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Bangladesh Factory Safety Accord

Bangladesh Safety Accord

Bangladesh Factory Safety Accord: At Least 14 Major North American Retailers Decline To Sign

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Devotional: True Spiritual Growth

Blessings to You!

Please enjoy this devotional by Dr. Charles Stanley and In Touch Ministries…

True Spiritual Growth

He Did This Just for You Booklet (Lucado): $2.99

He Did This Just for You Booklet (Lucado): $2.99

James 1:17-27

If you want to genuinely grow in spiritual maturity, it is not enough to simply be instructed by the Word of God. You may love going to church or listening to Christian radio programs. You might talk about everything you hear and assume you’re growing because your knowledge is increasing. However, if you don’t actually grow closer to God by allowing His Word to change you from the inside out, your head will merely continue to fill with information. You might even sound like a godly person who is admired for the ability to quote chapter and verse. But if you don’t take the next step and allow God to touch others’ lives through you, you’re missing the point.

Spiritual growth is the result of practicing the truth you receive from God. He wants you to give away what He gives you–that is, by loving and serving others and sharing the truth of the gospel. Our example is Jesus, who said that He did not come to be served, but to serve even the lowest outcasts in His society (Matt. 20:28). He could have exalted Himself and spent all His time preaching and teaching. Instead, Jesus did only the Father’s will, which was to reveal His heart of love to a broken world. The Lord sacrificially involved Himself in people’s lives, and He calls us to follow in His footsteps.

God’s plan is to reach the world through you. If that weren’t the case, He would have taken you to heaven as soon as you were saved. But you are here for a purpose–to live out Christ’s life alongside hurting people who desperately need to experience His love.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.

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Devotional: Peacemakers

Blessings to You!

We hope you enjoy this devotional from WFIL’s Encouragement for Today and Proverbs 31 Ministries.

Come Up HigherChristian Gifts & Books

Come Up Higher
Christian Gifts & Books

Peacemakers

By: Nicki Koziarz

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9 (NIV)

An eight-year-old boy named William once wrote his pastor a letter. “Dear Pastor, I know God wants us to live in peace with everybody, but He never met my sister. Sincerely, William.”

I bet you and I could write similar letters. There’s always someone who seems to get under our skin, isn’t there? In a world filled with irritating people and problem makers, being able to bring peace in the midst of it all can feel impossible.

Because we are born into a world of sin, we don’t always have automatic peacemaking reactions. One of our responses may be to engage our defense mechanisms and retaliate when provoked. Or we may turn inward and shut down, not seeking to work things out. This is why parents and schoolteachers struggle to train children to resolve their issues with each other peaceably.

While I am no longer a little girl flustered by the annoying boy pulling my pigtails on the playground, I still find myself not responding well when irritated or aggravated by someone. It’s hard to want to bring peace to situations with people I don’t like.

God, however, modeled the right way to seek peace. When we offended God with our disobedience, He took the initiative to reconcile a relationship with us through His Son’s death on the cross. Through Jesus’ sacrifice and salvation, I’m no longer subject to my defensive reactions or to shutting down. Instead, I have access to His peace, which makes being a peacemaker possible.

Recently, while going through some conflicts with people, I read Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers …”

When I first read this I thought, “If I will just memorize this verse, boom … I will be a peacemaker.” So I did. Big surprise … I wasn’t a peacemaker the next time conflict arose.

I recognized that I needed to have a deeper understanding of what it meant to be a peacemaker, so I dug into the scripture.

If we look back to the original text, we see the word for peace here means harmony, security and rest.

These words that define peace remind me of the things Jesus brings into our lives. Because we follow Him, He gives us the ability to make peace. When we do, He promises we “will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). We can be a representation of the peace He gives.

So when Jesus said we are “blessed” when we bring peace, it is because being a peacemaker allows us to represent the depth of who He is as His children.

Some people will go to great lengths to prove themselves right. Pride and arrogance convince them that laying aside differences is a sign of weakness. But if we can catch God’s vision of what it looks like to be a peacemaker—to bring harmony, security and rest to a difficult situation—it will allow us to feel secure and at rest in the midst of conflict. We can stand confident as children of God.

As we let go of petty stuff, we are peacemakers. When we are the first to say, “I’m sorry,” we give peace. When we talk calmly, rather than yelling, we bring peace to the situation. By learning to give peace the way we receive peace from Jesus, His peace flows through our lives.

Being a peacemaker is challenging and may not come naturally. But may we be reminded today that in every conflict we have the capability to bring resolutions of peace. We can bring harmony, security and rest because Jesus’ death and resurrection gave that to us.

Dear Lord, You are the ultimate peacemaker. Help me keep my eyes on You in difficult circumstances. And to bring peace to conflict with others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Nicki Koziarz’s blog for more encouragement and to enter to win a copy of Unglued Devotional by Lysa TerKeurst.

Unglued and accompanying Unglued Devotional by Lysa TerKeurst

Reflect and Respond:
How would being a peacemaker and having peaceful reactions change your relationships?

Pick three ways you can react peaceably today. Here are some examples: Changing your tone of voice. Forgiving. Being humble. Talking a situation through. Not being defensive. Choosing kind words. Believing the best, rather than assuming the worse. Not interrupting, or taking sides.

Power Verses:
1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” (NIV)

Romans 8:16, “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” (NIV)

© 2013 by Nicki Koziarz. All rights reserved.

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

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Faithful Collection

We’ve just added our new “Faithful Collection” by DaySpring to our online catalog! Click on a picture below to take a look…

 

Blessings to You!

www.comeuphigher.com

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Devotional: Priority of Relationship

Blessings to You!

Here’s some encouragement and wisdom provided by Dr. Charles Stanley and In Touch Ministries. Let us all remember to keep our relationship with Christ first and foremost in our hearts and minds as we approach this Good Friday.

The Priority of Relationship

Revelation 2:1-7

Ephesus was the home of a tremendous ministry. Despite harsh persecution, the church planted by Paul endured opposition, spread the gospel, and was quick to challenge false prophets. But 30 years after the apostle left, John’s revelation included a stern warning for those believers.

Imagine how the words of Revelation 2 must have struck the Ephesians when they read them. After complimenting their service to the gospel, Christ said, “But I have this against you . . .” That phrase was no doubt extremely disconcerting. The Lord warned them that they had left their first love. In other words, all of their work was being done with wrong motives.

Christ called the Ephesians to remember their love for Him and their delight in His salvation. Service is no substitute for an intimate relationship, but modern believers continue to fall into this subtle trap. The commendable things that we do count for nothing unless they stem from a vibrant personal connection with God. Our work can’t be effective or fruitful unless He is in it.

In fact, God is more interested in you and your personal relationship with Him than in a thousand lifetimes of good works. He desires to be the satisfaction and delight of His children so that their service is a result of loving devotion.

There are plenty of wrong reasons to labor for the kingdom. However, God is satisfied only with service motivated by love for Him. He wants those with selfish intentions to return to their first love. In that way, hearts and minds can be renewed, and service to the Lord will be more fruitful.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.

Come Up Higher Christian Gifts & Books

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Jicaro Project

Come Up Higher Christian Gifts & Books now carries Fair Trade Items from the Jicaro Project. These handcrafts are made by enterprising women and youth in Granada, Nicaragua. Proceeds help to support struggling families and young artisans, providing funds for food, education, community improvement and youth clubs like Vida Joven. Each item combines quality handwork with found or reclaimed objects to transform available resources into creations of beauty and utility. Jicaro trees thrive in Nicaragua where fallen fruit help to feed grazing animals during the long dry season. We carve them into beautiful bracelets, earrings, candles, ornaments and bowls.

Cuff Bracelets, Light Brown: $10.00/ ea. (Small, Medium, and Large Sizes)

Cuff Bracelets, Light Brown: $10.00/ ea. (Small, Medium, and Large Sizes)

Please visit our Fair Trade Products page to look at this beautiful collection of handcrafted goods. Your support is vital for these families! Thank you so much for your continued interest and support.

Purple Shades Bracelet with Beaded Clasp: $20.00

Purple Shades Bracelet with Beaded Clasp: $20.00

Blessings!

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Easter Collection 2013

Come Up Higher’s Easter Collection has now been added to the catalog! Click on the picture below to view a sample of some of the gifts, books, cards, and music we offer for this Easter Season.

Faith Ceramic Cross: $5.00

Faith Ceramic Cross: $5.00