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Daily Devotion

  • Adjusting Our Holiday Focus

    Posted on December 18, 2012 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie Miles

    "But the Lord said to her, My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:41-42 (NLT)

    As I stared at the wood floor covered in shattered ornaments and tangled lights, tears welled in my eyes. The frustration and sadness over my fallen Christmas tree had finally pushed me to the breaking point. This wasn't the first time my carefully decorated tree had crashed to the floor that week. It was the fourth.

    After securing our top-heavy tree in its stand, my family and I hung decorations on each branch. When finished, we turned on the sparkling lights and stepped back to gaze at our accomplishment.

    We cherished that moment ... and did our best to cherish it again after the second round of decorating. But after the tree fell a third time and the surviving ornaments were sparse, the task of decorating became a chore.

    When the tree crashed in the middle of the night—for the fourth time—I loudly vowed to never have a Christmas tree again.

    I let that tree steal my Christmas joy, and replaced it with frustration and a small dose of anger. Winning the battle with this tree had consumed way more of my energy and emotions than it should have. Before I knew it, I'd completely lost my focus on what really mattered.

    In Luke 10:41-42, Jesus tells Martha she's lost focus. Martha was so consumed with planning the perfect dinner party for Jesus, and making sure she completed all her important tasks, she was too distracted with 'things' to make Jesus her focal point. She also got frustrated with her sister Mary's lack of help, which left her feeling agitated and upset.

    So when she voiced her irritation to Jesus, He quickly, yet gently, reminded Martha that she was worried about details that didn't matter. He wasn't concerned with fancy food, a perfectly decorated house, or clean kitchen. He wasn't impressed with all the 'things' she was doing. He only wanted her to realign her priorities and fix her attention on Him.

    Christmas is when we turn our focus to the birth of Jesus. Yet it's often where we get most distracted by a variety of 'things.' We stress about what gifts to buy and how much they will cost. We fret over what to wear to parties. We feel anxious about gaining a few pounds from indulging in holiday goodies. We work ourselves into a tizzy decorating. We cook and clean to prepare for special guests.

    We can be concerned about many things and forget to be centered on the One who really matters.

    Just as Martha allowed busyness to cause her to lose focus on Jesus, we can fall into that trap during the holidays. However, it may not always be activities that distract, but concerns over finances, stress over family get-togethers, or yes, even an unstable Christmas tree. It's easy to inadvertently let the chaos of the season lure us away from the joy found in Jesus, the most important thing.

    Let's be deliberate to adjust our focus this year on the birth of our sweet Savior, and avoid being engulfed by holiday stress. This change of heart could be the start of a great tradition. One where we remember to celebrate that Jesus truly is the reason for the season.

    Dear Lord, I can tend to get stressed during the holidays. Help me adjust my focus to stay on You, and not get distracted or frustrated by problems or obligations during the Christmas season. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    In her new book, Stressed-Less Living: Finding God's Peace in Your Chaotic World, Tracie Miles helps you assess the toll that stress might be taking on your heart, mind and body throughout the year, not just at Christmas. If you'd like to learn how to tap into God's peace in the midst of stressful times, click here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you allowed a frustration or disappointment to pull you away from focusing on the reason to celebrate Christmas?

    It's not too late to adjust your holiday plans or activities so you can stay focused on Jesus, not all the holiday distractions.

    Power Verse:
    Colossians 3:2, "Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth." (NLT)

    © 2012 by Tracie Miles. 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 Luke, Holiday

  • Man of Prayer

    Posted on December 17, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.” Luke 1:13

     

    Men who pray serve a big God. They are not confused regarding their role of depending on Christ and His role to release His wisdom. Praying men rest assured that Almighty God has got it. They take heart that the Lord Almighty, who created the heavens and the earth, can create opportunities and give guidance under the Holy Spirit’s leadership. Prayer puts a man in a position to gain knowledge of the Holy Spirit, and how to act on that knowledge. Prayer produces wisdom.

    Are your family and friends under the canopy of your prayers in Jesus’ name? Your private prayers are the first line of defense for your loved ones. Do you call them by name to the One who named mankind? Pray for your wife to feel confident in her inner beauty in Christ. Pray for your child to stand firm in his faith under the enemy’s fire. Pray for opportunities to be like Jesus and share Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. 

    “And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.” Colossians 4:3

    We pray as desperate men, because we are desperate for God. We pray as confident men, because our focus is on our heavenly Father. We pray weeping, when our hearts our heavy. We pray praising, when our hearts are grateful. We pray in faith, because our trust is in the Faithful One. We pray because Abraham, David, Zechariah and Jesus all prayed.

    Therefore, persevere in your prayers--especially when heaven seems silent. Keep your eyes on Jesus, He will not let you down. Pray more for the needs of others in unselfish service. Your prayers matter to God and they matter to those you mention to God. Your prayers matter to you as they mature your faith. Pray as your first priority and not your last resort. Trust the Lord as a praying man and He will trust you with His favor.

    “The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.” Psalm 6:9

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, my prayer is to be a man of prayer, for Your glory.

    Related Readings: Psalm 90:1, 109:4; Daniel 9:21; 2 Corinthians 1:11; 7:5

    Post/Tweet today: We pray as desperate men, because we are desperate for God. #prayer

    © 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 Psalm, Luke, Colossians, Prayer

  • The Hardest Days — God Uses Them for Good

    Posted on December 17, 2012 by Sharon Glasgow

    Sharon Glasgow

    "You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples." Psalm 77:14 (NIV 1984)

     

    Our Christmas festivities came to a halt last year when a speeding car slammed into us at a stoplight. Presents, goodies and Christmas lists crashed to the floor. Thankfully the rescue squad and police arrived quickly and requested we go to the hospital.

    However, we were hours from home and had a million things left on our holiday to-do list. With reservation, and minimalizing the bumps and bruises, we agreed we felt fine, and the emergency crew let us leave.

    But my husband Dale really didn't feel well. By the next morning that "not right" feeling took center stage. We sensed something was seriously wrong with his heart.

    In less than one full day, we ended up calling 911 twice. Again they responded quickly, sending a rescue team to our home. My husband Dale, with me by his side, was rushed to the emergency room.

    Thankfully we weren't alone. My brother-in-law Tom followed behind the ambulance with our daughters. And our friend Todd heard what was going on and also headed to the hospital.

    While waiting in the emergency room, Todd and Tom talked about the mission Tom leads in East Africa. He explained how he was looking for resources to help put wells in place for thousands who don't have access to clean water. Todd recalled a conversation he'd had with a friend just the night before. Amazingly, she'd shared her deep desire to fund, of all things, wells in Africa.

    Without missing a beat, Todd called his friend and explained Tom's needs for the people of East Africa. This generous woman immediately gave money to dig wells that would serve 5000 people.

    While God was orchestrating the miracle of clean water, He was also performing a healing on my husband. The doctors recorded that Dale had suffered a heart attack caused by the car accident. Our family and friends prayed over him and incredibly he began to feel as good as new. The next day the diagnosis "heart attack" was wiped off Dale's chart and the doctor's released him to go home. He was healed!

    What a whirlwind of activity! In less than 24 hours we'd been in a wreck, Dale was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with a heart attack, a connection was made that provided thousands with clean water in Africa, and Dale was released from the hospital with a clean bill of health, completely healed!

    I'll be honest—those 24 hours were awfully hard to endure and totally derailed my holiday plans. I wouldn't want to go through them again. Car accidents and emergency hospital visits aren't something anyone ever wants, especially during Christmas. It's supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year!

    In the moment it was incredibly difficult, yet in hindsight it all actually was wonderful. During a time of the year when we celebrate one of God's greatest miracles—the birth of Jesus—we got to witness several awe-inspiring miracles. God used the very hard circumstances we went through to display His power ... not only in that local hospital to save Dale's life, but also to people across the world, saving many lives in Africa through clean water.

    Let's be on the lookout during this holiday season to see the Lord at work. His Word promises in Psalm 77:14 that God performs miracles and shows His power. How is He doing those things in your life today?

    Dear Lord, open my eyes to what You are doing in the middle of circumstances that are outside o f my plans. Help me to keep my eyes on You and Your power over all things. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    For a fresh way to read Scripture, you might enjoy the Chronological Bible.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you had circumstances happen that weren't what you planned for Christmas? Have you seen God working through the hardships?

    Ask Him to show you how He will use it for good.

    PowerVerses:
    Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (NKJV)

    Exodus 15:11, "Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?" (NIV 1984)

    © 2012 by Sharon Glasgow. 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 Psalm, Sharon Glasgow

  • Perseverance Pattern

    Posted on December 16, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Surely God is my help, the Lord is the one who sustains me. Psalm 54:4

     

    Our Savior sustains us by His strength. Christ causes us to carry on with His compassionate care. Our Heavenly Father is forever loving us to Himself; and then sending us forth into the fray by faith. And the Holy Spirit is our Helper (Romans 8:26). The Lord leverages our life for His longevity. His desire is for us to not give in or give up. He is a God of determination and He expects His children to do the same. Indeed, the Almighty’s aid is better than all the help of men. Heaven’s help stands ready to sustain you. It is in prayer that you perceive God’s help and persevere. Perseverance is a product of seeing your circumstances from Christ’s perspective. It produces peace and a quiet confidence (Isaiah 32:17). Indeed we have a divine champion in whom we can be confident. 

    We have no need to fret because our Heavenly Father is here to help. Sometimes the pressures at work pour over you like the constant pelting of golf ball size hail. You are bruised; beat up and unsure of yourself. The nick picking of people makes you feel like you are about to be nibbled to death by ducks. Nothing seems to be going right so you begin to conclude that you need to quit. However, don’t quit before God is done with you. His ‘will’ may be for you to persevere in your pain. The Bible teaches, “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Hebrews 10:36). Hang in there so you don’t miss out on what heaven has for you. God’s best may be yet to come. Furthermore, we persevere in our pain in order to grow our character. Paul understood this principle of perseverance. He said, “…we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4).

    God is our help in times of trouble. He is whom we trust. We persevere when we see Him. It is easy for our eyesight to become preoccupied with problems. Our immediate issues can overwhelm us, if we allow them that unhealthy level of influence. But the Lord would rather have us linger with Him. Replace unproductive time of worry with productive time in prayer. When you gaze on God fears fade away. The writer of Hebrews captured this confidence in the life of Moses, “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27).

    Little do we care for the defiance of our foes when we have the defense of God.
    God’s grace will sustain you. His grace is sufficient for your specific situation. You can move forward by faith. Do not allow this financial set back to keep you from going to God. He owns everything. He has what you need to make it through this transition. God is already on your side, so stay by His. You have His mammoth mercy and loving kindness to draw on in your discouragement. The help of people comes and goes, but the Lord perseveres with you, so you can persevere with Him. Your Savior, not stuff, is your sustainer. Be encouraged by heaven’s help. Remain steadfast with God. He is... with you!

    Taken from Reading #40 in the 90-day devotional book, “Seeking God in the Psalms”... http:// bit.ly/InvUdR

    Post/Tweet this today: Our Savior sustains us by His strength. Christ causes us to carry on with His compassionate care. #care

    © 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 Psalm, Romans, Hebrews, Isaiah, Perseverance

  • Pride Humbled

    Posted on December 15, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything He does is right and all His ways are just. And those who walk in pride He is able to humble” (Daniel 4:37).

     

    Pride will eventually give way to humility. It may not happen overnight. It may have to follow a painful process, because pride can be very, very stubborn. Like an embedded splinter deep in the flesh of your foot, it is hard to remove. You cannot remove it alone, and there is constant throbbing and pain until it is extracted.

    This is the plight of pride. Pain and suffering are its cohorts. Pride provides a false sense of security. Spiritually minded people know it is only a matter of time until a fall, as pride will catch up with you. Humility was once a staple in your spiritual diet, but success has squelched your humility and subtly replaced it with pride. Authority without accountability generates pride.

    The more authority you possess, the more you are required to submit to accountability. Otherwise, you cannot handle this freewheeling power. Your behavior defaults to pride without the checkmate of humility. This is true in relationships, business, ministry, and churches. Beware of obsessing over control.

    Paranoia is an application of pride. You are fearful of losing control. It is better to hand over control than to lose control. Humility gives control, while pride grasps for it. So be open and humble about your insecurities. We are all insecure to some degree. Humility builds security, and pride tears it down. The humble have nothing to hide. So root out pride, replacing it with humility.

    The process of pride’s removal begins with submission to Christ. It is acknowledging His lordship and ownership over your life. He is in control. He is large and in charge. Nothing in your life has sneaked up on God. He can be trusted. He holds your life, family, health, and career in His hand. You start by humbly bowing to God with your head and heart. He is to be feared and loved.

    You have the awesome opportunity to worship and adore Him. When you walk with God, you walk in humility. Pride cannot coexist in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. Pride is extinguished in the presence of Jesus. Pride is like a roach lurking in the dark recesses of your heart. The Holy Spirit’s light reveals pride and convicts you during times of prayer and Scripture meditation.

    The second offense to pride is praying people. Ask people to pray for humility to infiltrate and occupy your life. You want the occupation of humility on the soil of your heart and mind. Be transparent with others about your sins and shortcomings. Talk about them with the motive for change.

    Humble yourself, and trust God to humble others. It is easy to recognize pride in others while it is still looming in your spirit. Run from spiritual pride. It is the worst kind. It is insidious. It is self-righteousness in nature, and it chokes the Holy Spirit. Humility grows in an environment of honesty, openness, prayer, and change. Be a change agent on behalf of the humble. Humble pride!

    “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:5–6).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me walk in humility of heart and mind.

    Related Readings: Exodus 10:3; 2 Kings 22:19; Romans 12:3; Philippians 2:1–11

    Taken from the December 15th reading in the new 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God” vol. 2... … http://bit.ly/Tv6y9a

    Post/Tweet: Authority without accountability creates pride. #pride

    © 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 Peter, Daniel, Humility

  • A Gift for Him

    Posted on December 14, 2012 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    "Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God..." Psalm 50:14a (NLT)

    I love presents. It's not about what is in the package, but unwrapping the surprise and knowing a loved one thought of me when they chose it.

    I also love giving gifts. Recently I found a very old package of baseball cards at an estate sale. They were less than five dollars, and I know they will light up my son's face when he opens his stocking on Christmas day.

    As Christmas approaches, gift giving is on our minds. We draw names. We plan out the Christmas list. Some of us get up before the sun to find incredible sales.

    But as the actual day approaches, there is one gift we can give that is meaningful.

    We can thank God.

    Long before the cross, people labored to find the perfect gift to give Him. They brought sacrifices to honor God, but in Psalm 50:14a we hear a plea: "Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God..." It is a heart plea of a God who desires an intimate relationship with His people.

    What could happen if this Christmas we offered Him exactly what is on His list?

    I believe it would shift our heart away from our stressful to-do lists to thank Him for all the miracles around us.

    God, thank You for my child who is healthy.

    Thank You for my husband who loves us all so well.

    Thank You for this hot meal prepared by hands of love.

    God, have I told You how grateful I am for the warm home and covers to sleep under at night?

    As we begin to offer our gifts of thankfulness, like layers of sparkling tissue paper, more is revealed beneath. We dig deeper to see all that we've received.

    Thank You, God, that You saw me as a young teen and showed me love.

    Thank You for that time at my son's hospital bed that You helped me make it through one more night.

    Thank You for the time I needed mercy and found it in Your presence.

    Christmas is a celebration of the ultimate gift, but family, finances, or just plain ole stress can cause this special day to dim. Offering up a gift of thankfulness has the power to give those things their rightful place as gratitude rises to the top.

    Will you join me between now and December 25th to hold up a daily gift of thanks to Him?

    Dear Lord, Christmas often gets lost in all the busyness and details, but for today I will stop and offer you a gift. I am grateful for all the good things You have given. Help me to celebrate this season with a heart of gratitude. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Stress-Lessed Living by Tracie Miles

    Reflect and Respond:
    "Thou who hast given so much to me, give me one more thing - a grateful heart!"
    ~ George Herbert

    If gratitude doesn't come easily, begin to offer up a "sacrifice" of praise (Hebrews 13:15) daily. Let the words of your mouth convince your heart.

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 50:23, "But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God." (NLT)

    © 2012 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 Psalm, Christmas

  • Path of Peace

    Posted on December 13, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “To shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” Luke 1:79
    Jesus the Prince of Peace, was born on earth to provide for His people a path of peace. The path is wrought with rocks, steep hills, pelting rain, shades of night and distinct crossroads. However, regardless of the resistance encountered on the Lord’s path, there is an inner peace to the sometimes doubtful and weary traveler. Yes, the foundation of tranquility is trust in Christ. His light on life’s path brings steps of peace to faithful feet.

     

    Are you stumbling through life in need of a Savior or are your feet of faith planted on the solid ground of salvation? Your docile feet can find confidence with dependency on the Lord. Your soiled feet can be cleansed and refreshed by His forgiveness. Your tired feet can enjoy a comforting massage from your Master Jesus. Your fast feet may need to slow down and your slow feet may need to speed up. Ask God to guide your next wise step. 

    “Her ways [wisdom’s] are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.” Proverbs 3:17

    Beams of light from your belief in God will show you the way. The dark world is scary and sometimes confusing, but the Light of the world illumines peace and clarity on your prayerful path. Like a flashlight your faith burns bright. There is a shadow of death that eventually eclipses us all—but those in Christ wake up to the brightness of His presence!

    Therefore, choose the narrow, well-lit path of peace and avoid the wide, darkened path of turmoil. The route of the majority tends to major on the minors, but God’s righteous remnant walk in His light of love with illuminating intimacy. Stay the course of your convictions and your Savior Jesus will show you the way. He came to earth under a peaceful canopy of heaven’s candles and He will return in a blaze of blinding glory!

    “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I trust you to keep me on your path of peace in Christ.

    Related Readings: Psalm 56:13; Isaiah 59:8; Matt. 11:28-30; John 8:12; Romans 3:17

    Post/Tweet today: The foundation of tranquility is trust in Christ. #peace

    © 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 Proverbs, Luke, Peace

  • The Slop Bucket

    Posted on December 13, 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa Terkeurst

    "Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken." Psalm 55:22 (NIV)

    Recently I met a friend for coffee.

    This is one of the great bonuses of having my son home from college. He needs money. I need time. My daughters need activity. So he took them to an indoor fun center that is the delight to many a child.

    Not that I was feeling like I needed a break from all the family togetherness.

    But my friend needed me.

    So, we met and chatted and processed a situation I wish we didn't have to process — mean people.

    I know I should say that people aren't mean. Sometimes people just do mean things.

    And I know there are always two sides to every story. Glory be do I ever realize there are two sides. But during the holidays when "nice" is usually served up in high fashion, even the slightest meanness can seem really huge.

    And knowing that in years past, my friend had spent way too many days crying during the holidays made me sad. For her. For the people who were mean to her during this time. For the reality that we Christians can be mean sometimes. We can be sharp and cutting and too tired to find the right words.

    Not long ago, I got an email from someone who was too tired to find the right words. I still don't understand what caused her to be in such a tiff. And though I made my fingers type words back to her that were gentle and graceful, I will admit that what I really wanted to do was get in her face and tell her a thing or two. Boy did I have the perfect comeback. Because I can be mean. Just like those people who hurt my friend.

    We are all more alike than we care to admit.

    And not that I want to wax philosophical today, but here I go anyhow.

    There's a bucket inside each heart where hurts are dumped. Little hurts, big hurts, past hurts—they all get dumped into this slop bucket. We think we're fine because the hurts are contained. We think we've dealt with the hurts because they aren't rising to the surface that often. But then someone comes along and kicks that slop bucket with a mean word or two and it spills over.

    Sloshing. Spilling. Leaking. Staining. And every word we speak in response carries some of what's in our slop bucket.

    So here's the thing.

    Slop can be good if it's been turned into compassion. Some people have let Jesus touch their slop, mixing in mercy, grace, forgiveness, and a love that reaches just beyond what we're capable of on our own.

    But too many of us have let our slop bucket sit and ferment in pride, resistance, our right to be right, and bitterness that cuts off our potential to grow into the woman we're designed to become. So, instead of compassion, the harshest judgment drips out with each of our words.

    Compassion. Judgment. The reality that every girl has a slop bucket.

    These are good things to think about over coffee when you've sent your kids away to play.

    Dear Lord, You are worthy to be praised! Help me lean on You to heal all of my hurts and frustrations. I know that only You can change my slop into compassion, and for that I am grateful. Soften my heart, Lord, and continue to transform me into the woman You designed me to become. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Lysa TerKeurst's New York Times best selling book, Unglued, will help you learn how to control your emotions and reactions in any situation.

    Give the gift that keeps on giving! Your friends will thank you when you purchase an Unglued Bible Study bundle for all of you to enjoy together.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you been allowing God to mix love and compassion into your slop bucket?

    Write down a real life response you gave to someone while operating out of negative feelings. Underline hurtful words and replace them with helpful ones. Practice this technique several times until reacting in a positive way is more natural than reacting negatively.

    Power Verses:
    Ezekiel 36:26-27, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." (NIV)

    © 2012 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 Psalm

  • Introduction to Jesus

    Posted on December 12, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “You will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.” Luke 1:76-77

     

    Followers of Jesus have the unique opportunity and calling—like John the Baptist—to introduce people to Jesus. The bondage of sin and sorrow can be lifted by belief in the Lord. Yes, outside of the Savior, the soul is secluded and exiled from intimacy with Almighty God. But there is a promised land of peace and forgiveness that Christians can announce to the spiritually needy. An introduction to Jesus opens beautiful vistas of faith. 

    However, our integrity is fundamental to our faith expression. Like Christ’s faithful forerunner John, it is from the Spirit’s fullness that we have moral authority and spiritual support to plant seeds of hope in hurting hearts. Moreover, it’s out of our humility and compassion that we confront injustice and remind offenders of God’s call to repentance. The Christmas season is an ideal time to talk of the ideals Christ came to live and die for.

    “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” 1 Timothy 1:15

    Are you a follower of Jesus worth following? If not, perhaps now is the time to join a support group, install pornographic protection software, go to marriage counseling or break off a relationship. In a word, repent. Your ability to effectively introduce people to Jesus is only limited by your consistent life for Christ. Therefore, make sure the quality of your character keeps up with the quantity of your spiritual conversations.

    You have the cure for the terminal disease of sin. Hence, your knowledge of salvation is not to be kept to yourself, but prayerfully shared with others. The spirit of this Christmas season is an optimal time to give the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. Your part is to introduce seekers to Jesus—your heavenly Father’s part is to draw them to faith. Like a marriage matchmaker you receive great joy by introducing others to Christ!

    “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them.” John 6:44

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, use me to introduce others to saving faith in Jesus.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 40:3; Jeremiah 31:3; Luke 1:17; Acts 8:30-39

    Post/Tweet today: The Christmas season is an ideal time to talk of the ideals Christ came to live and die for. #Christmas

    © 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 Luke, John, 1 Timothy

  • A Sweet and Simple Christmas

    Posted on December 12, 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them." Luke 2:6-7 (NIV)

    Growing up, Christmas celebrations were minimal in my home. My dad was a quiet biology teacher and my mother a hard-working homemaker. Which didn't translate into extravagant parties or gifts. And yet looking back, I don't think I missed a thing ... for it was the sweet and simple practices that meant the most to me.

    For example, each year we bundled up in the car and drove around looking at Christmas lights. We rolled sugar cookie dough and cut it into bells and stars, covered with green and red frosting and sprinkled with colored sugar. It was the days of true tinsel, so decorating was a slow process, as my thrifty mother made us place it strand by strand on the tree (and remove it the same way) to keep it smooth for the next year.

    Christmas Eve included attending the 11 p.m. service, holding little white candles with paper skirts, and singing Silent Night at midnight. And Christmas morning was quiet with stockings and simple gifts, like a felt doll made by an aunt.

    The days leading up to Christmas weren't filled to the brim. Instead there were tender moments sprinkled throughout ... little touches to remind us that something special had happened 2000 years ago. Rather than a time to focus on more, Christmas was a time to be thankful for what we had.

    How different today is — especially with the pull to celebrate Christmas bigger and better each year. Yet, reading Jesus' birth story in Luke, I realize God modeled a much quieter, more grateful way to celebrate Christmas. And I wonder if Jesus' real story, rather than what ads suggest, isn't the best way to honor His birth.

    Luke's story of Jesus' birth tells of a humble people in a modest setting. No comfortable room was available so they made due in a place meant for animals. No one gave Mary a layette for her baby, so she wrapped Him in cloths. And there was no padded crib, instead a food trough was used for Jesus to sleep.

    Yet the angels watched with awe, praising and giving thanks to God. And Mary treasured and pondered all that had happened.

    And I wonder, as we face increasing pressure to commercialize Christmas, if that approach isn't the best way to celebrate Christ's birth. Perhaps rather than shock-and-awe, we need simple and sweet. Might humble and lowly, rather than extravagant, lead us to a place of wonder?

    This Christmas, I'm taking a step back. I'm choosing to make less, more. I'm choosing more quiet, simple, humble, treasuring, pondering moments. Less hurry, more pausing. Less fuss and more focus on the true meaning of Christmas ... a baby born to be a King ... a servant who is Savior ... Emmanuel ... God with us. Amen.

    Dear Lord, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Christmas, help me to pause and focus on what really matters. Help me to experience the joy of Christmas in my heart. Thank You for sending Your son. In His Precious Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    For some simple and sweet reading, consider The Haven by Suzanne Woods Fisher.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What has God done for you this year that you can treasure in your heart and ponder?

    Are there any big Christmas traditions you can let go this year, and replace them with something simple?

    Power Verses:
    John 1:14, "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." (NIV)

    Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer. 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 Luke, Christmas

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