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Daily Devotion

  • Walk in Love

    Posted on December 6, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:2

     

    A walk in love is a walk that imitates Christ’s love. It is a journey with Jesus that stops and stoops down to assist those who have fallen into a ditch of discouragement and despair. It is a stroll with our Savior that seeks out sinners—not in condemnation, but in compassion and forgiveness. A walk in love looks for ways to bless without expecting anything in return. Like Jesus love still loves as it walks through difficulty, even death. 

    Our walk of love looks out for the poor, the widow, the orphan, the single parent, the sick and the sinner who is far from God. We are compelled by Christ to love the lowly and the outcasts of society, because we were once enemies of God in desperate need of love. We can now sing from the depths of our hearts, “Love lifted me, love lifted me!” We were stuck in sin’s pit and love lifted us up to love. Love elevates us to offer grateful love to all.

    “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

    Who do you know who needs a loving word or kind deed? Perhaps you anonymously assist in the yard work or home repair of a single parent or widow in your neighborhood. Love may lead you to quietly pay for the school tuition of a friend’s child who can’t afford to further their education. Pray for ways to creatively use your relationships and resources to bring hope and solutions to other struggling souls. Love is intentional.

    Above all, lean into the Lord’s love as the source of your service and love. Check your motivation and make sure it is for your Master’s glory and from the Spirit’s power. Do people smell your life as a perfume of praise to Jesus? Are you a pleasant aroma of grace and forgiveness? The deeper you develop your love relationship with Christ, the deeper and wider you will love others. Walk in love as a witness to your radical love for God!

    “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, love me deeply so I can love others deeper.

    Related Readings: Leviticus 19:18; Psalm 21:7; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Peter 1:22

    Post/Tweet today: The Lord’s love lifts us up to lift up others in love. #love

    © 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 Ephesians, John, Galatians

  • Why I'm Breaking Up with My "Quiet Time"

    Posted on December 6, 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa Terkeurst

    "You, God, are my God; earnestly I seek You; I thirst for You, my whole being longs for You, in a dry and parched land where there is no water." Psalm 63:1 (NIV)

    I'm taking a break from having a quiet time. Because sometimes I can get in a rut. Even with good things. And having a daily quiet time is a good thing. Until it becomes more about routine than actually connecting with God.

    When God becomes routine rather than revival, it's time to switch things up.

    Otherwise, I might start seeing this time as less important. It becomes the second or third thing I do. After other things. Seemingly more pressing things. Before I know it, it's been days since I connected privately and personally with Truth.

    And then my soul feels a bit off and sluggish. Like when my stomach has been denied food, a desperation starts creeping over other parts of my body. That happens with soul hunger too.

    Only the triggers for stomach hunger are much more apparent. My brain quickly reminds me, "You feel awful because you need to eat."

    Sometimes my brain isn't as quick to pick up on soul hunger. So I just lumber forward but wonder, "What's wrong?" I think of a list of reasons ... I'm tired, I haven't had enough fun, or my butt looks big in these jeans.

    And while some of those things may be true—it's not why I feel off.

    I need more time with God.

    Not more quiet time.

    More listening time. Like the writer in Psalm 63:1 needed. "You, God, are my God; earnestly I seek You; I thirst for You, my whole being longs for You, in a dry and parched land where there is no water." (NIV)

    This morning as I sat with God with nothing but willingness to listen, three things popped into my mind. I can't say "God spoke to me" but it felt right. I need to do some new things as I listen.

    Study wisdom by reading a chapter in Proverbs everyday.
    Ask God to reveal "my verse" for the day and think of ways to apply it. I listen.

    Read something from someone I admire.
    I need to study leadership in this season of my life. So I pick up a book written on this topic by someone I admire and glean from their wisdom. I listen.

    Read something from someone I trust.
    There's a book I'm reading right now that is whimsical and grounded all at the same time. It makes me feel like this writer gets me. They get my struggles and offer up advice I know I can trust. I listen.

    Maybe you think all this still sounds like a quiet time, but to me it's different. It's a listening time. A time to shake things up a bit and get outside my normal routine. A time to listen to God speak. And He does speak ... through His book of wisdom, through someone I admire, and through someone I trust.

    And this morning? My soul felt that thrilling and comforting full feeling. Complete. Satisfied. Deeply nourished.

    Dear Lord, I'm seeking to grow a stronger relationship with You today. Help me to break out of the routine so that I can connect with You and hear You speak. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    It's important to exchange whispers with God before shouts with the world.

    In Lysa TerKeurst's New York Times bestselling book, Unglued, she shares practical ways of spending time with the Lord.

    In the midst of the holiday season, take time to gather with a few trusted girlfriends who get your struggles and study Unglued together. Click here for more information on the Unglued Bible Study bundle.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What do you need to break up with so you can connect more closely and listen more intently to God?

    Write a list of things that you are placing as priorities before your time with God. Consider how you can prioritize so that God comes first, and to make sure that your time with Him isn't just another thing on your "to do" list.

    Power Verses:
    Jeremiah 29:13, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (NIV)

    2 Chronicles 7:14, "... if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (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, Lysa TerKeurst

  • Walk Against Culture

    Posted on December 5, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind.” Ephesians 4:17 NKJV

     

    Followers of Jesus are called to walk against the grain of a Godless culture. Indeed, Christian character is meant to be like a thermostat influencing the spiritual temperature of culture, unlike a thermometer that merely measures the degrees of decadence. Prayerful pursuits are probably not a path of least resistance or conflict free efforts. A walk of intimacy with Jesus and ethical behavior invite push back from culture.

    Our goal is not to create controversy, but to be peacemakers who win over accusers with counter-cultural kindness. However, there are those who may never change, who are quick to categorize our values as narrow, intolerant and insensitive. These skeptical souls need our grace during disagreements and our forgiveness over fractured relationships. Do you have a family situation that requires you to take the high road of restoration?

    “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

    Furthermore, your ultimate opponent is Satan and his menacing demons of deception, distraction and discouragement. You are engaged in a spiritual battle in the heavenly realms that is only overcome by the blood of Christ and His testimony on your behalf. In prayer you boldly confess the blood of Jesus as your salvation and security. A cultural canopy of darkness is lifted by the Lord’s loving light. So, walk empowered by the Spirit.

    Yes, be in the world but not of the world. Be attractively different without being repulsively weird. Your walk against the culture is a mission of mercy that requires perseverance and prayer. Some who dismiss you now will one day search you out in their season of suffering. Culture needs the calm of Christ delivered by your winsome walk with Him. Without apology, model acceptance while risking rejection. Walk wisely.

    “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to walk against the culture as a loving light for You.

    Related Readings: 2 Kings 6:16; John 16:33; Romans 8:31; Ephesians 2:2

    Post/Tweet today: Some who dismiss you now, will one day search you out in their season of suffering. #persevere

    © 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 Ephesians, 1 John, Culture

  • Battle in the Night

    Posted on December 5, 2012 by Lynn Cowell

    Lynn Cowell

    "By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me - a prayer to the God of my life." Psalm 42:8 (NIV)

    How could this have happened? What could I have done to stop it? One of my kids had made a decision that sent my emotions into a tailspin.

    Another sleepless night was upon me; my mind wouldn't shut off. I had done so well during the day, trying to focus my heart and mind on God's promise to make all things work together for good. But as day faded into night, the struggle to trust became more than I could take.

    Many nights as I lie in bed, my mind pulls me into a spiral, tempting me to focus on my troubles. It's then and there that the battle is the most intense. A war is waged between my faith and my fears.

    What if my loved one never knows Jesus?
    Will my kids make the right choices with their peers?
    What can I do for my friend who struggles with cancer?

    Even though my body is still, the battles rage in my heart and mind.

    Do you ever struggle in the quiet of the night? Maybe you have thoughts like: Nobody else has troubles. Other people are just enjoying their lives. Why is mine so hard? The battles we face are real, and rob us of sleep and joy.

    We can take a cue from King David's words in Psalm 42:8. During the day he allowed the Lord's love to direct him. Knowing he was loved gave him the strength to make the hard choices that were the best choices.

    At night he put away all the words and hard thinking and just praised God.

    Might we give David's ways a try and do the same? When the lights are turned out, we can choose a song of praise, arming ourselves with truth and worship for the only One who can carry and fix our troubles. When our minds try to take a turn and go around that problem one more time, let's make the choice to stop and sing (even if only in our heads).

    I gave this a try the other night while stewing over my worries. It reminded me of a sign my mom has in her home. "Give me all your troubles before you go to bed. I'm going to be up anyway." — God.

    Right now, let's pick a song we'll sing at night when trouble comes knocking and worry wants to run rampant in our heart and mind. Make your prayer a song to God and choose a song of praise to sing to Him all day long - from sunrise to late in the evening. Watch your heart go from fear to faith as you trust in the Lord.

    Dear Lord, I feel stronger in the day than in the night. Bring to mind a song of praise I can sing that will lift my heart and cause me to trust in You, morning and night. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Write Psalm 42:8 on an index card. Put it next to your bed to remind you to look to Him as you go to sleep.

    When the lights are turned off, we can choose a song of praise, arming ourselves with truth and worship for the only One who can carry and fix our troubles. When our mind tries to take a turn and go around that problem one more time, we can choose to stop and sing our song of praise.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 94:18-19, "When I said, 'My foot is slipping,' your unfailing love, LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy." (NIV)

    Exodus 15:2, "The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him." (NIV 1984)

    © 2012 by Lynn Cowell. 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, Lynn Cowell

  • Walk in Good Works

    Posted on December 4, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 NASB

     

    Children of God are a work of God. It is His workmanship in Christ that creates good works through His followers. Thus, the Lord has prepared for believers—even before they believe— behaviors that bring glory to Him. In God’s infinite wisdom He knew faith would unlock the desire to serve on His behalf, so He wove into the heart of Christians creative ways to give back. Those who walk in good works reflect the ready work of God.

    Yes, our walk of faith equals a walk in good works. This is why we look for ways in our workplace to give good gifts to our co-workers. Perhaps someone on the job needs help paying their insurance deductible for a medical procedure. We can be a catalyst for Christ to help raise the cash and bless them in their time of need. A good commercial for Christianity is to care about real-time concerns. Our good works bring glory to God’s work.

    “When they see among them their children, the work of my hands, they will keep my name holy; they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob, and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.” Isaiah 29:23

    A walk in good works means you look for ways to bless another human being every day. Maybe it is a casual conversation with a stranger that celebrates their being a cancer survivor. Your daily walk of works exercises your faith and keeps you from becoming spiritually overweight. Unapplied biblical knowledge affects your soul like too many carbohydrates slows your body— it's response is sluggish and insensitive to immediate needs. Yes, a healthy spiritual heart results from regular faith workouts with good works. Love does!

    Therefore, pray and ask the Lord to reveal His good works for you, ones that He has already prepared before you were born. Works produced in your own strength are draining, but works aligned with your heavenly Father’s designed activities just for you—give life, energy and enjoyment. Your walk in good works is a compelling apologetic for Christ! 

    “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 NKJV

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, show me the works you have prepared for me to bless others.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 43:7, 60:21; John 10:32; Acts 9:36; Ephesians 4:24

    Post/Tweet today: Our walk of faith equals a walk in good works. #works

    © 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 Ephesians, Matthew, Isaiah

  • When Your Bag is Heavy and Your Faith Feels Small

    Posted on December 4, 2012 by Emily Freeman

    Emily Freeman

    "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

    New York City is alive with the late fall air. Faith stands next to me, her blonde hair blows across her face just as the carriage pulls in front of us.

    We flew to the city to stay with friends and celebrate Faith's birthday. During this entire trip I've felt a nagging sense of anxiety and worry over what's going on back home. It isn't one thing in particular, but I can't shake the heaviness. I clench my jaw and know I'm carrying around a sense of responsibility to manage things outside of my control.

    It's our turn to ride. We get the carriage pulled by white horses, a detail I feel compelled to mention because it seems the ones pulled by white horses are more important than the ones pulled by regular brown horses.

    The two girlfriends who are with us live here in the city. Though they roll their eyes over the cliché they've become by hanging out with us (A carriage ride through Central Park? Really must we?) they love us enough to climb up and squeeze tight into the red velvet covered benches.

    The black bag on my shoulder is packed to nearly unzippable extremes with my camera, wallet, extra gloves and bottle of water. It's heavy, and my right shoulder aches beneath the weight of it.

    I plop it down on the floor of the carriage just as the wheels begin to move.

    Faith laughs at something the driver says. I watch as she throws back her head and claps her small, gloved hands, my bag sitting at her feet.

    I remember a story I heard a long time ago about a horse and buggy and a man with a heavy load. The man climbs into a horse-drawn buggy and keeps his pack on his back once he sits down.

    When asked if he would like to remove it, he answers, "Oh no, I couldn't do that. I wouldn't want the horse to have to work so hard. I'll just carry it myself."

    I can't help but smile. I can see the ears of the horses in front of me, their heads bobbing up and down carrying me, my girlfriends...and my heavy bag.

    I never once thought to keep my bag strapped to my shoulder so the horses wouldn't have to carry the load. That would be needless, as they were already doing the work. Why should I do it, too?

    Matthew 11:28 comes to mind. Jesus issues an invitation to the weary, the burdened, the heavy-laden. He offers rest from heavy burdens to those of us who insist on carrying bags on carriage rides.

    The clip-clopping of horse hooves tap out a gentle rhythm as we ride. My friends chat and laugh, yellow leaves swirl out from underneath us, and I feel a shift inside my heart.

    The horses aren't just carrying my bag. They're carrying me.

    We have a God who can be trusted with not only our burdens, but also ourselves. He sees and cares and notices.

    He will not come undone.

    He remains un-overwhelmable.

    Dear Lord, gather us up into Your arms with all of our longings, fears, worries and burdens. We admit how futile it is for us to carry these things on our own. May we instead release them into your hands and walk with you by grace through faith. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    If you tend to take on responsibility for things never meant for you to carry, check out Emily Freeman's books, Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try Hard Life.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are you carrying the burden of things you can't control?

    Let's imagine what life could look like if you dared to believe God carried both you and your burdens. How would today be different?

    Power Verses:
    2 Corinthians 12:9-10, "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. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (NIV)

    Psalm 46:10, "Be still, and know that I am God." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Emily P. Freeman. 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, Emily Freeman, Faith

  • Walk By Faith

    Posted on December 3, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    "For we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV

     

    Eyes of faith are for this world, while eyes of sight are for eternity, where we see Jesus face to face—there faith is not necessary. Ironically, if we attempt to walk by sight we are blind to the things of God, but if we walk by faith we can fully see the ways of the Lord. On earth blindness to God breeds confusion, but eyes of faith receive vision and clarity. Thus, walk by faith and watch Him work. 

    For example: forgiving an offender (who has no remorse) seems irresponsible now, but ultimately brings peace through God's forgiveness of us. Or, if the Lord guides you to walk away from a deal, a relationship or a job, do so even if you don't completely understand why. Say no to what you see and yes to what you don't see. Your Savior Jesus has given you spiritual sight to see and act with conviction.

    "For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:12

    Indeed, your view or understanding is not the perception of your heavenly Father's. Like a student observing the master sculptor whose statue is only half hewn out of marble, the gifted artist has the completed masterpiece in his mind's eye, but only reveals the work as it progresses. In the same way, God knows the intricate details of your destination and He makes known to you His plan as is proper. You are a wonderful work of His sculptured grace.

    Your physical eyes grow tired and dim as time rushes by, however your spiritual eyes grow more keenly robust with age. Put on the faith colored glasses of God's grace and you will see things as He wants them to become: a faithful and fun marriage, a job with joy and fulfillment, a clear calling, children who love Jesus and good habits that replace bad. Walk by faith and experience the abundance of Christ's capacity. Let the Lord heal your lame legs of unbelief, then once again walk robustly with Him!

    “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.” Hebrews 11:7

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me daily in a faith walk with Your son Jesus.

    Related Readings: Mark 10:52; 2 Corinthians 4:18; Hebrews 11:1; 1 John 3:2

    Post/Tweet today: Eyes of faith are for this world, while eyes of sight are for eternity where we see Jesus face to face. #faith

    © 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 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Hebrews

  • When You're Wrong, Even Though You're Right

    Posted on December 3, 2012 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy Blight

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

     

    My stomach churned in a mix of grief and anger. I was shocked with disbelief. A Bible study leader I knew had blatantly disobeyed God's truths. I was frustrated, and honestly I was angry, too.

    Righteous anger. Have you ever experienced it? That justifiable anger that rises up within you when you know someone is acting in a way that dishonors God. That anger Jesus expressed when He walked into the Temple and found the moneychangers doing business in God's house, defiling Holy ground.

    Righteous anger is a good thing. However, what we do with it is another matter.

    I shared my feelings about this leader's behavior with my husband and another couple during dinner one night. Was I gossiping? In the moment, I didn't think so. In fact, I felt okay talking about this leader since they'd engaged in behavior I thought was "unchristian."

    Everyone at dinner agreed with me and disapproved, which validated my feelings. I took comfort in how good it felt that I wasn't alone.

    However, the next day as I sat in church, God spoke in a powerful way through the sermon. Our pastor taught about idle gossip and character assassination, and how our words matter. Each word penetrated my heart like a double-edged sword.

    I too was a spiritual leader. And I had disobeyed God's Word as I judged another believer in the presence of others. Had I talked out of righteous anger? No. Idle gossip? Yes. Character assassination? Definitely.

    In the quietness of that moment in church, I felt conviction.

    Not guilt. Not shame. But conviction.

    The difference between these emotions is that guilt and shame are about us, and they are unproductive. They leave us stagnant, in a bad place with God and others.

    Conviction, on the other hand, is about God. It's a productive emotion from the Holy Spirit to let us know that we have not pleased Him. With conviction, God speaks truth into our hearts and empowers us to change so we live in a way that's pleasing to Him.

    That day, the Holy Spirit gave me a truth that I committed to memory.

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

    I promised the Lord that morning, I will hold my tongue. I will only speak words that will build others up and benefit those listening. Or, at least, I will try.

    Paul gives a great tip on how to accomplish this in 2 Corinthians 10:5:

    "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (NIV)

    Next time, I commit to take my words captive BEFORE they come out of my mouth. I pray that I will not speak words that tear down, but only words that build up. Will you join me in this resolve?

    Dear Lord, help me to be a woman after Your own heart, one who speaks only what is helpful for building others up. And when I am tempted to speak unwholesome or critical words, help me to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Thank You that in Your strength I will be successful because I can do all things through You Who strengthens me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The Transforming Power of God's Story by Wendy Blight.

    Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    How can you take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ? List some practical examples from your own experiences.

    Ephesians 5:1 calls us to live a life of love. Spend some time thinking about how this call to live a life of love intersects the call to speak only words that build others up rather than tear them down.

    Power Verse:
    2 Corinthians 10:5, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Wendy Blight. 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, Ephesians, Wendy Blight

  • Trust Grows

    Posted on December 2, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. Psalm 52:8

     

    Trust is the soil in which our faith grows. Like a robust olive tree full of branches bearing luscious fruit, trust causes growth across the limbs of our life. It is trust that tears down our walls of fear. It is trust that allows us to outlast our critics. It is trust that brings to fruition a harvest of hope and patience. It is trust that keeps us from reacting wrongly. It is trust that moves a man to forgive his wife, or a wife to forgive her husband. It is trust that stands the test of time. Trust causes good things to grow. Our faith grows. Our humility grows. Our love grows. Our holiness grows. Our grace grows. Our fear of God grows. Our character grows. It is trust in our Savior that grows us up for His glory. 

    God’s unfailing love can be trusted, for there is no doubt about its trustworthiness. His love never fails (1 Corinthians 13: 8). No one has ever overdrawn the Almighty’s account of love. The Lord’s loans of love are not called in the middle of your crisis. On the contrary, He offers more love the more needy you find yourself. You can depend on the love of God. It will not fail  when you need Him the most. Others may walk away when you lose your way, but not your loving God; His love stays with you. You may feel deserted in your despair, but God’s love is still there for your comfort and care. His 100% track record of no failures can always be trusted. His love fails not. Our Savior's love is fail-safe.

    Sometimes it is hard to see the forest of our heavenly Father's love, for the trees of terror that stare us in the face. This is where we need to take a timeout and trust. Trust that God still loves you even when you represent Him poorly. Trust that He still loves you even though those around you don’t seem to care. Trust He still loves you in the loss of your job. Trust He still loves you though you let Him down. Trust His love does not keep accounts (nor should ours). Furthermore, He loves you so you can be loved and love others on His behalf. Being loved by God is just the beginning. Christians are a conduit for Christ in His cycle of love. We are His love agents; always investigating ways we can extend our Father’s love. Love that isn’t shared loses traction. Love given away gains more momentum. So pass along God’s unfailing love.

    Your trust in Jesus causes your love to grow to greater heights. His goal is for the fruit of His love to weigh down branches of your belief. Your fruitful loving life becomes attractive and inviting to others. They want to draw near the light of the Lord’s love that shines through your soul. They want to be close to your character so they can pluck some of your lovely fruit and partake. It is the love of God spread abroad in your life that becomes a beacon of hope. When you unleash love in your life, your faith, leadership, and ministry will flourish. The fruit of love calms angry hearts. It leads others to forgive and be forgiven. Love allows us to say things we otherwise would not say for fear of hurting another or of being rejected. Love is a remedy for rebellion. When the prodigal came home, his father first loved him (Luke 15:20). Love is our first and last response. It is our glimpse into the heart of God. Love never fails because God guarantees it. Trusting in God’s unfailing love matures us.

    Taken from Reading #38 in the 90-day devotional book, “Seeking God in the Psalms”... http:// bit.ly/InvUdR

    Post/Tweet this today: Trust tears down our walls of fear and allows us to outlast our critics. #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 Psalm, 1 Corinthians, Trust

  • Active Accountability

    Posted on December 1, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “But if you do warn the righteous man not to sin and he does not sin, he will surely live because he took warning, and you will have saved yourself” (Ezekiel 3:21).

     

    Effective accountability partners are not passive. Once someone invites a friend into his or her life for accountability, it is a serious responsibility. Accountability is active, engaging, and encouraging. The giver and the receiver of accountability have entered into a trusting relationship. Indeed, wisdom listens to the warning of its accountability partner or group.

    Authentic accountability requires caring confrontation. A little bit of short-term discomfort and embarrassment will save you a lot of long-term regret. Thus, when you encounter emotional situations, keep a level head. Accountability facilitates objectivity. When you are under pressure, you have an objective team that gives you wise perspective. Your accountability group is there as a buffer to unwise decision making. 

    “Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to heed a warning” (Ecclesiastes 4:13).

    Accountability provides much needed courage for another to do the right thing. Sometimes it is hard decisions that paralyze us into non-action. However, avoiding a difficult decision today will compound its inevitable consequences in the future. Accountability encourages you not to procrastinate when you are afraid. It relieves your fears and bolsters your faith.

    For example, team members may need to be terminated for the good of the company and for their individual betterment. Prospective church volunteers may need to be told “no” because their character is not fitting for a leadership role. Your young adult children are not prepared for marriage because they need to first move out from home and experience independent living. Accountability helps everyone move forward in God’s will.

    Above all else, live like you are accountable to almighty God, as one day we all give an account to Him for our actions. “They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead” (1 Peter 4:4–5).

    Prayer: Am I truly accountable to others, and do I provide effective accountability to friends?

    Related Readings: Proverbs 7:1–27; Jonah 3:6; Luke 17:1–4; Hebrews 4:13

    Taken from the December 1st reading in the new 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God” vol. 2... … http://bit.ly/Tv6y9a

    Post/Tweet: Avoiding a difficult decision today will compound its inevitable consequences tomorrow. #decide

    © 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, Ecclesiastes, Accountability, Ezekiel

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