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Family Christian

  • Direction From God

    Posted on August 16, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.” Exodus 13:17-18

    The Lord’s path for His people is not always a straight line from point A to point B. In His wisdom He may allow us to go through the wilderness, before we arrive at the promised land. He knows preparation precedes the blessing of the destination. He desires that we learn trust in Him—along the way to where He wants us to go.

    It’s when the Lord’s will is a non-linear route that we begin to doubt and wonder why He has led us through a desert experience. However, if life were that easy we could easily take credit for our successes and grow demanding and proud, instead of grateful and humble. Thank the Lord that He has you in a process that requires intense prayer and faith. He knows what’s best to grow your faith, so you are able to handle His blessings.

    “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

    Do you find yourself in a wilderness, unsure of your next steps? Are you overcome with doubt and uncertainty? If so, do the next right thing and trust God with the future. Remind yourself of His history of faithfulness to lead you into the very best plan. The timing may not be to your liking, but you can trust the Lord that His timetable is for your best.

    If it’s a job transition—let go and let God—because He is your pilot to navigate the next steps. If it’s relational upheaval—figure God in—and He will figure it out. If you still wallow in anger from past hurt—get over it by God’s grace and forgiveness—and get on with your life. Above all, follow by faith your heavenly Father’s gentle leading. Remain in the palm of His protective hand, as you traverse up and down His trusted pathway.

    “Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long” (Psalm 25:4-5).

    Lastly, make the Bible your roadmap for righteous living. It is in His holy writ that the Lord lays out clear boundaries as you travel through life. The route of His will involves exit ramps to rest, driving at night with limited vision and occasional car wrecks. But throughout your travels in this life keep an eye on eternity’s prize in the person of Jesus Christ. Keep your faith in Jesus for He will never let you down. Get directions from Him.

    “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the nations” (Revelation 15:3b).

    Prayer: How can I better let go and let God lead me along His best path for my life?

    Related Readings: Proverbs 12:28; Isaiah 55:8-9; 64:5; Jeremiah 32:19; Hebrews 3:8

    Post/Tweet today: Preparation precedes the blessing of the journey and the reward of the destination. #directionfromGod

    © 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 Exodus

  • Quiet My Soul

    Posted on August 16, 2013 by Wendy Pope

    Wendy Pope

    "But I have stilled and quieted my soul." Psalm 131:2a (NIV 1984)

    I'm a talker ... I always have been. When report cards came home, my parents never expected anything better than a C beside the word "conduct." One of my elementary school teachers politely called me "very social." Most were more blunt: "Wendy talks too much. She could learn more if she would talk less."

    Unfortunately, old habits die hard. I brought this trait of talking too much into the time I set aside each day to spend alone with God. I often fill my "quiet time" with my words ... lots and lots of words. I wonder if sometimes the Father looks to the Son and says, "I can't get a word in edge-wise with this girl! She could learn more if she would talk less."

    No, silence wasn't easy for this girl who likes to gab. Rather than waiting for God to speak to me, I wanted to tell Him what I thought would be good solutions to my problems. To-do lists ran through my head, instead of peace and quiet. It was easy to go on and on about the dusty shelves and piles of toys. But sit and listen? That felt unnatural, so I resisted and kept talking.

    I shared this uneasiness with God, knowing silence and stillness were things I needed to practice. During these times I felt God's gentle encouragement: Shhh ... be still. It's okay to be silent. You don't have to say a word.

    God was clearly trying to teach me something. His direction to be quiet was about more than resting my mouth-it was about resting my heart. I understood this when I read Psalm 131:2, "But I have stilled and quieted my soul." God wanted me to understand true rest ... His rest.

    As with anything, practice makes perfect. With great intention, I slowed my 90-mile-an-hour thoughts and parked them during my alone time with the Lord. Sometimes this required me writing out my to-do list prior to our time together. Or re-adjusting my priorities. Vacuuming was not as important as listening to God. Many times my thoughts would rev up, and I'd be talking without even realizing it! But I'd rein them back in and start over.

    My spirit felt renewed and at peace. In silence and stillness, I sensed God's direction for my day, peace for my circumstances and the soul-rest I needed.

    As we fill the reservoirs of our souls with true refreshment from God, we learn to relax as we experience real peace and rest that only comes from the silence and stillness of being with Him. We carry this refreshment with us as we face the challenges of our day.

    Do you have the gift of gab like me? Do you find it challenging to sit quietly with God? Ask Him to help you practice and enjoy silence and stillness. Your soul will find refreshing peace. God's rest is exactly what our restless souls need.

    Dear Lord, my soul is having a hard time being still. I lay down my resistance to silence and ask for your help to spend time in silence with You every day. I praise You in advance for what You are going to say to me in the silence. I thank You for the rest only You can give. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    What Happens When Young Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst and Hope TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    What keeps you from silencing your soul during quiet times with God?

    For five days spend five minutes in silence with God. Open the time of silence by repeating today's key verse, "But I have stilled and quieted my soul" (Psalm 131:2a). Keep a journal of your time with Him.

    Power Verses:
    Matthew 11:28-30, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." (MSG)

    Ecclesiastes 3:7b, "... a time to be silent and a time to speak." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Honor Aging Parents

    Posted on August 15, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise. Ephesians 6:2

    Aging parents are a gift from Almighty God. How many children have the opportunity to grow old with their mom and dad? Some see disease or an accident snatch away their mother or father before they become elderly. It is a blessing to support those who may have supported us over the years. To serve and honor our parents is to serve and honor Jesus. Yes, caring for them is a picture to a lost world of how our Heavenly Father cares for us. Aging parents are God’s excuse to love.

    How can we help our aging parents in a way that honors them? What if they don’t want assistance, but find themselves in a very needy situation? Build up relational equity with your mother and father before their bodies begin to break down. Don’t wait until they really slow down, before you start your service to them. Dignify the aging process by honoring them along the way. They’ll feel more comfortable as you continue your care, as mentally they are less aware.

    Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:32

    Receive whatever level of engagement your loved ones allow. You may have total access to their finances, if so seek to co-manage their money with them. They may invite you into the inner sanctuary of their soul for spiritual support, do so with humble prayers, Bible reading and church attendance, if they are able. Perhaps you join your mom and dad in their conversations with their physician. Ask questions as their advocate. Or, maybe they move in with you for a season.

    Most of all pray aggressively for your aging parents. Pray for them to feel the caring comfort of Christ in their heart and His peace in their mind. Pray for them to come to know Jesus in a personal relationship of trust in His death and resurrection for their salvation. Pray for opportunities for you to love them to the Lord and to share the gospel. Pray for yourself to patiently model the grace of God. Aging parents are not about our convenience, but their honor.

    Love is patient. 1 Corinthians 13:4

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me favor with my parents to love and honor them as You do.

    Related Readings: Malachi 1:6;  Matthew 15:5-7; Romans 13:7; 1 Timothy 5:1-2; Titus 2:2-3

    Post/Tweet today: Aging parents are not about our convenience, but their honor. #honoragingparents

    © 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 Ephesians

  • 1GirlNation - Taking Over the World

    Posted on August 15, 2013 by John van der Veen



    Talent, passion and youthful exuberance are always a potent recipe for great music, but when you add message-driven lyrics, a finely tuned sense of purpose and five fun-loving girls, therein lays the foundation for an explosive new entry on the cultural landscape. 1 Girl Nation delivers an ear-grabbing, effervescent sound that uplifts audiences by merging engaging melodies with substantive yet catchy lyrics, packing a one-two punch with considerable impact.

    1 Girl Nation is made up of five talented young women, each possessing a strong, distinctive voice and tons of personality. The group includes Kayli, who grew up on military bases all over the world due to her father's career in the Air Force, settling in Orlando, Florida; Lauryn Taylor, a 21-year-old from Birmingham, Alabama who heard about the opportunity from a friend who works inside the music industry; Kelsey, a Chicago, Illinois native with a degree in music education; Carmen, a singer/dancer who grew up in the Nashville area and attended famed Belmont University and the youngest member of the group, Lindsey, a pastorís kid who hails from Jacksonville, Florida.

    John: You ladies are new to the scene. Five of you - put together. Was this kind of a competition thing that you guys were part of, or did you all grow up going to kindergarten together?

    Lauryn: No, we actually didn't know each other. This was an audition process. They kind of found us, I guess.

    Carmen: We were all working on solo careers before. About a year ago there was an audition call for a girl group through Patton House Entertainment, and we all sent in audition videos, and the top 15 girls came to Nashville and did an audition week where there were solo auditions, dance auditions and group auditions. There was a recording day and they narrowed it down to eight and then five, and here we are!

    John: Did you know that it was going to be five?

    Carmen: We had no idea who or what. It kept it interesting for sure. They made us work hard.

    John: You were scared during that experience?

    Carmen: Yes, it was very nerve racking. We got there and none of us are really used to being close with a lot of girls. You came to the process of you're staying with all these girls in this apartment and everyone's beautiful and talented and loves the Lord. It was very intimidating, but everyone was rooting for each other, I’d say. It was a really good experience.

    Kelsey: It was a positive environment, for sure.

    Kayli: I was surprised because I was expecting, you know, it was a competition, so girls are going to seclude themselves or be mean, but everyone was so nice. It was such a great experience.

    John: That's cool. We probably should have done this at the beginning, but let's go around and we'll say names and where we're from and who our biggest influences are.

    Lindsey: Oh, start with me. My name is Lindsey. I'm 20 years old. I'm the youngest. I'm from Jacksonville, Florida. A big influence in my life has always been Amy Grant and Jump 5.

    John: Oh, yeah.

    Lauryn: I'm Lauryn Taylor, and I'm from Birmingham, Alabama. I'm 21. My biggest influence just in life is my mom because we are like the same head on two bodies. I've learned so much from her, and she's my best friend.

    Carmen: I'm Carmen. I'm from Nashville, Tennessee. Musical influences growing up… I listened to a lot of Point of Grace. That was kind of what I was raised on. Vocally, Kelly Clarkson is my girl.

    John: A little soul.

    Carmen: Yes, I kind of learned a lot from her.

    Kayli: I'm Kayli, and I'm from Orlando. My influence in my life would be my sister. Musical influence would be Mariah and Whitney and all the powerhouse vocals.

    Kelsey: My name is Kelsey. I'm from Chicago, Illinois. I'm 23. Probably my biggest life coach would also be my mom and my grandma. Wonderful influences in my life. Probably musically I would have to say Rachel Lampa. I've always been such a super fan of her, growing up listening to her and trying to sing her stuff. I can't do it, but I still try.

    John: Have you guys ever met any of the artists? Have you met Jump Five or Amy?

    Lindsey: I met Amy and about passed out. I wasn't expecting it. I was going in for a write and she was, there was the guy I was writing with in the building and she was writing with someone else in the building, and she was leaving as I was coming in. I wanted to say so much that nothing got out. It just ended up being uh, uh, you're, you're, and I just started getting giggly and weird. She was just like, "I'm Amy Grant." Then she just hugged me. It was just awful. There was so much that I wanted to say, but I was so star struck that I couldn't say it.

    John: That's awesome. How about you guys? Have you ever met Kelly Clarkson?

    Carmen: I would pass out if I met Kelly Clarkson. I would be like Lindsey.

    Lauryn: This girl is her number one fan right here.

    Carmen: Seriously, I'm the number one fan. We got to actually meet Point of Grace though through the audition process. They came in one day and did a morning session devotional with us, which was really cool. I teared up. I was crying.

    Lauryn: They gave us a lot of advice on how to just live together, be together and how to make it work.

    Kelsey: We grew up listening to them. We were really honored to meet them.

    John: That's cool. Have you ever met Rachel?

    Kelsey: No, but one of her really good friends did our makeup for a couple different shoots. She's always posting pictures of she and Rachel, and I'm always like if I could just squeeze in there for one picture. I'm hoping to meet her though.

    John: What would you say to someone who is 13 or 15 that kind of has that star struck look that either looks at somebody that has either been in our industry for a long time like Amy or the POG girls or looks at you guys and says, "That's what I want to do?"

    Kelsey: I would say you can never dream too big. I think for me, being an artist and being a singer and being on the road was always something that was so not attainable. It was such a far-fetched goal for me. Always something I wanted, but never something within reach I always felt like. God is a God that makes dreams come true. If they're aligned with His will, then I think that there is never a dream that's too far to reach. That would be my encouragement to that 13-year-old aspiring artist: that you never know what God can do if you're just willing. If you're willing and ready to take a step of faith.

    Lauryn: Mine would be to always seek God's will first, because no matter what, He knows what's best. Like Kelsey, I was always shy growing up. I never thought that I would actually be able to get up on stage, but God just continued to open doors and I would walk through in faith. It led me here.

    John: With the record coming out later this summer, what other big things are you guys looking forward to for 2013?

    Lindsey: We're looking forward to a tour called Secret Keeper Girls, which will be all over the country. We're really, really excited to be a part of that and partner with them.

    John: That's with?

    Lindsey: Bob and Dannah Gresh, yes. We're doing that and ...

    Carmen: That's actually a big part. We'll be on the road nonstop with them.

    Kelsey: We're also looking forward to our single being out. It just released and we're super excited.

    Lindsey: I'm really excited just about—back to the tour—I'm really excited about the hands-on ministry we get to do in the tour. We get to really work face-to-face with a lot of little girls. We're privileged to be able to do the altar calls and one-on-one time with girls, and then to do a little bit of worship and, of course, some of our songs. We're really excited to be all hands in and really just do this whole ministry thing. That's a big part of all our hearts. We grew up leading worship in different churches. I think it's going to be really cool to get to do everything that we feel like God has given us a heart for in this tour.

    Kayli: We're excited to share our stories. We all have very different stories and love to hear everyone's stories. That's where it opens up for us.

    Lauryn: Through that, we're all so different that I feel like the girls in the audience can at least relate to one of us and one of our stories.

    John: I'm sure that will take place.

    Carmen: This is a unique tour, I think, touching on what Lindsey said. We do get to be all hands on deck. We get to be part of the set up, the tear down, and learning how to serve is going to be a cool thing for us. We've all grown up in the church serving and doing ministry, but I think that what we do as 1 Girl Nation, such a small part of it is performing and the rest of it is sharing our hearts and being able to connect with girls on a deeper level than that, so that what they see on the stage is the same as what they see off the stage. The conversations that we have and the difference we get to make in their lives through conversation through just relating our stories to theirs is going to be the biggest thing that we take away from that. That's super exciting for me, and I know for all of us.

    Lauryn: I think they're going to teach us a lot more than what we think. I'm really excited to figure out what we learn from them.

    Kayli: We think we're ready.

    John: How would you guys describe your music?

    Carmen: I would say Toby Mac meets One Direction. It's that group feel, but girls. It's very current sounding, but with a great message.

    Kayli: Top 40 sound with a very bold Christian message.

    Lauryn: I really feel like it's kind of funny… the sound is kind of like that, but we're kind of our own thing. I don't think we could really even be compared to anything secular. We've kind of just gone with what each one of our hearts is. Our voices are all completely different. They're completely distinct, and it's really cool to see how God can take five different voices and make it work into one project. We're really hoping that will be a big part of our message too, that, look what five completely different people can do together.

    John: That does stand as a testimony. Who produced the record?

    Lauryn: We had actually a group of teams. We had Jason Ingram, Casey Brown and John Smith. That was one group. Another one was John White from Capital Kings. Then we had Josh Silverberg and Kip Williams.

    John: Awesome.

    Lauryn: Great minds.

    John: Each of them have their own kind of unique talents as well in various styles of music.

    Lindsey: It's a good amount of different kind of flavors and spices all throughout the album.

    John: Yeah, I would assume. Did those guys stretch you, or did you walk in and it was very comfortable?

    Carmen: We started out with a worship song. I think the best way to unite a room of people or a group of people is to just worship together. I really think that's something that's always helped connect hearts. We were just singing and worshipping, and I think that was a really good start for us. We'd always start in prayer so there was kind of a peace. Whenever we're in the studio and we're singing and they're like, “No, go again. You can do better.” I felt like it was a sport.

    Kelsey: We learned so much from them. We recorded the album in nine days start-to-finish. The days in the studio were long and exhausting, but I think what we learned and experienced in that short time was a lifetime's worth.

    Lauryn: I wanted it to last longer.

    Kayli: We made it fun. We brought strobe lights and candy. Every time a song was finished, we'd turn on the strobe lights and eat candy and just dance to it.

    Carmen: We wanted to make it a party every time.

    John: That's cool. One last question here. Well, maybe a few more. We'll see. What has God been teaching you guys either collectively or individually as of late?

    Lauryn: I can talk about this. I think for me God's been teaching me that it doesn't matter what your past looks like. It doesn't matter the things that you've been through. It doesn't matter the mistakes that you've made. God sees who He has created you to be. The things of the past, the mistakes that you've made, the sometimes dark paths that you've walked down do not define who you are. Your identity is found in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone. For me that's been such a, it's a hard pill to swallow sometimes when you think about how did I get here? Why did God choose me for this incredible ministry. I'm not worthy. I'm not adequate. I'm not equipped for this ministry.

    The beauty of that is that God uses broken people and God uses imperfect people and that's kind of overwhelming to me. I think that what I've been learning the most and taking away the most lately is that I am valuable. I'm loved. I'm treasured by Christ. That's pretty overwhelming day-to-day for me. That's something that I have to tell myself every day, remind myself every single day that“God loves you. Here's who you are in him. Here's who he has created you to be.” I think that probably everybody at some point of time in their life needs to get back to that place. It's not about me. It's not about what I've done. It's not about who I was in the past. It's about who I am now and the direction that I'm heading now and the person that God is creating me to be now.

    John: What an important message. Timely for so many people today, especially young girls. Anybody else?

    Carmen: I've just been humbled. I tell the girls a lot that I thought I had this great plan for my life and great goals for myself, and then God walks in and completely goes, "I have something even better." I'm like, what? Not selling myself short in just being humbled completely. Every day I thought I was so great, and it turns out I'm not at all. That's what I'm learning.

    Lindsey: I think God has been teaching me, I grew up as a pastor's kid and was really hands-on in the church, and I think in my life there's been a lot of good that has come out of that because it's been such good accountability. God has taught me what it's like to work and to do things for him and stuff like that. I have such a heart for worship. That's just a big part of what my family has taught me.

    Another side of that is that when you're under the spotlight and you're always a leader--at 12 I was leading worship and running the kids' ministry--there's so many things I had to do because whenever your dad is planting a church or starting one, your family is, we are the staff, you know? I found myself kind of losing who I am and losing that I can't struggle anymore and I can't look like I have something wrong. When I hit the doors into the church I've got to look like I've got it all together because people are depending on me, and you know that pressure. Through that I feel like I was the most miserable person and I felt like I was lost.

    I found myself writing songs. Looking back now, I found myself writing songs to people that are struggles I was going through to other people. It was things that I was dealing with and things that I couldn't come face to face with anymore. Through this whole girl group thing and stepping out of that and meeting these girls for the first time, I felt like I have accountability of my own. God has really taught me just to be real with Him, and that whenever I'm real with who I really am and what I'm really struggling with, that's when I can be free. That's when He can show me new things and show me who He is and what His love really looks like to the fullest. That's been a really cool thing for me. It's been recent and it's not easy.

    Sometimes it's easy, especially in this industry, to walk in and put that face on and go back to who I was and what I need to look like. Every time I do that, I don't see God work near as much as whenever I'm vulnerable and whenever I'm open with what I'm struggling with too. It's been a really good lesson and it's really changed who I am.

    Lauryn: We've just been challenged lately on so many levels.

    Carmen: I keep calling it a crash course. God is putting us through the fire so he keeps refining us, refining us, refining us.

    John: Alright, I said that was the last question, but I have one more. Black coffee or fru-fru coffee?

    Kayli: If it doesn't taste like cake, I don't like it.

    Lauryn: I'm not that bad. I'm a happy medium.

    Kayli: If I want it to work, I'll drink black. When I go to Starbucks, I ask for extra caramel on the caramel macchiato. I'm like just pound it in there. That can be half the cup. I don't care.

    1 Girl Nation wants to encourage and inspire its audience, but ultimately they want to lead them to the source of all power. "The whole point of everything that we do is to bring more people into the Kingdom of Christ," says Kayli. "We were given these talents, abilities, tools, opportunities and platforms to get people to know the name of Jesus and that's the only reason why we do what we do. It's a fun life and we get to play out our dreams because of the talent God has given us, but it all goes back to Him."

    To find out more about 1 Girl Nation, click here. To hear their single, click here.


    This post was posted in Music, Interviews, John van der Veen and was tagged with Featured, TobyMac, Capital Kings, Amy Grant, Dannah Gresh, Rachel Lampa, 1 Girl Nation, Jump 5, Point of Grace

  • When My Happy Gets Bumped

    Posted on August 15, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:11-12 (NIV)

    Most days, I wake up fairly happy. It's not like I wake up in a mood for a party but generally I'm not grumpy when I arise. I wake up and things seem pretty good, level and fresh with possibilities. And then inevitably something will bump into my happy.

    An early morning meltdown by one of my people. It's amazing what a bad hair day can do to a teenager's attitude.

    Or a forgotten something for school. And one of my people wants their irresponsibility to suddenly become my emergency.

    Or an email from somebody who clearly gets pleasure from trying to bring others down.

    Or me misjudging the time and suddenly everything is rushed, hurried and stressful.

    Or my husband, Art, lowering the thermostat in the house to 68 degrees and I can't stop shivering until the temperature hovers closer to 72. It's amazing how much difference four degrees makes.

    Things happen. Things that bump into my happy. And suddenly I'm a little off-kilter and little less nice.

    Can you relate?

    Well, I'm learning something about a little mental perspective I need to have when things bump into my happy. In that moment, Satan is scheming to have me help him out. If he can just get me jostled to the point where I react out of anger, it's like lighting a spark near a puddle of gasoline.

    Even the smallest spark can ignite quite a fire. A fire that will spread and feel much bigger than what the situation ever should have been.

    Take the temperature discussion for example.

    It should be just a simple discussion about the thermostat. But, add a little anger and suddenly things in my brain escalate to the point where I've just about convinced myself Art is completely insensitive and couldn't care less about me.

    Is that true? Of course not. He just likes to sit in his house without sweating. Surely, we could find a compromise with the temperature or I could go put on some socks and a sweatshirt.

    Instead, when he bumps my happy, a "growth opportunity" ensues that leaves us both feeling a little burned.

    In other words, I play right into Satan's scheme and help him out. Remember, Satan's very name means one who casts something between two, causing a separation. Be it a temperature issue, tight finances, a misunderstood statement or one of the millions of little things that can bump our happy ... we have a choice.

    We can choose to play into Satan's schemes and enable his attempts to separate us from God's best.

    Or, we can choose to fight for our relationships and against Satan's divisive attempts.

    When I think about it in these terms, it helps me identify the real enemy.

    My real enemy isn't any of the people who bump my happy. My real enemy is the one who tries with all his might to get me to jump into a grumpy mood and help him tear down all that I love.

    Knowing I need a strategy against these attacks, I turn to the wisdom found in Ephesians 6:11, "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."

    You better back up and back off Satan. I'm on to your schemes. You are my enemy, not people. And now I have a totally new game plan for when my happy gets bumped. Starting with finding just the right pair of socks and a sweatshirt to wear in the ice cave.

    Dear Lord, sometimes my happy gets bumped and my emotions get the best of me. Help me to react in a way that's honoring to You instead of reacting in a way that will fuel Satan's agenda. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    What Happens When Young Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst and Hope TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    What bumps into your happy and sends you off kilter?

    Could this realization that it's not just you feeling jostled, but a scheme of Satan's to separate, give you a different perspective?

    Power Verse:
    James 4:7, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (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 Ephesians

  • When Helping Hurts

    Posted on August 14, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Jeremiah 18:4

    Those who follow Jesus are shaped by the hands of their Heavenly Father. He is a perfect potter who takes a cracked pot marred by sin and forms it into a precious pot of redemption. It becomes precious because the fingerprints of God mold the moist clay of surrender into a form that seems best to Him. His best is beautiful. The rough edges of rejection are smoothed over by the Lord’s sweet acceptance. The air of insecurity is worked out and replaced by the breath of God’s grace.

    Our loving Savior and Lord uses fiery trials to temper our trust in Him. The heat of heart break, breaks our will to mold it into His will. Weepy eyes look to the Lord for relief and refuge. We are shaped and made secure by Christ during fiery trials, and like the three Hebrew children we come forth from the purging flames stronger in the faith. Yes, we may momentarily lose our happy face when challenges occur, but we can count it pure joy for our lesson in perseverance.

    Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. James 1:2-3

    Furthermore, it is important we not obstruct the work of the Holy Spirit in the unformed faith of those developing on the potter's wheel of trust. Helping hurts if we temporarily rescue another from a trial meant to make them more dependent on the Lord and not codependent on us. Our benevolent efforts may make us feel better, but backfire by prolonging a backslidden lifestyle. God’s growth process removes impurities and replaces them with His fired glaze of grace.

    Helping hurts when short sighted sympathy trumps eternal empathy. Short sighted sympathy wants to fix a person or problem before a prayerful problem solving process is employed while eternally motivated empathy takes into account that Almighty God is at work all around us to accomplish His purposes. Thus the best remedy may be not to  offer a remedy, but to wait on the Lord to work out His outcomes. We are called to help, only if it helps bring glory to God!

    If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it. Daniel 3:17

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me to help others only when it furthers your purpose and plan.

    Related Readings: Psalm 22:11, 30:2, 54:4; Isaiah 30:1-3; Matthew 15:25; Philippians 2:29-30

    Post/Tweet today: Helping hurts if we rescue another from a trial meant to make them more dependent on the Lord. #whenhelpinghurts

    © 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 Jeremiah

  • Jars of Clay Release Eleventh Studio Album - Inland

    Posted on August 14, 2013 by Family Christian

    GRAMMY and Dove Awards winning band Jars of Clay is set to release its eleventh studio album, Inland, on its own Gray Matters label with distribution through Tone Tree.  Produced by Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, Beth Orton, The Decemberists) and mixed by Beau Sorenson and Jacquire King, Inland is available today for pre-order and will be available Aug. 27.

    It’s been nearly twenty years since Dan Haseltine, Steve Mason, Charlie Lowell and Matthew Odmark released their debut Frail. Students at the time, Jars of Clay once again harness the youthful ambition and uninhibited creativity of their beginnings for Inland, while cultivating a maturity in sound with embellishments of violin, horns and ambient melodies that attests two decades of experience.

    “These are songs for the ordinary days – when life is weighty and uncertain,” reflects Matthew Odmark. “It is this middle space that we have inhabited over the years.  It’s where you and I do the gritty work of actually living.”

    The music on Inland has a rich cinematic quality, marked by Lowell’s lush keyboard melodies, Odmark’s strong acoustic rhythm guitar and Mason’s serpentine bass lines. The album’s first single and upcoming video, “After The Fight,” featuring the atmospheric guitar textures of Adrian Belew, has a low-key swagger that brings to mind the intergalactic art rock of Bowie and Peter Murphy. “We asked Adrian Belew if he’d come in and work his magic,” explains Haseltine. “He produced two songs on our first record, but we were too intimidated to let him play guitar. This time he added his big, wild, twanging guitar sound, the reverse solos and all the other effects he’s famous for.”

    Following years on labels, Inland marks Jars of Clay’s first independent release, “We’ve had enough experience with record labels working a project because they have to,” says Haseltine. “Everyone we work with loves the record and wants to help us build something as a band with a big creative vision.”

    Part of that creative vision is to shatter some of the preconceived notions built over the years by label marketing strategies. “It took a long time to strip away every voice that wasn’t ours to make Inland,” explains Haseltine. “For me, it's always been about a great song. We want to connect with people who love music for music. That's why created our own label.”

    Jars of Clay is currently on tour, playing new music from Inland and fan favorites spanning the band’s repertoire that includes 16 No. 1 songs.  Confirmed tour dates follow:

    August 15         BIRMINGHAM, AL                           WorkPlay Theater^
    August 16         CHARLOTTE, NC                              Amos’ Southend^
    August 17         KNOXVILLE, TN                              Bijou Theater^
    August 18         CHARLESTON, SC                           The Music Farm^
    August 21         GREENVILLE, SC                              The Handlebar^
    August 23         JACKSONVILLE, FL                         Murray Hill Theater^
    August 24         ORLANDO, FL                                  The Social^
    August 25         ST. PETERSBURG, FL                       State Theatre^
    August 29         NASHVILLE, TN                               3rd & Lindsley
    September 10   LITTLE ROCK, AR                            Revolution Music Room#
    September 11   TULSA, OK                                        The Vanguard#
    September 12   HUTCHINSON, KS                           Kansas State Fair#
    September 13   COLORADO SPRINGS, CO             The Black Sheep#
    September 14   SALT LAKE CITY, UT                      Urban Lounge#
    September 15   BOISE, ID                                           Knitting Factory#
    September 17   SEATTLE, WA                                   Puyallup County Fair#
    September 18   PORTLAND, OR                                Aladdin Theater#
    September 20   SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA                    SLO Brewing Co.
    September 21   PALMDALE, CA                                Palmdale Amphitheatre#
    September 22   SANTA ANA, CA                              The Observatory
    September 24   MESA, AZ                                          Mesa Arts Center#
    September 25   ALBUQUERQUE, NM                       The Lobo Theater#
    September 27   DALLAS, TX                                      House of Blues, Cambridge Room#
    October 23      SPRINGFIELD, MO                           Gillioz Theatre
    * Brooke Waggoner
    ^ The Last Bison
    # Brooke Waggoner/Kye Kye


    This post was posted in Music and was tagged with Featured, Jars of Clay

  • I Don't Like Her

    Posted on August 14, 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer

    Samantha Evilsizer

    "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." Philippians 2:3 (NIV 1984)

    Guns were loaded. Places taken. The showdown had begun. Her at one end of the table; me at the other. My plate a smoking gun; lima beans my bullets.

    I wish I could say I was a two-year-old toddler, throwing a tantrum. Instead, I'm embarrassed to admit I was a 25-year-old adult, sticking it to my then-boyfriend's mom; a woman I couldn't stand. Neither of us was backing down. Meeting her stealthy gaze, I methodically slid one lima bean after another to the side of my plate. I would not take one bite of her potpie until it was clear of the offending veggies.

    Oh, it's not that I dislike lima beans. On the contrary. What I didn't like was her.

    Her, my boyfriend's mother. Clinging tightly to her matronly apron strings. Sitting at the head of his table. Wedging herself between us. Serving his favorite meal.

    Me, her son's girlfriend. Building bonds. Sitting by his side. Finding my place between mother and son. Resenting her home-cooked food.

    My own mother's voice grew loud in my head with each lima bean I pushed aside. I could just hear her reprimand: it doesn't matter what she's done, you eat the limas, Sam. I held my challenger's stare as I flicked another bean and ignored what I knew my mom would say: put down your disdain and put her above yourself, Samantha.

    With determined purpose, I jabbed the last lima. Without a word I said it all: I will not honor your meal ... your feelings ... you. My mom's voice shook my inner core. Humility, Samantha Elaine!!

    After dishes were washed and guns put away, another voice resonated. I sensed the Lord speak gently, yet firmly. Why did you feel the need to battle your pride, and her, in having to be number one in your boyfriend's life? This would have been the perfect opportunity to "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves" (Phil. 2:3).

    I was ready with my rebuttal. She's controlling and invasive. She doesn't respect me or my relationship with her son. She's impossible to get along with, much less honor. I don't like her!

    As far as I was concerned, she was the enemy, and it was my duty to draw the battle lines. Yet I knew my actions should not be determined by hers. After all, she had worked hard on that dinner. She was my boyfriend's mom. And most importantly, she was my sister in Christ.

    I knew God called me to be humble toward her. Not only that, but to go above-by eating (all) of her meal, and beyond-by complimenting her dish (it actually was tasty). It would have been a small thing, but it would have been the right thing ... and the God thing.

    Though my relationship with my boyfriend has since ended, my relationship with humility continues to grow. It may be through watching a television show that bores me but my friend enjoys it. Or speaking kindly when I'm frustrated, praying for someone who has offended me or taking a back seat when I want to be first.

    When my finger is on the trigger of my pride, I keep in mind that by being humble, I'm obeying God, which ultimately honors Him. This truth gives me the grace I need to tuck my guns away and ask, "May I please have seconds?"

    Dear Lord, thanks for being the best example of humility and honor. Please give me the grace to honor others, especially those who I find hard to respect. Thanks for Your Word that reminds me to put others first. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    What Happens When Young Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst and Hope TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    Who do you struggle to be humble toward? Why?

    Pray about having an honest conversation with that person. If you're not able to, determine now how you will react in a honoring manner the next time you interact.

    Power Verses:
    Romans 12:10, "Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor." (ESV)

    Colossians 3:12-13a, "Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another ..." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer. 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 Philippians

  • Always Be Thankful

    Posted on August 13, 2013 by Family Christian

    Boyd Bailey

    Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20

    Gratitude to God is the language of those who love the Lord. Because they love the Lord, they trust the Lord. Because they trust the Lord, they thank the Lord...always. Thankfulness to our Heavenly Father goes directly to His heart. Like a valuable package sent overnight express, gratitude reaches God immediately and unimpeded. The Lord longs to hear prayers of thanksgiving from His children who totally trust in Him. Yes, trust gives thanks for everything.

    Are you able, by the Holy Spirit’s power to offer thanks quickly and continually after you enter into an adverse situation? It’s much easier to thank the Lord for the good things that come our way, but its more difficult to be grateful when things seem unfair. Thus, we immediately shift our thinking to thankfulness when our flesh wants to flirt with grumbling. The quicker we close the gap from initial offense to forgiveness and thanks, the quicker we resume our walk in the Spirit.

    Settle matters quickly with your adversary. Matthew 5:25

    When your feelings are hurt, thank God for the hurt Christ went through to heal your heart. When you are passed over for a promotion, thank God for Christ’s Passover for your sin. When you see evil interrupt your world, thank God for sending His righteous son to redeem the world. When a child is disobedient, thank God for Christ Jesus who learned obedience through His suffering. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered. Hebrews 5:8

    Your capacity for thankfulness directly relates to your capacity for joy. A happy heart is a grateful heart. Ultimately find joy in Jesus and in thanksgiving to the Lord for your eternal home in heaven. Furthermore, thank God for your enemy who causes you to engage Christ in prayer for your adversary. Satan steams when he sees your praise to God in the middle of experiencing a serious problem. A mark of mature faith is an ever grateful heart. Yes, learn to thank the Lord for everything and you will grow to not need anything but Him. Trust in God always thanks God!

    I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. 1 Timothy 1:12

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow my trust to thank you for everything in Jesus name.

    Related Readings: 1 Chronicles 23:30 Daniel 2:23; 1Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:13

    Post/Tweet today: Learn to thank the Lord for everything and you will grow to not need anything but Him. #alwaysbethankful

    © 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 Ephesians, Thanksgiving

  • The Digital Age Debuts Evening:Morning Today!

    Posted on August 13, 2013 by Family Christian

    Fair Trade band The Digital Age released their debut studio album Evening:Morning today, August 13. The four-piece, Waco, TX based group, made up of Mike Dodson (Mike D), Mark Waldrop, Jack Parker and Jeremy Bush (Bwack), formerly of the GRAMMY®-nominated David Crowder*Band, have officially entered a new musical era with the album release that has been called “one of the most anticipated albums of the year (Indie Vision Music).” The album launches The Digital Age into their post-David Crowder*Band career and continues the original vision and ministry that inspired them to create music in the first place.

    Engaging with their active fan base that have followed the band members throughout their multi-decade career, The Digital Age invited fans to be apart of their first official music video for the lead single off of Evening:Morning, “Captured.” The single is already making an impact at radio, currently being played on AIR1 Radio Network, SpiritFM/Tampa, WQME/Indianapolis, WDJC/Birmingham, WBFJ/Greensboro, NC and others. The lyric video for “Captured” is available here:

    The tracks off of Evening:Morning were written in a quasi-conceptual, temporal fashion, moving through the night to the morning, 7:00 PM to 7:00 AM, with each song representing one hour. Critics have been buzzing about the concept and quality of the debut album. Here is a sampling of the praise:

    "A unique worship experience. The Digital Age continues the musical innovation that was foundational to The David Crowder Band."
    - Dan H., Music Buyer; Family Christian

    “The concept of the album is strong, the songs are powerful, and Jesus is the hero and heart of these 12 tracks. This is an exciting new chapter for The Digital Age. They’ve brought along their history but given it new wings.”
    - Foursquare.org

    “Evening:Morning offers a refreshing and reinvigorating album for those who are seemingly tired of the over-commercialized CCM music industry. The Digital Age’s album is a certain purchase if you enjoy worship artists like Crowder, or even experimental-style bands like Rend Collective and Leeland …possibly one of the most anticipated albums of the year.”
    - Indie Vision Music

    "While there are definitely some flashes of David Crowder*Band glory on Evening:Morning, there's plenty of brilliance here in previously untraveled musical territory."
    - New Release Tuesday

    “If you were a true fan of David Crowder Band then the transition into Digital Age will be an easy one for you.”
    - Christian Music Review

    “Without a doubt, this is an album that improves with each listen…The Digital Age is an absolutely welcomed ensemble in the scene that has the potential to become huge in the near future.”
    - Jesus Freak Hideout

    “While the components of their former musical life are all there, the band makes great strides to make their own music and the result is nothing short of great.”
    - Soul-Audio

    "Evening:Morning is unlike anything we have ever heard from these guys.”
    - Breathecast

    "The Digital Age has certainly stepped up and even changed the game in many different ways."
    - CMAddict

    This fall, The Digital Age will embark on a headlining, nationwide tour to promote their release of Evening:Morning. Kicking off September 26 in Waco, TX at University Baptist Church, the tour will feature Christian pop group Bellarive.


    This post was posted in Music and was tagged with Featured, David Crowder, The Digital Age, Bellarive

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