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Tag Archives: Romans

  • A New Pattern of Thought

    Posted on April 2, 2013 by Renee Swope

    Renee Swope

    "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2 (NIV)

    It's usually very subtle. I'll think about something I want to do or sense God calling me to, and a feeling of uncertainty comes over me. Doubt whispers You can't do that. You're not good enough. Out of the blue, I'll get that awful, insecure feeling.

    Too many times in the past I've gone along. Without realizing it, I agreed with my insecurities.

    For years, I didn't tell anyone about my doubts. I figured if they knew the reasons I doubted myself, they'd notice flaws I had worked hard to hide. Honestly, I thought I was the only one who struggled with doubt.

    However, I didn't call it doubt. Maybe you don't either. Sometimes I called it worry—worry that I was going to disappoint someone, worry that I might make a mistake and get criticized for it, worry that I might start something but not be able to finish.

    Other times I'd call it fear—fear of not measuring up, fear of rejection, fear of looking prideful by thinking I could do something special for God.

    What I've realized over the years is that these feelings may end up as fear or worry, but their source is self-doubt. Looking back, I see there was a pattern in my thinking that led to the pattern of my doubting.

    As a child I thought I wasn't worth keeping. My insecurity kept me from riding the carousel at an amusement park because I doubted my dad would wait for me. In school, I thought I wasn't smart enough. I avoided great opportunities because they came with the risk of failure.

    Even as a young bride, I doubted my worth in my husband's eyes. Although he gave me no reason to fear, our newlywed memories include many arguments about trust.

    The apostle Paul challenges us in Romans 12:2 to not let our minds be conformed by the patterns of this world. This means we need to take our patterns of thought into consideration because they affect what we believe about ourselves and what we believe about God's view of us and others.

    The world's patterns of thought tell us our worth is measured by our weight or bank account, our job or spouse, by the number of our friends, or if we are able to have children. And if we do have children, the world tells us we're only good parents if our children behave 'just so.'

    Have any of these thoughts ever convinced you you're not enough or don't have what it takes to do all God's calling you to do?

    Just this week, doubt tried to convince me I couldn't handle my life. I had a sick teenager, a huge deadline to meet, several therapy appointments for my daughter and very concerning health problems with my mom.

    Remembering the wisdom in today's key verse, I paused to consider the pattern of my thoughts and knew they didn't line up with God's thoughts. For instance, in Philippians 4:13 God tells me, "... I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength" (NLT).

    I claimed God's promise by weaving it into my thoughts, knowing I could do it all if I depended on the strength God promises to give. And when I did, God transformed my heart by renewing my mind with His peace and confidence.

    It takes time to replace our patterns of thought with God's thoughts. The ways of the world—fear and worry—are powerful forces. But God's Word trumps them, always. Today, let's be intentional to lay down self-doubts and replace them with truth, remembering "... he who began a good work in [us] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Phil. 1:16 ESV).

    Lord, I want to have a confident heart in Christ and persevere in Your truth so that when I have done Your will, I will receive what You have promised. When doubt tells me I can't do something, I'll remember all things are possible to her who believes. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    In her life-changing book, A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises, Renee Swope will empower and equip you with new patterns of thought to help you overcome doubt, fear, and worry so you can move forward in confident assurance of all God has for your life!

    Reflect and Respond:
    What motivates you the most to be free from self-doubt?

    What would you do differently if you were free from worry and fear, and fully trusted God? Let go of unforgiveness? Volunteer more? Travel? Start a new hobby or look for a new job? Ask the Lord to help you replace self-doubt with His confidence and what your first step of freedom should be.

    Power Verse:
    Isaiah 26:3, "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!" (NLT)

    © 2013 by Renee Swope. 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 Romans

  • Are You Hearing?

    Posted on February 26, 2013 by Lynn Cowell

    Lynn Cowell

    "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ." Romans 10:17 (NIV)

    With a very busy day ahead of me, a dark cloud of stress was hanging overhead. I had written my "to-do" list, and asked the Holy Spirit to help me hear His timeline for when I should get everything done.

    Getting ready to tackle number one on my list, I felt an impression on my heart, "Start with worshipping Me." At first I thought, I don't really have time for that. But peace came as I acknowledged I didn't have time not to worship Him.

    Setting my list aside, I turned on worship music in my living room. As I listened to scriptures woven throughout the lyrics, I saw again how His Word was exactly what I needed to start my day.

    This year, I am purposing to listen. Dictionary.com defines listen as: to give attention with the ear; attend closely for the purpose of hearing.

    To listen, I have to be focused on hearing, purposefully and selectively, because what I hear has the power to change to me.

    Romans 10:17 says, "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." (ESV)

    When I hear God's Word, whether it is spoken, set to music or taught, my faith will grow. I need, then, to put myself in a place where I can hear (not just read silently) God's Word. I've begun to look for new ways to hear Scripture.

    One of those ways is reading the Bible out loud. This has a few great benefits. I stay awake (a serious consideration when it's early in the morning or late at night!). Anyone who hears me also gets to hear God's Word! And my faith is built.

    When little children first learn how to read, what does their teacher make them do? Read out loud. Why? Hearing builds comprehension; it helps us understand the material better.

    The same is true when it comes to reading God's Word. "Faith comes by hearing." Reading out loud helps build our comprehension of what Scripture is telling us, as well as our faith. This is good for us and our children!

    We can read the Bible out loud to children or better yet, have them read to us! Even if just for a small pocket of time: on the way to school, after dinner, before bed, or coming home from sports practice.

    Keep a Bible in the car, by your kitchen table, or near the TV. I once heard a great author say he grew up in a home with books everywhere. In every room, on every table, there was a book. It became a natural thing to just pick them up and see what each page held! Let's do the same with God's Word and make it easily accessible.

    Hearing God's Word is important. Let's start listening today by turning on some praise music, reading Scripture out loud and listening to sermons. Our faith will begin building quickly!

    Lord, I need to build my faith for all that You have given me in this life. Holy Spirit, whisper to me, showing me pockets of time when I can hear Your Word for myself and for my children too. Amen

    Related Resources:
    Do you need a resource to help a teen girl in your life build her faith through hearing God's Word? Lynn Cowell's new book Devotions for a Revolutionary Year - 365 Days of Jesus' Radical Love for You can help you do just that! Short devotionals, only 2-3 minutes each, can go a long way in helping her learn God's truth.

    Reflect and Respond:
    When are you currently hearing God's Word? Church services, online sermons, radio broadcasts?

    Power Verses:
    Colossians 3:16, "Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts." (NIV)

    1 Thessalonians 2:13, "And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • The Good Wife

    Posted on February 5, 2013 by Sharon Glasgow

    Sharon Glasgow

    "Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves." Romans 12:10 (NIV)

    Being a good wife is a lot like being a good cook.

    Any cook using the same recipe and instructions can produce a dish that tastes entirely different from another's. Why is this?

    Well, attention to detail is one characteristic that distinguishes a good cook from an average one.

    Take fried apples for example. All you need are apples, sugar, butter and cinnamon. But, not every cook prepares them the same. I cook mine on high (I want them caramelized) and I never put a lid on the pan or they get mushy. If you take the same ingredients, cook them on low with a cover, you get a dish that doesn't resemble mine at all. The same recipe produces a totally different result.

    The same is true between a good wife and an average wife. There are hundreds of recipes for being a good wife using the same few ingredients: love, respect, communication, intimacy, time, service, and prayer. Even if the recipe is followed without one ingredient omitted, the outcome can be totally different.

    If you love in proportion to what is given you, the recipe will not rise to the fullest. Our key verse, Romans 12:10, tells us to be devoted in love. The word love as used here is an unconditional one with no expectations of a return. Love with every ounce of your being and when you have given all, squeeze even more out.

    I grew up lacking an understanding of respect. I loved my husband, but didn't respect all of his ideas or his role in our family. But through reading Scripture, God showed me the importance of respecting my husband. In fact, Romans 12:10 encourages us to honor our husbands by thinking more highly of them than ourselves. This meant I had to stop thinking my way was the only way! Once I learned to listen before reacting and respect his thoughts, I find Dale is actually right most often.

    Communication is a delicate balance of listening and talking. Listen not only with your ears but with your heart. One author broke down our key verse by saying, "They should speak honorably of each other ... and discourage that evil practice of whisperings, backbitings, and innuendos; they should treat each other with honor and respect in their common conversation."* Allow nothing to hinder this vital ingredient, including interrupting, assuming, or past conversations. He needs to know you care about his every thought, goal, and burden.

    Do not neglect intimacy! The spicier you make this ingredient, the easier the other ingredients gel together into the perfect recipe.

    I'm not the perfect housekeeper, but I try my best. Serving my husband by keeping our home organized and clean, cooking meals he enjoys, and creating an atmosphere of love makes my recipe great!

    Time with him is a vital ingredient too. So, I go everywhere he goes whenever possible. When our five girls were little we would all hop in the vehicle to get gas or pick up nails from the hardware store just to be with him.

    Many nights I wake up and while he sleeps, I watch him and pray. I pray for his health, his work, and his dreams to be fulfilled. Make time each day to regularly pray for your husband, and sprinkle in prayers throughout your day as well. The Lord will be faithful to answer.

    The Good Wife Recipe is about being devoted to one another in love and honoring each other above ourselves. I've noticed that the more I put into the recipe, the more I get out of it ... and the more passionate my marriage is. The more passionate it becomes the less work it is. My desire to love becomes greater, ability to respect becomes second nature, communication becomes like-minded, intimacy is sweeter, and time with him is my desire not a duty.

    Being a good wife is a lot like being a good cook. Anyone using the same recipe and instructions can produce a marriage that is entirely different from another. The secret to The Good Wife Recipe: do not neglect one ingredient. It will be how deliberate you are with the finer details that will determine the outcome.

    Dear Lord, help me be the wife I need to be. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are you using all the ingredients mentioned in this devotion in your marriage?

    Everyone's taste is different. Which ingredient needs adjusting for your husband's preferences?

    Power Verse:
    Proverbs 12:4, "A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones." (NIV)

    * Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

    © 2013 by Sharon Glasgow. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • When Hurt Robs Us of Hope

    Posted on January 30, 2013 by Renee Swope

    Renee Swope

    "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." Romans 15:13 (NIV)

    How could this be happening? She had given up so much to be with him and now this?

    My friend had left her very successful career and friends in Louisiana, uprooted her three kids and moved to North Carolina to get married and live in her new husband's hometown. And now, six years later, she answered the phone and was shocked by the confession of a woman who called to tell her that she'd been having an affair with my friend's second husband — for the past four years.

    I held her as she sobbed. And I listened as she questioned everything about her husband. Every business trip, every late night at the office, everything she thought was true that was now laced with deceit.

    Something in my soul cracked that day, and every bit of hope I ever had that I would one day get married ... it was gone. I swore that I would never, ever trust a man.

    Has there ever been a time when pain from your yesterdays or disappointments in your todays has stolen your hope? When you have been wounded, the risk of getting hurt again seems more costly, and perhaps even more likely, doesn't it?

    The things that hurt us are as varied as the lies we believe because of them:

    • Like my friend who was sexually abused by a neighbor when she was eight years old. Shame convinced her she would always be dirty and worthless.

    • Like my friend who was raped at knife point by a masked stranger the week of her college graduation. Fear held her for years in a personal prison, telling her she'd never be free.

    • Like my friend who was married and divorced multiple times. Condemnation convinced her she'd never be good enough for a man or God.

    • Like a woman I know whose mother called her names and criticized everything she did. Humiliation holds her hostage, convincing her she'll always be useless.

    • Like my friend who had an abortion when she was a teenager. Paralyzing grief and disgrace convinced her God could never use her in ministry.

    • Like my friend whose son is in prison awaiting trial as a sex offender. False blame keeps her up at night, convincing her she must have done something wrong as a mom.

    The pain of our past makes it hard to believe God's promise of hope for our future. It's easy to lose confidence in Him, in other people and especially in ourselves.

    Yet hope comes when we allow Jesus to search our hearts and bring Truth into our wounded places. Today's key verse reminds us that He wants us to "trust in Him, so that [we will] overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 15:13). And the only way that can happen is if we let Jesus pour His healing power into our lives, allowing His love to flow into our pain and cleanse the wounds from our past.

    I watched my friend's heart break into pieces in the following months, as her future and her marriage were shattered by the lies. But I also watched her come to know God and fully rely on His love for her, over time.

    I learned to trust and hope again, too. And I made a new vow — I promised myself and God that I would not allow the pain of my past to determine my future any more.

    We don't have to allow our hurts to steal our hope. Instead we can ask Jesus to help us trust Him more through them. Let's ask Him to show us what is true about who we are and what we have been through that caused us to start losing hope. And then we can ask Him to help us redefine our future — not through the filter of our past and our pain, but through the power of His hope-resurrecting promises.

    Dear Lord, You are good and have good plans for me. But sometimes, people and circumstances rob me of that truth and cast a shadow on Your goodness. Please restore my trust and hope in You. I'm leaning on all You are. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Need help working through circumstances and relationships that have left you feeling hurt, hesitant and sometimes hopeless? If so, Renee's truth-bearing book, A Confident Heart, may be just what you need.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Is there an area of your past that is holding you back from trusting God? Sit and listen for His truth and good plans for you today.

    Hope comes when we allow Jesus to search our hearts and bring Truth into our wounded places.

    Power Verses:
    Ephesians 1:18-19a, "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Be Yourself

    Posted on January 24, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off.” 1 Samuel 17:38-39

    Those who are comfortable in their own skin are content in how the Lord has made them. However, those who strive to be someone they’re not end up frustrated, failing to enjoy authentic living. Saul desired to honor David by giving him his armor that worked well in past battles, but what Saul found effective was not the best plan for David. Yes, wise followers of Christ focus on what aligns with them uniquely. Therefore, those who know themselves can be themselves.

    Are you at peace in how the Lord has prepared you for the challenges you face? Do your words and mannerisms represent the true you, or are you a masquerade of another man or woman? It is ok to learn from others with a track record of integrity, but ask the Spirit to filter their ideas and actions through the grid of how God has made you. The Lord has placed you in this time and place, so be proud of who you are and where you’re from. Be who God made you.

    “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” Acts 17:26-27

    Be yourself at home and your family will feel free to be themselves. Parents and children who laugh and cry together grow closer together. Be yourself at work and pretense will feel uncomfortable in your workplace. Office politics are precluded where people are at peace in their roles and responsibilities. It is in an environment of authenticity that we feel free to be how God has made us. So you can be content in a career that is the best fit for you.

    Most of all be yourself in the company of Christ. He will not love you any more than He already does, regardless of what you accomplish or don’t accomplish. You don’t have to prove yourself to God who has already thoroughly accepted you in His son Jesus. Be yourself with your Creator and He will give you insight to be creative for His causes. Clothe yourself in the unique apparel of grace that Almighty God has just for you. He is conforming you into the image of His Son.

    “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” Romans 8:29

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the faith and courage to be who You want me to be.

     

    Related Readings: Genesis 1:27; Psalm 106:20; 1 Corinthians 15:29; 1 John 3:2

     

    Post/Tweet today: Those who are comfortable in their own skin are content in how the Lord has made them. #content

     

    © 2012 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, Romans, 1 Samuel

  • Big Challenges

    Posted on January 11, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:36-37

    Big challenges challenge those strongest in the faith. David faced the biggest challenge of his young life when his life and liberties (economic, political, religious) were at risk. However, the Lord is larger than any hard times looming on the horizon. Heaven’s resources are more than adequate to face down earth’s formidable giants of fear or hopelessness. Challenges are Christ’s opportunity to lead us into intimacy and innovation with Him. The Lord likes a challenge.

    What big obstacle are you facing that threatens your security? Look back on God’s track record of faithfulness and take heart at His effectiveness. You may face the giant of loneliness in your home. You can feel lonelier married than single, if the one you love does not love you back. Get alone with your heavenly Father for His comforting presence. He cares. Seek out the support of a safe community with whom you can be vulnerable. Giants flee in the face of praying friends.

    “We boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.” 1 Thessalonians 1:4

    Perhaps uncontrolled anger is consistently the big challenge you face. The stress of life has led you into unhealthy habits. Alcohol is like a fuse that detonates an explosion of anger in your mind. It numbs your heart. Allow the grace of God to heal your hurting heart or you will continue to hurt others. Take your pain to the cross and crucify it where Christ died for your sins. Healing comes as you are honest with yourself, God and others. Receive God’s forgiveness and forgive yourself.

    Above all else, look into the face of your heavenly Father as you face big challenges. He will give you the wisdom to get the work done. He will give you the relationships and resources that resonate with what needs to be accomplished. He will give you the faith to keep moving forward. There is no mountain of tribulation that you cannot traverse  with  trust in the Lord. Stay on the journey with Jesus and He will see you through. Big challenges reveal your big God!

    “None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” Romans 8:37-39, The Message

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for facing down my big challenges for Christ sake.

    Related Readings: Job 16:20; Isaiah 41:10; John 16:33; 2 Peter 2:9; Revelation 3:10

    Post/Tweet today: Look into the face of your heavenly Father as you face big challenges. #trust

     

    © 2012 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 Romans, 1 Thessalonians, 1 Samuel

  • Stay Engaged

    Posted on January 8, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    "In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem." 2 Samuel 11:1
    A leader’s success, if not stewarded wisely, can lead him or her into failure. Many times success gives a leader more options and increases their autonomy. It's precisely at this point of enlarged personal power that an ego needs the checks and balances of wise counsel and loving accountability. Responsible leaders stay engaged in the everyday activities of real life, so they don’t act unrealistically. Humility is the fruit of those who serve their fellow humans.
    Were you once engaged in activities that required relational messiness? Are you now cloistered from a community that invites your vulnerability? The lure of success is to see others as inferior to your intellect or to disrespect them as “just the help,” instead of honoring other team members as the reason for your success. Avoid using people to enable your bad habits or to cover up your secret sins. David forgot that God had brought him from his humble beginnings as a shepherd, and he became enamored with himself as King. But, humility’s grateful attitude engages others.
    “I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.” Romans 12:3 (Message)
    Therefore, when work responsibilities intensify, be even more intentional to engage with your spouse and children. Lack of engagement can lead to estrangement. Prayerfully place guardrails around your schedule, so you are not alone with a person of the opposite sex, being tempted by sex. Emotional intimacy with needy co-workers is a recipe for relational disaster. Stay emotionally engaged with your spouse and be discreet at work about your personal problems.
    Above all, as our discretionary time is on the rise, we are wise to lift the level of our time with Lord in His word. Satan plays mind games to make us think we are smarter than we are, or  strokes our ego with the lie that we are the exception to God’s expectations. So, we stay engaged in our prayer time and are quick to confess and repent of our sin. When our heart is engaged with Christ’s heart it is very, very difficult to drift into sin. So, seek God and stay engaged with Him!
    “The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.” Psalm 25:14
    Prayer: Heavenly Father, keep me engaged in Your worship and  serving others.
    Post/Tweet today: Lack of engagement with God can lead to estrangement from God. #engage
    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Romans, 2 Samuel

  • Good Overcomes Evil

    Posted on January 7, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21

     

    Free will is the culprit of sinful humans making evil choices. However, God is not absent in the face of a bad person and evil deeds. Almighty God works in and through atrocities to overcome bad with good. Good overcomes evil when courageous teachers shield innocent children from the bullets of an evil gunman. Good overcomes evil when first responders risk their lives to save lives in a collapsing building destroyed by evil terrorists. Good overcomes evil when hellish wars are fought in the name of freedom to protect the world from evil tyrants. Good overcomes! 

    Yes, we stand astounded when evil captures the headlines, and we ask, “Where is God?”. However, because we exist God exists. He is always with us, Jesus said, even to the ends of the earth, “I am with you.” We leave Him in our self-sufficient pride, but He never leaves or forsakes us. The good in evil calls us  to cry out to Christ. We need Him, oh how we need Him in the good days and in the bad days. Because we exist we encounter the evil of a sinner’s free will.

    “But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:5:20-21

    Hallelujah, the grace of God through Jesus Christ has overcome sin, sorrow and death! In the face of evil men Jesus laid down His life, only to come back to life and offer forgiveness to the ones who killed Him. Jesus is our model of overcoming evil with good. We lay down our life and in the process we give life. Our enemies scratch their heads--puzzled by grace--when we serve instead of fight. Evil can experience God’s mercy now or His judgment later, but we are His ambassadors for good. Like water over fire or light over darkness we use good to extinguish bad!

    You are a good goer for God, so go often and go boldly. Detachment from society is a scheme of the devil. Instead, engage evil with good and you will overcome. Detached you lose. Yes, love does guarantee suffering, but better to love often than for your soul to shrivel for lack of service. Just as an athlete leaves it all on the court, leave all your good deeds on the field of life. Heaven is a celebration of a life well spent on earth. Thus while you’re still alive generously do good and you’ll overcome evil Like Jesus--overcome the evil one by God’s good word--holy Scripture.

    “Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” Matthew 4:10-11

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, use me to be an ambassador of good for You.

    Related Readings: Jeremiah 1:19; John 16:33; Hebrews 12:14; 1 John 2:14, 5:4-5

    Post/Tweet today: Engage evil with good and you will overcome. #good

    © 2012 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, Romans

  • The Unraveling of a Marriage

    Posted on December 27, 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves." Romans 12:10 (NIV)

    I had a favorite sweater I loved wearing. It wasn't too bulky but was still warm and cozy. The only problem was the threads were loosely woven together. It would snag on things, so I had to be careful.

    I was mindful of the delicate nature of this sweater so I could protect it, make it last, and enjoy wearing it time and again.

    Until one day I was in a hurry, grabbed some things I needed and rushed to my car. I tossed my stuff on the passenger seat, including a spiral notebook whose metal binding wire caught on my sleeve. As I pulled my arm toward the steering wheel, the notebook came with it and pulled a huge snag in my sweater.

    I unhooked myself and assessed the damage. I should have taken the sweater off and later taken time to repair the snag the correct way.

    But in my rush, I made the decision to do what seemed easiest in the moment. I snipped the lose threads and hoped for the best.

    That decision started an unraveling process that ended the life of my beautiful sweater.

    Recently, my husband and I got into an argument. In front of the kids. Over something so stupid. Right before we were about to head out the door to go on a date.

    In the heat of the argument he announced the date was off. He no longer wanted to go. Honestly, I didn't either.

    I wanted to sit in a coffee shop by myself and make a mental list of all the reasons I was right. All the reasons he was wrong. And justify my perspective.

    But it's at this exact moment of resistance an unraveling can begin.

    Doing what seems easy in the moment often isn't what's best for the long term.

    I pushed for us to still go on our date. It wasn't fun. It wasn't easy. There were tears.

    There were awkward stretches of silence. But we pushed through the resistance we both felt, and eventually talked.

    Talking through the snags. The pulls. The things that threaten to unravel us.

    There is a delicate nature to marriage. It's so easy to forget that. It's so easy to take it all for granted and stop being careful. Stop being mindful. Stop being protective.

    The unraveling can happen so quickly. And the unraveling doesn't just happen in marriages. It can occur with best friends, children, in-laws ... especially during the holidays.

    Yes, during what's considered the happiest season of the year, stress levels can be at an all time high. Between coordinating family get-togethers, shopping blow-out sales, and spending time with that relative you might not be friends with if you weren't related, Christmas can feel anything but merry and the New Year anything but happy. And all that's pulling at you can make tempers flare and your relationships feel like they're coming apart at the seams.

    Be intentional about catching the snags in these relationships. Today. Right now.

    For me, being intentional required an apology to my husband. By admitting I was wrong and asking for forgiveness. Repairing the snags the correct way—tying a knot and tucking it back into the weave of our relationship fabric.

    Dear Lord, thank You for special relationships. I let my emotional state get the best of me sometimes, but I want You to be in control of how I react. Please give me the spirit I need to build up people around me instead of tearing them down. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    In her New York Times best selling book Unglued, Lysa TerKeurst shares how to respond with no regrets by managing your tendencies to stuff or explode. Click here to purchase your copy.

    Do you have a few friends drowning in relationship stress? The Unglued Bible study bundle makes a great gift you can all enjoy together and study in the New Year.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What's something you can do today to invest wisely in your relationships?

    Write down two people you will commit to improving your relationship with this month. Note things that are special to them such as favorite hobbies, ways they are encouraged, places to eat, etc. Use this information to bless them in the time you spend together.

    Power Verses:
    Hebrews 10:24-25, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Dedicated to God

    Posted on December 18, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (As it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord).”Luke 2:21-22

     

    Jesus (who was both God and man) was dedicated to the Lord by His God-fearing father and mother. Wise parents present their newborns before their Creator in prayerful consecration. Their intentional association with the sacred shows their sincere love for their child and for their heavenly Father. Later, when the newborn is able to look back and see their legacy for the Lord, they often look to the Lord. Public dedication builds a foundation of faith.

    Our baby’s dedication is as much for us as the parents as for the child. We acknowledge the sovereignty of God over us and our need for His wisdom and direction. A parent without prayer is set up for frustration and failure. However, when we lean into the Lord as a father and mother, we gain grace and the patience to parent. The dedication of our infant demonstrates our faith and reliance on God. Public commitment helps private practice.

    “No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.” Romans 2:29 

    Your ultimate prayer is for your child to follow Christ in personal faith and commitment. Spiritual wholeness for your little one comes at conversion and continues in a lifelong commitment to growing in grace. Pray for your progeny to feel accountable to their heavenly Father, so even when you are not around, the fear of God motivates their behavior. Your dedication in dedicating your child to God is a milestone that invites heaven’s favor.

    Furthermore, further the faith of your family by facilitating a community of believers around them. The prayers and support of other like minded parents exposes the enemy’s minefield of lies and deception. You need the complimentary teaching of the church to assist you in raising your child in the grace and love of the Lord. Successful parents collaborate. Your child’s dedication to God is foundational for their discipleship!

    “The glory of children is their parents.” Proverbs 17:6

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I dedicate my children and myself to You.

    Related Readings: Deuternonmy 6:4-7; Psalms 127:3, Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4

    Post/Tweet today: Children dedicated to God look back, and seeing their legacy for the Lord, will often look to the Lord. #dedication

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Proverbs, Luke, Romans

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