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Daily Devotion

  • Love Avoids Boasting

    Posted on February 11, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Love does not boast. 1 Corinthians 13:4

    Lovely people boast about the greatness, the goodness and the glory of God. Yes, love looks up to the Lord in gratitude and does not look down on others. There is no bragging about self, only exalting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Love looks for ways to lift up those struck down by suffering or lost in sin without drawing attention to its heroics. People who love understand that wisdom, success and wealth come from God. Bragging has no place in the presence of love.

    Love does not force its agenda, rather  works to collaborate and seek what’s best for all parties. For example in marriage, don’t demand your own way, rather in love take time to value each another’s ideas and desires. If organization is important to your spouse, perhaps you schedule a day once a quarter to clear out the clutter in an area of your house. Furthermore, money management may be a fear of your mate’s, if so calendar time weekly to plan your finances.

    This is what the Lord says:Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches. Jeremiah 9:23

    Love does not have to feel superior to be valued. On the contrary your modest assessment of yourself is what leads to mutual respect that validates love. Keep your ego in check by recalling how far God has brought you,  not forgetting how far you have to go. You are not God’s gift to the world--that role is reserved for Jesus. Love does not have to brag, because it is secure in Christ’s love. Your part is to lay low, loving others and God’s part is to promote you in His time.

    Beware of becoming a legend in your own mind, only the Lord deserves a legendary legacy. The more you grow in your capacity to love, the lower you go in needing to feel important. The ability to love is reward enough without having to be recognized. Your love will unify those you serve, because you are not worried about getting credit for the cool outcomes. Boast only about God’s faithfulness to answer prayer and extend His grace and favor. Great gain is to love in Jesus’ name.

    If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:3

    Prayer: Heavenly Father give me the security and courage to boast in Christ and not in myself.

     

    Related Readings: Hosea 12:8; Obediah 1:12; 2 Corinthians 12:5-9; 2 Timothy 3:2

     

    Post/Tweet today: Love looks up to the Lord in gratitude and doesn’t look down on others. #love

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Dare to Hope

    Posted on February 11, 2013 by Wendy Pope

    Wendy

    "Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this ..." Lamentations 3:21 (NLT)

    Have you ever cried until tears no longer fell and your heart was broken in tiny pieces? Have you uttered, "Everything I hope for from the Lord is lost?" Yes? Then you, me, and Jeremiah make three.

    I won't forget those long nights of crying myself to sleep. Some nights, only silent tears trickled; other nights, loud wails accompanied questions and prayers. "Why Lord? What am I doing wrong? Why won't You fix this?" My prayers ended with, "If it is Your will," hoping His will was different than it appeared to be.

    Many nights I curled up in a ball under my covers hoping for a break-through. Yet, the situation seemed hopeless; I believed everything I had hoped for was lost.

    Jeremiah, also known as the weeping prophet in the Old Testament, found himself in a hopeless situation too. He watched the Temple of the Lord being burned to the ground by the Babylonians. Jeremiah's heart broke as the elements of the Temple, such as the water basin and lamp snuffers, were stolen, and taken to Babylon to be used to worship false gods.

    In the midst of the devastation, Jeremiah prophesied God's words to the people of Judah and Jerusalem. Unfortunately, it wasn't good news. The Lord's immediate future for His people was one of discipline and the utter destruction of Jerusalem as well as His holy Temple. Jeremiah was chosen by God to deliver these words to His people. Jeremiah did his job and did it well, but not without punishment, ridicule, insults, and imprisonment by the recipients of the news.

    Jeremiah shed tears until he said, "I have cried until the tears no longer come; my heart is broken." (Lamentations 2:11 NLT) His heart was broken for Jerusalem and for God's people, his people. In anguish Jeremiah lamented, "Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost." (Lamentations 3:18 NLT)

    Then, in the midst of his despair, he dared. He dared to hope in what he remembered.

    Many of us need hope. To find it like Jeremiah did, let's look at what he remembered that gave him the courage to dare to hope again. What Jeremiah remembered was the key to elevating him from the pit of despair to a place of expectancy. It is our key as well. Jeremiah remembered this about the Lord:

    • His unfailing love
    • His new mercies
    • His never-ending faithfulness
    • His inheritance

    God's Word is just as alive and active today as it was in Jeremiah's day. It is designed to transform us from the inside out. Reading and applying its truths will redirect our perspective.

    During my desperate nights I longed for my circumstances to be different. I cried until the tears would no longer come. Many times I tarried in the pit of despair much longer than necessary. But when I remembered God's faithfulness and mercies to me, my hope was renewed.

    Did the circumstances surrounding my sorrows change because I remembered God's promises? No. What changed was hope slipped in to my outlook. Hope means to wait with expectation, and this is what I chose to do during those hard nights.

    Are you in need of hope today? Will you choose to remember God's faithfulness, love, and mercy, despite the despair and destruction around you? Today, dare to hope.

    Dear Lord, I want to dare to hope, but life around me seems uncertain and tentative. Will You help me remember Your faithfulness, love and mercy? Thank You in advance for what You are going to do. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    Read Lamentations 3:21-24 aloud. Remember and write down God's expressions of faithfulness, mercy, and love to you. Dare to hope.

    Forward today's devotion to someone who needs hope.

    What stumbling block keeps you from daring to hope? Remember...
    His unfailing love
    His new mercies
    His never ending faithfulness
    His inheritance

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 33:18, "But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

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

  • Faith Versus Fear

    Posted on February 10, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4

     

    Fear is a formidable foe of faith. It lurks about, looking for ways to lead us into distrust of our Lord. Fear is subtle with its sneak attacks on our attitudes and bold in its frontal barrage on our beliefs. Fear always fights back, even when we extinguish it for a time with our total trust in God.  And it doesn’t let up until  we get to heaven. Fear is like fire ants.  You can eliminate their unholy mound with a baby powder-like deterrent, but they regroup and rebuild nearby.

     

    Trust in the Lord is the terminator of fear, but fear seems to recreate itself with whatever appendage of doubt is left. It grows within the next uncertain circumstance that comes our way. Fear thinks it has us in check on the chessboard of our life, but the truth is Jesus checkmated fear on the cross. Now it is up to us to appropriate His triumph by trusting in God.

     

    There are many times when we are in transition from fear to faith. It’s in the transition of trust in God that our cares co-mingle with Christ’s care. There is a holy tension that transpires in our transition into trust. It is in this dawn of trust that light gradually overcomes darkness. Faith dissolves doubts as the sun drives away the mist. Your mind may be a little murky, but you renew your thinking (Romans 12:2) with the truth that God is ever present. Your confidence may be crumbling, but you keep your eyes on your Savior. Your prayers may be clumsy, but you still cling to Christ. Your relationships may be reluctant, but you rely on the Lord. Use this transition from fear to faith to grow your mercy and compassion. Indeed, doubting can drive us to God, and it grows us into more patient and humble human beings. It strengthens our trust and makes us hold faster to heaven. Hope trusts in this transition from fear to faith.

     

    Moreover, mortal man has not made a permanent impression on the saints of God. Immortal and Almighty God is your new insignia. Embedded on the coins of your character is the faith-filled inscription, “In God I Trust.” Followers of Jesus have the eternal seal of their Savior as their newfound identity (Ephesians 4:30). Do not allow the patterns of your old life to feed any fading fears in your new one (Romans 6:6). The fears of your proud past have been replaced with faith, love, and hope in your humble here and now. Faith has banished fear.

     

    Therefore, you can continually celebrate. Praise points you to Providence. After all, it’s all about Him. This is why faith brings forth praise. When you trust, you can’t help but sing from your soul. Indeed, faith in the Lord facilitates praise and is a product of praise. It is in our praise of God that our fears fade and our faith flourishes. So praise Him, trust Him, and fear no one. No one can take from you what you have already given to Him. Faith is a fear-killer; it overcomes.

     

    Post/Tweet: Fear thinks it has us in check on the chessboard of our life, but the truth is, Jesus checkmated fear on the cross. #fear

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Faithful Guide

    Posted on February 9, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity” (Proverbs 11:3).

     

    Integrity is an instrument of almighty God. He uses it to guide His children in the direction He desires for them. Have you ever wondered what God would have you do? Integrity is His directive to do the next right thing, trusting Him with the results. It is out of honesty we begin to comprehend Christ’s desires. He delights in our uprightness.

     

    For example, are you totally honest on your tax return? Is your tax preparer a person of unquestionable integrity? We can trust professionals to represent us well, but we are ultimately responsible for an honest outcome. Furthermore, is there anything you are doing, if printed as a newspaper headline, that would embarrass you and your family? Indeed, integrity brings joy to heaven and security on earth. It is your guide for godly living.

     

    Moreover, the iniquity of the unfaithful destroys. The blessing of God is removed as it cannot be bought with bad behavior. Relationships are scarred and some even severed over dishonest dealings. Overnight, poor judgment can soil and potentially destroy a hard-earned reputation. Pride acts like integrity is only for others. It deceives itself and becomes a disgrace for its dishonest and duplicitous ways. Iniquity is an unfaithful guide.

     

    “I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most people do” (Nehemiah 7:2).

     

    So we ask ourselves, “How can I be a man or woman of integrity over the balance of my life?” There is a simplicity about those who base their behavior on the principles of God’s Word; nothing fancy, only faithful living in their daily routine. The grace of God governs their soul, the truth of God renews their mind, and accountability is an anchor for their actions. Honestly ask yourself, “Is integrity my faithful guide?”

     

    The Bible says, “May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you” (Psalm 25:21).

     

    Prayer: How can I better integrate integrity as a guide for my business dealings and behavior at home?

     

    Related Readings: Genesis 20:4–7; Hosea 13:9; Matthew 7:13; Romans 7:9–12

    Post/Tweet: Set your affections above, and you will be more effective below. #heaven

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Love Rejects Envy

    Posted on February 8, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Love does not envy. 1 Corinthians 13:4

    Envy is insecure. It is unsure of and uncomfortable in its identity. However, love is without envy, agape love understands and embraces its identity in Christ. Love feels the comforting fingerprints of faith wrapped around its feelings. There’s a sense of security with a soul whose sole focus is faith in Christ. Jealousy is jettisoned where love for Jesus is the motivation for words and deeds. Love sees someone’s success as cause for celebration, not competition. Envy frowns, love smiles.

    Moreover, let love lead you to serve, instead of striving for envy’s elusive status. Follow love's line of reasoning and your mind will be challenged to excellence when a colleague experiences significant accomplishments. Love avoids obsessing over how to surpass a friend’s good fortune. Do you embrace and celebrate your spouse’s successes? Or do you silently steam for lack of attention? A healthy husband and wife are secure in their individuality. Their identity is in Christ.

    A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Proverbs 14:30

    Jealousy is cruel, love is compassionate. Jealousy is shortsighted, love looks longterm. Jealousy is threatened, love is empowered. Jealousy jockeys for position, love trusts God for promotion. Therefore, look for ways to love loved ones who may be lured  by the seductive sirens of success. Remind those uniquely gifted of the Giver of their gifts (Almighty God) and how far faith in Jesus has brought them. Love is secure in calling out fools for its confidence is in Christ.

     

    Finally the way to find yourself is not to focus on yourself. Focus instead on love for Christ and be content with who you are in Him. You can love well because your Lord loves you well. You are a forgiven child of God, filled with the Holy Spirit and full of potential for Him. You are loved unconditionally by your Heavenly Father, you are saved from sin by His Son Jesus and you are sealed securely by His Holy Spirit. Your contentment in Christ is cause to love and not envy.

     

    For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. James 3:16

    Prayer: Heavenly Father I pray for a healthy heart motivated by love, not driven by envy.

     

    Related Readings: Job 5:2; Ecclesiastes 4:4; Galatians 5:26; 1 Timothy 6:4

     

    Post/Tweet today: The way to find yourself is not to focus on yourself, but on Christ. #focus

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • To Fly Again

    Posted on February 8, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie

    "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Colossians 3:13 (NIV)

    I stood on the small ladder with light bulb in hand. The weather was frigid, and changing an outdoor light was not what I wanted to do. But with darkness falling earlier it was necessary.

    Something fluttered inside the lamp, which made me hesitant to reach in and unscrew the old bulb.

    Peering in, I saw a bird at the bottom of the lamp with its wings pressed close to its side, and spindly legs twisted around the base of the lamp. How had this bird made its way into the lamp? How long had it struggled to be free?

    For the next several moments I removed burned out light bulbs and debris, carefully trying to release the bird from its entanglement. As I tried to lift it to freedom with two fingers, it pecked furiously at my hand.

    I wrapped my glove around it, and carried it to the front of my home where a birdbath filled with fresh water and a bird feeder awaited.

    Upon setting the bird down, it hobbled and nearly fell over. But after some furious flapping, it launched itself into the air, made it to the birdbath and took a long drink. It then fluffed out its wings as if admiring them, and flew up to the bird feeder.

    It looked like the little bird would be all right.

    Sometimes unforgiveness can make us feel like this small bird. Something happened to us that shouldn't. A person said something hurtful or vengeful. Or an unfair situation caused us harm. Those events can make us feel angry or bitter, and those emotions make us feel trapped, affecting our marriages, our understanding of God, or our trust in others.

    Scriptures like Colossians 3:13 may feel less a path to healing and more an affront. Forgiveness seems impossible. Especially when you are waiting for someone else to apologize, or change, or you just keep on with your heart guarded and closed off.

    Why would God ask us to forgive? Perhaps God sees that we were made for something besides being hurt and trapped.

    We were made to fly.

    Forgiving allows God to remove the debris, carve a path to your heart, and gently lift you to freedom. Just as God sees the sparrow (Matthew 10:29), He sees you. He knows how hard it is; He knows that you've resisted forgiving others because it seems too hard.

    You won't be on this journey alone. God waits with open hands. Today is the day to begin to forgive. He is prepared to set you on a new path where you can walk again, and one day to fluff your wings and fly.

    Dear Jesus, forgiving has seemed impossible. But today I will hop into Your hand, no longer resisting where You desire to lead me. Instead, I'm opening my heart to forgiving the past so that I can fully live. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    The word forgive in Colossians 3:13 is founded on the Greek translated aphiemi, which means: (1) to send away; (2) to let it die; (3) to exchange it for something else; (4) to give up a debt; (5) to forgive.

    One of the most powerful things within this definition is to exchange one thing for another. As you forgive you begin to exchange that which has kept your stuck for freedom. You exchange anger for renewed joy. You exchange bitterness for compassion. Where do you believe God desires to lead you as you embrace aphiemi forgiveness?

    Power Verse:
    John 8:36, "So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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

  • Love Kindly

    Posted on February 7, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Love is kind. 1 Corinthians 13:4

    Kind love is the kind of love that shows up to serve. It always looks for ways to move beyond feeling generous to being generous. Kindness transitions empathy into action and sympathy into service. Kind love is not stuck on itself, rather it relishes  reaching out to the needs of others. It wears a smile, gives a hug, kisses a head, pats an arm, lifts a burden, prays a prayer and writes a check. Love is kind, because Christ is kind and He is love. So, love kindly and be like Jesus.

    How does it feel when you have a kind encounter with someone? Probably a mixture of respect, joy and inspiration to name a few positive emotions. Unsolicited loving kindness that comes to you when least expected, provides the most encouragement. Your kind love is the kind of support your spouse needs to get through the day and not be overwhelmed by unrealistic expectations. Your warm eyes communicate compassion to those you see with sensitivity. Kindness loves well.

    I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

    Jeremiah 31:3

    Indeed, your kind love is attractive to all with whom you have influence. Unkindness is a repulsive smell, but kindness is a sweet aroma that fills the air it occupies. Like honey to a bee, a scratch to a dog or a caresses to a cat, your loving kindness is tasty for hungry hearts. It is security for souls that itch for intimacy. When you love kindly, you experience its fruit: peace, joy, patience, gratitude, respect and friendship. Kindness facilitates all kinds of good deeds.

     

    Lastly it is the Lord’s loving kindness that causes us to be kind. His kindness draws us to Himself and leads us to repentance. Because of our heavenly Father’s great kindness, we want to be the kind of children that He is pleased to call His own. Therefore, from our grateful hearts we are honored to honor Christ by loving our loved ones in kind ways. Yes, we pray for our home to have a relational climate of kindness. Our kind actions speak the language of our Lord’s love!

     

    I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them. Hosea 11:4

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father grow me into a kind person by Your loving kindness.

     

    Related Readings: Genesis 39:21; Joshua 2:12; Luke 6:35; 2 Corinthians 6:6; Colossians 3:12

     

    Post/Tweet today: Our warm eyes communicate compassion to those we see with sensitivity. #kindness

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

     

  • A Year of Adventure

    Posted on February 7, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "... great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.'" Lamentations 3:23b-24 (NIV)

    A few months ago my youngest daughter presented me and my husband with a proposal. An iMovie proposal. Complete with dramatic scenes and credits that rolled at the end.

    The message of the iMovie? A request ...

    "Please home school me."

    Oh my heavenly days, no.

    No.

    No.

    No.

    No.

    I'm not a teacher. I'm not patient. I'm not even nice some days.

    No.

    I tried homeschooling this darling in kindergarten and honestly thought I was going to lose my mind. I would watch other moms do this thing right. They were organized and scheduled and undistracted.

    Me? I looked like a dog's tongue when he's got his head stuck out the window of a truck going 70 miles per hour. Messy. Flapping about. Not pretty to look at.

    Can you imagine the conversations she will have about me with her therapist one day? No, let's not add homeschooling to the list of things Mom didn't do well.

    But then I got to thinking. What if I took a year of adventure with this beautiful young woman? What if I hit the pause button on all things typical and just took a year to do things differently? With her. For her. Could I do that?

    Okay, God if You want me to take a year of adventure with Brooke, I will wait for You to show me. I need You to help fill in the gaps where I'm weak.

    Then I met a math teacher who got excited about teaching my daughter a couple times a week.

    And a fabulous reading and writing tutor just happened to have a few days a week to do the same.

    My friend Kristi asked if Brooke could be in her small group Bible study this year.

    Another friend asked if Brooke wanted to take cheer leading classes at her gym.

    And I'd already been planning an educational trip to Sea World.

    So, the year of adventure started unfolding in front of me and I held tightly to these promises: "Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him'" (Lamentations 3:21-24 NIV).

    I had no idea how this year would turn out. I thought I might royally mess up my child's education.

    But it has turned out to be a year we will never forget. While we are still living out the adventure, it has been a wonderful experience. One where we are growing, being stretched, and learning. Together.

    One where we've seen God's great love lower stress when stress can run high. A year I have had to depend on His compassion ... to receive for myself and to give to my daughter. Every new day, Brooke and I walk this adventure out, led by God who continues to fill in the gaps creatively.

    You too can have a year of adventure with your children. Maybe it's the year of them learning 12 Bible verses–one per month. Or maybe it could be the year of everybody making their bed at least 3-4 times per week. Or maybe it's the year of letter-writing, where you have them write one letter per week to brighten someone's day.

    One leap of faith. One year. God's compassion is there. The adventure is waiting. No pressure. Just intentional learning and fun.

    Dear Lord, equip me with the things I need for my year of adventure. Give me Your strength to help me step out of my comfort zone. Please use this as an opportunity for me to grow closer to my children and closer to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Say yes to your year of adventure! What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst is the perfect thing to read as you embark on an exciting journey to fulfill God's calling.

    Your year of adventure will hold many joys, but it may also hold frustrations. Be prepared to have godly reactions daily with Lysa TerKeurst's Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What kind of adventurous thing could you do with your kids this year?

    Pick something small. One thing. It doesn't have to be anything complicated, but should be something that will be a stretching experience for everyone.

    Power Verses:
    1 Corinthians 1:7-9, "God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that." (MSG)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Love Patiently

    Posted on February 6, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Love is patient. 1 Corinthians 13:4

    Patience is a natural expression of love, as people who are loved are shown patience. However, some relationships are harder  to patiently love. An unprovoked patience requires  a small capacity for love, but a provoked patience requires  a greater grace. A common love handles effortlessly being treated well, but love requires an uncommon patience when treated unjustly. Authentic love is willing to suffer long for the sake of the one being served. So, love patiently all people.

    Are your circumstances trying your patience? Has someone gotten on your last nerve and exhausted your patience? If so, join the company of those who need a fresh perspective of God’s patient love toward us. Yes, while we were still sinners, the Lord patiently allowed His son Jesus to suffer, so we could be set free from the shackles of sin. Christ loves patiently to the point of bearing our burdens with us. We are not discarded, but loved, in spite of our inconsistencies.

    But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

    Therefore, by God’s grace we demonstrate patient love towards those who do not demonstrate patient love toward us. Our frustrated friends could be stuck in their own crazy cycle of sin, still in need of a Savior. They are not capable of loving patiently, because they have yet to receive the genuine love of their Heavenly Father. Indeed, those of us who commune with the Prince of Peace know better, but those lacking peace struggle with patience. Love is patient with impatience.

    Moreover, see your marriage as a laboratory of learning how to love patiently the love of your life. Take the high ground of grace when you are hurt. Explain with loving patience to your husband or wife the pain you feel you carry alone. Let them in on your fears, dreams and angry feelings. When you express your emotions with patient love, you give permission for your spouse to do the same. Your love may suffer for a season, but your patience is a portrait of God’s grace.

    Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back. Isaiah 38:17

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father thank you for loving me patiently, so I can love others patiently.

     

    Related Readings: Genesis 19:16; Exodus 34:6; Ephesians 1:4, 4:2; 1 Peter 3:8, 18

     

    Post/Tweet today: Take the high ground of grace when you are hurt. #grace

     

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Remind Me Who I Am

    Posted on February 6, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him." John 13:23 (NIV)

    As a freshman in high school, a boy gave me the nickname "hips." Although I was thin, my shape wasn't popular like the models of that time. And from that point on I was keenly and uncomfortably aware that I didn't have a "desirable" figure.

    The name "hips" stuck in my mind for years, as I labeled myself un-athletic and uncoordinated. It didn't help that I got hit in the head at softball tryouts and was in the first cuts from the volleyball and basketball teams. I did get called back for a dancing spot in the school play, but went to the auditions in Levis 501 straight leg jeans. Not exactly sure what I was thinking that day ...

    Un-athletic isn't the only label I've given myself over the years. Some have been positive, others negative. Some based on fact, yet others based on emotion. The way I describe myself has a powerful effect on how I see myself ... on my self-worth, value and choices.

    The New Testament tells of a disciple of Jesus who had an interesting definition for himself, one that seemed to impact his life as well. In the book of John, one of the disciples is described this way: the one whom Jesus loved.

    Interestingly, this description is only found in the book of John, and scholars believe John the Apostle, the author of the book, was referring to himself.

    For years, I assumed this was a title the other disciples gave John. Perhaps they believed Jesus loved John more than the others. That wouldn't be uncommon, as siblings tend to have an unspoken understanding of one child being favored. But what if this title, this label, wasn't given by the others?

    Recently it hit me that this identity - one loved by Jesus - was how John described himself.

    John was confident of Jesus' love, and this had a powerful effect on how he lived his life. He didn't fear man's threats as he stood at the base of the cross, caring for Jesus' mother. Nor when he was among the first at the tomb, possibly facing bewildered and angry Roman soldiers. After the resurrection, John fearlessly preached the Good News alongside the others, and faced persecution and imprisonment. John's confidence of Jesus' love emboldened him.

    As I thought of all the descriptions I've given myself over the years, I realized that this one might be the most life-changing for me. It's one thing to identify myself as a Christian, as if it's a set of beliefs I adhere to. It's quite another to place myself in the "inner circle" because of Jesus' love for me. There's something that seems slightly presumptuous about that, and so it's safer to skirt on the edges of this relationship I have with Christ.

    And yet when I dare to admit the possibility that Jesus might love me as much as He loved John ... and that I too could call myself the one whom Jesus loves ... this knowledge changes who I am.

    I'm invited to His inner circle, today. The only thing that has ever held me back is me - and my faulty definitions of myself.

    Today, dear friend, this same identity is available to you. You are the disciple Jesus loves. Can you claim that for yourself? This life-changing identity is waiting for you to accept it.

    Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me unconditionally. Thank You for inviting me in to Your inner circle. May this truth embroider itself on my heart. And may I walk in faith, strengthened by Your love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

    I Used to Be So Organized by Glynnis Whitwer

    Reflect and Respond:
    What labels have you accepted as true for yourself?

    How would your life be different if you believed you were the disciple Jesus loves?

    Power Verses:
    Ephesians 5:1-2, "Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children 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." (NIV)

    Romans 5:8, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

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