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Family Christian

  • Look What Happened in Haiti

    Posted on March 17, 2014 by Family Christian

    On February 5, a team of volunteers from Family Christian joined with the founders of God’s Littlest Angels in Haiti. Together, we broke ground on the neonatal and infant orphanage!
    See pictures of the ground breaking on Pinterest
    See pictures of the ground breaking on Pinterest See pictures of the ground breaking on Pinterest

    This post was posted in Missions and was tagged with Featured, Haiti

  • Being Fake Is Exhausting - Rick Bezet

    Posted on March 17, 2014 by Family Christian

    Rick Bezet

    We live in a world of fakers. Rather than being real with each other, we present a carefully crafted persona that hides our faults and magnifies our good qualities. But inside we long to be loved, warts and all.

    We long to stop hiding from each other--and especially from God.

    In the book, Be Real, Pastor Rick Bezet clearly calls us to lives built on authenticity, showing that the way to true freedom lies through reclaiming our hearts, reviving our souls, and renewing our minds in light of what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. Through biblical stories and often-humorous personal examples, Bezet encourages us to live with passion, integrity, and perseverance. He releases us from the spiritual death that comes with pretending and leads us into a new life characterized by transparency rather than fear.

    Endorsements

    "Get ready for some gut-wrenching self-examination. Rick will help you discover the powerful truth: You can't please everyone--but--you can please God!"

    from the foreword by Craig Groeschel

    "There are few things in life more freeing than living a life of authenticity and sincerity--and I can't think of anyone better than Rick Bezet to show you how. With candor, clarity, biblical truth, and a bit of Cajun humor, this book will put life back into your soul and take you on a journey to a closer walk with God."

     

    Chris Hodges, pastor of Church of the Highlands; author of Fresh Air

    "As humans, we can waste a lot of time and energy pursuing our own plans in life, only to wind up frustrated and disappointed. With humor and transparency, Pastor Rick challenges you to throw off every hindrance and embrace change so you may step into all that God has purposed for you."

     

    Christine Caine, founder of The A21 Campaign; bestselling author of Undaunted

    "Why do people wear masks? Why is authenticity such a challenge for Christians? These are important concepts that my friend Rick Bezet addresses in Be Real. I'm convinced that if pulpits and pews were filled with honest people, the church would be healthier. We must learn to be real--with God, ourselves, and others. Only then will we walk in true freedom."

     

    James Robison, founder and president of LIFE Outreach International

    "Pastor Rick Bezet delivers a bold and thought-provoking message to be real and to overcome the fears and social pressures that prevent us from achieving greatness. In his new book Be Real: Because Fake Is Exhausting, Pastor Rick encourages the reader to stand proud and unashamed of their imperfections so that they can walk into the destiny for which God has called them. There is so much pressure on the body of Christ to appear perfect and without fault, but the only true strength comes from acknowledging one's weaknesses and calling upon the Lord for guidance and grace. We as believers should welcome an open and honest dialogue of the daily challenges that try to bring us down, so that we may lift each other up and grow as a whole. I recommend this book to believers new and old who are looking to shed their masks and live a life of unshakable confidence and unending potential."

     

    Matthew Barnett, cofounder of the Los Angeles Dream Center

    "People like Rick Bezet who find a need and fill it and who find a hurt and heal it are always going to be special to me. While working tirelessly to turn his world around for the kingdom of God, Rick has remained humble, not taking himself too seriously, yet taking God's vision for him to reach the unchurched, the forgotten, and the hurting very seriously. I recommend Be Real to anybody who is unsatisfied with where life is going and is ready for a change. I recommend Be Real if you are tired of living your life without purpose or direction or if you feel stuck in a dead-end job or trapped in superficial relationships. And I recommend Be Real if you've fallen into the danger zone of focusing on your own needs or on finding someone to love you, when the best thing you could do for yourself is to notice other people, love others, and take the attention off yourself for a while. Be Real hits hard, and it hits home. But true to form for Rick Bezet, he shows a way out, and it's do-able--but you have to be willing to take the first step."

     

    Tommy Barnett, senior pastor of Phoenix First Assembly; founder of the Los Angeles Dream Center

    "How much time do you spend trying to manage how others perceive you? Most of us like to think that we're able to keep up appearances, but the truth is that we probably aren't fooling anybody. Even if we do fool some people, we can't keep it up forever. Have you ever wished that you could just be you? My friend Rick has written this book as a powerful reminder that knowing God means having the freedom to be real. Check out Be Real, and stop faking it for good."

     

    Greg Surratt, senior pastor of Seacoast Church; author of Ir-Rev-Rend

    "Be Real is an honest, challenging, and inspiring look at what it means to live an authentic life. In a world that measures value and success largely by performance and appearance, Rick shares a refreshing reminder of God's unconditional love and grace in a lighthearted and life-giving way. Be Real dares readers to stop hiding behind the facades and fears that hold them back and to start walking in the freedom God intends for us."

     

    John Siebeling, lead pastor of The Life Church of Memphis; author of Momentum

    "Rick has an easy-to-read style that is humor-infused yet straight to the point! Like watching a compelling movie from your easy chair, Rick's stories and words will pull you in, in a comfortable and easy-to-absorb way. This is a book you'll want to buy three copies of and give to your closest friends!"

     

    Matt Keller, lead pastor of Next Level Church, Ft. Myers, FL; author of God of the Underdogs

    "'Real' is what describes Rick Bezet. I have known him, observed him, pastored him, and now admired him for almost thirty years. He and Michelle simply live the life they expound. Their children are blessed, their marriage is blessed, and the great New Life Church is blessed by their example. I don't know what other people call 'real,' but that what I call it! Out of that 'real' comes 'rest.' Rick knows who he is and communicates that with authenticity every time he ministers. Grab on to 'real' and hang on--it may shake you, but it will shape you. You can start being real today, and your life and ministry will be totally redirected!"

     

    Larry Stockstill, pastor emeritus of Bethany World Prayer Center; director of the Surge Project

    "Rick Bezet is one of those guys you always want to hang out with. He is funny, easygoing, and genuine. He is true to who God has called him to be. Be Real will inspire you to live the same. This book will free you up!"

     

    Stovall Weems, lead pastor of Celebration Church

    "When we were first introduced to Be Real: Because Fake Is Exhausting, we were intrigued by the concept. Our interest quickly turned to excitement as we explored the content on these pages. We can assure you that this book is not full of worn-out clichés about being 'real.' Sharing from Scripture and personal experience--examining what he did wrong as often as what he did right--Rick presents a compelling and empowering case for authenticity. Get this book today."

     

    John and Lisa Bevere, authors and ministers, Messenger International

    "If we are going to fulfill our God-given potential, we will have to be the 'real' us. If we are going to have friendships that last, we have to be 'real.' In an era where authenticity is rare and pretense is the norm, Rick Bezet has written a book that will give all of us hope as well as practical steps for living an authentic life. You will laugh and be encouraged as you read through the pages of this great book! It will take courage to be the real you, and this book will help you as you walk it out. This is a great book for small groups to use to encourage genuine community!"

     

    Holly Wagner, author of GodChicks; founder of GodChicks women's ministry

    "Every time I'm around Rick Bezet, I get inspired. He is the kind of encourager who makes me feel like I'm the best pastor in the world. In his book Be Real, Rick inspires each of us to take action. Whether you need to grow in your faith, begin to dream again, or learn the irreplaceable quality of encouraging others, this book is for you! Don't ask yourself, 'Should I buy this book or not?' Go ahead and buy six or seven copies and give them to those you love. You will be investing greatly in their lives."

     

    Philip Wagner, lead pastor of Oasis Church, Los Angeles; author of The Marriage Makeover


    This post was posted in Books and was tagged with Featured, John Bevere, Tommy Barnett, Lisa Bevere, Craig Groeschel, Christine Caine, Rick Bezet, Chris Hodges, James Robison, Matthew Barnett, Greg Surratt, John Siebeling, Matt Keller, Larry Stockstill, Stovall Weems, Holly Wagner, Philip Wagner

  • The Sacred Us

    Posted on March 17, 2014 by Amy Carroll

    Amy Carroll

    "Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." Titus 2:3-5 (NIV)

    She didn't know I was watching. But I was. And what she did changed my heart and marriage.

    Friends of mine told me about Deborah, a woman at our church who had decided not to speak negatively about her husband. Although I truly love my husband and think he is wonderful, he isn't perfect. So at the time, I didn't think there was much harm in occasionally complaining about him to friends and co-workers. After all, they had plenty to say about their husbands.

    But something about Deborah's commitment challenged my heart. I began to watch her and her husband for signs of a difference. I also listened carefully to see if she really stuck to her commitment. She did, and the fruits of her faithfulness were obvious.

    Deborah and John had been married far longer than I had and had three beautiful children. But they acted like they were still on their honeymoon. Their devotion was untarnished by the mistrust and bitterness caused by a critical heart and complaining lips.

    Seeing the difference in them made me much more aware when I started to "vent" or complain about my husband. I thought about how terrible I would feel if I walked into a room and heard him speaking negatively about me. So I followed Deborah's lead.

    It didn't take long before I started to see fruit in my marriage too. Lots of it! The more I spoke well of my husband, the more I thought well of him too. His virtues far overshadowed his few imperfections. Praising my husband to my friends actually grew my love for him. Plus, I never worried what might be repeated to him.

    I have come to believe strongly in the "Sacred Us." My husband and I have a bond that is stronger than the bond I have with anyone else. There are things that only the two of us share.

    Although I love to talk, I don't need to share everything going on between us with others. If there are problems, I can always pour out my heart to God, and Scripture encourages us to do that. I also have cultivated relationships with several godly, truth-telling women who love my husband as a brother in Christ as much as they love me. They will listen, offer godly counsel and tell me in a skinny minute if I'm the one who's wrong. Choose women who exemplify Titus 2:3-5 when you need to problem-solve or when you need focused prayer about a situation.

    Without ever knowing it, Deborah changed many of the marriages in our church for the better. Let's all resolve to be the "Deborah" among our friends. I want my words and actions to make that kind of difference — to strengthen my marriage bonds, to encourage others and to glorify God.

    Dear Lord, please help me control my tongue. I need Your help to praise my husband instead of criticize or complain. In times of crises or conflict, remind me to turn to You first. Bring godly women into my life who will join with me in this endeavor so that we can encourage each other. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Pay attention to the topics of discussion with your friends. How often does the conversation turn to criticism of husbands? Stop yourself when you begin to join in! Then go a step further and say something positive about your husband.

    Cultivate friendships with other women who speak positively of their husbands and hold each other gently and lovingly accountable.

    Power Verses:
    Philippians 2:14-15, "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe ..." (NIV 1984)

    Psalm 141:3, "Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips." (NIV 1984)

    © 2014 by Amy Carroll. 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 Titus

  • Confront to Connect

    Posted on March 16, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Proverbs 27:6 (NKJ)

    Confrontation means there has been a disconnection. Something has severed trust. It may be relational, emotional, or financial. Maybe you feel you have lost someone’s love and respect. Whatever the reason for the disconnection, confrontation needs to seek a reconnection. This is what a caring, faithful friend does. They seek to reconnect where there has been a disconnect. Your salvation in Jesus brought you into relational wholeness with heaven so you could model the same on earth. Scripture teaches, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18).

    However, if ignored, delayed confrontation deteriorates into disconnection. It dilutes understanding, trust, and intimacy. This is why wise leaders keep short accounts and speak freely and early about their concerns. If a leader ignores his or her obvious feelings of frustration, they will naturally distance themselves from the team and the organization. But if they confront early on, in a spirit of respect and understanding, they stay engaged with the enterprise and the individuals, and therefore avoid creating a culture of control and distrust.

    This is true in marriage. A wife may confront her husband when she does not feel loved. This is a natural response when she feels distant from her spouse. Depending on the context of the confrontation, the husband may respond positively (if he is smart!) or he may push back defensively if he senses a combative or controlling spirit. It is normal and healthy to desire and seek out relational connection. This is how God has wired people. Just make sure you set yourself up for a successful connection and not an aborted one.

    Your husband is much more receptive to receiving your emotional advances when done in a spirit of respect. Use questions like, “Sweetheart, can we sit down sometime today to discuss the children’s schedule for the upcoming week?” This gives him time to process and prepare. If he feels pounced upon or backed into a corner, he will react defensively. In this situation, healthy confrontation gives a couple the organizational connections they need to be more effective in managing their family responsibilities.

    Caring confrontation creates a culture of teamwork and trust. A connected culture creates communication channels that build great organizations. Sadly though, a disconnected leader encourages disconnected individuals who then feed disconnected departments that facilitate disconnected divisions that ultimately lead to a disconnected and dysfunctional organization. So, most importantly, start by connecting with Christ. Vertical relational reconnection facilitates horizontal relational reconnection. Sin subtly or not so subtly severs relationships, but confession leads to connection. David, a most effective leader, said it well: “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’”— and you forgave the guilt of my sin” (Psalm 32:5). Therefore, make your motives and methods of confrontation for the purpose of reconnection. Friends who care confront to connect.

    Taken from the March 16th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 1”

    Post/Tweet today: Caring confrontation creates a culture of teamwork and trust. #confronttoconnect

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Willing to Accept

    Posted on March 15, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. Matthew 11:14

    Hard words, hard people, and hard situations are hard to accept. Do you or someone you know feel like you are between a rock and a hard place? Do your options seem like they have dried up? Is your energy to press forward depleted? Perhaps it is time to accept the cold, hard facts of where you find yourself. Reality has a way of catching up with our denial.

    It is okay to be optimistic, but not to the peril of ignoring your predicament. Are emotional reactions driving your decisions, or do you prayerfully process the facts clearly and objectively with wise input from others you trust? Do you need to give up something—your house, your car, your career, your travel, or your expectations? What is the Lord asking you to give up so that you can gain Him and His peace? Acceptance requires action.

    Furthermore, there are people who require additional patience and grace to accept. Have others wronged you to the point that your resentment is blocking your acceptance of them? You may justify your rejection of them because of their rejection of you. For example, children and parents can let us down and even devastate us, but Christians do not have the option of not accepting them for who they are. Love accepts even unworthy recipients.

    Do you find yourself in a situation where you do not feel accepted—a new job, in-laws, a new school, a new city, a new relationship? You can stew in self-pity, or you can take the initiative to reach out to your rejecters. Kindness reaches out and rejects rejection. “A man who has friends must himself be friendly” (Proverbs 18:24 nkjv).

    Above all, are you willing to accept God’s call on your life? When His will is uncomfortable and uncertain, will you still go there in trust? Start by accepting Christ by faith as your Savior and Lord, and then continue to accept His commands as evidence that you are His disciple. Acceptance of the Lord allows you to love Him and other people. Acceptance cannot continue alone but is accelerated and accompanied by the Almighty’s grace and love.

    Prayer: Do I wholeheartedly accept God’s plan for my life? Whom do I need to accept in love?

    Related Readings: Genesis 4:7; Ecclesiastics 5:19; Romans 11:15; 1 Timothy 1:15

    Taken from the March 15th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 2”

    Post/Tweet today: Kindness reaches out and rejects rejection. #willingtoaccept

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Honor Mom

    Posted on March 14, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” John 2:3

    Jesus honored His mom though He had the power and prerogative to delay her request. She saw His newly recruited disciples and realized her little boy was now a man of God. She reflected on her Holy Spirit conception and the joy of bringing her son and Savior into the world. So, she asked her Lord for a miracle for the sake of someone else. He honored her by allowing the wedding celebration to continue without the disruption of running out of refreshments. Love is honorable.

    Our moms are needy and they need us. They cared for our needs for many years. As an infant they fed us, comforted us, and woke up in the middle of the night to calm our cries. As a child they taught us, disciplined us and laughed at and with us. As a teenager, if they prayed, they prayed even more for our protection from ourselves. As an adult they want us to pray for them, keep up with them and honor them. Mothers filled with God remind us of His unselfish love.

    “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you” (Isaiah 66:13).

    Has your mother made a direct or indirect request of you? Has she implied a need, but not come right out and verbalized it? Perhaps the Lord is calling you to honor her by helping her, or by helping someone she is concerned about. Some moms have the admirable quality of always looking out for others, even if it requires giving up something themselves. When your mom senses your undivided attention and authentic concern, she’ll open up about her cares. Honor listens.

    If your wife is a mom, how can you support her dreams and desires? How can you better partner with her in parenting? It honors your wife when you pray with her for your children. It honors her when you listen to her fears and support her in her stress. Being a mom is oh so fulfilling, but it is hard. You honor her by being with her to laugh and cry over the children. You honor her when you offer emotional support. Yes, you honor your mom most, when you live honorably before God.

    “May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful” (Proverbs 23:25)!

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, show me how to better honor my mom and the mother of our children.

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 5:16; Psalm 35:14; Mathew 12:46; John 19:26-27

    Post/Tweet today: We honor our mom most, when we live honorably before God. #honormom

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Lord, I Want to Know You from Kay Arthur

    Posted on March 14, 2014 by Family Christian

    Kay Arthur

    Chapter One

    THE NAMES OF THE LORD

    – DAY ONE –

    The muffled, distant sound had broken the quiet reverie of his walk across the meadow. The sharp barking of a dog almost irritated him. It was abrasive in that tranquil setting. As the barking grew louder, his eyes scanned the meadow, looking for the culprit. Suddenly a small doe broke through the edge of the woods. Now he understood. Leaning against the fence post, the man watched with compassion as the doe cut across the broad expanse of meadow. She was running straight toward him. He stood motionless, not wanting to add the fear of man to the animal’s frustration. As the frightened fawn leaped the fence, she staggered. The chase had taken its toll. Her wet coat gleaming in the sun, the doe stopped, took a few steps in one direction, then, ears held high, looked back toward the sound of the barking. The dog had broken through the woods.

    Eyes wide with fright, confused, worn out, panting wildly, the doe surveyed her surroundings, quickly discovering the man standing beside the fence. Glancing back for an instant at the dog in hot pursuit, then viewing the expanse of open field before her, she turned weakly and wobbled straight toward the man. She approached him without fear and buried her head in his tummy. Compassion flooded his heart and filled his eyes. She had found a protector.

    Beloved, where do you run in time of need? When the hounds of trouble, worry, and fear pursue you; when the dogs of temptation, corruption, and evil seek to overtake you; when your energy is spent; when weakness saps you; when you feel you cannot run any longer, where do you turn?

    Do you turn to your protector, the One who stands with arms opened wide, waiting for you to come and bury yourself in the security of all He is?

    “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10).

    For these forty-two days we are going to study the names of the Lord so that you will know where to run to find help in time of need. The Father longs for you to know more of who He is, that you might more fully “trust in the name of the LORD and rely on [your] God” (Isaiah 50:10). Remember Jesus’ prayer on our behalf just before He went to Calvary: “that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:3). The goal of Paul’s life was “that I may know Him” (Philippians 3:10). How I pray it will become the goal of your life!

    If someone were to ask you to describe God, what would you say? Write down the words that come to your mind when you think of God.

    – DAY TWO –

    “Some boast in chariots, and some in horses; but we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God” (Psalm 20:7).

    Where do you run for help? When you are in trouble, what is your first instinct? Do you run to others or to God? Is it usually the counsel of another rather than the counsel found in waiting upon God in prayer? Why is this the way it is? Why do we run to man before we run to God?

    In Old Testament days chariots and horses were means of protection and escape. Today our “chariots and horses” come with different labels, shapes, and forms. Even so they are still a visible means of help, escape, or protection. Yet are these really a source of safety? No. “The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD” (Proverbs 21:31, KJV).

    What’s the problem? Why don’t we run to the arms of our all-sufficient God? I think it’s because most of us don’t really know our God. Why do many collapse in the day of trouble and testing? Why are they immobilized? Why don’t they take an aggressive stand in the face of fear? Because Christians, for the most part, can’t boast in the name of their God.

    What do I mean when I say, “boast in the name of our God”? In the Hebrew language the phrase to boast in means “to have confidence in, to trust in.”1 Therefore, to boast in God’s name means to have confidence in His name. In biblical times a name represented a person’s character. God’s name represents His character, His attributes, His nature. To know His name is to know Him. To boast in His name is to have confidence in who He is!

    We find several different names of God in the Bible. You are about to embark on an exciting study of these names!

    In the day of trouble or need, we are to run to our God, to put our trust in Him. That is why He says, “Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me” (Psalm 50:15, KJV).

    Is your heart troubled? Is fear lurking in the shadows of your consciousness? Do you feel insecure about anything at all? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, list your fears, insecurities, and troubles below. Then ask God to show you one of His names that will meet your need. When He shows you, tell Him that you will boast in that name.

    – DAY THREE –

    Let’s begin with a day of meditating on Psalm 20. As you look at this psalm, consider what we have talked about these past two days. At the end of the psalm you will find a brief assignment. I urge you to participate fully in this study. Don’t just read this book. Do the assignments. Write out your answers. This exercise will help cultivate the seeds of truth sown in your reading. The harvest can be bountiful, and you will grow!

    PSALM 20
    1May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble!
    May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high!
    2May He send you help from the sanctuary,
    And support you from Zion!
    3May He remember all your meal offerings,
    And find your burnt offering acceptable!
    4May He grant you your heart’s desire,
    And fulfill all your counsel!
    5We will sing for joy over your victory,
    And in the name of our God we will set up our banners.
    May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.
    6 Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed;
    He will answer him from His holy heaven,
    With the saving strength of His right hand.
    7 Some boast in chariots, and some in horses;
    But we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God.
    8 They have bowed down and fallen;
    But we have risen and stood upright.
    9 Save, O LORD;
    May the King answer us in the day we call.

    1. Go through this psalm and put a around every
    word that has something to do with trouble, need, or help.*
    2. What are the Lord’s promises in this psalm?
    3. Are there any conditions that need to be met in order for the promises
    to be fulfilled?
    4. According to this psalm, what sets a person securely on high or in a
    place of security above the circumstances of a situation?
    5. On what basis can we set up banners of victory?
    6. What does the answer to question 5 tell you about the name of God?
    7. Why are they boasting in the name of the Lord?

    Turn your heart’s desire into a prayer. Tell your Father what you need. Thank Him that He wants to be known by you in greater depth!

    MEMORY VERSE
    The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous
    runs into it and is safe.
    PROVERBS 1 8 : 1 0

    SMALL-GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

    1. Before the study of these first three days, how did you picture God in your mind?
    2. What was so significant about a name in biblical times?
    3. Why is it important that we know the name of our God?
    4. In Psalm 20, God talks about men who boast in chariots and horses and men who boast in the name of the Lord. Did you see a contrast between these two types of people? What is the contrast?
    5. What does trusting in horses and chariots mean? How does that apply to today?
    6. Can you remember a time when you trusted in “horses and chariots”? What was the result in your life?
    7. Can you remember a time when you boasted in the name of the Lord? What was the result?

    Chapter 2

    THE CREATOR

    – DAY FOUR –

    One of the names of God in the Old Testament is Elohim. This name designates God as God. Deuteronomy 10:17 says, “The LORD your God [Elohim] is the God of gods.…” El means “mighty” or “strong” and is used for any reference to gods, including Almighty God. Elohim is the primary Hebrew word translated “God” in the Old Testament. (Sometimes Jehovah is translated “God” rather than “LORD.”) The him ending of Elohim is very significant. In the Hebrew language it is a plural ending indicating more than one. Elohim is the name for God as Creator. It is used in Genesis 1:1 and could be translated, “In the beginning Gods created the heavens and the earth.”

    Does the construction of the Hebrew word mean that there is more than one God? No! “The LORD [Jehovah] is our God [Elohim], the LORD is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4). God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit–the blessed Trinity–created the heavens and the earth. One in essence, in character, yet three persons united as one.

    As you read various scriptures, you can see references to the different persons of the Godhead participating in the work of creation. In Genesis 1:2-3 we read, “The Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God…” (Hebrews 11:3). God spoke and the Spirit moved. Then Colossians 1:16 tells us that in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, “all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth.” Thus, we see that each person of the triune Godhead had a part in creation.

    Even in the creation of man we see the Godhead working. In Genesis 1:26 we read, “Then God [Elohim] said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image.’ ” The Us refers to more than one!

    But of what practical significance is this name to us? How can the name Elohim serve as a strong tower to us?

    If God is the Creator of all things, who has given us life? Elohim, of course! And why were we created? For Him! You are a unique creation of God, one of a kind, created for His glory. He “didst form my inward parts.” He “didst weave me in my mother’s womb.… I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:13-14). Have you ever thought of yourself as being fearfully and wonderfully made? Or do you look at yourself and despise what Elohim has created?

    I have a friend who is probably not more than three feet tall. Her head is of normal size, but her body is dwarfed. To me she is lovely. Julie spends all her days in a sling, much like a baby’s walker. In order to move anywhere, her legs must propel the rolling frame. Julie is radiant, a delight to all who meet her. She knows her Elohim, and she realizes that He created her just the way she is for a purpose. Now please don’t tell me God had nothing to do with her physical condition. If I were to believe that, I’d have to deny His sovereignty, His Word, and His name.

    Remember when “Moses said to the LORD, ‘Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since Thou hast spoken to Thy servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue’ ” (Exodus 4:10)?

    What was the Lord’s reply? “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him dumb or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?” (Exodus 4:11).

    But why would God create people who are different from His normal pattern of creation? Why would He ever permit a sperm to penetrate an egg when it would produce what seems to be a genetic disaster?

    Remember when the disciples saw a man blind from birth, “and His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?’” (John 9:2)? How did Jesus answer? “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3).

    Oh, Beloved, if you are unhappy with yourself, with your child, or with a loved one, run into the strong tower of the name of your Elohim (Proverbs 18:10). You may not understand how your situation could ever bring Him glory, but you can trust in the name of your Lord. “Who is among you that fears the LORD, that obeys the voice of His servant, that walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God” (Isaiah 50:10).

    “I will give thanks to the LORD according to His righteousness, and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High” (Psalm 7:17). “For the LORD [Jehovah] your God [Elohim] is the God [Elohim] of gods [Elohim] and the Lord [Jehovah] of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God…” (Deuteronomy 10:17). Write out a prayer of worship to your creator. Sing praise to your God and Father as Elohim.

    “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).

    – DAY FIVE –

    You have heard the song. The words go, “Why was I born? Why am I living?” They are more than words to a song, aren’t they? They are the heart’s cry of every human being who seeks to know the reason for his existence. Why were you born? Why did Elohim create you? Why did He form your inward parts and weave you in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13)? Search out the answer to these questions, and you will know the purpose for your life.

    In Isaiah 43 we read, “Thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel.… I am the LORD your God [Elohim].… you are precious in My sight.… everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, even whom I have made” (Isaiah 43:1,3-4,7).

    According to Isaiah 43, Elohim, the one who made man (male and female, Genesis 1:27) in His image, created you for His glory. One day I was studying what God’s Word says about the husbandwife relationship. I decided that since “woman is the glory of man” (1 Corinthians 11:7), I should look up the meaning of the word glory. In the Hebrew language it means “to give the correct opinion or estimate of.” I saw that as a woman I am to treat my husband in such a way as to give a correct opinion or estimate of him as a man.

    Can you see how awesome it is to know that you have been created for God’s glory? That you are to live in such a way as to give all of creation a correct opinion or estimate of who God is? What does that mean to you, O child of God, who is called by His name? Think about it. How would you live if you were to live for His glory? Give yourself time to meditate on this truth, and then record below those things that God brings to your mind.

    Let’s look at one other scripture that tells you why you were born. “Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created” (Revelation 4:11). According to this scripture, you were created for His will. The King James Version says “pleasure.” In essence, they are the same. If I live for His will, that is His pleasure, or if I bring Him pleasure, it is because I have done His will.

    His name is Elohim, the Almighty God, your Creator. You have looked at two scriptures that have answered the questions, “Why was I born? Why am I living?” You have seen that you have been created for His glory, for His pleasure. Your life is to be lived in such a way as to reflect Him, to show the world the character of God–His love, His peace, His mercy, His gentleness. You are to live for Him, to accomplish His will. To miss this purpose is to miss fulfillment. It is to have existed rather than to have lived.

    Go before your God and evaluate the course of your life. What do you need to do? Will you? Answer these questions honestly in the presence of your Elohim.

    Are you fulfilling the purpose of your creation? What is keeping you from being or doing what you were created for?

    What do you need to change? Now write out a prayer of commitment.

    MEMORY VERSE

    Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory
    and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things,
    and because of Thy will they existed, and were created.
    REVELATION 4 : 1 1

    SMALL-GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

    1. Elohim identifies God as Creator. From your study, why do you think
    it is important to know Him as Creator?
    2. What did God create?
    3. How does Elohim as Creator show us the triune God?
    4. What role has God had in your life?
    5. What is your responsibility to Him as your Creator? How are you fulfilling
    that responsibility?
    6. How have the insights into God as Elohim helped to clear up your
    thinking regarding children born with Down syndrome or those born
    without a limb, etc.?
    7. What is currently happening in your life or circumstances that is easier
    to deal with now that you know God as your Elohim?


    Excerpted from Lord, I Want to Know You by Kay Arthur Copyright © 2000 by Kay Arthur. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


    This post was posted in Books and was tagged with Featured, Kay Arthur

  • 50% Off Select Bibles

    Posted on March 14, 2014 by Family Christian

    Family Values 50% off select Bibles
    Life Application Study Bible - Large Print NLT Translation
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    Chronological Life Application Study Bible NLT translation Life Application Study Bible NIV translation NIV Adventure Bible KJV Holman Study Bible Life Application Study Bible - Large Print NLT Translation Inspired By... The Bible Experience – The Complete Bible TNIV translation 79-CD set + Bonus DVD Life Application Study Bible - Large Print NLT Translation NIrV Adventure Bible for Early Readers Life Application Study Bible – Large Print NIV translation True Images: The Bible for Teen Girls NIV translation NKJV Holman Study Bible KJV Super Giant Print Reference Bible Revolution: The Bible for Teen Guys: Updated Edition NIV translation

    This post was posted in Bibles and was tagged with Featured, iDisciple

  • Why Shopping Will Never Satisfy

    Posted on March 14, 2014 by Leah DiPascal

    Leah DiPascal

    "Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'" Hebrews 13:5 (ESV)

    We only had ten days to get everything packed and ready for the movers. Shipping boxes, wrapping paper and rolls of tape were everywhere. Every room called for attention, and I didn't know which direction to go first.

    With a squeezing economy and company cutbacks, our family made the hard decision to sell our home and do some major downsizing. Deep inside I knew it was the right choice, but the process was hard. Although I tried to put on a happy face, my heart was aching.

    Dragging myself from room to room, the amount of accumulated stuff overwhelmed me. Clothes, furniture, linens, accessories and enough kitchen appliances to open a diner filled every room.

    As I viewed all the things left to pack, I thought about my past shopping sprees where I'd picked up so many of the items. The early-bird door busters and all those neon yellow clearance stickers lured me in. The endless rows of shiny metal racks, boasting 50-percent-off treasures sealed the deal.

    I had prided myself thinking of all the money I saved buying everything on sale. Who was I kidding?

    The truth was our checking account balance was shrinking, yet I kept wanting new things and buying more. All the while, insisting these were purchases we "needed."

    But now, all of these bargains had to be boxed up, moved and put into storage. My "treasures" had become burdens. As I looked around at all the clutter, I wondered if it was my heart, not my home, needing to be de-cluttered.

    It was time to make some major adjustments in my thought life and begin living out today's verse in Hebrews 13:5, "Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'"

    God spoke to me that day with gentle conviction that it was time to stop making excuses for buying so much and be content with less.

    Kneeling in my storage room, I prayed and asked God to forgive me. I told Him I wanted to change but I needed His help. The process wasn't easy, but it was necessary.

    Ten days later when the movers arrived, everything was boxed and ready to go. Instead of heading to a storage facility, we delivered many of those boxes to a local children's home in desperate need of household items and clothing.

    It felt freeing to give away more and keep less. To experience the Giver instead holding onto the material gifts. To trust the Provider and stop worrying about having enough. To simply be content.

    Maybe you struggle sometimes with contentment too. Do you ever find yourself buying something you really don't need? I know, it was probably on sale.

    Perhaps God is asking you to keep less and give away more. To be content with what He's given you and not feel like you have to buy more to be more.

    Friend, don't fall for the lies I did. Trust that God will provide what you need when you need it. If you have extra items, consider giving them away to someone in need and experience the freedom of being content with less.

    Dear Lord, You know me better than I know myself. Help me to be content with what You've given me. Take away my cravings for always wanting more. Teach me to desire You above all else. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    In what areas are you least content? Write them down in your journal along with the two Scripture verses below. Pray and ask God to help you become content with what you have as you trust Him to provide all you need.

    Get a box or kitchen trash bag and go through your closets. Place at least one item from each closet into the box or bag and take to a local charity.

    Power Verses:
    1 Timothy 6:6-8, "But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content." (ESV)

    Matthew 6:33, "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." (NLT)

    © 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 Hebrews

  • Believing Is Seeing

    Posted on March 13, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” John 1:50

    Believing sees with eyes of faith. Faith looks into the face of God to face the unknown. What may not be apparent to logic and reason is revealed by looking beyond the material to the spiritual. Belief in God opens up a vista of breathtaking spiritual formations. We see the mountains of His majesty and the fertile valley of His faithfulness. Belief in Jesus allows us to behold the sun of His salvation and the heavens of His hope. Believing sees what God sees.

    Furthermore, our initial belief in Christ as our Savior cracked open the door into His house of wisdom and understanding. By faith through grace, we will spend a lifetime exploring the eternal truths decorated throughout the Lord’s spiritual residence. Our continued faith opens doors to God’s will. We walk down a hallway of hope and discover a prayer closet with Christ’s comfort. Up the stairs takes more effort, but we walk with Jesus in trust and He reveals His life changing truths. Our adventurous journey with Jesus is fostered by faith. Believing sees the ways of God.

    “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you” (Ephesians 1:18).

    Moreover, believing may allow us to see God do greater things. We believe God for our child’s heart to turn back to Him, so in His time they grow tired of their ways and return to God’s ways. We believe God to heal our friend’s body with greater stamina. We believe God to open a financial door with His great provision. We believe God to get the gospel to thousands with His great power, resulting in new churches. We believe God for a great revival, so He changes us, our family, church, city, state, nation, and the world. Faith can facilitate God’s greater works.

    Older faith can become stale faith if not revitalized by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, avoid spiritual coasting, just getting by on past blessings. We can anticipate the better days to come and not be complacent with the good old days of the past. What greater work does God want to do in your life? Double, triple, quadruple your giving? Plant a church? Sell your business? Write a book? Have a child? Attempt great things only your great God can accomplish. Believe Him and watch Him work!

    “Whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these” (John 14:12).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the eyes of faith to believe You for greater works to come.

    Related Readings: Job 42:5; Matthew 21:212; Luke 10:17; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Hebrews 11:1

    Post/Tweet today: Believing sees with eyes of faith. Faith looks into the face of God to face the unknown. #believingisseeing

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


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

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