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Family Christian

  • 6 Scriptural Prayers for Husbands

    Posted on June 16, 2014 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy Blight

    "So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:11(NASB)

    My husband Monty and I are different. So very different. Early in our marriage, I loved those differences. But as the years have passed, they've been known to cause frustration ... arguments, slammed doors, and words that can't be taken back.

    Sometimes toxic thoughts and words fill my heart and spew forth from my lips. Thoughts that linger and take root. Words that cut deep.

    I'm too quick to take offense.

    I asked him to do this. If he cared about me, he would. He knows it's important to me. I shouldn't even have to ask.

    I get annoyed.

    He's late for dinner ... again. Couldn't he call? He knows we eat at the same time every night.

    I replay the hurt in my mind, and at times it consumes me.

    Please know that I share these thoughts as a wife who loves her husband deeply. But I'm also a wife who struggles to live out that love in a God-honoring way.

    Maybe you can relate. I wrestle with thinking unkind thoughts about the man I love more than anyone else. And then I remember the truth of God's Word, and He makes it personal:

    Wendy ... "whatever is in your heart determines what you say," Matthew 12:34b (NLT).

    Wendy ... "give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their body. Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life," Proverbs 4:20-23 (NASB).

    When I read that warning from Proverbs chapter 4, it signals me to change what fills my heart. It directs me to go to God's Word and find words of life for my marriage and my husband.

    So I've committed to pray God's Word over my husband. Today, I'm sharing what I pray and invite you to join me in praying for your husband:

    Father, give my husband a discerning heart to know Your great love for him and the great plans You have for him and our family. Plans to prosper and not to harm, to give us hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

    Father, give my husband the mind of Christ, saturate it with godly wisdom. Help him to take every thought captive that is not in obedience to Your Word, and in so doing protect him from pride and temptation. (1 Corinthians 2:16, 2 Corinthians 10:5)

    Father, open the eyes of my husband's heart to understand Your Word, so that he won't be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of his mind so that he may know Your good, acceptable and perfect will for his life and our marriage. (Romans 12:2)

    Father, help my husband to trust in You with all his heart, not depending on his own understanding, but acknowledging You in all his ways, so he knows what direction our family should take. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

    Father, may the favor of the Lord rest on my husband. Bless and establish the work of his hands and his heart. (Psalm 90:17)

    Father, help us to live together in perfect unity by loving, honoring and respecting one another and serving each other for Your glory, honor and praise! (1 Thessalonians 5:13)

    Friend, when we replace our toxic thoughts with the precious Word of God and then pray those words, we pray the Word that is living and active, capable of changing hearts and minds. We are praying the mind and will of God, as revealed in His Word, into our marriages!

    So pray with hope, boldness and confidence! God will be faithful to honor His Word.

    Heavenly Father, replace my toxic thoughts with Your life-giving words and teach me to pray those words over my heart, my husband and my marriage. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Proverbs 4:23, "Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life." (NASB)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Do you feel like things will never change in your marriage? List what makes you feel this way.

    Over the next week, pray boldly and confidently one or two of the above verses we prayed together. Write how God works in your heart and in your marriage.

    © 2014 by Wendy Blight. 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 Isaiah

  • Faithful Heavenly Father

    Posted on June 15, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. Psalm 68:5

    Most people long for a faithful father who will feed them when they are hungry, love them when they are lonely, and care for them when they are crying. They long for a dad who will listen to them when they wonder, encourage them when they are discouraged, and discipline them when they do wrong. They are eager for a father who takes time for the trivial, extends wisdom in the middle of worry, and prays to understand God’s will. God placed within you a desire to be loved by your father. Some fathers do well at being a faithful father and others do not. Some are extremely successful, and others fail miserably. Fortunately, God is your model of a faithful father. Your heavenly Father fills the gaps left by your earthly father; He is your faithful Father.

    Your heavenly Father deserves your respect and commands your love. He says to pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name...” (Matthew 6:9). He is a father who is totally trustworthy. You never have to doubt God’s word. What He says He means, and what He means He does. Your Father in heaven will not let you down on earth. Now, sometimes it doesn’t feel as if He’s faithful. There are times you don’t have answers for the questions that gnaw at your heart and confuse your mind. It may be that He is speaking but you are not listening. It may be that He is silent because He wants to grow your trust in Him. He will tell you what to do, in time, so while you wait, become better.

    Your faithful Father in heaven is the Father of Truth. Jesus is truth (John 14:6). Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). He acts as if he is interested in your life so he can destroy your life. He uses you for his interests. Therefore, reject the lies of the devil, and embrace the truth of the Lord. When you left the dark side of unbelief, you renounced your father, the devil, and embraced your heavenly Father through Christ. Be a lifetime learner of faithful fathering. Each season of fathering is different. What worked in the last stage of your child’s life needs to be adapted for the next stage.

    By faith, be flexible. As infants, they need your gentle touch. As children, they need your patient instruction. As teenagers, they need your example of love and forgiveness— someone has to be the mature one (1 Corinthians 13:11). As adults, they need your wisdom and friendship. In all seasons, they need your time and trust. Above all else, look to your heavenly Father as the baseline for your behavior. Being a faithful father does not mean perfection, but it does mean you depend on the Perfect One. You lean on the Lord for His loving care, so you can extend the same. Because of your faithful heavenly Father, you can be a faithful earthly father. Invite Him to love you and lead you into faithfulness.

    Prayer: How can I regularly receive the love and affirmation of my heavenly Father, so I can do the same for my children and grandchildren?

    Related Readings: Matthew 5:16; 7:11; 18:10-35; John 12:28; James 1:17

    Post/Tweet today: Our heavenly Father fills the gaps left by our earthly father; He is our faithful Father. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.


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

  • Man of Prayer

    Posted on June 14, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer.  Psalm 109:4

    A man of prayer prays. It is his first line of defense and his most effective offensive strategy. Prayer is not an afterthought for a man of prayer; it is not a last ditch engagement with the eternal, but is the first thing to come to mind. Prayer is not just a demonstration of discipline and determination, but a desperate dependence on God. It is conversing with Christ,  not just asking God for goodies and guarantees. The man of prayer enters into intimacy with the Almighty. He realizes that God is in control and  His wisdom is needed for life and work. Prayer precludes pain by providing patience. It forecasts disaster by giving warning. It discerns clumsy and destructive decisions by cultivating understanding and discernment.

    A man of prayer avoids self-inflicted problems because he prays first. Prayer is medicine for the sick and refreshment for the soul. Prayer may be the best gift you can give someone. You may not have silver and gold to give, but you can give prayer (Acts 3:6). A man of prayer does not talk about praying, with a simple, “I’ll pray for you.” On the contrary, with a seriousness of purpose and responsibility, he stops what he is doing and lifts to heaven the concerns of the one requesting prayer. As you hear him pray, a peace and calm overcome you. It is encouragement from on high. His is not a stale prayer but fresh, because the man of prayer has been in prayer. A man of prayer prays for his spouse and for the spouses of his children. He leads his wife in prayer. He keeps his logical mind in check by checking in with Christ.

    Start by getting on your knees for five minutes each morning. Prayerful posture is important to a man of prayer. His stature is humble and dependent. Therefore, humble yourself daily before your heavenly Father. Lay face down on the floor, if necessary. Then get up and consider making a prayer list. However, do not sell yourself short by feeling unqualified to be a man of prayer. This role is not reserved for the super righteous. It is for adulterers, liars, and murderers like David (Psalm 51). A man of prayer is still a man in recovery from sin. Sin does not cease to hound the man who prays, but it drives him to pray; then sin’s influence is stunted in the face of the man of prayer. It is hard to sin while you pray. There is accountability to God that bolsters the man of prayer in his everyday life.

    Indeed, there is a direct correlation between prayer and purposeful living. “Man of Prayer” is not a title that comes with a badge to flaunt. Instead, it is a discreet lifestyle of continual prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17). It becomes a habit of life, like eating and sleeping. Prayer, for a man of prayer, is not an elective. It is a required course. It is core curriculum. Moreover, the man of prayer cannot be pigeonholed as to his behavior and speech. He comes in all shapes and sizes, depending on his God-given temperament. He is humorous and humble; He is loud and he is quiet; He is spontaneous and he is methodical; He is creative and he is concrete; He is eloquent and he is simple. However, there is one thing he is not: He is neither proud nor arrogant. People are his pleasure and heaven is his home, where he checks in often. Jesus is his “go-to man.”

    Worship, thanksgiving, praise, and adoration permeate the prayers of a man of prayer. A man of prayer prays.

    Post/Tweet today: Prayer, for a man of prayer, is not an elective. It is a required course. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.


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

  • Faithful Fathers

    Posted on June 13, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today; fathers tell their children about your faithfulness. Isaiah 38:19

    Where are the faithful fathers? Where can they be found? They can be found in church, on the little league ballfields, building sandcastles at the beach, and on their knees in prayer for their child’s future spouse. They camp in the woods, buy ice cream, go shopping, teach the Bible to middle school youth, and coach high school athletes. They can be found in stable societies and in cultures that love Christ. Faithful fathers matter.

    Faithful fathers are not a fantasy, but a reality rooted in the fear of the Lord and care for their own children. They are compelled by their heavenly Father to provide a home that nurtures, disciplines, accepts, and loves. Determined dads research and discover creative ways to win over their child’s heart for Christ.

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

    Faithful fathers are friends with Jesus. They see Him as a model of unselfish service, generous giving, radical responsibility, and the ability to put the needs of others before His own needs. “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10). Dedicated dads find strength to carry on from Christ’s affirmation and accolades. They father for the audience of their heavenly Father.

    Lastly, faithful fathers lead their children to know, love, and obey their heavenly Father. This is your most vital role as a dad. Children learn from your life how to live, but they need to hear from your lips how to believe. Tell them the scriptural stories of salvation, sin, forgiveness, and faith. Joseph’s perseverance, Esther’s courage, Moses’ leadership, David’s repentance, and Ruth’s encouragement, are character qualities for them to emulate. Ask God for wisdom and grace to be a faithful father.

    “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

    Prayer: How does my heavenly Father love me? How does He want me to love my children?

    Related Readings: Psalm 44:1–2; Malachi 4:6; Luke 1:7; 1 Corinthians 4:15

    Post/Tweet today: Determined dads research and discover creative ways to win over their child’s heart for Christ. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.


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

  • Thank You, Dad

    Posted on June 13, 2014 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling." Psalm 68:5 (NIV)

    Moments after I stopped by my parents' house, my dad clutched his chest.

    Knowing the hospital was close, my mom and I helped him to the car. I pressed hard on the gas pedal, keeping an eye on the man who reclined in the passenger seat as I raced toward the nearby emergency room.

    The news was not good. Doctors said his heart was badly damaged, and open-heart surgery was the only option.

    Doctors scheduled the procedure for the next day. Since I lived in another city, I drove home to gather my things before returning the next morning for a long stay.

    The sun crept over the horizon as I drove westward to be with my parents during my dad's surgery. Visits were strictly limited, and my time with my dad was to be an hour before he would go in to the operating room.

    When I arrived, a nurse informed me that my dad wasn't in his room.

    I rushed up the stairs to the surgical floor waiting room. "They took him back a half hour ago, Suzie," my brother said. "It happened so quickly we just barely got to see him." I buried my head in my brother's chest and wept.

    My dad was in surgery with his chest split open ... and I didn't get to say thank you.

    Thank you for taking the place of our biological father who should have loved those tiny girls but for whatever reason didn't.

    Thank you for taking two little girls who didn't have a father and making them your own.

    Thank you for never seeing us in a different light than my brothers and sister who were born later.

    Thank you for rejoicing that you won the prize another failed to claim.

    When I was younger I didn't always appreciate this gift. I loved the man I called Dad, but often wondered about the other one. Did I look like him? Where was he? Did he think of me? What might it be like if I had my biological father in my life?

    As an adult, and as a parent, I saw it differently. Being a dad isn't always tied to DNA.

    One man was there at my conception, but another took the more difficult path. He went to work every day. He showed up at events. He disciplined and loved me, watched me graduate and marry. He took the name "Papaw" as he embraced my children.

    I know not every woman who grew up without a biological father's love has this type of experience. But all of us can know the love of God as our heavenly Father.

    Psalm 68:5 describes God as "a father to the fatherless." It's a theme woven throughout Scripture from beginning to end. Our God loves orphans and rescues the abandoned. This is a work close to His heart.

    Later that evening, after Dad's surgery, I sat in the shadows with the rhythmic swish of the respirator the only sound in the room. I silently offered up gratitude.

    First, because my dad had made it through the surgery.

    Second, because this man partnered with God's heartbeat when he stepped in to love two little girls without a daddy.

    I leaned over the bed and whispered the words I could no longer hold back: "Thank you, Dad."

    And thank You, God, for loving me with a perfect Father's love.

    Dear Lord, thank You for loving me as a Heavenly Father. Thank You for bringing people into my life who partnered with You in that love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Matthew 25:35-36, "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me." (ESV)

    James 2:15-17, "Dear friends, do you think you'll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it?" (The Message)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    We can get so busy, or even focused on what we don't have, that we neglect to love others as God loves us. How might you love someone today with God's love?

    This Sunday is Father's Day in America, and we know not everyone has a strong example of a father. However, many of us have experienced unconditional love from someone older and wiser. How can you show appreciation? One way is to say thank you. Write a note (don't wait!) to say thank you to one person who showed you the love of a father.

    © 2014 by Suzie Eller. 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

  • 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

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