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Monthly Archives: November 2012

  • Grateful For Leaders

    Posted on November 21, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude.” Acts 24:2-3

     

    Leaders appreciate receiving appreciation. Often they experience isolation that comes with their role and responsibilities. A genuine thank you goes a long way in energizing their will to lead. Ungrateful or insensitive followers challenge the faith of a leader’s good faith. But those who take the time to express their gratitude to those they follow bring honor and encouragement to their leader. Leaders are not to be worshiped, but thanked. 

    How do you express gratitude to your boss, pastor, teacher or coach? Do you have a systematic process to thank those who may serve in thankless roles? Perhaps God would have you become the source for fulfilling the prayers of those who labor in the Lord’s work. How refreshing and practical it is to buy a meal, clothes or a weekend away for your Pastor and his wife. Your tangible appreciation may make the difference in a leader continuing to fight the good fight. Leaders need the support of other friends in Christ.

    “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.” Hebrews 13:17

    Gratitude for the human heart is like gasoline to an automobile’s engine. A fellow leader may be out of gas and in need of your sincere appreciation. What if you prayed for a leader in your life once a week for 12 weeks? It could be the President of a nation or the President of your local Parent Teacher’s Association. Look for leaders who need a prayer. School principals need a pal. Speak a kind word for they normally hear only negative concerns.

    Furthermore, express your gratitude to God for the godly leaders in your life. If may be your wife, husband, mayor, governor, president, business associate or missionary overseas. Pray to the Lord for them to feel His presence and power in their leadership role. Pray they will walk in the humility and wisdom of Jesus. Leaders need to feel the Lord’s love and approval. A leader appreciated by the Almighty is positioned to lead with love.

    “So the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of leadership, and lay your hand on him. Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence.” Numbers 27:18-19

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, how can I be grateful for those leaders in my life?

    Related Readings: Acts 11:30; Ephesians 1:15-23; I Timothy 5:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:12

    Post/Tweet this today: A leader appreciated by God is empowered to lead with love.

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry
    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com
    www.wisdomhunters.com

  • What Makes a Family?

    Posted on November 21, 2012 by Leann Rice

    Leann

    "But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus." 2 Corinthians 7:6 (NIV)

    Fifteen years ago I watched an empty hospital bed roll into my living room. What an unlikely place for a bed. What an even more unlikely place for my husband, Ron, to be dying-in our living room.

    How could this be? Ron was young, athletic, my best friend, the love of my life and the absolute joy of our three-year-old son, Nick.

    Soon, fragile days filled with Ron's raspy breathing became what I called my "in between." During that in-between time — the space separating life and death — I wanted to savor the richness of last conversations, last kisses, and last memories.

    But Ron's condition deteriorated quickly. He slipped away much too soon. In an instant, I became both a widow and a single parent. I felt completely alone.

    Most people have a close support network, a soft place to land. Not me. Physical distance separated me from my mother and in-laws, and differences in viewpoints created emotional distances with other family members.

    As a result, my "soft" landing place often felt like shards of glass slashing at my heart. Everything cut deeply. Everything hurt.

    It was my love for our son, Nick, which helped me survive the painful emptiness and move on.

    But I grieved when thinking about spending our future holidays alone. No boisterous birthday celebrations for Nick. No traditional Thanksgiving dinner. We needed a bigger family to do life with.

    When you experience a tragic loss due to death or betrayal, it's hard to trust anyone again. At least it was for me.

    Yet, a little brown-haired boy needed godly male influences, and a loving family with whom to celebrate. I also needed to stop being filled with conflicting emotions about being afraid to trust.

    In 2 Corinthians 7:6, Paul didn't have any extended family present during a time of conflicting emotions and fear either. Yet, God saw Paul's need for a family-like companionship so He sent Titus to encourage and take care of the apostle. Titus was a problem-solver who had a heart for God and a heart for God's people in Corinth.

    God also saw our need for a new, bigger family. With ample love, He sent Nick and me some "Titus" people who have a heart for God and a heart for His people. They helped to transform our downcast souls with His all-encompassing comfort.

    Slowly, I cracked open my heart's door just an inch or two allowing these amazing people into our lives. Over time, God knit all of us together creating a "Titus family" related by our hearts, not our heritage.

    My "Titus family" consists of people who love each other unconditionally, support and encourage each other, sit beside one another's hospital beds, hold each other accountable and share in every achievement, failure and pain.

    Do we look alike? Not so much. But do we share the same heart and many happy holiday celebrations? Definitely!

    The most valuable lesson I've learned since my husband died is that marriage certificates and blood relationships are not the only way to make a family.

    God makes a family.

    Dear Lord, You promised to be a father to the fatherless and to even bring joy to widows during festivals. The holidays are often a hard time for people in a season of suffering. Please open my eyes to see anyone who needs a soft place to land or a safe place to share. And then, give me the resolve I need to respond with the same incredible love You've shown me — no matter how busy I am. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Words of Comfort for Times of Loss by Cecil Murphy and Liz Allison

    Reflect and Respond:
    How do you most often close your heart to shield yourself from being hurt again? Withdrawing? Being angry? Holding on to bitterness?

    Who might you turn to to help you move past your pain, trusting that God can redirect it into a new purpose in your life?

    Take time today to contact someone who needs companionship.

    Power Verses:
    Lamentations 3:32, "Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love." (NIV)

    1 Thessalonians 4:9-10, "Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all of God's family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more." (NIV)

    © 2012 by LeAnn Rice. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

  • Gratitude Speaks Up

    Posted on November 20, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.” Luke 17:15-16

     

    Gratitude cannot keep quiet. Like a giddy fan at their favorite sporting event—emotions explode in cheers over a well-executed play. Heart felt thanksgiving has to escape and express itself to those who contributed to this cause for joy. If verbal gratitude is withheld then those who remain silent miss out on bringing public praise to God. Ultimately, Jesus is behind every good gift, and many times He uses His people in the process of a blessing. 

    An outcast of society becomes an insider with God through thoughtful and verbal thanksgiving to Him. Do you still exhibit a humble attitude of gratitude or have you graduated beyond gratefulness? In fact, the more you grow in the grace of God, the more thankful you become. You show up and speak up with thanksgiving. At work you thank your team leader for employment and trust God with opportunities for advancement.

    “We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude.” Acts 24:2-3

    It is easy to get caught up in busy living and forget to thank those who gave us a chance to develop our gifts for God’s glory. Has your Pastor heard from you since you went off to school and applied his teachings to your life and relationships? Have you gone back and blessed the teacher/mentor who inspired your career? When was the last time you looked your parents in the eyes and explained how their example of consistent character caused you to follow hard after Christ? True thanksgiving takes time to say thank you!

    Furthermore, it is praise and thanksgiving to God that is the pinnacle of gratitude. Your gratitude to God generates generosity and bubbles up joy in your heart. Your marriage of humility and thanksgiving invites a dinner reception that feasts on contentment, peace, hope, happiness and security. Open wide your mouth with words of thanksgiving and watch the Lord do wonderful works around you. Gratitude speaks up to its Savior!

    “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” Colossians 3:16

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for healing my heart and giving me Your joy.

    Related Readings: Psalm 147:7; Jonah 2:9; Romans 16:4; Colossians 4:2

    Post/Tweet this today: Wisdom exhibits a humble attitude of gratitude and never graduates beyond gratefulness. #gratitude

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry
    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com
    www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Christians Acting Ugly

    Posted on November 20, 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV)

    Recently I was skimming some comments left on a social media outlet. Most were encouraging and kind. Some people had a different opinion but stayed civil in their expressions.

    Then there was a third group. A much smaller but a very loud group.

    Their opinions dripped with judgment, harshness, and condemnation. And the saddest thing of all? These were Christians attacking another Christian.

    Honestly, I don't get it.

    I just don't. As I read their comments it seemed as if they felt compelled to rip this person to shreds in order to prove their view. To show how knowledgeable they were and how off-base this other Christian was. Most disturbing of all, they felt it their duty to "protect God."

    But God doesn't call man to protect Him. He calls us to love Him. And love others. Christians acting ugly and justifying it under the guise of holding another person in check isn't loving.

    Matthew 22:36 says, "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"

    "Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" (Matt. 22:37-39 NIV)

    Yes, there is a place to make sure others aren't misaligning Truth. But we must do this carefully and first make sure we aren't misaligning the Truth in our approach.

    Our response must contain these three things: justice, mercy, and humility. "The LORD has told you, human, what is good; he has told you what he wants from you: to do what is right to other people, love being kind to others, and live humbly, obeying your God." (Micah 6:8 NCV)

    I read this quote recently that reminded me of this powerful verse in Micah. "It is right to see justice prevail. But it is wrong when my ego gets in the way — when I retaliate to prove that I am strong, that I am superior to the other person, that I am the almighty righteous cop for God." (Bible commentary writer Michael J. Wilkins)

    I guess I can feel a little sensitive about this subject because I've had some personal ministry friends attacked and accused in the most vicious of ways. And a little of this yuck has slipped into my world as well.

    Maybe this third group sees these growing ministries and assumes their words won't affect their leaders. Or worse yet, because these ministries are growing maybe they hope their words will affect them. Either way, it hurts.

    I know this isn't just an experience exclusive to leaders in ministry though. This can happen to any of us—in any walk of life. Whether you are hyper-critical of those around you, or you have experienced this hurtful criticism from a friend, family member, or co-worker, these words hurt everyone involved.

    There isn't an easy solution to this problem. But if this devotion makes a few people stop and think before blasting someone, whether a ministry leader, a family leader, or friend — then it's good. And most of all, if it reminds me to do what is right to other people ... to love being kind to others ... and to live a little more humbly — it's really good.

    Dear Lord, thank You for Your grace and patience everyday. Help me recognize when I become critical of those around me. I want to show Your love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    For more on learning to tame your words with grace and honesty, check out Lysa TerKeurst's new book, Unglued.

    We can be examples of Christians coming together to act kindly. One way is by doing a small group Bible Study of Unglued with the accompanying DVD and Participant's Guide together.

    Reflect and Respond:
    This week, when you are tempted to speak harsh or critical words to or about someone in your sphere of influence, or about a leader in your life, think about the 'greatest commandment.'

    Are you loving your neighbor as you would like to be loved? If your answer is no, or contains a 'but,' try holding your tongue and remember, only the Lord can judge the heart of another man. And thank goodness, for He is just and loving.

    Power Verses:
    Jeremiah 17:10, "I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve." (NIV)

    Ephesians 4:29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (NIV)

    James 1:26, "Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

  • Gratitude Shows Up

    Posted on November 19, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him.” Acts 8:2

     

    When a life has been well spent and invested in the Kingdom of God, admirers show up to pay honor at their home-going to heaven. The godly show up to honor the death of the godly. It is gratitude to God that compels Christ followers to attend the funeral of another faithful brother or sister in the faith. Mourning comforts the one suffering loss and shows appreciation for the loved one’s life. Gratitude shows up to empathize with a shaky soul. 

    If we are grateful for someone we show up for the important milestones in their lives. Graduations, school plays, art lessons, surgery, sonograms, athletic events, dance recitals, grandparent’s day, an open house, retirement, or a friend’s big birthday are all events to attend and express support and gratitude. Attendance communicates appreciation. Our body may be weary, but our spirit compels us to be there for those who need us to care.

    “So we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.” 1 Thessalonians

    Gratitude honors your parents. What makes them feel appreciated? Perhaps a handwritten note or a typed letter reflecting how they have blessed you over the years with their love and support— especially during the trying times in your teen years. You can celebrate their wedding anniversary with a surprise destination event they wouldn’t plan for themselves. So, be creative in communicating gratitude to your dad and mom.

    Furthermore, show up in gratitude for those activities that are near and dear to the heart of your heavenly Father. Church, praise and worship, bible study, missions, community service, loving a dying neighbor and giving hilariously towards heaven’s heart. You are motivated by appreciation because of the Lord’s great love toward you. You can’t out give Christ, but you can express your gratitude to Him by showing up on His behalf!

    “She is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.” 1 Timothy 5:10

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me gratitude and gumption to show up for You.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 30:18; Luke 18:1; 2 Corinthians 12:15; 1 John 3:16

    Post/Tweet this today: Gratitude for someone shows up for the important milestones in their lives. Attendance shows appreciation. #appreciate

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry
    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com
    www.wisdomhunters.com

  • God Wants His Job Back

    Posted on November 19, 2012 by Karen Ehman

    Karen

    "Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people." Colossians 3:23 (NLT)

    I have a confession to make: I crave control. You know—as in I like to be in charge; the shot-caller; the boss.

    I'm pretty sure I was born ready to be in charge. As a toddler, I lined my frilly dolls and any willing playmates or siblings up in a way that suited my preferences. In elementary school, I couldn't wait to be selected for special duties, like heading up a game or putting on a play.

    Yes, from birth I instinctively ordered and organized anything within my reach—objects, circumstances, and later in life, even living, breathing human beings. I didn't need a boardroom to prove that I was a natural born boss.

    In my defense (and the defense of my fellow control-craving friends), this is often a much-needed skill. Being able to multi-task, identify duties and delegate is beneficial on many fronts. Just glance at my partial to-do list for the week:

    Prepare meals and snacks for the week
    Make appointments for the eye doctor
    Do a few loads of laundry
    Haul kids back and forth to sports practice
    Help kids with homework

    Whew, I'm worn out just writing that!

    But, it helps to see that we need to be able to juggle a lot: home, school, family, careers, and church duties. The problem lies with our failure to know where to draw the line; to differentiate between leading and bossing; to know the difference between taking charge and taking over.

    Competency carried to an extreme can morph into control.

    I've struggled to find a balance between taking charge and ultimately taking over for most of my life. Colossians 3:23 helps me remember that managing my life and to-do list is ultimately an act of worship and service to the Lord. In it we're told, "Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people." (NLT)

    When I work willingly as though I'm working for the Lord, I set about my tasks and navigate my relationships with a humble heart and open hands. I willingly let go of my preferences and desire to be the one in control.

    When I work willingly as though I'm working for the Lord, I focus more on caring about others' feelings than controlling their opinions and resulting actions.

    When I work willingly as though I'm working for the Lord, I want to please Him, not myself.

    I've discovered there exists a minuscule line between being conscientious and being controlling. What I have to constantly keep in mind is the difference between being conscientious (my part) and being in control (God's part).

    I'll probably always have long to-do lists and lots of activities. It's just the nature of my personality. But I'm trying to remember each day that it is God who is ultimately in charge, not me.

    It's not easy for this control-craving woman to let go and let God run the show. It takes emotional effort and intentional change of my ingrained habits. But I am learning to work diligently without being controlling.

    This week as we set about our tasks, lets remember just who the boss is: God. We are on His time clock. May our thoughts, actions and reactions make our Boss proud and accurately reflect His character.

    Dear Lord, may I purpose to learn the difference between being conscientious and being controlling. Help me remember You are God and I am not. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    If you crave control but want to learn how to let go and trust God more with the everyday details and decisions in your life, check out Karen Ehman's new book LET. IT. GO. How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith. It will empower and equip you to control what you should and trust God with what you can't.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Think about your week ahead. What tasks must you perform? How can you go about tackling these in a way that is conscientious but not controlling?

    Power Verse:
    Colossians 1:10 "... walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God." (ESV)

    © 2012 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

  • Honor God

    Posted on November 18, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God. Psalm 50:23

     

    Honor of God is our obligation as Jesus-followers. It is not an option but an opportunity to afford praise and thanksgiving to the Almighty. The honor of God places the focus of our appreciation on the object of our affection, Jesus. It is way beyond just the mere morsels of language from our lips (Mark 7:6). The honor of God is meant to be a habit of our living. Our life overflows in honor when our attitude of gratitude sets the tone for our actions. It is honorable to God when we are grateful for our jobs and the people with whom we work. We take the time to celebrate birthdays and verbally affirm the character traits of the one being honored. This small scenario of gratitude honors our Savior. It is a celebration of salvation in the life of one of His children. Gratitude honors God.

    Our worship honors God when our behavior matches our beliefs. This is why we come before Christ in confession and repentance. It is an honoring of the standards He has set with His life and word. It is dishonoring to our Lord to receive Jesus at salvation and then ignore Him until we get to heaven. Our enemies get more attention than this lowly form of ingratitude. We go to God because we need it and He deserves and expects it. The simple act of submission and surrender to Jesus honors Him in heaven and on earth. If the angels bow before Him, how much more should we (Psalm 103:20)? Holy living submits its whole way to divine direction. We honor heaven when we ask God for guidance.

    It is out of our honoring of God and others that He shows us the way. Honor is a highway to heaven (Philippians 3:20). It is in our acts of honor that we hear the voice of the one we are honoring. Honoring improves our hearing. Honoring brings clarity. It is when we honor God and people above ourselves that we gain perspective (Romans 12:9-10). A self-honoring person sucks the life out of a situation, while someone who offers honor gives life. It honors others when we serve them. It honors others when we are kind. It honors others when we involve them in the decision-making process. It honors others when we invite them to special occasions like showers, weddings, funerals, and anniversary parties. It honors others when we celebrate what is important to them. Honor helps others understand.

    Furthermore, honor God with your body (I Corinthians 6:20). Our body is a reflection of God. It is His and He expects it to be in its best condition. When we care for our body we care for Christ. It honors Him. It is also unacceptable to the Almighty when we abuse our body. When we abuse our body we abuse Christ. Therefore, honor Him in your body. Dress so you draw attention to your inner beauty. This honors Him.

    Lastly, God honors those who honor Him (1 Samuel 2:30). What an honor it is to be honored by God. He honors us with His intimacy. He honors us with responsibilities and success. He honors us with wisdom. He honors us with blessings undeserved. He honors us with friends and family. He honors us with health and healing. He honors us by calling us His own. Our honor invites His honor. By God’s grace, do the honorable thing. Honor prepares His way.

    Taken from Reading #36 in the 90-day devotional book, “Seeking God in the Psalms”…  http://bit.ly/InvUdR

    Post/Tweet this today: Holy living submits its whole way to divine direction. We honor God when we ask for guidance. #honor 

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry
    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com
    www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Gods Payment Plan

    Posted on November 17, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:30-31

     

    Someone may be in debt to you. They may owe you money, a reputation, an apology, a job, or a childhood. But God is asking you to let go and let Him. Let Him handle this. He has a payment plan for those who are in debt to his children. It may mean He wipes their slate clean with minimal repercussions. It may mean their stiff neck forces God to bring them to the end of themselves through trials and tribulations. Or, it may mean that what awaits them is an eternity of reaping in hell what has been sown on earth. But God’s position is one of judge and jury. You do not have to carry this burden or responsibility. Your role is to forgive and to trust God with the proper judgment and consequence.

    Life gets complicated and draining when we take on the responsibility of making sure a person gets what he deserves. This is arrogant and unwise on our part. How can we know what others deserve for their injustices, neglect, and self-absorption? Our role is not to play God, but to serve God. Playing God is a never-ending disappointment. We were not made for that role. Only the Almighty can fill these shoes. And He does have it under control. There is no indiscretion or blatant injustice that is off His radar screen of sensitivity. He picks up on every “little” sin.

    So, rest in the assurance of knowing God will pay back in His good timing and in His good way. Give this person or issue over to God. Do not bear the responsibility of executing payback time. Your role is to forgive and let go. God’s role is to establish a payment plan of justice and judgment. Yes, your parents may have blown it through their own selfish tirades. Their immature choices may have built up over time and led to divorce. Because of their indiscretions and unwise decisions, you grew up in a less than favorable home environment. But look at their faces. The hurt and the consequences are etched in their countenances. The results of their wrongs have caught up with them. They need your grace and forgiveness. Be a good son or daughter, and by this you may facilitate healing for your parents’ soul. Sin has its own harvest of heartache, not to mention breaking the heart of the heavenly Father. Trust God with your parents. Let Him worry about what they deserve.

    You can bring reconciliation to a fractured family relationship by forgiving. Once you have forgiven, trust God to administer whatever punishment He sees as fitting. He may see a broken and contrite heart in your offender that leads to their salvation and freedom in Christ. Your forgiveness and unconditional love may be the very thing God uses to illustrate what they can experience up close and personal. Forgive and give. Forgive them of their hurt, insensitivity, and selfishness; then give them over to God. Trust Him with His repayment plan. He owns the payback process. His vengeance may be swift, it may be delayed, or it may be dissolved. Regardless, you do the right thing, and trust God to do the same. Vengeance is His, not ours. Payback time is up to God. We have enough in our own lives to consider. Pray for yourself and others to avoid falling into the hands of the living God, for it is a dreadful thing.

    Taken from the November 18th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God”… http://bit.ly/InvUdR

    Post/Tweet: Our role is not to play God, but to serve God. His judgment is best. #judgment
     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry
    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com
    www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Dollar-Cost Averaging

    Posted on November 16, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow” (Proverbs 13:11).

     

    Is there a method to your money management? Do you have a process in place to steadily save over time? If not, it is never too late to set up a system for saving. Some of us struggle with this because we bet on big returns, only to suffer loss. Steadily saving is not sexy but secure. Finances can be an elusive enemy or a friend who has our back.

    Get-rich-quick schemes only feed greed. In God’s economy, it is those who diligently deposit smaller amounts in a secure place who reap rewards. It is wise wealth that makes the first ten percent of their income a gift offering in the form of a tithe to their heavenly Father and the second ten percent an investment in their future. Money obtained by vanity is spent on vanity, but money gained by hard work and honesty is retained for growth.

    “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves” (Psalm 127:1–2).

    It does take discipline not to spend all our earnings in an instant. Commercials and our obligation as consumers exploit our emotions. Culture sucks us in to spend not all we have, but more than we have; so be on guard with a simple system for savings. For example, set up an automatic draft from each paycheck that goes straight into a savings account. Preserve this cash; one day your financial fruit tree will become an orchard.

    Lastly, look to the Lord as your provider, seeing yourself as a steward of His stuff. The management of your Master’s money requires saving. God’s desire is growth in your financial security so you are free to give more and serve others. So we ask ourselves, “Am I frivolously spending just for today, or am I disciplined each day to deposit a dollar toward tomorrow?”

    “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5).

    Prayer: Lord, how would you have me manage Your money today in preparation for tomorrow?

    Related Readings: Psalm 128:2; Jeremiah 17:11; Ephesians 4:28; James 5:1–5 

    Post/Tweet this today: Wise stewards are disciplined to save dollars for tomorrow. #save

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry
    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com
    www.wisdomhunters.com

  • If I Love God, Do I Have to Love People Too?

    Posted on November 16, 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "'Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?' Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Matthew 22:36-39 (NIV)

    Have you ever thought it would be easier to serve God if weren't for people? I mean, people can be so annoying at times.

    I wonder if Jesus knew we'd get frustrated with each other. Perhaps that's why He answered the Pharisees' question the way He did.

    In Matthew chapter 22:37-40 the Pharisees, religious leaders of that day, asked Jesus about the greatest commandment. Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

    Jesus answered a question the Pharisees didn't ask. They only asked for the greatest commandment, not the second. But Jesus knew one couldn't be done without the other. Obviously He wanted His listeners to consider loving God and loving people as inseparable. But why? Perhaps Jesus knew we would tend toward one or the other.

    The truth is, we can love God and neglect loving people. Of course, none of us would admit to that. But I've been guilty of serving God through my commitments at church and then getting annoyed with people, and not showing compassion or kindness towards them.

    When I was the director of the children's ministry 20 years ago, I loved the kids, but the volunteers sometimes got on my nerves. Especially when they decided to not show up based on what seemed like a flimsy excuse to me. After all, I was there in spite of being tired, having a headache, etc.

    Judgment and a critical spirit crowded out love.

    I've also been so busy serving God that I haven't shown sacrificial love towards my family. One of the first signs of being too busy is my diminished capacity to be kind and loving toward them. It happened a lot when my three boys were little and I was trying to keep the same pre-children schedule. I was constantly frustrated and my children did not always experience a patient and loving mother.

    On the other hand, we can also love people and neglect our love for God.

    We can lower God's standards, minimize His commands, and twist Scripture so as not to offend others. We can ignore how Jesus is the only way to God, because that would exclude so many "good" people from heaven. Yes, it's possible to love people more than we love God.

    So what is Jesus saying here? I believe He's saying we must figure out how to do both. First, we must love God through trusting Him, believing in the goodness of His character and obeying His Word-even when we don't understand things.

    In doing so, we must be honest about the condition of our hearts and ask God to help us love others well.

    I'll be honest, this is hard for me. It is only through daily prayer, dependence on God, and Him working in my heart that I can even attempt to live out what Jesus called the two most important commandments. Even then, on my best day, I feel inadequate.

    Thankfully, God never asks me to do anything without offering to help.

    His Word sustains and encourages me. The Holy Spirit guides me. And God's love and mercy for me, a most unlovable girl at times, helps keep me mindful of why I love Him so much, and why I should let Him show others that same love through me.

    Dear Lord, thank You for loving me. You have shown me more love than I deserve. Help me to love You more and love those You've placed in my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst will help you choose a more loving response to others.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Why is it important to love God with all our hearts, souls and minds? Does this make a difference in how we love people?

    Do you find yourself leaning towards loving God more than people? Or people more than God? If so, what changes might you need to make in your life?

    Power Verse:
    Romans 13:8, "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

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