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  • Christian Duty

    Boyd

    So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty. Luke 17:10

     

    Christian duty is illustrated by a master and servant relationship. The Master (Jesus Christ) is caring and clear in His expectations for His servants (Christians). The Master expects diligence and thoroughness in the tasks at hand. He does not patronize the sincere servant with flowery compliments, but allows the servant to enjoy fulfilling work for the Master’s sake. Honorable service done for our Master Jesus Christ is the duty of all His followers. This is fundamental.

     

    Our Heavenly Father does not owe us anything for our routine or radical efforts for His Kingdom. Indeed, our life in total is all His grace. Our relationships, our ability to work, our mental reasoning, our feelings of love and hope all spring from the heart of our Savior Jesus. It is our duty to do what Christ commands without complaint or expecting anything in return. Like a good soldier does his duty for God and country, so servants of Jesus are faithful to their charge.

     

    Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12

    Those of us who long for approval struggle when our service is absent commendations. Yet, this is a test to see if our motivation is for what we get out of obeying God, or for what we can give, by doing our duty in pure gratitude to Him. We become miserable, even angry, if we expect   special treatment by the Lord or His people because of our sacrificial service. Yes, unexpected blessings will come back to those who bless, but this is not why we give. Our duty has no claims.

     

    Therefore, your Christian duty needs no more than to diligently follow Christ’s calling. He is your Master and you serve at His bidding. He may have you engaged in the mundane tasks of motherhood or the boring basics of an entry level job. Wherever your Lord has you on assignment, do it with joy. Total submission to Christ is your best option, yes, repent of negotiating your own recognition and rewards. Christian duty done by grace glorifies God!

     

    Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. Ecclesiastes 12:13

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I submit to your service and trust you to lead me in Your calling.

     

    Related Readings: Psalm 16:2; Job 22:2; John 15:20; 1 Timothy 5:21

     

    Post/Tweet today: Wherever your Lord has you on assignment do it with joy. Total submission to Christ is your best option. #submission

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • JAVEN TO RELEASE LIVE WORSHIP ALBUM

    Tyscot Music + Entertainment is pleased to announce the signing of award-winning Gospel artist JAVEN. His upcoming live album, “Worship in the Now,” will be released on May 21st, features guest appearances by Damita, Marvin Winans, Jr., The Campbell Family, Jonathan Nelson and LaRue Howard.

    "Praise and Worship music is one of the cornerstones of adoring and honoring our God, a joyful celebration of congregational singing,” said Bryant S. Scott, President of Tyscot. “We signed JAVEN as we truly believe it's his time to help the nation & the world, Worship In The Now!"

    Over the past decade, JAVEN has not only gained international recognition as a recording artist, but as an actor as well. His extensive acting credits include the Off-Broadway musical “The Rock and the Rabbi” and feature films like “The Sixth,” “Abandoned” (starring Brittany Murphy), “One Night with the King” (opposite Omar Sharif and Peter O’Toole) and “Preacher’s Kid” (with Clifton Powell and former Destiny's Child member LaToya Luckett). JAVEN also served as a co-host on BET’s “Paula White Show” from 2001-2002.

    “I'm excited about ‘Worship in the Now’ and what it means to those who are experiencing it,” said JAVEN. “I know as people begin to include worship more and more in their everyday lives, everything from depression to poverty, even sickness will begin to be removed from their lives. It's my belief that this new [album] will be a hit across the country with this Now Generation of Worshipers, who are people that want to get closer to God's presence.”

    JAVEN continues to tour worldwide, traveling internationally to perform and speak throughout North America and around the world.

  • Third Day "Miracle" Tour Review

    It is fascinating having multi-generations involved on-stage. Not only is there a variety of song styles, but there is a sense of community that can happen on-stage and in the audience that typically does not happen in a single genre setting. This very aspect was called out by Mac Powell during the concert when he stated a fact: Third Day is in their 20th year of making music and Colton Dixon is 21-years-old – just one year difference in them beginning a career and him beginning life. Throw in the guitar and lyrics of Josh Wilson to open (and close) the evening and the outcome is a fun-filled evening of community and worship.

    The family is the beginning of community, and I saw it sitting right in front of me. The teenage son was obviously a Colton Dixon fan – the Messenger t-shirt he wore was a clue, but his actions were the exclamation point. Encouraged by his mother, he ran to the stage to take pictures while Colton energized the room – and mom moved to the music (she obviously listened to what her son listened to – you cannot fake lip-syncing). And he returned the favor for mom, going to the stage multiple times while Third Day filled the air, taking pictures of one of her generation’s enduring music groups. She is obviously a fan, singing not just to the new songs but to the classics as well – raising her hand and enjoying a few moments of worship. And then it happened, the moment that showed what true community was occurring. As Mac Powell hit the chorus “Well, no matter who you are, and no matter what you’ve done…”, mom began to cry and the son put his arm around her and held on. It was obvious that somewhere in their story, God had brought a miracle in their time of need, and they were a stronger community by it.

    Did I get involved in community? Well, I had gotten tickets for my small group and we filled most of our row. I learned just how much they liked Third Day (some of those middle-agers can scream!); I enjoyed finding out how much one guy loved Colton Dixon; and it was fun seeing them pour over the lyrics of Josh Wilson, debating whether to get one or both of the CD’s available. And we were all still there for the post-concert/songfest with Josh out by the flag pole. A community event we will be remembering for a long time to come.

    Highlights from this evening of communal joy and worship: • Getting to shake hands and picture-take with Mac, Tai, David, and Mark before the concert; and realizing it had been a decade+ since I had last seen them live. I guess I am truly a part of that generation. • Seeing and hearing Josh Wilson live in concert. I had discovered his music a few years ago and had been hooked with his twist of phrase and remarkable guitar licks. For the Josh Wilson fans who go back farther than “Pushing Back The Dark” and “Carry Me”, his rendition of “Amazing Grace” was even better in person than on the album; and I am still kicking myself for not getting “Dear Money” out fast enough when he called for requests at the flagpole. • Beyond just hearing and seeing Colton Dixon (in the words of some of the small group: “Billy Idol!”), it was great to see him and sister Schyler perform “You Are.” They both have amazing voices. • Third Day started and hit me like a bomb. Yes, I tweeted that! • It was definitely a great playlist by Third Day, covering the multiple years and albums from “I’ve Always Loved You” to “Kicking and Screaming”. My wife was a little upset until they finally came out for the encore and did her favorite on the Miracle album: “Your Love Is Like A River.”

  • Skillet. The Rock Band That Doesn't Quit

    Skillet recently made headlines when their last album, Awake, became one of just three rock albums to be certified platinum in 2012, forming an improbable triumvirate with the Black Keys’ El Camino and Mumford & Sons’ Babel. The news that Skillet had sold more than a million albums in the U.S. came as a shock to all but the band’s wildly diverse horde of fans, male and female, young and old—known as Panheads—whose still-swelling ranks now officially number in the seven-digit range. This remarkable achievement was announced just as Skillet was putting the finishing touches on their eagerly awaited follow-up album, Rise (Atlantic/Word).

    As soon as the master was turned in to the studio to finish post production on the new album, I sat down with John Cooper

    John

    (lead singer) to talk through what was behind Rise. As you will see, while reading this, John is a passionate man. He is passionate about his music. His wife. His family. About Christ.

    John: I’m wondering if you could share a little bit with us about the new record, Rise. What’s the story behind this?

    John C.: It’s a story about a typical, American teenage kid coming into adulthood and being faced with how brutal the world is. There are shocking things in the outside world, like school shootings, war and all the things you see on the news everyday.

    This album is about how those things affect the life of a teenager. And it’s not just about the big problems from outside, but also about problems from within. That is, living in a single family house with an abusive dad, fighting at home, school bullying, just not being happy with who you are as a person and about trying to find faith. The whole record is about finding faith in a dark world. Rising up out of your circumstances. It all leads to a climax of the character realizing he is never going to be good enough. He is never going to do enough, and is born to let himself down. Even if the outside world doesn’t let him down. Even if his friends don’t let him down. He is going to let himself down because he needs to be redeemed. He reaches out to God and basically just says, “I need to be saved. I need something bigger than myself. I want a change and I want to be new.” That is the climax of the album during the song “Salvation,” in which he cried out for Salvation. All of the sudden, he is safe and able to rise up out of his circumstance.

    John: John, throughout your discography, you guys have always had one or two songs that have dealt with that person who is being pressured by the elements of this world, by the things of this world. You’ve really kind of encouraged people to rise above it and move past that. This certainly has been part of your call as an artist and as a songwriter through the years. Is this a personal story in a sense, John C.? Do you know this person?

    John C.: Right, well there certainly are aspects of me in this person. It’s not a mural. It’s not every little thing that happens. But, yes, absolutely. In fact, I dare say, there are elements of all of us in this person. I think that’s why this record is coming off well.

    So far, people are experiencing it personally. I think it’s because most of us can relate to that feeling of worthlessness, or maybe we let ourselves down and we just realize that it’s amazing that someone else would love us, especially God. A holy God, for that matter! That He would like us is real shocking. There are personal things in my life, of course, that contributed to this, certainly.

    My mom died when I was young. I was 14. My dad and I didn’t get along for a long time. There were times growing up that I felt afraid and wondered if God was there. When I cried out to Him to help me through those hard times. My story is embedded within this record, definitely.

    Good to be Alive Written by John L. Cooper, Zach Malloy, Tom Douglas

    Verse 1 When all you've got are broken dreams Just need a second chance And everything you want to be Gets taken from your hands

    We hold on to each other All we have is all we need Cause one way or another We always make it, you and me

    This life can almost kill you When you're trying to survive It's good to be here with you

    CHORUS It's good to be alive It’s good to be alive I was lost and I was gone I was almost dead inside You and me against the world It’s a beautiful night It’s good to be alive

    Verse 2 Driving down this highway Soaking up the sun Got miles to go before we get home And the journey's just begun

    We hold on to each other You are everything I need You feel like forever You're a second chance for me

    Bridge It's a beautiful night Yeah, it's alright It's good to be alive

    John: Your last three records have allowed you guys to walk into various ideologies or arenas of thought where you've been able to speak a very significant message. What has that been like? How has that experience been for maybe you, your wife and for you guys as a band over the last couple of years?

    John C.: It has been thrilling, because evangelism has always been kind of what my life is about. Ever since I became a Christian when I was five, it was a natural gifting and leaning towards sharing my faith with people. That longing and zeal has never changed for me. The only thing I think that has changed is the way I do it and the way that we go about it.

    To answer that question, yeah, I think Skillet has begun to write songs, as you said, songs we could all relate to, not just Christian people. I kind of look at it like the way that Jesus told his parables. That is—and I’m just going to be honest here, but I hope nobody takes it bad—I’ve been a Christian since I was five, and still when I read Jesus’ words I still sometimes go, “Man, I just wonder why he wasn’t more clear about what he was talking about.” It’s a little elliptical you know? You have to dig in and watch it rise and see what he was pointing at. The only answer I have come up with is that the Bible said if you seek God, you will find Him. I started thinking, you know what? That’s how I’m going to write my songs. I’m going to leave them open to interpretation of things that we can all relate to, and then when people go to the website or they come to the show and they hear me doing an interview, they will begin to hear what the songs are about. I hope to point them toward Jesus in that way. The songs are kind of grouped by a message that people can relate to. That is kind of how Skillet has written our songs.

    To answer your other question, it has been thrilling because I love evangelism. They tell of people that have gotten saved from music. Could be the unreachable type, the unreachables of the world and that is where I feel I have a lot to share.

    When our last record came out, there was a guy who basically sent me an email saying he heard our song on NFL. “Hero” was playing and he liked it. He said he went to their website and found out who the band was, and bought the song. He said he loved the song and came to a show. One thing led to another, and basically this guy and his wife were both in the pornography industry. They both were filmmakers. The guy got saved and ended up leading his wife to it too. So they were saved now and got out of that industry and have gotten into church. And it was all from hearing our song on NFL. Stories like that are amazing! It’s something only God can do. And we are so honored He is using our music to do it.

    What I Believe Written by John L. Cooper and Korey Cooper

    Verse 1 The world around me Is lost in misery The only good I've got in my life is you No meaning, no other reason When everything feels wrong I feel right with you So madly, desperate, deeply, obsessed your love is better than life to me Can I have this moment forever? Take me to the beginning

    CHORUS You are what I believe I'll live and die for you This is all that I need When nothing is real you are my truth In the darkness you shine Can you keep me safe tonight? When I’m down on my knees You are what I believe

    Verse 2 When we started, wholehearted I never needed anything or anyone else I was broken, you made me whole again The only one I trusted more than myself

    So madly, desperate, deeply, I will live for you completely Can I have this moment forever? Take me to the beginning

    Bridge: Believe in your love Believe in your life Believe that you can put me back together on the inside Chase all the fear away Every time I speak your name

    Take me You are what I believe

    CHORUS You are what I believe I'll live and die for you This is all that I need When nothing is real you are my truth In the darkness you shine Can you keep me safe tonight? When I'm down on my knees You are what I believe

    John: That is absolutely amazing, John. And I appreciate you sharing that.

    Let’s shift gears now and talk a little bit about the new record. How does a concept record get played live? What is the live show going to look like for Rise?

    John C.: Well, at the moment, we are just going to keep showing our shows as we do them. The really cool thing about this record is that I think the songs live on their own outside of the concept period. It’s really cool because with concept records, sometimes individual songs aren’t as strong on their own outside of the full story. We wrote these songs not intending to make it a concept album. The songs themselves do live on their own, and yet the story seems quite clear per song.

    That’s why I think this record is kind of unique. It’s a concept record full of songs that stand alone with impact, we hope. At the moment, we are going to keep playing the songs as-is, but in the back of our minds, we hope this album garners enough excitement, respect and sales that we could go out and do a tour. The whole show is basically like theater, not a theater performance, but more like cinema rock. Like a movie all the way through. That would be really great. You can’t really plan on that kind of success. You have to hope for it and wait and see what happens.

    John: It’s all about cinema rock, isn’t it? Is there still going to be fire?

    John C.: I sure hope so. I love that. Again, going back to Skillet, in the past a lot of people have told me, “When I’m listening to your music or I see the show, it kind of feels like I’m watching a movie.” People have said that quite a lot. I like the theater aspects and the fire. We were adding some stuff this summer that we’ve never done before. I won’t give it away right now, but we’re beginning to add other effects to our show that I think are bringing even more to that sort of theater/movie experience. We’re going to keep adding surprise elements. I hope that fire is always one of them for the rest of my life.

    John: I do too, man. I keep voting for fire.

    John C.: I agree. It was my birthday [a while ago] and I got these new shoes that I’m really excited about. I put them on and I said to my son, “So, what do you think? Do you like my new shoes?” He said, “Yeah, but I think they would be cooler if there was a skeleton on the side and his skull was on fire.”

    John: I love it.

    John C., with that in mind, either in a live setting or even on your records, we will hear hints of 80s glam rock.

    John C.: Right.

    John: I know you were born in the mid 70s. Are you in love with 80s glam rock as much as I am?

    John C.: Absolutely. You definitely can hear it. In fact, it’s funny because some people ask in interviews, “Who is your biggest influence?” This is awful to say, but I think that in Skillet’s music you hear decades of influence. You definitely have that 80s glam thing. You see it in the show with the fire and the guitar solos. Everything is a little bit over the top.

    Also, I am a really big fan of 70s rock, like the stuff Journey, Kansas, Yes and Fleetwood Mac put out. You can really hear that in the music, too. Even some Meatloaf. It’s got this kind of Queen opera rock thing to it that feels a little dramatic. I think with the strings, it feels a little romantic as well. You can definitely hear all of those. But my voice, I don’t sing like an 80s guy. I sing more like a 90s guy. That is, when I started really singing in rock bands, it was 1992–93, and you had Nirvana, Pearl Jam and all those kinds of bands on the scene. So we definitely have a variety of decades of influence and skill with our music and sound.

    John: Cinema rock.

    John C.: Yeah.

    John: So you are a husband, a father, a songwriter, singer and follower of Jesus. Help the ordinary man—whether in high school, college or married—who has followed your career for the last few years. As someone who is reading this blog who struggles to follow Christ on a daily basis, how do you work that up? How do you follow Jesus on a daily basis and how could you encourage others in their walk?

    John C.: That is a great question. The problem is there is not a great answer, like click your heels together twice and take this pill. I wish there were because it would be easier. I think especially what I’m seeing with young people, young people’s attention spans are just so short these days because of the amount of information available. It is constant bombardment with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube. There is so much stuff happening that I think we get drawn into fads. We go, “Man, I’m all about this new TV show, or twit picks. Or the new iPhone.” It’s constant bombardment. Within all of those things, there may be a time for a lot of Christians that they are all about Jesus but then they move onto something else because it’s just constantly moving.

    I tell people, “You have to make a decision in your life now, what your entire life is going to be about.” It’s kind of like when I chose to marry my wife. I made a decision and I knew for the rest of my life until I died or she dies, we are going to be married and that is just the way it is. Nothing is going to change that. I have a kid. Nothing is going to change it. You are going to be a father. Nothing in the world can stop that anymore. Even more importantly, that is what it means to follow Jesus. I am making the decision today that my whole life is going to be about Him, and I will do what He says and I just won’t falter from that. I think a lot of it just comes down to making a decision and sticking to it rather than jumping on and off fads.

    For me, I made that decision years ago and I surrounded myself with other people who made that decision. My pastor, my friends, and my wife. We all have made that decision together and then when things are hard and the new fad comes in, and I go, “Man, maybe I want to give working out more time than I give Jesus,” I have my wife and pastor and friends chime in, and we all pursue Him together.

    I think a lot of Christians don’t make that decision. I always tell people it’s not going to be easier to live for Jesus but you have to make the decision and it can be done. It becomes easier to live for Jesus once you have just made that commitment because that is what your life is about. Instead of finding things that seem more fun, find the most fulfilling thing and that is living for God. Knowing His love, speaking to Him every day and talking to Him. It’s absolutely more fulfilling to your soul than all of these other “fun things.” Anyway, that is what I do. Of course, I read my Bible and I pray, but a lot of it comes down to what our lives are going to be about, and it is Him.

    MY RELIGION

    Music and words: John L. Cooper and Korey Cooper

    Verse 1 Who's gonna save my soul Nothing and nobody but you Who's gonna make me whole Nothing and nobody but you

    Can't change me, sway me Don't know what to make of me You've got my devotion fanatical though it may be I love you mind, heart, body and soul You're the only sanctuary that i know

    CHORUS I don't need to stare at stained glass and a steeple I don't need to dress to impress all of the people Don't need no priest Don't need no pew You are my religion my religion is you

    I don't need no other purpose You give me a reason Ain’t their business what I wanna believe in You are my priest You are my truth You are my religion, my religion is you

    Verse 2 Who's gonna heal my pain Nothing makes me feel like you do Who can drive my demons away Nothing makes me heal like you do I love you mind, heart, body and soul You're the only sanctuary that I know

    CHORUS I don't need to stare at stained glass and a steeple I don't need to dress to impress all of the people Don't need no priest Don't need no pew You are my religion my religion is you

    I don't need no other purpose You give me a reason It ain’t their business what I wanna believe in You are my priest You are my truth You are my religion, my religion is you

    Amazing grace, how sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me

    Bridge Mind, heart, soul and strength Belong to you, belong to me Got my devotion I will follow where you lead I won't be told what to feel and how to show My love can't be stopped Love you any way I want

    John: I love it John, and I really appreciate your honestly there. That is really good to hear. One last question before we leave?

    John C.: Hit me.

    John: Red Bull, Mountain Dew or coffee.

    John C.: Oh gosh, you know what? I’m not in love with any of them to tell you the truth. These days I drink coffee, not a lot, but I do drink coffee. I haven’t been drinking sugar or caffeinated drinks. I got off that. I am over six months Dr. Pepper-free. Dr. Pepper was my drug of choice.

    John: That’s right, I forgot about that. I’m sorry I should not have offended you by saying Mountain Dew. I should have said Dr. Pepper, Red Bull or coffee.

    John C.: It would be Dr. Pepper but I am recovering.

    John: You are recovering.

    John C.: That is one of those things that I could never touch it again because I’m like a Dr. Pepper-a-holic. I haven’t told anybody that in interviews. You are the first person to hear me say that I’m six months Dr. Pepper-free.

    John: Can I ask why you gave it up?

    John C.: It was just bad for me. Diabetes runs in my family. I’m like, you know what? I love this drink too much and it’s not good for me so I quit it. I think even more important than that, is they refused to promote Skillet and put anything behind it. So they haven’t put me in a Dr. Pepper commercial. If they did, then I wouldn’t mind drinking it (laughs). I would give them my Dr. Pepper anonymous card, and I would take it up again if they would put me in a commercial.

    John: There you go. All right, Dr. Pepper, it’s on the line. It’s all up to them now.

    John C.: Yes.

    John: John, thank you, Man. You’ve made me laugh. You encouraged me in my walk with Christ today. I appreciate you. I appreciate your band and your ministry and your art. I’m excited about this new record.

    John C.: Well, thank you so much. I appreciate it. It was good to talk to you.

  • Matt Redman’s Receives ASCAP’s Award

    The reasons to celebrate continue to add up for sixstepsrecords’ acclaimed worship leader Matt Redman. This year alone, Redman’s powerful single “10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)” has been certified Digital Gold by the RIAA, earned two GRAMMY® awards and is nominated for K-LOVE Fan Awards’ “Song of The Year.” The song is also up for “Top Christian Song” at the Billboard Music Awards, one of two nods for Redman for the award show. Adding to the worship anthem’s impressive honors came earlier this week when it was named ASCAP’s Christian Music Song of the Year at Monday night’s ASCAP Christian Awards at the Franklin Theatre.

    "I love watching the journey a song can go on," says Redman. "We wrote '10,000 Reasons' in a tiny little chapel in the English village I live in, and it's been a big blessing to see if fly around so many churches and radio - and then to receive an encouragement like this. Huge thanks to ASCAP for the award."

    Momentum continues for Redman as he is set to record a brand new worship album at Passion City Church’s ‘LIFT: A Worship Leader Collective’ in Atlanta, GA from May 31 – June. 1. Hosted by Louie Giglio and GRAMMY® winner Chris Tomlin, the event will bring together worship leaders from across the country. Redman's forthcoming project will be a live recording from the event, following suit with 10,000 Reasons, which was recorded at the LIFT gathering in 2011. The new album will release on Sept. 24.

  • SHINE BRIGHT BABY Debuts Dreamers

    BEC Recordings is set to release the first recording from the band Shine Bright Baby. The national debut disc from the worshipful electronic rockers, titled Dreamers, is set to release July 23.

    The foursome comprising Shine Bright Baby - Emily Irene on vocals, guitarist Nathan Fertig, Joshua Fink on keys, guitars and vocals, and Karl Wendel on drums - each hail from Orrville, Ohio. Their unique band name comes from Philippians 2, which, shares Joshua, “Talks about shining brightly for the Lord, but we wanted to take what that verse said and apply it to the band’s mission and what we stood for. Emily wanted it to be more fun and playful, so she tacked ‘Baby’ on the end and it just stuck.”

    None of the members of Shine Bright Baby had the lifelong mission to be part of a band, yet when local reception grew so strong that major festivals and record labels were showing interest, they had no choice but to notice God’s plan for the band. “We all come from church backgrounds, all leading worship at church at various points of life,” says Karl. “Anytime we’re on that stage, our goal is to glorify God and worship through our instruments and voices, and hopefully in turn, help others be able to draw closer to God.”

    Emily and Nathan, who founded the band in 2007, started performing in the local scene in both mainstream club settings and amongst Christian circles, performing their inventive mixture of pop, rock, electronic and modern worship. During the time, most of the bands in town steered towards metal and Shine Bright Baby stood out from the pack, then adding Joshua and Karl to their lineup.

    Shine Bright Baby soon found themselves headlining shows as well as opening for acts like The Classic Crime, Ivoryline and Manic Drive, then quickly graduating to playing the major festivals with very little promotion. Soon after, they signed with BEC Recordings.

    “After we signed with BEC Recordings, we went into a really serious songwriting mode, coming up with 70 or 80 songs,” Emily shares. “We needed to find what we wanted and what felt right, and throughout that process, we experienced a lot of growth.” To create Dreamers, they worked with producer and songwriting collaborator Matt Arcaini, creative partners Mike “X” O’Conner and Tofer Brown, plus executive producer Pete Kipley.

    One of the band’s personal favorites from Dreamers is “Made To Glow,” a song about letting God’s love shine in everyone’s daily actions, while the piano/acoustic ballad “Love Restores” was written in the wake of a highly publicized school shooting near the band’s hometown. The group also shows its more aggressive side on “The Brave Ones,” a guitar-charged anthem centered on living a bold life of faith with a little help from Disciple front man Kevin Young.

    The first radio single from Dreamers is the redemptive tune “Beautiful Love.” After just three weeks since hitting the radio airwaves, the song is currently at No. 21 on Hot AC/CHR.

    Shine Bright Baby is on an extensive tour in support of Dreamers. They just wrapped an Acquire The Fire Tour and will soon embark on the Air1’s Club Awesome Tour, as well as numerous festival dates throughout the summer and fall.

  • Worth the Effort

    Lynn

    "The purposes of a person's heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out." Proverbs 20:5 (NIV)

    There are two kinds of young women who live in my house. One speaks her mind freely; you don't have to guess where she stands or how she feels. The other is more reserved, holding her emotions and words in check.

    Neither one is right or wrong. Both are deep thinkers and deep feelers. Yet my girls couldn't be more different when it comes to how their thoughts and emotions are expressed. With one, I have a sense of her constant pulse as she daily shares her joys and struggles. With the other ... well, as my mother used to say about my father, "Still waters run deep."

    The writer of Proverbs 20:5 encourages us to make the effort to "draw out" people. As I have found with my daughter, there is much beauty and young wisdom in the deep well of her heart. And while it takes extra work to tap into that low-lying spring, it is often rewarded.

    In a culture where our conversations are often capped at 140 characters on Twitter or summed up in 2-3 sentences on Facebook or text messaging, real conversation may be in jeopardy. The days of front porches and Sunday dinners seem to be all but gone. Yet God's Word tells us a person's heart is deep waters-not something simple and concise that can be summed up short and sweet.

    Whether it is with our daughters, neighbors or girlfriends, we need unhurried moments to draw from each other's hearts. We need time to listen to the wisdom and work God is accomplishing in another's life. These types of conversations usually don't develop in a quick greeting of "How are you?" as we're moving from one task to another. But more often, they are in the intentional moments when we purpose to listen.

    In the original Hebrew language of the Old Testament, "purposes" in this verse means advice, counsel, and plans. Many times, when we take time to listen, we can discover plans our friend has tucked away in her heart. Sometimes it will mean realizing her hidden hope of visiting prisoners and sharing the Gospel with them. Or you might discover your child is reading the Bible on her own as she shares a verse she found.

    Drawing out others or engaging in purposeful conversation also helps us gain insight, wisdom, hope and encouragement when we listen to all God is doing in their heart. We can receive advice and counsel simply by listening to one of His children.

    Stop right now and look at your calendar. Pick a time—tonight, tomorrow or this weekend, and invite someone dear to you to spend time together. Whether it is your daughter whose life spins in and out of your home, or that girlfriend you haven't had coffee with in months, be intentional. Send her a text, give her a call, just make sure to make time. And to listen to the deep waters of her heart.

    Jesus, help me to slow down today, and listen. I need to be present in the present and intentional in investing in others by listening. Make me one who draws others out. Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Help a teen girl in your life learn to fill that deep well in her heart with Lynn's book Devotions for a Revolutionary Year - 365 Days of Jesus' Radical Love for You.

    Follow us on Facebook.

    Reflect and Respond: When was the last time you had a heart-to-heart with someone you love? How can you be more purposeful and make this a habit?

    Think back to a time someone asked you to share what God was doing in your life. How did that make you feel? Excited, joyful, loved?

    Power Verse: Proverbs 18:4, "The words of the mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

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

  • Place of Torment

    Boyd

    I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ Luke 16:27-28

    There is a place of torment designated for those who die without trusting in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. It is a lonely place void of the Lord’s presence and His loving comfort. No courier can be sent from the other side to warn those on this side. A decision to follow Jesus must be made on earth to gain a future place in heaven. Those who reject the Lord before they die will be rejected after they die. But, salvation from a tormented soul is sure through faith in Christ.

    Life on earth is only a brief prelude to our eternal existence. The proud strut across life’s stage concerned only for themselves. The humble bow in dependence on Christ, prepared to meet their Maker after death’s final curtain comes down. Only fools jog down the path of the devil and his demons. Yes, evil on earth in compounded in eternity where the influence of Holy God is nonexistent. The place of torment is no place for those who have placed their total trust in Jesus.

    It has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 2 Timothy 1:10

     

    Have riches kept you from a real relationship with Jesus Christ? Are you warning friends and family members today of the judgment to come outside of Christ? Yes, we are to engage lost loved ones with eternal truths wrapped in our care and concern. We love others at their point of emotional, physical and financial need, so we can share with them the significant spiritual truths of heaven, hell, sin and forgiveness. Love is relational lubricant that allows us to speak boldly.

     

    Lastly, be intentional to love those with riches. Who are the rich? One definition is: those who have extra beyond life’s necessities, or it could be someone who has more stuff than you. Serve the wealthy without expecting anything in return and you will earn the right to influence them for the Lord. Warn them not to let riches keep them from an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Challenge them to simple living so they can serve and give generously. Help another avoid the place of torment by abandoning themselves to Jesus Christ. He alone can save to the uttermost!

     

    Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:17-19

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I place my trust in Jesus Christ to save me from the place of torment.

     

    Related Readings: Psalm 62:10; Jeremiah 49:4; Luke 12:20-21; John 5:24; 1 John 3:14

     

    Post/Tweet today: Those who reject the Lord before they die will be rejected by God after they die. #besavednow

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • 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

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