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Did you remember to read your Bible?

One Year Bible Reading Plan and Devotional

Today’s Bible Reading: February 21

Download the full one-year Bible reading plan here:

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Numbers 5-6

Mark 4:1-20

A Prayer of Blessing

What is the most powerful thing in the universe?

Of course, God is the most powerful being in the universe! However, our tongue has great power too. And like most things of power, it can be used for good or bad. It can dish out curses or it can pour out blessings. It can be a weapon or it can be a healer. Our words matter. And God wants us to say prayers of blessing on the people around us. And a prayer of blessing can be the most powerful thing in the universe!

A prayer of blessing

As God’s Children, we are encouraged as we experience God’s Sovereignty over our lives. Beyond what our eyes can see, God has blessings in store for each one of us. We are children of the Most High God. We are His People and the Sheep of His Pastures. The power of prayer will transform our families, loved ones, our communities, our state, our nation, our world.

In Numbers 6, God gave instructions to the priests to share God’s blessings upon God’s people. God intended for their words to change people’s lives, their families, and their futures – for the good. He instructed them to say:

“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face to shine upon you; And be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” (RSV)

Asking for God’s blessing calls on the power of our sovereign God

As believers, we can know that God is sovereign and strong. We can believe that His plans for us and the people we love are for our good and that He has blessings in store as we follow after Him. However, in difficult times we can forget that the very God who created this entire universe, who holds the stars in place, and knows the exact number of hairs on our head, also knows what we are going through. It can be hard to see that His favor rests on us.

The stresses of life experienced during these unprecedented times can have one feeling challenged, overwhelmed and broken. However, in all of this we recognize that God is not blinded to our situations. God is all powerful and “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we may ask or think.” When we ask for God’s blessing, we are calling on the power of our sovereign God.

The greatest blessing often come from times of testing

However, often the greatest blessings come after the greatest times of testing. In fact, this prayer of blessing was given to the priests just before God punished Israel for refusing to go into the promised land by wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. This priestly blessing would remind them of God’s presence with them in the wilderness and that he would provide for them during this time. The Lord alone established the nation of Israel and He would continue to preserve His people.

Over and over through Scripture, we see story after story of when God turned around for good the difficult pathways of those He loved. And He still works the same today, for He never changes. It is in times of trials and testing when we experience God turning things around.

So, we need to be reminded that God makes every crooked path straight. He is a ‘Way Maker, Miracle Worker, light in the darkness.’ He turns our mourning into dancing and our trials into triumphs. God holds the power to cause things to happen in just a moment that would otherwise take us years to do. He can line up our paths to cross with others He wants us to meet. God can open doors that leave us in awe at how they open. He can close doors that He knows are not the best for us. He has a plan for us, in the good times, and in every difficult thing we face.

What does this blessing mean?

The blessing of God is the goodness of God in action. As His children, God’s blessings are unlimited. He keeps us in the palm of His hand. And He sustains us, guards us and guides us. His favor and grace rests on us and He is gracious to us beyond measure. He shows us kindness and love – even when we are unkind and unlovable. God is compassionate towards us. He smiles down on us like a doting Father. And He gives us peace.

Important note about this blessing:

It is important to note who does the blessing. The subject of this priestly prayer is the Lord. Each successive line in the priestly blessing starts with the words “the LORD”. The passage specifically focuses on God, as His Name is the subject of the blessing. The Lord, not the priest, was the one who blessed His people. The priest merely declared the blessing to the hearers. It is the Lord who blesses, keeps, makes His face to shine upon His people, acts graciously, turns His face toward His people, and gives them peace. He is the central focus and subject of the blessing.

God blesses us with all spiritual blessings, including electing, adopting, sanctifying, justifying, and pardoning us. It is his grace that redeems, regenerates and calls us. It is his grace that perseveres us for eternal life. God is the one who blesses us.

Let’s break down each line of this priestly prayer of blessing.

The blessing: “The Lord bless you and keep you.”

In English, the word “bless” carries the idea of receiving special favor, gifts, or endowments from God. But the Hebrew word “barak” used in Numbers 6:24 has a different and much deeper meaning. Barak is a Hebrew word, which acts as a verb in this verse. Interestingly, according to Strong’s Concordance, no. 1288, the word can mean kneeling before someone. So, the word has the idea of people worshiping God by kneeling to Him and God bending down toward man in a relationship. Therefore, barak or bless specifically means God’s special presence with His people. God is the blessing the Israelites received and he is the blessing we receive as His redeemed children.

Not only was the Lord their blessing, but the Lord was to keep them. Although many translations, including the NIV, ESV, and KJV all translate the verse as “keep you,” there are other translations of the word. For example, the NLT says, “protect you,” while the ISV translates the word as “guard you.” Similarly, the GNT version says, “take care of you.” All these translations are based on the Hebrew word “shamar.” This word carries the idea of keeping, caring for, and protecting (Strong’s Concordance, no. 8104). When the priests declared the blessing before the Israelites, the priests were affirming that God would protect them. He would keep and guard Israel.

Psalm 121:7-8 says, “The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. “

In tying the verse all together, Yahweh promised to be present with the Israelites, divinely protecting them. They were not helpless, alone outcasts, for the Lord God was with them.

The blessing: “The Lord make His face shine upon you.”

This statement was a request for God to grant them His favor. God’s favor, or grace, is God giving us the ability to do something which is humanly impossible for us to do. The “favor of God” can be described as a divine kindness, or an act of true compassion on the part of God Himself toward needy and undeserving human recipients. Often in Scripture this act of God toward unworthy men or women is referred to as God’s “grace” – which means “the unmerited favor of God,”

It also implies that God does not shine His face on everyone. It shines on His chosen people, Israel. But He also causes His face to shine on those who seek His face and proclaim Christ as their Savior.

Additionally, as His children, we ought to reflect Him. When Moses returned from the mountain after meeting with God, his face shown bright enough that he had to wear a veil to cover his face. He reflected the glory of God. In John 8:12, Jesus says that He is the Light of the World. But then in Matthew 5:14, Jesus says, “You are the light of the world.” Because Christ lives in us, His light should shine through us into the darkness of the world so that the world can see Him in us and come to know Him.

The blessing: “And be gracious to you.”

To be gracious means ‘to favor,’ ‘to show kindnesses’ to an inferior, and ‘to be compassionate.’ It is God surrounding you with His steadfast lovingkindness. In Isaiah 30:18 it says, “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.” God is gracious because He is love. It is His character to love even if love is not returned to Him. He will give us good things because of His goodness. He extends favor, mercy, and kindness on whoever He pleases because it is who He is.

We do not deserve anything but God gives us everything, and when we consider His loving and kindly dealings with us, how is it that we are not more gracious? Sometimes we are filled with unkind thoughts, we speak unkind words, and we give unkind looks and we engage in unkind actions. Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” In other words, just as God is gracious to us, showing us favor, kindness, and compassion, so we should be to others.

The blessing: “The Lord lift up His countenance upon you.”

This is is a picture of a father smiling and taking pleasure in his child. When the Lord lifts His countenance upon us, it shows that He is looking on us for our good. It is him turning His face towards with with divine approval. He looks on us with a cheerful and pleasant countenance, as one that is well pleased with us.

As His children, we have the smile of God resting upon us. God is not frowning or looking angrily at us. He is showing His favor. He always hates our sin, but how greatly He loves us. Jeremiah 31:3 says, “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”

The blessing: “And give you peace.”

The Hebrew word is shalom, which expresses “peace” in a fuller and more holistic sense than we may use it today. This peace is not simply the ceasing of war, but total well-being, full flourishing. In other words, a tranquil heart and life – even in the midst of trails and the storms of life. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” The key to true peace is to keep our eyes on Jesus and fully trust God regardless of the circumstances.

A blessing not for vain repetitions

It is important for us to understand that these are not just words to be repeated like “God is good, God is great, let us thank him for our food.” These words were given by God to the priests to say to the people – words that would bring God’s literal protection, favor, love, approval and peace. It is a prayer for asking that He mercifully forgive our sins, supply our needs, console the heart, and prepare us by his grace for eternal glory; these things form the substance of this blessing, and the sum total of all blessings.

Is this prayer of Blessing only for the Priests in Israel?

Were these words only meant to be used by Aaron’s sons, the priests? Today, we are a priesthood of believers as followers of Christ and we have the power and wonderful privilege to bless others with the words we say. By saying words of blessing over another person, we are in fact sending a supernatural blessing to the person over whom we speak those words. Who can you bless today?

You Can Trust Him

We are children of the King. He is Sovereign and He reigns Supreme, giving favor, guidance, and blessings to all those who seek after Him.  He is good all the time and we can trust Him in all circumstances.

Don Moen’s Track “You Can Trust Him

Don Moen describes our Sovereign King as unparalleled and unprecedented, the centerpiece of civilization, the superlative of all excellence, the sum of human greatness, the source of divine grace, the only one able to save, and His blood is the only power able to cleanse.

His ears are opened to the sinners’ call, his hand is quick to catch a fallen soul. He is the eternal lover of us all – everyone! He supplies mercy for the struggling soul, sustains the tempted and the tried, sympathizes with the wounded and broken, strengthens the weak and weary, and He guards and guides the wanderer.

Jesus heals the sick, delivers the captives, defends the helpless, and binds up the brokenhearted. He is the key to all knowledge, the wellspring of wisdom, the doorway of deliverance, and the pathway of peace. He is the roadway of righteousness, the highway of holiness, and the gateway to glory.

Jesus is enough! He is the all-sufficient King. He is the King of righteousness and he is the King of the ages. Jesus is King of heaven, King of glory, and King of kings. He is the Lord of lords. He is a sovereign king.

There is no gauge to measure His limitless love, no barrier to block his blessings out poured. He is enduringly strong, entirely supreme, eternally steadfast, immortally faithful, imperially powerful, and impartially merciful. He is indescribable, incomprehensible, invisible, and irresistible.

You can’t out live him and you can’t live without him. The Pharisees couldn’t stand him when they found they couldn’t stop him. Pilate couldn’t fault him. Herod couldn’t kill him. Death couldn’t conquer him and the grave couldn’t hold him. He is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. He is the God of the future and the God of the past. And we raise to speak His name again and again. Jesus! He is Jesus and He is for us. And we can trust him. (Listen to this powerful narrative on YouTube with the link below).

He is always there

Our prayers are powerful words. When we pray, God listens. Whether our prayers are for ourselves or on behalf of our families and friends – or even our enemies! We may not be able to be with them every moment of every day. But He is. We can’t see every struggle, every worry, every burden that may weigh them down. But He does. And He is always there, carrying them, and us, through every moment of life – good, hard, or bad. He is a safe place. He is our Rock. And He is Mighty to save.

Our Words Have Power

What if because of the words we say, someone didn’t fulfill God’s plan for their life because we said it was an impossible dream? What if because of the words we say, we make a child, friend, staff person feel like a failure? Or what if, because of the words we say, a lost person rejects Christ?

Our words have power.

What if when the crazy driver cuts you off you say words of blessing over them? What if when your spouse says something hurtful you say words of blessing over them? Or what if when your children leave for school you say words of blessing over them? What if your tyrant boss makes you feel like an idiot and you respond with words of blessing?

What will the words you speak today bring to others – curses or blessings? Will you speak life?

#ReadYourBible #Leviticus #Mark #powerofwords #PrayerofBlessing #TheLordblessyou #SpeakLife #TobyMac #TheBlessing #KariJobe #Waymaker #YouCanTrustHim #DonMoen


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A Prayer of Blessing

One Year Bible Reading Plan and Devotional

Today’s Bible Reading: February 21

Download the full one-year Bible reading plan here:

[Download not found]

Numbers 5-6

Mark 4:1-20

A Prayer of Blessing

What is the most powerful thing in the universe?

Of course, God is the most powerful being in the universe! However, our tongue has great power too. And like most things of power, it can be used for good or bad. It can dish out curses or it can pour out blessings. It can be a weapon or it can be a healer. Our words matter. And God wants us to say prayers of blessing on the people around us. And a prayer of blessing can be the most powerful thing in the universe!

A prayer of blessing

As God’s Children, we are encouraged as we experience God’s Sovereignty over our lives. Beyond what our eyes can see, God has blessings in store for each one of us. We are children of the Most High God. We are His People and the Sheep of His Pastures. The power of prayer will transform our families, loved ones, our communities, our state, our nation, our world.

In Numbers 6, God gave instructions to the priests to share God’s blessings upon God’s people. God intended for their words to change people’s lives, their families, and their futures – for the good. He instructed them to say:

“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face to shine upon you; And be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” (RSV)

Asking for God’s blessing calls on the power of our sovereign God

As believers, we can know that God is sovereign and strong. We can believe that His plans for us and the people we love are for our good and that He has blessings in store as we follow after Him. However, in difficult times we can forget that the very God who created this entire universe, who holds the stars in place, and knows the exact number of hairs on our head, also knows what we are going through. It can be hard to see that His favor rests on us.

The stresses of life experienced during these unprecedented times can have one feeling challenged, overwhelmed and broken. However, in all of this we recognize that God is not blinded to our situations. God is all powerful and “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we may ask or think.” When we ask for God’s blessing, we are calling on the power of our sovereign God.

The greatest blessing often come from times of testing

However, often the greatest blessings come after the greatest times of testing. In fact, this prayer of blessing was given to the priests just before God punished Israel for refusing to go into the promised land by wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. This priestly blessing would remind them of God’s presence with them in the wilderness and that he would provide for them during this time. The Lord alone established the nation of Israel and He would continue to preserve His people.

Over and over through Scripture, we see story after story of when God turned around for good the difficult pathways of those He loved. And He still works the same today, for He never changes. It is in times of trials and testing when we experience God turning things around.

So, we need to be reminded that God makes every crooked path straight. He is a ‘Way Maker, Miracle Worker, light in the darkness.’ He turns our mourning into dancing and our trials into triumphs. God holds the power to cause things to happen in just a moment that would otherwise take us years to do. He can line up our paths to cross with others He wants us to meet. God can open doors that leave us in awe at how they open. He can close doors that He knows are not the best for us. He has a plan for us, in the good times, and in every difficult thing we face.

What does this blessing mean?

The blessing of God is the goodness of God in action. As His children, God’s blessings are unlimited. He keeps us in the palm of His hand. And He sustains us, guards us and guides us. His favor and grace rests on us and He is gracious to us beyond measure. He shows us kindness and love – even when we are unkind and unlovable. God is compassionate towards us. He smiles down on us like a doting Father. And He gives us peace.

Important note about this blessing:

It is important to note who does the blessing. The subject of this priestly prayer is the Lord. Each successive line in the priestly blessing starts with the words “the LORD”. The passage specifically focuses on God, as His Name is the subject of the blessing. The Lord, not the priest, was the one who blessed His people. The priest merely declared the blessing to the hearers. It is the Lord who blesses, keeps, makes His face to shine upon His people, acts graciously, turns His face toward His people, and gives them peace. He is the central focus and subject of the blessing.

God blesses us with all spiritual blessings, including electing, adopting, sanctifying, justifying, and pardoning us. It is his grace that redeems, regenerates and calls us. It is his grace that perseveres us for eternal life. God is the one who blesses us.

Let’s break down each line of this priestly prayer of blessing.

The blessing: “The Lord bless you and keep you.”

In English, the word “bless” carries the idea of receiving special favor, gifts, or endowments from God. But the Hebrew word “barak” used in Numbers 6:24 has a different and much deeper meaning. Barak is a Hebrew word, which acts as a verb in this verse. Interestingly, according to Strong’s Concordance, no. 1288, the word can mean kneeling before someone. So, the word has the idea of people worshiping God by kneeling to Him and God bending down toward man in a relationship. Therefore, barak or bless specifically means God’s special presence with His people. God is the blessing the Israelites received and he is the blessing we receive as His redeemed children.

Not only was the Lord their blessing, but the Lord was to keep them. Although many translations, including the NIV, ESV, and KJV all translate the verse as “keep you,” there are other translations of the word. For example, the NLT says, “protect you,” while the ISV translates the word as “guard you.” Similarly, the GNT version says, “take care of you.” All these translations are based on the Hebrew word “shamar.” This word carries the idea of keeping, caring for, and protecting (Strong’s Concordance, no. 8104). When the priests declared the blessing before the Israelites, the priests were affirming that God would protect them. He would keep and guard Israel.

Psalm 121:7-8 says, “The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. “

In tying the verse all together, Yahweh promised to be present with the Israelites, divinely protecting them. They were not helpless, alone outcasts, for the Lord God was with them.

The blessing: “The Lord make His face shine upon you.”

This statement was a request for God to grant them His favor. God’s favor, or grace, is God giving us the ability to do something which is humanly impossible for us to do. The “favor of God” can be described as a divine kindness, or an act of true compassion on the part of God Himself toward needy and undeserving human recipients. Often in Scripture this act of God toward unworthy men or women is referred to as God’s “grace” – which means “the unmerited favor of God,”

It also implies that God does not shine His face on everyone. It shines on His chosen people, Israel. But He also causes His face to shine on those who seek His face and proclaim Christ as their Savior.

Additionally, as His children, we ought to reflect Him. When Moses returned from the mountain after meeting with God, his face shown bright enough that he had to wear a veil to cover his face. He reflected the glory of God. In John 8:12, Jesus says that He is the Light of the World. But then in Matthew 5:14, Jesus says, “You are the light of the world.” Because Christ lives in us, His light should shine through us into the darkness of the world so that the world can see Him in us and come to know Him.

The blessing: “And be gracious to you.”

To be gracious means ‘to favor,’ ‘to show kindnesses’ to an inferior, and ‘to be compassionate.’ It is God surrounding you with His steadfast lovingkindness. In Isaiah 30:18 it says, “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.” God is gracious because He is love. It is His character to love even if love is not returned to Him. He will give us good things because of His goodness. He extends favor, mercy, and kindness on whoever He pleases because it is who He is.

We do not deserve anything but God gives us everything, and when we consider His loving and kindly dealings with us, how is it that we are not more gracious? Sometimes we are filled with unkind thoughts, we speak unkind words, and we give unkind looks and we engage in unkind actions. Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” In other words, just as God is gracious to us, showing us favor, kindness, and compassion, so we should be to others.

The blessing: “The Lord lift up His countenance upon you.”

This is is a picture of a father smiling and taking pleasure in his child. When the Lord lifts His countenance upon us, it shows that He is looking on us for our good. It is him turning His face towards with with divine approval. He looks on us with a cheerful and pleasant countenance, as one that is well pleased with us.

As His children, we have the smile of God resting upon us. God is not frowning or looking angrily at us. He is showing His favor. He always hates our sin, but how greatly He loves us. Jeremiah 31:3 says, “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”

The blessing: “And give you peace.”

The Hebrew word is shalom, which expresses “peace” in a fuller and more holistic sense than we may use it today. This peace is not simply the ceasing of war, but total well-being, full flourishing. In other words, a tranquil heart and life – even in the midst of trails and the storms of life. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” The key to true peace is to keep our eyes on Jesus and fully trust God regardless of the circumstances.

A blessing not for vain repetitions

It is important for us to understand that these are not just words to be repeated like “God is good, God is great, let us thank him for our food.” These words were given by God to the priests to say to the people – words that would bring God’s literal protection, favor, love, approval and peace. It is a prayer for asking that He mercifully forgive our sins, supply our needs, console the heart, and prepare us by his grace for eternal glory; these things form the substance of this blessing, and the sum total of all blessings.

Is this prayer of Blessing only for the Priests in Israel?

Were these words only meant to be used by Aaron’s sons, the priests? Today, we are a priesthood of believers as followers of Christ and we have the power and wonderful privilege to bless others with the words we say. By saying words of blessing over another person, we are in fact sending a supernatural blessing to the person over whom we speak those words. Who can you bless today?

You Can Trust Him

We are children of the King. He is Sovereign and He reigns Supreme, giving favor, guidance, and blessings to all those who seek after Him.  He is good all the time and we can trust Him in all circumstances.

Don Moen’s Track “You Can Trust Him

Don Moen describes our Sovereign King as unparalleled and unprecedented, the centerpiece of civilization, the superlative of all excellence, the sum of human greatness, the source of divine grace, the only one able to save, and His blood is the only power able to cleanse.

His ears are opened to the sinners’ call, his hand is quick to catch a fallen soul. He is the eternal lover of us all – everyone! He supplies mercy for the struggling soul, sustains the tempted and the tried, sympathizes with the wounded and broken, strengthens the weak and weary, and He guards and guides the wanderer.

Jesus heals the sick, delivers the captives, defends the helpless, and binds up the brokenhearted. He is the key to all knowledge, the wellspring of wisdom, the doorway of deliverance, and the pathway of peace. He is the roadway of righteousness, the highway of holiness, and the gateway to glory.

Jesus is enough! He is the all-sufficient King. He is the King of righteousness and he is the King of the ages. Jesus is King of heaven, King of glory, and King of kings. He is the Lord of lords. He is a sovereign king.

There is no gauge to measure His limitless love, no barrier to block his blessings out poured. He is enduringly strong, entirely supreme, eternally steadfast, immortally faithful, imperially powerful, and impartially merciful. He is indescribable, incomprehensible, invisible, and irresistible.

You can’t out live him and you can’t live without him. The Pharisees couldn’t stand him when they found they couldn’t stop him. Pilate couldn’t fault him. Herod couldn’t kill him. Death couldn’t conquer him and the grave couldn’t hold him. He is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. He is the God of the future and the God of the past. And we raise to speak His name again and again. Jesus! He is Jesus and He is for us. And we can trust him. (Listen to this powerful narrative on YouTube with the link below).

He is always there

Our prayers are powerful words. When we pray, God listens. Whether our prayers are for ourselves or on behalf of our families and friends – or even our enemies! We may not be able to be with them every moment of every day. But He is. We can’t see every struggle, every worry, every burden that may weigh them down. But He does. And He is always there, carrying them, and us, through every moment of life – good, hard, or bad. He is a safe place. He is our Rock. And He is Mighty to save.

Our Words Have Power

What if because of the words we say, someone didn’t fulfill God’s plan for their life because we said it was an impossible dream? What if because of the words we say, we make a child, friend, staff person feel like a failure? Or what if, because of the words we say, a lost person rejects Christ?

Our words have power.

What if when the crazy driver cuts you off you say words of blessing over them? What if when your spouse says something hurtful you say words of blessing over them? Or what if when your children leave for school you say words of blessing over them? What if your tyrant boss makes you feel like an idiot and you respond with words of blessing?

What will the words you speak today bring to others – curses or blessings? Will you speak life?

#ReadYourBible #Leviticus #Mark #powerofwords #PrayerofBlessing #TheLordblessyou #SpeakLife #TobyMac #TheBlessing #KariJobe #Waymaker #YouCanTrustHim #DonMoen


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Tee of the week: Jeremiah 29:13

For America to see revival, 2 Chronicles 7:14 says we are to seek God’s face. Jeremiah tells us that we will find Him when we search for Him with all our hearts.


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God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars

by Julia M. Bruce

What’s Inside God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars?

This book includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on
  • Conversation Starters
    • Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages
    • Romance Builders
    • Relationship Builders
    • Personal reflections
    • Date ideas
    • Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples

Available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobel. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.

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 Join the community of couples on Facebook who are committed to intentionally growing their marriage and learning how to have a marriage that honors God. Here you can post photos of the different activities as you do them, ask questions of other couples, share how God is using this book to strengthen your marriage, and grow with other Christian couples. We’ll see you in the community.


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Hey Christian…Speak Up!

What does God want to say through you?

Have you ever felt that God was wanting you to say something to someone but you didn’t? Most often we feel like we don’t know what to say. Or we stumble around in our thoughts trying to convince ourselves that God isn’t asking us to say something. But when we choose to keep our mouths shut, we silence the voice of God. On the other hand, we can be just as guilty of saying something God did not prompt us to say, but we disguise with “God wanted me to tell you…”

Maybe you know the other person is grieving or hurting or in need. Maybe you don’t know their circumstances at all. Perhaps they are a total stranger. Or maybe this other person is someone who had hurt or ridiculed you. Whoever they are, often God choses us as the method to speak to others and when we don’t they miss out on the word God has for them. So when you feel God prompting you to speak to someone – speak up!

Some not very encouraging news

Jesus said in Matthew 10 that persecutions are coming. Not very encouraging news, is it? Jesus said that he was sending us out as sheep in the midst of wolves and that we should be wise as serpents and harmless as doves while still being aware that people will turn on us. And when they do, we are not to worry about what we should say to their accusations because in the moment that we should speak, the Holy Spirit will give us the words we need to say. But when He does give us the words – then we become responsible for saying them so we have to – speak up.

The hardest word is the first word so go ahead and speak up

The same is true in every circumstance where God is asking us to speak up. Often times, the hardest word is the first word but once we open our mouths, the words just start coming. Then you might look back afterwards and say, “where did that come from?” It came from the Holy Spirit speaking through you.

Created to be a blessing

God created us to worship Him and give Him praise. He also created us to be a blessing to others. Philippians 2:1-5 says, “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.”

We are to be an encouragement and comfort to others, showing affection and sympathy. We are to do nothing out of rivalry or conceit but in humility, always thinking of others as more important than ourselves. Wow! What a different world we would live in if we lived this way!

Who is the Holy Spirit asking you to Speak Up to?

Who is it that Holy Spirit is prompting you to speak to? When we speak up, we speak life into their lives. We fill them with blessings of encouragement, love, mercy, and grace of God. What if your speaking up stopped them from committing suicide today? What if you speaking up kept them from making a big mistake in their life? Or what if you speaking up was the word they needed to surrender their life to Christ? What if you don’t?

Speak up. Be life. Be light. The Holy Spirit will give you the words to say – just speak up.


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Revive Us Again, Lord

Our nation and our world need to experience a revival. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their land.” Revival begins with the people of God. We invite you to join us in praying for revival for America and our world.

Revive Us Again, Lord
Revive us again, Lord

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God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce

What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?

God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on.
  • Conversation Starters.
  • Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages.
  • Romance Builders.
  • Relationship Builders.
  • Personal reflections.
  • Date ideas.
  • Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples.

Available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.

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Bible Studies, Bibles, Books & More

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Numbers 6:24-26. A Prayer of Blessing

Feb 21 Numbers 6 24-26

Our tongue is one of the the most powerful thing in the universe. And like most things of power, it can be used for good or bad. It can dish out curses or it can pour out blessings. It can be a weapon or it can be a healer. Our words matter.

In Numbers 6, God gave instructions to the priests to share God’s blessings upon God’s people. God intended for their words to change people’s lives, their families, and their futures – for the good. He instructed them to say:

“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face to shine upon you; And be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” (RSV)

What does this blessing mean? Let’s break down each line.

    • “The Lord bless you and keep you.” This statement was a prayer asking God to protect His people, sustain them, and guard them. In Matthew 18:10, Jesus said, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually behold the face of My Father in heaven.” Jesus revealed that the angels watch over and guard the children on earth, and at the same time, they are looking at God’s shining face in heaven.
    • “The Lord make His face shine upon you.” This statement was a request for God to grant them His favor. God’s favor, or grace, is God giving us the ability to do something which is humanly impossible for us to do. The “favor of God” can be described as a divine kindness, or an act of true compassion on the part of God Himself toward needy and undeserving human recipients. Often in Scripture this act of God toward unworthy men or women is referred to as God’s “grace” – which means “the unmerited favor of God,” It also implies that God does not shine His face on everyone. He causes His face to shine on those who seek His face and want to be a blessing to Him.
    • “And be gracious to you.” To be gracious means ‘to favor,’ ‘to show kindnesses’ to an inferior, and ‘to be compassionate.’ It is God surrounding you with His steadfast lovingkindness. In Isaiah 30:18 it says, “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.” God is gracious because He is love. It is His character to love even if love is not returned to Him. He will give us good things because of His goodness. He extends favor, mercy, and kindness on whoever He pleases because it’s who He is.
    • “The Lord up His countenance upon you.” This is is a picture of a father smiling and taking pleasure in his child. When the Lord lifts His countenance upon us, it shows that He is looking on us for our good. It is him turning His face towards with with divine approval.
    • “And give you peace.” In other words, a tranquil heart and life – even in the midst of trails and the storms of life.

It is important for us to understand that these are not just words to be repeated like “God is good, God is great, let us thank him for our food.” These words were given by God to  the priests to say to the people – words that would being God’s literal protection, favor, love, approval and peace.

Were these words only meant to be used by Aaron’s sons, the priests? Today, we are a priesthood of believers as followers of Christ and we have the power and wonderful privilege to bless others with the words we say. By saying words of blessing over another person, we are in fact sending a supernatural blessing to the person over whom we speak those words.

Consider these verses that tell us about the power of our words:

  • Proverbs 11:9 “Evil words destroy one’s friends; wise discernment rescues the godly.”
  • Proverbs 11:12 “It is foolish to belittle a neighbor; a person with good sense remains silent.”
  • Proverbs 11:17 “Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel.”
  • Proverbs 15: 1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but hard words stir up anger.”
  • Proverbs 15:4 “Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”
  • Proverbs 16:24 “Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”
  • Proverbs 18:4 “A person’s words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook.”
  • Proverbs 18:20 “Words satisfy the soul as food satisfies the stomach; the right words on a person’s lips bring satisfaction.”
  • Proverbs 20:15 “Wise speech is rarer and more valuable than gold and rubies.”
  • Proverbs 25:18 “Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow.”

What if because of the words we say, someone didn’t fulfill God’s plan for their life because we said it was an impossible dream?

What if because of the words we say, we make a child, friend, staff person feel like a failure?

What if because of the words we say, a lost person rejects Christ?

Our words have power.

What if when the crazy driver cuts you off you say words of blessing over them?

What if when your spouse says something hurtful you say words of blessing over them?

What if when your children leave for school you say words of blessing over them?

What if you tyrant boss makes you feel like an idiot and you respond with words of blessing?

What will the words you speak today bring to others – curses or blessing? Will you speak life?

ctt verse of the day

#wordsmatter #powerofword #speaklife #blessingothers

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Don’t forget to learn this week’s memory verse:

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Psalm 85:6-7

Will You not revive us again so that Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your faithful love, Lord, and give us Your salvation.

Meditate and apply:

Will you commit to praying with us in 2020 that God will revive His people, renew our faith, and redeem our land? We feel such an urgency and desperation for revival. If God is moving your heart for revival, write your revival prayer in the comments along with your state or country. 

#revive #renew #redeem #revivalinAmerica #revivalin2020 #WCM

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This week’s featured design is taken from our memory verse – Psalm 85:6-7. 

You’ll find the design in tees for men, women, kids, mugs, bags, and other products. The design is also available in white print or black. Check them out in the Spreadshirt  shop.

Psalm 85 6 samples

All proceeds go to the advancement of Wellspring Christian Ministries.

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#Reviveusagain #WCM #teespring #spreadshop

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Cover_mBOOKING NOW! Be a host site for the NEW God, Love & Marshmallow Wars Book Tour & Couples Conference:

This event helps couples understand why the daily activities found in the book will equip them to build a stronger marriage and the book provides them with 365 intentional activities to take what they learn at the event and apply it on a daily basis. Through the event, couples will discover the Biblical “why” behind the categories of activities found in the book and the “how” these activities are important to building a stronger marriage. Focus points of the event includes :

  • How memorizing scripture together and studying God’s Word together as they study, meditate and apply scriptures related to marriage and life issues will help them develop marriages that honor God.
  • Why utilizing fun conversation starters that spark meaningful conversations will keep interest alive as they continually learn new things about each other.
  • Why keeping romance alive is essential to intimacy and connectivity.
  • How making memories and working together builds relationship investment bonds and how these investment bonds can become the knots that keeps them together through the tough times.
  • How they can understand what they are or are not contributing to the marriage as well as how they might be contributing to problems or potential problems within the relationship through the use of targeted, intentional personal reflections
  • Why it is important that couples never stop dating and how group dates with Christian friends can be both an encouragement and accountability to their own relationship.

During the event, couples will be given an activity from each focus point to do together, making this event an interactive, fun, and engaging event with practical, hands-on learning. Unlike other couple events that are over when the event ends, couples who attend the GLMW event will be able to apply what they learn when utilizing the book on a daily basis for a year. Since the book is not dated, couples are able to reuse the activities year after year to continue being intentional in strengthening their relationship with each other and with God as they strive to live out God’s design for marriage every day.

Learn more about hosting this event at your church or conference site by clicking here.

About the book: The GLMW book contains 365 daily challenges for couples to strengthen their relationships to each other and with God. Couples will complete activities such as Scripture memory, conversation starters, relationship builders, learning about Biblical marriage, romance builders, personal reflections, and date ideas. Click here to purchase your copy. (This link will open a new widow and take you to Westbow Press’ bookstore.) It is also available at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble

#GLMW #couplesevent #GLMWbook #intentionalmarriage #Godlymarriage

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Looking for a keynote speaker for your next ministry event? Julia is now booking for 2019 and 2020 Christian events for women’s and couples’ ministries for both small and large events.
Book with us now.

Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants. Today, Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.

With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities, regardless of size.

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fill out the online form here.

Or call us at 904.524.8073

#JuliaBruce #speaker #keynote #author

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at CBD through any of these links. Your cost to purchase any item through an affiliate link is the same as purchasing directly from CBD.

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6049: The God Who Hears The God Who Hears

By W. Bingham Hunter / InterVarsity Press

The true aim of prayer is intimacy with God. We pray effectively when we make him the desire of our hearts. Hunter answers our questions about prayer by directing us to the nature and attributes of God and to our own lives. God responds not to our prayers but to who we are – what we think, feel, will and do. Prayer is communication from whole persons to the Wholeness that is the living God.W. Bingham Hunter (Ph. D., University of Aberdeen) is academic dean and senior vice president of education at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School at Trinity International University. He handles tricky issues with warmth and insight, offering scriptural answers to practical concerns such as the role of fasting, obedience and persistence. His aim is that we draw near to God.

 

078026: Praying Women: How to Pray When You Don"t Know What to Say Praying Women: How to Pray When You Don’t Know What to Say

By Sheila Walsh / Baker Books

We know that prayer is central to our faith, but do you sometimes find it boring? Are you easily distracted? Do you doubt God is listening? Walsh shares practical, biblically based tips to help you ignite your conversation with the Lord. Discover how to pray through your pain, when heaven seems silent, and more.

88244: Twelve Ordinary Men Twelve Ordinary Men

By John MacArthur / Thomas Nelson

In John MacArthur’s Twelve Ordinary Men, you’ll discover that contrary to popular belief, we do not have to be perfect to do God’s work. Look no further than the twelve disciples whose many weaknesses are forever preserved throughout the pages of the New Testament. Jesus chose ordinary men – fisherman, tax collectors, political zealots – and turned their weakness into strength, producing greatness from utter uselessness. Join MacArthur as he draws principles from Christ’s careful, hands-on training of the original twelve disciples for today’s modern disciple – you! Paperback.

God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars: 365 Daily Challenges to Grow Your Marriage  -     By: Julia M. Bruce

God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars: 365 Daily Challenges to Grow Your Marriage

By Julia M. Bruce / WestBow Press

There’s no doubt that marriage is hard work. Yet it can also be one of the most fulfilling relationships you can experience, outside of your relationship with God. However, many marriages leave God outside of the relationship. Godly marriages do not happen without cultivating it, investing in it, and putting God first in your individual lives and in your marriage.
This book includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:
• Scripture to memorize and meditate on
• Conversation Starters
• Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages
• Romance Builders
• Relationship Builders
• Personal reflections
• Date ideas
• Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples

957588: The Power of a Praying Husband The Power of a Praying Husband

By Stormie Omartian / Harvest House Publishers

In The Power of a Praying ® Husband, you’ll find the excitement and hope that come from inviting the God who hears and answers prayer into your marriage. Packed with real-life examples and refreshing honesty regarding her own marriage, Stormie encourages you to lovingly intercede for your wife.

561307: Disciplines of a Godly Man, Updated Edition with Study Guide Disciplines of a Godly Man, Updated Edition with Study Guide

By R. Kent Hughes / Crossway

Work up a “spiritual sweat” with this beloved bestseller and accept the challenges of godly living! Hughes offers biblical wisdom; memorable illustrations; and practical suggestions to help you grow in godliness through the disciplines of purity, friendship, devotion, prayer, worship, integrity, perseverance, leadership, giving, and more. Updated edition features fresh content and a study guide. 336 pages, softcover from Crossway.

555987: 31 Days of Prayer for My Wife 31 Days of Prayer for My Wife

By The Great Commandment Network / Broadstreet Publishing Group

Your wife is a gift from God! Recall an image of Jesus you’ve likely seen on His knees, praying. Imagine leaning in and hearing Him speak your wife’s name. Experience His heart for your wife as you claim Bible promises for her future, know and cherish her as God does, and release your faith for her continued spiritual growth and kingdom impact.

31 Days of Prayer for My Wife shares:

  • True stories from husbands to help you understand common challenges and opportunities for women.
  • A powerful, Scripture-based prayer strategy for both you and your wife to better love the Lord, live God’s Word, love people, and live His mission.
  • Scriptures, prayers, and promises to declare over yourself and your wife.
  • A practical resource for personal devotions, couples’ studies, small groups, and ministries.

God blessed you with your wife for a purpose. Support her through prayer and see the benefits in your own life.

414895: Lies Men Believe: And the Truth That Sets Them Free Lies Men Believe: And the Truth That Sets Them Free

By Robert Wolgemuth / Moody Publishers

Our enemy may prowl like a lion, but his weapon of choice is deception. And too often, men believe him – causing pain, destroying relationships, and missing out on the life God intends. In Lies Men Believe, Robert Wolgemuth exposes some of the most common lies and explains how they hold you back from freedom, joy, and intimacy with the Lord and others. Foreword by Patrick Morley.

418364: Lies Women Believe, Updated Lies Women Believe, Updated

By Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth / Moody Publishers

In this updated bestseller, Lies Women Believe, Nancy exposes those areas of deception most commonly believed by Christian women – lies about God, sin, priorities, marriage and family, emotions, and more. She then sheds light on how we can be delivered from bondage and set free to walk in God’s grace, forgiveness, and abundant life. Nancy offers the most effective weapon to counter and overcome Satan’s deceptions: God’s truth!

429642: Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts

By Jennie Allen / WaterBrook

Feeling stuck, frustrated, and defeated? Allen believes the solution is simple: how we think shapes how we live. We can learn to stop thoughts that leave us prey to toxic patterns like victimhood, anxiety, and distraction. Drawing on biblical teaching and neuroscience, she shows how to fight the enemies of the mind with the truth of God.

969871: Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You

By Cindi McMenamin / Harvest House Publishers

You know what drama is…in your circle of friends, your workplace, your extended family, and in the unexpected circumstances of life. But has it gotten to be too much? Discover a biblical script for a more peaceful life as you learn how to dial down the drama in your own life by responding appropriately to situations that would otherwise escalate and view high-maintenance individuals through the eyes of Christ.

The world may be a stage – but you can find freedom from the drama.

3225577: The Prayer Map for Women: A Creative Journal The Prayer Map for Women: A Creative Journal

By Barbour Publishing

This unique prayer journal is an engaging and creative way for you to experience the power of prayer. Every page will guide you to create your very own prayer map as you write out specific thoughts, ideas, and lists, which you can follow–from start to finish–as you talk to God. The Prayer Map for Women will not only encourage you to spend time talking with God about the things that matter most…it will also help you build a healthy spiritual habit of continual prayer for life. Paperback with a spiral wire binding.

207497: Less Fret, More Faith: An 11-Week Action Plan to Overcome Anxiety Less Fret, More Faith: An 11-Week Action Plan to Overcome Anxiety

By Max Lucado / Thomas Nelson

Feeling overwhelmed by the worries and fears of life? You’re not alone! Lucado will help you fret less and rely on your faith more with these 11 practical steps. Each weekly entry includes Scripture verses for meditation and a prayer to reframe your thoughts. Includes passages from Anxious for Nothing. 64 pages, softcover from Nelson.

170117: Monthly Bill-Paying Organizer Monthly Bill-Paying Organizer

By Product Concept Manufacturing

Comprehensize organizer helps you budget and keep track of your spending, saving, and giving – all in one handy spiral-bound binder. Features plenty of helpful tips and suggestions for saving money; space for you to note big purchases you’re saving for; space to note your sharing goals; easy charts to help you plan and stay on budget; reproducible charts for tracking month-by-month income and expense records; and pocket files for bills, receipts, bank records, and tax documents. All this is contained in 8″ x 10″ binder with inspiring Scriptures throughout to keep you focused on being a good steward of your money.

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