• PreBuy the box office hit Do You Believe?

Family Christian

  • Choosing a Centerpiece

    Posted on November 11, 2013 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Related Resources:


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

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

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

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

    © 2013 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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

  • Christian Mediation

    Posted on November 10, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

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

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

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

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

  • Eternal Energy

    Posted on November 9, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:30–31).

    There is a good weary. We can be weary in the Lord’s work and not be weary of the Lord’s work. Sleep is sweet knowing we have exhausted our efforts toward the will of God. Trust and hope in the Lord send us into a real rest. We grow weary, but our fatigue is bolstered by faith. Our smile may be faint, but our heart is full of God’s grace.

    In contrast, there is an unhealthy type of weariness that strives in the power of the flesh. It is the result of misguided motives. Perhaps we become driven by the fear of people. We are preoccupied with not wanting to let someone down. Our fear of people transcends our fear of God. We default into performance-based living. It saps our energy and leaves us feeling depleted. Worry is wearisome, fear fatiguing. “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).

    Indeed, the Lord is your hope and strength. Even as you experience accomplishments, you can quickly lose faith because you have not cultivated a hopeful heart. Present practitioners of hope can extend hope to other fainthearted souls. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12).

    An eagle soars somewhat effortlessly. He cannot create or direct wind, but he greatly benefits from its silent effect. He is hopeful that the wind will blow again tomorrow. But if it is boisterous or too mild, he may wait in his nest, positioned in the cleft of the rock. He experiences rest and renewal while he anticipates the energizing power of the unseen wind. In the same way, the Holy Spirit lifts those who wait to be empowered by Him.

    You can run God’s race with patient endurance, but it comes through the process of hope and renewal. Hope in God expands your capacity. You can run harder and farther in the renewed strength of the Holy Spirit. This is eternal energy that comes from God. Hope in the Lord renews your strength in your weariness. Thus, rest in God. Let the wings of your faith carry you as you wait on the wind of the Holy Spirit to empower you.

    “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).

    Prayer: Does hope in the Lord renew my strength? Do I engage with eternity’s energy?

    Related Readings: 1 Samuel 30:6; Psalm 42:5; Micah 7:7; Romans 5:5; Galatians 3:3

    Post/Tweet: We can be weary in the Lord’s work and not be weary of the Lord’s work. #eternalenergy

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

  • Extraordinary Love Gives

    Posted on November 8, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But, you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Mark 14:6-8

    Mary was overwhelmed by Christ’s extraordinary love. He brought her brother Lazarus back to life so she couldn’t wait to express her love to Jesus. Her flesh and blood was dead but now alive again. Mary thought she had lost her brother until they would be reunited in eternity, but now, because of the compassion of Christ, he was back with her to enjoy more days together on earth. Yes, God’s extraordinary love generously gives His children life and significance for living.

    Thus, Mary did what she could to lavish love back on Jesus. She took her most valuable asset and gave it to her Lord. Unknowingly, she participated in God’s will through the symbolic preparation of Christ’s body for His death and burial. Simultaneously, she celebrated Lazarus’ life and anointed Jesus for His forthcoming crucifixion for the sins of the world. Whose life can you celebrate that has passed from death to life in salvation? What remaining assets of yours can you dedicate to the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Extraordinary love gives generously!

    This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. John 3:16, The Message

    Furthermore, we feel like Mary, overwhelmed with gratitude by the extraordinary love of Jesus. Perhaps Jesus has forgiven a sibling who was dead in their sins and given them new life in Christ. Or a parent in the twilight of their life came to the end of themselves saying yes to Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Yes, we celebrate friends and family who were lost in their iniquities but have been made righteous by faith in Jesus Christ to forgive them and make them whole.

    We can never pay back Jesus for His generous love, even over eternity, but we can express extraordinary love in His name to those who need life in Christ. By God’s grace we dedicate our time, talent and treasure for His Kingdom. Yes, we anoint our assets with the precious oil of the Lord’s lavish love in dedication to Him and His will. We prayerfully use our stuff to point people to Christ’s sin-stained cross and empty tomb. Critics within and without are silenced and made irrelevant by extraordinary love that gives generously for God’s glory. Love beautifully for Him!

    How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns! Isaiah 52:7, NKJV

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, Your extraordinary love is beautiful to behold. Make my love extraordinary and beautiful to You.

    Related Readings: Numbers 14:19; Nehemiah 1:5; Psalm 5:7; John 5:20, 19:40; 1 John 3:1

    Post/Tweet today: God’s extraordinary love generously gives His children life and significance for living. #extraordinarylovegives

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

  • The Struggle

    Posted on November 8, 2013 by Lynn Cowell

    Lynn

    "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4 (NIV)

    "Why can't we just get past this?"

    The agitation in my voice revealed the frustration in my heart. I just wanted to fix this relationship problem and move on to happy. My mind and heart were weary from the extended battle.

    I'm a fixer at heart, especially when it comes to my kids. When I see one of them hurting or needing help, I want to make it better. Forget your cleats? I'll run them to school. Overwhelmed by a test? Let me help you study. Don't understand the instructions? We can figure them out together.

    Since I don't like to see my children struggle, I imagine God as our heavenly parent feeling the same way about us. Unlike me, rather than trying to help us avoid struggles, God understands they are often for our good. As James 1:2-4 says, trials can be precisely the thing that makes us grow into maturity.

    Too often when it comes to my kids, it initially seems kinder to step in and relieve the pressure. Yet more than once I have overstepped my bounds and done more harm than good. My help stunted them from gaining a new skill or needed attribute.

    As hard as it is, as my children are growing up, I'm standing back when they wrestle a bit in order to allow them to fully mature. Handling troubles with teachers, working out schedules, and doing their own laundry have been areas where my kids have learned responsibility on their own.

    Their struggle reminds me of the butterfly, wiggling this way and that until it is able to shed its cocoon. The fight allows the butterfly to gain the strength it needs to eventually spread its wings and soar once free of the cocoon. If the cocoon is split by hand, the emerging butterfly won't survive long.

    Jesus, in His wisdom, knows we need the strength that can be gained from struggles we face as adults as well. Struggles to display love in our relationships, to trust Him with our kids' futures, or His provision when finances are tight. Our part during life's battles is to lean into these struggles, getting every ounce of learning and maturing we can. We may think of maturing as a stage a teen goes through. But in the original Greek this passage was written, maturing means "perfect or finished" and complete means "whole."

    God uses difficult times to mold us to become more like Him. When life flows smoothly, it's tempting to go at it on our own. But when it is difficult, it is our reminder to run to the One who has the power we need to respond to life His way. As we do, our faith and level of perseverance will increase, which prepares us for the next struggle. All the while, we are becoming more like Him.

    Scripture strengthens our resolve and fills in the overwhelming places as we trust God for the strength we need. Instead of begging to be let out of the trial, we can pray to grow in the trial.

    Recently, I felt misunderstood and frustrated with someone I love. Opening my Bible, I asked the Lord to help me know how to respond like Him when I wanted to react in anger. The first verse I read after that prayer was Ephesians 5:1, "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (NIV 1984) He could not have been more clear!

    Scripture tells us when we look at our trials as instruments of training and learn from them, we will come out mature and complete. We'll be stronger than we were before—ready for all that God has ahead for us.

    Jesus, I feel anything but joy in the middle of this trial. Open my eyes to help me see these hard times as tools to strengthen me and bring me to a new level of maturity. Help me see them as preparation to take me even further in You. Amen.

    Related Resources:


    Reflect and Respond:
    What area in your life feels like a fight? How could you partner with God to grow in both your faith and perseverance in this area?

    Power Verse:
    Romans 5:3, "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

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

  • Inclusive not Exclusive

    Posted on November 7, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. Mark 9:38-40

    The disciples argued over who would step into the leadership vacuum after Christ’s death. They debated who was the greatest based on their experiences with Jesus. Ambition and power drove them to want great positions in the coming Kingdom. However, Jesus confronted their egos and put them in their places by calling them to serve as one who cares for a child. He defined greatness as being a servant to all. Christ is inclusive in His call to care for humanity’s needs.

    The disciples also struggled with religious pride. They told a stranger to cease ministry in Jesus’ name because the perceived competitor was not part of their group. Jesus on the other hand, urged His followers to not slow down works done in His name. He sanctioned them as good. A cease and desist to these good deeds for His sake was like tying a big rock around the neck of a child and causing them to drown. Other Kingdom workers need to be empowered, not stopped. We are to support, not exclude, others outside our denomination who minister in Jesus name.

    But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” Numbers 11:29

    Our particular belief system is not a stick to beat others into submission, or expect them to conform to our way of doing ministry. If someone is not a part of our evangelical group, we are not to automatically be suspect of their unique ministry methods and beliefs. Jesus is inclusive not exclusive with groups who give Him the glory. As long as ministries and churches embrace the deity, death and resurrection of Christ for our sins, we have much in common.

    Each legitimate Christian group has their own distinctive and emphasis. There are several compelling categories of focus in our family of faith: Bible teaching, worship, service, evangelism, discipleship, healing, miracles, worship, missions, the Eucharist and prayer. Thus, our motive is to encourage and empower other Jesus followers in their ministry. A unified Body of Christ is inclusive in its make up and its ministry to the world. Our risen Savior Jesus is our rallying cry for those lost in their sin and sorrow. Grace includes all who hunger for God’s love!

    For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I accept and seek to emulate Your example of humble service and support to all who call on Jesus’ name.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 42:6; Luke 2:32; Acts 8:9-25, 15:19, 41, 26:23

    Post/Tweet today: Jesus defines greatness as being servant to all. #inclusivenotexclusive

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

  • What New Books Are You Excited About? - A Vine Video

    Posted on November 7, 2013 by Family Christian

  • When Aggravations Accumulate

    Posted on November 7, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity." Ephesians 4:26-27 (NASB)

    I opened the front door and smiled at the delivery man, "Four large pizzas, right?"

    The look on the pizza guy's face told me the teenagers in my backyard were about to be disappointed.

    "Ummm, well, actually there are only two. Let me check your ticket ... oh, yeah you're supposed to have four. Give me 20 minutes and I'll be back with the other two." I took the two he had and said, "No problem. The kids can start on these and have round two when you get back."

    As I walked into the kitchen, my husband Art gave me a funny look. "I thought you ordered four pizzas."

    "Yeah, the delivery guy forgot two but will be back in a few minutes. No big deal," I quipped with a shoulder shrug.

    Art tilted his head. "You didn't even ask for a discount or coupons?"

    "I felt bad for the guy. It's not a big deal to ask the kids to wait a few minutes," I replied with a smile.

    Remembering the way I'd reacted earlier during a little "growth opportunity" we'd had, Art said, "Wow. I'd like to receive that kind of grace."

    Ouch. His point was well made. I'd gotten aggravated with something Art had done and let him know.

    Why is it I'm so quick to give a gentle answer to a stranger but spew on those I love? Perhaps it's because of accumulated impact.

    This was the only time I'd ever seen the pizza guy. My emotions toward him were completely neutral. When he made a mistake, I was able to let it go.

    But I have a history with Art. We do life together. If I let aggravations collect, my emotions ratchet up, creating more and more tension. Then, when something happens, I find it much harder to brush off the offense and offer grace.

    Accumulated aggravations equal accumulated impact.

    Therefore, it's crucial I don't collect aggravations. I've heard many times: "Do not let the sun go down on your anger ..." (Ephesians 4:26 NASB) I know it. But honestly, sometimes I ignore it. I collect aggravations because I'm too tired to talk. Or, I don't want to deal with it. Or, I try to convince myself it's no big deal to go to bed mad.

    But when I keep reading one more verse, Ephesians 4:27, I understand why I should deal with little aggravations while they are still little. They might not stay little long. Why? Because verse 27 finishes with a strong warning, "... and do not give the devil an opportunity" (NASB)

    Yikes.

    The devil is just waiting for an opportunity. I picture him hissing, "Go to bed mad ... and give me an opportunity." That just sends shivers down my spine.

    I love my husband. I get aggravated with him. But I love him. So, I certainly don't want to open the door of opportunity for the devil to turn little aggravations into big ones.

    I put down the pizzas and kissed Art's cheek. "I love you and I'm sorry I didn't give you that kind of grace."

    To which he replied back with a big smile, "I still think we should have asked for a discount or coupons."

    Like I said, I love my husband!

    Dear Lord, I really want to follow Your example and live a life full of grace. Sometimes it is so hard to show grace to those closest to me. Help me. I don't want to give the devil any opportunities in my marriage, my relationships with my children, or in my friendships. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:


    Reflect and Respond:
    Think about the equation, accumulated aggravation = accumulated impact. Choose one relationship in your life. In what ways has allowing yourself to accumulate aggravations resulted in a lack of grace?

    What actions can you take to safeguard your relationships against the devil's attempts to create conflict and separation?

    Power Verses:
    Colossians 4:6, "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." (NIV)

    1 Peter 5:8, "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Timing is Everything

    Posted on November 6, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him. Mark 8:30

    Timing is everything. It is the difference between a strike and a home run in baseball. It determines if a cake is moist and baked perfectly, or hard and dry. Timing in conversation can solicit receptivity or invite defensiveness. It may grow or hinder relationships. When and how we move forward with a decision to change determines the degree of success. Yes, timing in telling the truth is best when anger has subsided and hearts are comforted. Prayer leads to the right time.

    Jesus knew His disciples and their audience could not yet handle the extent of who He was and what He was to do. They were ready to follow a reigning King, but not prepared for a Savior who suffers and dies. In the same way, we as modern day disciples are fast to follow our risen Savior, but slow to follow our suffering Savior. However, both are required for us to be authentic followers of Jesus. We truly follow our Lord, once we are abandoned to our Lord.

    As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead. Mark 17:9

    Have you prayerfully prepared your heart to comfort and confront your child in love? Is your decision making process in the workplace collaborative and infused with wise counsel? A mistimed decision based on a pure motive still makes for an ugly outcome. Better to wait and work out the details before you offer an idea or plan. People fill in the blanks of ambiguity with a worst case scenario. So, a mind that marinates in prayerful reflection gives the wisest response.

    Thus, seek the Lord first, before you seek a sensitive conversation with a friend or foe. Trust the Holy Spirit to lead you into His timing. But when the time is right, be confident of what’s right. Be like Peter at Pentecost, prepared, bold and full of the Holy Spirit. Prayerfully proclaim the gospel of Christ to those the Lord brings into your life, those He has prepared beforehand. Now is the time: surrender to your risen Christ Jesus and embrace your suffering Savior Jesus!

    So don’t waste your time on a scoffer; all you’ll get for your pains is abuse. But if you correct those who care about life, that’s different—they’ll love you for it! Proverbs 9:8, The Message

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I trust in Your timing to lead me into Your will and way for my life.

    Related Readings: Habbakak 2:3; Matthew 26:18; Luke 1:20; 1 Corinthians 4:5

    Post/Tweet today: A mistimed decision based on a pure motive still makes for an ugly outcome. #timingiseverything

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

  • Reunited

    Posted on November 6, 2013 by Micca Campbell

    Micca

    "After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever." 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (NIV)

    When my husband died, a part of me died too. Pain and fear surrounded me during those dark days. I ached inside and felt so lost, empty, and alone. I missed him terribly.

    At times, my need for his comforting touch was so strong it would play tricks on my mind. Once, I saw a man who resembled my husband driving a red truck just like Porter's. I followed that truck for miles. As my heart pounded with hope, nothing else mattered more in that moment than catching up to the truck. I was willing to drive to the ends of the earth if necessary.

    When I finally caught up with him at a red light and our eyes met, my fantasy ended with a devastating halt. It was as if a cruel joke had been played on me. Weakened by the truth, I pulled into a nearby parking lot, lay across the seat of my car, and wept. As the sun set, the temperature inside the car cooled. Sitting up, I wiped my face, zipped up my coat, and headed for home—without my husband.

    There was a great sense of loss, thinking I'd never see Porter again. Maybe you can relate and have experienced grief too? If so, you may be encouraged by this truth: for those who love and know the Lord, parting is only temporary. It's not really goodbye, but see-you-later.

    The apostle Paul assured the Thessalonians of this truth.

    "The dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever" (1 Thessalonians 4:16b-17 NIV).

    That assurance is for us too. There are three words in Paul's statement that provide hope, comfort, and assurance for the brokenhearted: we, together, and them.

    We (people on earth) who are still alive will be caught up together (two parties meeting) with them (those who are in heaven).

    These words of reunion indicate that God's children never have to experience permanent separation. That's good news! One day you and I will be reunited with our loved ones who believed in Jesus while on Earth. What a glorious day that will be.

    Once I really took hold of this truth, my heart settled. Though I still walked through days of missing my husband, the firm grip sadness had on me lost its strangling hold.

    Now, grief no longer burdens my heart. I have hope in God's promise that one day I'll be reunited with Porter, my two grandmothers, and my grandfathers. Holding on to that hope has eased death's sting and filled my heart with anticipation.

    Even in grief there is hope. For those who accept the Lord as their Savior, death is not goodbye. It's simply see-you-later.

    Dear Lord, thank You for communicating to us words of a glorious reunion one day. Thank You that death is not the end. When my grief runs deep, remind my heart to hope in Your truth. I will see my loved ones again. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:


    Reflect and Respond:

    Who can you share this good news with today who needs comfort?

    Power Verses:
    John 14:2-3, "There are many rooms in my Father's house. If this were not true, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. If I go and do that, I will come back. And I will take you to be with me. Then you will also be where I am." (NIRV)

    © 2013 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.

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

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