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Monthly Archives: December 2011

  • Gods Purpose Accomplished

    Posted on December 31, 2011 by Family Christian

    “For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God’s words are fulfilled.”    Revelation 17:17

     

    God will accomplish His purpose. It may be with or without us, but He will execute His will. God does not back down or hold back when it comes to the fulfillment of His wishes. He knows what is best and is bent toward carrying out His good will. Nothing can stop God from accomplishing His purpose. War cannot stop His purpose because He will draw people to Himself during the atrocities of war. Illness cannot stop His purpose because He will reveal His care, compassion, and sometimes healing, during the eventual breakdown of the body. Death cannot stop His purpose because God will graduate believers in Christ to heaven and non-believers in Christ to hell. 

    Sin cannot stop His purpose because Christ forgave sin by His death on the cross. Sinners cannot stop His purpose because there are consequences for wrong and, ultimately, judgment by God. Satan cannot stop God’s purpose because what the devil means for evil, God can use for good. God’s purpose is a freight train that travels down the tracks of obedience and disobedience, saints and sinners. Its momentum on behalf of mankind cannot be stopped. He will not be denied.

    Even the delay of His ultimate purpose gives more lost souls the opportunity to get on board by placing their faith in Jesus. He will ultimately reign on earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords! In the meantime, there is still time for others to voluntarily bow to His kingship, instead of ultimately being forced to bend their knee to God. His purpose will happen, so it makes sense to work with God, and not against God, to accomplish His purpose.

    So what is the purpose of God? One purpose of God is to adopt everyone into His family who believes Jesus is His son. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, and this accomplishes one of God’s greater purposes.

    Another purpose of God is seeing you complete the work He has given you to do. Jesus said it best: “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4). Your individual obedience to God accomplishes His purpose for you. This is a significant thing. Your obedience matters.

    You are contributing to the greater heavenly mosaic of God’s glorification. Your fulfillment of God’s purpose helps others to do the same. So, do not apologize for this. Stay laser-focused on executing God’s purpose. Pray about it and seek the Scripture to better understand God’s purpose for you. Equity in eternity never diminishes, so invest a lot—and invest early. His purpose will be accomplished. Find out where He is working, and join Him to fulfill His mission.

    Taken from the December 30th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God” ”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Close to Christ

    Posted on December 30, 2011 by Family Christian

    “He has raised up for his people a horn, the praise of all his saints, of Israel, the people close to his heart. Praise the LORD”. Psalm 148:14

     

    Children of God can draw close to His heart. This is a benefit of becoming a believer in Jesus Christ. He came low to earth, so you could go to the Most High in heaven. You are chosen by Christ to draw near to His heart. The closer you get to Christ the more confident you become of His character. It is in nearness that you know who you believe, and you are persuaded that He will keep you secure in His mercy and grace. 

    He fills your horn of plenty with His abundant presence and provision. Up close and personal you hear His heartbeat of love and forgiveness. You fear Him because you love and respect Him. Closeness to Christ calms your soul and ignites your faith, so draw near to know Him. Sit next to the fire of His love to warm your heart and to melt your fears.

    “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings.” Hebrews 10:22a

    Prayer and praise places you in the proximity of closeness to Christ. When you feel distant from God determine to praise Him even more. The Holy One is praised by His holy ones. Praise Him for His grand creation and glorious grace. Praise Him for the people in your life who love you, and for those who encourage you in the faith. Praise is a remedy for feeling remote from the heart of Christ.

    Gratitude is another catalyst for closeness to Christ. Be an agent of appreciation to Almighty God. Thank Him often for all things good and bad. Be grateful for good things like health, children and work, but continue to praise Him when these same blessings become burdens. Hard times are meant to be a highway to Christ’s heart. Drive there daily to be filled by His warm embrace and love.

    “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:8, NKJV

    What do I need to praise and thank God for even though it is a burden for me to bear?

    Related Readings: Exodus 3:5; Psalm 34:18; John 1:18; Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 1:19

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    Jesus came low to earth, so you could go to the Most High in heaven. #Jesus

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • A Sustainable Life

    Posted on December 29, 2011 by Family Christian

    “The Lord sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground.” Psalm 147:6

     

    God sustains the life of the humble. There is a heavenly determination that is dispatched to Christ’s humble servants. Because the Holy Spirit holds you up, you participate less and less in undesirable circumstances. Christ is counter to our culture for He lifts up the lowly and meek, and casts down the proud and exalted. So the humble remain faithful knowing they will receive the Almighty’s affirmation and recognition in His good timing. 

    We serve unseen for our Saviors’ sake, and not to be seen for our sake. It is our reverence of Holy God, humbleness in our own eyes, and gentleness toward our fellow man that sustains a life blessed by the Lord. Our Savior supports us when we apply humility over a promotion at work, projecting an image of control, or having to win arguments with antagonists. It’s choosing the low place that places us in a position to be used by God.

    “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:11, NKJV

    Jesus sustains your humble heart by disarming discouragement and disappointment. It is hard for humility to have hurt feelings, because its concern is for others first. A natural outflow of humility is demonstrated by service to hurting people. Humility is Christ’s conduit for healing hearts, relationships and homes. Indeed, both the giver and receiver are healed by God’s grace. The Lord sustains you in your humble service for this is no time to worry about shameful ways from the past or cowardly gossip in the present.

    You press on because the One who placed the stars in the sky honors the light of His humble son, Jesus, illuminating your saved soul. Christ in you is having a humble attitude waiting to respond. Release your conflicting emotions to Him, and He will respond through you in meekness and love. Your humble heart is supported by God’s sustaining power for His purposes. He sustains your unpretentious Christian faith, by His unwavering grace.

    “The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts.” I Samuel 2:7

    What area of my life do I need to humble myself and trust God to sustain me?

    Related Readings: Nehemiah 9:21; Psalm 3:5; 41:3; 55:22; Proverbs 18:14

    Post/Tweet this today:
    We serve unseen for our Saviors’ sake, and not to be seen for our sake. #service

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Understanding Grows Trust

    Posted on December 28, 2011 by Family Christian

    “My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ…” Colossians 2:2

     

    We tend to trust those who understand us. Understanding is a bridge to belief and intimacy. This is one reason it is wise to first seek understanding of the Lord’s ways. When we seek to understand our Savior we see the path of His Providence more clearly and we trust in Him. Understanding scouts ahead of God’s will looking for opportunities to follow Him. 

    One facilitator to gaining understanding is fear of the Lord. This is foundational for faith, salvation and growing in grace. An education in eternal consequences requires humility, attention and application. We seek to understand the Lord and thoroughly trust Him, so we can better understand others. When others feel understood they are open to influence.

    “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7

    So seek first to understand others, and you will earn the right to influence them because they trust you. Listening leads to learning what another thinks and feels. For example, mature emotional intelligence requires sensitivity to your spouse’s dreams and desires. Your seeking to understand your children and team members contributes to tremendous relational deposits. Expectations without understanding lead to frustration.

    Children need to know you care as you correct their behavior. They trust you have their best interests in mind when they believe you understand them. In the workplace, understanding is quick to collaborate and slow to dictate. There is a respect for other’s thoughts and opinions that is patient and fair. Understanding creates community.

    Are you overdrawn in your relational requests? Do people trust you, or are they suspect because you draw conclusions without clearly understanding the context? Take the time to understand, and trust will transfer into a growing relationship with God and others. Ask God first for understanding and He will reveal the truths found in His son Jesus.

    “To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.” Job 12:13

    Where do I need to apply better understanding, so I can build trust and competence?

    Related Readings: Exodus 31:3; 1 Kings 4:29; 1 Corinthians 14:15; Philemon 1:6

    Post/Tweet this today:
    When others feel understood they are open to be influenced.

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Spiritual Stability

    Posted on December 27, 2011 by Family Christian

    “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” James 1:6-8

     

    Spiritual stability comes from thinking properly about the things of God. His ways are like the secure moorings of a ship that is docked safely and secure in its harbor. And His Spirit is like the wind that propels the billowy sail of a boat in need of movement in the right direction. However, doubt can creep in like a selfish bandit and steal away thoughts of security. It is at this testing point of trust that a calm child of God relies on Christ’s character. 

    Jesus is all knowing, all-powerful and ever present. He is a rock of stability, a fortress of protection and a cleft of comfort. The Lord’s love is everlasting; His peace reaches beyond comprehension and His wisdom is liberal in its doses. Regardless of a disciple’s storm—sickness, loneliness, sadness, debt or rejection—there is a hopeful option. Pride is like a hard grape that requires circumstances to crush the fruit, so it can become fine wine.

    “Say to the Levites: ‘When you present the best part, it will be reckoned to you as the product of the threshing floor or the winepress.” Numbers 18:23

    Do you feel fearful of your job security? Do you feel abandoned by your boss, who left you exposed to be the scapegoat? It is during these intense times of career instability that you can have spiritual stability. Outwardly relationships and finances may be swirling out of control, but inwardly your can submit to the control of Christ. Stand firm in your faith, because He who has called you is faithful. Jesus is trustworthy, so trust without wavering.

    The winds of adversity will try to veer you off Christ’s course, but stay the course. On sunny days it’s much easier to see a clear destination up ahead, but with raging storms, the human eye is severely limited. Thus, the Lord gives you an eternal instrument panel that is interpreted through intimacy with Him. Trust that what He says is true and where He says to go is good. Jesus gives spiritual stability when doubt assaults your faith.

    “He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.” Proverbs 17:27, NKJV

    What doubts can I give over to Christ and in turn receive His spiritual stability?

    Related Readings: Psalm 107:30; 131:2; Isaiah 7:4; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 2 Peter 3:16

    Post/Tweet this today:
    The winds of adversity try to veer you off Christ’s course, but stay the course. #trust

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Gift of Children

    Posted on December 26, 2011 by Family Christian

    “Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son. Then Leah said, God has presented me with a precious gift.” Genesis 30:19-20a

     

    At times children can feel more like a burden than a blessing, but they are still a precious gift from God. A mom wipes away moist food from a messy little face only to find a sweet smile—a precious gift from God. A dad takes his daughter on a date, and he enjoys her funny stories and laughs out loud—this is a precious gift from God. Babies are brought into this world, because God Almighty is the genesis and the genius behind life. 

    What the Lord conceives in the womb of a woman is inconceivable to the mind of man. The gift of a daughter or a son is mystery reserved for the collective knowledge of God the Father, God the son and God the Spirit. A child is not a mistake that brings his parents inconvenience; instead he is an intentional gift from God that brings joy to his mom and dad. Grateful parents delight in and celebrate the gift of their children.

    “She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” Luke 2:37b-38

    How do you pray for your child? Do you ask God to groom them for His purposes, even if it’s to the ends of the earth? Our heavenly Father gives us children, so we can represent Him well to them Indeed, we raise them, so they will one day rise up and declare that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior. We give thanks to Him in all our good and bad experiences with them. The gift of a child is irrevocable, we don’t disown our own.

    Above all, do you regularly bless your child with your approval and affirmation? Do they feel your favor? Perhaps you ask them if they feel blessed by you. Show and tell them often how their heavenly Father loves them and how you love them. A note of encouragement or a short text that you are thinking of them goes a long way in filling their emotional cup. A child is a precious gift from God, who forever needs your prayers, care and wisdom.

    “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:38-39

    What does my child need from me right now?

    Related Readings: Proverbs 3:1-4; 1 Samuel 2:18; 3:19; Luke 1:13; Colossians 3:20

    Post/Tweet this today:
    A child is a precious gift from God, who forever needs a parent’s prayers, care and wisdom. #Parenting

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Merry Christmas

    Posted on December 25, 2011 by Family Christian

    Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.    Luke 2:11, 13-14

     

    The birth of Jesus is meant to be a grand celebration. The angels in heaven, accompanied by a celestial choir, kicked off Christ’s coming out party. It was something to behold. It was not a passive holiday greeting. It was instead a bold and jubilant “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” It was merry because there was a festive spirit in the air. Eternal God had come to meager man. Our Creator came face to face to correspond with us and care for us. The celebratory scene in heaven cascaded toward earth and crashed upon unsuspecting shepherds. God started his gleeful disclosure with those whose labor illustrated His heart. Shepherds knew shepherding. So now the Great Shepherd Jesus had come. The flock of His fellow man could dance a merry jig, because Mary was with child. So, this is another rip-roaring righteous reason for followers of Christ to exclaim “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” 

    Eventually, Mary was overtaken by gratitude to God for being chosen by Him. But in the beginning of God’s revelation to her, she experienced disbelief. She felt she did not deserve this type of recognition or honor. But she later gave in to God. It was not about her. It was about her baby, Jesus. He would save the world from their sin and she would serve as the surrogate mother of God. Once she took all this in, she suddenly exploded in praise and adoration to God. Mary’s manifesto toward being chosen by God still shouts, “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” 2,000 years later! How many more opportunities do you and I have today to exclaim gratitude to God? He has chosen us. Therefore, by faith, Christ indwells in us. This intimacy with the Almighty drives us to our knees in appreciation and awe. Because of this heartfelt joy, our life and lips cannot help but announce to a wandering world, “MERRY CHRISTMAS! MERRY CHRISTMAS!” and many more “MERRY CHRISTMASES!” Yes, you too, can experience a “MERRY CHRISTMAS!”

    We can be merry because of Mary. Mary’s submission and obedience has given mankind the opportunity to be merry. “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” for the grateful follower of Christ is like breathing. It is as natural as saying hello or goodbye. It is the vernacular of the forgiven.

    So, be valiant with your gracious greeting, “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” Indeed, trying to refrain a Christian (especially on the birthday of Jesus) from being merry is like telling a child who just received a favorite toy to cease from joy and laughter. It is not possible. It is ludicrous to think one or many can stop Jesus-followers from celebrating his birthday with a “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” We are merry Christians because it is a “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” We are jolly, joyous, and jovial because we are merry. We are cheerful and effervescent because we are merry.

    You cannot take Merry out of Merry Christmas any more than you can take Thanks out of Thanksgiving. It is un-American. It is dishonoring to the one for whom it is intended. Therefore, be merry, so that indeed your “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” is authentic and inviting. It is good to not take “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” for granted, because it reminds us to not take God for granted. Be merry this Christmas. He is.

    Merry Christmas to all and to all a grace filled life!

    Taken from the December 25th reading in the 365-day devotional, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God

    Support Wisdom Hunters: Learn how you can help us reach other Wisdom Hunters with your monthly donation… click here: http://wisdomhunters.com/support-wh/?


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • First Christmas

    Posted on December 24, 2011 by Family Christian

    Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manager.  Luke 2:11-12

     

    The focus of the first Christmas was Jesus. It was His day. There was no competition from commercialism seeking economic gain. The gifts were given to Him. God was the recipient of gratitude and generosity. He was glorified on this day of salvation for all who would come to believe in Jesus as God’s only Son. There was an appreciation for the Almighty’s descent into the decadence of humanity. There was no feuding from other faiths jockeying with each other for time in the Savior’s spotlight. On the contrary, there was a religious respect and humble worship from those who traveled great distances from their diverse origins of belief. On this day, Jesus unified sincere seekers of truth. 

    The first Christmas, however, was not without controversy. Politically, He was a lightning rod (some things never change). Government leaders felt threatened, as if a traitor had infiltrated their influence over the masses. Involuntary spies were sent to validate His presence. Once His birth had been verified, the powers-that-be went to work. Insecurity and fear drive people to commit irrational acts, and it was no different back then. So what started as a celestial coronation for the Prince of Peace ended with jealous leaders taking severe and deadly action. The Christ-child was driven from their pitiful, but powerful presence. They destroyed other God-fearing people in the process. The community was cast into chaos when Christ was removed from their culture.

    We can learn from the first Christmas, to keep Christ central in worship and society. He is the wonder of our worship. He is the reason for our giving gifts. It is because we celebrate His birthday that we pause to pray, reflect, and plan to follow His will in a more robust and intentional manner. Our Master came to earth and made Himself like man. He took on the form of a servant, though He could have crowned Himself as King. He pointed us to the love and forgiveness of His heavenly Father. The Christ-child was born of a virgin. He was God who dwelt among us; but sometimes we forget Him, even on His birthday.

    One reason we have failed to keep Christ in Christmas is we have failed to keep Him in some of our churches. Why should the culture embrace the Christ of Christmas, when some of our churches have marginalized their Master? Let’s start by inviting the Almighty back into our churches with fresh and revitalized reverence in worship, evangelism, and discipleship. Let’s prayerfully and responsibly “lay hands” only on leaders who fear God, hate sin, love people, and teach the Bible. Christmas is losing its luster for the Lord because Christians have forgotten to fear God.

    His birth is only significant if His death and resurrection are significant. The Christ of Christmas becomes compelling when we, as followers, flock to Him in faithfulness and obedience. Let all of us who name the name of Jesus revisit Him in the awe and worship of that first Christmas. Let’s exclaim, with enthusiasm to a hurting world, that He has come to heal broken hearts and revive sick souls. We unapologetically celebrate His birthday with passion, because God is with us. He is transforming us into the likeness of His Son. Let’s make this Christmas like the first Christmas. Let’s invite the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with forgiveness, joy, hope, peace, and love while we worship our Lord together.  The first Christmas fuels our faith and recalibrates us to Christ.

    Taken from the December 24th reading in the 365-day devotional, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Spiritual Gifts

    Posted on December 23, 2011 by Family Christian

    Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 1 Corinthians 12:1

     

    Spiritual gifts are given by God and for God. These divine manifestations are diverse in their application, but they all originate from the same Spirit. Hence, heavenly ordained abilities give God all the credit for their accomplishments for good on earth. Gifts of the Spirit generate an eternal energy that is able to administer grace and love to lonely hearts and confused minds. Understanding spiritual gifts gives confidence to Christ followers. 

    Godly gifts are not for the personal benefit of a man, but only in service to mankind. The aim of spiritual gifts is to build up the body of Christ—to be the eyes, ears and mouth of Jesus to the spiritually blind, to those tone-deaf to truth and to the morally mute. Today’s disciples of Jesus can do greater works. Why? Because, they are equipped with spiritual resources and are no longer bound up in sin, but rather they are freed up by God’s gifts.

    Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.
    1 Corinthians 14:12b

    How has the Lord gifted you? Are you quick to see a need and then apply a solution? If so, service may be your gift. Is your heart moved with compassion over opportunities to pray for the sick? If this is the case, perhaps God has endowed you with the gift of faith and healing. Or, you may love the process of creating order out of chaos, if so your gift of administration is on display. Indeed, spiritual gifts profit the church and promote Christ.

    Therefore, prayerfully use your Holy Spirit inspired gift not for show, but to serve. Be who the Lord has gifted you to be and your work will not feel painstakingly laborious, but freeing and glorious. Allocate the most time and energy around the gift in your spiritual portfolio that has the most potential to edify others. Celebrate your gift from God by giving it away for God. Spiritual gifts are evidence of our salvation in Jesus.

    This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. Hebrews 2:3b-4

    How has the Holy Spirit gifted me? How can I steward best His gift for His glory?

    Related Readings: Ecclesiastes 3:13; Proverbs 2:6; Luke 11:13; 1 Corinthians 14:1

    Post/Tweet this today:
    Prayerfully use your Holy Spirit inspired gift not for show, but to serve. #Giftedness

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Gift of the Spirit

    Posted on December 22, 2011 by Family Christian

    If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. John 14:15-17

     

    Obeying the commands of Christ is tied to enjoying the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Comfort is made manifest from the gift of the Spirit in a fertile heart of faith. Conversion to Christ embeds His eternal Spirit in the heart of His disciple. A benefit of belief in Jesus is the gift of discernment from His Spirit. Unpacked at salvation and propagated in prayer—the Holy Spirit is the eyes and ears of heaven for all who walk faithfully with Jesus on earth. 

    It is not uncommon for some Christ followers to misunderstand or ignore this guarantor of the Godhead. Perhaps fear of a few corrupt charlatans keeps some Christians distant from the dynamic effects of the Spirit’s work in and through them. Indeed, the Holy Spirit seals new believers at salvation and secures their faith journey through the schemes of Satan. This gift from our heavenly Father is meant to lead us into Christ-like character.

    And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Ephesians 4:30-31

    The Holy Spirit is grieved when we do not represent Christ well to the world. When Christians assault each other with verbal barbs it deeply disappoints the heart of God. We are spiritually stuck if we grieve the Spirit by not going to the Lord in confession and repentance with our sins of omission and sins of commission. How can we ask our heavenly Father for a blessing when we have not been a blessing to fellow believers?

    Fortunately, once you come clean with Christ and others, the Holy Spirit is unleashed to lead you into a revelation of truth. He shows a seeking spouse the next step to love their life mate well. He gives clarity to a team in need of direction, when all agendas are put aside in deference to what’s best for the organization. The Holy Spirit hunkers down in a humble heart and extends grace. The gift of the Spirit gives you wise guidance.

    But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. John 16:13

    What is the Holy Spirit saying to my heart, regarding the way I need to relate to difficult people?

    Related Readings: Isaiah 63:14; Luke 12:10; John 3:34; Galatians 5:22-23

    Post/Tweet this today: Unpacked at salvation and propagated in prayer—the Holy Spirit are the eyes and ears of heaven. #Holy Spirit

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    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

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