• ABOUT
    Did you know?
    All of our earnings go to Christian charities.
    Click to learn more about us!
  • SHOP
    View the latest sales and promotions going on now!
    When you shop, you give.
  • GIVE
    See our latest Giving Challenge.
  • GROW
    Our blog shares devotionals, interviews, contests & more—all to help you grow in your faith.

  • Give a Bible to those in Need

Family Christian

  • Persistence Pays Off

    Posted on November 14, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” Luke 18:1-5

    Has rejection caused you to give up on an opportunity or a person? Are you tired of trying to do the right thing, without experiencing positive results? It is precisely at this point of frustration and fear that God calls us to persevere in prayer and continue to graciously engage individuals and circumstances. Those who give up—give up on God.

    Like an oscillating fan your faith may waver back and forth between confidence and uncertainty, so hit the button of belief and stay focused on the Lord. Go forward by faith to love an estranged relationship—call the company who went with a competitor and see how you might still serve them—reach out until your requests are not ignored anymore.

    A faithful man or woman in the hands of God has the attention of heaven and earth. When you are on His assignment, rejection has to first go through Almighty God’s agenda. It's not the individual full of energy at the outset who outlasts others, it’s the wise ones who conserve their vigor over the long haul—strengthened by their Savior’s stamina.

    The fortitude of faith is what forges great relationships and gets long-term results. Anyone can start a race with excitement and anticipation, but few are the runners who climb the hills, overcome the adversity of the elements and finish the course. You may not be the fastest—you may not finish first—but by God’s grace you will finish well.

    Most of all stay persistent in prayer. Respond to God as the violin responds to the bow of the master. The Lord makes beautiful music on the strings of a life surrendered to Him. Persist through the pain of rejection and to the pressures of responsibility—all the while remaining in an attitude of prayer. Persistent prayer to Jesus produces His best outcome. Persistence pays off when you are prepared to move forward on behalf of your Master.

    “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

    Prayer: What relationship or opportunity calls for my focused attention and persistence?

    Related Readings: Numbers 14:38; Daniel 6:10; Acts 20:22-25; Romans 2:7

    Post/Tweet today: Fortitude of faith is what forges great relationships and gets long-term results. #persistencepaysoff

    © 2013 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

  • When You Don't Know What to Say

    Posted on November 14, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him." Nahum 1:7 (NIV 1984)

    Recently a moving truck pulled up to my friend's house. Sometimes moving signifies something exciting and new. Sometimes it doesn't.

    This move signified an end. A few hours into the process of emptying her home, the movers carried out her wedding portrait and asked, "Are you taking the photographs separately?"

    "Yes," she said, the irony not escaping her. Separately. That was how she'd be living now. Separate from their neighborhood. Separate from her husband. Separate from the way she thought life would be.

    She took the wedding portrait and through her tears she called me and said, "I don't know what to do with this portrait. What do you do with things that have no place anymore? We built a life together and now there's no more together."

    I knew better than to throw out something just to fill the uncomfortable silence. Trite sayings weren't going to curl up in bed with her and hold her unglued heart.

    Maybe you've been there. You were the one sitting in the midst of confusion or the one trying desperately to know what to say. In these difficult moments, we have to place our feet on the only solid ground there is—God's truth.

    His truth won't shift with feelings.

    His truth won't drown in a sea of tears.

    His truth won't leave you even when your gut honest cries don't sound so Christian.

    I finally said, "I don't have answers, but I do have prayers. And I'm going to write out conversations I have with God so you'll know He's not being silent right now. He sees you. He hears you. And through His truth He will comfort you."

    I pulled out my Bible and poured out the hurt and sadness. "God, please show me the right truths. Use my hand to write out some comfort from Your Word for my friend."

    Me: Lord, it's hard to watch my friend hurt so much. She begged You to help save her marriage and honestly we're confused why it still fell apart.

    The Lord: Does Job 17:11 express the way you're feeling? "My days have passed, my plans are shattered, and so are the desires of my heart." (NIV 1984)

    Me: Lord, don't You see her tears? If seeing her sadness breaks my heart, it must break Yours too.

    The Lord: Recall the beauty of trusting the only One who can see what is and what is to come. Nahum 1:7... "The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him." (NIV 1984)

    Me: I do trust You. But for everything to end like this is so hard. It just seems pointless.

    The Lord: Nothing I allow is pointless. Even in the midst of hurt I will work good. Proverbs 19:20-21... "Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise. Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." (NIV 1984)

    Me: Why does she have to go through this?

    The Lord: You don't have to have answers. You just need to trust. Isaiah 55:9b... "My ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (NIV 1984)

    Me: What about the desires of her heart Lord?

    The Lord: I am the only one who knows the full scope of those desires. Just encourage her to trust Me and make wise choices. Psalm 37:3-4... "Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." (NIV 1984)

    I sent this written out conversation with God to my friend. My note didn't fix her hurt or answer her questions. It didn't give her a place to put those things that seemed to have no place right now. But it did get her to open up God's Word and start having conversations with Him for herself. And as she moves on, this is a good first step to take.

    Dear Lord, I lift my hurting friend to You. For You are the only One who can ultimately lift her up. Through all the ups and downs in life, may she trust You in a very personal way. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Reflect and Respond:
    What is a disappointment you've walked through? Write the verses above on index cards to carry with you and write the words "I believe" after each one.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 37:3-4, "Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." (NIV 1984)

    © 2013 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 Nahum

  • Emotional Manipulation

    Posted on November 13, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead. Mark 15:9-11

    Emotional manipulation can be subtle or not so subtle. The Jewish leaders, in fear of losing their power, preyed on the fear of the crowd in losing their rebel leader Barabbas. In a mob-like environment the hearts of the masses were motivated by jealous religious leaders to free the guilty and punish the innocent. Yes, fear is the favorite method of those who are afraid of losing control over people and circumstances. Like a bully club, they use fear as an intimidation tool.

    Beware of those who manipulate your emotional pain for their gain. Guilt is a ‘go to’ tactic used to get your attention and coerce you to make a foolish decision in the moment, forgetting the fall out of long term consequences. The pressure from peers needs to be filtered by your prayers. A friend’s agenda is probably not the Lord’s plan for your life. So, allow the Spirit to calm your emotions and give you His outlook. Holy Spirit persuasion trumps unholy spirit manipulation.

    This is what the Lord says about Shemaiah the Nehelamite: Because Shemaiah has prophesied to you, even though I did not send him, and has persuaded you to trust in lies. Jeremiah 29:31

    On the other hand, it is good to be persuaded by the Holy Spirit and those filled with the Spirit. Listen to saints who love the Lord and learn from them. Be influenced by individuals of integrity, whose only goal is for you to enjoy God’s game plan. So, be wise. Wait to validate a person’s reputation. Total trust too quickly can be manipulative on your part. For example, you may crave a friendship, so during your first visit, you immediately share a confidential issue expecting a reciprocal response. But, healthy expectations give emotional space. Godly persuasion is patient.

    Finally, in the power of the Holy Spirit seek to persuade others of God’s love for them and of the judgment to come. The fear of the Lord compels us to urge the unsaved to fear God. The Lord is the beginning and end of wisdom. Jesus is King and Lord over all. His salvation is freedom from sin, self and Satan. God’s grace is good and life giving. Our Lord has risen from the grave. He is alive to live in and over all who call on His name in repentance and faith. We persuade, because someone persuaded us. Emotional manipulation is temporary, but spiritual persuasion is eternal!

    Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 2 Corinthians 5:11

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, move my heart not to manipulate but trust, to persuade in the Spirit, not push in my power.

    Related Readings: Luke 20:45-47; Acts 28:23; Romans 4:21; 2 Timothy 4:14-16; Colossians 2:8

    Post/Tweet today: Emotional manipulation is temporary, but spiritual persuasion is eternal. #emotionalmanipulation

    © 2013 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 Mark

  • Faith in Action

    Posted on November 13, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." James 2:17 (NIV)

    When I was 31 years old I received a diagnosis of breast cancer and affected lymph nodes.

    Three months later I stood in front of a mirror. One breast misshapen from surgery. Twenty extra pounds after a second surgery and early menopause. Skin translucent from chemotherapy meds flowing through my veins.

    I didn't recognize myself. I didn't recognize this new season. Life was uncertain at best, and scary on most days.

    I wanted to be strong for my three babies.

    I wanted to be strong for my husband, who was in protective mode, but also vulnerable as his young wife battled cancer.

    I wanted to be strong for my mom, who snapped pictures when I wasn't looking, to capture memories of the daughter she loved, but feared she'd lose.

    Where was I to find strength?

    In the midst of what often felt like rough seas, my faith in Christ became my anchor. Additionally, God provided people who helped carry my burden.

    Their strength became mine in a hundred small and large ways. How? By putting their faith into action as James 2:17 tells us to do: "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." (NIV)

    Throughout the hard days of my treatment and recovery, I saw this verse lived out over and over.

    A neighbor and his wife mowed our yard every week while I sat through chemo. Many brought groceries. Others cleaned our house. Put gas in our car. Cooked meals.

    This faith in action eased the burden of physical and financial needs I felt I had to carry alone.

    Friends sat in the waiting room with Richard while I was in surgery. They took our children out to eat and brought them treats.

    This faith in action lifted the weight of worry over my beautiful children and husband.

    One friend noted my need for humor in the midst of so much bad news; her attempts at being funny were just the right prescription. Another brought balloons to chemotherapy. I sat with a needle in my vein, bright balloons attached to my chair, and a smile on my face.

    This faith in action bore my weight of sadness as I laughed out loud.

    There are days I pinch myself; it's hard to believe 23 years have passed since then. My "babies" grew up and have given me grandchildren. Richard and I are growing older together.

    Cancer is a word in my past, but faith in action is woven in my present.

    I'll never forget how small acts, piled upon one another, equaled big relief for a family in crisis.

    Sometimes we might think that faith in action is doing big things, and certainly it is; but small actions matter too.

    James 2:17 doesn't diminish the beauty of faith, but rather tells us to put action with it. Action moves your faith from being one of words to life-changing impact on others.

    Right now in your church, across the street, or somewhere in your community there is someone in crisis. Perhaps there's a friend or family member who is sick, grieving, confused or afraid, and you aren't sure what to say, or what to do.

    Take a look at their needs and your means to meet them. Determine what you are able to do, then put your faith into action. Serve up a hearty dose of food, love, laughter, babysitting, or comfort!

    Dear Lord, thank You for showing me someone who needs You. May my faith in action be a blessing today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Reflect and Respond:
    Sometimes when a friend or family member is battling cancer, you might not know what to say. Ask about what mattered to them the day before they were diagnosed with cancer. Family, faith, interests, etc.

    Who do you know in need, and what is one act of kindness that would relieve their burden? Do that today.

    Power Verses:
    Romans 12:13, "When God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. 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 James, Faith

  • Money’s Betrayal

    Posted on November 12, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. Mark 14:44-45

    Money betrays with false promises and conflicting loyalties. Seductively, it lures in a once godly ambition and converts it into a scheme to secure cash at all costs. Once firm boundaries between work and home were in place but drifted through circumstantial suggestions, eventually to be ignored when more money could be made. Ironically, someone can spend a lifetime consumed by accumulating wealth, only to lose their health and exhaust their net worth paying for their physical care. Judas betrayed a friend for financial gain. Beware of those enamored by the image of being wealthy.

    How do we know if we have been betrayed by money? How do we know if we are being betrayed for money? If our lifestyle has surpassed our modest means and handcuffed our home, we have been betrayed by money. If we worry more about stuff and having a status symbol, we have been betrayed by money. Moreover, we may be in the process of being exploited for money if our company or boss owns us. No margin for relationships, health, hobbies, emotions, family and faith is a warning sign to slow down, stop and objectively evaluate. Money’s betrayal steals.

    But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages. John 12:4-5

    Cash is the number one competitor with our devotion to Jesus Christ. Some even spiritualize their intentions to get rich by declaring that one day they will have a benevolent heart, once they acquire excess cash. However, generosity is not governed by the amount given, but by the capacity to give. This is why a widow’s mite means much more to God than a rich person who publicly tips the Lord only to be seen. Yes, the remedy to money’s betrayal is generous living in the moment.

    By God’s grace we release the unrighteous motivation to make money and replace it with devotion to Jesus and generosity to our community. We rest in who we are in Christ, not being tossed back and forth emotionally by feelings of letting people down, because eventually, we will let them down. Our heart is to fear the Lord, not fear what people say, do or think about us. The reality is people think very little about us anyway. So, we die to self and stuff, and we live for Christ. We turn our backs on money’s betrayal and turn in trust to God and His loyalty.

    Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will not stand, for God is with us. Isaiah 8:10

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I turn from money’s betrayal and turn toward You in trust of Your loyalty to me.

    Related Readings: Psalm 118:6; Luke 12:18-21, 16:13; Acts 5:3-5; Hebrews 13:5; 1 Timothy 6:17-19

    Post/Tweet today: Generosity is not governed by the amount given, but by the capacity to give. #moneysbetrayal

    © 2013 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 Mark, Money

  • The Rhett Walker Band - Faith on the Road

    Posted on November 12, 2013 by John van der Veen


    “I won’t be caged to the status quo. I’m not afraid to stand and say what people won’t.” -Rhett Walker, “Get Up Get Out”

    Now there’s an understatement. Rhett Walker is not like any rising Christian musician you have met before or will meet again soon. The outspoken 25-year-old son of a preacher was born and raised around the South, his mellow yet animated voice a sure mix of Georgia and the Carolinas. In that drawl, he tells an intense wild oats story tempered by God’s grace, a testimony that fuels the deep-fried rock found on Rhett Walker Band’s debut, Come To The River.

    Indeed, Rhett is a shining example of faith, family, and country values today—an experienced man who teaches that grace comes with a calling.

    I caught up with Rhett and band at a summer festival earlier this year. I have to admit that the interview was more laughing than actually talking, I was challenged by what these guys have been through.

    John: Be honest. How did you come up with the name?

    Rhett: Funny thing. It's actually Joe; his last name is Bande, B-A-N-D-E. I'm Rhett. Kenny, his third middle name is actually an Indian name, was Walker. We just kind of put it together. Kevin is not a part of the band.

    Kenny: I'm not in the band.

    Rhett: So it's Rhett Walker Bande. We figured, make that "Band." It looks cooler.

    John: I love it. Why don't you give a little bit of background: Where did you guys come from?

    Rhett: We all come from different places: Kenny's from Texas and Joe’s from Oklahoma and I'm from South Carolina and Mr. Kevin's from North Carolina. We all come from different areas, but I'd say about ... How long ago was that? Probably about three years ago? Three or four years ago, when me and you met? How long have we known each other?

    Kenny: Dude, almost six years ago.

    Rhett: Oh wow.

    Joe: No way.

    John: As a band you've been together for six years?

    Rhett: No. About six years ago, me and Kenny, we met. I led worship at a church and he played drums there, so we started doing music together, and that's where we met Joe. Joe has his own studio and we were doing some demos. Nashville's a big city, but it's actually pretty daggone small. So we all kind of got in that middle circle and met everybody, and we just all clicked, man.

    It takes time to do anything. We played shows and ... Slowly, but surely, we kind of played shows, and about a year, exactly almost a year ago we put out our first record. We haven't been playing long. We're a new band, but we've known each other for a long time. We kind of, more or less, knew each other at first because we were all in different bands. It kind of all happened.

    John: The record's been out for about a year. What was it like to, all of a sudden, go, "We're now playing on a national level?" Before, you guys were playing churches, bars maybe, whatever. And now you guys are there.

    Rhett: It's cool, man. We were just talking about this. We just got back from the West Coast last week, and we were playing in clubs and stuff and churches last year, and we were thankful for 80 people were showing up. It's kind of funny to see what a year does and what radio does, and becoming on the, like you said, the national level, because now we're pulling eight hundred to a thousand in a room by ourself. And it's like, man, last year we were thankful when the first two rows were filled. This year we got people standing around, so ...

    It's just cool, too, because then you're playing shows and people are singing your songs and it's more of just a Rhett Walker Band thing. It's like, we're all here playing music. We love music, that's why we do it. These people love music; that's why they're here. It just becomes kind of a big party and we're all just hanging out doing our thing, you know?

    John: What do you guys play live? Do you basically play through the whole record, or do you try to incorporate some other songs in there as well, that aren’t necessarily Walker songs?

    Kenny: Well, sometimes we like to play songs off of Joe Kane and the Buttercream Gang record, solo EP. There's songs that we play off of the record. We've been playing a lot of new songs. And every once in a while, we'll get the hankering to do some covers: maybe some Skynyrd, maybe some CCR or John Fogerty, kind of a mix of good old time music and partying and fun and hanging out.

    John: You guys like playing live? Is it fun?

    Kenny: Oh yeah.

    Kevin: Yeah, playing live is great.

    Joe: Except for Kevin. As long we can, we get a lot of experience.

    John: Playing live experience?

    Kenny: His name is Mr. Kevin.

    Kevin: I'm Mr. Kevin.

    Kenny: Aka, the principal.

    Rhett: The principal.

    Kevin: That's what I've been called.

    John: Why's that?

    Kevin: I got my degree in education and I used to teach ...

    Kevin: Do you want to know anything about the live shows specifically? Or just …

    John: No, just talk about the live shows.

    Kenny: Your experience. Your favorite part.

    Kevin: My favorite part is that it's a band dynamic on stage. We'll switch the set list up every night. We'll play different songs in different orders. Sometimes we'll drag out solos. Sometimes we'll add stuff. Take it away. I don't know, man. It's just like, we don't have a laptop computer that we plug in and press "Play." We all play our instruments and all sing.

    John: You're a real band. You're not playing the tracks.

    Kevin: Exactly.

    Kenny: Exactly, yeah.

    Kevin: I take a lot ... I'm not ashamed to take pride in that, I don't think. I mean.

    Kenny: Kevin also has a tendency to yell and scream out of joy and excitement at points. And beat his chest, kind of like a gorilla. Real low.

    John: So Kevin, what do you play?

    Kevin: I play the bass.

    Kenny: Drums.

    Joe: Guitar.

    Kenny: Joe Kahn and the Buttercream Gang.

    John: That's what the EP came from?

    Joe: Yeah.

    Rhett: And I play the microphone.

    John: Any obscure live experience so far?

    Kevin: Yea.

    John: Like falling off the stage? People diving off the stage? Mosh pits?

    Rhett: No. I mean, we've had some mosh pits.

    Kenny: You climbed some ...

    Joe: Rafters.

    Kenny: Some truss once.

    Rhett: I, one time, climbed a rafter and a raptor. One time I climbed a rapper. I climbed on top of LeCrae and Kanye West.

    Kenny: One time Kevin threw his bass up in the air and forgot that it was a low ceiling, and threw it into the ceiling. Remember that?

    Kevin: Oh, yeah, I forgot about that.

    Rhett: One time we got kicked out of a church.

    John: Really?

    Rhett: Yeah.

    Joe: And got the pastor fired.

    Rhett: I mean, just good days of getting shut down by the police, you know? Just because we're too loud or something like that.

    Kevin: Sometimes Joe just takes off into the crowd and plays a guitar solo. I still don't know why he does that.

    Joe: There's usually food out there, and I'm so freaking hungry.

    Kevin: Going for a hot dog, man.

    John: So if the record came out last year, what's on your bucket list for this year?

    Rhett: Well, we've just been playing a lot of shows. But we're getting ready ... We're writing right now. So we're kind of looking forward to November. We're going to record a new record.

    John: So a new record early ‘14?

    Rhett: Yeah. I would say about summertime.

    Kevin: Yeah.

    Rhett: We're kind of dialing them songs and doing that number and mailing them out.

    Rhett: You know, just trying to figure out exactly what we want to say on this record, because the first record, you just write a butt-load of songs and then you pick the best. This one, we're all writing together on this out on the road, so we're singing a lot of ... There's some love songs to our brides back at home, there's songs about our faith on the road, and there's songs that are just feel-good songs. It's coming out in the summer. We're writing this in the summer, so it's just American music. I wouldn't say it's any type of thing other than just we got instruments and we play them and sing about life. And that's kind of what we want to do on this record.

    John: You guys book readers?

    Joe: Yes

    Kenny: Yeah, sometimes.

    John: What are you reading, Joe?

    Joe: What do I read? Currently?

    Kenny: I can tell you what Joe's been reading right now.

    Rhett: Ask him what he's been reading right now.

    Joe: I was this close to not turning to this. Okay, normally I enjoy the classics very much.

    Kenny: But now ...

    Joe: But currently ...

    John: It's a Harlequin Romance.

    Joe: Currently, I'm reading this sweet series called The Animorphs. And I've read two books today, and I'm probably going to finish two more before I go to bed. They're short.

    Kenny: Short tales about ...

    Joe: But I read them when I was a kid, so it's a nostalgia thing.

    John: Yeah.

    Kenny: There you go.

    Kevin: Bring back good memories.

    Rhett: I'm reading what I read as a kid, what I always read: The Bible.

    Kenny: Okay.

    Joe: That was good.

    John: Kevin?

    Kevin: Good one, Rhett. I've been reading this book by a rabbi. It's called Yearnings. I don't know the name of the author. I've only gotten a few chapters into it.

    Joe: Wow.

    Kevin: I love stuff like that.

    Kenny: Don't put me in on this, because after that, I would seem like an idiot.

    Joe: Man. I find obscure things to read.

    Kevin: On the spiritual side, I actually just finished, again, The Ragamuffin Gospel.

    John: Yeah, great book.

    Kevin: Yea. I read it a long time ago, and after his passing thought I'd pick it up again. But, then, I also finished, because of nostalgia, Where the Red Fern Grows.

    John: Oh.

    Joe: Oh, you just finished that?

    Kevin: Yea.

    Joe: That's a good one.

    Kenny: I remember that.

    Kevin: It's in the van. You can read it if ...

    Joe: You going to read Summer of the Monkeys now?

    Kevin: I could.

    Joe: I wasn't making fun of you. I was genuinely asking.

    Kevin: Genuinely serious.

    Rhett: Cool.

    So of course, the interview ended in laughter. These guys are a lot of fun to hang out with. They are a lot of fun to see live.  In the meantime, make sure that you check out their debut album, Come to the River.


    This post was posted in Music, Interviews and was tagged with Featured, Rhett Walker Band, Brennan Manning

  • Lonely

    Posted on November 12, 2013 by Amy Carroll

    Amy Carroll

    "Suppose someone falls down. Then his friend can help him up. But suppose the man who falls down doesn't have anyone to help him up. Then feel sorry for him!" Ecclesiastes 4:10 (NIRV)

    Lonely. It's not a word I thought I'd ever use to describe myself, but that's how I felt.

    For many years after a hard move I felt alone.

    Close friends had always been a part of my life, and the absence of intimate friendships left me feeling sore-hearted. I longed to have someone to meet for coffee or help me expend some of my many daily words on the phone. It would have been wonderful to have a woman who would both listen and share.

    Over time, I made new friends and re-established older friendships, and most days I feel connected and content. But I still remember what it felt like to be lonely. Recently, I read a study published by the American Sociological Review that cited statistics that showed half of Americans only have two close friends. And one out of four Americans say they don't have any close friends.

    Not a single one. That's a lot of lonely hearts.

    Why should we care? Scripture tells us in Ecclesiastes 4:10 that our friends are our helpers. When times get tough, they can help us navigate through them. "Suppose someone falls down. Then his friend can help him up. But suppose the man who falls down doesn't have anyone to help him up. Then feel sorry for him!" (NIRV)

    So how can we be part of the solution, to help guarantee no one falls down without having a friend to pick them up?

    If you're lonely ...
    During my lonely days I told myself this over and over: When you don't have a friend, BE the friend to others that you would like to have.

    "Amy," I'd say ...

    • "Would you love a friend who takes time to show that she cares by picking up the phone and asking about your day? Then pick up the phone and ask about someone's day."

    • "Would you love a friend who keeps confidences and is trustworthy? Then be trustworthy."

    • "Would you love a friend who asks you to go the movies or for a walk? Then ask someone to go along when you do these things."

    It's easier to stay isolated sometimes than to reach out, especially if you've been hurt or disappointed many times. I know too well. But I want to encourage you to reach out, show love and care about others.

    God taught me so many things during my loneliness. I learned to be more dependent on Him. I learned to appreciate the friendship of my family more. I took a hard look at some things that weren't so wonderful about myself and worked to change them.

    During lonely times of life, be intentional about connecting to God and others. There's so much to be learned in these times.

    If you're not lonely ...
    Think about your neighborhood, church, or an organization you are part of. If there are 40 women there, 10 of them feel like they don't have even one friend. Could God be calling you to be that friend?

    Look for ways to open your circle of friends to new people. Watch for that woman at church sitting by herself, the co-worker who eats lunch alone, or the neighbor who never seems to be invited.

    Reach out today to be part of one less life feeling lonely.

    Dear Lord, You are the friend who is closer than a brother or sister. In this time of loneliness and seeming friendlessness, show me how precious friendship with You can be. Please teach me everything I need to learn in this phase of life. Would You also prepare a friend for me and prepare me to be a trusted, valued friend? In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Reflect and Respond:
    If you are lonely, take a step to be around people with whom you have things in common. Sign up for a class, join a book club, or attend a women's small group at your church.

    What is God teaching you about friendship with Him through loneliness?

    Power Verse:
    Proverbs 17:17, "A friend loves at all times. He is there to help when trouble comes." (NIRV)

    © 2013 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • God Provides

    Posted on November 11, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” Mark 14:13-15

    Often God’s provision includes specific instructions of what we need to do or not do. Jesus instructed His disciples to find a man with a water pot and follow him to his master's house. The Lord had already moved the heart of the generous master to have an upper room prepared for Christ’s work. Indeed, the Holy Spirit is at work all around us in preparation for God’s people. Many times He uses people as a channel for His provision. He blesses them to bless others.

    So, we first listen intently to the Spirit’s instruction, before we move forward to discover where He is working. Wait and don’t worry that the timing may be too late. A premature provision lacks the fulfillment that patient prayer brings. If we short cut the Spirit’s work we strive in our own strength and we trade God’s glory for our ego. Also, waiting gives other giving hearts time to position their stuff for sharing. Yes, God provides in His way, so we celebrate Christ’s salvation!

    Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 1 Timothy 6:17

    Furthermore, God’s provision is normally a process of trust and obedience. We meet one new relationship that leads to another resourceful acquaintance, who has been praying about how they can support their Savior’s work. The Holy Spirit directs us as we move by faith from one genuine God fearer to another. Like a multicolor, intricate tapestry the Lord weaves His people together on the loom of His love. The Spirit brings us together in a spirit of generosity for His purposes.

    Most of all, place your hope in Christ, who richly provides you with everything for your enjoyment. Do not feel guilty because God gave you more stuff than other good souls. Use your platform of belongings to brag on Jesus and be hilariously generous. The genuine joy you find in aggressive giving will be someone else’s nervous laughter. Keep both hands open to be a pass through of trust for God’s blessings. He provides for you to be His gracious provision for others!

    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 4:11

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I trust You for Your provision in Your timing. Use my life to be a pass through of Your provision to other needy souls.

    Related Readings: Exodus 15:22-27; Job 38:41; Luke 12:24; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Ephesians 6:10

    Post/Tweet today: A premature provision lacks the fulfillment that patient prayer brings. So, wait for God’s best. #Godprovides

    © 2013 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 Mark

  • Choosing a Centerpiece

    Posted on November 11, 2013 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie Miles

    "He's the centerpiece of everything we believe, faithful in everything God gave him to do." Hebrews 3:2 (MSG)

    I thought my Thanksgiving decorations were securely packed away last year, but when I pulled out the decorative cornucopia something was different.

    Apparently a few hungry mice had nibbled on the Styrofoam bread loaf and plastic apples, thinking they were a tasty treat.

    I had planned on putting the cornucopia in the middle of my dining room table, like I always do. But lack of proper packing had taken its toll, and my centerpiece was now full of holes.

    As I assessed how to repair the damage, I felt a holy nudge on my heart. It was a prompting me to consider if I was concerned about the right centerpiece for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

    The previous months had been full of busyness and challenges. My heart had been burdened at times. I'd fallen into a pattern of focusing on my problems and to-do list instead of taking time to give thanks to God for His goodness in my life.

    I intended to make Jesus the center of my attention, but didn't keep that commitment. My distracted focus reminds me of the Christians to whom the author of the book of Hebrews wrote.

    These believers were in danger of losing their focus on Christ as their deliverer. People had begun putting their trust in prophets, angels, and even Moses. So in Hebrews 3, the people are reminded that Jesus is the only one worthy of trust and is where our faith should be centered.

    The writer of Hebrews wanted Christians to stop putting themselves, other people, or material items, at the center of their attention, and instead draw their gaze back to Jesus.

    Just like the people of that time, we can quickly get distracted, become busy, and inadvertently make our obligations and celebrations the focus of our attention. We gradually become self-centered instead of Jesus-centered.

    Hypothetically, we may put Him in a box in the attic of our heart, only pulling Him out when the time is "right." This eventually leads to a life off-kilter and a heart full of holes, as challenges and pressures nibble away at our joy and peace.

    It's one thing to believe in Jesus. It's another to make Him the center of our lives. When we make that important choice and remember to focus on Him and be thankful in all things, our hearts and lives stay in balance.

    This Thanksgiving (and every day), let's praise God and commit to making Him our focal point. When we choose to make Jesus the emphasis of our holidays and our lives, we are blessed with the most beautiful centerpiece of all.

    Lord, I never intended to put You on a shelf and allow life's distractions to alter my attention on You. Give me the spiritual desire to stay intently focused on You during this holiday and into the new year. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:


    Reflect and Respond:
    Consider what areas of your life need to be more Jesus-centered and less self-centered.

    How can you make sure your attention stays on Jesus and not on life's distractions?

    Power Verses:
    Colossians 3:15, "And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful." (NLT)

    Psalm 117:1-2, "Praise the LORD, all you nations. Praise him, all you people of the earth. For he loves us with unfailing love; the LORD's faithfulness endures forever. Praise the LORD!" (NLT)

    © 2013 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Christian Mediation

    Posted on November 10, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! 1 Corinthians 6:4

    A lawsuit is not an option for two believers in Christ; otherwise there is no difference between followers of Jesus and non-believers, which means there is no distinction in values, standards, beliefs, and morals. So, Christian mediation has a much greater effect for two individuals who are locked in a relational crisis. There is a much greater purpose at work; to be a good example to the church and to those outside the church. Your obedience with this mediation opportunity matters.
    Your family is watching; your friends are watching; your foes are watching; God is watching. In the middle of conflict and disagreement, it is of great consequence that you remain true to the process of mediation. Do not be discouraged or downtrodden. God can be trusted to work it out. Yes, it takes time, and yes, it is painful at times, but this may be the result of not dealing with issues in a timely fashion. Early on, if you are mad or disagree with a decision or behavior, talk it through. If you wait for the misunderstanding to fester, the foundation of trust begins to crack. Your communication ceases and lies begin to creep into your thinking. Before long, there becomes a standoff, and both parties feel hurt and disrespected.
    Bad news needs to travel quickly so it can be processed and corrected. Your current situation calls for Christian mediation because a severe disagreement has occurred. Hurt hovers over the relationship. It is extremely critical, at this point, to check your anger at the door before you enter the room of mediation. Make it your goal to restore the relationship rather than getting what you feel you deserve; the relationship is what’s most important. What you think you deserve may be inflated compared to what you really deserve. This is why a trusted, fair, and wise mediator is invaluable. Whatever the mediator decides is to be accepted by both parties. The mediator will define the facts and listen objectively to both sides. After verifying the facts and processing the information, the mediator will offer a solution that is beneficial and fair to both parties. At this point, you can chose to forgive, trust, and move forward, or you can chose to stew in your self-pity.
    Everyone wins when everyone chooses to grow through this process. If you listen intently with a heart to learn, you will come away a better person in Christ. It is through conflict that pride and arrogance either flame up or fizzle out. The goal is the latter. Do not see this disagreement as an affront to you or an opportunity to get even. See this process of Christian mediation as purging your own sin. You will learn from this, and will not assume certain things in the future. Make sure you value the relationship over riches. Money can be made up, but an offended brother may be lost forever. It is not worth living in relational disrepair. People are more important than getting what you want. Focus on the spirit of the original agreement. You have the opportunity to serve them instead of demanding from them, so take the high road. Die to your expectations, and watch God work; His mediation is masterful.

    Post/Tweet: Value the relationship over riches. Money can be made up, but an offended brother may be lost forever. #Christianmediation

    © 2013 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 1 Corinthians

Items 651 to 660 of 1949 total

Helping you find, grow, share and celebrate your faith
Who doesn't love free shipping!? At Family Christian, you can qualify TWO ways:

1. To your door (just $50 minimum)*

No coupon required! Simply add $50 worth of merchandise to your cart and select the "Free Shipping" option under "Shipping Method." Easy as pie.

* Valid on merchandise totaling $50 or more before taxes. Please keep in mind this is valid on domestic ground shipping to addresses within the U.S. only, not valid toward international delivery. Additional charges apply for express shipping. Terms subject to change without notice.

2. To your store (no minimum order required!)*

At checkout, select "Ship to your local Family Christian store" and enter your zip code to find our closest location. Not sure if there is a Family Christian nearby? Find your local store now.

* Valid on select merchandise only
Loading... Loading...