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  • Wedding Gifts for the Happy Couple

Family Christian

  • Messy Marriages

    Posted on August 22, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God." Jeremiah 17:7 (MSG)

    I threw the cup of orange juice across the kitchen. It felt good to do something, anything, to release all the surging anger and frustration. And I didn't even mind cleaning the pulpy, sticky mess.

    It felt soothing to know how to clean something. I knew how to wipe away this mess. And I liked seeing the mess disappear.

    If only my marriage mess could be fixed with soap, water and a handful of paper towels.

    I whispered, God, why does this have to be so hard?

    Have you ever been there?

    I think many of us have. Whether we're in a really tough marriage or just in a rough patch, marriage can be messy. Hurtful. Lonely.

    No one ever told me about this side of marriage before I donned the white dress and danced to MC Hammer at the reception.

    But after 20 years of learning, growing and pressing through the messes to see something beautiful form in the midst of it all, here's what I know ...

    Jesus loves those in messy marriages.

    He loves my husband, Art, and me in the midst of it all. Jesus doesn't love the mess of hurt, isolation and bitterness. Those are things He wants us to work on. But He never stops loving us.

    Jesus loves me. His grace is strong enough to extend His love into every part of me. The good parts. The broken parts. The ugly parts. The bitter parts. The loving parts. Even the parts that throw orange juice.

    And Jesus loves Art. His grace is strong enough to extend His love into every part of my husband. The good parts. The broken parts. The ugly parts. The bitter parts. The loving parts. And even the parts that look at me like I'm crazy when I throw orange juice.

    Since Jesus loves both of us, He's the best source of help for our marriage. I don't say that without a deep awareness of how stinkin' hard it is to go to Jesus when I'm mad as fire at my husband.

    And I certainly don't say it in naive simplicity. Gracious, I know some of you are facing marriage situations that rip your heart into a thousand pieces every day.

    But still, I know Jesus is the best source of help.

    Honest cries for help lifted up to Jesus will not go unheard. He sees. He knows. He loves. And Jesus will direct you as long as you stick with Him.

    Jeremiah 17:7-8 in The Message version reminds us:

    But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God. They're like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers-Never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, Serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season.

    So, how do I stick with Jesus? I proclaim I'm sticking with Jesus:

    Jesus, I'm sticking with You. I'm giving You what I don't understand and what I can't fix. I'm giving You what I don't like about me. I'm giving You what I don't like about him. And I'm giving You what I don't like about my marriage. I'm listening for Your instruction. I'm positioning myself to go where I'll hear Your truth. To talk to others who love You and serve You. And to read wise instruction from the Bible. Amen.

    Jesus loves those who are in messy marriages. I know. Though Art and I have a wonderful marriage now, we can still hit some rough patches now and then.

    But you'll be happy to know I haven't thrown orange juice across the kitchen lately.

    Dear Lord, so much of me wants to stick with my anger and frustration. But I'm choosing to stick with You. Today I'm going to hold my temper, hold my tongue and hold on to Your Truth. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    A Life That Says Welcome, Simple Ways to Open Your Heart & Home to Others by Karen Ehman

    The NIV Real Life Devotional Bible for Women with 366 devotions written by the Proverbs 31 Ministries team on everyday life.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you honestly waited on the Lord for His guidance? Today, make a choice to seek His wisdom through His Word and ask for wise counsel from a trusted, Christ-following friend.

    Power Verse:
    Ephesians 4:26, 29-32, "'In your anger do not sin': Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry ... Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

    And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (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 Marriage, Jeremiah

  • Spirit Led Praying

    Posted on August 21, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

    Hallelujah, the Holy Spirit is our lead in making known our prayers to heaven. Just as a pace car leads other high octane automobiles around a racetrack, so the Spirit of God is out in front to make sure our revved up activities follow a sustainable pace.  Spirit led praying is intimate and engaged with the Lord. It avoids tipping God with meaningless mumbles, but instead seeks to communicate Christ’s heart to our heart. Our weak feeling prayers are made strong by the Spirit.

    Furthermore, we need not feel frantic or afraid when we are unsure what to pray. The Spirit discerns what is necessary for our heart and mind and what is nonessential. Spirit led praying is like standing waist deep in a crystal blue swimming pool. We hear the outside world with all its competing noise, but when we softly lay back our head under water it becomes a quiet sanctuary. So, the Spirit immerses the ears of our soul under the interceding water of His wordless groans.

    The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, Abba, Father. Romans 8:15

    Your will meshes with God’s will as you pray in the Spirit. Holy alignment occurs with Almighty God’s agenda for your life. The sweet prompting of the Spirit resonates with affirmations and warnings. Like a smoke detector sniffing out any dangerous fumes, so by faith the Holy Spirit discerns any unholy heart alliance and warns you to exit from its influence. Yes, embrace those who follow the way of Christ and graciously let go of those who fail to bring God glory.

    Therefore, pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. The Spirit of the Lord is sensitive and creative to communicate prayers of thanksgiving and prayers of grief. He accepts your petitions poured out on behalf of a poor soul suffering through sickness. He invites your prayers for those enjoying success whose character needs to keep up with their accomplishments. Keep on praying for all the Lord’s people with Spirit led promptings!

    And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:18

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me by Your Spirit to pray by faith in my weak moments and in my moments of strength.

    Related Readings: Zechariah 4:6; John 20:22; 2 Timothy 1:7; Galatians 4:6; Philippians 1:19

    Post/Tweet today: Your will meshes with God’s will creating alignment with God’s agenda as you pray in the Spirit.. #Spiritledpraying

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Romans, Prayer

  • The Life, Legacy and Music of Bill Gaither

    Posted on August 21, 2013 by John van der Veen


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

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

    That's where it all started.

    I had the privilege to sit down and chat with Mr. Gaither. It was more-or-less a walk down memory lane more than anything.

    Mr. Gaither:   It was the music that really caught my attention first. It would be in the late '40s, and I would listen to the radio and I heard a gospel quartet. I just loved four-part harmony, the below base singers and the tenors and how that all worked and it got my attention. Later on I found out what they were singing about, but the first time I heard it, it was just their singing that I liked.

    John:               Do you remember that first artist that you heard?

    Mr. Gaither:   They're the group called the Big Four Quartet. Nobody knows much about them.

    John:               I'm sure there are a few that still do. What was the first concert that you went to?

    Mr. Gaither:   I went to their concert. They were appearing at our little town. They were from Indianapolis and were on a 50,000 watt pure channel station, so they traveled throughout the Midwest. They came to our little town of Alexandria and I went see them.

    John:               At that time, Mr. Gaither, it seems like traveling gospel groups certainly had the ability to tour maybe a little easier than what they do now. Was that a simpler time?

    Mr. Gaither:   They were in smaller venues and didn't require a lot of amplification. It required some, but it didn't require the kind amplification you have to have in arenas these days. It was good. It was just a car so they weren't carrying around a lot of equipment. I think they always carried some product too, to sell.

    John:               Growing up there in Central Indiana, you had your eyes set on being a school teacher, right? Or did you always think that maybe at some point you would be involved in the music industry?

    Mr. Gaither:   When I was a kid I thought I could do something in music, but after I got out of high school I've realized that that's a tough road to go. I went to college, and majored in education and worked as a teacher for the first 10 years of our professional life.

    John:               Were you always a song writer? Were you writing songs all the way through that time? Did you write songs in childhood, et cetera?

    Mr. Gaither:   No. I didn't start writing songs until I headed out of college. I started writing songs because we were running out of material that our group could sing. We were just running out of material that we could do.

    John:               How could that be? Running out of material, that is rather ironic. How many songs you have written through these years?

    Mr. Gaither:   We've probably written about 700 or 800 songs. I’m not sure, but the copyright department keeps track of all of that.

    John:               That's incredible. You're still writing today?

    Mr. Gaither:   Yes. Not as much as we did in the early days, but I think we're writing good quality stuff at least.

    John:               Absolutely. At what point then when you became a schoolteacher—you said you were doing that for the first 10 years of your gospel career—at what point did you make that transition…?

    Mr. Gaither:   When my night job overtook my day job. I wasn't being honest and fair, I don't think, to the school system that was paying me. I was writing a bit and we were travelling quite a bit, and I can remember the day I went to the principal, and he said, "I knew this day was going to come. I hate to see it come." I tell him, I said, "I can't keep pushing this on both ends." He said, "Man, we hate to lose you as a teacher, but you've always got a job in case you want to come back."

    John:               That's great. Mr. Gaither, going back to the songs that you and your wife have written through the years, when you go through your catalog, what do you think is the most important song that you guys have ever written?

    Mr. Gaither:   That's hard to say from our perspective because we've got some pretty important songs that never really got into top. When I'm asked that question, I usually go back to the songs that the people ask for and the songs that seem to rise to the top. Among these is “Because He Lives.” We've got that from all over the country and all over the world. We just went to Norway last year in an arena with 8,000 people singing “Because He Lives” in Norwegian too. We just went down to Brazil, Sao Paulo, and 8,000 people down there were singing “Because He Lives” in their language, in Portuguese. We go over to Hungary and the same thing happened there with “He Touched Me.” That song is always at the top of the list of songs that people know that we've done. There's something about that name.

    John:               When you looked at all of the hymns or gospel songs that have been written from centuries ago, has there been one that you or Gloria continue to go back to that has definitely impacted your heart?

    Mr. Gaither:   There'd be several there, and they would have to be the category of hymns. “How Great Is Thy Faithfulness” is always a very meaningful lyric and the lyrics of “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” would be one I back again too. Some of the gospel lyrics too, like “The Love of God could we with ink the ocean fill and were the skies of parchment made. Songs like Hamlin's “Until Then My Heart Will Go On Singing.”

    John:               Mr. Gaither, when you look back at your ministry through the years what sticks out in your mind as maybe one of your greatest achievements?

    Mr. Gaither:   I don't know. In fact, I hope I brought some people together. I think ... I hope we've done something to unite the body of Christ. There are so many things that they divide it with today, but I hope that we have united some folks. I told somebody the other day that ... what are you doing? I think I'm a bridge.

    John:               That's a fantastic statement. What do you think, kind of running down the rabbit trail here a second Mr. Gaither, what do you think of the church here in the United States here in the West recently? Are we in trouble? Are we on the right track? Are we continually focusing on the centrality of the gospel?

    Mr. Gaither:   I'm quite encouraged with the church at this day in effect. I think as a whole the church is doing a lot of doing of significant things in the community.  I think with the dawn of this century, we've become more of a light. I learned a little chorus in Sunday School, I think it's a very important chorus. It goes, “This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine.” I hear people talk about we got to fight the darkness. I'm not sure we fight anything. I think what we do ... the only way to fight the darkness is let your little ... let your light shine and I think if you get enough lights shining, the darkness dissipates. I think I see that more and more all the time. I think the church is finally coming of age and realizing it's more than just talking, it's more than rambling all the time about what we're about. It's about being and being the Body of Christ and being the extension of Christ in the culture and I think we're making a difference.

    John:               Just thinking back over what immediately flooded into my mind when you said that, was one of the times that I was at a Homecoming show. I don't know if you guys still do it, but remember those little flashlights that you had and at some particular point all the lights go dim and everybody starts shining these lights and it's incredible. The whole arena is then lit up with these tiny little lights and it's fantastic. I think what you just said, that picture in your live show is a clear, very visible example of what the church can and should be.

    Mr. Gaither:   I think we have to talk less and walk better.

    John:               That's a good statement. Wow. Mr. Gaither on that note, would you be willing to share what God has been teaching you lately?

    Mr. Gaither:   If I'm on anything here lately it's been on theme with being ... by being viral. By that I mean being what we say we are and doing on a day to day basis by the way we treat the waitress at the waffle house. There's so many different ways to let that light shine and I guess the biggest thing that God is teaching me is just finding more ways that I can be and that I can live out the Scripture.

    John:               Amen. Mr. Gaither, what's on the horizon? What do we have to look forward to for the second half of 2013 from the Homecoming team?

    Mr. Gaither:   I'm 77 years old. I don't even buy green bananas anymore. I'm not sure. I really take ... I don't live much in the future and I don't live at all in the past. I really live in the moment. I live in the day and I take the doors that are opening for me today and try to make as much out of them as I can. I might say today first is I'm just spending most of this day preparing for a trip that we are doing in Indianapolis on November the 30th this fall with Wheeler Mission. It's going to be a major benefit where hopefully we're going to raise close to half a million dollars for the homeless in Indianapolis where our mission has been being the evangelist and outreach for 67 years. It's already there, I don't have to organize them. All I have to do is help them do what they do better. I find myself at this point being preoccupied with that.

    John:               What's the name of that organization?

    Mr. Gaither:   Wheeler Mission in Indianapolis. Been there for 70 years feeding the homeless, taking in the homeless.

    John:               There is a ... let's see. I'm not sure if I have the title correct but there is a Women of Homecoming album coming out this fall, is that correct?

    Mr. Gaither:   Yes, this fall. We just taped it earlier and it's ... all of the videos up to now had been a mixture of both males and females but this is just the women singing and the women's issues are pretty much the same as the male issues but they're wonderful themes about responsibility and themes about commitment, themes about forgiveness, reconciliation, love, trust, hope in a different call of times. The songs are wonderful. Praise and worship. It's going to be a wonderful video.

    John:               Name some of the ladies that will be on the album.

    Mr. Gaither:   Sandy Patty, Kim Hopper, Teranda Green, Amy Grant, Natalie Grant and some of the newer names, like Jamie Grace.

    John:               Quite a selection.

    Mr. Gaither:   Yes.

    John:               Fantastic. I love it. I'm excited already. When you look at the Homecoming albums or videos through the years, how many of them do you think are surrounded around a theme?

    Mr. Gaither:   Many of them are, many of them are not. The theme in the early days was honoring some pioneers who had gone before, which I think was a good thing to do, and then they took on a theme or a life of their own. We had two that we had at Thanksgiving on being thankful and a couple ... we did about three or four with a theme of honoring the Graham organization and the music that's come out of it, with Billy Graham even involved himself with interviews and talks. Then where we have traveled internationally, we did one in Australia, one in England, and one in Africa. It takes on various themes depending where we are. When in New York City at Carnegie Hall that was more of a peace rally thing.

    John:               One last question here for you Mr. Gaither. When you and your wife sit down to relax, who do you listen to?

    Mr. Gaither:   My reading or my listening is all across the board. I still love classical music and would listen to a lot of classical in my car, at the house. I like early country. I'm not real crazy about the current country but I like some of the early country singers. I like a good gospel song.

    John:               Anyone in particular come to mind or just a nice variety?

    Mr. Gaither:   It's pretty much across the board. Now I enjoy listening to the Vocal Band.

    John:               As you well should. There's nothing wrong with that.

    Mr. Gaither:   Of some of those [GVB] projects, I’ve said, "We were better than we thought we were, weren't we?"

    John:               I'm sorry. I said that was my last question. I would follow that up with how about books? Do you and Mrs. Gaither read a lot?

    Mr. Gaither:   We read a lot. We read a lot of ... I read a lot of biography myself. It's interesting to learn from the lives of other people. Things they did right, sometimes things they did wrong but that's always an interesting way. I love history books, I'm quite a historian, and I love good spiritual help books.

    John:               Mr. Gaither, I want to thank you so much for your time today. I know you have an extremely busy schedule and I am so honored to talk with you today. You have been even from a distance such a great example of a godly man and a godly grandfather to me and to my family through all these years, so I'm very grateful for that. I'm thankful that you were able to take my call today.

    Mr. Gaither:   You're very, very kind and we'll look forward to the Women of Homecoming video ... it's very special and it will minister to a lot of people.

    John:               I'm sure it will.

    Mr. Gaither:   Glad to speak with you, my friend. You have a good day.

    When it's all said and done, I am not sure if there is a stopping point for this man.


    This post was posted in Music, Interviews, John van der Veen and was tagged with Featured, Bill Gaither, Gaither Vocal Band, Amy Grant, Jamie Grace, Natalie Grant, Gloria Gaither, Gaither Homecoming, Bill Gaither Trio, Sandy Patty, Kim Hopper, Teranda Green

  • Sara Groves Reveals The Collection On September 17

    Posted on August 21, 2013 by Family Christian

    Sara Groves is embraced as an esteemed, talented singer-songwriter and consummate storyteller. On September 17, Sara will release The Collection, celebrating her career thus far and culling the best and brightest from her 10 studio albums. The Collection weaves together Sara’s catalog of career successes from her debut record, Past the Wishing to her latest project, the critically praised release of Invisible Empires. In addition to the 23 songs from her repertoire, the September two-disc release will also include four brand new songs. Beginning next week and leading into November, Sara will release new live performance videos from select songs off The Collection.

    “I made a map of my life on my 40th birthday and remembered in broad strokes the first 20 years of my life and then the second,” says Sara. “I was amazed that there was rarely just one monolithic line, plummeting and rising, but that in the darker hours, there was almost always a counter-rise. You know what I’m talking about because when I go out and sing, you come and tell me about your plummeting and rising and these songs that mark each turn in the line. We’ve done our best to compile a group of songs to follow that line and 15 years of making music.”

    In tune with the release of The Collection, Sara and friends Andrew Peterson and Bebo Norman will embark on the “In The Round Tour” this fall. The multi-city tour begins in September and runs through November, sharing stories from each artist’s latest releases.

    Track Listing for The Collection:
    *New tracks

    DISC 1
    1. Strangely Ready*
    2. Maybe There’s a Loving God
    3. The Word
    4. You Are The Sun
    5. Something Changed
    6. Add To The Beauty
    7. How Is It Between Us
    8. Awakening
    9. Fly
    10. Painting Pictures of Egypt
    11. You Cannot Lose My Love
    12. He’s Always Been Faithful
    13. Blessed Be The Tie*

    DISC 2
    1. Lay It Down*
    2. When The Saints
    3. Eyes Wide Open
    4. Come Thou Fount
    5. Every Minute
    6. Fireflies And Songs
    7. Setting Up The Pins
    8. Miracle
    9. Roll To The Middle
    10. I Saw What I Saw
    11. All Right Here
    12. Eye On The Prize
    13. Why It Matters
    14. Kindness of Strangers*


    This post was posted in Music and was tagged with Featured, Bebo Norman, Andrew Peterson, Sara Groves

  • Christmas Oranges Comes to DVD

    Posted on August 21, 2013 by Family Christian

    Share a slice of Christmas sweetened with friendship in this classic story based on the book by Linda Bethers and Ben Sowards. When an epidemic forces the closing of Greenwoods Orphanage, a young girl named Rose (Bailee Johnson) is abruptly shipped from the only home she's ever known. From the warmth and kindness of Mrs. Hartley (Nancy Stafford), Rose finds Irongates and its strict headmaster, Mr. Crampton (Edward Herrman), to be cold and cruel. When Rose learns that each child receives an orange on Christmas, she waits in eager anticipation, but will Mr. Crampton's cruelty take away her special treat on Christmas morning?

    Look for Christmas Oranges by clicking here.


    This post was posted in Movies and was tagged with Featured, Movies, Christmas

  • Running on Empty

    Posted on August 21, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

    People often ask me, "How do you handle it all?"

    Depending on the situation, I answer in a variety of ways:

    1. I'm wired this way. And that's partly true. I have a God-wired ability to stay focused in the midst of chaos ... most of the time. I'm more left-brained than my husband, and he's an engineer!
    2. I stay organized ... most of the time. Usually, I can find what I need when I need it. Usually, I prepare in advance. There are times when life gets the best of me, and someone wears the same socks two days in a row. But systems and schedules help me stay on top of responsibilities.
    3. My kids are older. We still have issues that derail my best-laid plans, but they're different than when my kids were toddlers and one tried to use my car keys to unlock the back gate, dropping them in the alley by accident. That threw me into a meltdown of monumental proportions.

    But when people ask "How do you handle it all?" it's usually when I've shared something that has changed my life more than anything else. An act of obedience my family made eight years ago has pushed me to the edge of myself, made me question who I am and question God about His choice of me for this assignment. But it's also made me cling to Him with more desperation than ever before. What is it?

    Adopting two little girls from Africa.

    I haven't written much about these challenges due to respecting my family's privacy. And I also don't want to discourage adoptive parents with how hard our journey has been. It's one of the most important things I've ever done. But also the most costly.

    In 2005 we adopted two girls, ages 8 and 10, from war-torn Liberia. We knew nothing about their background, other than it contained deprivation even other poor countries don't experience. No running water, no electricity, no school, no exposure to books or even television. Just basic existence for years.

    Welcoming these little girls into our family at first seemed easy. They responded well to our love. They thrived with good food and education. But very soon we realized challenges. And then very sad truths about what happened in Africa started being uncovered.

    One daughter has cognitive challenges that will impact her ability to live independently the rest of her life, and ours. With the other we faced behavioral challenges-significant issues based on an early history of neglect and abuse.

    Sometimes there are Hallmark-channel-endings, but that's not our story. We live every day with our daughters' wounds and challenges. And these hardships have deeply affected me and my husband. They have affected our three biological children.

    Here's what I've discovered: all my God-wired ability to think through chaos, all my attempts at organization and having older kids didn't prepare me for this.

    But God's strength did.

    So how do I manage it all? Every day I turn to God and rely on what 2 Corinthians 12:9 teaches me ...

    I don't have it in me to do this one more day, I need Your strength.

    I don't have the patience in me for this … I need Your patience.

    I can't think straight right now ... I need Your clarity.

    I'm not even sure I have love in me right now ... I need Your love.

    And I get my portion for that day. I get just enough strength, patience, and clarity to make it through. And a new definition of love that's stronger and tougher and more determined than I have ever experienced.

    I wish I could write more about my family's story, and maybe someday I will. But for now, it's brought me to my knees; it's made me more humble; it's made me less judgmental, and it's made me depend on God more than ever.

    God's strength is enough. But I had to get to the end of mine to learn that.

    Heavenly Father, although I didn't know I'd be facing my current challenges, You did. Thank You for offering to step in the gap between my needs and my insufficient reservoir of strength with Your peace, wisdom, strength and love. Help me to lean on You when I feel like things are falling apart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    A Life That Says Welcome, Simple Ways to Open Your Heart & Home to Others by Karen Ehman

    The NIV Real Life Devotional Bible for Women with 366 devotions written by the Proverbs 31 Ministries team on everyday life.

    Reflect and Respond:
    The way to truly experience God's power is to get to the end of yours. What are you facing that makes you feel powerless?

    Ask God for one thing you need to make it through today. Then watch for His response.

    Power Verse:
    John 14: 27, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. 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 2 Corinthians

  • Daily Burden Bearer

    Posted on August 20, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Psalm 68:19

    Believers in Jesus have the Lord who daily bears their burdens. He is a Savior who is not crushed by back breaking circumstances. He reinforces the tentative trust of those under the weighty issues of wealth, sickness, leadership responsibilities, and becoming single again. Yes, a burden becomes too much to bear when it is managed alone. This silent suffering is soul abuse. But in Christ we have the righteous and resilient resources of heaven to persevere through pain.

    Therefore, make sure to engage the eternal grace of God to get you through temporary trials. You do not have to fake it to make it because faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master will give you the godly gumption to get through. Partner with the Holy Spirit to lift from your fleshly shoulders any feelings of doubt, false guilt or the fantasy of living a problem free life. He who lifted your sin burden at salvation remains a strong burden bearer today. God supports you daily.

    Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22

    Just as a nurse cuddles and carries a newborn, so your Heavenly Father cradles you in His sustaining care. Any back and forth movement you may feel against your faith is the soothing rock of your comforting Savior, Christ Jesus. When He holds you close to His breast, you can rest in Him. Resist fear’s desire to pull away and flee from the palpable peace of God. A soul snuggled against the chest of deity will not be shaken. What He holds close, He keeps secure!

    Hallelujah, praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior who daily bears our burdens. We praise Him in the morning, we praise Him in the noontime and we praise Him in the evening for removing our anxieties with His loving lift of compassion. Because He is our burden bearer we are freed to help carry the burdens of those stuck in sin or beat down from life’s challenges. What a joy divine to be Jesus to someone who needs to see Jesus. Thank your Burden Bearer, Jesus Christ!

    Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
    Prayer: Heavenly Father, what a joy to know You bear my burdens daily, so I am free to help others bear theirs.

    Related Readings: Psalm 81:16; Isaiah 9:4, 10:27, 46:4; Matthew 11:28-30; 1 John 2:6

    Post/Tweet today: He [Jesus] who lifted your sin burden at salvation remains a strong burden bearer today. #dailybearsburdens

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Psalm

  • The Gift of Listening

    Posted on August 20, 2013 by Renee Swope

    Renee Swope

    "I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray." Psalm 17:6 (NLT)

    One night I heard my husband calling our dog to get her treat. He was actually trying to lure Chelsea, our thirteen-year-old dachshund, to her doggie bed. She was in her favorite chair and nothing was getting her to budge, not even the promise of a treat.

    I asked my kids if they thought Chelsea had "selective hearing" because she didn't want to go to bed or if she was going deaf. I had a feeling it was the latter.

    We reminisced and laughed about how Chelsea used to hear every little thing, from the icemaker in our kitchen to a leaf blowing outside. Then my son Andrew, who was nine at the time, looked at me with great concern. "Mom, I hope when you get old you don't go deaf like Chelsea."

    I laughingly told him it might be good if I can't hear everything when I get as old as Chelsea. She gets a lot more sleep, and she's not offended by the doggy jokes we make about her advanced age.

    My light-hearted response didn't wipe the concern off his brow, so I asked why he was afraid I wouldn't be able to hear him. He answered without hesitation, "Well, sometimes you don't hear me now. Like when you're on the computer and I ask you a question."

    Ouch! I had no idea my child thought I couldn't hear him. His answer almost sent me on a bad-mommy guilt-trip. Flashbacks popped up from times I'd heard him but hadn't listened because my focus was on someone or something else, like the computer and TV.

    Instead of defining that moment with guilt, I pulled Andrew close and told him I was sorry for not listening sometimes. I explained how me being on the computer is similar to him watching a movie. He gets so involved he doesn't hear me call him for dinner. He smiled recognizing his own "hearing loss" at times.

    Still, I didn't want that to be my excuse. So I promised him I would try to stop what I am doing when he comes to me. In my heart, I committed to look away from my computer or phone to really listen. His comment made me realize, we all long to be heard, don't we?

    Psalm 17:6 reflects our desire for God to hear us. The psalmist wrote, "I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray." It reminds me that in the same way I go to God because I want Him to listen and answer me, my child and others come to me because they want me to listen to them. When I stop what I'm doing and listen, it tells them that they, and what they have to say, are important to me.

    In our culture of constant contact through technology, it's easy for our attention to be divided and our focus to shift away from those who are in the room with us.

    Although we are physically present, often times we are mentally absent.

    That night God showed me the valuable gift we can give our children, spouses, friends, co-workers and even strangers. It's the gift of listening.

    We give it each time we stop what we're doing and turn our full attention to others when they talk to us. And, it's a gift God gives to us each time we talk to Him too!

    Lord, thank You for listening to me. Please help me be a better listener. It's easy to hear with one ear while the other is turned toward my computer, television or cell phone. I want to give the gift of listening because it communicates that I value those who want me to hear them. Make me aware and willing to push past this habit so that I can be a listener like You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    A Life That Says Welcome, Simple Ways to Open Your Heart & Home to Others by Karen Ehman

    The NIV Real Life Devotional Bible for Women with 366 devotions written by the Proverbs 31 Ministries team on everyday life.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Ask God to show you throughout the day how you are doing when it comes to really listening to those you live and work with.

    Make a list of people you will give the gift of listening to this week.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 54:2, "Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth." (NIV)

    Luke 2:46, "After three days they found him [Jesus] in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Renee Swope. 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, Listening

  • Identity Crisis

    Posted on August 19, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:3-4

    Traumatic events like divorce or a job loss can create a crisis of identity. I previously parented with my spouse, but now I raise my child alone. As a single parent I feel angry, ill equipped and financially stressed. Before I was let go from my job I managed a team and felt respected. Post firing I struggle just to manage myself. I feel unimportant. An identity crisis is an opportunity for Christ to remind me of my identity in Him. I am significant in Him, so I am important to Him.

    What feels out of control the Lord uses to bring His child under His control. A parent's identity is challenged after a child leaves home as a young adult, just as an individual struggles for significance after retirement. If who we are is wrapped up in what we do, we are set up for disillusionment. What we do will change, but our standing in Christ remains the same. Our value isn’t measured by our role, but by the abundance of God’s grace we enjoy. Relationships are what really count.

    Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! Philippians 4:1

    Because Christ is your life, your life is complete. There is no need to strive to be someone you are not, nor is it necessary to reach back and become someone you were that was only relevant for that season of life. Yes, the value of your life increases as you increasingly align with Almighty God’s character and will for your life. An identity crisis is the Lord’s opportunity to take your integrity to another level of influence. You walk securely when integrity instructs your actions.

    Therefore, by God’s grace die to the desire to be someone other than God’s workmanship in Christ.  Rest in your relationship with Jesus and enjoy the people He brings into your life for you to bless. It is the immaterial not the material that marks your real worth. Peace of mind, purity of heart and selfless service make you attractive to be around. As you love the Lord and others well it will be well with your soul. You are Christ’s bride, your identity is defined by His last name!

    The bride belongs to the bridegroom. John 3:29
    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I rest in Your son Jesus as my life. My identity and security is in Him.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 29:23, 43:7; Psalm 45:1-17; John 17:13; Ephesians 2:10

    Post/Tweet today: Love the Lord and others well; it will be well with your soul. #identitycrisis

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Colossians

  • Laura Story's I Can Just Be Me (Lyric Video)

    Posted on August 19, 2013 by Family Christian

    Talented worship leader and songwriter Laura Story is best known for her inspirational hit "Blessings" and for co-writing "Indescribable," a Chris Tomlin anthem. Now, with her third studio album, God of Every Story, Story returns to that deep place of vulnerability before the Lord and honesty with herself.

    Award-winning producer Ed Cash helmed the deeply personal project, and their shared Carolina roots led to the incorporation of acoustic and epic instruments into this worshipful pop album. Lyrically, God of Every Story draws from Story’s own life. Her husband’s brain tumor early in their marriage led the young family down a painful path she wouldn’t have chosen, but one that deepened her faith and her music. The resulting songs show God’s love and grace intersecting with real life, making this album a wonderful reminder that despite our questions or circumstances, God is the ultimate author of our story.

    For more information on Laura, click here.


    This post was posted in Music and was tagged with Featured, Laura Story

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