Candace Cameron Bure's Amazing Prayer Proclamation That We ALL Need Right Now

God gives us the free will to decide for ourselves how we want to live, what we want to say and how we choose to interact with the people and things around us.

But free will often comes at a cost. Along with the ability to live and behave as we choose, God has also fortunately given us a blueprint to discern His plan for our lives. This roadmap is the Bible — a timeless book that explains the ins and outs of how human beings are meant to live.

Listen to Billy break down how we get back on track with God:

Some of us choose to follow this “GPS” to the best of our abilities, while others opt to ignore it. The latter carries with it some potential pitfalls, as a life off path from God’s guidance and plan is a life not lived in accordance with the very force that Created and sustains us.

Read Also: Wondering How Culture Got So Chaotic? Here’s the Explainer

Proverbs 20:24 summarizes this phenomenon with a stirring rhetorical question: “A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way?”

Pondering that question is essential. How can we understand “our own way?” Why would we want to embark on a windy path without a baseline?

Unfortunately, life is complicated and many of us, at some point or another, get stuck in the weeds — but the wonderful reality is that there’s always a way back.

Perhaps you’re struggling right now. Maybe you’re realizing that you’re nowhere near where you want to be in your relationship with God. Your path has potentially taken you away from His will, and you’ve found yourself meandering and flailing as you try to do it all on your own.

Stop. Pray — and crack open your Bible. Again, there is always a way back.

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Actress Candace Cameron Bure once told me something about prayer that I believe is essential to revisit. We were discussing those who mock prayer in the wake of tragedy — people who prefer action to invoking God. Here’s what she had to say in response:

“If you don’t start with [prayer] there’s no power behind it, because God’s the power. God can do anything, change anything — change hearts. It’s the heart of all of us that need to be changed and that’s where God needs to get in.”

You can listen to her remarks below:

So, if you’re feeling lost, don’t rely on your own heart; look to God. Prayer matters and it can recenter us and bring us back to the place God wants us to be. It’s a daily struggle, but it’s one we can win with God on our side.

Proverbs 20 also offers up some other powerful reminders about not letting vices control us. Verse 1 reads, “Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise” and Verse 5 adds, “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.”

Let’s all find our purpose in God.

For more encouragement, be sure to follow and subscribe to “The Billy Hallowell Podcast” as well as the Pure Flix Insider blog.

Are You Stumbling & Struggling? Here's the Antidote

The Bible repeatedly tells us where our identity should be placed — and that’s in God.

But we live in a world where living that out can be quite difficult, especially in a culture that’s filled with temptation and distraction.

LISTEN:

Unfortunately, life has a way of “getting” us. Many times we are well intentioned; we set out with our focus on God, but after just a few days the “shiny” things all around us start to divert our attention — and slowly lead us away from the “best” path onto a meandering street.

We start to stumble. We start to compare ourselves to others. We start to allow jealousy or discouragement to take form. We start living in “the world” and forget that this life is temporary — and that real success has little to do with money, praise and riches.

Can you relate? Sometimes I get so caught up in the chaos of life — work, tasks, commitments, goals, dreams — that I forget the one thing that truly matters most: my relationship with Christ.

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I know only God holds the answers, yet I allow myself get consumed by my own whims and the here and now. Instead of asking God where He wants me and taking the steps to embark on His journey for my life, I attempt to chisel through the tough complexities of life on my own.

This too often leads to frustration, problems and minor annoyances; something just feels off when faith and reliance aren’t in check. Then, when I get back on track and read my Bible and pray regularly again I feel great — until the next shiny thing distracts me.

We all need spiritual consistency, but how do we build a biblical worldview amid a sea of chaos? We can start by reading the Bible daily, engaging in prayer every morning and throughout the day — and taking steps to love God and love others in practice.

“The Bible tells us that God comes close to us when we draw nearer to Him — a simple concept that applies to any and all relationships,” I wrote in a recent piece for PureFlix.com. “James 4:8 (NIV) reads: ‘Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.’”

Let’s all take steps to be closer to the Lord today. Here are some other scriptures to reflect on:

“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” - Matthew 16:25-26 (NIV)

“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” - 1 Timothy 4:8 (NIV)

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” - Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)

Waking Up: What Matters Most Isn't What We Think

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." -Proverbs 3:5-6

Resolutions weren't really my thing at the start of this year; instead, it has been all about realizations — and over the past 12 months I've come into one key understanding that will forever change my perspective.

Without a doubt, 2016 was a year filled with a plethora of lessons, experiences and learning curves. Above all else, I finally came to understand how to "let go and led God." Okay, okay: I know, the sentiment sounds corny, but there's something much deeper there than mere cliche. 

If I'm being honest and transparent, I must admit something: Over my 18 years (I started at age 15) working on media, my motivations have sometimes been a bit off; at moments, I've allowed the quest for notoriety, pride, the desire for money and other sentiments to sometimes take over as the primary drivers of my professional quests and decision-making.

And when those motivations take the lead, it's easy to find ourselves a bit off course. Luckily, I've always believed in the projects and companies I've been a part of, but I guess what I'm saying is that in 2016 I came to the realization that it's what God's wants that really matters.

It's easy to obsess about Twitter followers, social media chatter, book sales and other markers of success and prominence — and having a healthy business view on these things is great and beneficial. But it's when we pour ourselves so deeply into these efforts that we miss out on what's important — on God's calling for our lives — that we've got a problem. 

Just think: when we die, none of that stuff matters. None of it.

Instead, what matters is: Did we accept Christ? Did we acknowledge God the way he wanted us to? What have we done to help others? How have we loved those in our lives? And the list goes on. I guess my point is this: All too often, what we come to value in life and what we allow to drive us is totally and utterly out of sync with what really and truly matters.

And trust me: I'm not lecturing here. I, too, still struggle to live it out despite getting a little bit of clarity on it all these past 12 months. 

During my years at TheBlaze, I became obsessed with readership numbers, rankings, etc. I wanted to bring attention to my own name and push hard on the stories that I felt would advance my personal "brand." Some of those qualities were wonderful, though there was something I was missing. I was constantly chasing success, but my motivation wasn't always to serve God or, more importantly, to act in a way I felt Him leading me.

That all changed in 2016. I published my first book (I never thought in a million years that I'd write my first book about the end times), willingly left my position as faith and culture editor of TheBlaze and took a short-term contract with Deseret News before landing at Faithwire.com this past fall.

Instead of playing it safe of just acting on my own whims, I tried to choose what I felt God wanted. Am I still working hard? Absolutely (I still obsess over readership stats and pour myself into whatever I do). 

But things are a bit different now. I'm seeking God more, asking Him where he wants me and acting on His plan and not merely my own. And it's pretty freeing. I'm realizing more and more that things that might feel like failures or disappointments in the moment might have a greater purpose later on that I can't see in the immediate.

I think, in the end, 2016 brought me an entirely new perspective: notoriety and fame don't matter; what matters is how we live, whether we live for God, what we do with our lives and how we impact our world. I'm no longer depressed when things don't go my way, and I'm no longer aimlessly pushing toward opportunities without seeking guidance. 

As a Christian I always knew this was the case, but I simply got distracted. That's my 2017 realization.

God's Wisdom — or Your Own?

There's been a feeling for quite some time now that something, culturally speaking, isn't quite right. We're disconnected. Chaos is rampant. Relativism is at a fever pitch. A look at entertainment, alone, showcases just how far we've fallen on the moral depravity front.

The full cultural package makes it clear that more and more people — and institutions — are disconnected from the depths of the heart of both God and the gospel, trading in the wisdom that comes from the Almighty to, instead, embrace the questionable paths and perspectives that are all too often praised and heralded by the world.

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I already said this in the first installment of my comments about Proverbs, but what I love about the book is its timeless ability to speak with equal power and pertinence to generations that are thousands of years apart from one another.

That in mind, while it's easy to get discouraged, the Bible — both the Old and New Testaments — guides us through the chaos, showcasing exactly why we are where we are, culturally, spiritually and societally speaking.

Proverbs 2 tackles the issue of wisdom, with Solomon writing, "Indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God."

Verse six continues by proclaiming that the "Lord gives wisdom," knowledge and understanding. This is a profound consideration, especially in a world today in which pervasive messages permeate through media and entertainment.

Those messages, many times, run completely counter to what is right, but they are framed somehow as being the "moral" stances. The issue is that these sentiments are based on peoples' proclivities, not on God's guidance.

So many of us are so distracted by what's happening in the world that we're missing — or even forgetting — the importance of seeking God's wisdom. Proverbs 2 is a reminder to seek that out, as finding Truth in God and not in the world is absolutely essential.

The text continues (verses 9-11):

Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.

For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.








This was particularly helpful for me this week after I spent some time exploring some tough issues — issues that left me with profound confusion as to how anyone could possibly embrace what I flatly believe to be morally despicable.

In the end, the more we separate from God — the more people choose to ignore His wisdom for the world's wisdom — we can expect increased disconnection among the masses. But, God is always in control. Hope is key. And hey, at least we have guidance that explains exactly why the culture is a mess.

Stay tuned for more of my thoughts on Proverbs. This series is really just a collection of random thoughts, but I hope it's helpful for others trying to navigate our world.

Merry Christmas, America!

Christmas decoration hanging on a tree.Christmas (or Christ Day as I like to call it) is, hands down, my favorite day of the year.  Unfortunately, so many of us get wrapped up in the commercialized version of the holiday.  The entire process of giving and receiving can seem daunting.  We fight crowds at the store, maintain our composure when navigating through insanely dense traffic and we scrimp and save to ensure we get our loved ones (especially children) everything on their wish lists. While all of this is fun -- and tiring -- the real meaning of Christmas has nothing to do with us and everything to do with Christ.  When we give gifts, we do so to celebrate what God did for us.  When we put up and decorate our Christmas trees, we're commemorating the cross Christ hung on.  He came to Earth to give his life for mankind.  On Christmas, we celebrate this gift, while praising God for his everlasting love for us.  There's nothing more important than this occurrence.

As you celebrate today with family, don't lose sight of the real meaning of Christmas.  Christ came so that we may live.  It's not a fable.  It's the ultimate sacrifice (here's a great discussion about why Jesus came -- and died).  Please enjoy this Christ Day and read the Christmas story (as told in Luke 1 and 2 below).  God bless!

THE BIRTH OF JESUS FORETOLD

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

THE BIRTH OF JESUS

1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while[a]Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Thoughts on Faith: Perpetuating Honesty

I've been trying to be better about getting up and reading devotionals each day.  With the busy nature of life today it's often hard to settle down and give God the time I know He deserves.  So, I've been -- with a certain level of success -- reading the online (blog) version of "Our Daily Bread" and I would wholeheartedly recommend it for anyone looking for something to start his or her day out right. Today's entry is about America's "National Honesty Day."  And, to be quite honest (no pun intended), this is the first time I've heard of such a designation.  Alas, April 30th is Honesty Day!  Read more about it here.

The entry caused me to think over how prone we all are, as sinful beings, to lying.  Sometimes the lies are simple or, as we tell ourselves at the time, harmless.  Other times, our lies multiply and breed even more mis-truths.  I know I've been guilty (and, unfortunately, will likely be guilty of such offenses again in the future) of this.  In the Bible, Proverbs 13:5 says the following,

A righteous man hates lying, But a wicked man is loathsome and comes to shame.

Additionally, Proverbs 12:17 says,

He who speaks truth declares righteousness, But a false witness, deceit.

After my conversation with Nate Phelps yesterday (son of "pastor" Fred Phelps), lying and the damage it can do is such an appropriate topic (an article will follow, though you can read my past thoughts on Westboro Baptist Church here).

In the end, we're all prone to lying, but we're not incapable of stopping.  Surely, we can be more aware and place more value on the truth.  Even small lies are unacceptable, though they may not seem so at the time.  In discussing politics, in our jobs, when dealing with family and in other areas of life, we may perpetuate mis-truths without even realizing it.  We'll never be perfect, but this is one area we can all strive to work harder to rein in.

Just some thoughts to start the day.