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)

LIFE HACK: How to Save Ourselves (and Our Country)

There's a lot of talk about civility these days, with concerns over our divided and tattered social and political dialogue reaching a fever pitch. The quest to be "right" and to win the argument has led too many of us to look past our ideological opponents' humanity — and it must stop.

Proverbs 13, much like previous chapters, addresses the importance of self-control and, more specifically, of watching what comes out of our mouths. The chapter opens with a powerful theme that continues from Chapter 12: "the fruit" of our lips.

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Verses 2-3 (NIV) should be simultaneously convicting and thought-provoking for us all: 

"From the fruit of their lips people enjoy good things, but the unfaithful have an appetite for violence. Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin."

Somehow, politics and echo-chambers have taken the place of goodness and the quest to pursue, fulfill and progress what is right. Kindness has been thrown out the window in exchange for brashness — and it's a problem on all sides of the political aisle.

Solomon tells us in Proverbs 13:17 that a wise person seeks to bring healing: "A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a trustworthy envoy brings healing."

So, which are we? The wicked messenger or the trustworthy envoy? Unfortunately, too many of us are prone to be the latter, while ignoring our call to be the former. Some of us even relish in it, but amid an era of dysfunctional politics, we have to watch ourselves more than ever.

Righteousness, as Proverbs 13:6 proclaims, "guards the person of integrity." Unfortunately, this same verse tells us that "wickedness overthrows the sinner." We need discernment in an era in which discernment and self-control are increasingly treated like disfavored relics of days past. 

In the end, Solomon's advice is sound. Social chaos is, in many ways, rooted in human pride. And, "where there is strife, there is pride" (Proverbs 13:10).

To help stem the tide of chaos, we can ask ourselves some key questions:

  • What are we contributing to the chaos?
  • Are we part of the solution?
  • Are we associating with people of good intent?
  • Rather than respond harshly, are we thinking through the end results of our comments?

In the end, we're called to embrace the gospel, not a political party or ideology. And who we associate with — and what we tolerate as "normal" — matters. I'll leave you with Proverbs 13:20: "Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm."

Be sure to also check out my quick devotions and reflections on Proverbs 1Proverbs 2Proverbs 3Proverbs 4Proverbs 5Proverbs 6Proverbs 7Proverbs 8Proverbs 9Proverbs 10Proverbs 11 and Proverbs 12And...curious about what all this means? Looking to better understand who God is? Take the next step.

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What Is True 'Freedom?'

What is "freedom?" 

We love to throw the word around, but what does it actually mean in its purest, most unadulterated form?

It's the ability to make choices without "absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint."

It's the ability to live without being controlled by someone — or something.

But freedom goes far beyond that. It's the opportunity to wake up each day and make decisions about one's own destiny. 

From the small decisions to the large, freedom offers us the chance to pave our own way.

In America, freedom is most typically associated with rights. The right to pursue happiness, the right to enjoy liberty. And these ideals are immeasurably important.

In America we can:

- Voice our political perspectives

- Worship God in the way we see fit

- Speak our minds

- Seek to fulfill our dreams, whatever they might be

I'm eternally grateful for these freedoms, among many others, and I too often forget to thank God for allowing me to live in a nation that so profoundly affords me the opportunity to make choices, both big and small.

There are too many places in the world where these rights don't exist — where people cannot express their beliefs and are harassed, beaten and killed for doing so. 

That is tragic and horrific. 

I praise God for America and the blessings given to us on a daily basis — rights too many of us forget to be thankful for. Our normal ability to decide for ourselves is an unattainable fairy tale for so many across the globe.

So, back to that question: what is freedom? As I've stated, it has much to do with rights (at least in the modern context), though my focus here, again, is "true freedom," the purest form. 

The Bible speaks deeply and profoundly on this topic.

2 Corinthians 3:17 tells us, "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." And John 8:36 reads, "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." 

It doesn't end there, either. The Scriptures are filled with explanations of what freedom really means. 

Galatians 5:1 adds, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."

It's clear that God created us for freedom, but that freedom can only be attained in its truest and purest form through Jesus. That might seem confusing; that might appear odd to someone outside the Christian faith.

But it's truth. Freedom isn't free. We were bought at a price. 

And as we celebrate Independence Day today and reflect on our nation's history and on the liberty we all enjoy, we must also remember that true freedom runs much deeper — and it can be attained not by tradition or ritual, but by simple belief: an understanding that Jesus, who was sinless, is God's son who came to Earth, died for our sins and offered redemption. 

Why not accept this free gift and let it transform you? So many of us are hurting, wondering what life really means, looking for something deeper. You'll find that meaning — that purpose — in Jesus.

Think deeper. Pray harder. Be thankful. Find out what it means to accept Jesus here.

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.

Keeping Focus In the Midst of Chaos

Today's "Our Daily Bread" by Dennis Fisher asks, "What is your focus today? Are you preoccupied with getting ahead and making life more comfortable?"  I typically fall into a pattern of seeking out what I want in my life.  This isn't always a bad thing, especially when my goals and wants are meshed with the Lord's.  But, if I don't take the time to consult God and to ask for his guidance, I glide down a slippery slope (unfortunately, I find myself sledding downward quite often). Fisher's entry is a good reminder that our focus should be fixed upon Christ (and, primarily, on how we can be more like him).  With this as the basis for our thoughts and actions we are exponentially more likely to succeed.

I'm not preaching here, as practicing this is a prime struggle for me.  That said, the "Our Daily Bread" piece resonates with me and leaves me thinking about how I need to keep my focus on Christ if I want to "win" in life.  Often times, I am consumed by opportunities and experiences, but I don't always take the time to ensure that said experiences are, indeed, blessings the Lord wants for my life.

As a Christian, the hardest act is remembering that, no matter what, the Lord has a plan for my life.  While I may move forward in exercising my free will, the only way I will find the proper path is to align myself with the Father's will.  I know, I know -- it sounds much simpler "on paper."  But, practicing what is preached here is essential.  Just some thoughts for you on this fine Thursday.

Be sure to read the entry and be praying for this change in your life (if you're already keeping proper focus, rock on!).