Your Friends and Family are Special to God

Is there anything you think is really wonderful, which you want to tell people about?

Written by Hope on 11/08/2013
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Evangelism, Family, Friends, Relationships, Salvation
"The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)

A friend of mine just told me about a television show she likes. She said, "When I find something really good, I get excited, and I want to tell my friends about it." What about you? is there anything you think is really wonderful, which you want to tell people about?

Amazing Things
One day, in the course of His travels, Jesus stopped at a well in a Samaritan village. He met a woman there and told her amazing things, revealing, "I AM the Messiah!" (John 4:26). She was so excited that she "left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone" (John 4:28). Have you ever learned something so amazing that you can’t wait to tell everyone about it?

His Message
On the morning of Jesus' resurrection, His followers found His tomb empty, but "they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead" (John 20:9). Mary Magdalene stayed behind, weeping. But Jesus appeared to her, proving His triumph over death. He instructed her to tell the others about the miracle, and she obeyed: "Mary Magdalene found the Disciples and told them, 'I have seen the Lord!' Then she gave them His message" (John 20:18). When the Lord instructs you to share His words, how do you respond?

Good News
When the Samaritan woman told her people about Jesus, "many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because [of what] the woman had said" (John 4:39). But when Mary Magdalene "told [the Disciples] that Jesus was alive and she had seen Him, they didn’t believe her" (Mark 16:11) until He appeared to them Himself.

Jesus told His followers, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone" (Mark 16:15). Today, His followers carry on with the task. As in Jesus’ day, some will believe; but other times, even our dearest friends or family members will refuse God’s truth. When the Lord asks you to tell others the Good News, will you run to do it, like the Samaritan woman and Mary Magdalene?

Prayer, Care, and Share Jesus
Scripture: 2 Peter 3:8-9.

It is so wonderful to know from 2 Peter 3:8-9 that the Lord is patient with us, as He does not want anyone to perish but all to come to repentance. It’s important to always remember that every action you take can be a vital step to move someone closer to everlasting life through Jesus Christ.

So, this week I want to challenge you with a specific task. Think about five people you know, who don’t yet know Jesus as Lord and Savior, or have turned away from Him. These may be family, friends or colleagues at work or school. Maybe you have shared Jesus already with them, but they have not chosen to follow Him. You care about these people and really want to see them come to know Christ. You now know that the Lord shares your heart because of what He says in 2 Peter 3:8-9.

Here’s the challenge. Write those five names in a journal, the front of your Bible, or a sticky note on your computer monitor — wherever you will see them daily. Practice sharing your faith with them daily. You can use techniques you’ve learned in this guide from past weeks to help you. Let’s call this the “Take 5 Challenge”. There will be more about this challenge in upcoming Weekly Prayer Letters.

How long do you do this? Until each person has accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, or at least one year. When any of them become believers, add the name of another friend or loved one to your “Take 5” list. I challenge you to “Take 5” until the day you are too old to pray anymore!

“Take 5” is therefore a serious effort between you and the Lord and the people on your list. So think carefully about these five people and talk to the Lord about them often, keeping in mind the Scripture 2 Peter 3:8-9.

Pray this week:

God will help you choose five people to minister to.

Why do you think it is harder to tell our loved ones about Jesus and the way to Salvation? Talk to someone about your fears.

Talk About It

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Business Mistakes Learned the Hard Way: 5 Entrepreneurs Share their Story

Where are you in your entrepreneurial pursuits? Idea stage? Development stage? Growth Stage? Whatever stage that may be, there is excitement and uncertainty. Many of us know to seek out mentors, business coaches, and peers about their experiences and insights. For good reason too: learn from them. Listen to their advice. Take their words of wisdom and apply it to your own situation. Yet, regardless of where we are in the process, we will encounter obstacles and problems. We KNOW we will make mistakes; we KNOW there will be failure, but we fight to minimize the depth of failure. However, there are situations that pop up without warning or they creep up on us to create havoc. These 5 entrepreneurs share their story and lessons learned:

Jennifer Tamborski, Virtual Admin Experts: “Hiring people and being a leader is entirely different from the corporate world. I hired employees and set them loose, assuming they knew what I knew. When they came back to me confused and lost, I realized I didn’t have the processes necessary for my employees to effectively perform their job. It’s a process I had to learn as I taught them.”

Lesson learned: a clear, concise, communication and documentation plan must be established. Follow-up with employees is just as important as follow-up with clients.

Chris MacLellan, Whole Care Network: “My theological background inspired me to trust without hesitation. That approach to life did not transfer well to business. I didn’t discover this until I handed over the IP (intellectual property) to a business connection in which the gesture was not reciprocated. As a result, I lost lots of money and my humility. It took a great deal of time to restructure my business, much of which conflicted with my trusting nature.”

Lesson learned: Life skills do not always transfer well to business skills.

Mary Scott, Make Believe TV: “Create a clear, contractual arrangement for each project which includes payment agreements and pricing for situations that influence the service offered. All decisions must be clear and understood before the project (or any part of the business arrangement) begins. If it isn’t clear, it will cost a lot of time, money, and frustration.

Lesson learned: Do not rush into a project without the proper documentation.

Angie Monko, Harmony Harbor Coaching: “I jumped into business without a clear plan, quickly becoming distracted by multiple business objectives. I didn’t recognize the situation until ~18 months later when cash flow and momentum declined. It took another 18 months to create a business plan and to begin recovery.”

Lesson learned: Create a business plan, follow it, and revise as your business shifts and grows.

Paul Heirendt, True Bearing Advisors: During my corporate days, I had ‘two young guys’ working with me. They frequently joked, ‘You’re not the boss of me’, which resulted in them learning very little and becoming a liability rather than an asset. I eventually left the corporate world and took one of these young guys with me. As his urging, we moved into his uncle’s free office space in downtown St. Louis. The caveat: the uncle’s son must become the CEO of my company. With no written partnership and nearly 100% of the company in my name, I dealt with legal issues, lost opportunities, lost revenue, and lots of bad blood.”

Lesson learned: It’s better off not partnering unless each member can prove their value AND share the same business goals.

These entrepreneurs faced some crushing blows to their business growth but regrouped, adjusted and recovered. Communication and documentation were the top business issues. How can you apply their lessons? Share your ideas or stories below.

Kristen Edens

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Buying a Home This Spring Will Be Hardest in Years

With tight inventory and rising prices and mortgage rates, this season will be the toughest for buyers in a decade
Minneapolis is one metro area seeing a scarce supply of homes for sale and rising prices. Above a Minneapolis agent at a showing with a potential buyer.
Minneapolis is one metro area seeing a scarce supply of homes for sale and rising prices. Above a Minneapolis agent at a showing with a potential buyer. PHOTO: JEFF WHEELER/MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE/ZUMA PRESS
Robin Manthie and her husband have been looking for their first home in Minneapolis since last May. They thought this spring would bring a flood of inventory, making their search easier. But by most measures it is getting tougher.

The inventory of homes for sale in Minneapolis dropped by about 25% in February compared with a year earlier, while the median sale price rose by 7.6% to $223,000, according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors. That’s on par with the national median home price of $228,400. The average number of days homes in the area are spending on the market is at a 10-year low of 81 days so far this year.

Ms. Manthie, a 33-year-old consultant, is 41 weeks pregnant, but she and her husband are still trudging to open houses most weekends in search of a four-bedroom home in the $700,000 range—up from $400,000 when they started.

“It’s shocking. The house [two doors down from] my mother-in-law went in three hours,” she said.

This year’s spring selling season promises to be the toughest for buyers in a decade, economists said, as rising prices and mortgage rates combine with inventory near 20-year lows.

“We think that 2017 will be the fastest market” since the peak of the last housing boom in 2006, said Nela Richardson, chief economist at Redfin. So far this year, homes are selling an average of eight days faster than last year.

It isn’t just hot spots like Seattle and Denver that are seeing scarce supplies of homes for sale but also sleepier locales like Minneapolis, Cleveland, Nashville, Tenn., Tampa, Fla., and Louisville, Ky.

These markets typically are enjoying strong job growth with young first-time buyers out looking for homes, but also declining inventories, according to Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow.

Economists had predicted the inventory crunch would ease this year, as several years of solid price gains induced more sellers to put homes on the market and spurred home builders to break ground on more new homes.

Instead, inventory has gotten tighter as demand has increased rapidly and the pickup in construction has lagged behind. Sellers also have become hesitant to put their homes on the market because rising prices and mortgage rates have made it more expensive to trade up.

In December, the number of homes for sale hit the lowest level since the National Association of Realtors began tracking such data in 1999. It has ticked up slightly since, but inventory in February remained 6.4% below a year earlier and about 30% below the long-term average.

What’s more, there is a growing mismatch between an abundance of high-price inventory on the market and increasing demand for starter homes. In Minneapolis, 32% of online searches are for starter homes but 21% of the inventory is in the appropriate price range, according to real-estate tracker Trulia. There is a relative glut of luxury homes, which account for 40% of searches but 58% of the inventory.

Single-family housing starts rose to a 10-year high in February but remain about a third below the 50-year average.

The lack of inventory is pushing up home prices, which grew at the fastest rate since mid-2014 in January, climbing 5.9% compared with a year earlier, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices.

Adding to affordability challenges for buyers, mortgage rates have risen to 4.14% from about 3.5% in November, according to mortgage-company Freddie Mac.

Economists expect strong price growth and soft sales this year because there isn’t enough supply to meet demand. Freddie Mac predicts home sales will decline slightly this year to 5.9 million from 6 million from last year.

“Looking at 2017, we feel pretty good about housing but we don’t think we’re going to match [last year’s] volume,” said Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac. “The main reason for that is this tight inventory and that, when many buyers come to the market in the spring, affordability is going to be a real challenge.”

Unlike boom-bust markets such as Las Vegas, Miami and parts of coastal California, Minneapolis has typically been a fairly stable housing market. Investors are fairly rare and the area has long been an affordable place for young families to buy homes.

Home prices have risen 55% since the market bottom in 2012 and hit a new high in 2016, according to the local Realtors association.

Chris Prescott, an agent at Redfin, said he has seen examples of sellers receiving 25 offers, including cash buyers bidding significantly over the listing price.

“I don’t know where these cash buyers are coming from,” he said. “We have not seen a market like this in the Twin Cities in a very long time.”

Katey Bean, a Realtor for Keller Williams Realty in Minneapolis, recently held an open house for a three-bedroom bungalow priced at $265,000 and counted at least 80 attendees.

“You can see in their face, they just look distraught,” she said of the would-be buyers. “You just almost want to hug them.”

Corrections & Amplifications 
Buying a home this spring will be the hardest in years. The headline on an earlier version of this article incorrectly stated it would be the hardest ever. (April 2)

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Life can be hard sometimes. But God provided us with help to teach us. Our help is in the Bible.

Get Direction from the Bible
Life can be hard sometimes. But God provided us with help to teach us. Our help is in the Bible.

Written by GodLife
Series: Look to Jesus
Tags: Bible
Have you ever tried to do something hard without having someone teach you? You probably needed a little help.

Life can be hard sometimes. But God provided us with help to teach us. Our help is in the Bible. But it does so much more than that . . .

A profile of the One Who loves you
The Bible is a love letter from our Creator. He loves you so much that He came to suffer and die so that you could live with Him forever.

Although the Bible may seem complex, God promises that His Spirit will guide you into all truth. He will reveal to you the important facts about Him and what it means to follow Him.

Don't think of the Bible as a book that only specially trained people can understand. The Bible is for everyone. It is full of God's thoughts about Himself, and about us: the people He has loved from before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).

What can you find in the Bible?
You can find real help for your life today. Hope to keep you going. Truth that sets you free and gives your life meaning. Guidance for your relationships with people. Most of all, it tells you about Jesus, who said, "the volume of the book [Bible] is written about me" (Psalm 40:7).

The Bible is God’s story. Jesus created and sustains everything by His powerful word (Hebrews 1:3). Yet He humbled Himself and took on a weak human body for us (Philippians 2:8-9). He faced every temptation we have, yet remained innocent and pure. He understands our sufferings because He suffered too. He allows us to be completely forgiven and made perfect because He died on the cross. Jesus showed His power over death when He rose from the dead. Jesus is the true author of the Bible, just as He is the author and perfecter of our eternal salvation.

Look to Jesus in His Word
Reading the Bible is not just looking at stories about Jesus; it really is looking at Jesus. The word is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). It’s alive because Jesus is the Word (John 1:1). Though He died for you, Jesus is alive today. He knows your thoughts and plans. As you spend time with Him through His Word, He gives you sure and certain hope that becomes an anchor for your soul (Hebrews 6:19).

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