.  Mark 6:30-32

    Wise leaders lead others into rest—they find a quiet place and rest together. After extreme busyness, rest is required, as your spirit begins to rebel against the hustle and bustle of life. The joy of service for God starts to fade. People become a drain rather than a blessing. It is time to break away to a solitary place. Jesus took a break after a big event.

    If you continually push yourself, you will eventually lose all energy and perspective. A driven heart becomes a judgmental heart. You begin to look down on others because they are not pulling their weight. Your joy is replaced with jaded criticism. You feel you are the only one who is really committed. Your peers have become slackers in your mind.

    Furthermore, be careful as you may be serving out of your own strength and not the Spirit’s. It is the Holy Spirit that sustains you over the long haul. Wise leaders understand the danger of an unsustainable schedule. You begin to sacrifice relationships in reach of unrealistic goals. Indeed, God gives us goals as a guide and motivation, but do not be driven by the goal—rather be lead by the Holy Spirit.

    Otherwise, the goal can become your god. Unchecked goal setting can lead you down the path of disappointment and disillusionment. You may need to better pace yourself. Be patient. Develop the team around you and watch God work through them, way beyond your capacity. Indeed, some of your team development comes in the quiet places.

    Find a quiet spot and calendar a time today for yourself and your team. They desperately need this enrichment, both personally and professionally. Without a retreat, they may not be able to advance. Some may be on the verge of burnout or quitting, because of discouragement. Solitary places allow you and your team to recalibrate with the vision and mission of the organization. Quiet times together build camaraderie and trust.

    A retreat is an investment. By taking time to pause you are able to continue—and you continue with more effectiveness and efficiency. A quiet place is an opportunity to get on the same page with God. Your soul is refreshed and replenished. The words of the Bible leap from its pages,  lodging in the crevices of your heart and mind. A retreat is an exercise of trust that routine matters will be taken care of in your absence.

    Take a retreat for your sake and sanity—and for the morale of the team. We hear more clearly when it is quiet. Our comprehension expands. Our bodies rest. Our soul is renewed. A solitary place provides strength and stamina to finish well. Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is rest in a quiet place!

    “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” Isaiah 30:15

    Prayer: When can I calendar a retreat time with my team for rest and reflection?

    Related Readings: Job 3:25-26; Psalm 37:7; John 6:37; 1 John 3:19

    Post/Tweet today: A driven heart can become a judgmental heart, if not renewed by rest. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Mark

  • Paving the Way - Duncan Phillips, Newsboys

    Posted on June 11, 2014 by Dan Hubka

    With a worldwide gross of over $61 million, the movie, God’s Not Dead has taken the film industry by storm. The movie featured Newsboys singing their hit single, “God’s Not Dead.” As a result, the single has been certified GOLD by the RIAA, selling more than 140,000 tracks in the past 5 months.

    We sat down with Duncan Phillips, Newsboys drummer, for an inside look at the band, the music, and the film’s success.

    Dan: Duncan, talk to me about some of the influence that you're seeing from the movie, God's Not Dead and the amazing success that's been having.

    Duncan: About a year and a half ago, Pure Flix came to us ... maybe even longer than that now. They said, "Look, we love that song. We love the theme of the song. We're doing a movie right now. We'd like to bring the two together and make a movie called, God's Not Dead." We're like, "Yeah, fine. No problem." We get things thrown at us all the time, as you might expect.

    About a year and a half ago, we were in the middle of a tour somewhere in Texas and we've been kind of learning our lines… but not really. I thought there was going to be [only] a couple of red cameras. We get through the door of the tour bus, 7 a.m. is the call [time] which is early for us, and they have 50 people on deck. They've got their own catering. There's vehicles everywhere. There's cameras in the air. I'm like, "Oh my gosh guys… we're in trouble. We better go back and brush up on our lines!"

    It started out in about 800 theaters nationwide. I think it's up to about 2,000 theaters now, but the impact has been great and varied. I think one of the reasons why is [because] it's a subject that a lot of kids in high school or college can really relate to. It's a very liberal culture out there. It's very hedonistic. It's humanistic and 20 [or] 30 years ago, [they started] taking God out of school. Now, of course, they don't even acknowledge that there is a God. Well, we're smarter than that. We've got science, but science tells us that there is no God. [That] couldn't be further from the truth.

    It really is quite wicked when you look into it, but I think a lot of Christian kids [are] going to college and they're dealing with it on a daily basis. I think what [the movie has] done more than anything, is [that it has] really helped to empower kids who are in those situations to be able to come back with a legitimate answer and a response to the atheist agenda.

    There [are] a lot of intelligent people. I don't say they're necessarily smart, but there [are] a lot of very intelligent people that have decided to become atheists… maybe because of a past hurt or [they know] if they recognized that there is someone greater than themselves, then they [would] have to wrestle with that… The agenda is basically [that] we have evolved [and] we've come so far as human beings… that we [have become] our own god. That's a very fallible position, because then you're answerable to no one. Basically, you can do what you want to do. [There is] a spirit that goes along with it… a very anti-Christ spirit with the whole agenda. It's a very interesting time we live in, that's for sure.

    Dan: Yeah, it's interesting. I think part of the appeal of your song is the overt nature of the title, the song, and the movie, God's Not Dead. You're not tap dancing around anything. That leads me into the success of your current single that's out, the song, “We Believe.” Can you tell me a little bit about where that song came from and how it got to be where it is now?

    Duncan: Well, we love the song, “We Believe.” Michael Tait always says that if Billy Graham was to sing a song, it probably would have been a song very much like “We Believe,” because it's very short. It's sharp. It's to the point… My feeling [is] that you can be direct in what you say, but you can say it in a way of love, and I think that's what [the song] “We Believe” does. It's not [pointing] the finger, saying “You are going to hell if you don't act like this.” It's saying “This is what we believe. We believe we found the answer, and this is the way.”

    At the rehearsal space, I'd well up every time, because when you hear those songs and lyrics go over the crowd, over microphones and over [the] PA, it's a very powerful, sobering moment. We're playing [“We Believe”] live in the set every night. It's just this incredibly poignant moment in the set [when] people stand up, raise their hands, and just sing to the heavens, “This is what I believe.” Even at interviews, I'll well up… talking about the song, simply because it goes so deep for me.

    Dan: You've also now set a challenge out for me to try to make you cry at some point in this interview.

    Duncan: That can happen. I'm definitely a crier for sure.

    Dan: Obviously, it's resonating with people. Sometimes these things are cyclical and I think we're in a season now of wanting to stand up and be accountable for our faith. I think that's the power of “God's Not Dead” and “We Believe.”

    You guys are in a really unique position right now… the movie has brought life back to the God's Not Dead record and then you have your current single on the radio. Has your band ever experienced anything like this before?

    Duncan: We've had moments like this, but I don't think there's ever been a moment in the band's history where we've had a prior record stomping all over the latest.

    Dan: (Laughs)

    Duncan: I was just talking to someone earlier today [about] their impressions. I'm a numbers guy. I love numbers. We just got off Winter Jam… and over a three-month period of time, we [were] playing for nearly 600,000 people, which is amazing. The biggest, most attended tour in the first quarter, four years in a row. But [the first] two or three weekends of the movie, 5.5 million people [saw the] movie. If you're talking about clout, or impressions, or the perfection of the branding, it can take a band five [or] 10 years to have that many impressions, but we put in a 12 [to] 16-hour day, one and a half years ago. It's almost like the inertia has caught up and the weight is pushing the notoriety and the perception of the band to greater heights than it's ever been before.

    We've had 26 number one hits. We've had a lot of number one hits over the years but [the God’s Not Dead single] has been the quickest advancing [song] in Newsboys history to date, because it's a creed. It's an anthem. It's something that when people sing it, it resonates deep within their soul and their spirit. That's the power of a wonderful song. That's the power of a great song. That's why we decided to take our hands off and allow [other] songwriters [to work on it]. Just because you're in a band doesn't mean you're a great songwriter.

    I know we want to own everything. We want to write our own songs, and that's great if you're an amazing songwriter, but we were average songwriters. We definitely had our moments writing a great song, but I think we came to the realization that we were better at being a band. We're better at getting out there [and] playing a live show. That's where Newsboys shine. There [are] people out there [whose] craft is to write songs. We realize that and recognize that.

    Dan: Can you tell me a little bit about that process that changed from writing songs to finding songs? Do you have somebody who brings songs to you? Are you guys actively looking yourself? What's that moment when you go yeah, that's a Newsboys song?

    Duncan: Well, I think it's everything. It's a process, man. I think for the Restart record, we looked at about 70 or 80 songs, a lot of them great songs. They just [were not] “Newsboys.” There's a definite theme [for] Newsboys. There's definitely a sound. We have grown that sound.

    Although we've dabbled in songs like “We Believe,” “It is You,” “He Reigns”… I think Newsboys really [does] shine as a pop band.  I grew up loving the music of the 80s and I think you just want to go back to your first love in music. I love pop music. I love the three and a half minute pop song. I think the Restart record [is] probably the best pop record Newsboys has ever made. I'm very, very proud of that record.

    Dan: You're one of the most entertaining drummers to watch. I think that you somehow bring the audience to you and we feel the music. Can you explain what happens?

    Duncan: I never thought, as a drummer, that I should be invisible. I always told [the band] “I'm in this band, so why not perform just as much as the lead singer?” I wanted people to feel that they could do it. I wanted people to go, “Man, that guy is having the best time of his life.”

    A part of it really has come out of this feeling of thank you, Jesus that I still can do this. Literally, it's a joy of the Lord when you get something taken away or nearly taken away that's precious to you, or something that you believe is God-given and he gives it back to you tenfold, the joy and the appreciation and the gratitude that comes out of that is unspeakable. You look at some video footage of five years ago [and] I probably wasn't quite as energetic because I was [thinking] “Well, maybe this is winding down.”

    Sometimes change is painful, but when you come out the other side you can look back and then you go, “Oh, now I get it.” I think the change with Michael was necessary. I think it was a Godsend. At the time, it didn't feel like it though.

    I think when [most people are] in the middle of something, they [ask] “Where [are you] God? You turned your back from me.” No, he hasn't. He's just building your backbone. He's just taking you somewhere. A lot of times we pray, “God, take me further, take me to the next level.” You know what? The next level is painful. It hurts.

    Birthing is painful and somehow as we look at that we think God can't be in [it]. I've never believed that. Whenever we've had problems, I've always tried to [ask], “Where is God in this whole thing?” When Peter left and Michael came on, as bleak as it looked, I knew down deep that this is a God moment and the best was yet to come. [It] was a little faith statement at that time because we hadn't recorded Born Again. We hadn't recorded God's Not Dead. We hadn't recorded Restart. We've been with [the band] for a couple of decades. [I was thinking], “I have a wife and a young family. I've got a mortgage to pay.” All the practical things that people forget sometimes. It's not just [my] career-- it's my livelihood. It's how I put food on the table. When it was looking like it was going to go belly up, my whole world on every level-- physically, financially, spiritually… was absolutely drained, and so was the band. We were spent, but I think sometimes that's where God needs us to be to really turn [it] around.

    It gives me great confidence, saying that I really believe the best is yet to come. It's more than a wish. [When I] look [at] what he's done over the last five years, [I think], “Oh my gosh, what can He do in the next five years? Where can He [take] this thing in the next five years?” The sky is the limit. I really believe that.

    Hopefully, that encourages every other person, every other band that's come up behind us, because they see Newsboys do it. That's one of my biggest hopes in the industry… to encourage all those bands, all those artists coming up behind us, that it can be done. You can have a long, fruitful career in Christian music.

    To purchase Duncan's latest record with his band, The Newsboys, click here.


    This post was posted in Music, Interviews and was tagged with Featured, Newsboys, Duncan Phillips

  • BookBites Vol. 3

    Posted on June 11, 2014 by Catherine Rivers

    Craving a new read? You’ve come to the right place. We love books. And we love sharing our thoughts on them. Welcome to Bookbites, where we give the latest books a grade, brief review and include an excerpt—a “bookbite”—that grabbed our attention.

    Happy reading!






    BRIDGE TO HAVEN
    Francine Rivers
    Grade A-  Woeful tale of an abandoned child turned adult and her headstrong escape into desolation and darkness, it’s a long journey but the love and light of home beckons and eventually restores her.  Well-written, page-turner as usual from Rivers.  However the author never addresses the fact that the pastor could have kept the child if he had asked for help from the congregation.  She was really abandoned more than once and it is heartbreaking and hard to get past, making the rest of the book seem like it was unnecessarily tragic...but apparently necessary to develop a romantic interest in the adopted brother.  These two elements don't fit Rivers' usually seamless writing.  Still a worthy read.

    Appeals to:  Fans of Francine Rivers, especially of Redeeming Love, and those who like fiction with an edge instead of fluff.

    Bookbite:  "Abra sat back on her heels, bowing her own head, hands clasped tightly.  'Please, God, please, please, make my daddy take me home. Please I'll be good.  I promise.  I won't make anybody too tired or sick.'  She dashed tears away.  'I wanna go home.'  Full of hope, she rose and looked out the window.  Daddy had walked to the end of the block.  She stared as he disappeared around the corner."

    UNDETECTED
    Dee Henderson
    Grade B  Known for her romantic suspense, Henderson unfortunately does not add much of either to this book; they are almost undetected or at least very tepid.  However if you are enchanted by submarines and want to learn more about them, you will love this book.  The men in the book bend over backwards to be the good guy in the white sailor hat, to the point of giving up the girl to the other guy.  Gina is a girl-genius, smarter than she deserves to be, who beats herself up for discovering things that might get somebody killed at the same time that they also save lives.  Lots of anguish from all throughout but in the end predictable.

    Appeals to:  Dee Henderson fans, but lacks the charm of the O'Malley series and the suspense of some of her newer books.

    Bookbite:  “Nothing’s changed with us, Gina.  We’re still in the days after Georgia.  As difficult as this is to sort out, Bishop and I really are different sides of the same coin.  You want to get married.  One of us will likely be the guy. That’s still the reality.  Okay?”


    This post was posted in Books and was tagged with Featured, Dee Henderson, Francine Rivers, BookBites

  • Lord, I Don't Know What to Do

    Posted on June 11, 2014 by Leah DiPascal

    Leah Dipascal

    "Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow." Psalm 25:4 (NLT)

    Do you ever feel like you're going in circles and not making any progress? At least not the kind of progress you were expecting.

    Are the constant appeals of our world pulling you in a million different ways, causing you to question if you're headed in the right direction?

    If you're like me, you have plans and dreams you want to fulfill. But life is confusing at times. And most days it seems like you're just surviving instead of living out those dreams or accomplishing your goals.

    Numerous distractions.

    Too many choices.

    Endless interruptions.

    There have been days I've felt like one foot was fixed to the floor, while my other foot scurried in every direction. Expending a lot of energy and mental fatigue, but going nowhere. Can you relate?

    Wouldn't it be awesome to wake up every morning and be assured you're on the right path towards your goals? To know with certainty that you're headed in the right direction? To feel confident with each step, without constantly questioning yourself?

    Too many times I've second-guessed a decision I was confident about. I want so desperately to follow God's will that I'll pray, but then feel uncertain, not wanting to make a wrong move. I wonder: Maybe this isn't what I'm supposed to be doing. Maybe this isn't part of God's plan for my life.

    As I've wrestled with indecision and insecurity, I've sought God's Word for help. A few months ago, I found a priceless nugget of truth in the Bible. It addresses our desire for guidance and shows us what to do when we need clear direction.

    King David composed these words in a beautiful psalm, tucked within the pages of the Old Testament:

    "Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you" (Psalm 25:4-5).

    These verses reveal David's humble and teachable heart. He wanted to be guided by God and led by His truth. David knew God was his Savior and placed all his hope in the One who created the right path for him.

    We find the answers to David's request for guidance only a few short passages away. Promises we can claim for our own lives:

    "The LORD is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray. He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way. The LORD leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all who keep his covenant and obey his demands" (Psalm 25:8-10, NLT).

    Based on these verses, when our hearts are humble and truly seeking God's will, we can be confident of this:

    1. God will always show us what is right for us.
    2. When we get sidetracked, God will direct us back to the right path.
    3. We are not alone. God leads and teaches us along the way.
    4. God leads those who obey Him with unfailing love and faithfulness.

    If you're unsure about some things in your life, don't wait another day to figure it out on your own. Ensure your heart is in the right place of humility, and then ask God to help you. Once you've asked, trust that God is directing you.

    If you know you've gotten on the wrong path, seek God for direction instead of looking to the world for answers. As you take steps to follow and obey God's voice, He will lovingly show you the way.

    Months ago I asked the Lord to etch these verses onto my heart and mind, so I'd always have them with me — especially on days when I feel like I'm going in circles and lacking direction.

    Today, I'm praying these verses over you.

    Dear Lord, help my friend come to You when she's in need of direction. Remind her that the world can't offer what she deeply longs for, nor does it hold her future, but You certainly do. Thank You for guiding her today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Psalm 32:8, "The LORD says, 'I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.'" (NLT)

    Psalm 90:17, "Let the favor of the LORD our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!" (ESV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    What area in your life is lacking direction: marriage, parenting, career, health?

    Find three Scripture verses (relating to that particular area) and personalize them into a prayer as you go to God for guidance.

    © 2014 by Leah DiPascal. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Psalm

  • Knowing God

    Posted on June 10, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:10-11

    Knowing God is not for the causal Christian, but for the committed ones. This intimate relationship is forged on the anvil of adversity and expressed through the power of Christ’s resurrected life. Knowing God requires dying to self and coming alive in Christ. Resurrected living is the fruit of a faith that is not satisfied with surface Christianity.

    To know God is to be loved by Him, to love Him and to love for Him. To know Him is to behold Him in the glory of His holiness, and to bow down in humble worship. To know Christ is to receive His comfort and to carry on a caring conversation with Him. It is going deep in knowledge and understanding of God, so we can carry His character and faith far and wide. Knowing God leads to making God known with our words and deeds.

    “Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name” Psalm 100:3-4

    Knowing God grows your character, as intimacy with Him influences you to be like Him. Christ's character begins to transform your character. His influence in your life broadens your influence in other lives. Indeed, your depth of character determines your breadth of influence. Grow in grace, so you can export grace throughout your circle of influence.

    But, be careful not to compare your character standard to others—even other Christians. Comparison games are the enemy’s game plan to get you off the track of trust in Jesus. Pride will puncture your ballooning influence, when you begin to take credit for what only the Lord can do. The more you know God—the less you see of yourself and the more you see of Him and others. You know Christ in His death, accompanied by a radical resurrection.

    How do you grow to know Him better? It happens in the margins of life, not in a packed schedule with no room for interruptions. A frantic pace lacks grace. A hurried life is tired—unable to trust and give back. Start by slowing down and calendaring time with Christ. Be with Him, so you can hear Him, get to know Him, and be changed by Him. Then the depth of your character will grow the breadth of your influence—for His glory!

    “For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God. Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name” (Psalm 86:10-11).

    Prayer: How am I growing in my knowledge of God? How is He transforming my character and broadening my influence for Him?

    Related Readings: 1 Chronicles 16:24; Isaiah 45:24; 54:11; Matthew 21:42; John 5:29

    Post/Tweet today: Resurrected living is the fruit of a faith that is not satisfied with surface Christianity. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Philippians

  • How Conflict Creates Connection for Couples

    Posted on June 10, 2014 by Dr. John Townsend

    Dr. John Townsend

    "Wounds from a friend can be trusted ..." Proverbs 27:6a (NIV)

    When my wife, Barbi, and I were first married, we had conflicts about conflict. Looking back, it's kind of funny because I later went on to write a Christian relationship book called Boundaries in Marriage. Imagine watching us have boundary conversations about how bad our marriage boundaries were.

    Barbi's approach to conflict was to avoid it. My approach tended to be more blunt. We'd talk about a problem, and it wouldn't go well. One of us would misunderstand, we would pull away from each other and the problem wouldn't get solved.

    One day I asked Barbi, "When we argue, I never stop loving you. Is there anything I can do to make this better for you?"

    She thought a minute and said, "Maybe if you let me know you love me before you confront me, that might help."

    That was a good idea, so I agreed. The next time I wanted to have a talk with her about a concern, I walked in the room and said something like, "Honey, I just want to let you know I really care about you, and I hope you feel safe with me." Then when I brought up the problem, things went better for her and for us.

    This method of having successful conversations went on for a while. As time passed, however, something changed. I needed to bring up an issue, so I began with, "Honey, I just want you to know..." Barbi said, "Stop! It's okay. I know you love me; just get to the problem."

    We had a good laugh about it. Over time, she began feeling safe enough not to need reassurance before each conversation. She realized I loved her even in the midst of confrontation, and she was ready to go straight to problem solving.

    When God created marriage, He gave us one of His best gifts. He provided a permanent and safe connection for a man and a woman to experience love, joy, meaning and purpose together. Genesis 2:24 says, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh" (NASB). God designed marriage to be a whole-person connection. This means that, more than in any other human relationship, every part of you ideally is to connect and cleave to every part of your spouse. The love you share should be complete as you intertwine your lives and emotions around each other.

    Because marriage is such a wonderful type of relationship, confrontation within the marital relationship is very important. Who is better qualified to understand and speak to someone about a problem than the person living life right next to him? You are intimately involved with him. You see the real person, imperfections and all. More than anyone, a spouse should be able to see what her partner's true problems are.

    Marriage is not about making each other happy; it is about growing and helping one's spouse to grow. Happiness can and does come to a good marriage. However, it is a byproduct of growth and life — not the goal.

    Confrontation brings empowerment, which is the ability to make choices and changes in your relationship. God created all of us to be change agents for each other. We have a responsibility to influence the people in our lives to be the best possible people they can be. For instance, 1 Thessalonians 5:11a says, "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up" (NIV).

    As Barbi and I have learned to confront each other lovingly, directly and effectively, we are often pleased in the change not only in our marriage but also in ourselves. We feel a sense of power that we can make changes and that we have choices. God designed all of us to connect and act, and confrontation helps put the "act" into the connection.

    Lord, thank You for the blessing of earthly marriage to display Your heavenly love for me. May I value marriage as all that You designed it to be. Help me move past seeking personal happiness and strive to develop growth in myself and my spouse. I trust You to guide my words and actions when conflict arises so that it can be an opportunity to connect in a deeper way. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    1 Peter 4:10, "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    What can you tell your spouse today to help each other feel safer in the relationship?

    Common conflict issues may revolve around your responsibilities, money and tasks, but do not stop there. Set aside time to talk with your spouse about the relationship itself. This is where the marriage lives.

    © 2014 by Dr. John Townsend. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Thomas Nelson Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Proverbs

  • Celebrate Life

    Posted on June 9, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    A large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead...for on account of himmany of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him. John 12:9, 11

    We can live a ‘drive thru dining’ life that rushes from one activity to the next, or we can live a ‘sit down dinner’ life that enjoys the caring company of others. It's especially meaningful to celebrate special occasions: graduations, anniversaries, birthdays (both physical and spiritual), work promotions and successful surgeries, to name a few. We celebrate life when we show our gratitude for the Lord’s blessings. We take the time to honor God for His bounteous provision and healing.

    Mary understood how to celebrate the gift of life. She took her best--her all, and gave it to Jesus. Her glee and gratitude could not be contained for her brother Lazarus was alive, raised by God. Without inhibition and in the face of fierce criticism from a family member, she lavished her love on the Lord. The death and resurrection of Lazarus became the harbinger of her symbolic anointing of Jesus for His burial. A celebration of life points to the giver of life; Jesus Christ.

    “They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness” (Psalm 145:7).

    A life lived well celebrates well. What has the Lord done in your life that invites a celebratory occasion? Perhaps you use this time to tell your story of God’s faithfulness, and as an opportunity to raise funds for a worthy charity. Recounting Christ’s blessings blesses others. Open your home to honor a friend who has been healed, or pay tribute to a new believer who has been raised to walk in newness of life in Christ. Life celebrations memorialize your heavenly Father’s favor.

    Some will scoff when we spend time and money to commemorate Christ. But their small view of God misses the point of creating unique ways to glorify God. For out of our great gratitude to the Lord, others are drawn to the Lord. Just as many believed in Jesus because of Lazarus’ testimony, so many will believe in Jesus because of our testimony. Others take notice when we celebrate our life blessed by the Lord. We anoint Jesus as our Lord when we give all we have to Jesus. Christ is our celebration. He is the reason we are rowdy with joy. Yes, celebrate when a soul is saved!

    “Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again;he was lost and is found.  So they began to celebrate” (Luke 15:23-24).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, slow me down to celebrate Your faithfulness. Use my joy to bring others to faith in Jesus.

    Related Readings: Psalm 2:11, 89:16; Isaiah 30:29; Matthew 26:18; Revelation 11:10

    Post/Tweet today: Out of our great gratitude to the Lord others are drawn to the Lord.. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with John

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