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Family Christian

  • 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

  • New Suspense Fiction from Dee Henderson

    Posted on July 16, 2013 by John van der Veen

    In Unspoken, from bestselling author Dee Henderson, a family legacy brings Charlotte back to Chicago, where a reporter is writing a book about the kidnapping. The cops who worked the case are cooperating with him. Her options are limited: Hope the reporter doesn’t find the full truth, or break her silence about what happened - but her silence is what has protected her family for years.

    Charlotte Graham is at the center of the most famous kidnapping in Chicago history. The task force of FBI and local cops found her two abductors, killed them and rescued her, but it took four very long years. The fact that she was found less than three miles from her home, and had been there the entire time, haunts them. Now, she’s changed her identity, found a profession she loves, and rebuilt her life. But she’s never said a word - to the cops, to her doctors, to family - about those four years.

    Charlotte wants to trust him. She needs to tell him what happened. Because a crime cops thought was solved has only opened another chapter...

    Talk about suspense...

    We asked Dee a few questions regarding her new book, Unspoken.

    Is your new novel Unspoken related to Full Disclosure?

    Unspoken is Charlotte Graham and Bryce Bishop’s love story. Bryce Bishop is a good friend of Paul Falcon, so I took advantage of that fact and brought back Ann and Paul Falcon during the investigation within Unspoken. I like being able to continue on with characters and see the next chapter in their lives.

    Are you constantly creating new plot lines in your head?

    I work on one book at a time, but I’m a slow writer. It’s not uncommon for me to spend three months searching for an idea, writing down scenes until I find a good story spine. Then I spend about five months writing the story, and another three months fixing the story with the help of good editors. I’ll start that process with maybe ten or twelve ideas from my idea box. I write down every idea I have, even if I have to get up in the middle of the night and reach for a notepad. Ideas are like nuggets of gold, some I can use immediately, while others haven’t found a story yet. The ideas are accumulated in a box behind my desk. I think of that box as my security blanket. If I am really stuck, something in that box might generate a place to start.

    Who is your favorite author?

    Francine Rivers has written some beautiful and timeless stories. I like reading Nora Roberts—I love her characters. I’m currently reading all the Robert Parker Spenser novels; the early ones in the series are worth tracking down.

    What inspires you to create your art?

    God designed me to be a storyteller. It’s what I enjoy doing with my time. The hours involved in figuring out a story are a process of discovery. All the work involved is trivial compared to the joy that is that moment in time when story threads come together and I can see a book and how its components fit together. It’s a very unique point and something I look forward to with every novel. I’ll often mention to my mother, “I’ve got the story done. Now I just need to sit and write it down.” The rest of the job is tinkering to find the right words for a scene, to cut out what doesn’t need to be on the page and put down what does need to be there. Compared to every other job I’ve done, writing is the most absorbing and fun. I’m inspired to create stories because I want to write the end, and then tell God—I wrote another story, would you like to read it? And hope God likes it as much as I do. The stories are gifts I can give back to God that I hope He enjoys. And I can create them with only paper and pen, so I’ve been making those gifts for God since I was a little girl.


    This post was posted in Books, Interviews, John van der Veen and was tagged with Featured, Dee Henderson, Francine Rivers

  • MATTHEW WEST RELEASES INTO THE LIGHT - DELUXE EDITION

    Posted on July 16, 2013 by Family Christian

    Four-time GRAMMY® nominee, singer, songwriter and storyteller Matthew West debuts his deluxe edition CD and DVD, Into The Light: Life Stories & Live Songs, on August 13 (Sparrow Records). This deluxe version shares the songs found on the acclaimed and GRAMMY-nominated album Into The Light, along with a DVD featuring live concert footage interspersed with the people whose stories have inspired the songs.

    A few of the songs featured on Into The Light: Life Stories & Live Songs are the No. 1 hits “Forgiveness,” “Hello, My Name Is” and “Strong Enough.” Each share about real-life topics and struggles, such as addiction, forgiveness, living out your faith, restoration, being made in God's image, and more. Fans will be able to hear these songs and much more when West kicks off his 30+ city "Into The Light Tour," which is slated to begin in September. Tour dates are listed below.

    "Since I began the journey of telling the stories of people's lives through my music a few years ago, it has transformed not only the songs I have written but also the way we bring those songs and stories to the audiences at our live shows," Matthew West shares. "Many have asked me where they can find these unique videos that we use during the show telling the stories behind the songs. Until now, I haven't had anywhere to send them. This new DVD allows people to take this emotionally charged and uplifting experience home with them; to share with friends or family who they know might relate and be encouraged by a certain story or song. There is power in a story. I'm so proud of this project and believe it will encourage people to realize the power that lies within their story as well!"

    His current single "Hello, My Name Is" recently notched its 8th week at No. 1 on the National Christian Audience chart, with an audience of 9.8 million. Additionally, the song's video just released, highlighting a live performance from this year's successful WinterJam Tour.

    West’s brand new book, Forgiveness, will be available July 23 and is currently Women Of Faith’s Book of the Month.

    Matthew West Into The Light tour dates*
    September
    26 - Carlsbad, NM - Walter Gerrels
    27 - Phoenix, AZ - Grand Canyon University
    28 - St. George, UT - Cox Auditorium
    29 - Sparks, NV - Sparks Christian
    30 - Brentwood, CA - Golden Hills Community Church

    October
    02 - Coos Bay, OR - Marshfield Auditorium
    03 - Portland, OR - New Hope Community Church
    06 - Issaquah, WA - Eastridge Church
    08 - Cheyenne, WY - Cheyenne Civic
    09 - Bismarck, ND - Shiloh Christian Center
    10 - Dickinson, ND - Trinity Auditorium
    11 - Gillette, WY - New Life Wesleyan Church
    12 - Rapid City, SD - Performing Arts Center of Rapid City
    18 - Bel Air, MD - APG Federal Credit
    19 - Simpsonville, SC - Southside Christian School
    24 - Wausau, WI - Grand Theater
    25 - Appleton, WI - Appleton Alliance Church
    26 - Bourbonnais, IL - Olivet Nazarene University
    27 - Indianapolis, IN - The Caring Place

    November
    01 - Ft. Wayne, IN - First Assembly of God
    02 - Eden Prairie, MN - Grace Church
    03 - Zeeland, MI - Community Reformed Church
    07 - McAlester, OK - Southeast Expo Center
    08 - Lincoln, NE - Lincoln Berean Center
    09 - Tulsa, OK - Mabee Center
    10 - Mt. Vernon, IL - Central Christian Church
    14 - Lubbock, TX - City Auditorium
    15 - Andrews, TX - Andrews Expo Center
    16 - Decatur, TX - First Baptist Church
    17 - Tyler, TX - Lane's Chapel UMC

    *All dates subject to change.


    This post was posted in Music and was tagged with Featured, Matthew West

  • New Album from Mandisa - Overcomer

    Posted on July 16, 2013 by Family Christian

    GRAMMY®-nominated artist Mandisa is calling out all Overcomers in her latest project which drops on August 27. The long-awaited fourth studio album, Overcomer, comes over two years since the release of her critically revered and best selling GRAMMY®-nominated record, What If We Were Real, which brought on fan favorites and No. 1 songs such as “Stronger” and “Good Morning.” "Overcomer" is the lead single from the album and is an extension of the impactful message once began with her song “Stronger,” an anthem that there is hope in the midst of life’s battles.

    Mandisa says, "I recorded both the song and the album to fuel faith, empower people, and remind those facing a battle, that all of the strength, power, and weapons of warfare they need is readily available to them. We are all overcomers."

    Produced by Christopher Stevens and David Garcia, Overcomer continues to showcase the former American Idol finalist’s powerful vocals and pop-leaning hooks that blend effortlessly through all 11 tracks. With caution-to-the-wind melodies weaved throughout the record, anchored by emotional songs like her open letter to her brother in “Dear John,” Overcomer is set to be Mandisa’s most impactful release to date. Many songs were co-written by critically acclaimed artists and friends including Chris August ("Praying For You"), Israel Houghton (“At All Times”), Tiffany Lee, aka Plumb ("Dear John"), Britt Nicole and Cindy Morgan (“Where You Begin”) and Matthew West ("The Distance").  This fall, Mandisa will once again embark on six-time GRAMMY® winner TobyMac’s acclaimed "Hits Deep Tour." Joining Mandisa on the tour, which kicks off Nov. 7, are Brandon Heath, Jamie Grace, Colton Dixon, Chris August and Capital Kings.

    Track Listing for Overcomer:
    1. Overcomer
    2. Back To You
    3. The Distance
    4. Face 2 Face
    5. Press On
    6. What Scars Are For
    7. Dear John
    8. At All Times*
    9. Joy Unspeakable
    10. Praying For You
    11. Where You Begin
    *Produced by Ronald Rawls and Chuck Butler


    This post was posted in Music and was tagged with Featured, TobyMac, Britt Nicole, Matthew West, Brandon Heath, Chris August, Israel Houghton, Mandisa, Capital Kings, Colton Dixon, Jamie Grace, Cindy Morgan, Plumb

  • When You're Hanging on by a Thread

    Posted on July 16, 2013 by Micca Campbell

    Micca Campbell

    "The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all." Psalm 34:19 (NIV)

    I have a dear friend whose husband didn't want to be married anymore. Sure, she knew there were problems in their relationship, but this devastating news blindsided her. We prayed together. She sought counseling and even invited her husband along. Still, no matter her attempts to save her marriage, it was falling apart.

    I've never seen her so helpless, so troubled, so lost. She was hanging on by a thread. I understand the darkness she was in and know the weakness and heart-wrenching pain because I've been there. Most of us have experienced terrible news that took us by surprise and left us hanging on by a thread.

    Perhaps you're there now. You may be experiencing a broken relationship. Maybe you need to be saved from some addiction or financial trouble. Whatever the case, you feel alone, scared and weak. Your situation is hard, wrenching and painful. You're losing your grip on faith.

    I could tell that my friend was losing her grip on her spiritual foundation. In her deep despair, all she had was a thread of hope to hang on to. What was that hope? It is the promise of God found in Psalm 34:19, "The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all."

    Such was the case of Rahab, a prostitute whose story is told in the Bible. Rahab owned an inn near the city gate of Jericho, the city soon to be conquered by the Israelites.

    Rahab had heard about God's greatness and had come to believe He was the one true God. So she hid the two Israeli spies that Joshua, the commander of the Israelite army, had sent on a scouting mission into Jericho.

    The king of Jericho heard that the spies had been at Rahab's home, so he sent orders for her to turn them over. When the king's soldiers questioned her of the whereabouts of the spies, Rahab misguided the soldiers and sent them on a wild goose chase after the spies whom she had actually hidden on her roof.

    Once the soldiers were gone, Rahab asked the spies to save her and her household. She promised to keep silent about their mission if they would spare her family when the Israelites invaded the city of Jericho. The spies told her to hang a scarlet cord from her window as a sign to the Jews to protect her.

    Rahab obeyed and when the walls of Jericho fell, Rahab's life, and all those in her household, hung by the thread of hope that the spies would keep their word.

    They did, and she and her family were spared from the destruction when the walls of Jericho crumbled. Her household was passed over. Protected. Delivered.

    Like Rahab, the only thing my friend had between herself and total destruction was a thin thread of hope. It proved to be enough. Although her marriage came tumbling down, she was saved from total destruction. When all was said and done, she still had the love of God, the hope He offers and the peace He gives.

    Each of us needs a thread of hope—a reminder that just as Joshua saved Rahab, God can save each of us. He may or may not change our circumstances, but He can protect us from being taken under the falling rubble that surrounds us.

    He is there when we're hanging on by a thread. Even at our weakest point, a simple cry such as, "Lord, help me" invites the hand of God to take hold of our situation. And deliver us.

    Dear Lord, thank You that Your salvation is far reaching. It not only takes away my sin and provides eternal life, but also it helps me for today. Help me, Lord, as I throw to You a thin thread of hope. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    An Untroubled Heart by Micca Campbell

    Reflect and Respond:
    In what ways can you put up a thread of hope as an indication to God that you need Him to save you?

    Power Verse:
    Psalms 145:18, "The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Micca Campbell. 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

  • Share God Stories

    Posted on July 15, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “When they [Paul and Barnabas] came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.” Acts 15:4

    Can a follower of Jesus contain the great works God does in and through them? Or, are they compelled to communicate Christ’s faithfulness, forgiveness, healing, answered prayers and salvation stories? Joy and gratitude to God cannot be contained in a life surrendered to the Lord. God waits for His works to be openly shared for His glory.

    The grace of God causes a man or woman to glow under its influence. Discerning Christians look at a soul captivated by Christ and know they have been with Jesus. So, we humbly tell of how the Lord is meeting our financial needs, delivering a friend from addiction, growing disciples and how He healed a fractured family relationship.

    “Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds” (Psalm 71:17). A soul might explode unless it shares God’s faithfulness.

    We are too sophisticated in our faith when we are shy and silent about God’s great work. We celebrate and communicate earthly accomplishments, why not do the same over highlights from
    heaven? Our earthly eternal endeavors have been bountifully blessed by the Lord. Everything good we experience finds its roots in the righteous acts of the Almighty.

    Therefore,give your friends and when appropriate, acquaintances and strangers, the gift of a God story, but be careful to keep Christ the central character. After all, it’s all about Him, not you. Godly people celebrate His work in your life and seekers are curious to hear what Christ can do for them. God stories fill hearts with faith and thankful praise.

    Lastly, do not limit the atonement of Christ to a select people group. God’s grace transcends all tribes, nations and cultures. Shortsighted is the soul that only sees people like themselves come to know the Lord. We share God stories globally because our Lord longs for all nations to hear of His faithfulness. His story brings glory and honor to Him.

    “Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods” (1 Chronicles 16:23-25).

    Prayer: What story of the Lord’s faithfulness can I share today for His glory?

    Related Readings: Job 37:5; Psalm 86:10; Matthew 21:42; Acts 15:12

    Post/Tweet today: Joy and gratitude to God cannot be contained in a life surrendered to the Lord. #Godstories

    © 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 Acts

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