• Personalize Your Bible

Family Christian

  • Best for Last

    Posted on March 29, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.   John 2:10

    Jesus sometimes saves the best for last. He delights in delivering the unexpected to the unsuspecting. He waits until there is opportunity to show up where the needs are rampant but the solutions are few. Then He meets the need unconventionally and boldly. Many times, this is His method because Christ is counter-intuitive. He wants others to ask “Why?”  Why did Jesus save the best for last? One reason the Lord saves the best for last is to honor the recipients. Those who persevere deserve the best. For example, in relationships, the fruit of long-term commitment produces the best experience. Trust, contentment, and fulfillment all earn their right in relationships that resolve to remain true.

    God blesses those who wait: “Wait for the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land.” (Psalm 37:34a). You experience the best God has to offer when you save yourself for marriage. Sex within the bonds of marriage exceeds exponentially the settlement of premarital capitulation to hormonally-driven sex. Otherwise, you risk disease and a lifetime of disrespect and regret. Waiting on the best brings out the best, for trust in God fosters hope that there must be something better to look forward to in the future. It protects you from impatient impulses that can instantly implode.

    Waiting for the best is difficult at times, because it means depending on others to accomplish the goal. The outcome is out of your direct control. You have to trust that others can execute the project better than you can by yourself. Your sphere of influence will remain stunted if you try to do everything yourself. You will be limited by your time, energy, and intellect. Your capacity is a drop in the bucket, compared to the resources of an aligned team; you need each other’s gifts and skills (Romans 12:4-5). It is your best that brings out the best in others. Therefore, be the best at what you do, and expect others to do their very best. Excellence attracts excellence, as mediocrity attracts mediocrity. Be the best that you can be and see to it that others do the same. Best breeds best.

    Lastly, trust Jesus to take people and circumstances under your influence and bring out His best. Let go, and let the Lord run with the opportunity. He may surprise you with joy. The best is yet to come if you look to the Lord for His best outcome. Your humble request of God will result in much more than you thought you were capable of, for Christ has no capacity issues. He is looking for those in whom He can trust with His best. He wants those whose faithfulness to Him far exceeds their earthly ambitions. Do whatever He says, and watch Him carry out His very best because obedience leads to His best. Believe the best is yet to come, and don’t settle for less. Believe the best in others. Trust Him for the very best. Expect the best, and be your best. Pray and ask God for His best. Be patient, wait on Him, and remind yourself often: He saves the best for last.

    Taken from the March 29th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 1”

    Post/Tweet today: Waiting on the best can bring out the best, so it can protect us from impatient impulses. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Love Gives

    Posted on March 28, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

    Love gives. It gives intentionally and indiscriminately. Love gives. It gives individually and internationally. Love gives. It gives bountifully and without bias. Love gives because generosity is its nature. A soldier who gives for love of country, or a mother who gives for love of her child, reveals their character. A husband who loves his wife gives her emotional attention. A wife who loves her husband gives him physical affection. Love gives as a matter of course. It’s natural.

    God’s love is the gold standard. His banner of love is raised high above the most hideous criminal to the most innocent child. God gave the ultimate gift of His son Jesus, because He loved all of us; each one of us. Just as rays of sunlight warm all of us and each of us, so the love of the Lord is for the world, and each one. We are individually loved by Jesus. Since God is love, His love is effortless. His loving offer of forgiveness comes to us by belief in Jesus.

    “Who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

    How can we intentionally love the Lord, people, and ourselves? Love begins by being loved by the One who is love. Once we receive Christ into our life by faith, His very nature of love resides within us. The deeper we fall in love with the Lover of our souls, the greater our capacity to love. His love gives us peace, so we are able to offer calm in the middle of conflict. His love gives us patience, so we are able to extend a compassionate ear to a fearful foe. His love gives us forgiveness, so we are able to offer total forgiveness to a friend or family member. Love gives.

    Lastly, how can we love ourselves by giving to ourselves? We love when we give ourselves the gift of margin. Margin is time for prayer, exercise, thinking, reading, hobbies and being creative. We can love ourselves by having more or less time with people. Nonetheless, we love ourselves, so we are better prepared to love God and others. An unloved self is a loveless self. Not narcissism of course, but a healthy love of self, like Jesus loves us. Our soul care, emotional fitness, mental refreshment, spiritual nurture and physical rest all contribute to a loving life. Love gives. So, receive God’s love in Christ and from an overflowing heart of love--love generously.

    “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37-39).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, by faith I receive Your love into my life in Christ, so I am able to love like Jesus loves.

    Related Readings: Genesis 22:12; Isaiah 9:6; Romans 5:8, 8:32; Ephesians 2:4; 1 John 4:9

    Post/Tweet today: The deeper we fall in love with the Lover of our soul, the greater our capacity to love. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Blog Summary for March 2014

    Posted on March 28, 2014 by Family Christian

    Here are the most popular blog posts as read by you. Thank you for following us!

    Redeeming Love from Francine Rivers

    Alex Stafford was just like Mama said. He was tall and dark, and Sarah had never seen anyone so beautiful. Even dressed in dusty riding clothes, his hair damp with perspiration, he was like the princes in the stories Mama read. Sarah’s heart beat with wild joy and pride. None of the other fathers she saw at Mass compared to him.

    He looked at her with his dark eyes, and her heart sang. She was wearing her best blue frock and white pinafore, and Mama had braided her hair with pink and blue ribbons. Did Papa like the way she looked? Mama said blue was his favorite color, but why didn’t he smile? Was she fidgeting? Mama said to stand straight and still and act like a lady. She said he would like that. But he didn’t look pleased at all.

    “Isn’t she beautiful, Alex?” Mama said. Her voice sounded strange…tight, like she was choking. “Isn’t she the most beautiful little girl you’ve ever seen?”

    Read the whole book excerpt here.

    The Unstoppable Kirk Cameron

    Kirk Cameron wrote, "It's easy to get excited about your faith when things are going well in your life. But when your whole world comes crashing down on you, the questions start: 'Where is God when I need him most? Why do bad things happen to good people?' Unstoppable is a journey, based on a true story, that has become the most personal and transparent project I have ever made regarding my faith."

    I recently had a video chat with the man-formally-known-as Mike Seaver. I wanted to know what was behind his latest DVD, Unstoppable. What follows are his honest answers.

    Read the whole interview here.

    The Life, Legacy and Music of Bill Gaither

    The pages of history have been written by ordinary people who had something extraordinary to say with their lives. Bill Gaither is just such an individual… an Indiana-born kid with an insatiable love for music who grew to become an industry leader who would change the course of gospel music history through the songs he has written and through his influence as a mentor for other artists.

    An avid fan of gospel quartets throughout his childhood, Bill founded his first group, The Bill Gaither Trio, in 1956, while he was a college student. He began teaching English in 1959 because his musical aspirations couldn’t support him full-time… yet. In 1962, Bill did one of the best things he has ever done. He married Gloria Sickal, who became the best writing partner Bill could have found anywhere. The couple spent the first five years of their married life juggling full-time teaching jobs, writing, singing, recording and publishing until music became their full-time career in 1967.

    That's where it all started.

    Read the full interview here.

    Pulling No Punches - an interview with Lecrae

    From “latch-key kid” to key player in the Man Up movement, Lecrae’s life is an example of God’s transformative power – and he’s not quiet about it. In his signature straight-shoot approach, new album Gravity calls Christians to open their eyes to the weight of need in their world and share the love of Jesus as never before.

    I was born in Houston, Texas to essentially a single parent household. We moved from Houston to Denver, and then, just because my mother was single and was just kind of struggling to make ends meet, I would stay with my grandmother quite often in San Diego, California. So between Texas, California, and Denver, those were the places I bounced around. I was just a sponge. I picked up so much in all that time. Obviously not having a strong male influence or role model, I gravitated to anyone who would pay attention. Most of the time those were terrible influences [who] influenced me to run in the wrong direction quite often. I grew up with a great sense of insecurity in figuring out what I was and where I belonged. Not growing up in church didn’t make it any easier. So I pretty much wrestled through that my whole life until my senior summer in high school. I got into a lot of trouble and [things] really exploded. I had to say “God, I need your help.” That’s really when I began to sense that God was drawing me and [I] later became a Christian after hearing the Gospel.

    Read the full interview here.

    Question and Answers with Nick Vujicic

    Being unstoppable is about believing and achieving. It’s about having faith in yourself, your talents and your purpose and, most of all, in God’s great love and His divine plan for your life.

    Millions around the world recognize the smiling face and inspirational message of Nick Vujicic. Despite being born without arms or legs, Nick’s challenges have not kept him from enjoying great adventures, a fulfilling and meaningful career, and loving relationships. Nick has overcome trials and hardships by focusing on the promises that he was created for a unique and specific purpose, that his life has value and is a gift to others, and that no matter the despair and hard times in life, God is always present. Nick credits his success in life to the power that is unleashed when faith takes action.

    Nick took some time out of his busy schedule to do a little Q&A with us.

    Read the full q&a here.

    A Q&A with Capital Kings

    There’s no denying much of today’s music has the power to move the masses

    physically. Inventive beats and hooky choruses are the currency of the day. Now

    enter Capital Kings, a talented duo that blends pop, electronic dance music, and

    rap into an intoxicating musical mix that makes audiences want to move, and yet

    there’s a thought-provoking, life-affirming undercurrent. Capital Kings combine

    style with substance and introduce flash with a foundation.

    Jon White and Cole Walowac have parlayed a long-term friendship and shared passion for music into one of the hottest careers in the industry. Despite their young age, the duo’s

    history is a lengthy one. “We were in the nursery in the same church,” Jon says.

    “We moved away to Massachusetts for a few years, Cole and I met back up in

    the same middle school and we started playing in the youth group band. Cole

    would play drums and I would sing and that’s how we started making music.”

    Read all the q&a's here.

    In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day from Mark Batterson

    Locking Eyes with Your Lion

    You are responsible forever for what you have tamed.

    --Antoinede Saint-Exubery

    There is an obscure passage in Scripture that I doubt any Sunday school teacher has ever assigned as a memory verse. It wasn’t exegeted in any of the systematic theology classes I took in seminary. It has absolutely no bearing on any major biblical doctrines. You may have read it a few times in a one-year Bible, but it probably didn’t even make a blip on your radar screen.

    Buried in the Old Testament book of 2 Samuel, the twenty-third chapter, the twentieth and twenty-first verses, is one of the most inconceivable and inspirational passages in Scripture:

    Read the full book excerpt here.

    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 (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.

    Read the full interview here.

    Shane Harper on Living Out the Gospel

    Shane Harper established himself as an artist with a quadruple threat—singer, actor, dancer, and songwriter. He began working as a professional dancer in the entertainment industry when he was just 13, appearing as a principal dancer in High School Musical 2, and in Nickelodeon's show, "Dance on Sunset".

    Shane transitioned easily into acting, and is recurring on the hit Disney Channel show, "Good Luck Charlie", for all 4 seasons. He guest starred on "Wizards of Waverly Place", and "So Random". He also guest starred in a 4 episode arc for the scripted MTV series, "Awkward."

    Shane has a principal role in the feature film, GOD'S NOT DEAD and recently, I sat down with him to talk about faith, Hollywood, books music and coffee.

    Read the full interview here.

    Francesca Battistelli - A Girl. A Voice. A Mission.

    The more you walk in relationship with the Lord, the more you learn to trust him. I'm learning not to focus so much on the issues I think are so big right now—our bus has broken down, or someone said something that frustrated me. I'm learning to slowly let things roll off my back, to say, 'Hey, God knew about this before it happened and He's got a way out or a plan better than mine.' I've learned to stop freaking out and just trust that God knows what he's doing. He's not going to leave me in a bad place because He never has before.

    Such it is with Francesca Battistelli. Honest. Simple. Beautiful. Intentional.

    We have all been exposed to her music. Starting with "I'm Letting Go," or "Free to Be Me." "This is the Stuff" or "Strangely Dim." It doesn't matter. For every time that "Franny" opens her mouth to sing, she is opening her heart.

    There is a vulnerable side to this young lady. And if you didn't know it already, you will be able to hear it by reading the interview below. Franny came to our corporate Christmas party to bring encouragement and holiday greetings. After I sat down with her, I was reminded again about her passion.

    Read the full interview here.

    So which blog post was your favorite? Is there an author or an artist that you would like us to interview? Leave a comment below and let us know.

  • Godonomics from Chad Hovind

    Posted on March 28, 2014 by Family Christian

    Chad

    Introduction

    What Does God Say About Economics?

    What you don’t know can hurt you. We ignore the power of ideas at our own peril. All ideas, right or wrong, have spiritual, practical, or economic consequences.

    Economics is an inexact science at best. Economists draw from the study of mathematics, statistics and probability, past economic trends, and a guiding philosophy that a particular school of economic theory provides the brightest light to follow. It’s a little like weather forecasting, except that meteorology doesn’t affect your retirement by getting mixed up in political skirmishes and power struggles at the highest levels of government. Not to mention that a faulty weather forecast will never destroy your family’s finances or blot out a secure economic future. Don’t dismiss these possibilities as things that  happen only in other countries or to other people. You and your family, your friends and neighbors, and the country you love can all be caught in the aftermath of a financial hurricane if America continues on its irresponsible and unsustainable economic path.

    Here is what our leaders in both major parties do not seem to understand: political solutions can never put us on a sound economic footing. Politics is not interested primarily in the good of the nation. Instead, politics has to do with gaining and exercising power over your opponents, rewarding your biggest donors, and benefitting the priority constituencies of your party. If, in doing these things, you also accomplish something that is good for the country at large, that’s great. But such an outcome is more an afterthought in the political process than it is a primary focus.

    That might sound cynical, but if you fear I have cast my lot with the naysayers rather than choosing to work for a solution, keep reading. Recognizing why things are not working is the first step toward correcting the things that have gone terribly wrong.

    The problem is that our nation’s leaders look to deals and compromise to determine policy and enact legislation, and they are guided by political and economic ideologies that shape their values and priorities. They need, instead, the guidance of a fixed standard and a voice that speaks outside of our time and culture. In a world filled with donkeys, elephants, and rhinos, we need a lion that can roar timeless, common-sense principles that are not beholden to any party, time period, or cultural shift.

    What our nation’s leaders have missed is the one reliable, unfailing source of direction and wisdom that is available to us. If we continue to ignore God’s guidance in the economic realm—at the levels of individuals, families, and the nation—we can be sure we’ll end up losing even more of our freedom and personal wealth. We will be living in a country weakened by economic failure and wondering how the greatest nation in history could have been brought to such a depressing state of financial and ethical bankruptcy.

    But that doesn’t have to happen. The voice of the people can still carry the day. I am not suggesting a new Reformation that takes on a political identity. Nor am I calling for a theocracy in which Americans would be required to adhere to the doctrines of Christianity. In our republic, the voice and will of a majority of the citizens still possess the power to move our nation in a different direction—if we are united.

    Why Godonomics?

    What is Godonomics, and why is it the best way to solve the deepening economic dilemma we face as a nation, as families, and as individuals? Godonomics is, as the name suggests, God’s teachings and wisdom in the realm of
    finance and economics. When you study the Bible, you find that God’s agenda for nations, families, and individuals is not hard to understand. But it is not easy to apply, either. It requires commitment, restraint, godly priorities, hard work, and generosity, among other virtues. These words are not used a lot in political campaigns, because candidates for office prefer to paint their policies in terms of solutions that won’t require hardship, sacrifice, or major shifts in priorities. God, of course, is not swayed by the results of opinion polls or the planks in a party platform.

    And here is what is so refreshing in the principles of Godonomics: they make perfect sense. Speaking to us today through the scribes who recorded God’s message over millenniums, God’s plan for economic sanity, financial responsibility, and prosperity apply directly to the mess we are in today. Americans need to know that the options are not limited to Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Socialist, Tea Party, and all other groups working to gain influence and power. While each one claims to have the secret to solving our broken economy, only God’s principles will lead us out of the quagmire we’re in. I believe that when Godonomics becomes widely known, and more and more people begin to apply God’s principles at home, in their businesses, and in their communities, they will see for themselves that this is the solution we’ve been looking for.

    Today’s failed economic policies are nothing new. In the chapters that follow, we will look at ancient kings who seem to have taken their cues straight from John Maynard Keynes—except that Keynes would not be born for another three thousand years. We will look at the words and thinking of God-inspired leaders from Israel who recorded wisdom on leadership, government, citizenship, and personal responsibility—all of which helped guide the founders of the United States as they created our nation’s legal and constitutional foundation. The same ancient wisdom undergirded the economic system that helped establish America as the most secure and prosperous country on earth.

    Beyond that, the first Christ-followers applied these principles as individuals and families, and in congregations and fellowships. God’s instructions are not vague or hard to understand. They simply require single-mindedness, hard work, generosity, and steadfast commitment. But following His instructions brings unmatched freedom, opportunity, and self-directed prosperity.

    Godonomics seeks to bring God’s economic principles to the forefront, so we can set our lives, our families’ futures, and our nation on a sound financial footing—now and for the future. But there is a second—even more important—reason why Godonomics is so crucial. A rapidly growing movement has lured believers away from God’s principles on finances and convinced them that socialism is, according to Scripture, the economic system that is most consistent with God’s will.

    Younger Christians, especially, are intrigued by persuasive Christian authors, speakers, and bloggers who emphasize giving priority to helping the poor by taking from others or empowering intrusive governments. They use the term social justice to advocate a shift of the economic balance in favor of those who are not producing wealth. They justify this stance with verses from the Bible, primarily from the Sermon on the Mount, the book of Acts, or selections from the Old Testament, without seeing the broader contexts.

    Growing numbers of younger Christians, who are largely unaware of the divine wisdom behind Godonomics, now consider socialism to be the economic system that God endorses. Advocates of this teaching do not call it
    socialism, of course. They use words such as compassion, justice, even gospel, to legitimize their goal of shifting wealth away from those who are productive and creating opportunities for others, and toward those who are said to be
    disadvantaged and marginalized.

    I have pastored inner-city congregations that aggressively addressed the challenge and harm of generational poverty. I also have pastored suburban churches that are insulated from the plight of starving neighbors. I’ve been humbled to lead people from a variety of perspectives: One church was racially diverse while others were lily white. Some congregations were predominantly “blue state,” while others were much more politically conservative. I’ve learned that people of all backgrounds and perspectives love our country, have a common-sense approach to life, and are not nearly as divided personally as the leaders they elect portray.

    It is time for Christians and all Americans to join together to protect our heritage and to restore strength, stability, and prosperity to our nation. At the same time, it is essential that this be done from the bottom up, generated by individuals and families who take seriously God’s wisdom on managing and stewarding their finances. Change will begin to take place only when citizens—both Christian and otherwise—act on the framework and guidelines upon which our nation was built. That is when we will see families prosper and our nation regain economic strength.

    In the chapters that follow, we will look at the ideas and outcomes of leading thinkers and practitioners. We will examine policies based on economic theories that produced wealth and elevated the standard of living across the board, as well as those that weakened capitalism and, as a result, our nation. We will take a close look at capitalism’s most influential foe, Karl Marx, and the current American spokesman for the rechristened social gospel, Jim Wallis, head of Sojourners.

    There is nothing more personal than your next paycheck, your financial future, and your family’s freedom, security, and well-being. So let’s see what God would say if He were talking individually to the economic thinkers and political leaders who shape and enact the policies that govern our country. These are the policies that have an impact in your town, in your home, and on your wallet. Let’s get started.

    Godonomics.


    Excerpted from Godonomics by Chad Hovind Copyright © 2013 by Chad Hovind. 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.

  • The Next Book on Your List if Half Off

    Posted on March 28, 2014 by Family Christian

    Family Values 50% off select Books
    Jesus Calling by Sarah Young Jesus Calling: Devotional Journal by Sarah Young The Reason for My Hope by Billy Graham
    You’ll Get Through This by Max Lucado Four Blood Moons by John Hagee Break Out! by Joel Osteen
    The Power of Right Believing by Joseph Prince The Screwtape Letters 4-CD set with DVD by C. S. Lewis (audiobook) God Girl by Hayley DiMarco
    Becoming Myself by Stasi Eldredge Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas AHA by Kyle Idleman
    Shop all
  • Living in a World Gone Wrong

    Posted on March 28, 2014 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie

    "Why, LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?" Psalm 10:1 (NIV)

    By the time I returned home that night, I was so agitated that sleep was impossible.

     

    I had travelled six hours by car and made the mistake of listening to news channels rather than my usual Christian music station. Throughout the drive, I became increasingly frustrated and irritated, as I heard one bad news story after another. My mind was spinning with thoughts, and my heart filled with emotions.

    The strongest emotion by far was sadness at the stark reality of our world gone terribly wrong.

    Stories of abuse, death, disaster, political corruption and a general lack of integrity are everywhere. At times it seems the voices and desires of those who are against God's ways shout louder than those who love Him and promote His ways. It frustrates me that things are getting worse instead of better.

    Driving down the interstate with my mind full of mental clutter, my heart felt heavy. I wondered what God's answer might be if I could ask Him, "God, what in the world is going on in this world? And when are You going to take action?"

    In Psalm 10, David expressed this same type of frustration and confusion. He asked the Lord why it appeared He wasn't doing anything about the wickedness of the world, or taking control of the cruelty, violence and injustices that ran rampant through their corrupt society. He questioned why wicked people were allowed to get away with their wrongdoings.

    David wanted to know when God was going to step in and do something. Anything. David prayed with a desperate heart, begging God's intervention.

    Maybe you have felt that way too. Maybe you are struggling with difficult circumstances, and you feel as if God is standing far away, not intervening with help. Maybe you have struggled while walking in God's ways, while others with less-than-godly motives succeed. Or maybe you too are frustrated with the direction our world seems to be headed.

    This is how David felt as well, but in Psalm 10:16-18a, we see his tone change from frustration to hope when he says, "The LORD is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed ..." (NIV). David took comfort in remembering and believing that God was with him, and in due time, He would prevail.

    In prayer, David voiced his deepest fears and honest feelings. He solicited God's wisdom for greater understanding, yet surrendered to trusting that God sees all, knows all and would handle it all when the time was right.

    Our world has gone wrong due to the existence of sin, but we have a choice in how we respond. Instead of letting despair pull us further from God, or cause us to doubt His goodness, we can choose to lean on our faith and draw closer to Him instead, just like David.

    Let's choose to proclaim God's sovereignty today, trust in His ways and be a voice for His truths even when the ways of this world break our hearts.

    Lord, help me remember that You are in control, no matter how out of control this world seems. Give me the desire to stay grounded in You no matter what I see on the news, or what challenges I personally face, and to trust You wholeheartedly. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Do I feel forgotten or overlooked by God, or do I doubt His sovereignty over this world?

    Read Psalms 9, 10 and 11. Consider how your life and the world we live in mirrors much of what David describes. Ask God to speak to you through these scriptures and fill you with comfort and hope regarding our world and the situations you face in your personal life.

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 21:2, "A person may think their own ways are right, but the LORD weighs the heart." (NIV)

    Ephesians 6:13, "Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet." (MSG)

    © 2014 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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

  • Calculated Obedience

    Posted on March 27, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert [on a pole], so must [so it is necessary that] the Son of Man be lifted up [on the cross]. John 3:14, Amplified

    Christ was compelled by love to obey His heavenly Father. He planned in His heart and mind beforehand, that He would die on the cross for lost souls. Jesus knew He must be lifted up on the cross, since this was God’s plan. In the same way, when we are certain of Christ’s commands, we must gladly obey. Our love for the Lord calls us into calculated obedience. We deliberately do our duty, as an honor--not as an obligation. Our prayerful plan is a follow through for our faith.

    What has God called you to do that requires your follow through? What has He placed in your heart to complete, that even as a child, compelled you? Like Jesus as an adolescent in the temple, how must you be about your Father’s business? Similar to a sunflower that moves itself toward the sun for sustenance, so you turn your soul in trust toward God’s son for spiritual nourishment. Calculated obedience comes when you plan ahead of time, what Jesus would have you do.

    “And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business” (Luke 2:49, NKJV)?

    Premeditated obedience is not always easy. We say, “until death do us part” in our marriage vows before God, but soon after the honeymoon period our spouse lets us down, sometimes severely. We commit to a contract at work, but surprisingly discover the other party is not upholding their end of the deal. We are loyal to our boss because of his integrity, but come to realize he has compromised his character. Is our commitment to do the right thing conditional, based on difficulty free circumstances and perfect people? Or, is it based on the ever dependable character of Christ?

    Most of all, make your calculated obedience to Christ preeminent. What Spirit-led sense of urgency is on your heart? Perhaps you define clearly what it looks like for you to finish well in your life roles. Write out a process to grow as a follower of Jesus, and to disciple followers of Jesus. Decide how to be financially faithful with a little, so when you are ready, you will do the same with more. Love for the Lord creates calculated obedience that God uses to bless others. Thus, as a matter of course, obey Him, because you love Him. Love feels it must fully obey.

    “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did” (1 John 2:6).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I desire to be compelled by Your love to obey You in a calculated way.

    Related Readings: Matthew 16:21, 24; 19:16; Mark 8:31; Luke 19:15; Acts 1:21, 20:21

    Post/Tweet today: Similar to a sunflower that moves itself toward the sun for sustenance, so we turn our soul in trust toward God’s son. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Get Lost from Dannah Gresh

    Posted on March 27, 2014 by Family Christian

    Dannah

    God. Guys. And the Great Mix-Up.

    This is a book about God…
    …and guys…
    …and how we get them mixed up.

    Oh, do we ever.

    It shows up in the little things: picking the short skirt, racing to update a relationship status on Facebook, filling a journal with guy-talk instead of God-talk, texting under the pillow at night, jumping from guy to guy, taking the “walk of shame”…again, or bailing on friends when a guy calls. As you think about similar choices in your own life and what they suggest about the priorities of your heart, you may have an intuition that I’m right. Your spirit gets it, if your mind does not.

    I’m certain that a part of you desperately wants to get lost in God’s love. At least some small piece of us always seems to be aware that we are wired to seek God’s heart and to let Him touch our own. But it’s so difficult. After all, the love of a guy is so stinkin’ tangible. You can see a guy. Smell a guy. Touch a guy. Hug a guy. Text a guy. Get gifts from a guy. And they are everywhere! There are more than 139 million men in the United States alone. No wonder we get distracted from seeking God’s love! I certainly have been prone to reach for the tangible love of a guy rather than the ultimate love of God. As I look back on one particular scene from my sophomore year in college, I see it as a classic example of my own mixed-up thinking.

    “I’ll meet you in the yearbook office in one hour,” I confirmed to Russ before I hung up the phone. Russ was my yearbook editor at Cedarville University, and after two years of hard work, I was in line for his position the following year. On top of being a great résumé builder, the job came with a hefty scholarship. If my boss needed me, I’d
    be there!

    Since I wouldn’t have time to hit the cafeteria, I turned on my electric kettle to boil water for some Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. It wasn’t fancy, but it was fast. I was pouring neon-orange powder over buttered macaroni noodles when my phone rang again. Before I could get out a hello I heard, “Dannah Barker, say you’ll marry me. But if you can’t, then at least break it to me gently by saying you’ll go to Wittenberg with me to study.”

    Bob Gresh!

    This guy, whom I’d been dating for a while, always kept me laughing.

    “Yes!” I giggled. “When?”

    “I’ll be right over,” he said. It shouldn’t have surprised me. Bob was the definition of spontaneity.

    “Umm,” I hesitated, thinking about the commitment I’d just made to go help Russ. And I really did want that job next year. Should I risk it?

    “We’ll run through Lee’s on the way for some chicken,” he promised.

    “Well…okay,” I said, dumping my noodles into the trash can. “Let’s go!”

    For a brief moment, I considered calling Russ to cancel, but I wasn’t sure what to tell him. The truth: This great guy just proposed marriage or a date at the Wittenberg library, and I chose the latter when I’m really shamelessly going for the first option! Or the other truth: I’m a complete dolt, risking what I’ve worked two years to achieve in that
    yearbook office all because I’m incapable of saying anything but “yes” or “oh, yes!” to this guy because I crave him night and day. Either way I’d sound like a complete loser.

    So I didn’t call Russ. I needed to think of a good excuse first. (Read: I was planning to tell a really good lie.)

    I gathered my books, met Bob in front of my dorm, and jumped into his white sports car, casting aside my integrity.

    God in all His sovereignty made sure I’d run into Russ’s best friend at the Wittenberg library. Russ was forgiving, but I’d have given almost anything (except my boyfriend, of course) to have not seen the disappointment register in his eyes when the truth unfolded.

    There was no denying the truth.

    I was guy-crazy with no ambition to be God-crazy.

    That impulsive decision—along with so many others—was driven by a deep-rooted reality: I had confused my longing for God’s love with my longing for a guy’s love. All because of the Craving.

    The Violent Craving.

    You have it. Your friends have it. Your mom had it. Your grandma had it. Your greatgrandma had it. It’s been around awhile.

    Countless generations of woman have experienced it.

    The Craving is a part of the Curse, which means it dates all the way back to Eve. After she and Adam sinned, God showed up to explain that things would never be the same. To Eve, He talked about the Craving. Genesis 3:16b reads, Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.

    The word “desire” is critical here. Two respected theologians once said that the Hebrew language used in this verse evokes a “desire bordering upon disease.” They also said that the desire might best be called a “violent craving.” In the original language of the Bible, God used some pretty expressive wording to describe what women would experience in relation to men after the Fall. Simply put, we hunger for them. The Craving makes us all insatiably hungry for the attention of a guy, but each of us experiences this desire in a slightly different way.

    I asked college-aged women who follow my blog to share how the Violent Craving has shown up in their lives. Here’s a sampling of their responses:

    I have felt the Violent Craving expressed as jealousy toward my peers that have boyfriends. How foolish I felt, to feel jealous instead of happy, when a friend started dating a guy I DIDN’T EVEN WANT TO DATE.

    Elementary school to high school, I didn’t get the attention I wanted. I was the chunky monkey that everyone went to for a good laugh. It wasn’t until I got to be around 16 I got the attention from guys, and it got the best of me and took one of the most valuable things from me—my virginity. I lost it to a friend who liked my sister and respected her, but thought I would be the easier choice. And he was right.

    My main regret would be that I haven’t spent my time enjoying my singleness.

    There used to be a boy that I cared for very much. He was godly Christian, extremely polite, and we communicated through e-mail almost daily. My deep longing to be desired and pursued blinded my eyes from the warning signs that he wasn’t everything he claimed to be. A year or two after I met him, he ended up having sex with my younger sister on the couch in our living room.

    I went to a secular university and was involved in a campus ministry. One of the most popular sayings among the girls was “ring by spring.” To say there was a Violent Craving toward the idea of having a husband is an understatement.… I was the only single girl in the apartment. I allowed myself to be ruled by a Violent Craving for a husband.

    My Craving started at the age of twelve when my dad passed away. I longed for a man to notice me. I wanted that attention. I dressed to attract men and wanted a man’s approval.

    They shared countless such stories, each expressing a sense of “eureka” at finally having a diagnosis for their symptoms! Of all the voices who offered examples of how they express, deny, loathe, live in, and ache from the Craving, it was a sweet seventeenyear-old girl whose experience mostly clearly described the effects of the Genesis 3:16 curse. She wrote,

    I’m seventeen, raised by a very liberal mother and an extremely conservative father. That marriage didn’t work out. It ended when I was seven. Since then, I’ve always been very angry about marriage and cynical of love, due to its causing much pain, loneliness, and anxiety in my life. I swore I’d never marry. But even with all that confusion and anger, I still desperately wanted to be noticed and passionately loved by a man. I wanted someone to see and know me. The first guy I had any real relationship with, I clung to for four years, desperate for his attention and love. During those four years, I made many mistakes. I gave him everything I could physically and emotionally just to keep him around (except the actual act of sex). He was a need. A necessity. But why? I hated marriage yet wanted a man.

    She “hated marriage yet wanted a man.” I believe that’s the modern-day aftermath of the Fall. The consequence of original sin—and all the ways women have rebelled since then against God’s design—results in both a hatred of God-designed marriage and an insatiable longing for the presence of a guy. (The Craving may not cause you to actually hate marriage, but you may hate God’s specific design and purpose for it. A lot of us struggle with that!) I believe that every daughter of Eve is burdened by both a Craving for a husband and a rebellion against God’s design for marriage. What a mess!


    Excerpted from Get Lost by Dannah Gresh Copyright © 2013 by Dannah Gresh. 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.

  • How Much Will This Choice Really Cost Me?

    Posted on March 27, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "... in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes." 2 Corinthians 2:11 (NIV)

    A few years ago I sat at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) with my daughter Ashley while an officer told her the importance of good choices. Ashley was getting her learner's permit and entering the scary world of teenage drivers.

    "We've had 320 teens killed this year in fatal car accidents so we want to do everything possible to keep you safe," the officer said sternly as she highlighted for Ashley all the many rules for new drivers. Then she suggested signing a contract with her parents incorporating these rules.

    I've never wanted to hug a DMV officer. But, it was all I could do not to reach across the desk and throw my arms around her. For you see, my husband and I had already created a driving contract that we've made each of our teenagers sign.

    I'm sure our kids have thought our contract was a bit over the top. After all, none of their friends have had to sign such a document with their parents. So, it was good to hear another adult speak truth into the life of my child.

    And what I loved most about the officer's sermonette on safe driving was her emphasis on the cost of wrong choices.

    How I wish we could all see the cost of our choices as clearly as a price tag on items in a store. If I know how much something is going to cost me, I make much wiser choices. But we have an enemy who schemes against us to keep the cost of dumb decisions concealed until it's too late.

    Satan wants to defeat, discourage and destroy our families. His attacks are not just willy-nilly attempts to trip us up or knock us down. He wants to take us out.

    That's why, as parents, we've got to boldly fight for our families. We must get intentional with teaching our kids to think through their choices. And we must get intentional about modeling good choices as well.

    Do you know why Satan's tactics are called schemes in 2 Corinthians 2:11? A scheme is a plan, design or program of action. Satan's schemes are well-crafted plans specifically targeted to do three things:

    1. Increase your desire for something outside the will of God.
    2. Make you think giving in to a weakness is no big deal.
    3. Minimize your ability to think through the consequences of falling to this temptation.

    Satan is a master of keeping that cost hidden until it's too late.

    Sweet sisters, this is something worth thinking about. And it is something worth talking about with our kids. Consider age-appropriate examples of how costly wrong choices can be. Be real, raw and bold as you walk them through different scenarios of temptations they might face.

    That DMV officer was certainly bold in her explanation of the cost when a teen driver gets distracted by their iPod, cell phone or friends acting silly. Hearing her explain to my daughter how costly others' poor choices have been made these "rules" seem more like life-saving gifts.

    Think how different life might be if we all paused and asked ourselves this crucial question: How much will this choice really cost me? If we teach ourselves and our kids nothing else this week than to ask this one question, we will have invested wisely. So, so very wisely.

    Dear Lord, I am reminded that boldly following You is so much better than any short-term experience that's not pleasing to You. Give me Your eyes so that I can see temptation and its many different faces. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Think of a current situation in your life that requires a decision from you. Have you taken the time to consider the cost?

    Have you taken the time to help a friend, child or spouse think through considering the cost of their choices?

    Power Verses:
    John 10:10, "'The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.'" (NIV)

    Isaiah 30:21, "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'" (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Look Up To Live

    Posted on March 26, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him. John 3:14-15

    Life has a way of turning our gaze away from God. Instead of looking up to be loved by the Lord, we look around us and feel love’s absence. Instead of looking up to trust Jesus, we look at distrustful people and are disappointed. Instead of looking up for wisdom from God, we look at the world’s wisdom and find it wanting. Instead of looking up for direction from the Spirit, we look at the spirit of the age, and feel lost. Yes, abundant life comes from looking up to Christ.

    Moses was a leader who wisely followed God’s instruction. He made sure to lift up what was important to the Lord, so His people could be healed. He didn’t argue with God about a better way, he simply obeyed. Time was short, so Moses quickly modeled the way to live for his followers. Similarly, we have a brief window of time to be a worthy example of obedience to Christ’s commands. Our family and friends look to us to learn how to best look up to the Lord.

    “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32).

    What are you facing that invites you to look up into the loving face of your heavenly Father? If sorrow, refuse to stay stuck in grief, but look up to the One who wipes away your tears. If hurt by another human being, look up to the One who heals broken hearts. If uncertainty, look up to the One who is wisdom and generously gives wisdom. If fear, look to the One who controls circumstances and consoles souls. The world’s remedies lack, so look up to the Lord and live.

    Most of all, we look at Jesus lifted up on the cross as the payment for our sins. We cannot begin to truly live until sin’s death sentence has been pardoned by God. The snakes’ venomous bites required the children of Israel to look up to the brazen snake on the pole to live. In the same way, sin’s poisonous infection can only be cured by looking up to Christ and believing in Him for the forgiveness of our sins. Look down, our hope dies. Look up and we live for the Lord--forever.

    “In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him,and his resting place will be glorious” (Isaiah 11:10).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, by faith I look up to You for direction in how to live life for You.

    Related Readings: Numbers 21:4-9; Proverbs 30:4; Psalm 5:3; Isaiah 45:22; Micah 7:7; Luke 9:62

    Post/Tweet today: Life has a way of turning our gaze away from God, so instead, we look up to be loved by the Lord. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

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