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Monthly Archives: January 2013

  • Big Challenges

    Posted on January 11, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:36-37

    Big challenges challenge those strongest in the faith. David faced the biggest challenge of his young life when his life and liberties (economic, political, religious) were at risk. However, the Lord is larger than any hard times looming on the horizon. Heaven’s resources are more than adequate to face down earth’s formidable giants of fear or hopelessness. Challenges are Christ’s opportunity to lead us into intimacy and innovation with Him. The Lord likes a challenge.

    What big obstacle are you facing that threatens your security? Look back on God’s track record of faithfulness and take heart at His effectiveness. You may face the giant of loneliness in your home. You can feel lonelier married than single, if the one you love does not love you back. Get alone with your heavenly Father for His comforting presence. He cares. Seek out the support of a safe community with whom you can be vulnerable. Giants flee in the face of praying friends.

    “We boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.” 1 Thessalonians 1:4

    Perhaps uncontrolled anger is consistently the big challenge you face. The stress of life has led you into unhealthy habits. Alcohol is like a fuse that detonates an explosion of anger in your mind. It numbs your heart. Allow the grace of God to heal your hurting heart or you will continue to hurt others. Take your pain to the cross and crucify it where Christ died for your sins. Healing comes as you are honest with yourself, God and others. Receive God’s forgiveness and forgive yourself.

    Above all else, look into the face of your heavenly Father as you face big challenges. He will give you the wisdom to get the work done. He will give you the relationships and resources that resonate with what needs to be accomplished. He will give you the faith to keep moving forward. There is no mountain of tribulation that you cannot traverse  with  trust in the Lord. Stay on the journey with Jesus and He will see you through. Big challenges reveal your big God!

    “None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” Romans 8:37-39, The Message

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for facing down my big challenges for Christ sake.

    Related Readings: Job 16:20; Isaiah 41:10; John 16:33; 2 Peter 2:9; Revelation 3:10

    Post/Tweet today: Look into the face of your heavenly Father as you face big challenges. #trust

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Romans, 1 Thessalonians, 1 Samuel

  • A Comfy Girl on Adventure

    Posted on January 11, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    "They asked him to stay longer, but he declined." Acts 18:20 (NLT)

    I have a comfy throw I snuggle in when watching my favorite TV program.

    I wear faded and worn jeans at home.

    I have a pair of shoes needing to be retired, but they fit in all the right places, so I keep them handy. Just in case.

    I love comfort; yet following Christ means that God often leads me out of my comfort zone.

    Paul the apostle modeled a life far from comfort. When he wasn't in prison for preaching about Jesus, he had a packed travel schedule. He preached in Thessalonica, traveled to Berea, spoke in the synagogue in Athens, made his way to Corinth, set sail for Syria, and made a brief stop in Ephesus. At Ephesus the crowd was eager for him to stay.

    After all that travel, can you imagine how tempting that invitation must have been? It would be so easy to settle in with new friends to enjoy a respite from the unfriendly religious leaders, accusations, and fatigue of ministry.

    Instead, Paul said a simple goodbye with a promise to return one day, God willing.

    Five years ago I was invited to speak in Europe. Sounds amazing, right? It was, except for the fear that lodged right in the center of my chest as God called me away from my cozy throw and faded jeans. We were traveling to three countries and six cities in 10 days. There were language barriers to overcome. The speaking schedule was intense. And massive cultural differences had to be hurdled, especially in the area of faith.

    There were times I was far outside my comfort zone on that journey. But I also had a front row seat to watch God work.

    We witnessed the faith of moms whose families and neighbors weren't Christians light up with encouragement as we shared the Word of God. We drank thick Turkish coffee with immigrants in a refugee camp, praising and worshiping God together.

    God was powerful in our own lives as we traveled by train, plane, and car—filled to overflowing in spite of the demanding schedule as we led Bible studies in homes, spoke at conferences, and ministered one-on-one.

    Paul surely experienced this spiritual excitement on his journeys. Maybe he didn't linger in comfortable places because he had discovered the joy of walking straight into the lives of those who needed a Savior.

    Since my first trip I've returned twice more with the team. Different countries. New challenges. Each time I was reminded that faith is an adventure and God sometimes calls comfy girls away from their safe places.

    Maybe like me, you love to get comfy. It feels good to be settled. It's nice to know what to expect. But if you sense God inviting you out of your comfort zone, are you willing to go?

    When God leads us out of our comfort zones, we experience uncharted territory. We might even come to the end of ourselves.

    But we also have the privilege of being a small part of a big plan, offering our willing hearts and seeing the work only God can do.

    Dear Lord, I'm willing to step outside my comfort zone to discover Your plan, not just for me, but for those You love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst

    Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    "A characteristic of our comfort zones is that they have restraints. We will only go: so far in loving; so far in serving; so far in forgiving; so far in ministering; so far in witnessing; so far in giving; so far in sacrificing; so far in supporting and encouraging each other; so far in submissiveness; so far in our struggles against the spiritual forces of wickedness." ~Mark King

    Sometimes when we read the words "go" (Mark 16:15) or "follow Me" (Mark 1:17), we might put restraints on those words, but what might happen if we begin to take those words to heart?

    Read the scriptures above today with an open heart to God's leading. What is God speaking to you?

    Power Verse:
    Luke 9:23, "Then he said to them all: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'" (NIV 1984)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Acts

  • Youthful Courage

    Posted on January 10, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.” 1 Samuel 17:34-35

     

    Courage created in youthful days is most likely appropriated in later days. David, under the authority and canopy of God’s creation, learned courage as a shepherd, the protector of the sheep. Teenagers placed in challenging situations like sports, academics and standing alone morally have an opportunity to be courageous for Christ. These early life lessons become memories of God’s faithfulness etched into their moldable minds. Courage gives confidence. 

    Be careful not to overprotect your child, so that they miss out on seeing the Lord work through their courageous acts of service. Perhaps you encourage them to get a job, so that they can learn how to be like Jesus in the workplace. Or, you allow them to attend public school, so under your prayerful support, they become salt and light to their fellow students and faculty. Better for a teenager to learn courage in your accepting home, so that you can coach them. Challenges are courage builders.

    “And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity.” 1 Timothy 4:12, The Message

    Have you lost your courageous edge for Christ? What are you attempting that is risky for the Lord? Maybe He is calling you back to get a graduate degree, though its been over 20 years since your college graduation. Your moral courage can become a flood light of faith in spiritually sterile academia. Take heart and courageously keep your marriage commitment or your volunteer assignment. Setbacks are meant to bring us back to bold dependence on God. Be bold for Him!

    Ask Christ to give you the courage to overcome your fear of rejection, your fear of public speaking or your fear of death. Courage from within understands it's all about Him, not you. You risk misunderstanding and mistreatment for the sake of the gospel, but Christ was courageous for you. Remember your bold initiatives for God right after you tasted His grace for the very first time. Use the memories of your youthful courage as a conduit for boldness. Courage overcomes!

    “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me Your courage to take risks for You.

    Related Readings: 2 Samuel 7:27; 2 Chronicles 5:8; Ezra 10:4; Matthew 14:27; Acts 27:25

    Post/Tweet today: Setbacks are meant to bring us back to bold dependence on God. #courage

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 1 Timothy, 1 Samuel, Joshua, Courage

  • Questions to Ask Yourself/Self Evaluation

    Posted on January 10, 2013 by John van der Veen



    As we go through life, some of us will do self-evaluation exercises with ease. Others of us would prefer to dig deep. The following is a list of questions that we should periodically be asking ourselves. How about now? Take the time to go through the list, you may hit on something that needs a little spiritual work.











    Husbands and Wives:

    • Did you love your spouse by putting love for Christ in front of the love for them?
    • Did you pray for your spouse?

    Singles:

    • Did you support the married families in the church?
    • Did you provide positive discipleship to those younger than you?

    Married:

    • Did you show the singles a positive view of marriage?
    • Did you provide positive discipleship to those younger than you?

    Husbands:

    • Did you display sold Christian leadership in the home?
    • If your wife is an unbeliever, did you pray for her salvation?
    • If your wife is a believer, did you pray for her to grow in her sanctification?
    • Did you show love to your wife?
    • Did you meet the emotional and physical needs of your wife, placing her above yourself?

    Wives:

    • Did you submit to your husbands spiritual leadership?
    • If your husband is an unbeliever, did you pray for his salvation?
    • If your husband is a believer, did you pray for him to grow in his sanctification?
    • Did you show respect to your husband, encouraging him, meeting his emotional and physical needs and placing his needs above yours?

    Singles:

    • Did you pray about whether you are called to marry?
    • Did you pray for your future spouse?
    • Did you find full sufficiency in Jesus alone?
    • Have you been selfless in your relationships with your closest friends?

    Parents:

    • Did you demonstrate the love of Christ and His grace to your children?
    • Did you spend time this week teaching your children about the greatness of Jesus?
    • Was your life a confirmation of the Gospel for your children this week?

    Children:

    • Were you obedient to your parents this week?
    • Did you attempt to live at peace with your siblings?

    All:

    • Did you spend regular time in prayer this week?
    • Did you spend regular time in the Bible this week?
    • Did you do your best to make Christ your treasure this week?
    • Did you, at any point, allow something besides Christ to be your treasure this week? What was that thing? How will you (or did you) deal with this?
    • What ministry are you serving in this week? At church?
    • Did you share Christ with anyone this week?
    • Who are you actively attempting to share Christ with?
    • Who are some friends you are praying that will meet Christ?
    • Did you give undue emphasis to money this week (spending recklessly, worrying constantly, being stingy)?
    • Were you sexually pure this week? Did you guard your heart, mind and eyes?
    • Did you attend church this week?
    • Did you seek to connect with others in the body this week?
    • Did you support the church with time and/or money this week?
    • Did you seek out friendship and fellowship with church members this week?
    • Are you letting other members of the body of Christ speak into your life?
    • Have you confessed your sin to the Lord?
    • Were you dependable?

    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, John van der Veen

  • From Overpowered to Empowered

    Posted on January 10, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

    It was one of those days. I was driving to the airport in the pouring rain. The skies were grey. The day felt a bit gloomy. And honestly, so did I.

    There were just a lot of little things swarming my thoughts. Feelings of inadequacy stinging. "There are so many things I'm responsible for and never enough hours in the day. I do enough to keep things from sinking. But I just wonder if I'm doing anything well. I don't think I am ... doing anything well."

    The more I focused on these thoughts, the more overpowered I became. The more overpowered I became, the more withdrawn I felt.

    I pulled into the parking space and started the fight with my luggage. My suitcase has two wheels missing. And of course I keep intending to do something about this. But I don't have time. So I make do with a crazy suitcase and a crazy life and a crazy sense I should just pack my family up and move out west somewhere. Live on a ranch where we grow our own food and I cook beans in a black pot over an open flame.

    Surely that would fix everything.

    Except that I know it wouldn't.

    Because the chaos isn't from my circumstances. It's inside me.

    I boarded the plane. I stared out the window. I watched the grey clouds envelop us.

    And then the grey broke.

    Suddenly, we rose above the clouds and the sun was shining brightly. The sky was fabulously clear.

    The clouds were just a temporary covering. They didn't stop the sun from shining. They just prevented my eyes from seeing the sun. And it wasn't just the sky that appeared a little brighter. My mood did as well.

    I started to shift from feeling overpowered to empowered as I realized three things:

    Just because I feel it doesn't make it real.

    Just like I felt the sun was gone but it wasn't, I might feel like I'm not doing anything well, but it doesn't make it true. The fact that I have weaknesses doesn't make everything about me weak. I have plenty of strengths.

    All I have to do is ask a couple of my friends or my family members to help me see what I do well. I can celebrate those, and then get a plan for bettering things that need improvement. I can start by identifying one thing to improve on this month. And do a little toward making that one thing better.

    There are a lot of people who would trade their best day for my worst day.

    Yes, I have a lot to manage. And yes, sometimes things get a little foggy. But that doesn't mean I have to stay swallowed up in the grey. That means I need to get my head above the clouds and see all the many places where the sun is shining brightly in my life. So, I can start making a list of things for which I need to be thankful.

    My mind needs some space to think.

    If I always run at a breakneck pace, I'm eventually going to break. My mind is a powerful tool, capable of seeing things that can be done more efficiently and effectively if I give myself time to think. When is the last time I just sat quietly with a pen and paper and asked the Lord to help me think?

    As 2 Corinthians 12:9 teaches, God's power is made perfect in weakness. When I'm sinking in thoughts of inadequacy and plans to relocate out west, I remember that my ability is not based on what I can do. My ability and strength come from the One who can do all things. With the Lord working in me and through my weaknesses, I can feel the transformation from being overpowered to empowered taking place.

    If the clouds have been looming close lately, maybe it's time to stop. Pause. Lift your eyes to an altitude that can rearrange your attitude.

    Dear Lord, only You can provide all I need to stay the course. Please replenish me with a new attitude as I try to see above my grey clouds today. Help me to refocus my attention to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    The Unglued Bible Study will also help you understand what the Bible says about better ways to react. To order your copy click here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    1. Identify one thing to improve on this month.
    2. Make a list of five things you are thankful for.
    3. Commit 5-10 minutes today to sit quietly with a pen and paper and ask the Lord to help you think.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 34:17-18, "The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 2 Corinthians

  • Sought By God

    Posted on January 9, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after His own heart and appointed him ruler of His people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” 1 Samuel 13:14

     

    God seeks out men and women who are sensitive to His heart. Saul motivated by pride and fear did not keep the Lord's command, so God appointed David as the next King. A leader risks losing the Lord’s respect when he disrespects the Lord’s commands. An individual loses their positive influence on people when their influence with the Almighty wanes. God seeks sincere seekers, so He can entrust them with His favor. He recruits submissive star players for His team.

    Have you become too familiar with your heavenly Father’s commands? Has your familiarity with the Holy One bred unholy contempt? If so, you can return to God’s good graces with grace based obedience or you can risk being removed from your position of authority. Let your heart rest in the hand of your heavenly Father. You will endure under the mighty hand of God, but, out from under His authority, hope shrivels and His help fades away. So, submit to His authority.

    “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.” 2 Chronicles 16:9 NKJV

    Keep your heart tender towards God with constant cultivation in the commands of Christ. You remain useful to your heavenly Father by staying sensitive to the Spirit’s promptings. The Lord is not looking at your outward appearance, but at your inward beauty of integrity. Perhaps your mind needs cleansing from the seduction of the sensual and renewed with submission to the Spirit. Also, keep your pride in check with humble acts of service at home.

    Because the Holy Spirit seeks you out, you are wise to turn toward Him and move in His direction. Obedience to God always moves towards God, while disobedience to God always moves away from God. The Lord may be seeking you out to replace another unwilling servant of His. So, remain humble as opportunities to serve Him open up. Your added responsibilities make you more responsible to represent Christ well. So, surrender to God’s search for your heart.

    “Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you.” Job 22:21

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, as you seek me out, I surrender my heart to You in obedience.

    Related Readings: 2 Chronicles 30:8; Isaiah 26:12; John 4:23; Philippians 3:3

    Post/Tweet today: We risk losing the Lord’s respect when we disrespect the Lord’s commands. #obey

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Job, 1 Samuel, 2 Chronicles

  • When You Don't Have It In You

    Posted on January 9, 2013 by Renee Swope

    Renee Swope

    "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20 (NIV)

    I was completely blindsided. I'd been called into a meeting at my church with another woman in leadership who had been upset with me for months. But I was just finding out about it.

    Someone told her I didn't agree with her leadership style. But that wasn't what I'd said - months before - in a meeting with several other leaders. I had been asked my opinion about a situation and shared my thoughts. It broke my heart that I was just being asked about it now, many months later.

    We both volunteered countless hours in ministry, pouring our hearts and lives into women in our church. All the while, we were on the same team and assumed we fully supported one another. But now the trust we'd built for years was unraveling.

    It was a mess. I was a mess.

    I decided I was done. I just didn't have it in me. I wasn't strong enough or resilient enough. And I was exhausted from the hurt I felt and the hurt I had caused.

    That afternoon I went home and cried. Told God I was ready to call it quits. Laying my head down on my desk, I said I couldn't do it anymore.

    But then a truth that had been buried deep in my heart surfaced: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)

    And in that moment, I knew if I was willing to die to myself and completely rely on Christ in me I could experience His resurrection power in this place of depletion - where I had nothing left to give.

    There was no way around this crossroad: I could either walk away from God's calling on my life or I could allow Jesus to live HIS life through me.

    I could die to my desire to protect myself from getting hurt again and choose to tap into His power by relying on the strength of His Spirit.

    I wasn't enough ... wasn't strong enough, resilient enough, or humble enough, but Christ in me was more than enough.

    You see Jesus did not die on the cross just to get us out of hell and into heaven. He died on the cross to get Himself out of heaven and into us! That is resurrection life - and the very place where we get our enough!

    If you have been crucified with Christ, you no longer live, but Christ lives in you. The life you now live in your body, you can choose to live by faith in the Son of God, who loved you and gave Himself for you.

    I opted to rely on the Holy Spirit within me as my friend and I navigated this tough leadership situation. It wasn't easy, but it was good and it helped restore our friendship. The next time you and I find ourselves at tough relational crossroads—choosing to walk away from God's calling on our life or allowing Jesus to live HIS life through us—let's allow HIM to be our enough! For indeed He is.

    Dear Lord, You are mighty, and holy, and strong. And I thank You that Your sweet Holy Spirit is more than enough to help me die to myself and let YOU live through me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    How do we stop letting life's hurts and hardships knock us down? In her award-winning book, A Confident Heart, Renee walks with you through the process of gaining spiritual resilience and lasting God confidence! You'll discover how to live in Christ by allowing Him to live His life in you and through you!

    Reflect and Respond:
    Prepare your mind and heart for the next time relationship conflicts arise. Decide now that you will allow Christ in you - through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit - to be enough and let Him live through you in those tough situations.

    Bury this verse deep in your heart: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)

    Power Verses:
    Philippians 1:21, "For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better." (NLT)

    1 Peter 5:5, "... And all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE." (NASB)

    © 2013 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Galatians

  • Stay Engaged

    Posted on January 8, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    "In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem." 2 Samuel 11:1
    A leader’s success, if not stewarded wisely, can lead him or her into failure. Many times success gives a leader more options and increases their autonomy. It's precisely at this point of enlarged personal power that an ego needs the checks and balances of wise counsel and loving accountability. Responsible leaders stay engaged in the everyday activities of real life, so they don’t act unrealistically. Humility is the fruit of those who serve their fellow humans.
    Were you once engaged in activities that required relational messiness? Are you now cloistered from a community that invites your vulnerability? The lure of success is to see others as inferior to your intellect or to disrespect them as “just the help,” instead of honoring other team members as the reason for your success. Avoid using people to enable your bad habits or to cover up your secret sins. David forgot that God had brought him from his humble beginnings as a shepherd, and he became enamored with himself as King. But, humility’s grateful attitude engages others.
    “I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.” Romans 12:3 (Message)
    Therefore, when work responsibilities intensify, be even more intentional to engage with your spouse and children. Lack of engagement can lead to estrangement. Prayerfully place guardrails around your schedule, so you are not alone with a person of the opposite sex, being tempted by sex. Emotional intimacy with needy co-workers is a recipe for relational disaster. Stay emotionally engaged with your spouse and be discreet at work about your personal problems.
    Above all, as our discretionary time is on the rise, we are wise to lift the level of our time with Lord in His word. Satan plays mind games to make us think we are smarter than we are, or  strokes our ego with the lie that we are the exception to God’s expectations. So, we stay engaged in our prayer time and are quick to confess and repent of our sin. When our heart is engaged with Christ’s heart it is very, very difficult to drift into sin. So, seek God and stay engaged with Him!
    “The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.” Psalm 25:14
    Prayer: Heavenly Father, keep me engaged in Your worship and  serving others.
    Post/Tweet today: Lack of engagement with God can lead to estrangement from God. #engage
    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Romans, 2 Samuel

  • Focus Determines Direction

    Posted on January 8, 2013 by Rachel Olsen

    Rachel Olsen

    "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2 (NIV 1984)

    Focus is an interesting thing. A powerful thing. I believe it makes change possible.

    I live in in North Carolina - home to NASCAR. I even drove a stock car once in a qualifying race at the Franklin County Speedway. So I've talked to a few race car drivers in my time. Here's what I learned from them: You have to focus on where you want to go.

    Race cars move so fast that the slightest change in course - the slightest turn of the wheel - quickly produces big changes in your position on that track. Surprisingly, where you look can shift your body enough to turn the wheel just enough to send you in that direction. Even if that wasn't where you intended to go.

    In other words, your focus determines your direction.

    That's why race car drivers are taught never to look at the wall. Look at the wall and that is where you will end up - crashed.

    I think that's also why the Bible spends so much time teaching us to keep our eyes on Christ. Because our focus determines our direction.

    Do you recall the story of Peter when he saw Jesus walking on the water in Matthew 14:29? Peter climbed out of the boat and walked on the waves. As long as he focused on Jesus, he walked toward Him on the water. But as soon as Peter looked down at the wind-whipped waves beneath him, that's precisely where he ended up.

    I wonder if our typical New Year's Resolutions aren't us looking at the wall, or down at the sea instead of us focusing on Christ. We make promises like "I'm going to lose weight," or "I'm going to get more organized." (I've made both those resolutions before.) Or maybe, "I'm going to stop this affair." And then our focus is on our weight, the mess, or the forbidden fruit.

    Next thing we know, although it's not where we intended to go, we're sinking in calories or clutter once again. And we feel defeated. Crashed. Then we give up.

    Thankfully, I've found a new way to do New Year's Resolutions that keeps me properly focused. Instead of making my long list of ways I plan to improve, I prayerfully choose just one word to be my focus for the entire year. Just one word that represents what I most hope Christ will do in or through me that year. One word to give me direction.

    It's not a regret-based word but a vision-driven word centering on the kind of person I want to become. It keeps me looking forward and upward.

    I pray that word, meditate on it, memorize verses with it, and use it to remind me to keep my eyes on Christ, trusting Him for transformation in that area of my life. And I've seen transformation take place!

    Reading Hebrews 12:2 reminds us to take our eyes off ourselves and our circumstances - off the problem behaviors or the "walls" in our lives—and fix them squarely on Christ. Because our focus determines our direction.

    Ultimately Christ is the perfecter of us and our faith. We can trust Him to turn our resolution into reality as we stay focused with our one word and with our eyes on Him.

    Dear Lord, I want to fix my eyes squarely on You today. Help me see You at work in my life and in the forming of my heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    If you're looking for focus and direction this year, Rachel Olsen has written a new book with her pastor called My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word. Pick up a copy and learn how to walk through a year with Christ and your one word.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What "walls" in your life have you been looking at?

    What can you do to remind yourself to keep your eyes on Christ? What word would help you maintain focus?

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 105:4, "Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always." (NIV)

    Romans 8:5, "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Rachel Olsen. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Matthew, Hebrews, New Year Reolutions

  • Good Overcomes Evil

    Posted on January 7, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21

     

    Free will is the culprit of sinful humans making evil choices. However, God is not absent in the face of a bad person and evil deeds. Almighty God works in and through atrocities to overcome bad with good. Good overcomes evil when courageous teachers shield innocent children from the bullets of an evil gunman. Good overcomes evil when first responders risk their lives to save lives in a collapsing building destroyed by evil terrorists. Good overcomes evil when hellish wars are fought in the name of freedom to protect the world from evil tyrants. Good overcomes! 

    Yes, we stand astounded when evil captures the headlines, and we ask, “Where is God?”. However, because we exist God exists. He is always with us, Jesus said, even to the ends of the earth, “I am with you.” We leave Him in our self-sufficient pride, but He never leaves or forsakes us. The good in evil calls us  to cry out to Christ. We need Him, oh how we need Him in the good days and in the bad days. Because we exist we encounter the evil of a sinner’s free will.

    “But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:5:20-21

    Hallelujah, the grace of God through Jesus Christ has overcome sin, sorrow and death! In the face of evil men Jesus laid down His life, only to come back to life and offer forgiveness to the ones who killed Him. Jesus is our model of overcoming evil with good. We lay down our life and in the process we give life. Our enemies scratch their heads--puzzled by grace--when we serve instead of fight. Evil can experience God’s mercy now or His judgment later, but we are His ambassadors for good. Like water over fire or light over darkness we use good to extinguish bad!

    You are a good goer for God, so go often and go boldly. Detachment from society is a scheme of the devil. Instead, engage evil with good and you will overcome. Detached you lose. Yes, love does guarantee suffering, but better to love often than for your soul to shrivel for lack of service. Just as an athlete leaves it all on the court, leave all your good deeds on the field of life. Heaven is a celebration of a life well spent on earth. Thus while you’re still alive generously do good and you’ll overcome evil Like Jesus--overcome the evil one by God’s good word--holy Scripture.

    “Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” Matthew 4:10-11

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, use me to be an ambassador of good for You.

    Related Readings: Jeremiah 1:19; John 16:33; Hebrews 12:14; 1 John 2:14, 5:4-5

    Post/Tweet today: Engage evil with good and you will overcome. #good

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Matthew, Romans

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