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  • If You're Feeling Overlooked and Unappreciated...

    Posted on April 3, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: 'I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.'" Acts 13:22 (NIV)

    Sometimes I wake up in the morning feeling a little grumpy. Time to do it all again. I'll buy food that gets eaten. I'll wash clothes that get dirty again. I'll sweep floors that will be littered with crumbs an hour later.

    Is there more to all this than just doing the tasks of everyday life?

    Before I jumped into the normal routine this morning, I sat with Jesus. And I found some big truths as I read my Bible and took a little glance into David's life. Despite how others saw him, his own tendency to sin, and lack of position in his own family, David had the sweet reassurance of God. And that was enough.

    Overlooked by everyone else. Handpicked by God.

    To his older brothers, David was a pest. To his father, Jesse, he was just the youngest son. To onlookers, he was just a shepherd boy. But to God, David was the one destined to be king. And not just any king. He was from the bloodline from which Jesus would come.

    Overlooked by everyone else. Handpicked by God.

    Even the way David was anointed to be the future king is a telling story. In 1 Samuel 16, God tells Samuel that He has rejected Saul as king and chosen one of Jesse's sons to be the replacement.

    Think of the list of qualifications that must have run through Samuel's mind for such a position: tall, smart, articulate, brave, groomed, well-mannered, a natural-born leader. Samuel saw some of these characteristics in Eliab, David's brother. "But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his outward appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7, NIV 1984).

    Overlooked by everyone else. Handpicked by God.

    Samuel had Jesse line up all of his sons before him. All of them were to be considered. Yet, Jesse didn't call David in from tending sheep. Was this an oversight? An assumption? A judgment call? A deliberate choice?

    Overlooked by everyone else. Handpicked by God.

    Samuel passes on each of Jesse's sons and then asks, "Are these all the sons you have?" I imagine Jesse with a quizzical expression replying, "There is still the youngest ... He is tending the sheep." (1 Samuel 16:11, NIV) Surely one who spends his time taking care of animals is not the one to take care of a nation.

    Overlooked by everyone else. Handpicked by God.

    As soon as Samuel saw David, he knew he was the one. David was anointed to become king. But he was not immediately ushered to the throne. It would be many years before David was recognized by the world. So, where did he go after being anointed as king? To a refining school? A government academy? Military training? Nope.

    He went back out to the fields and continued to shepherd his flock. A king doing lowly tasks. A king whose character was being refined in the fields of everyday life to prepare him for his calling.

    How like us. In the midst of smelly laundry, dirty dishes, snotty noses, misplaced keys, overdue library books, bills, and that birthday gift that still needs to be mailed to Grandma – there is training there. There is character building. There is attitude shaping. There is soul defining. All of which must take place for us to become what God intends.

    Do you ever feel overlooked by the world? Take heart – we are handpicked by God.

    I am not just doing tasks. I am building a legacy. I am shaping God's Kingdom. I am in the process of not only discovering my calling but that of my family as well. And I don't know about you, but it sure does make me look at my everyday tasks (yes, even the smelly laundry) in a whole different light.

    Dear Lord, I'm grateful that even when I feel overlooked, I can rest in the fact that I am handpicked by You. Help me to live my life for an audience of One. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What tasks have you viewed as mundane or pointless?

    Determine to change your perspective on those tasks today. When you're feeling discouraged speak these words out loud: "I am handpicked and called by God. This is my assignment today from Him and I'm choosing to see how important it is!"

    Power Verse:
    1 Corinthians 15:58b, "Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort." (MSG)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Source of Satisfaction

    Posted on April 2, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10

    Every soul longs for satisfaction--a feeling of fulfillment. A dissatisfied soul is discontent and distant from God, but once satisfied, it’s content and close to Christ. Dissatisfied emotions look for love in all the wrong places, but once satisfied, receive genuine love from Jesus and His followers. A dissatisfied state of mind is ever learning, but unsatisfied with simple truth. Dissatisfied, we drive ourselves to unhealthy extremes, but we find peace when satisfied with our Savior Jesus.

    This dear woman at the well--whom Jesus loved, lacked fulfilling love from her previous husbands. The yearning and thirst in her heart could only be quenched by the living water of her Lord. Has your heart been broken by a lost love? Are you thirsty for someone you can totally trust? Look to your heavenly Father who loves unconditionally and wholeheartedly. The purified water of God’s love--filtered in heaven, is your gift to be received by faith. Christ’s love satisfies.

    “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jeremiah 2:13).

    We can dig wells in our own strength, but they will eventually run dry. A well of wishful thinking cannot replace Christ’s well of living hope. A well of good works cannot take the place of God’s gift of grace. A well of financial security is no substitute for the eternal security we have by faith in Jesus Christ. The world’s wells are subject to becoming stale, but the well of our Savior Jesus flows with fresh and residual living water. Draw often a cup of joy from the wellspring of life.

    Furthermore, go deeply into the well of God’s grace. The deeper we go, the darker it may seem, but such is the process of Oneness with our heavenly Father. As we patiently draw out the depths of the Lord’s love, we have an abundance to share with others. Living water is meant to flow from heart to heart. It’s not stagnant like the landlocked Dead Sea, rather is it full of life like a cascading waterfall. Faith in Christ is the satisfying source for all souls in search of true life.

    “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:38).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, You are the source of my satisfaction. Lead me to draw from Your well the depths of Your living water.

    Related Readings: Psalm 78:15-16; Isaiah 41:18; Jeremiah 17:13; Revelation 7:17, 21:6

    Post/Tweet today: Dissatisfied we drive ourselves to unhealthy extremes, but we find peace when satisfied with our Savior Jesus. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Bad Girls of the Bible from Liz Curtis Higgs

    Posted on April 2, 2014 by Family Christian

    Liz

    Introduction

    Turn Signal

    And when she was good
    She was very, very good,
    But when she was bad she was horrid.
    --Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Ruthie never saw it coming. His fist flashed toward her so fast she couldn’t duck or turn away in time.

    “Nooo!” Her cry echoed off the windshield of the Pontiac but went no further. Who would hear her in this parking lot anyway? With trash cans and alley cats for neighbors, she could hardly expect some hero in a white Ford Mustang to drive by and rescue her, not at this late hour. Hayden was leaning inside the open car window now, rubbing his knuckles as if to say, “There’s more where that came from.” As if she hadn’t figured that out. As if she wasn’t watching his every move. Ruthie was nineteen, but she was nobody’s fool.

    Except Hayden’s.

    She stared at the dashboard, feeling her cheek swell as the pain inched around her eye, along her nose, toward her temple. In her whole life no one had ever deliberately hit her. Even as a child, she hadn’t been spanked at home or paddled in school.

    She was a good girl. National Honor Society. State chorus. Editor in chief of her small-town high-school newspaper.

    Nobody ever needed to hit Ruthie, for any reason.

    So much for that claim to fame. She’d been hit now, and hard. Slowly, hoping Hayden wouldn’t notice, she moved her jaw back and forth, grateful it could move.

    He snorted, obviously disgusted with her. “I didn’t break anything. But I could have. Now slide over or get out.”

    Not much choice there.

    The time for making choices was behind her—that was clear. Weeks ago she’d chosen to spend that Thursday night at the Village Nightclub, knowing the kind of men who went there. And the kind of women. Women like me. She’d chosen to drag Hayden home with her because he was the right size and the right age and in the right state of mind: drunk. Too drunk to care whether or not she had a pretty face.

    Her face wasn’t pretty now, of that Ruthie was certain.

    And her choices were nil. If she got out of the car, he might hit her again. If she stayed in the car, he might drive like a maniac and wrap her new Pontiac around a telephone pole, with them in it.

    Her new car. The one he routinely borrowed without asking. The one they’d been arguing about, right up until he parked his fist in her face. She moved across the seat toward the passenger side, sliding her keys out of the ignition as she did so, feeling her head begin to throb. Don’t let me pass out! Please…Somebody. Anybody. Resting her hand on the door handle, then carefully wrapping her fingers around it, she waited for her chance. As Hayden moved into the driver’s seat and dug in his pockets for his keys, she took a deep breath, then shoved the door open, nearly falling out on the gravel-strewn pavement.

    “Get in the car, Ruthie!” Hayden’s bark was deadly.

    She felt him grab for her and miss. “He-e-elp…” It was such a pitiful cry, like a kitten needing milk. Straightening awkwardly to her feet, Ruthie slammed the car door just as Hayden reached for her again. Judging by his curses, she’d unintentionally jammed his fingers in the process. Maybe not so unintentionally.

    She had one goal now: to locate her apartment key among the dozen on the ring she held in her trembling hands. Stumbling toward her security door as she heard the car door open, she found the key at last and forced it in the lock. C’mon, c’mon!

    When the deadbolt turned, she fell through the entrance with a sob of relief, then turned to bolt the door behind her. But she was too late. He’d already wedged his leg in the doorway and was muscling his way inside. Her heart sank through the linoleum floor, and the taste of dread filled her mouth.

    Hayden was taller, wider, older, stronger. And meaner, so much meaner. Why hadn’t she seen that? Tasted it in his kisses that first night, discovered it in his eyes that first morning?

    His hatred for her was a living thing, rolling off him in waves. “Don’t you understand?” His chest was heaving, but not from the effort—from the anger. “That Pontiac is mine. You’re mine. This apartment is mine. Nothing you do or say is gonna change that, Ruthie.”With one hand he slammed the door with a noisy bang.

    With the other hand he reached in his jacket and pulled out a gun.

    Her heart thudded to a stop at the sight of it.

    His cold smile told her all she needed to know.

    “Upstairs.” He waved the ugly black revolver at the staircase that led to her second-floor apartment. Her apartment. Hers! She’d scrimped and saved to have her own place. For what? So this…this…

    It was no use. She started up the steps, doing her best not to trip, not to cry, not to let him see that he was tearing apart everything that made her Ruthie, step by awful step…

    Define Bad . . .

    Few of us made it our ambition in life to be a Bad Girl. Ruthie wasn’t bad; she was abused. But after several years of making bad choices—dating Hayden among them—she’d given up on ever being good.

    Some of us stumbled through a rebellious youth or wandered into an addictive habit or walked down the aisle with the wrong guy for all the wrong reasons. Perhaps our sense of self was so skewed we decided we weren’t worthy of goodness or figured we’d gone too far to ever find the road home or concluded we enjoyed our favorite vice so much we weren’t about to give it up—no way, no how.

    There are some women who even wear badness like a badge of courage.

    As Tallulah Bankhead put it, “If I had to live my life over again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.”

    What labels a woman as “bad” hasn’t changed since Eve. All the usual suspects are there: disobedience, lust, denial, greed, anger, lying, adultery, laziness, cruelty, selfishness, idolatry.

    Badness—in other words, sin—doesn’t have to be that dramatic. It can be something on the sidelines: an unkind word, a whisper of gossip, a neglected request, an unrepentant attitude, an intentionally forgotten event.

    Ouch.

    It all boils down to a heart that’s hardened against God—however temporary the condition, however isolated the tough spot.

    To that extent, we’ve all been Bad Girls.

    And to a woman, we long to be Good Girls.

    I have trouble learning, though, from women who get it all right. I spend my energy comparing, falling short, and asking myself, How do they do that? It’s discouraging, even maddening. It also doesn’t get me one step closer to God.

    So, for a season, I thought we’d look at women who got a lot wrong. I must admit I went into these stories with a bit of pride between my teeth and soon found my jaw hanging slack at the similarities in these women and me. How is it possible, Lord? I love you, love your Word, love your people…How can I see so much of myself in these sleazy women?

    Ah, sisters. Our sins may be a surprise to us, but they are no surprise to the Lord.

    For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord,
    and he examines all his paths. Proverbs 5:21

    Come, then, and meet our counterparts—for good and for bad. My introduction to these ten Bad Girls of the Bible began many years ago when I prepared a series of messages about famous women in Scripture for a national Christian convention. For a girl who loves to have fun, I found it the “meatiest” stuff I’d ever tackled. I savored every juicy minute of time spent studying the Bible and reading various commentaries. Not to mention examining my own life in juxtaposition with theirs.

    Oops. Big mistake there. Ruth was so faithful. Esther was so courageous. Mary was so innocent. I was so none-of-the-above.

    Then I happened upon Jezebel, and something inside me clicked. I identified with her pushy personality, I understood her need for control, I empathized with her angry outbursts…and I was aghast when I got to her gruesome ending.

    She was a Bad Girl, all right, but boy did she teach me what not to do in my marriage! It was then the seeds for this book were planted in my heart. These stories are in God’sWord for his good purpose—and for ours. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16

    Where to begin? With the First Bad Girl: Eve. Of course. Badness had to start somewhere.

    Next, I found three women who were Bad to the Bone: Potiphar’s wife, Delilah, and Jezebel. These were women of whom not a single kind word was recorded. Women who had a pattern of sinning, with no evidence of remorse or a desire to change, who sinned with gusto from bad beginning to bitter end. Because they were made in the image of God, as we were, these Bad Girls weren’t truly rotten to the core. They just behaved that way—and very convincingly!

    Another three women were Bad for a Moment. Lot’s wife, Sapphira, and Michal were three good…uh…bad examples of women who made one colossal blooper—one big, life-changing mistake that was such a bell ringer it was recorded for posterity, chiming across the centuries. These three women were, by all appearances, believers in the one true God at the start, but when forced to make a choice, they each chose disastrously. Finally, my favorite women—those who were Bad for a Season, but Not Forever: Rahab, the Woman at the Well, and the Sinful Woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with her tears. Yes, they all had plenty of sin in their past, but they also were willing to change and be changed. What a joy to watch their encounters with God redeem them for eternity!

    Because I love writing fiction, and because I wanted to make these women come alive for all of us, I’ve opened each chapter with a contemporary, fictional retelling of the biblical story that follows. The names have been changed to protect the guilty, but you’ll spot their stories right away. You might identify yourself in these narratives too…I certainly did.

    The same weaknesses, the same temptations, the same choices, and some of the same sorry results. Thanks to the tale of Lila from Dallas, Delilah will never again be a mere flannelboard cutout figure to me. And Lottie from Spirit Lake made me look at my beloved farmhouse in a whole new light, bless her misguided heart—and mine.

    May these fictional stories speak to you as well.

    Without missing a beat, we’ll jump right into a verse-by-verse look at the real woman’s story as it appears in the New InternationalVersion of the Bible, with plenty of “Lizzie style” commentary to keep you smiling as you learn what made that particular Bad Girl tick. Don’t faint when you see footnotes—a research paper this isn’t! But I believe in handling theWord of God with great care, so I studied more than fifty commentaries from the last two hundred years, along with ten different translations of the Scriptures. Funny: The older scholars blamed the women for everything and painted the men as heroes. The newer writers blamed the men for everything and described the women as victims and the men as jerks. The truth lies somewhere in the middle, so that’s what I aimed for: balance. And truth.

    As writer Elisabeth Elliot phrased it, “The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian does make me a different kind of woman.”1

    Here’s something you may not know about me, even if you’ve read many of my books: My incredible husband, Bill, has a Ph.D. in Old Testament languages. The man not only reads the Biblia Hebraica, he understands it. He combed through my manuscript for errors—in translation, in interpretation, in application. You can breathe easier, girlfriend, knowing I’m not alone on this project!

    You aren’t alone either. That’s the point of Bad Girls of the Bible. I want you to know, categorically and absolutely, that whatever your story is, you are not alone. There are lessons here for all of us; each chapter ends with four of them. In the back of the book you'll find a short list of Discussion Questions for book clubs and a longer StudyGuide formore in-depth, chapter-by-chapter Bible study.

    I had four kinds of readers in mind while I wrote: (1) Former Bad Girls who have given up their old lives for new ones in Christ and are struggling to figure out how and where they “fit” in God’s family; (2) Temporary Bad Girls who grew up in the church, put aside their devotion to God at some point, and now fear they can’t ever be truly forgiven; (3) Veteran Good Girls who want to grow in understanding and compassion for the women around them who weren’t “cradle Christians”; and (4) Aspiring Good Girls who keep thinking there must be something more to life but aren’t sure where to look.

    This is the place, dear ones. Join in.

    Find out what a twenty-first-century woman who loves God can learn from an ancient Egyptian temptress who did not: plenty!

    All share a common destiny—the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean…As it is with the good man, so with the sinner. Ecclesiastes 9:2

    For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that
    each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in
    the body, whether good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:10

    In closing, a reminder that each chapter opens with fiction. Except this one. Ruthie is me. That’s a small slice of my own early life as a Bad Girl, and, yes, it was very hard to write.

    It got so much worse before it got better. Only a few trusted souls on this earth know how bad. Jesus knows. He knows every inch of my heart. He knows how bad I was, am now, and will be, before I leave behind this transient shell and go on to undeserved glory.

    Here’s the good news: He loves us anyway.

    He loves us so much he will put people in our paths to lead us to him, just as he did for me—for Ruthie—decades ago. After years in the wilderness, I found myself at the end of my proverbial rope, so despondent I was willing to swing from that noose by my own stiff neck—anything to end the pain of disappointment and shame.

    In my pursuit of earthly, fleshly pleasures—the whole sex, drugs, and rock-’n’-roll experience that many of us sampled—I discovered a sad truth: Fun and joy are not the same thing at all. Fun is temporary at best; it’s risky, even dangerous, at worst. Joy, on the other hand, was a mystery I couldn’t seem to decipher.

    Oh, girlfriend!When I think of the shallow relationships, the misspent dollars, the wasted years, I can taste that bitter despair all over again. I was a woman without hope—a Bad Girl by choice and by circumstance—convinced that if I could just find the “right man,” he would save me from my sorrows.

    One wintry day in 1982 I met that “right man”—a man of sorrows—who willingly had given his life to set me free. Me! Sinful, disobedient, rebellious Ruth Elizabeth. My friends Tim and Evelyn, who’d shared their hearts, their hugs, and their lives with me, now shared the truth with me: I was a sinner in need of a Savior.

    Finally I understood the depth of my badness and the breadth of God’s goodness and so embraced his gift of grace with both hands. Yes, I was Bad for a Season, but Not Forever.

    And my, oh my, have I found real joy!

    With the courage of Rahab, the humility of the Sinful Woman, and the curiosity of the Woman at the Well, let’s press on, my sisters, and see what good news our Lord might have waiting for us within these pages. I promise I’ll be with you every step of the way.


    Excerpted from Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs Copyright © 2013 by Liz Curtis Higgs. 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.

  • No More Guilt-Induced Doubt

    Posted on April 2, 2014 by Renee Swope

    Renee

    "Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)

    Mom said she'd be gone all day, and she encouraged me to come over and use her place to write. In a quiet house, hopefully, I could finalize my message outlines for our church women's retreat.

    We arranged plans for my mom to be home at 5 p.m. Then my husband, J.J., would come over at 5:30 p.m. with our boys. The children could stay with Grandma while J.J. and I went to a surprise party.

    Mom's quiet house was just what I needed to get into a good studying and writing zone. It was the perfect setting ... until she came home two hours early!

    She brought cement pavers in and set them on the floor. She walked out and returned to plop bags of groceries in the kitchen ... right where I was studying.

    Normally this would have been fine, but I wasn't done and I got the message that my time was up. Panic set in!

    Then, to make matters worse, as I put my notes away I knocked a water bottle over onto my laptop. My chest tightened with anxiety, and my eyes stung with tears. My perfect day was turning into the perfect storm.

    After mopping up the mess, I started getting ready for the party and waited for my husband to arrive. He didn't show up at 5:30, or 5:40. He wasn't answering his cell phone, and I didn't want to ruin the surprise party by being late. So, at 6:00, I decided to take Mom's car and have him meet me there.

    Just as I was leaving, he drove up. Surprisingly, he didn't look a bit hurried. In fact, my then 6-year-old son got out of the car first, walked up to me and said, "Daddy told us you would be mad!"

    That was an understatement! Frustrated and angry, I decided it was still a good idea for me to leave. But when I pulled out of the driveway, my husband waved for me to stop and asked, "Aren't you going to wait for me?"

    "No," I snapped. "Because you're acting like a [beep]."

    My 8-year-old son walked up and said, "Mommy! You just called Daddy a [beep]."

    Suddenly guilt-induced doubt made me start questioning everything, including speaking at the retreat. I'm not cut out for this. I'm not godly enough. I must have heard God wrong. I have no business teaching a message I can't even live.

    My husband and I ended up going to the party together, with our fake "everything is fine" smiles. But the next morning at church, I went straight to my women's ministry director, confessed what happened and told her I needed to step down from being the retreat speaker.

    Her response shocked me: "Renee, if you don't need this message as much as the women attending, then you are not qualified to teach it. But because you need it as much as we do, you are. You've been appointed and you are anointed to do this."

    I had never experienced such a demonstration of God's grace.

    That response showed me what it looks like to "approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).

    It's hard to believe God could use us when we're such a mess, yet the Bible is filled with stories of men and women He used greatly — despite their downfalls.

    I ended up speaking at the retreat and shared what had happened. Although I feared some women might judge me, they loved me, accepting that I'm not perfect.

    Although guilt can make us give up on ourselves, God won't. Instead, He offers to take what feels like destruction and use it for reconstruction in our journey with Him.

    When we confess our wrong thoughts, words, and actions and receive God's forgiveness, our hearts can be set free from guilt-induced doubt and filled with grace-infused confidence.

    Lord, I come to You today to receive Your mercy and find Your grace to help me. Please replace my guilt-induced doubt with Your grace-infused confidence. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Has guilt ever made you doubt God could use you for His purposes?

    Jesus lived and died to save us from our sins and downfalls. Receive His forgiveness today and ask Him to replace your guilt-induced doubt with His grace-infused confidence.

    Power Verse:
    1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (NKJV)

    © 2014 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

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

  • Overcoming Relational Barriers

    Posted on April 1, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give me a drink?’... The woman said, ‘I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.’ Then Jesus declared, ‘I, the one speaking to you—I am he’”.  John 4:7, 25-26

    Jesus was thirsty for water, but He was also thirsty for this woman to learn of Him--God’s living water. He dismissed the barriers of cultural bias and went right to her heart. Though women of His day were treated with contempt, Jesus related to her with compassion. In spite of the prevalent racial prejudice of the times, He listened intently to her ideas about God. Yes, overcoming relational barriers starts by being respectful to the person with opposing ideas.

    There are built-in cultural divides when diverse people come together to communicate. Family traditions, religious beliefs, regional pride, racial judgments, social status and preconceived notions are a few. However, the unconditional acceptance and love of Christ cuts through cultural clutter and creates a clear path of communication and understanding. We create trust when we seek to understand the other person’s paradigms and we are humbly bold about our own beliefs.

    “Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin” (Romans 3:9).

    The entire human race began from the same place; all sinners in need of a Savior. No one people group is superior, but all are subject to the one and only King Jesus. So, it’s with caring concern we approach individuals different in origin and opinion. Outside of Christ, we are all sinners in need of a Savior. In Christ, we are all sinners saved by grace. Thus, we prayerfully seek common ground with assorted nationalities. The gospel of Jesus Christ assimilates diverse backgrounds.

    Therefore, where is the Lord calling you to build relational bridges? A neighbor not native to your area or a professional acquaintance who professes not to know God? Humans hunger for answers to life. God has placed in everyone’s heart a thirst for Himself. We who are refreshed by Christ’s living water are called to educate thirsty souls in how they can be satisfied. So, be creative and use every day experiences to engage spiritual conversation. Explain how your once parched heart has been hydrated by the living water of Jesus. Yes, Christ overcomes relational barriers!

    “God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all” (Acts 10:34-36).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me be intentional to understand other cultures with the goal of sharing the good news of Jesus.

    Related Readings: 2 Samuel 22:50; Psalm 18:49; Romans 9:24, 10:12; Ephesians 2:14

    Post/Tweet today: We who are refreshed by Christ’s living water are called to educate thirsty souls in how they can be satisfied. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Spoken For from Robin Jones Gunn and Alyssa Joy Bethke

    Posted on April 1, 2014 by Family Christian

    Robin

    One bright April morning Alyssa and I (Robin) were busy in my kitchen preparing food for a youth event at church. All the windows were open. A gentle breeze cooled us.
    The television was on in the background, but we weren’t paying much attention. I reached for the remote to turn it off but accidentally changed the channel.

    “Oh, wait,” Alyssa said. “Leave it there. I love this part.”

    I had happened upon an oldie-but-goodie chick flick at just the right moment. It was one of my favorites too. Alyssa and I stopped what we were doing. We stood together in a sweet silence and watched as the fair maiden ran into the arms of her hero. We
    sighed and looked at each other. Alyssa had tears in her eyes. So did I. We pointed at each other and laughed.

    “Why are we crying?” I asked. “I’m sure we’ve both seen this a dozen times.”

    “I know,” Alyssa said wistfully. “But it’s such a great love story. And love stories get me every time.”

    It’s true, isn’t it? Love stories draw us in. Honestly, who doesn’t love a good love story? The pursuit. The suspense. The drama. The mystery. We cry, we laugh, we cheer—all for love. We are captivated by our favorite movies, television shows, and books
    when the romantic elements capture our imaginations and enliven our hopes.

    Even if you don’t see yourself as a girlie girl and didn’t have a favorite Disney princess when you were growing up, you know in your core that you want to be loved like the heroines in all the best films and stories. You want to see love conquer all.

    The desire to be loved, cherished, and adored never goes away. All of us long to believe someone is out there who wants us. Someone who will come for us. Someone who will take the role of the hero in our lives and love us, deeply love us, not for what we do or how we look but simply for who we are.

    What if you could know that you are loved that intensely? You are sought after. You are the bride-to-be in a love story that’s unfolding in your life right this minute. You are spoken for.

    This love story began once upon a time long ago before you were even born. Almighty God, the Creator of the galaxies, thought of you. He carefully fashioned you—your voice, your fingers, your mind, even every one of your eyelashes. He carefully and deliberately crafted you. For all time there only has been and only will be one of you.

    He saw all your days before you took your first breath. He knows all your thoughts before you speak them. He knows everything about you. From the very beginning you were known, and you were wanted. He is pursuing you like a tenacious bridegroom
    with a perfect proposal. He has set his affections on you. Why? Because he loves you, and he will never stop loving you. You are his first love, and he wants you back.

    How do you respond to such unwavering, unending, unstoppable love?

    In this book we will unwrap the ancient truths from God’s Word about what it means to be loved, to be sought after, to be spoken for. You will see how the Bible is a love letter written to us.

    Through that love letter God makes it clear that he desires to be with us forever. Alyssa and I will share details from forever-love stories and show how our love for God grew as he pursued us.

    Our goal is simple. We want you to see what happens when you respond to the invitation of the true Bridegroom and step into the center of an epic love story—yours.


    Excerpted from Spoken For by Robin Jones Gunn and Alyssa Joy Bethke Copyright © 2014 by Robin Jones Gunn and Alyssa Joy Bethke. Excerpted by permission of Multnomah Books, 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.

  • Difference Maker - NEEDTOBREATHE

    Posted on April 1, 2014 by Family Christian

    NEEDTOBREATHE effortlessly weaves together the musical traditions and faith of their upbringing in the Deep South to create music that uplifts and inspires. With Rivers in the Wasteland, NEEDTOBREATHE returns to their roots of anthemic rock and musical simplicity. The album features the sound of a band excited to reconnect with the idea of a fresh start, highlighted in songs like "Difference Maker," "Multiplied" and "Brother."

    Check out the video for their new single, Difference Maker.

    What do you think of the song?

  • What Would Jesus Undo? - Michael Boggs

    Posted on April 1, 2014 by Family Christian

    A former member of FFH, Michael Boggs has been busy since the group decided to take a break in 2008. The eleven original tracks on More Like a Lion are an outpouring of Michael's experience in ministry and music. The breakout single "What Would Jesus Undo" centers around the idea that grace should be at the forefront of the church.

    Here is the video for that new single:

    What do you think of the song and the video?

  • Praise the Lord - City Harmonic

    Posted on April 1, 2014 by Family Christian

    Internationally acclaimed band, The City Harmonic presents their highly anticipated sophomore album, Heart, featuring 14 songs that are underscored by the cinematic and communal aesthetic prominent in all of the band’s music. Reflecting the lives lived by the band members since their full-length debut, Heart shifts from the dream of what could and should be to the complexities of how to follow the true humanity of Christ’s example in the world.

    The album places Christ at the center while delving into themes of grace, discipleship and being and becoming truly human, all the while giving the listener permission to sing out in hope, in hurt. At the core of the new album is the first radio single, "City on a Hill," which is steeped in the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5.

    Check out their new video below:

    What do you think of their new song?

  • New Books from Duck Commander and more...

    Posted on April 1, 2014 by Family Christian

    Save 33% on all “Duck” items 4/1–4/5 Enter now to win the grand prize! Learn more about Duck Days><br />
    More New reads for spring
    Powerful songs of praise

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