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Tag Archives: 2 Corinthians

  • Running on Empty

    Posted on August 21, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

    People often ask me, "How do you handle it all?"

    Depending on the situation, I answer in a variety of ways:

    1. I'm wired this way. And that's partly true. I have a God-wired ability to stay focused in the midst of chaos ... most of the time. I'm more left-brained than my husband, and he's an engineer!
    2. I stay organized ... most of the time. Usually, I can find what I need when I need it. Usually, I prepare in advance. There are times when life gets the best of me, and someone wears the same socks two days in a row. But systems and schedules help me stay on top of responsibilities.
    3. My kids are older. We still have issues that derail my best-laid plans, but they're different than when my kids were toddlers and one tried to use my car keys to unlock the back gate, dropping them in the alley by accident. That threw me into a meltdown of monumental proportions.

    But when people ask "How do you handle it all?" it's usually when I've shared something that has changed my life more than anything else. An act of obedience my family made eight years ago has pushed me to the edge of myself, made me question who I am and question God about His choice of me for this assignment. But it's also made me cling to Him with more desperation than ever before. What is it?

    Adopting two little girls from Africa.

    I haven't written much about these challenges due to respecting my family's privacy. And I also don't want to discourage adoptive parents with how hard our journey has been. It's one of the most important things I've ever done. But also the most costly.

    In 2005 we adopted two girls, ages 8 and 10, from war-torn Liberia. We knew nothing about their background, other than it contained deprivation even other poor countries don't experience. No running water, no electricity, no school, no exposure to books or even television. Just basic existence for years.

    Welcoming these little girls into our family at first seemed easy. They responded well to our love. They thrived with good food and education. But very soon we realized challenges. And then very sad truths about what happened in Africa started being uncovered.

    One daughter has cognitive challenges that will impact her ability to live independently the rest of her life, and ours. With the other we faced behavioral challenges-significant issues based on an early history of neglect and abuse.

    Sometimes there are Hallmark-channel-endings, but that's not our story. We live every day with our daughters' wounds and challenges. And these hardships have deeply affected me and my husband. They have affected our three biological children.

    Here's what I've discovered: all my God-wired ability to think through chaos, all my attempts at organization and having older kids didn't prepare me for this.

    But God's strength did.

    So how do I manage it all? Every day I turn to God and rely on what 2 Corinthians 12:9 teaches me ...

    I don't have it in me to do this one more day, I need Your strength.

    I don't have the patience in me for this … I need Your patience.

    I can't think straight right now ... I need Your clarity.

    I'm not even sure I have love in me right now ... I need Your love.

    And I get my portion for that day. I get just enough strength, patience, and clarity to make it through. And a new definition of love that's stronger and tougher and more determined than I have ever experienced.

    I wish I could write more about my family's story, and maybe someday I will. But for now, it's brought me to my knees; it's made me more humble; it's made me less judgmental, and it's made me depend on God more than ever.

    God's strength is enough. But I had to get to the end of mine to learn that.

    Heavenly Father, although I didn't know I'd be facing my current challenges, You did. Thank You for offering to step in the gap between my needs and my insufficient reservoir of strength with Your peace, wisdom, strength and love. Help me to lean on You when I feel like things are falling apart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    A Life That Says Welcome, Simple Ways to Open Your Heart & Home to Others by Karen Ehman

    The NIV Real Life Devotional Bible for Women with 366 devotions written by the Proverbs 31 Ministries team on everyday life.

    Reflect and Respond:
    The way to truly experience God's power is to get to the end of yours. What are you facing that makes you feel powerless?

    Ask God for one thing you need to make it through today. Then watch for His response.

    Power Verse:
    John 14: 27, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Faith Living

    Posted on July 26, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

    Faith living is focused on God living. It is the road less traveled. Even for believers in Jesus Christ, faith living is not always predominant. Why settle for anything less? If we limit ourselves to our efforts, our logic and what we can see, then we only tip God with our faith. He is calling us beyond the honeymoon stage of our faith to mature faith. A faith that only thinks of the past is anemic and stunted. Faith alive is focused on God’s vision for the future. It is caught up in the possibilities of today with no fear of tomorrow.

    By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going (Hebrews 11:8).

    Faith living enjoys God’s ability to create. For example, He can create resourceful relational opportunities, as He is the connector par excellent. By faith He can be trusted to lead you to just the right people. People whom you can serve and people who can join you to accomplish God’s will. Determine ways to bring value to the other person. It is not about what you can get from them, it is all about how you can serve them.

    Moreover, faith living is not irresponsible living. This is not some blind excursion that ignores the needs of your spouse and children. It is wrought with prayer and godly advice. This implies that faith living is not lived in a vacuum. It is living in concert with those around you. Abraham went by faith to a new country and cared for his family.

    By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise” (Hebrews 11:9).

    Yes, it requires sacrifice and service, but not in the guise of unwise decision-making. Faith living trusts God’s timing. It does not rush into battle without weapons or a plan. You trust God to prepare you and provide  you the needed resources to carry out His will. You are no match for Satan without the weapons of spiritual warfare.

    Furthermore, trust the Lord with how He has gifted you. Your part is to become more self aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Allow God and others to leverage your strengths and shore up your weaknesses. Be who God created you to be and come alive in Christ. Pursue Him, live by faith and execute His will. Live by faith and not by sight. Faith living is the only way to live for God. You are not really alive until you live by faith in Jesus!

    Prayer: How can I better position my life to live by faith and not by sight?

    Related Readings: Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 2:20; 3:11; Hebrews 10:38

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

  • As Weak as Our Strongest Link

    Posted on June 27, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

    One day I tweeted, "We are only as weak as our strongest link." It wasn't a typo. It's something I've been thinking about for a while now.

    Often the Bible talks in counter-intuitive statements. Different than the normal flow. An unexpected rub against the grain.

    To gain, you must give up.

    If someone takes your jacket, give them your shoes too.

    When we are weak, then we are strong.

    Tough stuff. Good stuff. Heart-protecting stuff.

    The minute I start feeling absolutely confident in my own strength is the minute I am desperately weak ... and I don't even realize it.

    The Lord reminded me of this right before I stepped on stage to speak to 4,500 women at a large conference. One minute I was walking backstage to get my microphone on and the next minute I was on the ground with my face pressed into the cement floor.

    My heel had gotten caught in a crack in the floor and that's all it took to bring me down.

    My first thoughts were not spiritual.

    Have mercy, I've probably split my pants wide open and there is no time to change!

    I quickly picked myself up, put on the over-ear microphone, and went on stage. I felt so vulnerable.

    Inside my head I whispered, Lord, I'm not ready. I don't want to speak right now. I want to go crawl in a hole with a mirror so I can check my pants! I tried as discretely as possible to make sure the seams in my pants were in tact.

    My heart drummed wildly in my chest as I prayed, Jesus, I am completely desperate for You.

    And I imagine the Lord thought, Good. She's ready. Now, this is going to be powerful.

    I'd left my strength, confidence and self-sufficiency back on that concrete floor. Next to the crack that tripped me up. And my weakness made room for God's strength to take over.

    My weakness wasn't what could have messed me up that day. It was my strength.

    We are only as weak as our strongest link. Sometimes it's not our weaknesses that leave us vulnerable to attack. It's our strengths. Those places where we feel especially confident, invincible, and quite able. But, as a friend reminded me recently, "Our strengths can become strongholds if we're not careful."

    When Paul pleaded with the Lord to remove the thorn in his flesh—the thing that made Paul feel weak—the Lord did not. Instead, the Lord reminded Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9a NIV).

    Paul took hold of this truth and went on to conclude in verse 10, "For when I am weak, then I am strong" (12:10b NIV). Which leads me to wonder if the opposite is also true ... where I am strong, then I am weak.

    I'm making a conscious effort to stay in tune with what strengths might easily trip me up. Really doing some soul-searching. Praying. Listening for direction and correction. Then, walking in complete faith. Because if we're going to call ourselves people of faith, we must live lives that require faith. For me this means accepting my weaknesses rather than boasting in my strengths.

    Faith is like walking over a bridge, where we cross over from relying on our strength to God's strength. It's a powerful walk to take.

    However, I really wouldn't recommend wearing high-heeled shoes.

    Dear Lord, reveal to me the places where I'm relying on my own power instead of Yours. Show me what strengths could be my biggest weaknesses, God, so that I can learn to serve You better. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    In her book, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, Lysa TerKeurst shares inspiring stories from her own life along with biblical insights as she describes how to discern when God is speaking to you. Click here to purchase your copy!

    Reflect and Respond:
    What strength could easily trip you up today? Ask God to give you spiritual ears to hear any direction or correction He whispers.

    What would it look like to exchange your weakness for God's strength?

    Power Verse:
    Ephesians 6:10, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • When the Pressure Crushes You

    Posted on June 11, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself ... But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead." 2 Corinthians 1:8b, 9b (NIV)

    It seemed pressure came from every direction. It was unrelenting. Financial pressures brought worry. Children issues brought frustration. And an overloaded schedule kept me up at night. It got so bad I wanted to have a bonfire with all my to-do lists and make s'mores.

    Being a naturally self-sufficient person, my instincts led me to work harder. How could I make more money? What new parenting technique would make this child behave? If I pulled an all-nighter could I knock my emails down to a manageable number?

    I picked up the pace. Buckled down. Slept less. Instituted logical consequences for my child. And re-wrote my to-do lists. I was determined to pull myself together. After all, that's who I am ... at least that's who I was.

    In the past, my Lone Ranger attempts at managing circumstances worked. But not this time.

    Debts mounted. My child's problems increased. And consequently, I fell further behind. The pressure just kept increasing instead of going away.

    Never in my life had circumstances been so overwhelmingly beyond my control. I was surrounded by things I couldn't whip into shape, including my own emotions. I felt like such a failure, and was so ashamed that I couldn't manage the assignments God had given me. Finally, with no solutions in sight, I broke down before God, crying out in desperation, certain He'd be as disappointed with me as I was.

    After all, I was the girl He was supposed to be able to count on. I was the dependable one. And here I was falling apart.

    With my emotions a tangled mess, I poured out all my fears, weakness, and insecurities to God. Even my prayers seemed jumbled and incoherent. And in the midst of my tears, I declared "I can't even pray right!" Never had I needed God more. Well, to be honest, never had I really needed God.

    In the aftermath of my breakdown, something started to change in me. It was subtle, kind of like the dawn, when pitch black moments start to take shape.

    My self-sufficiency was slipping, being replaced by God-dependency. Peace snuck in where I didn't expect it. Circumstances didn't change, but my understanding did. God never needed to depend on me ... rather I was to depend on Him.

    Although I'd been a Christian for many years, and loved and followed God with what I thought was all my heart, it seemed I'd held something back. In the midst of that pressure-cooker time, I realized believing in God isn't the same as trusting Him. God used pressure that felt crushing to lead me to dependence that felt freeing.

    Recently I read a passage in 1 Corinthians that perfectly summarized what God taught me during that time: "We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself ... But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us" (vv. 8b, 9b-10)

    Pressure in life is never easy. But God can use it to take our faith deeper if we let Him. It started for me by admitting my insufficiency, and realizing God wasn't disappointed by that confession. In fact, He invites me to need Him.

    Heavenly Father, please forgive me for all the times I've said "I don't need You" through my actions. I admit I can't manage my life alone, and need Your help. Thank You for being all-sufficient and all-powerful and loving me enough to never shame me for what I can't manage. I love You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

    Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try Hard Life by Emily Freeman

    For daily encouragement, join our Facebook community.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What is your typical reaction when facing a problem?

    If you knew without a doubt that God would help in your time of need, how would that change things for you?

    Power Verses:
    2 Corinthians 4:8-9, "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." (NIV)

    Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Wise Dating

    Posted on May 24, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14 (NKJV)

     

    What relational path honors the Lord and honors my dating? Ask objectively; is there agreement in faith, family and values? Dating relationships that honestly ask heart felt questions flush out communication and prepare a couple for success, as God defines success. Wise dating waits for God’s best and is not suddenly smitten by surface feelings.  If, for example, an older teenager, college student or single adult is “in love” with someone who does not practice faith in Jesus Christ, then the probabilities for a long-term successful relationship is very low. It’s hard enough to work through personality differences, diverse family backgrounds and character development without adding disagreement in the foundational issue of faith in God and obedience to Him.

     

    Start with belief in Jesus Christ and love for Him as your beginning point for being together in a dating relationship and you have a good base to build upon. Like a beautiful house with a cracked cement foundation are two pretty people without both being disciples of Jesus. Committed Christian relationships are not perfect, but they persevere.

     

    “Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (4:11-12).

    Be careful to not let the feeling of “being in love” trump the reality of the other person being a genuine follower and lover of the Lord. Emotions can accelerate bad decision-making, if not tempered by wisdom and accountability. This is why wise young people engage the wisdom and counsel of their dad and mom. Wise dating is accountable. You are accountable to the Lord and you are accountable to your parents. Choosing to date someone is not like spontaneously shopping for what’s on sale—it is a prayerful and prudent process. Much better to stop an unwise relationship in the beginning, than to later have to untangle a complex web of emotions and physical indiscretions. Be wise to date in groups—don’t be alone together in compromising situations. Wisdom is preemptive.

     

    Lastly, wise dating honors the Lord by honoring your body with purity. True love does not prove itself in sexual intimacy, because “love is patient” (1 Corinthians 13:3). When you wait and save yourself for your wedding day—it’s honoring to your marriage and to the Lord. Focus your energy and emotion into spiritual growth—you will have no regrets. Wise dating prayerfully recognizes a greater objective that is purposed in Christ.

     

    “With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ” (Ephesians 1:8b-9).

     

    Prayer: Does my dating relationship honor the Lord? Am I accountable to Him and my parents?

     

    Related Readings: Genesis 24: 3-4; Psalm 24:3-5; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; Ephesians 6:1-3

     

    Post/Tweet today: Emotions can accelerate bad decision-making, if not tempered by wisdom and accountability. #emotions

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • God is Able

    Posted on May 20, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

     

    God is able. He is able to abundantly bless in all things at all times.  God is able to provide what is needed for every good work. He is able when I am unable. He is able to soften my heart when I am unable to listen.  He is able to illumine my thoughts when I am unable to understand the truth. He is able to love me when I am unable to love myself. God is able. Yes! His Spirit is able to intercede on my behalf when I am unable to pray. My Lord Jesus is ready, willing and able.

     

    God is able to supply the needs of His people through His people. He is able to make us rich in every way so we can be generous on all occasions. Thus, we have emotional, physical, spiritual and financial capacity to give to others. Yes, margin (extra) gives us space in our brain to be creative, room in our heart to be compassionate, and surplus money with which to be generous. Indeed, we have more to give to others when we steward our resources for the sake of service.

     

    Spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. Isaiah 58:10

     

    So, what are we to do when God is able, but unwilling? What if His help seems delayed or unresponsive? First, we are reassured knowing the character of our Heavenly Father is 100% trustworthy. He is good and He desires what’s best for His children. Furthermore, our will does not always align with the Lord’s will. Free will is free to chose badly. Thus, we require the Spirit’s ‘will alignment’ by renewing our mind and purifying our heart. Clarity comes from cleansing and repentance. God is able, but we may not be ready, so we remain steady in prayer.

     

    Whatever you are facing, your Heavenly Father is able to face down. In your fear He will give you faith and courage to meet your challenge with grace and commitment. In your new opportunity He will teach you the skill of listening, so you can learn to go further, faster. In your conflict He will model for you the art of peacemaking, so you can bring harmony to a hurting home. In your success, He will keep you grateful and humble through your generous giving. God is able to bless you beyond measure, so you can be a trusted pass through for His ample supply!

     

    Therefore he [Jesus] is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Hebrews 7:25

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You that You are able to bless me to be a blessing to others.

     

    Related Readings: Daniel 3:17; Psalm 18:48; Jeremiah 1:8; Mark 1:40;  1 Corinthians 4:19

     

    Post/Tweet today: Whatever you are facing, your Heavenly Father is able to face down. In your fear He will give you faith. #faith

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Worldly Wisdom

    Posted on April 29, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace” 2 Corinthians 1:12.

     

    Worldly wisdom has a way of reducing heaven’s wisdom to an afterthought. After  our worldly wisdom doesn't work, we pray and seek to discern the Lord’s ways.. It’s tempting to rely on what seems to work instead of seeking  the principles to live by based on  God’s economy. Worldly wisdom is not only inferior,  it is also a competitor with God’s grace.

     

    The Lord sees the world’s wisdom as foolishness and the world sees His wisdom as foolishness. Some who embrace the wisdom of the world say there is no personal God, but God says in His wisdom that this thinking flows from  a fool. The fool says in his heart, “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1). Sadly, the world’s wisdom has no room for Jesus.

     

    “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.” (1 Corinthians 1:21)

     

    Worldly wisdom is flashier and sexier in its appeal—it invites pride to perch over those who have not yet achieved a superior standpoint. Ironically, the created dismisses the Creator as antiquated and out of touch. The traditional tenants of an all knowing and ever present sovereign God are silly and irrational to this irreverent system of belief. But what worldly wisdom embraces as  truly enlightened, the Lord defines as educated fools.

     

    “Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20)

     

    Therefore, do not try to outsmart your Savior Jesus Christ with intelligence void of humility and the fear of God. Academics, without an infusion of faith in Almighty God, leads down a reckless path of disconnection from Deity. However, wise is the man or woman who is full of the grace of God, and who studies truth long and hard for the glory of God.

     

    Faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God is not a leap into the dark; rather it is a step into the light. Christian belief is based on the historical fact of His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. For some the Lord’s wisdom wins out over their own and  they begin to seek out  people and places that possess His knowledge. “I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness” (Ecclesiastes 2:13).

     

    Prayer: Am I embracing and believing the wisdom of the world or Almighty God’s?

     

    Related Readings: Isaiah 29:14; Jeremiah 8:9; James 3:13-18

     

    Post/Tweet today: What worldly wisdom embraces as truly enlightened, the Lord defines as educated fools. #worldlywisdom

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Worldly Wisdom

    Posted on April 27, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace” (2 Corinthians 1:12).

    Worldly wisdom has a way of reducing Heaven’s wisdom to an afterthought. Using our worldly wisdom, we pray and seek to discern the Lord’s ways only after our ways do not work. It is tempting to rely on what seems to work instead of asking what the principles to live by are, based on God’s economy. Worldly wisdom is not only inferior but also competes with God’s grace.

    The Lord sees the world’s wisdom as foolishness, and the world sees His wisdom as foolishness. Some who embrace the wisdom of the world say there is no personal God, but God says in His wisdom, this thinking flows from a fool. “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1). Sadly, the world’s wisdom has no room for Jesus.

    “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21).

    Worldly wisdom is flashier and sexier in its appeal. It invites pride to perch over those who have not yet achieved a superior standpoint. Ironically, the created dismisses the Creator as antiquated and out of touch. The traditional tenants of an all-knowing and ever-present Sovereign God are silly and irrational to this irreverent system of belief. But whomworldly wisdom embraces as the truly enlightened, the Lord defines as educated fools.

    “Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20).

    Therefore, do not try to outsmart your Savior Jesus Christ with intelligence void of humility and the fear of God. Academics, without an infusion of faith in almighty God, lead down a reckless path of disconnection from Deity. However, wise is the man or woman who is full of the grace of God and studies truth long and hard for the glory of God.

    Faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God is not a leap into the dark; rather, it is a step into the light. Christian belief is based on the historical fact of His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. For some, the Lord’s wisdom wins out over their own, and they begin to seek out those people and places that possess His knowledge. “I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness” (Ecclesiastes 2:13).

    Prayer: Am I embracing and believing the wisdom of the world or almighty God’s wisdom?

    Related Readings: Isaiah 29:14; Jeremiah 8:9; James 3:13–18

     

    Post/Tweet: Whom worldly wisdom embraces as the truly enlightened, the Lord defines as educated fools. #truewisdom

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • A Fresh Start

    Posted on January 22, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie

    "So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view." 2 Corinthians 5:16a (NLT)

    She worries when I don't wear a coat.

    She washes her dishes before she puts them in the dishwasher.

    I never know what she's going to say, and her honesty can make me blush, laugh until I cry, or just cry.

    She's my mom, and I love her.

    Growing up, things were very different. My mom was beautiful on the outside, but broken on the inside. That brokenness made our home life chaotic and unstable with out of control rages and suicidal threats. As a child I felt unsafe. As a teen I struggled between loving her and hating her.

    When I became a believer I understood love for the first time, but it was easier to accept than to give.

    By the time I was an adult my mom had made significant changes, but the effects of a childhood laced with instability and chaos still marked my heart. I asked God for a fresh start, not just for her sake, but for my own.

    As I pored over the Scriptures, the word forgive continually leapt off the pages. God was speaking to me through His Word and giving me direction. I wasn't sure I could do it, but somehow knew freedom was on the other side.

    The word forgive has different meanings in Scripture, and one of them is kaphar. That's a Greek word meaning to purge or pitch. It originates from the Hebrew word for atonement, which means to cleanse or cover.

    Why is this meaning so important?

    By beginning the process of forgiving, I was purging or pitching the entanglements of the past in order to begin anew. This could happen regardless of whether my mom completely changed or not.

    This also allowed me to begin to see myself as a woman, rather than the child I once was. That changed my perspective from a limited view to one that included the chapters that God had always seen.

    I saw the chapters in my mom's life. She was a girl who had a baby too young, married to a man who abused her. She had always desired to be a good mom, but no one had shown her how.

    My new perspective allowed me to see the changes she was trying to make, and those already in place. This allowed me to accept the things that might never change.

    It also created new chapters in our relationship as we began to connect without the filter of the past.

    Kaphar forgiveness is a gift. It allows you to pitch the past and its entanglements, and it covers the new relationship with God's grace.

    It also helps me to appreciate the small things, like the fact that my mom will always tell me to wear a coat. She will continue to wash the dishes before she places them in the dishwasher.

    And we will continue to grow as mother and daughter.

    The kaphar gift of forgiveness offers the opportunity for new chapters in a relationship . . . and a fresh slate upon which the words can be penned.

    Dear Lord, will you help me begin the journey of forgiveness, pitching out the past to accept all that You have for me. . . and perhaps, even us, as we start fresh? In Jesus' Name, Amen.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    "In the shadow of my hurt, forgiveness feels like a decision to reward my enemy. But in the shadow of the cross, forgiveness is merely a gift from one undeserving soul to another." Andy Stanley, Enemies of the Heart

    Do you need to forgive someone? Here are two tips to help you reframe your relationship:

    Practice the pause. Sometimes we offer a knee-jerk reaction based on the hurts of the past. Pausing allows you to think before you speak, to pray, and see the real issue instead of filtering the moment through old feelings.

    Give it time. Transformation is a process, one that unfolds layers of hurt to reveal new skin underneath. It won't always be easy, and working through that pain just might be an answer to prayer.

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 103:12, "He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

  • From Overpowered to Empowered

    Posted on January 10, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

    It was one of those days. I was driving to the airport in the pouring rain. The skies were grey. The day felt a bit gloomy. And honestly, so did I.

    There were just a lot of little things swarming my thoughts. Feelings of inadequacy stinging. "There are so many things I'm responsible for and never enough hours in the day. I do enough to keep things from sinking. But I just wonder if I'm doing anything well. I don't think I am ... doing anything well."

    The more I focused on these thoughts, the more overpowered I became. The more overpowered I became, the more withdrawn I felt.

    I pulled into the parking space and started the fight with my luggage. My suitcase has two wheels missing. And of course I keep intending to do something about this. But I don't have time. So I make do with a crazy suitcase and a crazy life and a crazy sense I should just pack my family up and move out west somewhere. Live on a ranch where we grow our own food and I cook beans in a black pot over an open flame.

    Surely that would fix everything.

    Except that I know it wouldn't.

    Because the chaos isn't from my circumstances. It's inside me.

    I boarded the plane. I stared out the window. I watched the grey clouds envelop us.

    And then the grey broke.

    Suddenly, we rose above the clouds and the sun was shining brightly. The sky was fabulously clear.

    The clouds were just a temporary covering. They didn't stop the sun from shining. They just prevented my eyes from seeing the sun. And it wasn't just the sky that appeared a little brighter. My mood did as well.

    I started to shift from feeling overpowered to empowered as I realized three things:

    Just because I feel it doesn't make it real.

    Just like I felt the sun was gone but it wasn't, I might feel like I'm not doing anything well, but it doesn't make it true. The fact that I have weaknesses doesn't make everything about me weak. I have plenty of strengths.

    All I have to do is ask a couple of my friends or my family members to help me see what I do well. I can celebrate those, and then get a plan for bettering things that need improvement. I can start by identifying one thing to improve on this month. And do a little toward making that one thing better.

    There are a lot of people who would trade their best day for my worst day.

    Yes, I have a lot to manage. And yes, sometimes things get a little foggy. But that doesn't mean I have to stay swallowed up in the grey. That means I need to get my head above the clouds and see all the many places where the sun is shining brightly in my life. So, I can start making a list of things for which I need to be thankful.

    My mind needs some space to think.

    If I always run at a breakneck pace, I'm eventually going to break. My mind is a powerful tool, capable of seeing things that can be done more efficiently and effectively if I give myself time to think. When is the last time I just sat quietly with a pen and paper and asked the Lord to help me think?

    As 2 Corinthians 12:9 teaches, God's power is made perfect in weakness. When I'm sinking in thoughts of inadequacy and plans to relocate out west, I remember that my ability is not based on what I can do. My ability and strength come from the One who can do all things. With the Lord working in me and through my weaknesses, I can feel the transformation from being overpowered to empowered taking place.

    If the clouds have been looming close lately, maybe it's time to stop. Pause. Lift your eyes to an altitude that can rearrange your attitude.

    Dear Lord, only You can provide all I need to stay the course. Please replenish me with a new attitude as I try to see above my grey clouds today. Help me to refocus my attention to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    The Unglued Bible Study will also help you understand what the Bible says about better ways to react. To order your copy click here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    1. Identify one thing to improve on this month.
    2. Make a list of five things you are thankful for.
    3. Commit 5-10 minutes today to sit quietly with a pen and paper and ask the Lord to help you think.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 34:17-18, "The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

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