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Family Christian

  • Approachable Jesus

    Posted on October 18, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Another time Jesus was praying, and when He finished, one of His disciples approached Him. Teacher, would You teach us Your way of prayer? John taught his disciples his way of prayer, and we’re hoping You’ll do the same. Luke 11:1, The Voice

    Jesus is approachable to all who desire His company. God did not create the earth like a watch, winding it up and then stepping back to let it run without His intervention. No, the Lord is personal and approachable. He invites His children to ask honest questions on how to pray, how to love, how to forgive and how to give. Yes, He loves to engage and instruct in His ways. Jesus moves the mind with clear teaching and He captures the heart with riveting and relevant stories.

    A disciple who walked with Jesus on earth struggled with his prayers to heaven. He watched Jesus pray, but the student still needed some direction in how to pray. So, even today as we grow in our faith, we still need the Holy Spirit to reveal to us the ways of God. We are disciples who sincerely want to know how to live for the Lord. He is not shy in showing us what to say and how to serve. Just as we love giving to our children, God loves to give His Spirit to all who ask.

    At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” 1 Kings 3:5

    Are you approachable? Do others feel the freedom to seek your counsel and ideas? When people see the fruit of your character they want to ask you about how you live life. As you lovingly lead others, learners will want to know why you lead so unselfishly. Questions are your opportunity to point people back to the Lord’s love for you and your reciprocal approach to leading others. Tell stories of your struggles to lead in love and how you grew in grace over time. Invite questions.

    Approachability is the outcome of acceptance. When your children, grandchildren, friends and co-workers know you accept them for who they are, they will want to know who you are. Your unconditional acceptance of someone is an invitation to love them for Jesus' sake. Lastly, approach the Lord often with your fears, dreams and desires. He delights in your prayers and He unleashes His Spirit to all who call on His name. Humbly approach Him and expect to be loved!

    Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for receiving me just as I am and answering my questions around my struggles.

    Related Readings: Exodus 20:21; Ephesians 2:18, 3:12; Hebrews 7:19; 1 John 4:17, 5:14

    Post/Tweet today: Jesus moves the mind with clear teaching. He captures the heart with relevant stories. #approachableJesus

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

  • Donald Lawrence - Leading Others in Worship

    Posted on October 18, 2013 by John van der Veen



    The man who wears many musical colors...

    Those seven words eloquently capture the multifaceted essence of who Donald Lawrence is. He is a songwriter. He is a producer. He's a composer, a music/choir director, recording artist, and the list goes on... The guiding force behind such No. 1 hits as “Encourage Yourself,” “Back II Eden” and “The Blessing of Abraham.” Equally at home in both the inspirational and contemporary arenas, the multiple Grammy and Stellar Award winner has collaborated with a diverse roster, including such marquee names as Karen Clark Sheard, Donnie McClurkin, Kirk Franklin, En Vogue and Mary J. Blige.

    The question is, "What is behind the eyes of such a talented man of God?" I sat down with Donald in search of the answer for that question in particular.

    John: Donald, I personally appreciate your history within our industry and the amount of talent and records that you have brought forth to encourage people in their walk with Christ. I’m wondering, Donald, if you’d be willing to share a few moments about how you were introduced to Jesus, or at least how you began your walk as a follower of Him.

    Donald: Okay. I think that we all have different journeys when it comes to our Christianity, our relationship. Me, I was brought up in a Christian household, so I’ve been in church since I was a little baby. I can never remember not ever being in church. I think you grow, and as you grow and as you mature, you look at your relationship with Jesus Christ differently. I can’t say I remember one particular time when I became a believer, because I never ever remember not ever being in church. Church was just part of my upbringing. It’s a part of my culture.

    However, I think that as you mature, you realize your purpose, and I think I started realizing my purpose when I was in my late teens. I realized that there was a calling on my life to do what I do, to inspire people, to help people live a better life based on biblical and spiritual principles, and that it was going to come through the music. And it has turned into something else as I matured, and I’m learning that, and I’m still learning to see my path as it continues to open up and becomes more visible to me.

    I would definitely say that me learning my purpose is really what I call the beginning stages of my relationship because that’s when I knew why I was put here. I really believe that everybody who is born, God sent here for a reason. The biggest reason is to restore the earth and to bring people back to Him. Once I learned that, that is what I considered, and still do, my connection, because then I know what my job is to do here. I would say definitely that was in my teens; since then, it’s just been listening and following my heart. God is in my heart, and that is just why you still have me here doing what I do now.

    John: Don, you’re a singer, a songwriter, a producer, a composer and a choir director. You are the epitome of a recording artist. When somebody looks at your life and says, “I want to be like that guy,” what would you say to them? Let’s say to someone who is in high school or college who says, “Hey, I want to … I feel like God has given me that purpose, that sense of direction, and I want to move into that same type of calling that Donald has.” How would you communicate with that person in their walk?

    Donald: I would really tell them, based on what I’m doing now and what I’ve studied now, that I do think that there are people who inspire us, that we may see ourselves in them, but we all have our own individualized grace, and our grace is our gift. So if you have a calling, if you have a gift in you, it might be similar to mine, but God has stylized us all to have our own thing. You’ll see people that will inspire you and make it wake up, and then you have to learn what your direct path is. What I would tell everybody is when you awaken and you realize that there’s this gift and it’s likened to someone else’s, let that inspire you, but listen to God because I think He’s given us all people that are assigned just to us and things that are assigned just to us. Listen and follow your heart, and don’t let anybody tell you or anything make you doubt what you know has been called on your life.

    I think that’s the time that we live in now that because, especially in the music business, because somebody thinks that this work, they’ll come to you and say, well, you don’t need to do that. You need to do this like that person, but that’s not my grace. My grace is to do this, and we have to trust the grace that’s been bestowed on us. If you do that, if you honor that, God will find ways to open up doors and paths for you that nobody can even close and nobody would even have thought of, and I’ve just learned to trust the grace that’s been put on my life, and that’s what I would tell anybody. Just be you. Be who God ordained you to be, and trust it.

    John: Donald, you sound like a theologian. You sound like a pastor. Do you feel like at certain times, God has called you into that ministry as well?

    Donald: No, I really don’t (laughing). I know that’s usually the typical thing that people will say when you can speak like that, but the one thing that I do feel like I am directed in is what I kind of think like would be more of a spiritual therapist. I think my music is like revelation music. It’s spiritual. It’s biblical principles and song, but it teaches you kind of how to live from Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday with real life situations; so if there was anything that I would ever do, it would be a center where people could go talk to spiritual people like a therapist that maybe had a music component, so I see myself being more of a spiritual teacher, more of a person that is like a spiritual psychologist or with a music element. That’s how I see myself.

    I don’t see myself as a pastor. I don’t think that’s my path. I don’t think my path has ever been a normal path. It’s always had its own odd road, and that’s what makes me uniquely me, and I just kind of know that, so that’s why. I know that pastoring is what it seems like it should be, and counseling and pastoring is very much the same thing. I just don’t see myself with the church, and with the choir, and with the band, and with the praise team, and with anything like that. I don’t think that’s my path. I know that’s not my path, but I do think that being a spiritual teacher and a person that teaches people how to use biblical principles to live life every day is in my path but not the way somebody would think it would be.

    John: Donald, you have a new recording out called Best for Last. You’ve recorded basically a day and a half, and you decided to put one album out this fall and another album out next spring, correct or am I mixed up here?

    Donald: Actually, one in the fall and one next fall like …

    John: Oh, a year from now. Okay. It’s Best for Last volume one and then volume two?

    Donald: Best for Last: Donald Lawrence 20 Year Celebration, Volume One, Best for Last. Volume two might be titled something else like Donald Lawrence Celebration Continues, and then another title cut, but volume one definitely comes out September 24th. It’s featuring a lot of people. Actually, the title song, “Best for Last,” features Yolanda Adams, and I have a lot of guests who show up and join me: Kelly Price, Lalah Hathaway, Faith Evans, Hez Walker, Vanessa Bell-Armstrong, Natalie Grant, Karen Clark, Kierra Sheard; just a lot of people join to come in and celebrate with me these 20 years because I’ve worked with so many people. It was great to have a lot of them come back, and we’re going to still do it. Tri-City came back together to sing two songs on volume one, and they’re coming back together again to do more of a live thing on volume two, so we’re really excited about all of that.

    John: I’m glad that you brought up all the guest appearances that you have on the records. You certainly have worked with a lot of artists through the years both within the gospel community as well as out in the mainstream community. What is that like being a man of God, and how do you stay faithful to your calling and your purpose even though you may be doing a job per se out in just secular culture or mainstream culture?

    Donald: I think that everybody that’s on this planet does a job in secular culture, just about. If you work at McDonald’s, that’s not church. The post office is not at church, so secular culture is secular culture. Sometimes people put a different law on top of it when it’s music. I think sometimes people don’t think of music as an occupation, but what we have to realize is that when you have a call on your life, your call is for you to deal with whoever is assigned to you; and where some people might be assigned to more believers, there’s some people who are assigned to believers and people who potentially will be believers, people who are believers who are not necessarily inside the church.

    For me, I don’t look at it like that. I look at it as people, and God loves the whole entire world; so when I’m working with people, I just show them the love of God. That’s it. I don’t beat them over the head with a Bible. I don’t tell them what they’re not doing right or wrong unless they ask me my opinion. I just show them love, and love draws. I’ve learned that over time, so that’s how I can go work with anybody, come back out because when I go there, I’m going to be me; and when I leave, I’m going to be the same me that went in, and I’ve learned that since I was a younger person, and that’s why I don’t even think about it.

    I just look at it as people, and this is my assignment, and I’m going to go and do my assignment well. Pastor Winston says that, and that’s the pastor that I go to, Dr. Winston from the Living Word Christian Center. He said something so powerful for me, and he really, really spoke about how I am in life and what my path was. He says that there is a mechanism that’s not in the church that will ignite God’s glory inside of you. I just thought that was such a profound statement because God’s glory inside of us is His attributes. Usually, when His attributes, which is His glory, shows up in the earth, it shows up through something that you’re graced with, something that’s great about you like when a dancer dances a beautiful line. That’s God’s glory in the earth.

    We see something that is beautiful, and you just go, wow, that’s breathtaking! That’s an attribute of God; or when a tree grows or when somebody’s voice sings a great operatic note, you just go, wow! That’s His attributes. Whenever I go out and I get a chance to do something that I wouldn’t do or I learned something in a secular system that I can come back and apply in the kingdom, that is waking up something in me that wouldn’t have woken in church.

    You can’t learn how to produce great records in church because they don’t (or rarely) have studios. Sometimes the best engineers are not in the church. They’re somewhere else where you can go and learn great things, and you can come back and make the kingdom great. I’ve learned that, and that statement stays with me, that there’s a mechanism that’s not in the church that will awaken God’s glory inside you. That’s really what happened to me. I learned how to produce and be who I am outside of the church, and I got to do it with some of the top people because that’s where they were, and He needed to send me there so I could come back here and be who I am now. I just always thought that was a powerful statement.

    John: Donald Lawrence, 20th year anniversary. I’m excited. Congratulations, my friend, and may God bless you, and let’s hope for another 20 years.

    Donald: Thank you.

    John: God bless you, brother.

    Donald: God bless you as well.

  • Give What You Need

    Posted on October 18, 2013 by Nicki Koziarz

    Nicki

    "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38 (NIV 1984)

    Last week we were out of milk, so I headed to the store with my party of five.

    Even though we were in a time crunch, I wanted to make the most of our trip and pick up a few other things. Our family divided up—my husband went to the row of toilet paper, our oldest daughter walked off to get bread, our middle daughter headed out for fruit, and the youngest one, Kennedy Grace, trekked to the milk fridge with me.

    Everyone quickly got what they needed and met back at the register—except my husband. At the self-checkout with my three girls, I scanned our items thinking Kris would be there any second. But he wasn't. As the line behind me quickly grew long and impatient, I wondered if I should cancel my order and step out of line.

    But time was short and we were already running late. So in this unnerving moment, I instructed my youngest daughter to run and get the toilet paper from her daddy. She took off, found my husband, and secured the rolls under her arm. But, on her way back to the self-checkout, a sparkly cereal display distracted her.

    In a calm, yet firm voice, I made sure my daughter heard me. "Kennedy Grace, come here right now please."

    Now, she figured the fastest way to get that toilet paper to me was to slide it down the aisle. Without hesitation, she whooshed the package right to me.

    The people standing behind me thought my daughter's idea was quite amusing. Everyone except one woman.

    As Kennedy Grace giggled, jumped and bounced her way to the register, I knew this wasn't the time or place to have a teachable moment, so I just muttered quietly for her to calm down.

    That one woman, feeling it was a good time to teach my daughter a lesson, said to me, "Well, isn't she something?"

    I didn't want to get into a hot confrontational mess, so I ignored her and bagged my items.

    But then she asked Kennedy Grace, "Why are you acting up so much?"

    Kennedy replied, "I'm just tired."

    And then the woman responded with a statement no stressed-out-momma needs to hear, "Well maybe your mom should put you to bed earlier."

    What did she just say? Unh-huh. I gulped and took a deep breath, ready to blurt out something sassy.

    But in the midst of this chaos, in the midst of this tension, I felt the presence of God hold me back with this thought, give her what you need most.

    Say what, God? I need to give this woman a piece of my mind, is what my soul screamed.

    But it was true. I need a lot of grace these days. Grace. Grace. Grace.

    So, I said nothing. I extended grace. I smiled, grabbed Kennedy's hand and walked out of the grocery store, challenged by the thought of Luke 6:38 "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

    I make a lot of mistakes. I forget about important things. And I too have judged stressed-out mommas in the grocery store with misbehaving children. But Scripture tells us that when we give to others what we need, something very freeing happens: We receive what we need too.

    When we offer emotional generosity to others, we create the atmosphere for God to do something powerful in us and through us. I don't always want to give others what I need. My initial reaction is often to give others what I think they deserve.

    A quick comeback.
    A nasty look.
    An unforgiving heart.

    But none of these things have ever brought me anything I needed.

    As I continue to live this verse in Luke out, I'm focusing on other's needs and reacting based on them, not myself.

    But next time we need milk, I'm going to the grocery store, alone.

    Jesus, help me give to others the things I need. Make me emotionally generous and able to bless in the midst of a conflicting mess. Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Write down three things your soul needs. Is it joy? Hope? Love? Friendship?

    Ask God for the opportunity to give it away and see what happens.

    Power Verse:
    Philippians 1:27, "Whatever happens conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel." (NIV 1984)

    © 2013 by Nicki Koziarz. All rights reserved.

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

  • Aligned With God

    Posted on October 17, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Don’t you know that He who pursues and explores the human heart intimately knows the Spirit’s mind because He pleads to God for His saints to align their lives with the will of God?... He [Jesus] was raised to sit at the right hand of God where He pleads on our behalf. Romans 8:27, 34 The Voice

    Almighty God desires alignment of purpose from His children. He knows that alignment of the human will with His will brings peace of mind and clarity of purpose. Like a rough riding car in need of a front wheel alignment, so a Christian’s life needs regular correction around the priorities of Christ. The world’s highways wear down the tire tread of our trust in the Lord and causes us to veer off onto the gravel of unrighteousness. A regular ralignment with God is needed.

    Praise God, He has not left us alone, but is near and dear to our hearts in intercession. Because He cares, He invites us into the community of the Trinity. God the Father foreknew us, predestined us and called us unto Himself  while God the Spirit and God the Son intercede on our behalf of our lives to align with the will of God. So, when we feel spiritually weak and distant from the Lord, His Spirit is still near pleading prayers to God for us. We are not alone!

    My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God. Job 16:10

    Furthermore, you feel cared for when you know Christ cries out to God for you to know and do His will. What a dynamic duo of intercession for you: the Holy Spirit and Jesus. So, don’t sweat it when you don’t know what to say in prayer to God. You can sit in silence secure knowing your Savior speaks for you to your Heavenly Father. When you are speechless to petition God, you can rest in calm reassuranc since the Holy Spirit has your back with wordless prayer.

    You are extremely taken care of by being in community with Jesus, the Holy Spirit and your Heavenly Father. You can feel secure knowing God is in control. Your role is to love the Lord well by allowing Him to love you well. Be constantly grateful for the Spirit and the Son’s care for you in prayer and the nearness of your Heavenly Father’s presence. When you feel distant from God, know by faith He is near. Be humbled to know your life aligns with God’s will, as a result of your communion with the Trinity and the intercession of the Spirit and the Son for you.

    Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for aligning my life with Your will through the prayers for me from Your Son and from the Spirit.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 53:12; Ephesians 6:18; Hebrews 7:25, 9:24; 1 John 2:1

    Post/Tweet today: Our life aligns with God’s will, as a result of our communion with the Trinity and the Spirit and Son’s intercession.

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

  • 44th Annual Dove Awards

    Posted on October 17, 2013 by Family Christian

    Hosted in the hub of the Christian Music industry, Nashville Tennessee, the 44th Annual GMA Dove Awards included several powerful performances by Big Daddy Weave, Colton Dixon, Michael W. Smith, and For King & Country, to name a few. The official hosts of the event were Amy Grant and Kirk Franklin as well as pre-cast telecast hosts Jamie Grace and Chris August.

    The Dove Awards took place on October 15th and will be aired on October 21st at 8 p.m. EDT on UP.

    Click here for a list of the winning albums.

    Throughout the night, Matt Redman frequented the stage, winning 4 awards for his single “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)” as well as the Songwriter of the Year Award. Matt was also a part of the Dove-Award winning album, “Passion: Let The Future Begin” along with Chris Tomlin, Kristian Stanfill, Kari Jobe, David Crowder, and Christy Nockels.

    Artist of the Year was awarded to Tobymac who took home a total of 4 awards, including 3 for his short film and album, “Eye On It”. Upon winning the Artist of the Year Award, TobyMac stated, “It feels weird to be called artist of the year when I know it takes a family, and I always want to acknowledge that. I said in one of my songs a long time ago, ‘I’m just a little man trying to fit in God’s plan.’ I still feel like that”.

    Other winners included For King & Country as New Artist of the Year, Lecrae’s “Tell the World” for Rap/Hip-Hop Song of the Year, and Jason Crabb’s “What the Blood is for” (Southern Gospel Song of the Year). The Uplift Someone Award was given to Mandisa “for her music, message, and humanitarian heart, all of which (individually and collectively) have inspired others,” said Amy Grant.

    Among a number of spectacular performances, the musical tribute to the Gaither Vocal Band, performed by Karen Peck, Daily & Vincent, Signature Sound and the Isaacs, was one of the most remarkable displays of passion and talent. Another memorable moment included a collaborative performance with Michael W. Smith and the Newsboys in honor of evangelist Billy Graham.

    UP’s President & CEO Charles Humbard stated, “Congratulations to the GMA Dove Awards winners, performers, presenters and hosts Amy Grant and Kirk Franklin for a thrilling night a spectacular entertainment. This evening celebrates the unifying and uplifting power of this genre and demonstrates why this is the biggest night of Christian and Gospel music. There is no other network dedicated to showcase this prestigious musical celebration other than UP.”

    For a list of winners click here.

  • Words

    Posted on October 17, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness." James 3:9 (NIV)

    One day, two of my kids were having a growth opportunity, which is our family's way of saying "fight."

    These two kids love each other, but didn't like each other very much in the heat of the moment. I pulled out my proverbial soap box, got my hand positioned just right on my hip, and told these two young teens to look outside the window of our home. I told them that outside our home a world of people exist who may or may not be nice to us. There are no guarantees.

    "But, inside this house," I continued as I turned them toward one another, "there are certain guarantees. Since the day I birthed you, I have preached one sermon about the words spoken in our home. It is a simple sermon. Before you part your lips to speak, you must ask yourself this question: Are my words kind, necessary, and true?"

    "If the answer to all three parts of that question is yes . . . proceed ahead."

    "If the answer to any part of that question is no . . . stop the words from coming out."

    Does that mean there is no room to address hard issues with one another? No. But in our home, it will always be done with a spirit of kindness using only words that are necessary and true.

    I then ushered these precious teens outside to a bench in the front yard and instructed them to figure out their issues. But they were not going to bring words into our house unless they were kind, necessary, and true. Thank you very much. Have a nice time on this warm little bench on this warm little day.

    There are some verses in the book of James I'm considering writing on the palm of my hand. Think of how handy it would be just to flash my palm up in the midst of my people's growth opportunities with this verse in bold ink: "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be" (James 3 9-10 NIV).

    That same chapter of James goes on to read, "For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice" (verse 16 NIV).

    Have mercy. I do not want disorder and every evil practice to be invited into my home. And if envy and selfish ambition (which are where ugly words come from) are the key that opens the door for all that evil mess, then I will do everything with the power of Jesus in me to tame tongues.

    And all my Jesus girlfriends said, Amen!

    Dear Lord, help me to know how to teach my children how to be more like You. Help me to model You in my actions, my reactions, and in every word I say. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Take a moment to think about the words spoken in your home. Are they laced with tones of harshness? Bitterness? Envy? What can you do today to begin to improve these words and tones?

    Power Verses:
    Philippians 2:5, "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." (NIV 1984)

    Philippians 1:9-10, "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Abide in Prayer

    Posted on October 16, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    He says, “Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

    Real prayer results are the result of abiding. The flesh squirms while still, but the spirit longs for stillness. It is in these protracted moments of silent prayer that saints of God see God. A rushed prayer time is like running to catch a subway, out of breath with only a blur in the background. But a person who abides in prayer breathes the clean air of Christ. They are not pushed to check their quiet time box for the day. They trust all will get done in God’s timing. Faith abides in prayer.

    Yes, the Lord fills with faith the spiritual lungs of those who sit still and breathe in His goodness.  His Holy Spirit energizes your being when you are quiet before your Heavenly Father. An eternal exchange of spiritual stamina takes place when you place yourself in the holy presence of Almighty God. You get to know Him and He affirms you as His child. His goodness and grace spills over into your heart when you are silent before Him. He blesses your soul for being still!

    Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3

    Moreover, Christ commands us to stop doing and start being. We fail to obey Jesus when we fail to stop and listen to His heart. Obedience to stop leads to faith to start. So, we enjoy our Savior in stillness and He reveals His sweet Spirit. His Spirit of love softens our heart. His Spirit of generosity opens our hands to give. His Spirit of grace gives us patience in our relationships. His Spirit of holiness keeps us pure in our motives. His Spirit of forgiveness frees us from retaliation.

    Most of all, as we abide in prayer, we know He is God. He is God our Creator who formed us in our mother’s womb, who gave us our unique looks, giftedness and personality. Because He knows us best, He knows what’s best. As we abide in prayer we know He owns us, because He bought us by the precious blood of His son Jesus. Christ is in us and we are in Christ. Since we are His servants, we want to follow our Master. We abide in prayer to know God’s heart for us.

    If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:15-17, NKJV

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, my heart yearns to abide with You in prayer. Give me the faith to be still with You.

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 4:35; 1 Kings 18:39; Isaiah 43:11; John 15:4-9; Mark 6:46

    Post/Tweet today: The Lord fills with faith the spiritual lungs of those who sit still and breathe in His goodness. #abideinprayer

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

  • "Harmless" Little Lies?

    Posted on October 16, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much." (Luke 16:10 NIV)

    My job was overwhelming, yet I was desperate to appear competent. As a young college graduate, I was grateful for the position. But over time, both the company and my work level grew to the point where I was drowning. And, as I fell further behind, I began to give misleading responses to my boss.

    My employer was very hands-on and often called me into her office for an update on my projects. I dreaded those meetings, knowing she'd be displeased with my lack of progress. And that is when the lies started: "Yes, that project is coming along nicely." "I'm almost finished." "Just waiting for a few more pieces of information."

    After our meetings, I'd rush back to my desk and frantically try to make my progress match the inaccurate response I'd just given. Over time, the lies and truth became jumbled. I'd crossed a line of personal integrity that nagged at the edges of my conscience, but not enough to make a change. Until one day my boss gave me another request: to lie for her.

    She hadn't gotten something done, and asked me to lie to someone else. This wasn't right. She hadn't even started the project. And now I was supposed to cover for her? It was as if God made me do a 180 and stare at the line of integrity I had already crossed.

    I'd compromised my character one half-truth, one excuse, one rationalization at a time. But no more. I had some decisions to make. Would integrity be a mask I put on at church and took off at work? Was my career more important than my character?

    Those were heavy questions for a young woman. But they were necessary. God used this situation to help shape the person He wanted me to be.

    Knowing I could lose my job, with humility and respect I told my boss I couldn't, no I wouldn't, lie for her. Amazingly, she didn't fire me. With a huff and a sigh, she accepted my decision.

    While I wasn't up to confessing all my lies to her, I did confess them to God. And I made a commitment that day to honesty, no matter how personally difficult it was.

    God cares about what may seem like harmless little lies: "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much" (Luke 16:10).

    God was watching me then, and He's watching me now. Which is why every word I speak is important. Choosing truth is hard, especially when it reveals a weakness. Yet with God's help, I'm making progress to become the woman of integrity He's called me to be.

    Dear Lord, You are the source of all truth. Forgive me for the times I've been deceptive in order to manipulate the opinions of others. I want to be a woman who is filled with Your truth. Help me to uncover whatever stands in the way of becoming that woman. In Jesus' name, Amen.

    Remember
    Choosing to live without a shadow of dishonesty will establish you as a trustworthy woman before God and others.

    Reflect
    Is there an area of your life where you are less than 100 percent honest? If so, confess that to God in prayer. What little decisions of integrity can you make to help strengthen your character?

    Respond
    Keep a pad of paper and pen with you today and make a tick-mark every time you are not 100 percent honest. Confess these instances to the Lord at the end of the day, and ask Him to use this exercise as a reminder to always strive to speak the truth (in love).

    Power Verses
    2 Corinthians 8:21; 1 Peter 2:12

    Taken from Encouragement for Today: Devotions for Everyday Living by Renee Swope, Lysa TerKeurst and Samantha Evilsizer and the Proverbs 31 Ministries Team. © 2013 Proverbs 31 Ministries. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.

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

  • Extravagant Love Pursues

    Posted on October 15, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Luke 15:4-6

    God never gives up on going after His lost sheep. He pursues them with an extravagant and passionate love that exceeds human understanding. The secluded and insecure sheep trembles in fear and worry, but the Great Shepherd gently picks them up. He places them on the broad shoulders of His salvation. His eyes of compassion create comfort and His heart of forgiveness brings joy. Jesus the Shepherd of our soul never stops loving us or pursuing us in our sin.

    Do you feel lost and alone? Have you wandered from the care of Christ into the discomfort of some bad decisions? If so, you are not the first one to find yourself unsure of what to do next and embarrassed about your precarious predicament. You may have drifted from God’s best for now, but you do not have to remain in this scary state of mind. Your Heavenly Father is hot on your heels with His loving kindness and long suffering. Ask Him to hoist you onto His back.

    We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6

    Who do you know who needs the pursuit of your extravagant love? Perhaps a child who is lost in the weeds of the world but longs for your unconditional acceptance. Or a colleague who has failed, but with the assurance of your trust and encouragement will try again. Maybe your spouse is experiencing life change or a mid life crisis. They desperately desire your grace and patience. Pursue those who are on the edge of despair. Love them back to the support of saints.

    Most of all enjoy the grace of God’s goodness. His extravagant love goes with you in your ups and downs. He leads you with the staff of His Holy Spirit. He teaches you with the wisdom of His word. He uplifts you with the joy of Jesus. He corrects you with His loving discipline. He carries you when you are exhausted and unsure what to do next. Yes, celebrate with Christ the joy of your salvation and the event of one sinner who repents. His extravagant love seeks you!

    For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1 Peter 2:25

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for pursuing me with Your extravagant love and grace.

    Related Readings: Numbers 27:17; Ezekiel 34:5; Matthew 9:36; Mark 6:34; John 10:11

    Post/Tweet today: God pursues those on the edge of despair. He loves them back to the support of saints. #extravagantlovepursues

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

  • Natalie Grant - In the End music video

    Posted on October 15, 2013 by Family Christian

    Offering hope in the midst of life’s storms proves to be a central theme for Natalie Grant, and this album, Hurricane is no different, weaving together songs that offer listeners a greater sense of hope, peace and encouragement. With award winning husband/producer Bernie Herms at the helm, Grant poured her heart into this record and wrote on eight of the 10 tracks.

    Based on her own real-life experiences, Grant voiced, for the first time, her struggle with post-partum depression after the birth of her third child, her feelings of inadequacy when it comes to parenting and her feelings of guilt over the ceaseless balance of work, family, motherhood and faith.

    Check out her new video, In the End. What do you think?

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