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Family Christian

  • Break Bad Traditions

    Posted on August 3, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “‘Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!’ Jesus replied, ‘And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?’” (Matthew 15:2–3).

    There are good traditions and there are bad traditions. A good tradition aligns with God’s expectations and honors Him and others in the process. A bad tradition benefits man and breaks Christ’s commands. Indeed, it is wise to take an inventory of our current traditions and make sure they are grounded in God, not made up by man. Is there any habit, belief, or assumption you give credence to that may be undermining your family or faith?

    For example, a good tradition is routinely giving ten percent of our income to the Lord’s work, beginning with the local church and expanding to support ministries. However, a bad tradition is when a Christian leader tries to control the conscience of a person’s giving through guilt and intimidation. It is Spirit-led giving, not man’s manipulation, that gains the best outcome. Tried and true traditions are anchored by trust in the Lord’s control.

    You may face a colleague at work or a strong-willed person in your extended family who has his or her way of doing things. This person’s tradition worked well in the past but is inefficient in the present. How do you break bad habits of another for the good of the company or for what is best for the family? Prayer, patience, and a plan are your best change management tools.

    Prayerfully come up with alternatives that honor the old but give preference to the new. Be bold to ask challenging questions in a spirit of humility. Why are we doing it this way? Is there a better way? How can we improve the process to make the best progress? Are you called to do this? Do you have the gifts and experience required for this project?

    Good traditions enjoy God’s favor over time; bad traditions struggle to survive. What project or program needs to be taken off life support so other resources can be freed up to further the mission? Some traditional strategies suffer from fatigue and need to be put to rest. Other new ones need focused support to execute with excellence. Be honest about your spiritual life and strategic direction. Are your traditions truly from God and for God? Are you trying to change the unchangeable, or are you trusting Christ with change?

    “See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you” (Isaiah 42:9).

    “And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins” (Mark 2:22).

    Prayer: What accepted traditions do I need to respectfully reject? What new traditions do I need to embrace by faith?

    Related Readings: 2 Chronicles 35:25; Micah 6:16; Mark 7:4–9; Galatians 1:14

    Post/Tweet: Good traditions enjoy God’s favor over time; bad traditions struggle to survive. #traditions

    © 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 Matthew

  • Raising Sons

    Posted on August 2, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” Proverbs 1:8

    Raising a son requires intentionality from a parent or parents. Wise are the father and mother who have a plan to instruct and teach their son how to make God-honoring choices and to lead like Jesus. Yes, being an excellent example is fundamental, but it takes more than modeling—sons need to understand the why’s, what’s and how’s.

    For example, they need life preparation in how to become a Christian, pray and study the Bible. Take them through the book of John to love Jesus, the book of Ephesians to grasp grace and the book of Proverbs to embrace wisdom. Boys and young men who grow up fearing God are prepared to persevere through adversity, success, marriage and parenting.

    “Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy the truth and do not sell it—wisdom, instruction and insight as well” (Proverbs 23:23-24).

    Fathers show your son how to relate to girls and young women by loving and cherishing your wife; and wives be an example of the woman he will marry by respecting and following your husband. Parents who agree in their discipline and expectations provide a consistent environment that causes their son to grow in confidence and manhood.

    Anger does not work in molding your son’s will; rather use encouragement and calm correction. Lead him to be accountable to Almighty God and then he will behave well, even when you are absent from his presence. Teach him the value of hard work; let your son sweat through manual labor. Help him discover his God-given gifts and then invest time and money to develop his skills. Competence and character create confidence.

    “Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path” (Proverbs 23:19).

    What if your son strays from the truth? What if he makes a series of foolish decisions? It’s imperative dad and mom stay on their knees in earnest prayer for their wayward son. Pray for him to be influenced by those who love Christ, pray for him to grow weary of sin and pray for the love of God to draw him to Himself. Parent’s prayers are productive.

    Rules without relationship lead to rebellion, so keep your relationship growing and communicate often. Even if you are the only one initiating, stay the course in caring correspondence. Above all—start early instilling godly wisdom into your son, as it is easier to build sons than to fix sons. Lead him to be a leader who loves God. Indeed, joy awaits the parent or parents who by God’s grace are able to grow up godly sons.

    “The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him. May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful” (Proverbs 23:24-25)!

    Prayer: Am I intentional in how I raise my son in the ways of the Lord?

    Related Readings: Proverbs 23:15-16; 31:2; Philippians 2:22; James 2:21

    Post/Tweet today: Rules without relationship can lead to rebellion, so grow your relationships in grace. #relationships

    © 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 Proverbs

  • A Mistaken Identity

    Posted on August 2, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "He who belongs to God hears what God says." John 8:47a (NIV 1984)

    I poured a cup of coffee and logged on to my computer to peek at a friend's Facebook page.

    When I tried hopping over to see her latest pictures, I couldn't get her name to appear in the search bar. I was puzzled. This had always worked before. Glancing at the top of the screen, I realized I wasn't logged in to my own account. My son had forgotten to sign off when he'd been on earlier, so I was actually logged in as him instead.

    I couldn't get where I wanted to go because I had a mistaken identity.

    With a quick click of a mouse, I switched accounts and used Facebook as "me." Under the right identity, I was free to view friends' pages, leave comments with ease and get where I wanted to go.

    Sometimes in life we encounter the same issue-a mistaken identity keeps us from living out God's best for our lives. This may happen when a voice from our past or our own negative self-talk causes us to forget our identity in Christ. We log into our day and encounter wrong thinking that's not in sync with who we are. Those wrong thoughts lead us to doubt God's promise of a life filled with security. We can question our value that is rooted deep in His heart toward us.

    Instead of the truth of our identity, we hear: You can't do that. You aren't good enough. You'll never change. Why can't you be more like your sister? If only you were more ____________ instead of so ___________.

    When self-doubt screams and discouragement sets in, we need to recognize what's happening, log out of the lies we believe and log into God's truth. It's the only way to live in our true identity so we can navigate our lives according to God's Word.

    Here are some truths we can tell ourselves to remember who we are: I am the daughter of the Most High God. I am loved, redeemed and renewed. I am chosen, blameless and holy. I was bought at a great price. God knows me thoroughly and yet loves me completely. He has plans for my future that include hope, not harm; blessings, not banishment. I belong to Him.

    John 8:47a tells us, "He who belongs to God hears what God says" (NIV 1984). We need to listen to His Word, let it take root in our minds and allow it to eradicate any untrue, destructive thought patterns. Replacing the negative chatter with assuring scriptures will gently, but firmly, remind us we are children of God.

    Yes, if we "belong to God" we will hear what He says. As we log into His truths daily, no longer will we mistake our identity. We will know the confident reality of who we are in Christ.

    Dear Lord, when I am tempted to think of myself in a way that is neither healthy nor true, remind me both of who I am and to Whom I belong. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness by Suzanne Eller

    Reflect and Respond:
    What are some counter-productive or self-doubting thoughts that race through your mind at times? The next time you sense this happening, read Ephesians 1:3-14.

    Power Verses:
    Romans 1:6, "And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ." (NIV 1984)

    1 John 3:1a, "Consider this: The Father has given us his love. He loves us so much that we are actually called God's dear children. And that's what we are." (GW)

    © 2013 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Jesus Intercessor

    Posted on August 1, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25, NKJV

    Jesus sits at the right hand of His Father, ever interceding on behalf of His followers. Because of His sinless sacrifice for the human race, followed by His glorious resurrection, He is qualified to mediate between God and man. Christ is positioned in heaven to help all who call on His name. Indeed, just as He selflessly served as the son of man, so He still serves in heaven on behalf of His servants on earth. Jesus is an advocate to Almighty God for those who need mercy and grace.

    Praise God, our Heavenly Father looks over to His son Jesus instead of looking down on unholy human beings. In Christ, the Lord sees forgiveness not guilt. He sees sinlessness not sin. He sees acceptance not rejection. He sees life not death. He sees wisdom not foolishness. He sees healing not hurt. He sees grace not law. He sees mercy not judgment. He sees love not hate. Yes, we have entered into a covenant relationship with Christ, thus He represents us to God in purity.

    Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Romans 8:34

    Where do you struggle? Who has hurt you? Lay your sorrows, fears and pain at the feet of Jesus and He will represent your needs to your loving Heavenly Father. Don’t concern yourself with what might be appropriate or inappropriate to ask of the Lord, because Jesus filters your prayer requests in His righteous wisdom. He will only give over to God what is worthy of the grace of God. Yes, Christ weighs the motive of your heart before He presents your request to God.

    Therefore, petition Jesus with bold belief from a pure heart. When you are unsure what to request in prayer, trust Christ to communicate to your Heavenly Father on your behalf. Most of all listen to the Lord and what the Spirit is saying to your spirit. The closer you walk with Christ the closer your will aligns with His will. Prayer becomes a quiet affirmation from the Holy Spirit, as you become one with Jesus. Hallelujah, He lives in heaven and appears for you in God’s presence!

    For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Hebrews 9:24
    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me Jesus as my personal intercessor at Your throne of grace and mercy.

    Related Readings: Job 16:20; Isaiah 53:12; 1 John 2:1; 1 Timothy 2:5

    Post/Tweet today: The closer you walk with Christ the closer your will aligns with His will. #Godswill

    © 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 Hebrews

  • Newsboys Hit the Restart Button

    Posted on August 1, 2013 by Family Christian

    Four-time GRAMMY®-nominated band Newsboys plans to “take the music further” than ever before with their new album, Restart, set to hit stores on September 10. Boasting a discography of 16 records and over eight million albums sold, Restart will be the third studio album with Michael Tait at the helm and combines the pop, worship and rock that fans embraced from the first two albums, Born Again and God's Not Dead. In the nearly four years since Tait joined the band, over 650,000 records have been sold, while five singles have attained No. 1 status on the radio charts.

    Musically, the Newsboys are driven to recast themselves with the pop-spirited new album and have already proven to be successful as their first single “Live With Abandon” reached No. 20 on the National Christian Audience chart this week. The single has also broken into the Top 10 at Christian Hot AC at No. 6.

    "At the start of this record two years ago, we knew we'd be taking great risks, but people will be excited about this album because we've pushed the music and taken it further than we've ever taken it before,” says front man Michael Tait. “I have not felt this way about anything I’ve been involved in musically since Jesus Freak.”

    The lyric video for “Live With Abandon” is now available here.


    This post was posted in Music and was tagged with Featured, Newsboys

  • One On One with Mark Batterson

    Posted on August 1, 2013 by John van der Veen

    Mark Batterson serves as the lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D. C. Recognized as “one of America’s 25 most innovative churches,” NCC is one church with seven locations. Mark’s blog and webcast also reach a virtual congregation around the world. He is the author of several bestselling books, including New York Times Bestseller - The Circle Maker and In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. Mark holds a doctorate degree from Regent University and lives on Capitol Hill with this wife, Lora, and their three children.

    His new book, All In: You Are One Decision Away from a Totally Different Life is available now.  His publisher has this to say about it: "The Gospel costs nothing. You can't earn it or buy it. It can only be received as a free gift compliments of God's grace. It doesn't cost anything, but it demands everything. It demands that we go 'all in,' a term that simply means placing all that you have into God's hands. Pushing it all in. And that's where we get stuck---spiritual no man's land. We're afraid that if we go all in that we might miss out on what this life has to offer. It's not true. The only thing you'll miss out on is everything God has to offer. And the good news is this: if you don't hold out on God, God won't hold out on you. Readers will find Batterson's writing filled with his customary vivid, contemporary illustrations as well as biblical characters like Shamgar and Elisha and Jonathan and . . . Judas. No one has ever sacrificed anything for God. If you always get back more than you gave up, have you sacrificed anything at all? The eternal reward always outweighs the temporal sacrifice. At the end of the day, our greatest regret will be whatever we didn't give back to God. What we didn't push back across the table to Him. Eternity will reveal that holding out is losing out. The message of All In is simple: if Jesus is not Lord of all then Jesus is not Lord at all. It's all or nothing. It's now or never. Kneeling at the foot of cross of Christ and surrendering to His Lordship is a radical act of dethroning yourself and enthroning Christ as King. It's also an act of disowning yourself. Nothing belongs to you. Not even you. Batterson writes, for many years, I thought I was following Jesus. I wasn't. I had invited Jesus to follow me. I call it inverted Christianity. And it's a subtle form of selfishness that masquerades as spirituality. That's when I sold out and bought in. When did we start believing that the gospel is an insurance plan? It's a daring plan. Jesus did not die just to keep us safe. He died to make us dangerous.'"

    That sparked our curiosity, so we emailed Mark to share with us about life.

    1. In your book The Circle Maker, you encouraged believers to pray "big" prayers to God. What is your goal with your new book, All In?

    The Circle Maker was all about the power of a single prayer. One prayer can change anything, change everything. But you can't just pray like it depends on God. You also have to work like it depends on you. You can't just draw the circle. You also have to draw a line in the sand. The most promising thought in All In is this: you are one decision away from a totally different life. I absolutely believe that. All In challenges readers to identify the one decision that will make the biggest difference in their lives. Of course, I believe that starts with the decision to go all in with God. I think many people think they are following Jesus, but the reality is that they've invited Jesus to follow them. They have inverted the gospel. But the true adventure begins when you completely surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. If Jesus is not Lord of all, then you cannot claim Him as Lord at all. It's all or nothing.

    2. What is it like being a pastor in one of the US's most dangerous cities?

    Washington, DC is a tale of two cities. We live less than a mile from the Capitol Building--the symbol of freedom and power. But one mile in the other direction are some crime-ridden communities in desperate need of God's love. We'll actually open a Dream Center in one of those neighborhoods in the next year. We want to show the love of Jesus in practical ways. We feel like the needs around us give us an opportunity to put Matthew 25 into practice--feed the hungry, clothe the poor, house the homeless, adopt the fatherless.

    3. Earlier this year, your church hosted a conference called "City Fathers." Can you tell us a bit about it?

    We live in a culture that celebrates fifteen minutes of fame. I think it's high time we celebrate a lifetime of faithfulness. So we invited five pastors, City Fathers, to share their heart and vision for our city.

    Between the five of them, they had 167 years of pastoral ministry in DC.

    Honestly, the rest of us are reaping the seeds they sowed. I just felt like we needed to sit at their feet for a day and glean wisdom. We also needed to give honor where honor is due! That's what we did. It was a historic day for DC. It didn't just foster unity. It's created synergy.

    4. What is it about the corn-hole game that you love so much?

    When I was a kid, I spent about two hours a day trying to shoot a basketball hoop through the basket. Now that I can't jump like I used to, I guess corn-hole is the old man's version! It stokes the competitive fires. Consider this an open invitation to all challengers!


    This post was posted in Books, John van der Veen and was tagged with Featured, Mark Batterson, Corn-Hole

  • The Secret Place

    Posted on August 1, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." John 15:4 (NIV)

    Can I let you in on something? There's a place I escape to that allows my soul to breathe and rest and reflect. It's the place where I can drop the "yuck" the world hands me and trade it in for the fullness of God. It's a place where God reassures me, confirms He has everything under control, and gives me a new filter through which I can process life.

    Our key verse John 15:4 says, "Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." This peaceful and fruitful remaining place is my secret place.

    Honestly, it can be hard for a well-meaning soul that desires radical obedience to God to live in that way.

    Rather that remaining we allow ourselves to be pulled away. The distractions of the world lure us to sell our souls for temporary pleasures, and it's easy to be conned by Satan's schemes. Other people rub us the wrong way, and we want to give them a piece of our mind. Worldly wealth screams that if only we could do more to have more, then ultimate happiness could be ours. And our right to be right seems to supersede the sacrificial call of God.

    All the while God invites our souls to break away from the world and remain in Him. To remain in Him and enter the secret place, I have to make the choice to be with God by recalling Scripture I've stored away in my heart and acknowledging His presence through prayer.

    Sometimes I do this because I'm in a desperate place. I pray, "God, I am here and I need You right now. I'm feeling attacked, invaded, pressed and stressed. Please meet me here and help me process what I'm facing using Your truth. I don't want this thing I'm facing to be processed through my selfishness and insecurity. I will surely act in a displeasing and dishonoring way if I'm left to face this on my own. Block my natural reaction and fill me with Your Spirit. Please handle this for me. You speak what needs to be spoken and give me the power to hold my tongue for what needs to be left in silence."

    Other times I need to be with God because I'm feeling pulled into something I know is not part of His plan for me. I see something new I can't afford. How easy it is to justify my way to the checkout line, whip out a credit card and decide to deal with the consequences later!

    Maybe it's a relationship we know is not in God's will. Or a particular eating habit we know isn't healthy for us.

    Whatever it is, we don't have to be rendered powerless by this pull. We can pray, "God, I know You are more powerful than this pull I am feeling. I know this thing I think I want so much will only provide temporary pleasure. I know the consequences of making this choice will rob me of joy and peace in the near future. Through Your power, I am making the choice to walk away. I will find my delight in You and look forward to feeling Your fullness replace the emptiness this desire creates."

    I need a fresh filling of God's Spirit and Word in me. So I go to the secret place and simply talk to God through prayer and reading Scripture. Then I listen for His voice. Sometimes He provides direction and instruction on something that needs to be done. A sweet invitation for me to lift up an obedient "yes."

    The more we say yes to remaining in God's secret place, the more we will live in expectation of seeing Him. The more we expect to see God, the more we will. The more we experience Him, the more we'll trust Him. It all starts with denying the pull of the world and saying yes to God's daily invitation to remain in Him.

    Dear Lord, I am so thankful for the secret place, where I can let my soul rest in You. Help me to be obedient and to remain in You above all else. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness by Suzanne Eller

    Reflect and Respond:
    Do you regularly spend time with God?

    If not, what keeps you from making this a priority? What will you do to break the cycle of not spending time with Him?

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 62:1, "Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him." (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 John

  • Spiritual Fitness

    Posted on July 31, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 1 Timothy 4:8, NKJV

    An exercise in faith is what grows the spiritual lungs of the soul and grows grace in a humble heart. However, a faith that has not been stretched cramps up, consumed with itself in the heat of competition with the culture. Like sweat cools the human body and flushes out toxins with regular rigorous activity, so fervent prayer calms the human spirit and cleanses inner impurities. Yes, a faith unchallenged and underused atrophies like a limp muscle lacking resistance. So, spiritually fit saints are intentional in their daily disciplines of prayer, Bible study and service.

    What is your routine for exercise in righteousness? How do you keep your spirit moving and growing in the ways of God? Perhaps you start with a prayer list of those who need you to lift them to the Lord for love and encouragement. Assign each day to a separate group, like on Monday pray for missionaries, on Tuesday pray for your family, on Wednesday pray for the sick, on Thursday pray for the unsaved, on Friday pray for government leaders, on Saturday pray for church leaders and on Sunday confess, repent and listen to the Spirit’s still, small voice.

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

    Furthermore, feed your soul with a steady diet of Scripture. What fresh fruit and vegetables are to the body is what God’s word is to your spiritual nourishment. The meat of the Bible gives you the stamina to resist the devil and to persevere through pain. As the Holy Spirit applies the Lord’s unchanging truth in your changing world, you become more like Jesus in your attitude, actions and speech. Obedience to Christ’s commands creates in you a healthy and holy heart.

    Lastly, look to your service for the Lord as a privilege to work out your salvation. You are saved to serve. A faith void of works is spiritually suspect of authenticity. Is God calling you to volunteer in the church nursery, pay for your neighbors yard work or take your children to feed the hungry? Perhaps missions is tugging at your heart, just make sure to care for your neighbor first, before you contemplate sharing the gospel with strangers overseas. Yes, the fruit of godliness is good deeds for God’s glory. Spiritual fitness is profitable in this life and for eternity!

    But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6
    Prayer: Heavenly Father, keep me spiritually fit with daily faith exercises inspired by Your Spirit.

    Related Readings: Psalm 37:11; Proverbs 22:4; Matthew 6:33; Mark 10:29-30; 2 Peter 1:6

    Post/Tweet today: A faith unchallenged and underused atrophies like a limp muscle lacking resistance. #spiritualfintess

    © 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 1 Timothy

  • Gavin MacLeod - A Man Changed By Christ

    Posted on July 31, 2013 by John van der Veen



    The remarkable life, career, and faith journey of the star of The Love Boat and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

    For 16 years, millions of Americans welcomed Gavin MacLeod into their living rooms every Saturday night. This veteran of stage and screen transformed himself from a seasoned character actor into the leading, lovable father-figure of The Love Boat at the height of TV’s boom years.

    For more than 30 years, Gavin MacLeod has served as the global ambassador for Princess Cruises. Speaking to thousands of travelers each year, and signing hundreds of autographs at every port, he stands poised to celebrate his amazing journey with a look back at the golden era of American television.

    The consummate storyteller, Gavin shares his fondest memories of meeting and working with countless stars, such as Cary Grant, Steve McQueen, Gregory Peck, Bette Davis, Frank Sinatra, Ethel Merman, Ella Fitzgerald, Ronald Reagan, Milton Berle, and Fred Astaire.

    At first I was a bit hesitant to interview Gavin. I didn't know where he was coming from, and I didn't know much about his story. I knew that he claimed Christ as his savior, but I didn't know how passionate he was about Christ.

    Now, on the other side of the interview, I am so grateful for meeting this man. A man who has obviously been so changed by Christ.

    John: Gavin, before we begin talking about your new book, which is called This is Your Captain Speaking--obviously a very appropriate title--can you give us the rundown about how you got into Hollywood? How did you become an actor?

    Gavin: This is all in the book, too. Anyway, it started really when I was four years old. If you do it from four to 82, I’ve always said I should be a lot better. I was in kindergarten and I was in a play. I had a lot of cute hair then at that time. It was a Mother’s Day play; I remember it so vividly, John. A Mother’s Day play and I played a little boy who wanted to get something for his mother for Mother’s Day but I didn’t have any money. I didn’t know what to do, so I walked into the forest, where each one of my classmates played a different animal. The last animal was the largest one in the class, he must have been five years old and he was a bear. He said the thing to give your mother was a bear hug.

    I went back through the forest, the play must have taken about ten minutes, I don’t know. Each animal saying I’m going to give my mother a bear hug and I finally got back to the girl playing my mother, I gave her a bear hug. The play was over. Everybody took a bow and I took the last bow and I heard that applause. You talk to many actors my age, it’s kind of a similar thing. The applause made me feel that somebody really liked me. I said I want to do more of that. From that moment on, when I started writing compositions in school it was all about how I wanted to be an actor, how I wanted to spend my life. Then eventually when I got to high school, I quit the football team to go and do a play and they had a contest and I won that contest every year.

    I finally won a scholarship to Ithaca College, and that’s when I was first exposed unbelief (in God). I never realized until I got to college, because I came from a small town called Pleasantville, New York, that anyone ever thought there wasn’t a God. We’re all believers in our community, most of the ones I knew anyway. That opened a whole new world to me of new thinking. I thought, “Gee whiz, what is going on here?” That was the beginning.

    After college, I went to New York and got Radio City Music Hall and made $34 a week. One of my big thrills was taking up Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in my elevator one night. I was bald, I had lost my hair in college. I saved enough money, I thought, $125, so I could get a hairpiece--because they don’t write parts for young guys with bald heads. I finally went to a place--and it’s a long story; it’s all in the book--but I finally got a second-hand hairpiece for $125. That hairpiece got me my first Broadway play! I wore that hairpiece on and off.

    Anyway, after that, I did four off-Broadway plays. And then I went on the road without my hair. I had to save enough money to get married because I became engaged to a Rockette.

    So I went on the road, saved all that money, got married, and was working at a restaurant in New York City where all the big stars would go. I was the cashier, and that’s where I met Marilyn Monroe. That’s all in the book, too. They were doing a Hatful of Rain, an incredible play with Shelley Winters, Ben Gazzara, Anthony Franciosa, Harry Guardino. It was an Actor’s Studio project and I didn’t belong to the Actor’s Studio at all. Anthony Franciosa was discovered and was going to movies and everybody was moving up. I went to audition opposite all these Actor’s Studio actors and I came back to work. I was at my cashier’s post one night and the producer came in and said, “You got your first Broadway show, kid.”

    I was with the Hatful of Rain in New York and on the road for a year and a half. On the road, when I was in California, I had an offer to do a movie. Playing a drug addict and drug pusher, but I couldn’t do it because I was under contract to the play and I wouldn’t leave the play. That gave me a spurt of encouragement. I said maybe I can do something out there. I finished the whole tour in Boston, got to New York and my wife and I talked about it. I couldn’t get an agent in New York. I was this young guy with a hairpiece which belonged to somebody else years ago. I said, “I think I’ll go to the west coast.“

    We knew one person who knew an agent on the west coast. So we contacted that agent, Lou Irwin, and I flew out and went to Lou Irwin’s office and that’s where I met Ted Knight. If you’ve ever watched the Mary Tyler Moore show, you know who Ted Knight is. I don’t know how old you are, John, so a lot of the stuff I talk about I don’t know if you even know who I’m talking about.

    John: A little bit.

    Gavin: The eventuality was that Ted Knight was one of the best actors of all time. I met him in the office my first day on the west coast. I did a play immediately there and I got attention from that. That was the beginning of my career on the west coast. Eventually, one of the greatest moments I’ve ever had in my life would transpire: I brought my friend Ted Knight to the Lord before he passed. That was one of the greatest moments I have ever had in my life and that’s all in the book too. It’s all because of the business, and if you want to hear how God works, after the Mary Tyler Moore show was over, that ran for seven years.

    My wife and I had a nightclub act. We were going to go do that again and go back in the theater. I got a call from Aaron Spelling to do this thing called the Love Boat. I asked my agent, “Well what do you think about it? Have you read it?” He says, “I’ve read it.” I said, “Well, what do you think?” He says, “Well, I think it sucks. Do you want to read it?” I said, “Sure, I want to read it.” He gave it to me. I read it and said, “I think this can do something.” My wife read it and said “I think this can go, Gavin.” We went and did the Love Boat. Every critic thought it was going to sink like the Titanic. That it was mindless television. They thought it was just a waste of time, but the public loved it! You can see what the cruise industry is today and it’s all because of the Love Boat. You talk to anybody who is in the industry who was there years ago. It’s all because of the push it had from that show.

    John: How many years was the Love Boat on?

    Gavin: Almost ten years. All over the world. The Mary Tyler Moore show was just here and in England, and I saw one in Italy, too, when I was there. The Love Boat was international. Completely international.

    This is the point I wanted to make. I found out later that they had made two pilots of the Love Boat, way before me. With two different captains. They both had their own hair. They both had what you might call leading men kinds of bodies, you know, but it didn’t sell. I think the Lord was waiting for me. He put me in that job and as a result of that job and a result of the happenings in my life since then, and the kinds of movies I have done now like the Secrets of Jonathan Sperry and Timechanger.

    My preoccupation, my reason for living is to bring people to Jesus. He has brought me so much in my life. He has given me way beyond anything I thought. I thought I could maybe do my one Broadway play and maybe do one movie and then go and teach. It just hasn’t worked out that way. I am a very grateful, grateful person. Did I answer your question?

    John: (Laughter) Yes, you did. Absolutely. Gavin, just talking a little bit more about the Love Boat. I’m sure you have 1,001 memories about that time in your life. What is one memory that stands out that you’re really fond of?

    Gavin: When my wife did the first show she had ever done. We had attended a wedding for the actress who played Julie McCoy on the show--the cruise director--was getting married. It was at Bel Air Hotels. My wife’s name’s Patti, and we were sitting behind Aaron Spelling, who was Mr. TV, the giant producer, and his wife, Candy. He turned around and said, “Patti, I’ve got a great part for you next week.” Completely unsolicited. Patti came in and she played opposite Jim Backus, if you’re familiar with him. She was just socko! She was just wonderful on that show.

    I was very protective of her because she had never done anything like that, playing scenes without me before. She was basically a dancer and a singer. When I met her, I said “Oh, you’re so funny and you have such wonderful timing when you tell your stories, let’s see if you can walk and talk at the same time.” That’s what we call it. I took out a play called the Seven Year Itch, where she was like the third lead, she was the wife. She only had three or four smaller scenes. I wanted to see how she’d do and she did really great. I knew she had that aptitude and so, consequently, she just went on and had a wonderful career of her own acting. That first one she did on the Love Boat, where I was so protective of her, that on the last shoot, the last day, the crew came with a big t-shirt, a yellow t-shirt that said “Stage Mother Captain” on it for me.

    John: I love it.

    Gavin: We had a very happy crew.

    John: You guys all got along very well?

    Gavin: Yes. I learned a lot from Mary Tyler Moore. Mary Tyler Moore set the pace. When you’re in the theater, you have to be conscientious, you have to be early. I’ve taught that’s what you have to do. You’re the leader of the pack and how you are behaving is how the rest will pick up on. If you know you’re lines, if you’re on time, if you’re early, if you’re pleasant…

    The great thrill about that, there’s so many different things with the Love Boat, I’m still in awe, is that I was working with some of the people that I wanted to be like when I was a little boy. They would come to my captain’s table. I would have scenes with them like Mary Martin who I saw do South Pacific originally with Pinza in New York City. I was in high school. I just fell in love with her. When she sang “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair,” I thought she was singing to me. Then 35 years later, I’m holding her in my arms. I said, “Can I tell you something? I’ve been in love with you since I was 16 years old.” She signed a nice picture for me, she’s gone now, too.

    There’s so many different moments. Marion Ross is a good old friend of mine, too. She played Mrs. C on Happy Days, Mrs. Cunningham. Do you remember that?

    John: Yes.

    Gavin: Okay. Well, she and I have been friends. If you read the book you’ll see that we had worked together in 1957 when I first came out here opposite each other. We had been friends and then we did Operation Petticoat together with Cary Grant and Tony Curtis. Did you ever see that movie?

    John: I did not.

    Gavin: You should see that movie. That’s a wonderful movie for the family to see. It’s a comedy and it’s all based on real events that happened to different ships during the second World War. They encapsulated it into one ship for the movie. It’s a wonderful, wonderful, clean, family movie. It broke the record at Radio City Music Hall at that time when it played there.

    John: I wrote it down.

    Gavin: You should see that, John. Honestly, if you have any children ever. It’s just a fabulous movie. I played a little guy called Hunkle in that, the yeoman and there’s a great scene where Tony and I steal a pig, but Marion is in it, too. Marion and I go way back.

    On the Love Boat, like the last couple of years, they said you know we’re thinking about having a permanent love interest for the captain. I said “I think that would be great.” It’d be good for some of the older people out there. They had a list of different stars, big names. I said, “You know who I would like? Marion Ross.” She had just had a run on Happy Days and all, so they said Mrs. C. I said, “Yeah.” I said, “We play very well together.” They hired her. We had two years of working together on that show. When the show ended, we went on the road in a play called Never Too Late and wound up in Cape Cod.

    When I was in Cape Cod, that night, I got a call that Ted had died. His wife communicated with me that she wanted me to do the eulogy. I prayed that the Holy Spirit would just tell me what to say because I know there were going to be a lot of nonbelievers there. It just came out reviewing our friendship and everything and about all the awards you’ve ever received, Ted, nothing was as important as the last time I saw you when you gave your life to Christ. Now you have it all. I’ll always remember you as a little song, a little dance, a little salsa down your pants.

    It’s too bad you don’t know who I’m talking about because if you ever look at the Mary Tyler Moore show, and that’s another show if you have children that you can watch. It’s one of the most brilliantly written comedies ever and it’s very poignant in areas, too. It came about 1970 when Women’s Lib. was really big, so it addressed all that.

    John: We have the full season of the Dick Van Dyke show at home and we’ve certainly enjoyed watching that.

    Gavin: I did one of those. I did the one called “Empress Carlotta’s Necklace.”

    John: I’ll have to play it when I get home from work today.

    Gavin: I was the one, remember Richard Deacon played Mel with the bald head. When he said, “Oh, my cousin’s here.” On the sets in Hollywood, you always have a guy showing up or a woman with a big thing selling jewelry. This is about this guy coming in, Dick and Mary are having an anniversary and he says, “I want you to meet my nephew,” so I show up. It’s a wonderful character part. I think you’ll enjoy it. It’s done in the mid-60’s there and I sell Dick Empress Carlotta’s necklace for like $39.95. He brings it to Mary as a gift, that’s all I’ll tell you then you just have to see the show. It was one of the prizewinning ones. “Empress Carlotta’s Necklace.”

    I did that, and then I was doing another one where I played this little Jewish guy who was in love with Rosemary. She used to order sandwiches and I sent her notes in the middle of the sandwich to read. We were in the middle of the shoot, rehearsing and then we had a weekend off and I came down with appendicitis. I couldn’t do it then and they got another actor. I was in the hospital feeling so sorry for myself because what a wonderful group. You can’t imagine being in the presence of Carl Reiner, Sheldon Leonard--one of the great guys of all time--Danny Thomas and Dick and Mary and Maury and Rosie, you know. Rosie’s pretty long in the teeth right now.

    Anyway, well I’m glad you’re watching that. I did a lot of those things you know. The other thing as far as the Love Boat goes, a highlight with me was when Patti came on. Meeting those big stars, having Marion Ross and the last one we did, we got married and I had my friend Jan Peters from college, he played the minister and married us.

    The other favorite one was when my daughter Jill came aboard, when Vicki came on the show. Aaron Spelling came to me and said, “We’re thinking about you having a daughter.” I said, “How can I have a daughter if I’m not married?” He said, “Remember the episode that we did a long time ago where you were in love with this model?” I said, “Oh yeah.” “And she wanted to marry you?” I said, “Yeah, but she issued an ultimatum. She told me, either you or the sea. I don’t want to marry you and have you be gone all the time.” Some very interesting things going on.

    After much, much trepidation he says, “I have to be on the sea, I have to be on the water.” He said, “From that relationship, you could have produced a child. That child shows up on the boat.” That’s how that whole story started. We had some very interesting stuff with Vicki, this young girl showing up on the boat and how we all realized, and how I realized... It’s very, very interesting stuff. Also, we got a lot of young viewers because there was someone for them to associate with. The Love Boat picked up another few thousand people. It’s interesting to think why that show was so successful.

    There were so many different ingredients, but I think the main thing to me is when a show was all over. My wife and I had an apartment in New York, so I went to the apartment in New York and I had some cleaning, so I brought some cleaning to the cleaning shop that we used to trade in and it was a new young woman there. She said, “Oh man, aren’t you the captain?” I said, “Well, yes I was.” “Well, why did they take that show off?” I said, “Well, someone else bought the network and I guess they thought it was too expensive.” “But you have to go back and tell them to put it back on.” I said, “Why young lady?” She said, “Because that show used to give me something to dream about. There’s nothing on television that gives me anything to dream about.” That’s what it did.

    I represent Princess Cruises, you know John? Ever since the show went off the air. I was in Australia just last year and it was my birthday and I was meeting this huge congregation of Princess employees in Sydney. I said what am I going to tell these people and then I realized what that girl said. I said, “You know, it’s an honor for me to be here in front of all of you. I’m glad you’re taking time out from work with me to celebrate my birthday, but let me celebrate you because you should know, what you are doing with your lives are allowing people to realize their dreams. A lot of people go to work and that doesn’t happen. They don’t have that kind of a job, but you have that job.” I said, “I’ll tell you the truth, as my captain would say, ‘I salute you.’”

    I think that’s a very important ingredient that someone has something to dream about. It’s not a shootout kind of thing, it’s not a negative thing, it’s not these sex things that go on. Cruising does change lives. I’ve seen it happen over and over and over again. I’ve been on so many ships and seen so many people.

    John: Gavin, I had read that you and Patti got divorced and then remarried. Obviously, there’s reconciliation that took place. What brought you guys back together again?

    Gavin: That’s a major theme in my book. I mean that’s one of the major moments in my book. When things started to move with the Love Boat, it got so big, and big, and big and I was the leader and the responsibility I had was enormous. If I wasn’t on the screen, I was all over the country pushing it and doing interviews. It became almost obsessive to me and I didn’t know the Lord at that time. I just put my work before my wife. I said I just don’t have time; I can’t come in after work. I leave when it’s dark; I come home when it’s dark. I’m learning lines. I do a lot of stuff behind the scenes you don’t see when you see the show.

    I very selfishly put myself and my job before my wife and so I’ve got to get a divorce. I have to get out of here. I could just concentrate on all that. I did. For those three years, she had gone to a therapist. When I met her, she introduced me to a new age teaching and that new age teaching was me. I’m first. There’s no such thing as sin. You’re supposed to be happy, not unhappy. Do what you want to do. That’s why having that kind of indoctrination in my head, leaving her was not as dreadful as it really is. It really is, it’s a terrible thing. I was very selfish at that time, but because of that kind of a teaching it sort of falls into place.

    For three years, we didn’t see each other. Three years she went to a psychiatrist in New York and out here all saying I want my husband back and he doesn’t want to be married so you’ve got to carry on. One day she went to some kind of a Buddhist place where they had pictures of a yogi or Gandhi or something and a picture of Jesus and she was sitting there. All she did was pray for me to come back. She wasn’t born again yet. She was praying. This man came up to her who was one of the yogis in a robe and he says, “Is there anything I can do for you?” She says, “My husband, I need him back.” He said, “You know, there are those pictures there on the altar. Jesus is the real thing.” She carried that with her.

    One day, she got a call from Patti, Jerry Lewis’ ex-wife. She told my wife Patti, she says, “Patti, I want to take you some place. I want you to meet some ladies.” We were living at the beach then. Patti Lewis picked her up and took her to a house in Beverly Hills where she went and saw all these ladies sitting there and on the mantle of this big house there were all these Oscars. She says, “Wow, this is really something.” It was Johnny Green’s wife. Johnny Green was one of the major musicians here. He usually conducted the Oscars. He did “Raintree County.” He won all those Oscars for his music.

    These women were there in a prayer circle. Patti says, “I’ve never seen anything like that before.” They introduced her and asked her, “Would you like prayer for anything?” She says, “Yes, I’d like to have my husband back.” One little voice, this good friend of ours who went to be with the Lord two years ago, she said, “If you want your husband back, you can have him back.” They started to pray for me. Patti had never experienced anything like that. That lady’s name was Louise French. She’s with Jesus now.

    The night of that happening, we researched it. The night of this happening, I went to a play with Bernie Kopell and his wife, he played the doctor on the show, in Santa Monica. That’s where Patti was having this. After the play, I said, “I wonder how Patti’s doing?” I hadn’t had that thought before. I drove around where we used to live. I tried to see her. Then I went home. The next morning I prayed to Jesus because my mother had a brain situation. A cyst the size of a baseball in the left brain and they were going to have to operate. That morning, you get the chronology? They prayed for Patti that day, that same day I went to see the play I started to think about her.

    The next morning, I’m in bed and my mom’s operation’s in Palm Springs and I’m in Beverly Hills. I prayed to Jesus that if you give my mother more time I’ll turn my life over to you. I don’t care if I act anymore, but dear Jesus give her more time. After I said that, something told me to call Patti. I didn’t even have her phone number. I called my secretary Judy. I said, “Judy, have you got Patti’s number?” “Why boss?” I said, “I don’t know. I have to call her.” “Why?” “I don’t know. I just know I have to call her.” She gave me the number.

    It was like 7:15 in the morning. I’m usually off to work at a quarter to six, but I had a late call that day. I called her. I said, “This is Gavin.” She said, “Oh, I was just thinking about you.” “Can I see you?” I don’t even know why I’m saying this John, it’s just coming out. I said, “Can I see you?” She said, “Well, yes, but I have to be away. I started a group called LADIES.” I said, “Well, what it is?” She said, “Well, it stands for Life After DIvorce can Eventually be Sane.” All these ladies who’ve been divorced by well-known people, Patti was one of the starters of this group. She says, “We go from city to city as a support team for other people like us. Who’ve been dumped.” I said, “Okay.”

    We made a date for the following Monday. I went down there. I got out of work early. Nobody answered the door. I kept knocking and knocking and knocking. The third time there she is. We hug and she says, “I’m sorry, you’re dinner’s cold. It’s been waiting for three years.” Great line, huh?

    John: Great line.

    Gavin: Then we started talking. She said, “Pat and Shirley Boone have become very good friends of mine and they’ve been a blessing to born again marriages.” Wonderful ministry. They’ve taught me to do some things and this is what I do. Whenever I come in the house now,” (it was an apartment), she said, “Hi honey, I’m home.” She said, “Look, I put my wedding ring back on,” and “Let me go get you something.” She went and she showed me a Bible with my name on it she had made. We just sat down there and we talked and fell asleep and talked and fell asleep. We never did eat that food.

    So much had changed. She had changed so much, it seemed to me. Now, she really had Jesus. She really had committed to Jesus and I said, “Patti, this is what I want. This is what I long for.” She had put on some television and the first one we saw was Kenneth Copeland. He eventually became a very good friend of ours and to Gloria and all. We went up there in Texas a few times to see them.

    Anyway, that was the beginning of our whole getting back together. Then I had to go to work. I started to hear with different ears. I started to see with different things. God started to do a work in me. I didn’t want to hear those dirty jokes anymore. I used to be the leader of all that. I didn’t want to hear those things. The guys weren’t too happy with me, but they tolerated me. I didn’t care because now I was with the Truth. My Lord has forgiven me of my sins.

    I eventually went through a process and I became born-again. Patti and I were both baptized in the water at Church on the Way with Pastor Jack. I will never forget that moment in my life as long as I live. Being baptized in the water and being told nothing before this moment has ever happened. Our sins are washed away.

    John: That story, just is absolutely incredible. There’s two things that I hear going on that just fly in the face of contemporary culture. First of all, you rarely hear of couples that have been divorced being brought back together just in regular contemporary Americana. Secondly, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard that story for anybody who has worked in Hollywood such as both you and Patti have. You both stand as a testimony of God’s grace and reconciliation.

    That story is so fantastic and, honestly, this is my prayer for you, that both of you will continue to share that because it speaks volumes of God’s grace to so many couples that are struggling even right now. This is going to be transcribed into a blog, and so people who are reading this and reading your testimony, Gavin, they’re going to be encouraged by the dramatic effects that God has done through both you and your wife.

    Gavin: That John, that’s exactly to me the purpose of my book. I didn’t care about writing a book about my life. If I can bring one person to Jesus, or if I can bring one couple back together, it will be worth all of the work and all of the energy and everything else that it’s taken to get this book done. That’s the purpose in life. My purpose in life is as an ambassador for Christ. The thing is John, I’ve never won an Oscar, never won an Emmy, never won a Tony. I’ve been given the greatest award anyone could ever receive, that’s eternal life.

    John: Amen, brother.

    Gavin: He’s forgiven me my sins. Born again, I’ve become an ambassador for Christ as John says. The most rewarding role I have ever had. With that comes a lot of responsibility. Someone was looking on a blog the other day and they saw my name. I said, “Patti, look I finally made it. It says Gavin MacLeod, actor and Christian activist.” Wow, Christian activist. That’s like getting a star from the Lord. You know what I mean? Putting it right out there.

    This story, I haven’t even finished how God has blessed us… We used to go to different born-again marriage seminars and give our testimony. Then on Trinity Broadcasting Network, we had a program for seven years called Back on Course. That was our first book, Back on Course. God used us that way. Even just two weeks ago, I got a note from someone. I get notes from people all over the world. This lady was from Trinidad and the husband had left for about six years and he saw our program one night and he contacted her and they got remarried.

    We were on a ship once and our little mailbox, if you’ve been on a ship outside your suite or wherever you are, they have a little mailbox and we found a thing there. Some lady was saying, “My husband and I owe our marriage to you because we were broken, completely broken. We heard your story and he said well, my heavens if God can do it for them, He can do it for me too. We’ve been back together and I just want to thank you for that.”

    When I go on Princess Cruises, sometimes they let me do a Sunday service. I get to do my testimony. The last one, I was coming from the Mediterranean and Adriatic and mostly English people on this ship. I got a wonderful, wonderful note from a woman who said, “I have been a pastor all my life and I decided, okay, now I’ve done it and now I don’t have to do it anymore. Then I heard you this morning, I realized it’s never over. What have I done? I said I don’t want to pastor anymore? I don’t want to speak the Word of God anymore? I don’t want to be a symbol of what God can do for you?” She wrote me this, she says, “I’m going back to the ministry after hearing you.”

    Those kinds of moments really feed into my gratitude so much. You know what I mean? God can take me, this guy that used to drink and I thought I knew Him but I didn’t know Him and all that kind of stuff and use me as an instrument. That’s what He used me as, an instrument. I’m just so grateful. I’m 82 now, but I have such a purposeful life. I want to go and go and go and bring as many people. When I go on the road with my book, I’ll be preaching almost all over the place until they close me down. I want people to know that, what I want to get across, is that He can do this for anybody.

    John: Amen.

    Gavin: My wife is going through a very difficult time now, John. She needs assisted living right now. The devil has attacked her for years and years and years in her mind. Her frontal lobe has decreased 40%. She’s in a place where they kind of help her with medication and things like that now because of this really abnormal depression and anxiety. We know Joyce Meyer says it’s a battlefield of the mind, you know? It’s true. We have everybody we know praying for Patti and her healing.

    John: We are joining you.

    Gavin: Listen, God bless you and your family and all the time you’ve given. It just made this a very important hour for me.

    John: Thank you, Gavin, so much for your time. God bless you, brother.

    Gavin: God bless you, too.

     


    This post was posted in Books, John van der Veen and was tagged with Featured, Joyce Meyer, Pat Boone, Gavin MacLeod, Jack Hayford, Kenneth Copeland

  • Overlooking an Offense

    Posted on July 31, 2013 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy Blight

    "A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense." Proverbs 19:11 (NIV 1984)

    What did she mean by that? Why does she always hurt my feelings? Why does she treat me that way? I didn't realize these words played through my head on a continual basis until my daughter pointed it out.

    She ended many of our conversations with, "Why do you get your feelings hurt so easily?" Or, "Mom, you're so sensitive."

    At first, her words angered me. But over time, I began to hear what she was saying.

    For years, I allowed people's words to hurt my feelings. In turn, I harbored anger for those words. The anger took root. Satan fed the words to me over and over again. I re-played them in my mind. Each time the anger grew deeper roots.

    Listening to a sermon in church, I would think, "I wish ______ was here. She really needs to hear this!" Of course, the sermon by-passed my heart all together.

    Without realizing it, the words of others consumed my thoughts and focus and stole my time. About this time, God called me to teach a Bible study on the book of Proverbs. I spent days and weeks absorbed in this amazing book of wisdom.

    One afternoon, this verse leapt off the page and into my heart, "A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense" (Proverbs 19:11). I had a choice. Up until then, I heard people's words, jumped to a conclusion and chose to be offended.

    But through His Word, God gently corrected me. I sensed Him saying that I can choose to look past people's words and not receive them with an offended heart. I discovered that I needed to LISTEN objectively and ask: What is driving their words? Do they have a valid point? Do they have a deep hurt? Or do they need something I am not giving?

    The responsibility was on me to stop the words from taking root in my heart. When I accepted this, my attitude changed. Yes, it took time, and I am a work in progress. But now when someone speaks a hurtful word, I check it before letting it take residence in my mind. I hear the words, recognize my issue, and speak Truth over my heart. I literally say, "It is to my glory to not receive this as an offense."

    Everyone wins because I don't ruin the rest of the day by pouting, making it all about me, or soaking in self-pity. Each time I make this choice, I sense God is pleased as I honor Him by choosing NOT to be offended.

    Heavenly Father, thank You that I am created in Your image. Thank You that I find my identity in You. Thank You that it is only Your Word and Your opinion that matter. Lord, give me Your ears to hear. Help me not to be easily offended and easily angered. Help me lay down any offenses to which I am currently holding. Let me live in the freedom of Your love and forgiveness. Help me live not in my flesh, but supernaturally in the fullness and freshness of Your Spirit. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness by Suzanne Eller

    Reflect and Respond:
    Read 1 John 1:8-10 and reflect on its meaning in relation to this devotion.

    Over the next week, listen to your conversations and note if you are easily offended.

    Power Verses:
    Ephesians 4:26-27, "In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." (NIV 1984)

    Ephesians 4:32, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (NIV 1984)

    © 2013 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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


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

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Helping you find, grow, share and celebrate your faith
Who doesn't love free shipping!? At Family Christian, you can qualify TWO ways:

1. To your door (just $50 minimum)*

No coupon required! Simply add $50 worth of merchandise to your cart and select the "Free Shipping" option under "Shipping Method." Easy as pie.

* Valid on merchandise totaling $50 or more before taxes. Please keep in mind this is valid on domestic ground shipping to addresses within the U.S. only, not valid toward international delivery. Additional charges apply for express shipping. Terms subject to change without notice.

2. To your store (no minimum order required!)*

At checkout, select "Ship to your local Family Christian store" and enter your zip code to find our closest location. Not sure if there is a Family Christian nearby? Find your local store now.

* Valid on select merchandise only
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