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Family Christian

  • A Call to Action

    Posted on January 9, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food." Romans 14:20a (NIV)

    Five years ago I was stuck in a rut of wishful thinking and excuses with my weight. At the beginning of each day I would say I wanted things to be different. I would even make a plan to stop the snacks, increase the veggies, and say "no" to desserts.

    But then life would happen, and excuses were plentiful. My resolve would melt away like butter on a hot yeast roll.

    The next morning I would get up and weigh myself hoping that somehow, something would have happened over night. Despite my indulgences from the day before, maybe the numbers would have gone down.

    But the scale was not impressed with my wishful thinking. It could only tell the truth.

    Do you know who I'd get mad at?

    God.

    I'd beg Him to help me one minute while scarfing down an order of fries the next. And then I'd be doubly mad He didn't steer my car away from that drive-thru.

    I deemed myself a victim of tragic genetics, overactive taste buds, and a stomach that demanded large portions.

    What I failed to realize is there was a much more significant issue going on.

    More important than the ever-increasing size of my jeans was the deception going on inside my heart. My weight wasn't God's curse on me. My weight was an outside indication of an internal situation.

    Honestly, I might as well have taken Psalm 23 which talks about the Lord being my shepherd and my comfort and replaced His Name with various foods. I was relying on food to be my comfort, my ever-present help, my guide. Food was the thing that got me through the valleys. It became the friend I wanted to celebrate with in the good times.

    I don't write to point out anyone else's issue. There are certainly medical and genetic circumstances that can cause weight gain. But I discovered that my issue was spiritual. And no diet would be permanently successful until I got to the root of my problem—craving food more than God.

    I desired and depended on the instant high of physical gratification because I hadn't learned how to let God satisfy my deepest needs. This realization became a call to action.

    Maybe something is stirring in your soul. I know this is a tough issue. I've walked through the tears and the feelings of failure. But I wanted freedom. And I realized that if I wanted to have my deepest desires met by God and not food, I would need to restore God to His rightful place by changing my old thought patterns. Here are some examples:

    Old thought patterns: "I need these chips. I deserve this ice cream. I must have that extra large portion."

    New thought patterns: Chips will only taste good for the moment. But the calories are empty and will do nothing good for my body. 2 Corinthians 7:1 reminds me, "...Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit ... out of reverence for God." (NIV 1984)

    This ice cream will give me a sugar high but then I'll crash and feel terrible. Psalm 34:8 reminds me to get into God's Word and let it satisfy the hungry places of my soul: "Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him." (NIV 1984)

    This extra large portion will overstuff me and make me feel sluggish. I can't look to this food to soothe me. Psalm 34:5 says, "Those who look to [God] are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame." (NIV 1984)

    Learning to do this has been a process that I have to intentionally choose day after day. Eventually, I lost the extra weight. But the real reward was what I gained with Jesus in the process. He became the best part of my journey. And I wouldn't have missed this new found closeness with Him for anything.

    Dear Lord, if this devotion is a call to action that I need to make, please help me. I want to see the root of my issue. I want to learn to crave only You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:


    Reflect and Respond:
    Keep a pocket-sized notebook nearby all week. Every time you crave food, ask yourself if you are hungry or if you are craving something else like comfort or peace.

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 18:1, "I love you, O LORD, my strength." (NIV 1984)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. 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 Romans

  • Start Doing

    Posted on January 8, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    I will show you my faith by my deeds. James 2:18

    Sometimes the hardest step is to start. It’s like crawling through traffic at rush hour to get going. However, once we take the first step of faith our Heavenly Father takes it from there. He is waiting for us to begin, so He can continue to work through us. So start the letter, book or blog. Begin the conversation, create a budget or put a date on the calendar. Yes, by God’s grace start a business, ministry or family. One step of faith today leads to God working wonders tomorrow.

    What are you waiting on? The perfect timing? A billboard in the sky? A little encouragement? Whatever the obstacle of your delay give it over to God. What the Lord possesses He positions for success. The Holy Spirit opens and closes doors, but He directs an object on the move, absent of inertia. Yes, apathy is an enemy of faith. It holds back good people with over analysis and a worse case scenario belief. So, get going for God’s glory and He will get it done through you.

    By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. Hebrews 11:8

    A loving activism does accompany our faith in Jesus Christ. Love initiates because it is interested in getting involved with time, money and support. It is unloving to sit still and complain without offering solutions to the problems. However, we only take action after the Lord has taken hold of our heart. He molds our motives into just means that lead to enduring ends. So we feed the poor not to feed our guilt, but for Jesus’ sake. Love compels us to do something now to help out.

    Start today for you have no promise of tomorrow. Each moment is a gift with no assurance of your next breath. So seize the moment for your Savior Jesus and He will show you the way. Show up and the Spirit will guide you on the right path of progress. Take the next step by faith and follow Almighty God in His great adventure. Remain in fear and you will miss God’s best, but be free to obey and you will experience His grace. Start doing and watch the Spirit move!

    We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:3

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, by faith I want to start doing what You would have me to do. Give me the courage to take the next step.

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 9:23; Galatians 5:6; Hebrews 11:32-40; James 2:14-26

    Post/Tweet today: The Lord molds our motives into just means that lead to enduring ends. #startdoing

    © 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 James

  • Putting Faith in Action - Tony Evans

    Posted on January 8, 2014 by Family Christian



    You can believe in your heart but you need to move with your feet. If you’re believing in your feet but your feet aren’t moving, then your faith isn’t going anywhere. You have a Secret Service kind of faith, a privatized kind of faith, not a public kind of faith. I like to say that everybody else is coming out of the closet. You might as well come out too. Everybody ought to know where you’re coming from. When elections are held, we hold placards in our yards, on our cars. We go door to door to ask people to vote for our candidate. We discuss it around water coolers because we believe in a particular party, a particular candidate.

    We want people to know why we believe what we believe about that particular person or that particular policy that that person holds. If we can do that for human candidates, what about the king of kings and the lord of lords? Doesn’t he deserve to be advertised in our action, not just in our talk, but in our walk, not just in our lips but in our lives? He deserves to be broadcast in our daily conversations. Now I know there’s an appropriate time, an appropriate place and an appropriate way to do it but it shouldn’t be vague. It shouldn’t be hidden. It shouldn’t be unclear. It shouldn’t be fogged over. It shouldn’t be cloudy in our walk, how we related to people, treat people, how we try to serve people, pray for people and most importantly how we seek to share the gospel with people.

    All of that are ways that we put our faith in action. Let me ask you a question. Who are you going to talk to today at home, in work, in your neighborhood, in your family, who are you going to serve today in any of those contexts that will show that you believe in Jesus Christ, that you are a committed Christian and that you want to show the love of Christ while giving people the opportunity to come into a relationship with Christ? You don’t just want to show the love without the relationship but you don’t want to talk about a relationship without showing the love because the two walk hand in hand. It’s called word and deed, not just either or.

    We’re going to join you in putting your faith in action. I don’t think I could be telling you something that I’m not willing to do or that we’re not telling our own church to do. That is to put our faith in action. God bless you as you walk the talk, as you talk the walk, as you put your faith in action.

    _____________________________________________________________

    Dr. Tony Evans' newest book is titled, Destiny: Let God Use You Like He Made You. In it Dr. Evans shows us the importance of discovering our own God-given purpose and helps us discover the reasons why we are here.

    God has ordained a custom-designed life for every believer that leads to the expansion of His kingdom. Until people discover the reason why they were uniquely created, they will be empty and frustrated. But a clear understanding of their personal assignment from God brings about their deepest satisfaction, God's greatest glory and the greatest benefit to others.


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Books and was tagged with Featured, Dr. Tony Evans

  • When the Dog Eats Your Company's Dinner

    Posted on January 8, 2014 by Sharon Glasgow

    Sharon Glasgow

    "If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 4:11b (NIV)

    I prayed weeks for this dinner. The couple we invited needed Jesus. I wanted to roll out the red carpet and treat them like royalty; God knew they needed a big dose of His love.

    But time got away from me—cleaning the house, making the dessert and all. I still had to run to the store to get the filet mignons. I know they're expensive, but I wasn't going to spare any cost for my guests—it would be a feast!

    I sat the grocery bags inside the front door and headed back out to light the fire in the grill. Our company would be there in less than half an hour! I ran back inside and reached for the steaks, only to pull out an empty package. Puzzled, I pulled out the other packages, all empty. What in the world??

    About that time my dog walked around the corner with his head cowered. He wouldn't look at me but took off to hide behind the couch. I followed him and didn't find a trace of a steak—just one shamefaced dog. He had done this kind of thing before, eaten entire pizzas, cakes, and whole plates of fried chicken without a crumb left. Yep, "guilty" was written all over his face.

    As I stood there shaking my head, I heard knocking at my front door. Our guests were early! Thankfully I remembered a chicken and dumpling casserole in the freezer. I turned the oven on and popped it in, then excused myself to the restroom, closed the door and prayed, remembering the words of 1 Peter 4:11b, "If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen" (NIV).

    "Jesus, help me. Help me get over my own expectations of what tonight would look like. I've asked You for weeks to lavish this couple with Your love. You don't need steaks to do that. Come and fill this place with Your presence. Give me Your ability to love and serve. Help me love like You do. Give me words to speak and Your strength to do it. I give this night to You. May it glorify You. Thank You Jesus."

    As I walked back to join my visitors, I realized once again hospitality isn't about the perfect meal, beautiful decorations, a clean house, or our hostess skills—it's about loving people the way Jesus loves them—wholeheartedly. When people feel loved, they don't care what you feed them or what your house looks like.

    That night turned out to be absolutely wonderful. Not because the chicken and dumplings tasted good. Or because my living room was tidy. But because God's love is powerful.

    When we take our eyes off of ourselves and focus on loving our guests, it takes the stress out of entertaining. Even when we feel inadequate, Jesus gives us His ability to love others when we ask Him. It's not about our efforts; it's about Him.

    Dear Lord, help me to invite others to my house. Keep my heart focused on loving people and not on my home or my cooking skills. Use me for Your glory. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources


    Reflect and Respond:
    What hinders you from inviting guests to your home?

    How can you show love to someone this week through your home or homemaking talents?

    Power Verse:
    2 Corinthians 12:9a, "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness...'" (NIV)

    © 2014 by Sharon Glasgow. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 1 Peter

  • Stop Doing

    Posted on January 7, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42

    American culture is plagued by hyperactivity without productivity. We think being busy equals importance or a frantic pace is a path to success. Like a pack mule loaded down with an overabundance of supplies, we pack our calendar to the breaking point. We play mind games with ourselves that busyness is what’s best for our family, but the real outcomes are: relational emptiness, health challenges and irritable emotions. We even justify being over active for Jesus.

    Perhaps a wiser start to the year is a stop doing list. As Jesus instructed Martha, we need to take an inventory of our activities and ask what is really needed. What has served its purpose for a season, but is now unnecessary, even an obstacle to what’s best? Let go of emotional attachments and embrace margin for meaningful relationships. Is it time to stop a sports program, a long commute or a tired volunteer role? Become better with contemplation and strategic availability.

    When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Matthew 18:18

    It takes courage to take the route trafficked infrequently, but the ride is less stressful and more enjoyable. Avoid going where everyone else is going, nowhere fast. A fast track is too fast when it starves our faith. We find ourselves with very little left over time for prayer, Bible study, worship and community. Give what’s important first priority on the calendar. Worry works itself out of a job when we work out our bodies, feed our minds, heal our emotions and rest our souls.

    By faith stop doing something each week or month that has passed its prime time. Be patient to not rush and fill a gap in your calendar with crowded appointments. Blocks of discretionary time give you availability for spontaneous service. Yes, take a step back from the myopic trees bunched together, so you can see the imaginative forest of faith. Anyone can be busy, some can be productive, but few walk by faith and watch God do more. So, stop doing good to do better.

    One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. Psalm 27:4

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the faith to let go of the good, so I can enjoy Your best.

    Related Readings: Psalm 61:4; Matthew 6:25-34; Luke 8:41-43; Philippians 3:13

    Post/Tweet today: Let go of emotional attachments and embrace margin for meaningful relationships. #stopdoing

    © 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 Luke

  • The Ministry of Tenth Ave. North

    Posted on January 7, 2014 by John van der Veen



    Of course, fans of Tenth Ave. North know about their great music. For it's built on two foundations - depth in lyrics and musical creativity. For those of use who have seen the band live, have also been exposed to much more. A challenge to live our lives with a great passion for the glory of the Gospel.

    Mike Donehey continues to strike a cord of tension with those who are willing to listen. Some tension in life is truly good if it encourages us to do something. Mike, for the most part, does just that. His talks, whether in a live show or in a video, or an interruption that many of us need. He continues to make those that are comfortable, uncomfortable. Those that are sleepy in faith, awake.

    Below, we have grabbed a few videos that have been released by the band. These highlight what I am mentioning above. Take a few minutes today and see for yourself. Be encouraged. The struggle that God calls us to in the context of the Gospel is real. And good.

    "We really fostered the dance of both the music and they lyric while thematically unpacking the idea of what it means to struggle," says Mike Donehey. "We are free to struggle, but don't need to struggle to be free. It's about the permission to struggle but also a challenge not to stay there."


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Music and was tagged with Featured, Tenth Ave. North

  • The God Moment that Changes Everything

    Posted on January 7, 2014 by Kyle Idleman

    Kyle Idleman

    "When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!'" Luke 15:17 (NIV)

    Not long ago, one of my daughters set my phone alarm tone to match that of her favorite animal. It's labeled "Horses Neighing." It should be called "Death by Stampede." At 5:30 in the morning my alarm went off and I shot straight up, wide-awake, a stampede charging through my bedroom.

    While changing it back to my standard alarm, I noticed a wide array of other options. Some of the sounds wouldn't do anything to get me up, like the one labeled "Harp." It trills a soft melody, and just listening to it makes me sleepy.

    The most effective alarm ringtone for me is labeled "Old Car Horn." Think in terms of a house alarm that you can hear on the other side of the neighborhood. Now imagine that you are sleeping inside the speaker. It's highly effective. And the great thing is this alarm has a unique backup system that's almost fail proof – my wife.

    But here's what I've discovered: the effectiveness of any alarm is in direct correlation to how much you don't want to hear it. In other words, until your desire not to hear the alarm outweighs your desire to keep sleeping—you're not going to wake up.

    Similarly, a sudden awakening takes place when God finally gets our attention. The alarm sounds, and this time we hear it. We immediately become aware of our present circumstances and the reality that something must change.

    The Prodigal Son experienced this in Luke 15. After taking his inheritance money from his father, wasting it and reduced to feeding pigs, the Bible tells us the son, "came to his senses ..."

    At this point the son sat straight up and suddenly realized what his life had become. When he ran away, he'd never thought his journey would have that ending. But now life had his attention, and he knew things had to change.

    Have you ever had a moment like this? The Holy Spirit opens your eyes, and you see something that you had somehow missed before. You have a startling realization that changes everything.

    You realize you've been trying to live out the Christian life from your own power and strength rather than out of the power of the Holy Spirit.

    You realize you weren't actually following Jesus; you were just following a list of rules and rituals.

    You realize you spent so much of your life wrestling with guilt and shame, because you thought being good enough would save you.

    And then suddenly you realize a truth. That truth has always been true, but for some reason, you just didn't see it before. Like the Prodigal Son, it was the right time and the right place, and finally realization woke you up and brought you to your senses. AHA!

    This is an "AHA" moment, and within the parable of the Prodigal Son, I discovered there are three ingredients that are present in every AHA experience.

    1. A Sudden Awakening
    2. Brutal Honesty
    3. Immediate Action

    If there is an awakening and honesty, but no action, then AHA doesn't happen. If there is awakening and action, but honesty is overlooked, AHA will be short-lived.

    But when God's Word and the Holy Spirit bring these three things together in your life, you will experience AHA—a God-given moment that changes everything.

    Today if you are finally hearing the alarm and realizing you are far from your Heavenly Father, know you can turn to Him. Luke 15 shows us that God is a loving Father who is merciful, gracious, and caring. No matter how far we wander from God, He wants to do more than just help us—He wants to save us. And it starts with AHA.

    Dear Lord, help me to see the areas of my life that need transformation. Please give me a genuine Awakening, help me to be Honest with myself, and be with me as I take Action. Jesus, I surrender my life to you, and I thank You for the work You're doing in my life! In Jesus' Holy Name I pray. Amen.

    Related Resources:


    Reflect and Respond:
    Search your heart. Consider the areas of your life that need transformation. Identify one area that needs to change.

    Create action steps that will help you change the situation. Pray for God's strength. Then take action!

    Power Verse:
    John 6:35: "Then Jesus declared, 'I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.'" (NIV)

    © 2014 by Kyle Idleman. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks David C. Cook for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

    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 Luke

  • A Deceitful Lover

    Posted on January 6, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’ Obadiah 1:3

    Pornography is a deceitful lover at best and a destructive one at worse. Its flirtatious images offer hollow intimacy and shallow sensations. Though lewd to the Lord and to those who love Him, it lures in the naive and the narcissistic. Pornography respects no persons: pastors, politicians, athletes, students, managers, mechanics, sales reps and homemakers are all candidates for its control. What may start out as a thrill sets up its consumers for a painful, destructive spill.

    Pride is at the root of pornography. It centers around an infatuation with self that is easily seduced by sensual temptations. When we place ourselves at the center of the universe we are set up for perverted desires. A life with no filter other than what feels good, will soon feel really bad. Job loss, marriage loss, reputation loss, financial loss, health loss and loss of respect for ourselves are all familiar fruits of pornography. So, the first step is to agree we have a severe problem with pride.

    Your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord. Deuteronomy 8:14

    So what is the solution to the problem of pride and its puppet pornography? Our humble heart positions us to receive authentic affection from our Heavenly Father. We embrace the true lover of our soul in confession and repentance. He fills us and frees us with the compelling love of Christ. The lust of pornography cannot co-exist with the love of God. We learn to love ourselves for His sake, because He first loved us. Our selfish love is replaced with our Savior’s love.

    Moreover, in marriage you can avoid pornography by growing in godly contentment and sexual satisfaction with your spouse. Perhaps you engage a sex therapist who can help you establish a healthy process of spiritual, emotional and physical intimacy. Seek accountability from trusted confidents, by inviting them to view what you view on the internet. Above all, guard your heart with God’s love for out of it flows everything you do. Jesus is the real lavish lover of your soul!

    Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I embrace your authentic affection and reject pornography with its pride and pain.

    Related Readings: 2 Kings 10:31; Proverbs 10:31; Luke 6:45; Philippians 4:7

    Post/Tweet today: What may start out as a thrill sets up its consumers for a painful, destructive spill. #pornographysdeceit

    © 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 Obadiah

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

    Posted on January 6, 2014 by Dan Hubka



    "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.

    Dan:                Is there anything you can tell us about the new album?

    Francesca:     Yes. It will be out April 22nd hopefully, and it's called If We're Honest. It's going to be amazing. I'm so excited about it. It's my favorite one yet. I think that's probably normal, but I really feel like these songs are just right and the timing is right for them. There's just a lot of energy on this record which I feel like the last one lacked even though I love it. I think it's going to be really good and a whole new season.

    Dan:                If we're honest.  What does that mean?  At least on this particular record.

    Francesca:     Well, it's the title of my favorite song on the record which is just a very honest song about really just that.  If we were truly authentic with each other and honest with each other all the time and kind of not tried to hide behind the facade of everything's fine and I'm perfect and life is great.  I feel like that is sort of what the enemy wants us to do to isolate ourselves and keep us from true community and truly being the body of Christ.

    It just came from some experiences where I felt like the song is personal because I really feel like that's just all too prevalent not just in this industry but in Christianity especially in America of just everything's fine, and I'm not really going to be myself with you.  I'm not going to let you know really any of my junk, but you can't get healed of anything unless you confess and kind of are out there.  It's sort of a heavy song on a very lighter record, but it's needed I think in it's truths.

    Dan:                Absolutely.  I've found that it can be a very scary thing to reveal those things, but what evil wants us to believe is that we're alone and that nobody is going to relate to those things if we're honest so a very relevant topic.

    Francesca:     Totally, because I think when you are honest that's when you are sort of just real with whatever is going on in your life.  That's when grace comes in.  We naturally want to give grace and support and encouragement to someone who says, "This is the truth.  This is what I'm going through."  But, yeah, you're right.  The enemy tries to tell us the opposite.  "They're going to hate you." Which is not true.

    Dan:                You said something that I didn't think any artist was allowed to say which was, "My favorite song on this record is ..."  I thought people weren't allowed to say their favorite songs, but you actually have favorites.

    Francesca:     I do.  I always have favorites.  Yeah.  I love every song on this record.  I'm so excited about it, but this one from the moment we started writing it, I just knew this was going to be the one that was my favorite and it is.

    Dan:                Was the recording process different for you at all this time around?

    Francesca:     Yeah, it actually was. The last two records if you do count Christmas, we lived in Atlanta instead of Nashville and I was pregnant for both of those recording processes. It was just a lot more stressful and I felt a lot more pressure to sort of get it right and get it done quickly especially with Hundred More Years. That was a follow-up to a record that sort of exceeded everyone's expectations so I thought I got to do it again. I think you can sort of sabotage yourself by getting too inside your head.

    This time I just didn't feel any of that. We had just moved back to Nashville. It was the summertime. I had plenty of time and I just wrote three or four days a week which again has just not been the truth for the past couple of records. It's been really just fun and relaxing and for me it's always been my favorite part of the process, of the creative process because I'm sort of an introvert and artsy type. This was the first time since I think the first record that I really felt like this is fun again. Like this isn't just busyness and work. This is actually really awesome. I'm excited to share.

    Dan:                Have you noticed your audience transition at all?  From my perspective, those first couple records your audience was younger girls and now you're transitioning into a new stage in your life with the role of being a mom.  What I've heard from your music, it relates at different levels now and different areas.  Are you experiencing that transition of a wider audience because I think that your music still does speak to a younger demographic, but now you're capturing the hearts of moms and more.

    Francesca:     For sure.

    Dan:                Are you noticing that now?

    Francesca:     Yeah. It really is. It's interesting and every tour is a little bit different. I feel like that's where I see that the most. There's definitely still so many young girls, and I love that. There is something cool whenever I'm at the table and a girl comes up to me and she goes, "I love your music," and I sign her thing and her mom says, "I really love it too." It's like their little secret. I think that that's awesome. I love to be something that a mom and a daughter can listen to together and older sister can too. Hopefully, that audience is growing. I think this record will do that for them.

    Dan:                Is there a time that you can come to where you have seen your faith in action?  Or a time where you've felt a call that you needed to respond to?

    Francesca:     Is this the stories that you ... Yeah. Okay. Yeah. I have a great story to answer that question. Funny you should ask. Back this past summer we got an email from a little girl who, she is 13 now, but when she was 11 she started an organization called Project Jesus that ministers to girls and women in Uganda. She wrote this email and said basically, "Everyone's telling me that I'm crazy for writing you that you're too busy and you'll never write back, but I have this organization," kind of laid it all out and said, "And I'm hosting a benefit concert, or I'd like it to be a concert. It's a benefit luncheon on Orphan Sunday and I would love Francesca to be there. I totally understand if she can't. You'll probably not write me back, but maybe she could just send a signed CD or something."

    I remember just reading these words or I think my husband was reading them to me, and I was just so struck by her faith because she said, "Even though everyone's telling me that I'm crazy, the one thing I've learned over these past two years," I mean she's 13 years old, "Is that when we step out in faith, God does fix things." I was just so blown away by that because how many of us say that, but to actually believe it and act on it and sort of live that crazy faith life that she was living at 13 years old just blew me away. I kind of wanted to tell those naysayers that they were crazy and they were wrong. We just really felt like we needed to ... I felt like I needed to say yes.

    Actually I had a couple of other things that week that I just said, "We need to put these off. I want to be there for this girl." What ended up happening is a couple of days after I got that email, I was in the studio writing with a couple of friends and I was telling them that story and then they said, "What do you want to write about today?" I said, "I want to write about that. I want to write about Mallory." We wrote this song called Giant's Fall which is a song about Mallory. It's really just a song about don't be afraid of giants in your way. That whatever obstacles are facing you, God is with you and it doesn't matter if what you have seems like a little, he can turn it into a lot.

    I wrote this song for her, but didn't tell her. We've since recorded it and it's going to be on the record and back a couple months ago when we went to sing at the benefit we were nearing the end of the afternoon and I started explaining that I wrote this song, I just saw her mom crying, and she's crying and I'm crying. I got to play the song for this roomful of people the first time I ever played it. It was just a really powerful moment and just reminded me that when we're obedient, God does amazing things. That goes for Mallory. That goes for me writing the song. Being there, I think that if nothing else, I think she'll be able to look back and say, "That was one thing that I asked God for that He did." He's done many things like that for her, but how cool to be just like a tangible answer to prayer for someone even though it was little and I just showed up and sang a couple songs. It was cool.

    Dan:                The last time we talked, your label was circling in on trying to figure out which one of nine songs may be the first one to release to radio. Do you know which one has been selected for that?

    Francesca:     We do.  Yes.

    Dan:                Can you share it?

    Francesca:     Yes. It is called Write Your Story. They have already ... It doesn't go officially out for us until January where it's already been picked up by a couple of networks. It's amazing to see just the response to it. I think somebody up at The Fish heard it over the phone and said, "Okay, we're going to add it." That's just amazing to me and just sort of that affirmation that, "Okay, I think you picked the right song, and you're going in the right direction." I'm just so excited and people are already hearing it, but I haven't really announced it so I don't know what to say on Twitter except, "Thanks. I'm glad you like it," when people hear it. I can't wait for January and it's official.

    Dan:                Can you give us an idea what the song is about or what was behind it?

    Francesca:     Yeah, absolutely. It's funny because I didn't even realize it until somebody said something in passing after we had written the song that it was sort of like a follow-up to My Paper Heart which is "I've never been the same since you wrote your name on my paper heart." This song is just about basically saying, "God, I am an open book. I am just here, willing, available to do whatever it is that you call me to do. I want you to write your story on my heart." I think it will speak to so many different people I think to the girl who is waiting for her husband and saying, "God, write your love story for me." To the people who are just saying, "Okay, God, I know that you have something for my life and I don't know what it is, but I want to be open to whatever."

    Even for me, doing what I'm doing, it looks like you've got this path laid in front of you, but if God says, "No, I want you to stop all that and go do something else," I want to be able to hear His voice. I want His story at the end of my life to look back and say, "God, you wrote it. I just was there for the ride." It's a really fun song, but that's sort of the message or the story.

    Dan:                You're on your fourth record. You've established a career. I was talking to a co-worker of mine of what does it feel like as you transition from a place where you're an artist and you're trying to make it and you go from wanting people to hear your music and doing everything you can to get people to hear your music, to the place where now you're requested to come play music for them?  But they're now asking you instead of you asking them.  What is that journey like?

    Francesca:     Yeah.  It has been so interesting for me because at the beginning there it was like, "Okay, I don't know what this is going to look like."  Like you said, just playing for everybody, and then for even me it just all sort of took off really fast and I didn't know what to do and was just sort of saying yes to everything and then sort of slowed down again and I'm sort of I feel like just now finding my feet and like, "Okay, those past five, six years have been a little bit of a blur.  Now what do we really want to do?"  God has made it so that my husband is able to play drums for me and manage me and just be very focused and very intentional.

    I feel like for the first time this year it's like we're finding our legs.  But, yeah, it is amazing.  Anytime someone asks it's still like, "Oh, really?  We didn't have to call them to play a concert like they want us to come?"  It's always scary still.  It's just an honor and crazy when I think about it because there were so many years that were goodness gracious it was a very a awkward time.

    Dan:                Can you say who you're touring with yet?

    Francesca:     I think so.  Yeah.    We're doing the Hands of God tour with Sanctus Real in early spring and Hands of God is a song that I wrote with Matt Hammitt from Sanctus.  We're excited to take them out and do that tour.  I love those guys.  Then like five days after that ends, we go out on "The Bible: Son of God" tour, which we're really excited about and that is basically The Bible Miniseries was seen by millions of people.  It was mind-blowing.

    So Mark Burnett and his company have sort of said, "We want to take this experience into churches and venues around the country and sort of turn it into this interactive experience with the film, and with the artists, and with sets and all sorts of things that I'm not really even sure what the scale is like yet because it's the first year, but I'm really excited about that.  That will run up until, I guess, right before Easter, right before the record comes out.  We're really excited and it's going to be a busy year, but I'm ready for it.

    Dan:                Did you write that song?

    Francesca:     I didn't write it.  No.  I just sang on it and it's very beautiful.  So they've talked about things I know they're doing like an inspired by project, but beyond that, who knows?  Maybe it will make it to the live show.

    Dan:                Thank you so much for your time.

    Francesca:     Yeah.  Thank you.  It was fun.

    So, about her new album? Well, as stated above, Francesca returns with her brand new release, If We’re Honest.  Featuring the radio hit “Write Your Story,” this new CD perfects the soulful pop sound that began with her gold-certified debut, My Paper Heart, and its best-selling follow-up, Hundred More Years.  If We’re Honest is full of bright, upbeat songs and personal, thought-provoking ballads that will inspire, encourage and challenge you in your daily walk with God, and ultimately point you toward the hope that’s only found in Him.


    This post was posted in Music, Interviews and was tagged with Featured, Francesca Battistelli, Sanctus Real, Bible MiniSeries, The Bible, Mark Burnett

  • Get a Grip

    Posted on January 6, 2014 by Leah DiPascal

    Leah DiPascal

    "When I said, 'My foot is slipping,' your unfailing love, LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy." Psalm 94:18-19 (NIV)

    We had only been married a couple years when my husband Keith surprised me with a snow skiing trip to the mountains. Although I had never stepped foot in snow, the idea sounded exciting and adventurous.

    I spent weeks preparing - purchasing warm, waterproof clothes, reading "how-to" articles, and daydreaming about us zipping down the slopes effortlessly. It was going to be wonderful. At least that's what I thought.

    As it turned out, my winter wonderland daydreams didn't quite match up to my wonder-less reality.

    Instead of swishing down the mountain together, I struggled in ski school with other beginners while Keith skied alone.

    I spent more time slipping and falling then standing upright. My bruises had bruises, and children were mastering the slopes better than me.

    After my first day of defeat, I opted out of ski school, determined to overcome my fears and do things my way. Anxiety mounted as I reached the top of the mountain and my skis slid onto the icy snow.

    Down to the ground I went–over and over again. Poles, skis, and goggles spewed all over the place. I was frustrated, miserable, and ready to give up.

    As worried tears ran down my face, Keith assured me we would make it down the mountain safely. He stayed close by my side. When I'd start to slip and fall, he was right there to hold me up.

    Slowly and steadily my confidence grew and when we reached the bottom of the mountain, my heart overflowed with joy.

    "Are you ready to go again?" Keith asked. While I wasn't immediately ready to head back up the mountain, my husband's loving faithfulness gave me the courage I needed that day. I knew he wouldn't leave me alone, that he would be there if I fell, and it made all the difference.

    It's been years since that trip, but oftentimes I find myself slipping and sliding along the tough slopes of life. Challenging circumstances can leave me frustrated, miserable, and ready to give up—just like that day on the mountain.

    Maybe you can relate. Are you facing a situation that seems bigger than a mountain? Do "what if" worries make you feel overwhelmed and ready to give up? Has life dealt you a powerful blow causing you to emotionally lose your footing from what was once a solid stance?

    I'm so thankful we have God's promises in Psalm 94:18-19 to securely hold us up when we're unsteady: "When I said, 'My foot is slipping,' your unfailing love, LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy" (NIV).

    When life's circumstances cause us to feel unsteady we can call out to God for help. His love for us is unfailing and He is always there to support us when our feet begin to slip. Challenges and difficult trials can make us feel uncertain but God is faithful to hold us up as we trust in Him.

    Safe within His loving grip we can have the confidence to keep going down the mountain of life. As we pause along the way, let's take time to look back and celebrate how far God has brought us. One faithful moment at a time.

    Dear Lord, thank You for holding me up with Your unfailing love when my feet slip on the slopes of life. Help me trust You will be there to catch me. May Your assuring words comfort my soul when I worry and feel unsteady. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Write down what is causing you to feel unsteady. Then write down one of the scripture verses listed below and turn it into a personal prayer to God.

    Take small steps each day to trust God more as you remember His promises of holding you tightly no matter what comes your way.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 121:3, "He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber." (NIV)

    Psalm 37:23-24, "The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. (NIV)

    © 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 Psalm

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