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  • Oneness With God

    Posted on July 19, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. I cry out to God Most High, to God, who vindicates me. Psalm 57:1-2

    Adversity is an avenue to Almighty God. When all spiritual trappings are stripped away the human spirit and Holy Spirit have seamless communion. Refuge in the Lord means utter dependence on His protection and reputation. He alone is good, as nothing good comes from fallen humanity. A confession of depravity shows desperation for Christ. Hard times soften hearts for oneness with God's heart.

    Have you run into a spiritual brick wall? Have your ways of relating to God lost their effectiveness? Once prayer was energizing, but now it has become boring at best, a drudgery at worst. You used to anticipate the dynamics of Bible study, but now it is a chore just to read a chapter. The Holy Spirit has often led your heart, but now He seems disinterested and distant. If you feel frustration over faith issues take heart, for a dark soul is ready for spiritual oneness.

    Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Philippians 2:1-2

    Oneness with the Spirit of God moves us beyond meditation to contemplation. In meditation we relate more to God, while in contemplation God relates more to us. Like a first time driver of an automobile moves from conscious decisions to unconscious ones, once we are united with Christ we willfully execute His will, unaware. Oneness with Almighty God creates an automatic response of obedience.

    Spiritual dullness is an opportunity to sharpen our understanding of His work all around us. Yes, we persevere by grace, because the Lord is doing a deep work of grace in our heart. Our goal to know Christ in the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering never changes. However, how we get to know Him grows and changes over time. We become one in Christ by walking through dark days together. Refuge in God revitalizes our relationship.

    I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.
    Philippians 3:10

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow me in oneness with You, so my will becomes Your will.

    Related Readings: Jeremiah 32:39; John 17:21; Colossians 2:2-3; Ephesians 4:2-6

    Post/Tweet today: Oneness with Almighty God creates an automatic response of obedience. #onenesswithGod

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


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

  • Things God Planned for Us

    Posted on July 19, 2013 by Van Walton

    Van Walton

    "Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare." Psalm 40:5 (NIV)

    Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Bradford were my favorite sixth grade teachers. They knew two things about me: I was bilingual and I lived close to the largest shantytown in Bogotá, Colombia. I'll always remember the day these two teachers asked for my help.

    In the early 60's, my family lived in Bogotá. Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Bradford taught in the American school I attended. Every day on their way to school, they passed the neighboring shantytown. Soon they developed a vision to educate the children living there, and their big dream included me!

    Would I be their interpreter to translate for the teachers who could only speak English? With approval from the school, they designed a free school for the children who had no access to education.

    Not only did they ask me to translate for them, but they included me in their after school program as a peer tutor!

    This idea awoke something that had been tucked in my heart, waiting for the right time to emerge. I grew up surrounded by unspeakable poverty, and even as a child experienced an ever-present burden. How was it possible that I had a home and the children of the street had nothing? I dreamed of helping but dismissed the idea because I was only a little girl.

    However, God didn't see it that way. He had a plan. My classes in education began long before I attended college. Working beside two committed teachers put me on a career course that laid a foundation for more than a job. It became a life calling.

    Years passed. My family returned to the United States. I graduated from college with a Spanish degree and began my career as a teacher. I married. Babies arrived.

    It seemed my calling to teach was put on hold. But as a stay-at-home mother, I had the opportunity to learn about another education, a spiritual one. I began attending Bible studies and my original passion for education multiplied. I wanted to share the Bible with others. And I did, first with children and then with women.

    From teaching Bible classes, God broadened my ministry. And once again, His wonders came to light. It was obvious He had carefully positioned me. A few years ago, I began to reach out to women whose native language is Spanish by translating devotions that reach around the world.

    I certainly never imagined I'd trace God's plan for my life to the Andean hillsides of South America and the vision of two dedicated teachers. That plan continues in the ministry work that fuels my passion today in North Carolina. Looking back, I see the many wonderful things God has had for me, which are truly too many to talk about, just as Psalm 40:5 says!

    I stand amazed that God would choose a young girl living in a jungle and weave her experiences, along with others' lives, into His present and future plans to prove His wondrous ways: "Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare" (Psalm 40:5).

    If God did this with me, He can do it for you.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for planting dreams in our hearts to serve You, even as little children. Open our eyes to Your work all around us, and how You weave people and circumstances together. You are a dream giver and a dream fulfiller. We worship You and give You all the glory. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Like us on Facebook for daily encouragement.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Take a few moments today to reflect on your life. Note how the highlights weave together and point to God's wondrous ways.

    Power Verse:
    Jeremiah 29:11, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (NIV)

    © 2013 by Van Walton. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Sacrificial Spirit

    Posted on July 18, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. Hebrews 11:24-26

    To sacrifice is to give up something for a purpose greater than ourselves. Moses gave up status for servanthood. He gave up the fleeting pleasures of sin for cruel mistreatment with the masses. He gave up fame and fortune in disgrace for the sake of Christ. Moses gave up rewards on earth as he looked ahead to his rewards in heaven. Yes, examples of sacrificial living energize others to sacrifice. The sacrificial spirit of past saints give inspiration, as do sacrificial givers of today.

    Who comes to your mind as an example of sacrificial living? A mother who sacrifices her comfort to comfort her children? She sacrifices her leisure time to serve the disabled, the elderly or the chronically ill. A father who sacrifices his career for a focused season of service to his family? He sacrifices his hobby so he is able to volunteer at church, attend school events and serve on a board. Soldiers sacrifice for their country. Teachers sacrifice for their students. Civic leaders sacrifice for their citizens. Pastors sacrifice for their flock. And spouses sacrifice for their spouse.

    Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1

    Where is Christ calling you to sacrifice? Vocationally, you may need to give up an advancement opportunity and status for availability and humility. Spiritually, you may need to give up an unhealthy habit for a righteous routine. Relationally, you may need to give up a fertile field of temptation for guardrails of accountability. Physically, you may need to give up excessive food intake for smaller portions. Financially, you may need to give up accumulation for distribution.

    Above all else, think and pray often on the ultimate sacrifice of life Jesus gave so we could have life in Him. He laid down His life to lift ours up in abundance. He took on the form of a servant so we could be free to serve Him. He gave up the accolades of a conventional teacher so we could become students of His unconventional teaching. He sacrificed for our sin so we could be forgiven and free not to sin. He gave up His life so we could give back our life on His behalf!

    By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. Isaiah 53:8

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow in me a sacrificial spirit that quietly serves others.

    Related Readings: Romans 3:25; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5; Galatinas 6:9; Ephesians 5:2

    Post/Tweet today: To sacrifice is to give up something for a purpose greater than ourselves. #sacrificialspirit

    © 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

  • One On One with Suzanne Woods Fisher

    Posted on July 18, 2013 by John van der Veen

    Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The Choice, The Waiting, The Search, and A Lancaster County Christmas, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Benedict eventually became publisher of Christianity Today magazine. Suzanne is the host of an internet radio show called Amish Wisdom, and her work has appeared in many magazines. She lives in California.

    With Suzanne's signature plot twists combined with gentle Amish romance, she invites readers back to Stoney Ridge for The Letters, the first book in her The Inn at Eagle Hill series, featuring fresh stories of simple pleasures despite the complexity of life.

    Description for the book - Rose Schrock is a plain woman with a simple plan. Determined to find a way to support her family and pay off her late husband's debts, she sets to work to convert the basement of her Amish farmhouse into an inn. While her family, especially her cranky mother-in-law, is unhappy with Rose's big idea, her friend and neighbor, Galen King, supports the decision and he helps with the conversion.

    As Rose finalizes preparations for visitors, she prays. She asks God to bless each guest who stays at the Inn at Eagle Hill. As the first guest arrives and settles in, Rose is surprised to discover that her entire family is the one who receives the blessings, in the most unexpected ways. And she's even more surprised when that guest decides to play matchmaker for Galen King!

    I had a short one on one conversation with Suzanne recently about inspiration and life in general.

    Suzanne, what got you interested in writing about the Amish?

    The answer to that goes back to my grandfather and his siblings. He was raised Old Order German Baptist, a cousin to the Amish, and I grew up with an admiration for my Dunkard relatives. When I was thirteen, my cousin's little boy was passing away because of a genetic metabolic disorder. Watching my cousin and her husband walk through that period in their life with such peace in their hearts, such confidence in the sovereignty of God--well, it made an impact on me. In college, my major was American Studies and I learned more about the Anabaptists. Years later, when an editor from [my publisher] spoke to my agent about a non-fiction book about the Amish, I was ready!

    How have you been encouraged by the people living within an Amish community?

    Sometimes I think people get distracted by the buggies and bonnets and beards and they stop there. They assume the Amish are all about a simple, old-fashioned life. But there's much more to glean from the Amish--their sense of community, their commitment to forgiveness, their belief in the sovereignty of God in all matters. They take Jesus' Sermon on the Mount to heart--and that's what inspires and encourages me.

    Are any of the characters in your books based on your personal life?

    Oh, lots of them! Makes my friends ver-r-r-r-r-r-y nervous.

    What has God been teaching you lately?

    On August 1st, my youngest daughter is moving to China to teach at an international school. This is a terrific career opportunity for her and we had lived in Hong Kong for four years, so I have a comfort zone with living in an Asian city. It's all good! But...there's a part of me that's grieving, too. I worry about the what-if's--will my daughter move back to the San Francisco Bay Area when her contract is up? Will she get hooked on the international teaching life (which is a pretty sweet gig!)? Will she meet that "special someone" overseas and never come home? I've had to keep my palms open, metaphorically, about these worries and trust in God's providence for my daughter's future. I do believe that God has a wonderful plan for my daughter's life (for all my children...and yours, too!). I do believe it...and yet I don't always feel that peace. So that's what God is teaching me this summer--holding on lightly and trusting Him completely.

    What is on your "bucket list?"

    My first thought is to make it on the New York Times bestseller list--but I guess a bucket list isn't really a wish list, is it? On the short list: traveling to visit my daughter in China and seeing parts of Asia that we missed when we lived in Hong Kong. Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos are first on the list! Stay tuned...

    For more from Suzanne, click here.


    This post was posted in Books, John van der Veen and was tagged with Featured, Fiction, Suzanne Woods Fisher

  • Alex Kendrick on The Lost Medallion

    Posted on July 18, 2013 by John van der Veen

    The Lost Medallion: The Adventures of Billy Stone is a feature movie coming to DVD & Blu-ray May 21st. This faith-based, family, action/adventure film will thrill children and tweens, six through fourteen, their parents and grandparents. When Daniel Anderson (Alex Kendrick; Fireproof, Courageous, and Facing the Giants) visits a foster home to drop off some donations he is quickly roped into telling the kids a story.

    The story he tells is about Billy Stone and Allie, two teen-age-friends, who uncover a long- lost-medallion and then accidentally wish themselves back in time. Will the experience give them a new understanding of who they are and what their lives really mean? Daniel finishes his story to the foster children with the Truth about their tremendous value to God, who loves them and created them. The story not only changes the children, but is bound to change all who see the movie.

    Here is a recent Q&A with Alex.

    1. How did you get involved with the Lost Medallion?

    My good friend Kevin Downes was a producer on the film and he introduced me to the director, Bill Muir. We began talking about the film and the fact that Bill thought it lacked something. I pitched the "foster home" idea to him where a story-teller shares the journey of the medallion with the kids at the home. In this way, the rest of the movie becomes the story that's being told, kind of like Princess Bride. We added deeper story elements as a result of this, and Bill asked me to play the role of the story-teller.

    2. When you were a child, did you have dreams of being involved in movies?

    I did. My parents were very careful of the entertainment we allowed in our home, but the few movies I saw really sparked a desire in me to make films one day. When we got our first video camera, we made more short movies than I can count. As I grew older, the Lord really turned my heart toward ministering through films, and it's been more fulfilling than I ever imagined.

    3. Do you feel more comfortable being behind the scenes of a movie or in front of the camera?

    I love most aspects of filmmaking. I enjoy the process of telling a story, from directing to editing. I've enjoyed playing a role, but also enjoyed just focusing on being behind the scenes (as I did in Fireproof). The joy comes when the movie all fits together and the story works. God has been incredible in turning hearts toward him through each story, and I'm thrilled he lets me be a part of it!

    4. What did your kids say the first time they saw you on the screen?

    They were very young and took it for granted. In fact, at one time they thought that I knew everyone in EVERY movie. They were disappointed when they learned that I only knew the people in our films. Today, they realize that not every dad has his own films.

    5. Are you a Red Bull fan, or is it coffee?

    Believe it or not, I've never had a cup of coffee in my life. I took a sip of black coffee as a kid and thought it tasted terrible. However, I have had a Red Bull or two. You have to be careful, though. Those things can send you through the roof!


    This post was posted in Movies, Interviews, John van der Veen and was tagged with Featured, Courageous, Fireproof, The Lost Medallion, Alex Kendrick, Facing the Giants

  • A Little Girl's Dance

    Posted on July 18, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32 (NIV)

    My touch has always comforted my youngest daughter, Brooke.

    I remember running errands when she was a baby, knowing we should have been home an hour earlier for her nap. But also knowing there were things that had to get done, I pressed on, hoping for the best. She started getting fussy. Soon, whines and whimpers escalated into a full-blown meltdown.

    Although I couldn't do much to comfort her while driving, I could reach my arm into the backseat and gently pat her leg. It took a few minutes, but eventually she settled down and reached out her tiny hand to hold mine.

    A few years later, Brooke had a performance with her praise dance team from school. She loved getting on a stage, so I expected her to be full of smiles and giggles. But just a few minutes before the performance began, a very distraught Brooke made her way to the audience to find me.

    With tears streaming down her cheeks, she explained that the teacher had moved her from the front row to the back row, and she didn't know the back row's part. I reassured her, "Honey, just get up there and watch the other girls for cues and follow in step. You know this dance. You'll be fine."

    She sobbed back, "I won't be fine if I mess up, and I know I'm going to mess up."

    That's when it occurred to me. She would need my touch to get through this. But we both knew it would be impossible for my arm to reach all the way up to the stage. So I quickly whispered, "Brooke, lock your eyes with mine, and Mommy will touch you with my smile. Don't look at anyone else. It doesn't matter if you mess up. What matters is that you keep your eyes on me the whole time. We'll do this together."

    Quietly she asked, "The whole time, Mommy?"

    "The whole time, Brooke," I replied as I watched my brave girl walk away to take her place.

    Several times during the dance, Brooke fell out of step. She knew her steps weren't perfect, so her eyes brimmed with tears. However, the tears never fell. With her eyes perfectly locked on my smiling face, she danced.

    My smile was not based on her performance. My smile was born out of an incredible love for this precious, courageous little girl. As she kept her attention focused solely on my smile and the touch of my gaze, it was as if the world slowly faded away and we were the only ones in the room.

    This is the way God wants me to dance through life.

    Though I can't physically see Him, my soul pictures Him so clearly. In my mind's eye He is there. The touch of His gaze wraps about me, comforts me, assures me, and makes the world seem strangely dim. As long as my gaze is locked on His, I dance and He smiles. The snickers and jeers of others fade away. Though I hear their razor-sharp intentions, they are unable to pierce my heart and distract my focus. Even my own stumblings don't cause the same feelings of defeat.

    My steps so often betray the desire of my heart, but it is not my perfect performance that captures His attention. Rather, it is my complete dependence on Him that He notices.

    He then whispers to my heart, hold on to Me and what I say about you. For My words are the truth of who you are and the essence of what you were created to be. I then imagine Him pausing as He adds, "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32).

    His truth frees me from the chains of doubt and insecurity. His truth frees me from feeling unable and inadequate to try and pursue God. His truth washes over me as I tentatively whisper, "I want to be a woman who says 'yes' to God."

    And in that moment, with my eyes locked on His, I am.

    Dear Lord, I want to keep my eyes on You as I dance through the highs and lows of my life. Direct my steps today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    This devotion was taken from Lysa TerKeurst's new book, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God Devotional, which releases August 1! Click here to pre-order your copy!

    Reflect and Respond:
    Take some time to reflect on verses where God says who we are to Him, such as Ephesians 1:3-8, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, and John 1:12.

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 121:1-2, "I lift up my eyes to the mountains - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." (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

  • Stress Busters

    Posted on July 17, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. Ephesians 1:3-4

    Too blessed to be stressed is the attitude of those who keep God’s goodness top of mind. His blessings in Christ produce peace of mind, a calm heart and a secure soul. The focus of gratitude to the Lord for His favor causes Jesus followers to fall on their knees in thanksgiving and praise. There is no room for stress when the righteous stress the generous gifts of God. The blessing cup of Christ is not just half full, it is overflowing. Yes, praise to God produces indescribable peace.

    How has your Heavenly Father blessed you? Count your many blessings, name them one by one. Salvation in Jesus probably jumps to mind first. Your opportunity to work and provide for your family is a huge benefit of God’s blessing. Citizenship in a country that protects and promotes freedom of religion, speech, business and the ability to bear arms cannot be taken for granted.
    We are blessed with health, prayer support, modern medicine, education, family and friends.

    In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? I am under vows to you, O God; I will present my thank offerings to you. Psalm 56:11-12

    Fear builds stress, while trust in the Lord tears down the trusses of distrust. When we forget God’s record of faithfulness we construct structures of stress. He was faithful yesterday, He is faithful today and He will be faithful tomorrow. The goal is not for us to eliminate stress, but to let it pass through when it intrudes into our heart and mind. Like an uninvited sales person who shows up demanding attention, we may listen for a moment, but politely decline and send them away. Yes, prayerfully and courageously off load the burdensome spirit of stress.

    Glory hallelujah, your Heavenly Father has your back. He does not want you backed into a corner of confusion without hope. Lean into the Lord and let Him deflate your distress. Don’t allow another’s crisis to become your crisis. Dismiss drama and replace it with a reasoned response. Above all, praise and thank God for His spiritual blessings above and for His earthly blessings in Christ. Enjoy Him and enjoy life, liberty and love. Stress rushes to the exits of your life when the fire of your faith focuses on God’s blessings. Yes, you are too blessed to be stressed!

    Though while they live they count themselves blessed. Psalm 49:18

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I celebrate and give You praise for Your goodness and blessings.

    Related Readings: Psalm 84:4-15; 94:12, 106:3, 107:38, 112:1-2; 1 Peter 3:14, 4:14; Revelation 4:13

    Post/Tweet today: Stress rushes to the exits of your life when the fire of your faith focuses on God’s blessings. #stressbusters

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


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

  • Sharing God's Love - Why World Vision?

    Posted on July 17, 2013 by Family Christian

    Photo: Jon Warren/World Vision

    View at sunset from hilltop above Morulem Irrigation Project, Kenya, looking down at green fields and surrounding barren hills, with giant cross at the crest of the hill and children from the community.

    Summary: Spanning more than a thousand acres, the Morulem Irrigation Project appears as an oasis in the desert in northwestern Kenya. It was initially built in 1978 by Western missionaries, Dr. Dick Anderson and Ben Webster, who handed it over to the community in 1983. But by the early 1990s, the project needed maintenance and expansion beyond what the community could manage.

    World Vision moved in to help,” says Daniel Mwebi, World Vision’s program manager who jump-started the Morulem project in 1992. Farmers redug the canals and created bridges “so people don’t have to jump over the canals,” Daniel explains. World Vision also created gates to regulate the water flow to farmers’ gardens. They are lifted on a strict schedule to ensure that crops receive the right amount of water at the right time—usually every fifth day.

    With funding from World Vision and USAID, the project grew from 150 acres to its current 1,110 acres. New crops were introduced, fruits and vegetables the people had never eaten before. A training center with a demonstration garden taught farmers how to grow organic crops. “This training center has been used by farmers all over Kenya,” says Daniel, adding that the farmers go on to start similar projects in their communities. The irrigation project helped these former pastoralists move to a new, secure lifestyle as farmers. “We were able to train farmers to calculate the amount of food they need to consume as a family for a whole year,” Daniel says. “And the rest, they sell as surplus.”

    Up the hill from the irrigation project is a food bank where crops are weighed and stored. Farmers can “withdraw” food when they need it during the lean months. “And because of the surplus food they sell,” says Daniel, “they’ve been able to [afford to] connect private water to their homes.” In addition, the Morulem farmers have donated grain to fellow Kenyans suffering from drought. “The act of people who were receiving food [in the past], now donating food—that’s a memorable moment,” says Daniel Mwebi. Not only was the community of 10,000 people now food-secure—it also could respond to the needs of others.

    John Atelo Ebunu, chairman of the Morulem Water Users Association, credits the irrigation project with peace in his community—unlike other parts of northern Kenya. “Without this [project],” he says, “it would be like a war zone here. People would be fighting. Without this [project], there would be no life. It is like air.”

    “He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor” (Luke 4:18b). World Vision is a community of Christians following Christ’s example to work alongside the poor and oppressed.

    Today’s infographic gives an overview of how our faith motivates our commitment to children and the holistic development of their communities.


    This post was posted in Missions and was tagged with Featured, World Vision

  • Is God's Strength Still Available for Me?

    Posted on July 17, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "'Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.' And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said." 2 Chronicles 32:7-8 (NIV)

    Strength is an appealing characteristic. Strong wills. Strong arms. Strong jaws. Strong emotions. We admire them all.

    We love movies with strong heroes.
    We watch sports with strong athletes.
    We look up to strong leaders.

    Yet it's easy to compare our own motivations, muscles and minds with others who appear strong, and feel quite insignificant and weak in the comparison. We whisper things in our hearts that no one hears. Things like:

    If only I were that strong ...
    ... I'd say no to the temptations that no one sees.
    ... I'd follow my dream to change careers.
    ... I'd go to college.
    ... I'd be the mother or employee I KNOW I could be.

    Then reality washes over us like a splash of ice water, waking us from our daydream with an unpleasant start. Back to our weaknesses that seem destined to chain us to a resigned life. Bad habits, damaged relationships, unfulfilled dreams ... that's my life ... our despairing hearts sigh.

    Oh how I know those thoughts. For most of my life, I've battled feeling weak in certain areas, while strong in others. And my inconsistencies frustrate me. I could be brave when facing a huge project at work, but the thought of sharing my faith with my unbelieving father made me feel weak. I feel strong saying no to many obvious sins, but then weak when I don't say no to over-eating in the privacy of my home.

    And then I read stories like the one told of Hezekiah, king of Judah in 2 Chronicles 32. The story is worth reading in its entirety, but verses 7 and 8 speak truth that's worth repeating today: "'Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.' And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said."

    It's so easy for me to forget there is a source of strength available to me every moment of every day. It's free of charge. There is no "closed" sign in the window of heaven. And I don't get a recording when I call for help.

    For those who have chosen to follow Jesus, God's strength is available. That doesn't mean tomorrow I'll be able to run a marathon; it's not that kind of strength. But as I ponder the type of strength God promises, a clue is found in the word "confidence." Confidence not in myself, but in God's ability to effectively deal with any challenge I'm currently facing.

    As I've learned to turn to God for His strength, I've experienced the courage to press on in situations when my flesh wants to give up. I've experienced hope when relationships seem dead. I've experienced peace when fear threatens to overtake me.

    We serve a God of unlimited power, and yet it's so easy to forget and rely on our own imperfect strength. What if we accepted that God's life-changing power was really for us? What kind of difference would that make in our lives?

    Let's make this personal. What kind of difference would it make if you truly believed God's power was available ... to you?

    Heavenly Father, thank You for being my strength and power. So often I feel weak and inadequate. Thank You for reminding me that I don't have to do life on my own. Help me to look to You first when I need help, and not myself. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Take time today to read about God's immeasurable strength in His Word. Pick up your copy of the new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women. The Proverbs 31 team has written 366 devotions to unpack Scripture with you.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Most of us don't face war, but we do face battles every day that seem insurmountable. What "battles" do you face?

    If you believed with all your heart that God's power was available to you today, what would do differently? What would you attempt?

    Power Verses:
    Isaiah 40:31, "... 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." (NIV)

    Psalm18:2, "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 2 Chronicles

  • Make Things Right

    Posted on July 16, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Matthew 5:25

    Make things right with those you have wronged or who have wronged you. If you stay engaged in a stalemate of accusations you may end up in court. Why involve civil authorities when Christ has given you a game plan for reconciliation? By faith, call an accusatory cease fire with your adversary. Take the first step to reach out and request a meeting or phone call. Better to get together with cool heads, than to separately stay mad, while matters escalate to a heated crisis.

    Humbly agree with your adversary. If they feel hurt by you, apologize for hurting their heart. If they feel misunderstood by you, say, “I’m sorry” and listen intently to what they are trying to convey. If they feel heard by you, you may not have to say a word. When you listen well you communicate love, respect and patience. Validate your accuser’s feelings and you validate them. Take responsibility for your actions and seek to be reconciled to your adversary.

    Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-25

    Furthermore, a fractured relationship with someone on earth hinders our relationship with God in heaven. We cannot stay focused by faith on our Heavenly Father, when we have broken the trust of another brother or sister. Our conscience will not be clear before Christ if it is not clear before the one we’ve offended. Yes, taking the time to build a bridge of acceptance over a chasm of rejection is evidence that God has reconciled us to Himself through His son Jesus Christ.

    Sometimes as we soften our hearts, their heart softens. As we calm the tone of our words and lower the volume of our voice, our accusers might do the same. As we take a step toward them, they may take a step toward us. Therefore, don’t wait on your adversary to make the first move. Make things right by deciding not to fight. Go humble yourself and agree with them so you both win. Make things right on earth so you are qualified to make things right with God in heaven.

    Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 1 John 4:20-21

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the humility and courage to listen to the one I’ve offended.

    Related Readings: Proverbs 6:1-5; 2 Corinthians 5:20; 1 John 4:12

    Post/Tweet today: Take responsibility for your actions and seek to be reconciled to your adversary.

    © 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

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