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Family Christian

  • Pure Motives

    Posted on November 29, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me you fasted?” Zechariah 7:5b

    Pure motives are sometimes hard to distinguish. Especially difficult are motives related to religion. Why do we serve God? If gratitude and love are the reasons for our service then our motives are right, but it is not always that easy or clear. Sometimes as committed Christians the lines of pure hearted motivation are blurred. Service for Christ is not to make us feel better about ourselves, rather our service is to glorify our Savior Jesus.

    Indeed, service for God with wrong motives can easily lead to burnout, disappointment and disillusionment. An act of service—on behalf of Christ—is not conditional. You hold it with an open hand and with a pure heart you offer your time and money. Your expectations are at peace knowing you have followed the example of Jesus. Your motive is to please and obey Him—it is not for your fame, but for your heavenly Father’s name.

    Hence our contentment comes from Christ, not our achievements and the accolades of men. Men may see our righteous acts and want to give us more credit than is deserved. This is the time to publicly reflect the glory back to the Lord. Praise offers the opportunity to privately and humbly thank God for His unmerited favor, mercy and blessing.

    It is important to do a motive check of your life. It is a moment-by-moment, day-by-day, and year-by-year process. We are all experts at rationalizing and justifying good results that emerge from shady motives. The methods may even be acceptable, but the reasons are wrong. However, pure motives can be found, as they come from a pure heart. Seek to align your motives with love. Great works can be accomplished, but without the foundation of love we gain nothing in the eyes of God.

    “If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing” (I Corinthians 13:3).

    Just being in God’s presence tends to purify our motives. So, do all things for Him and His glory. Moreover, let your reward be unseen rather than seen. Then the pure motives represented by gold, silver and precious stones will one day survive God’s revealing fire. It’s all for His needs and their needs. Stay motivated with pure motives for Jesus’ sake!

    “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.  If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work (I Corinthians 3:11-13).

    Prayer: Why do I do what I do in the name of the Lord? Has Christ cleansed my motives?

    Related Readings: Proverbs 30:12; 1 John 3:3; Revelation 19:8, 14

    Post/Tweet this today: Contentment comes from Christ, not from achievements and accolades. #puremotives

    © 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 Zechariah

  • Free Wallpaper for Your Mobile, Tablet or Computer - December

    Posted on November 29, 2013 by Family Christian

    December. It's the month that involves a story. Not just any ol' story, but THE Story. The Story that trumps all other stories.

    It's a time to gather the family and friends around the Story that involves a Baby. A Lamb. A Lion. All of it leading to a hill. A cross. An empty grave. Oh yes, December is the quite the month.

    Enjoy these wallpapers to dress up your space.  These are completely free to download. Just right click on the size that you need and you will be all set. To find out which size you need, click here.

    Both images are taking from our Coupon Calendars that we sell online and in our stores. Click here to find the Growth in Faith Calendar and the He Refreshes My Soul Calendar.


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    This post was posted in Art and was tagged with Featured, Wallpapers

  • Boldness

    Posted on November 29, 2013 by Lynn Cowell

    Lynn Cowell

    "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14 (NIV)

    My daughter reclined in the hammock, face in a book. She chooses to read stories based in history, where the author's words transport her to another setting when life seemed grander.

    She often says, "Mom, I wish I was born in a different time and place."

    As a mom, it's easy for me to slip into similar thoughts too. To look around, observe the not-so-positive changes in our culture and wish for the seemingly tranquil world of generations past. To lament over how easy it must have been to raise kids, take care of your family, and share your faith back then.

    These thoughts have discouraged me and sometimes left me wondering, "Why keep trying? It's hopeless."

    Yet, when I read of Esther in the Bible, I am reminded that God has a purpose for placing me exactly where I am right now-in this time and place-just like He did for Esther.

    When Esther was a young woman, she was taken from her Jewish family and brought to Susa, the Persian King Xerxes' fortress, for twelve months of beauty treatments. This was done to her and other women in preparation to meet the king so he could choose a new queen.

    Esther found great favor with the king and he appointed her the new queen. Despite her good standing with King Xerxes, Esther hid the fact she was Jewish. But when a plot to destroy the Jewish people was revealed, Esther's family member, Mordecai, asked her to intervene and request help from the king to save them.

    By law, no one was to approach the king without being asked. Doing so would risk being put to death. Plus, the king hadn't summoned Esther in 30 days, an indication he was losing interest in her. But Mordecai reminded her, "... if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14 NIV)

    Esther understood the greater good and risked her life on behalf of the Jews. God appointed Esther to be in Susa at that specific time to rescue her people from the potential destruction. A bold girl in the right place at the right time saved an entire nation from annihilation.

    Like Esther, we can trust that God has placed us where we are "for such a time as this," for His purposes. Our assignment is important too. We are surrounded by people God loves and wants to rescue. Sharing Jesus with family, at our job, with our neighbors, and in our community could lead them to accepting God's love.

    Jesus willingly gave His life so we could approach our King for eternal life. He asks us to share this new life with those around us. Today, let's boldly step out and make ourselves available to God just as Esther did. God surely can use us to free someone from despair as we share the hope of eternal life!

    Although it's enjoyable to daydream about times past, the most important work we can do is today.

    Powerful and Wise God, You always know exactly what You are doing. Open my eyes today to see the rescue mission You want me to be a part of "for such a time as this." Empower me to be bold! Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Do you know someone who needs reassurance they've been created "for such a time as this"? Send them a card, text, or email today, pouring in hope that God has them exactly where they need to be.

    Do you shrink back from being bold and sharing about Jesus and eternal life? Pray for conviction and courage to do so.

    Power Verse:
    2 Timothy 1:7, "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lynn Cowell. 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 Esther

  • Thankful for Answered Prayer

    Posted on November 28, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” John 11:41-42

    Jesus thanked His Father for answered prayer, before His prayer was answered. His heart was so in tune with the heart of the Father that He could boldly ask knowing it was the will of God. In the same way, our Savior calls us to align our hearts with our Heavenly Father’s heart. His plan is for our desires to be His desires, our wants to be His wants, our goals to be His goals, our will to be His will and our prayers to be His prayers. Hence, we can thank Him for answered prayers!

    What prayers are yet to be answered, but need to be prayed? What is Christ asking you to confidently pray in His name knowing He will answer in the future? Perhaps it's a yet to be determined job promotion you can thank God for now. You can praise the Lord today for your wayward child, who you have a peace in your heart will eventually come back to their Savior Jesus. Or, you pray with the Spirit’s certainty over an uncertain illness that threatens your joy. Whatever you face you can face down with faith in your Heavenly Father who hears your prayer.

    You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:14

    We ask in Jesus' name when we pray for Him to be glorified through answered prayer. When Jesus is lifted up all men and women are drawn to Him. We ask in Christ's name when our desire is for our answered prayers to be a benefit for believers to grow in their faith, and for unbelievers to come to faith. Oh the joy of seeing someone come to know Jesus in personal salvation, because they saw the love of God transform the life of a loved one. Gratitude glorifies God!

    Lastly, as we look to the Lord and thank Him for answered prayer, He may call us to be a part of His provision. Jesus told the disciples to pray to the Lord of the harvest for laborers and as they prayed He called them to labor for Him. So, what is your role in relation to the future prayers He wants to answer on your behalf? Perhaps you can resource the need or call on a relationship that can provide answers. Be grateful, God has you positioned to be a part of His answered prayers!

    Then He [Jesus] said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Luke 10:2, NKJV

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I praise You for the assurance of answered prayers in the future.

    Related Readings: 2 Chronicles 7:15; 2 Kings 20:5; Psalm 17:6; Matthew 7:7; 1 John 5:14-15

    Post/Tweet this today: Whatever you face, you can face down with faith in your Heavenly Father, who hears your prayer. #thankful

    © 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 John, Thanksgiving

  • Blog Summary for November 2013

    Posted on November 28, 2013 by John van der Veen

    Here are some of the most popular blogs that have been read by our followers during the month of November.

    Liz Curtis Higgs - The Women of Christmas

    A sacred season is about to unfold for three women whose hearts belong to God. Elizabeth is barren, yet her trust in God remains fertile. Mary is betrothed in marriage, yet she is willing to bear God’s Son. Anna is a widow full of years, yet she waits patiently, prayerfully for the Messiah to appear in the temple courts.

    Following in their footsteps, you too can prepare for the Savior to enter your heart, your mind, and your life in a vibrant, new way this season. In The Women of Christmas: Experience the Season Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna, bestselling author Liz Curtis Higgs explores the biblical stories of these three women, unwrapping each verse with tender care and introducing you afresh to The Women of Christmas.

    Read the full interview here.

    Pulling No Punches - an interview with Lecrae

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

    Read the full interview here.

    Phil Robertson. Father. Teacher. Theologian. Commander.

    If you have never heard of Phil Robertson or the Robertson boys, well, you must be living under a rock.  The Robertson family has taken American TV by storm, along with it the hearts of almost every person. Along with Phil, his wife Kay and their boys, the reality TV show Duck Dynasty has been a gathering place for the whole family. In other words, it's been a breath of fresh air.

    Phil Robertson was born and raised in Vivian, Louisiana, a small town near Shreveport. With seven children in his family, money was scarce and very early on, hunting became an important part of his life.

    Read the full interview here.

    Question and Answers with Nick Vujici

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

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

    Read the full interview here.

    A Q&A with Capital Kings

    There’s no denying much of today’s music has the power to move the masses
    physically. Inventive beats and hooky choruses are the currency of the day. Now
    enter Capital Kings, a talented duo that blends pop, electronic dance music, and
    rap into an intoxicating musical mix that makes audiences want to move, and yet
    there’s a thought-provoking, life-affirming undercurrent. Capital Kings combine
    style with substance and introduce flash with a foundation.

    Read the full Q&A here.

    Clinging to Christ in the Middle of the Hurricane - Natalie Grant

    In the opening lines of “In The End,” the spirited but poignant unplugged track that wraps her latest album Hurricane, Natalie Grant puts it as plainly as she ever has in dealing with the troubling storms we all face: “Can’t catch a break/You’ve had your fill of old clichés…”. Emerging from a dark, spiritually challenging time in her own life, the multi-talented singer/songwriter—a Grammy nominated, five time GMA (Gospel Music Association) Dove Award winner for Female Vocalist of the Year – breaks through the well worn and cheerful, but not completely truthful, phrases that often leave those who are struggling in need of more.

    Natalie and I sat down (with her daughter, Sadie, on her lap) and talked about what went into her new album. The ups and downs of life. Times of depression. Times of joy.

    Read the full interview here.

    Operation Christmas Child

    1993, more than 100 million boys and girls in over 130 countries have experienced God’s love through the power of simple shoebox gifts from Operation Christmas Child. Samaritan’s Purse works with local churches and ministry partners to deliver the gifts and share the life-changing Good News of Jesus Christ.

    Twenty years ago, Franklin Graham made a promise to collect a few gifts for boys and girls in war-torn Bosnia. Today, Operation Christmas Child has become a year-round, international project, delivering millions of shoeboxes to children in nearly 100 countries each year.

    Two decades after it started, Operation Christmas Child continues to deliver shoebox gifts and the Good News of Jesus Christ to boys and girls around the world.

    Read the full story here.

    Taylor's Gift - An interview with Todd & Tara Storch

    It was the last run of their first day on the slopes, the beginning of another great family vacation for Todd and Tara Storch and their three children. But when thirteen-year-old Taylor’s life was tragically cut short in a skiing accident, the Storches were overcome by the devastating loss of their daughter. Still in shock, they were asked a question no parents ever think they will hear: “Would you be willing to donate Taylor’s organs?”

    Their answer would change their family’s lives forever and provide comfort during their darkest moments. It would also save the lives of five desperate people anxiously waiting for a heart, a liver, a cornea, a pancreas, and a kidney.

    Read the full interview here.

    Everfound - God of the Impossible

    The four brothers of the Russian-born band Everfound, who immigrated to Denver, Colorado when they were young children, have been inspired by their ancestors’ commitment to their faith in the face of oppression in the Soviet Union. Although their ancestors were not legally allowed to profess their Christian faith, Everfound has sung freely and clearly about Jesus on four independent albums, and they will do so again on their major label debut with Word Records, the self-titled Everfound.

    For this album, they wrote 75 songs and narrowed it down to the best 12, including the lead-off hit single "Never Beyond Repair." While these songs are intensely personal, they were written with the a generation in mind. Everfound’s goal was to write songs that would serve as the soundtrack to people’s daily lives.

    See the full post here.

    Mandisa - Finding Freedom by Overcoming

    Coming off her most successful album ever, Mandisa returned to the studio to record her new album, Overcomer. Her previous album, What If We Were Real, has sold over 270,000 albums and featured the breakout radio hits “Good Morning,” “Waiting For Tomorrow,” and the #1 hit, “Stronger.” The American Idol alum and three-time Grammy nominee continues to be a voice of encouragement and truth to women facing life’s challenges. Mandisa also continues to have unprecedented media exposure for a Christian artist including two recent appearances on Good Morning America.

    I sat down with Mandisa at a local coffee shop to talk about new music, coffee vs. tea, family and what it means to be an over-comer. What follows is a real conversation. Mandisa, some would say is a true artist. She is that for sure, but she is so much more. She is a warrior in a huge battle. She is a fighter - fighting for the truth of the Gospel. That can be summed up with one statement from her, "There is joy unspeakable!"

    Read the full interview here.


    This post was posted in Music, Books, Interviews and was tagged with Featured, Lecrae, Nick Vujicic, Mandisa, Capital Kings, Todd Storch, Tara Storch, Phil Robertson, Duck Dynasty, Natalie Grant, Liz Curtis Higgs, Operation Christmas Child, Everfound

  • A Morning Prayer

    Posted on November 28, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name." Psalm 86:11 (NIV 1984)

    It is very early in the morning. Though my body begs me to go back to sleep, my soul stirs to get up and talk with Jesus.

    Though I can't physically see Him, I know He is present.

    I open my Bible to the book of Psalms and pray the verses I read to start my day. The more I do this, the less I hear the nagging things of this world. A beautiful melody of God's truth rises up and my worries fade in their light.

    His perspective on what troubles me overshadows my anxiety. This time alone with God prepares me for what I will need throughout the day. He's equipping me to handle what is ahead with His gentle boldness, quiet strength, and loving grace.

    In Psalm 81:10, God instructs me, "Open wide your mouth and I will fill it." (NIV 1984) He will give me what to say. What to say in happy moments and in aggravating moments. What to say when I feel insecure and what to say when I am confident. He also reminds me that sometimes it is good to keep my mouth closed and say nothing at all.

    Psalm 84:1 reminds me that God's dwelling place is lovely. So I ask for Him to dwell in me richly. I want God to be what radiates about me. Not my hair. Not my outfit. Not my efforts. But simply Him—shifting a wrong attitude, guarding my words, and whispering constant truths into my heart.

    Psalm 86:11 prompts me to ask God to "Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart ..." (NIV 1984)

    Each of these verses lead my morning prayer:

    Lord, may nothing separate me from You today. Teach me how to choose only Your way today so each step will lead me closer to You. Help me walk by the Word and not my feelings.

    Help me to keep my heart pure and undivided. Protect me from my own careless thoughts, words, and actions. And keep me from being distracted by MY wants, MY desires, MY thoughts on how things should be.

    Help me to embrace what comes my way as an opportunity . . . rather than a personal inconvenience.

    And finally, help me to rest in the truth of Psalm 86:13, "Great is your love toward me." (NIV 1984)

    You already see the ways I will fall short and mess up. But right now, I consciously tuck Your whisper of absolute love for me into the deepest part of my heart. I recognize Your love for me is not based on my performance. You love me warts and all.

    That's amazing.

    But what's most amazing is that the Savior of the world would desire a few minutes with me this morning. Lord, help me to forever remember what a gift it is to sit with You like this. Amen.

    I'm now ready to face today. Armed with truth. Surrounded by love. Filled with gratitude.

    Dear Lord, I love You. All that I've expressed above is the desire of my heart. I confess that sometimes my actions and reactions betray my love for You. Please forgive me. Thank You for Your grace that is able to recognize this new day as a new chance to walk closer with You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Set aside time today to personally pray through the verses in Psalms listed in this devotion. Personalize them by inserting things particular to you. For example: Psalm 86:11 talks about having an undivided heart.

    List out those things that divide your heart and pull you away from the closeness you desire with Jesus. Spend some time confessing these and asking for wisdom to know how to better handle them.

    Power Verse:
    Mark 1:35, "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." (NIV)

    © 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 Psalm, Prayer

  • Thankful for the Extraordinary

    Posted on November 27, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. Luke 10:21, NKJV

    Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit and full of joy over God’s revelation of truth. His joy exploded in thanksgiving to His Heavenly Father. Knowledge of The Holy is hidden from the intellectually proud, but is revealed to the humble in heart. Self proclaimed sages could not see what babies in the faith came to understand: Jesus Christ was the son of God. Prophets and Kings longed to see and hear from the Messiah, but the meek disciples were the first to experience their Savior Jesus. It is an extraordinary gift to see with eternal eyes what the Lord has for those who love Him.

    We pinch ourselves knowing through the Holy Spirit we can know God. Our Heavenly Father is available to show us Himself and to reveal to us His will and His ways. What conceited scholars miss, we can receive through a humble and contrite heart. Our Lord chose us to champion His truth, because our human credentials are very modest compared to the surpassing glory of our Savior Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit reveals to us what we need to know for today’s decisions.
    Like a sovereign King has control over a country, the Spirit is sovereign over truth’s revelation.

    He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— the Lord God Almighty is his name. Amos 4:13

    Joy wells up in our hearts and explodes into thanksgiving when we recall the revelation of God. His Spirit convicted us of our need to repent of our sin and receive Christ and His love as the payment of our sin. We rejoice knowing our name is written in heaven. It is an extraordinary blessing to have the assurance of eternal life with the Lord and with all those who love Him. Indeed, we thank our Father for the privilege and opportunity to learn how to walk with Jesus and invite others to know Him. We are Christ’s channel to reveal grace and truth to needy souls.

    How can you express gratitude to God for the forgiveness of your sins? What are some evidences of the joy of the Lord in your life? Praise and thanksgiving to the Almighty are fruits of your joyful heart. You thank Him when you see the smile on the face of a loved one stricken by a stroke, who unable to speak, can hum hymns and tear up at the reading of God’s word. Oh yes, the revelation of Jesus Christ is extraordinary to those with an eye on their eternal dwelling!

    For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Corinthians 5:1

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the extraordinary revelation of Your son Jesus Christ.

    Related Readings: Daniel 2:22, 28; John 1:18; 21 Corinthians 1:26-29; 1 Peter 1:10-12; Revelation 20:12

    Post/Tweet this today: Knowledge of The Holy is hidden from the intellectually proud, but is revealed to the humble in heart. #thankful

    © 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, Thanksgiving

  • Whom Can You Invite?

    Posted on November 27, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families ..." Psalm 68:5-6a (NIV 1984)

    "It's the most wonderful time of the year!" The loudspeaker blared the joyful lyrics of the familiar song that snowy Christmas Eve afternoon.

    Everywhere I glanced, people were searching for last-minute gift purchases, holiday baking ingredients or that one final string of twinkle lights that would make their Christmas downright Norman-Rockwell-perfect.

    However, as I stood in line paying for the ingredients for my assigned cheesy potato casserole for our family gathering, a lump formed in my throat. Soon my lips quivered and hot tears fell onto my wind-chapped cheeks.

    How can everyone be so happy? Why is the world going on as if nothing happened? My friend Julie died last night leaving behind a husband and eight children who need her. Doesn't anyone care?

    I wanted to scream. And I wanted the holidays to be cancelled that year. There was no cheer in me, and I thought the rest of the world should follow suit and just "humbug" the whole celebration.

    Although our hearts were heavy, we tried to make the most of Christmas, especially for our children who were sad about their friends' mother's death. Over the next few months, my husband and I carried on with our normal life and tried to help our widowed friend as best we could.

    Several in our circle of friends made meals on a weekly basis. A college girl offered to clean their home. One of Julie's sons joined our homeschool for kindergarten a few days each week. Although we still experienced great heartache knowing our friend wasn't coming back, lightening her husband's load and being there for the children made us feel as if we were fulfilling the mission God had for us.

    Ever since that year, our family has become more aware of the fact that for many, Thanksgiving and Christmas aren't the most wonderful times of the year. In fact, the holidays can be downright painful.

    Loneliness looms. Depressions darken. Even suicides soar. While scores of us delight in the season, drinking the sights, sounds, and smells, others are numb from pain and despise these months.

    A neighbor of mine had a good perspective on helping those who hurt. She once told me, "The holidays are an excuse for making someone's life better." She was right! There are people waiting to be encouraged and included during this season. If only we would cease our own sometimes self-focused hustle and bustle long enough to see!

    After that sad season, we've made it our mission to reach out at the holidays more than we play the commercialized "gimmee game." Thanksgiving and Christmas are not about getting. The very essence of both is giving.

    When our family has been intentional about being Jesus' hands and feet at the holidays, He has allowed us to brighten the lives of many. We get to show His love and character talked about in Psalm 68:5-6a, "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families ..." (NIV 1984)

    Others are welcomed at our table. We sing Christmas carols to shut-ins, decorate homes and address Christmas cards for widows, shop for the needy, bake for the brokenhearted, and often include the lonely in our normal holiday activities as if they were part of our family. Because really, they are.

    Maybe God wants to use your family to encourage someone this year. Let's use this Thanksgiving and Christmas to make someone's life better, richer in love, and fuller in the comforts of knowing they are noticed and cared for.

    Dear Lord, show me who needs to be reached out to this Thanksgiving and Christmas season. Help me make someone's life richer, fuller and far less lonely. I want to be Your hands and feet. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Gather the family. Solicit responses to the following questions, "Who do you know that might be lonely at the holidays this year? Now, what creative way could we help to combat their loneliness and make them feel loved?"

    It's not too late to invite someone over for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow! Give them a call now.

    Power Verse:
    Matthew 25:40, "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'" (NIV)

    © 2013 by Karen Ehman. 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

  • Thankful for the Ordinary

    Posted on November 26, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    When he [Jesus] was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him. Luke 24:30-31

    The eyes of Christ’s two hosts were opened to His presence when they saw His grateful heart. The Holy Spirit revealed the gift of the Son through the expression of gratitude for God’s gifts. Yes, we grow in our likeness of Jesus when we thank God for the small things in life. His rising sun that brightens the tops of shaded trees with autumn’s yellow leaves. Light rain that hums to sleep a whiny baby. A carpet of green grass for children to run, skip and laugh on. A blanket of snow that calms the soul. Ordinary blessings of God are extraordinary in their scope and significance.

    Yes, we are compelled to give thanks to our Heavenly Father for His everyday provision. It may be the moment by moment opportunity to fill our lungs with God’s oxygen or the meals He routinely provides to fill our stomach. Ordinary, daily blessings from Jesus give us the privilege to slow down and say thank you. Perhaps gratitude for a spouse’s support, a child’s love, a parent’s laughter or a friend’s faith. Neighbors who smile make us smile with genuine thankfulness. Our gratitude for the Lord’s ordinary gifts overflow our reservoir of faith. Joy fills our emotional cup.

    Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits. Psalm 103:1-2, NKJV

    How do you regularly express gratitude to God for your job? What are some ways you can say thank you to your coworkers? Maybe a simple thank you or a written note of appreciation. Offer to be responsible for a friend’s tasks, so they can take off a day. Show gratitude with a gift of cash, so an employee can take their spouse to dinner or pay down a school loan. Gratitude goes a long way in helping people face another day. Yes, be available to sit with the sick and serve them.

    Lastly, be bold when you break bread to pray a sincere blessing of thanksgiving for the Lord’s provision. Mix it up at meal time and ask each person around the table to share one thing they are thankful to God for. Make a list of the Lord’s blessings you can refer to when you have a bad day. Look for Christ’s gifts in your ordinary, everyday life. Brag on Jesus to others who may need Jesus. Respectfully and humbly, declare what good things God has given you to enjoy today!

    Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:3-5, NKJV

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible, ordinary gifts You give me every day.

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 8:3; Nehemiah 12:47; Psalm 68:19; Acts 2:47; Hebrews 3:13

    Post/Tweet this today: Gratitude goes a long way to help people face another day. #thankfulfortheordinary

    © 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, Thanksgiving

  • The Lord Will Provide

    Posted on November 26, 2013 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy Blight

    "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." Genesis 22:14b (NLT)

    Every time I flew, for days preceding each trip, anxiety welled up within me. I couldn't sleep and I suffered with stomachaches, headaches, and a racing heart.

    As traveling for work increased, so did the flying. I arrived exhausted. I knew I couldn't continue living with this fear. I tried to justify this fear as different from other life-altering fears. But it wasn't. Fear is fear, no matter the cause.

    After one particularly difficult flight, I decided that was it! I was tired of this battle, so I purposed in my heart to do something.

    I had battled and overcome fear in the past, but under different circumstances. So I once again called upon God to help me. This time I prayed to God by one of His great names, Yahweh Yireh, which means "the LORD will provide." Praying to Yahweh Yireh reminded me that God saw my situation and could provide for my needs.

    Yahweh Yireh, I know You are with me when I fly. Your name tells me You know what I need, and You promise to provide it. I ask You and trust You to provide what I need to overcome my fear of flying.

    Step by step, He provided just what I needed to lead me to a place of freedom. I felt His gentle reassurance in my heart. I am right here, my child. I am your Yahweh Yireh. Remember the story of my servant, Abraham.

    I turned to Genesis 22 to refresh my memory. In verse 14 I read, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." (NLT) You see, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, the one God promised to provide and did.

    Without hesitation, Abraham took steps towards obeying God. He purposed in his heart to do the unthinkable because God asked him to. He trusted God to make a way to provide for the promise He had made. Even when Isaac asked his father where the sacrificial lamb was, Abraham exhibited great faith with his words: the Lord will provide. He then laid his son on the altar.

    Just as Abraham drew back the knife to sacrifice his son, the Angel of the LORD intervened. And in that moment, Abraham spotted a ram.

    God had provided a sacrifice.

    God did the same for me. What Abraham faced is on a totally different level than my fear of flying. But Scripture teaches us that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is the same God He was back then with Abraham as He is in the present with me. He met me on each and every flight in ways that only He could do. He knew what I needed and provided it.

    He divinely placed me next to pilots who explained the science of turbulence and the mechanics of planes. On one flight, I even sat next to an astronaut! Thank goodness I'm not flying into outer space, I thought! A friend began coming along with me who provided a comforting hand to hold ... or squeeze with all my might, depending upon the flight!

    With each trip, I grew more and more at peace. I found verses to pray when I flew. Memorizing and praying these truly helped me overcome my fear.

    What provision do you need from Yahweh Yireh today? Peace, financial wisdom, confidence, good health? Just as He provided for me, He will provide for you. Go to Him in prayer.

    I no longer dread traveling and sleep soundly the night before my flights. And most of all, I trust that Yahweh Yireh has His eyes on me and will provide what I need to bring me peace.

    Yahweh Yireh, You are the Lord who will provide. I invite You to intervene in my circumstances today. Be ever present in my heart and my life and provide everything I need to overcome my fear. Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Where do you need God's provision in your life?

    Write a prayer that boldly asks Yahweh Yireh to provide for that need.

    Power Verses:
    Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Wendy Blight. 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 Genesis

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