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Monthly Archives: December 2013

  • Money’s Distraction

    Posted on December 31, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” He said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!     Mark 10:21-23

    It is easy for money to become a distraction. Just the making and management of money alone takes effort and focus. Yet money becomes a subtle master if it is not held in check. We love what we think about, so if the majority of our waking moments are consumed by the thought of making more money, then we are distracted. Yes, we need to do our work with excellence as unto the Lord. However, if making money becomes the consuming focus, then our devotion to the dollar competes with our devotion to God. Billions of people wake up every day to make money, but are they making money for wise use or is money using them? If a life is consumed by money, then very little is left over for a life well spent. Time and energy for others become scarce in the wake of compulsive money making.

    You may think that your current obsession with making money is for the long-term purpose of autonomy.This thinking is flawed, because the follower of Jesus Christ is never really autonomous. A wealthy believer is still tethered to God’s will, with an expectation for submission to community and Christ for accountability and service. Yes, finances afford you options, but only options that are under the aegis of God’s will. A life of unshackled leisure and self-indulgence is not on God’s radar. He may free you up to serve Him and others, but not to sit and soak. Too many options can be a distraction to God’s best. So how can you avoid money’s distraction?

    The Lord will love you away from money’s allurement for the here and now. He will love you into heavenly investments instead. Let Him love you away from the seduction of possessions. Then you will want to reciprocate with love to the One who loves you. If your love quotients are currently met by stuff, then your affections will gravitate in that direction. This is the nature of the mistress of moneymaking. When you allow money to love you, you feel a debt to money. Then, your emotions and energies feel obligated to love back. This is a subtle but effective tool in the enemy’s arsenal.

    An affair with money and possessions leaves nothing for the Lover of your soul. Without a love relationship with your Creator, you will become sad, even in the midst of more stuff than you ever dreamed. How ironic. A money lover’s ultimate experience is emptiness.

    There is a solution to money’s distraction. By faith, regularly look into the loving eyes of Jesus. Let Him love you, and you will feel led to love Him. Money’s distraction is derailed by a love relationship with Jesus. When you love Him wholeheartedly, there is no room for money to distract. It is a love issue. When you love Him, your treasure is in heaven and not on earth. You cannot love God and money at the same time. This is double-mindedness. Receive His love, and love Him, not money. Give generously, especially to the poor. Then you can enjoy your citizenship in His kingdom with community, accountability, and authentic love.

    The Bible says, “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).

    Prayer: Dear Lord, keep me from money’s distraction and I pray I will focus on fellowship with You.

    Related Readings: Proverbs 23:5; Luke 16:13; 1 Timothy 6:6-10

    Post/Tweet today: An affair with money and possessions leaves nothing for the Lover of your soul. #money’sdistraction

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Mark, Money

  • New Year - More Inspiration

    Posted on December 31, 2013 by John van der Veen


    During this time, every year, all of us look both backward and forward. Back at where God had brought us, and forward in thinking where the Lord will be bringing us. It's good to do. To have a plan. A plan with perspective.

    We know that our Heavenly Father has a specific plan for us. Mostly to be a worshipper. To be a person that lives "doxologically-minded." Beyond that, there is a lot of freedom.

    Here are some resources that may help in guiding us to that "closer walk with Him."

    Discover an innovative approach to achieving a healthy lifestyle in community. Built on a scriptural foundation, The Daniel Plan, from pastor Rick Warren, will help you learn how to optimize your health in the key areas of faith, food, fitness, focus and friends.

    The Daniel Plan teaches simple ways to incorporate healthy choices into a reader's current lifestyle and helps them understand the kind of foods God created to keep them fit and strong. These concepts encourage readers to deepen their relationship with God and offer inspiration as they make positive choices each and every day.

    Take an in-depth look at the first Christians and discover how generosity was the hallmark of the early church—how giving changed everything, drawing people to the most generous of givers, Jesus Christ. Generosity changed the world once; it could happen again. How to Be Rich: It's Not What You Have. It's What You Do With What You Have. by pastor Andy Stanley explores 1 Timothy 6:18, biblically redefining what wealth is, how to use it and helping you practice being rich so you will be good at it if you should ever be so fortunate.

    Is that how people in our communities would describe us today? How to Be Rich will force conversation and reflection around the topic of what to do with what we have. Jesus could not have been any clearer - it’s not what you have that matters. It’s what you do with what you have that will count for you or against you in the kingdom of heaven.

    Billy Graham’s devotionals are impactful and empowering. Now you can hear them paired with beloved hymns—recorded in a variety of styles, including symphonic orchestra to solo piano from beautiful vocals to the rich sound of a full choir. Exclusive gift set includes 100-song, 4-CD set with companion book of 100 devotionals from Dr. Graham.

    This exclusive gift set includes both Songs of Faith, 4-CDs of over 100 hymns coupled with and Words of Promise, a companion book of 100 devotionals from the writings of Billy Graham. Recorded in a variety of styles - from symphonic orchestra to solo piano and from soaring vocals to the rich sound of full choir - this treasury of music will inspire you every time that you listen. In addition, each hymn is paired with a devotional text to compliment the message of the song.

    Songs of Faith / Words of Promise celebrates the message and the power of Billy Graham's ministry throughout the years.

    After preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world for the better part of the last century, Billy Graham has one more message to share in My Hope America. In conjunction with his book, The Reason for My Hope: Salvation, Graham seeks to empower America to turn back to Christ and to eventually inspire the world through a genuine relationship with Jesus.

    Following a simple biblical model, My Hope America with Billy Graham combines the video programs with the power of personal relationships, encouraging people to share the Gospel message with friends, family, colleagues and neighbors through these videos featuring Billy Graham, dynamic music and testimonies.

    Learn how to be part of the effort to reach people across the United States with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This essential three-DVD resource—with more than seven hours of content—follows a simple biblical model using the life-changing testimonies and powerful message from Billy Graham.

    What is on your New Years list?


    This post was posted in Music, Books and was tagged with Featured, Rick Warren, Billy Graham, Andy Stanley

  • New Year's Traditions

    Posted on December 31, 2013 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie Miles

    "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 11:18-19 (NIV)

    While driving my kids to school one morning, I asked what their favorite Miles' Family Christmas traditions were. My daughters answered in unison, "We don't have any traditions."

    I was shocked and a little annoyed as I replied, "You mean all these years I have been trying to make memories for you, and you honestly think we don't have any special traditions?!" My holiday spirit diminished as my blood pressure rose.

    They meekly asked me to remind them about these traditions. I provided them with an exhaustive list of family holiday activities and events that we've participated in every year since their births.

    When I stopped to take a breath, one said, "Oh, I just thought those were things we do every year. I didn't know they were traditions."

    I was relieved all my Christmas efforts had been noticed. And smiled realizing the problem was a simple lack of understanding the word "tradition."

    The conversation wouldn't leave my thoughts, so when I got home, I read the definition of "tradition." The first definition was, "the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice." The second definition read, "a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting and a continuing pattern of culture, beliefs or practices."

    Through the misunderstanding with my children, God showed me annual activities and events aren't the only things we should pass down to our kids. Rather I should be concerned about spiritual traditions - the passing down of faith - as even more important.

    I had been fretting over my children remembering that we drank hot chocolate while putting up our Christmas tree one month out of the year, when I should have been focusing on the spiritual traditions throughout the entire year.

    With a bit more research, I realized God gave us guidance on how to do this in Deuteronomy 11:18-19. He was talking to the Israelites in this passage, but the wisdom applies today:

    "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." (NIV)

    This verse changed my thinking about traditions. Now my New Year's resolution each year is to focus on the spiritual traditions I can pass down throughout the entire year in the Miles' home. Traditions that will matter long term and make a difference in the hearts of others.

    Deuteronomy 11 guides me in making these resolutions. They include reading the Bible with my kids and applying it to everyday life. Also important are talking to them about God and praying with them, memorizing verses together, and understanding Scripture so that all we do reflects the love of Christ.

    I don't want these spiritual traditions to be passed down simply by word of mouth, but by practice. As a parent, I have to live out these traditions in my own life to lead my kids to pick them up. The tradition of reading, living out, and loving God's Word is a tradition worth passing down.

    Dear Lord, forgive me for losing sight at times of what is really important. Help me see ways I can build spiritual traditions in my home that will impact hearts and lives for generations to come. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Consider what traditions you focus on in your home. Are they all attached to a holiday, or are there spiritual traditions that create a bond to Jesus year-round? Ask God to show you what new traditions you can begin in your family to help them learn God's Word.

    If your children were asked what your spiritual traditions were, what would they say?

    Power Verse:
    Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


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

  • Money Motivated

    Posted on December 30, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. Mark 11:15-16

    Money motivation is not the best motivation; in fact it can make you down right miserable. It frustrates you and those around you because money-motivated people are never content. They have an insatiable desire for the next deal or the next opportunity to make more. An all-consuming desire for money leads you to compromise common sense and character. Ironically, your family suffers the most even when your desire is for them to enjoy the benefits money may produce. Moreover, money-motivated individuals stoop as low as using the Lord to line their pockets. Religion and church become means for cash creation. This angers God, for He is moved by righteous indignation when His bride is prostituted for worldly purposes. The church is a conduit for Christ, not a clearinghouse for economic gain. It is a house of prayer (Isaiah 56:7).

    He is greatly grieved when money becomes the driving force of any institution or individual. A church bound up in debt is destined for ineffectiveness. If the Bride of Christ is preoccupied with paying the bills, then the mission will be watered down and even ignored. Money-driven ministries miss the opportunity to trust God and wait on Him to provide in ways that exceed human capability. Businesses that are driven by bottom line performance alone contribute to an unhealthy company culture. People are willing to work somewhere for less if they know the culture has a much bigger vision than just making money. There is so much more to life and work than money (Matthew 6:25).

    Money motivation is the antithesis of mission motivation. The latter has a greater purpose in mind. The focus is on excellent work accompanied by eternal expectations. The mission is what drives you to do more, because a transcendent spark ignites within your soul. Money becomes a result, not a reason, when the mission creates a culture of care and collaboration. The mission gives you permission to say no. Enterprises and individuals are defined more by what they say no to than by what they say yes to. A well-focused team makes it a habit to defend the mission. There is a discipline in decision-making that characterizes mission-driven people and organizations. Paul said, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal…” (Philippians 3:13-14a).

    Mission is the master of money, so focus on the mission of your Master, Jesus, and you will be much more productive in the long run. Mission motivation keeps you trustworthy, effective, and blessed by God.

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, keep my heart purely motivated by Your mission and not by money.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 56:7; Matthew 6:25; Philippians 3:13

    Post/Tweet today: People are willing to work somewhere for less, if they know the culture has a much bigger vision than just making money. #moneymotivated

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Mark, Money

  • What's Mine to Do?

    Posted on December 30, 2013 by Family Christian

    Renee Stearns

    "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

    As I stood on a barren hillside in an ancient land, I felt small. My husband Rich and I were staying overnight in a small village in the West Bank – an area occupied by the Israeli government but populated by Palestinian communities. We were there to see how World Vision was helping to fight poverty and bring peace to this hurting and isolated community.

    That hillside had once been covered with olive groves, but Israeli forces replaced them with a security wall. Proponents claim the wall was necessary for protection, but it cut through the middle of communities, separating neighbors from their jobs, schools and each other. The ancient olive groves were just another casualty of generations of conflict.

    The community had purchased replacement trees, but they stood in plastic buckets rather than in the ground, presumably so they could be moved if construction vehicles came back.

    Earlier that day, I had hiked among the buckets with Rawah, a high school senior who was leaving soon to attend university. As we walked, she shared her dreams for the future, exuding the optimism every young student should have.

    Other community members were skeptical. "What's the use?" one villager asked me. "Our children have no future. They go to university and then return home prepared to do jobs that don't exist. They become tour guides instead of world leaders."

    Here, it seemed, children's futures were no safer than the olive trees.

    The conflict between Israel and Palestine is complicated. Its roots go back millennia. Since modern Israel's birth, the relationship has often been violent. Unsurprisingly, the vulnerable have suffered the most.

    And here I was, in the middle of it, meeting people whose lives were threatened by an ancient struggle that was bigger and more complicated than any of us.

    When confronted with a situation that's too big for me to handle, or when frustrated by the sheer injustice of something happening right in front of me, I used to tell myself, "This is not mine to fix."

    Sometimes that helped me remember I'm not always responsible for making everything right. However, sometimes it was an excuse to do nothing.

    Do you ever feel that way? Are the problems confronting the world, your community or even your family just too big to get your mind and arms around?

    Turn to God's Word and the reminder that Paul gives us in Philippians 4:13, "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (NIV) God has given us the strength we need, to do whatever He has called us to do.

    With God's wisdom and strength, I'm learning to ask: "What is mine to do?"

    For me, the answer was to help give a face to the conflict. I know I can't bring peace to the Middle East, but I can help people better understand that the lives of real men and women, boys and girls – on both sides of the conflict – are at stake. That, I can do.

    Don't give into the temptation to do nothing because you can't do everything. God doesn't call us to fix every problem, but He does call us to do something. Find out what that is and then, in His strength, do it with all your heart.

    Dear Heavenly Father, our world is so broken. But You've empowered each of us to do something to help heal it in Your Name. We can't do everything but You've entrusted us with something. Help us to identify our assignment and to seek Your strength to carry it out. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What are some problems you believe God is calling you to do something about?

    What can you do to address these problems? What must you entrust to God or others?

    Power Verses:
    Matthew 9:36-38, "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'" (NIV)

    Matthew 11:28-30, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Renee Stearns. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Thomas Nelson Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


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

  • Be Still

    Posted on December 29, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”   Psalm 46:10

    Be still with your Savior, for it positions you to see and hear God. Stillness sets you free from busyness that can betray your trust in God. It is hard to be still in a society that values busyness and suspects stillness. We are made to feel guilty if we are not constantly on the go. Why else would we stay habitually connected to computers and caffeine? However, busyness is not a badge of honor, but a sad and seductive addiction. Overdone busyness is a lack of focus on God and His provision. However to “be still” is the standard for serious followers of Jesus.

    Be still and rest; Be still and reflect; Be still and think; Be still and pray; Be still and write; Be still and enjoy your family; Be still with no agenda; Be still and see things more clearly; Be still and know He is God. Being still is an investment that pays into eternity. Practicing stillness regularly means you trust God with the big things such as relationships, the future, finances, family, a job, and your health. Stillness also means you come to understand the small things and don’t sweat them because you know your Savior is in control. Stillness aligns our hearts with Almighty God. It is in our expressive stillness that we muse on His grace.

    Yes, there are seasons of busyness that make stillness seem foreign. An infant requires intense attention. A move to another home involves significantly increased activity. Launching a business or a ministry is an all-consuming affair. Starting something new most likely means you are extremely busy. However, do not use your busyness as an excuse to ignore God. Push back from your fatigue that comes from forgetting to be still. In your busyness, you can still carve out time with Christ to be still. Busyness is not meant to be a habit; it’s meant to be for a time. You are not designed to stay there. You move on and don't allow busyness to backlog. You pass through busyness on the way to being still.

    Lastly, fill your stillness with the significance of knowing God. This is a potent perspective that facilitates faith and trust in the Lord. It is here that you are humbled with a massive dose of dependency on divine guidance and wisdom. It is in your stillness that you see God for who He is, high and lifted up, deserving of your honor, praise, and adoration. The sovereignty of God screams in your stillness.

    God grows bigger when you slow down and rest in the shadow of His stature. It is in your stillness that you see the unseen activity of the Almighty. The Holy Spirit is melting hard hearts. He is orchestrating authorities in your life to bend them and you toward God. He is drawing men and women to Himself in the middle of Christless cultures. Stillness shows you what your Savior is up to, and gives us a lively hope that can be yours. Stillness shows you the way. Stillness is God’s way of working with you. Stillness saves time. Be still, and you will see Him exalted among the nations and in the earth. Stillness knows God.

    Post/Tweet today: Stillness sets you free from busyness that can betray your trust in God. #bestill

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • Saved to Serve

    Posted on December 28, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:9–10).

    An affluent society can easily succumb to selfish Christianity. An inward-focused behavior feels it is entitled to be served rather than to serve. It happens at home, with work, at school, with government, in local communities, and, sadly, even at church. Affluence provides the expedient option of giving money but not precious time.

    Yet the heart of Jesus Christ is selfless in service, doing good for others without expecting anything in return. So as seasoned followers of our Savior Jesus, we have to ask ourselves, “Is my desire to be served or to serve?” “Am I volunteering at church to serve fellow believers?” “Do I give my time in ministry to care for those outside the faith?” The example of Jesus is to be a servant of all—even the ultimate sacrifice of death.

    “And whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:44–45).

    Death to our self-centered motivations makes us a candidate in the Lord’s service business. Customers of Christ constantly call in with complaints, needs, and fears. Their rent or house payment may be past due, their electricity about to be cut off, their daughter pregnant out of wedlock, or their son addicted to drugs and alcohol.

    You do not have to be an expert to listen and pray with someone who is confused and hurting. It only takes availability and the ability to care. Faith is a verb, or it is not real faith at all. If my behavior does not back my beliefs, I really do not believe. I only say I believe. However, faith in action looks for opportunities to serve in the name of Jesus.

    What is your personal ministry? Is it a ministry of prayer? Has God called you to short-term or long-term missions? Perhaps you can volunteer one day a week at a nursing home or tutor inner-city children after school. Do for one what you would like to do for everyone. Quality service affects one person at a time for God’s glory. He gave us His matchless grace so we might magnify His glory in selfless service to the saved and the unsaved.

    “Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else” (2 Corinthians 9:13).

    Prayer: What is my personal ministry to others on behalf of Jesus Christ?

    Related Readings: Joshua 22:5; 1 Samuel 12:24; Psalm 116:16; Ephesians 6:6–8

    Post/Tweet today: Faith is a verb, or it is not real faith at all. Our behavior backs up our beliefs. #savedtoserve

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • Love Listens

    Posted on December 27, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” Mark 9:7

    A heart full of love listens first to the Lord. There is a humility that remembers God created two ears and one mouth for a reason. The tongue untempered by love is a prime target for the tempter, Satan himself. However, love longs to listen and understand what Christ says, before making conversation. Words incubated in a heart of love have a positive affect on hearers. Love listens to Jesus before jumping to judgment.

    We need the words of our heavenly Father to work out our wrong thinking, before we share potentially abrasive words. For example, we pause during family conflict to contemplate Christ’s teaching to be peacemakers. We become a voice of reason and patience where angry words have broken trust and erased respect. We listen to both sides and then offer solutions based on forgiveness and an ongoing process of godly counsel.

    “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” Luke 6:27

    Furthermore, listen to others even when you don’t feel you are being heard. Your patient love does not have to make its point, because listening to and understanding the other person’s viewpoint is more important. As you lovingly listen you learn, from friends and enemies alike. Your quieted spirit becomes a student of anyone you meet. Perhaps you learn kindness from a cashier or acceptance from a greeter. Love listens and learns.

    Love is slow to speak and quick to listen. It doesn’t seek to impress people with its smart and clever speech. Instead, it carries a conversation with emotional comfort and caring words. You are most comfortable in your own skin when your goal is to first listen to the Lord and then His precious children. Lovingly listen, some will invite your influence into their life. Consecrate your conversations to Christ and He will speak.

    “But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.” Hebrews 1:2

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, use me to lovingly listen to You and Your children.

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 30:20; Isaiah 55:3; Proverbs 10:19; James 1:19, 2:5

    Post/Tweet today: Consecrate your conversations to Christ and He will speak. #listen

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • A Quiet Place to Rest

    Posted on December 27, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.'" Mark 6:31 (NIV)

    "I want honey in my tea! And a lemon slice too! Oh, and can I use Great-Grandma's teacup, pretty please? I'll be careful," my then five-year-old daughter sweetly asked as we were enjoying our afternoon mother-daughter ritual.

    Each day while her two baby brothers napped, we pulled out china teacups and saucers from my collection and sipped herbal tea while I read a book out loud to her.

    This afternoon she was asking permission to use an heirloom piece that had been passed down through four generations in my mother's family. While I knew my little girl would be careful with the antique pink and white china cradled in her little hands, something else made me deny her request. I tried explaining it to her.

    "Sweetheart, I know you'll be careful, but we can't have hot tea in that cup. It has cracks. See?"

    I showed her a few tiny, hairline fractures on the side near the handle. It wasn't cracked all the way through and could actually still hold water without leaking. However, if hot liquid were to be poured into it, the crack would give way, causing the petite cup to shatter. (Been there. Broke that!)

    There was just no way for the fractured piece to withstand the stress of a steaming beverage.

    Our emotional lives are much the same. When we don’t allow time to rest and regroup from the stresses of life, we allow cracks in our spirit that make us emotionally and spiritually fragile. We keep going at break-neck speeds, rarely slowing down long enough to be refreshed.

    Mark 6:31 highlights the fact that even Jesus Himself found it important to get away for a while, to slow down and cease activity. The Bible records this event, "Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest'" (NIV).

    Jesus urged His disciples to get to a quiet place. In doing so they would find rest. Being alone and quiet would restore their weary spirits.

    For many of us, the stretch between Thanksgiving to New Years Day is a whirlwind of activity. In our fast-paced society, we rarely are intentional to create a quiet place and spend time resting. As a result, stress chisels away, creating tiny cracks that although barely visible, could cause us to shatter under the go-go-go pressures of everyday life, much less the holidays.

    Let's purpose to take time to slow down, get away, and rest. To find solitude in a hushed place alone with our Savior, even if only for an hour.

    If we make time to answer Jesus' call to go away with Him to a quiet place, we can crack-proof our spirits, making them strong and rendering us ready to handle life. A few quiet moments spent with Him can help make us strong enough to fulfill God’s assignments for us this season.

    Dear Lord, help me intentionally carve out time to reconnect with You in a quiet spot. I know You are waiting. I want to seek Your face and find true rest. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Remember a time when you got away for rest and quiet. What did it do for you emotionally?

    Why don't you get alone or seek a quiet place more often? List some things, people, or activities that prevent you from doing so. Now, make plans to seek a quiet time soon. Write it on your calendar and keep your appointment with God.

    Power Verse:
    Matthew 7:25, "The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn't collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. (HCSB)

    © 2013 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


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

  • Love Obeys

    Posted on December 26, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3

    Christ’s commands are not burdensome, but blessing. Man’s expectations can be an unbearable weight of unattainable actions. Like a backpack of bricks, the rigid control of proud leaders enslaves hearts. But joy and peace are the fruit of following hard after what Jesus wants. The yoke of Christ brings freedom, security and rest. Thus, the ultimate expression of love for God is obedience to God. Genuine love gladly obeys the Lord.

    Furthermore, our love for the Lord matures as our love for His law grows in intensity and intimacy. How can we say we love God if we remain ignorant of His Word? Our precious Bible is a manual of how to love the Lord well. He defines what makes Him feel loved: reverent worship, joyful praise, humble prayers, forgiveness, generosity to the poor, caring for widows and orphans, proclaiming the gospel and training up the faithful.

    “Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” Psalm 119:165

    Is your love for God an expression of your obedience to God? Indeed, you will be tempted to try the world’s ways and wander away from the Almighty’s path of purity. Grace is the gravel God places under your shoes of faith so you won’t stumble on Satan’s slippery path of deception. Trust gives you traction to follow Jesus. Do what Christ expects and you can expect His energy to empower your actions. Obedience pays!

    What command is Christ asking you to keep? Perhaps you need to forgive another as God, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven you. A money matter may be haunting your happiness and it is time to write off the debt without writing off the debtor. Pray without ceasing, give without regrets, believe without doubting, love without conditions and forgive without expectations. Your obedience to God is an indicator of your love for God. Thus, by grace, obey well. Freedom is the fruit of following Jesus. Your obedience helps others obey!

    “If you love me, keep my commands.” John 14:15

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the courage to follow the commands of Christ.

    Related Readings: Joshua 22:5; John 14:21-23; 1 John 2:3-5; Revelation 14:12

    Post/Tweet today: Grace is the gravel God places under your shoes of faith so you won’t stumble on Satan’s slippery path of deception. #grace

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 1 John

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