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Daily Devotion

  • Imperfect Perfection

    Posted on November 14, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48

     

    Does God expect His children to set a goal that is unattainable? Yes, when the motivation is to grow in grace and in the likeness of His son Jesus. The Holy Spirit instructs Christians in heavenly ideals, so their life has earthly appeal. Imperfection seeks perfection, so there can be continual progress in Christ's character development of His fallible followers. The goal of perfection grows us in His divine attributes that are refined over time.

    So we seek a humble discipline and in the process obtain the greater graces of God. Like a world-class athlete sets a standard of perfection in their personal training, so we press toward the holiness of God as our ultimate outcome. When we fall off the balance beam of life, we get up and get back on. In our zeal for God we can be guilty of false starts, but we line back up and refocus on the real race. We keep our eyes on the prize: Jesus Christ the author and finisher of our faith.

    "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." Philippians 3:12

    Perfectionism in and of itself is not the goal, for then we invite frustration and a feeling of failure. Perfectionism pushes out faith and works, and replaces it with fearful procrastination. Are you stuck in a need for everything to be perfect before your next step? If so, shed paralysis from analysis and move forward by faith. You can trust the Lord to fill in the imperfect gaps with His perfect grace. Indeed, out of your intimacy with Jesus you can embrace His ideals.

    Furthermore, as you grow in knowing God through His word, prayer, and serving others, you will understand and emulate His heart. You want to be like the one you love and know the best. No, you will not become sinless in this life, but you can become more like the Sinless One—Jesus. In Christ you are perfect in your heavenly Father's eyes!

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

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow me into the perfect image of Your son Jesus Christ.

    Related Readings: Leviticus 19:2; Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 3:13-14; 1 Peter 1:15-16

    Post/Tweet this today: The Holy Spirit instructs Christians in heavenly ideals, so their life has earthly appeal. #ideals

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry

    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 2 Corinthians, Matthew, Philippians, Perfection

  • Sometimes I Have to Boss My Heart Around

    Posted on November 14, 2012 by Renee Swope

    Renee Swope

    "Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—" Psalm 103:1-2 (NIV)

    I caught my heart heading to a pit of discouragement for spring break. It was supposed to go to the beach with my family and me, but it was not cooperating.

    We had been hit by one emotional and financial crisis after another. A close friend learned that, after a year's worth of abdominal pain, extreme fatigue, and an undiagnosed illness, she had a large tumor that appeared to be ovarian cancer.

    Then our upstairs air conditioner broke, again. And that same week, we found out our international adoption expenses would not apply as a deduction that year, which meant we owed significantly more on taxes than we anticipated. Yet our savings had been poured into our adoption and our air conditioning systems.

    My mind was divided. My spirit was depleted. And my body was exhausted.

    I couldn't stop worrying about my friend. I couldn't stop thinking about our finances. How was I supposed to rest and relax with all we had going on?

    Although I had packed my bags for the beach, my heart had decided it wasn't in the mood for vacation. It was marching straight toward the pit.

    But as much as I didn't want to go on vacation, I knew I didn't want to dwell in a place of despair or pull my family in with me. It wasn't part of God's plans—nor mine.

    Eventually I realized I was going to have to boss my heart around!

    King David was really good at telling his heart and soul what to do. In Psalm 103 he said: "Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name" (vs. 1). I decided to follow his example. In the midst of my turmoil and troubles, I told my soul to praise the Lord.

    Now this wasn't a superficial "say your bedtime prayers" talk to my soul. No, this was a deep-down, preach it to my inmost being, "GOD IS GOOD no matter what your feelings are telling you" sermon. I bossed my heart with Truth and pulled it away from the pit by telling myself to "forget not ALL his benefits" (Ps. 103:2).

    Then I walked my heart down memory lane, reminding it of the One who:
    Forgives all [my] sins and heals all [my] diseases,
    who redeems [my] life from the pit
    and crowns [me] with love and compassion,
    who satisfies [my] desires with good things
    so that [my] youth is renewed like the eagle's. (Ps. 103:3-5 NIV)

    No matter what the answer was to my friend's diagnosis, or how costly our air conditioner was going to be, or how much we owed on taxes—my soul needed to praise the Lord. My heart needed me to ...
    Remember Who He is.
    Thank Him for what He had done in the past.
    Trust Him for what He would do in the future.

    My circumstances didn't change but my perspective did. By re-directing my thoughts and my focus, I was able to re-direct my emotions. And our spring break wasn't ruined after all.

    Every time I was tempted to start worrying about what might be, I used King David's prayer to focus on what was, is, and will forever be-God's faithfulness to walk by my side and navigate my heart through the valleys of life.

    Are there circumstances that have pulled you into a place of discouragement? Do you have concerns that are causing your thoughts to head down a path of despair? I pray you won't go there.

    Today you can be the boss of your emotions by telling your heart what to do-and if you have to get a little bossy, that's okay too!

    Dear Lord, please help me trust You and empower me through Your Spirit to stop my emotions from bossing me around. I want to quit worrying about what might happen and focus on what has already happened by remembering and praising You for Your faithfulness in my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    This devotion was taken in part from Renee's Swope's best-selling book, A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises.

    LET. IT. GO. How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith, by Karen Ehman, will empower and equip you to control what you should and trust God with what you can't.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are there concerns that are causing your thoughts to head down a path of despair?

    Every time you're tempted to worry about what might be, use King David's prayer to focus on what was, is, and will forever be-God's faithfulness to walk by your side and navigate your heart through the valleys of life.

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 43:5, "Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!" (NLT)

    © 2012 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Psalm, Renee Swope

  • Give and Take

    Posted on November 13, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    "Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” Job 1:21

     

    The Lord gives and the Lord takes. He gives life and He takes life. He gives relationships and He takes relationships. He gives blessings and He takes blessings. He gives prosperity and He takes prosperity. He gives opportunities and He takes opportunities. He gives health and He takes health. He gives and takes but He still deserves praise!

    It is easy to praise God when He gives us good things, but it is hard to praise Him when He takes away good things. Yet, it is the power of praise to the Lord that empowers our faith to endure. Praise to Jesus prompts us to persevere in belief and obedience. He realigns our heart and mind to heaven's expectations instead of bowing to earth's demands. When God gives it’s a blessing and when He takes it is a blessing. He knows our needs.

    "As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy." James 5:11

    Furthermore, the Lord is full of compassion and mercy. His character is not cruel, but caring. He is not harsh, but kind. The Lord is gracious, not mean spirited. However, He is jealous for you. He delights in you for who you are, and who you can become by His grace. His loyal love will not allow you to be enamored with someone or something that competes with Him. Christ removes any competitors of exclusive devotion to Him.

    Therefore, you can be content and grateful for the lot in life God has given you. Perhaps He has you in your current career for the growth of your character and competence. Sometimes He rains down grace and other times the sun of adversity beats down in a sweat of suffering. The Lord gives and takes in His timing for His glory. Thus, hold loosely His blessings and burdens, and be ready to receive His great grace and love.

    “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I trust You in all seasons: when You give and when You take.

    Related Readings: Job 2:10; Numbers 14:18; Acts 18:21; Hebrews 10:36

    Post/Tweet this today: God realigns our heart and mind to heaven's expectations instead of bowing to earth's demands. #renew

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Find And Replace

    Posted on November 13, 2012 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "... throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy." Ephesians 4:22-24 (NLT)

    There's a nifty editing tool on my computer called "find and replace." It allows me to locate an existing word and exchange it for one more suited to the meaning of my sentence.

    At times I wish I had such a feature on my brain; a "find and replace" option that would help me keep my thoughts in a healthy place and in line with God's Word. Especially when it comes to setting my own agenda and getting my own way. (Better known as selfishness.)

    Even though I can't press a button and instantly swap out my old thoughts for new ones, I can still apply this "find and replace" process to my sometimes-selfish line of thinking.

    When tempted to throw a pity party with only ourselves on the guest list—because let's face it, no one fancies the company of a whiner—let's replace our negative notions with insight from God's Word.

    Here are some "find and replace" examples to help pull a selfishness switch-a-roo. When we find ourselves thinking one of the thoughts listed in bold, let's replace it with what God says in the verse that directly follows it.

    "If I don't look out for myself, who will?"
    "What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows." (Luke 12:6-7 NLT)

    "What about my rights?"
    "You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being." (Philippians 2:5-7a NLT)

    "I'm entitled to my opinion."
    "Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. For the Scriptures say, 'If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.'" (1 Peter 3:9-11 NLT)

    "I gotta look out for number one."
    "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 2:3-5 ESV)

    "Who cares about them? It's all about me."
    "I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ's return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God." (Philippians 1:9-11 NLT)

    "But what about what I want?"
    "Carefully determine what pleases the Lord." (Ephesians 5:10 NLT)

    How about it? Could your thought patterns benefit from some "find and replace" therapy? It is sure to center our minds on God and, as a result, make our relationship with Him—as well as with others—healthier, happier and whole. Let's pursue an unselfish and God-pleasing attitude. Find and replace.

    Dear Lord, at those times I'm tempted by selfishness, may I align my thinking with Your will and Your Word. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    We're celebrating the release of Karen Ehman's new book LET. IT. GO. How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith. It will empower and equip you to control what you should and trust God with what you can't.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    Why is it so easy to let our thoughts and resulting actions be selfish in nature?

    Was there a time when you intentionally chose to not be selfish even though you wanted to be? What happened?

    Power Verse:
    James 3:16: "For where envy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every kind of evil. (HCSB)

    © 2012 by Karen Ehman. 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 1 Peter, Ephesians, Philippians, Karen Ehman

  • Disobedience Disrupts

    Posted on November 12, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.” Jonah 1:12

     

    Disobedience is indiscriminate in its influence. It exploits the emotional psyche of children who feel abandonment from their parents’ divorce. One person’s mismanagement of money can bring down the financial fortunes of a company, church, ministry, government or family. One bad decision can cause a series of negative scenarios. Sin is not experienced in a vacuum, its tentacles of trouble wrap around innocent lives.

    Because Jonah ran from God he brought into relationships his baggage of disobedience. Innocent bystanders became victims of one man’s foolish behavior. We all have to examine our hearts and make sure we are not projecting our problems onto other people. Are we bringing unresolved anger into our marriage or workplace relationships? Are we running from God or toward God? Indeed, obedience is the remedy for disobedience.

    “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:19

    Are you comfortable with a sin that brings discomfort to those around you? What will it take for you to release it to God, before He releases you to the enemy? Yes, willful disobedience is a dangerous game. It is like an unrighteous round of Russian roulette that commits spiritual suicide. But you do not have to gamble with God. The bets of bad behavior are off when you confess, repent and turn to Christ. He brings calm to the storm.

    Moreover, if you are an innocent bystander to another’s bad behavior, look to God for relief. Give them to Him for His care and concern. It is hard to not be fearful of their fate and yours, however you can trust Jesus to judge wisely. Your obedience to Christ models the cure for your friend’s disobedience. And, be willing to release the relationship, so they suffer the consequences and believe God. Pain can produce obedience and salvation.

    “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” Hebrews 5:8-9

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me a heart of obedience and prayer for the disobedient.

    Related Readings: Jeremiah 7:23; 2 Samuel 24:17; Acts 15:11; Philippians 2:8

    Post/Tweet this today: Sin is not experienced in a vacuum, its tentacles of trouble wrap around innocent lives. #sin

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry

    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Romans, Hebrews, Disobedience, Jonah

  • Turning Bad Days into Good Days

    Posted on November 12, 2012 by Leann Rice

    Leann Rice

    "It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night..." Psalm 92:1-2 (NIV)

    As a widow with a child, I have experienced many "bad days" in the last fifteen years.

    Some days, I thought I wouldn't make it another 24 hours without some help. Other times, all I could find to be grateful for was that I actually got myself out of bed.

    The sadness loomed over me and cast a dark shadow over my attitude and mood. I knew I didn't want to, or couldn't, live like that forever. Something had to change.

    Scripture has the best remedy for us to help overcome the dark days. Psalm 92:1-2 tells us that "It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night..." (NIV)

    Over the years I took this verse to heart and made an effort to praise the Lord for the blessings each day held. Moment by moment I forced myself to count the big and small gifts I had and eventually, I started to see them all around me.

    Do you need to see some "good" right now because you're going through a challenging time? Or do you also struggle to notice the simple blessings in the midst of your hectic days?

    Here are some tangible ways to purposefully see God's blessings, His goodness and His steadfast love - even on those "bad" days.

    Keep a Blessings Journal
    If it's a rough day, I read my Blessings Journal. Each night before I go to bed, I record several ways I noticed God's love and faithfulness to me that day. Rereading the journal refocuses my thoughts toward God, instead of my hard situation.

    Make a Good Night Blessings Journal
    When it's time to tuck your kids in at night, ask them to tell you one good thing about their day and write it in their journals. This ends their day on a positive note and gets them in the habit of praising the Lord too.

    Create a Blessings Chain
    Cut up strips of construction paper, write down your blessings and praises on the strips and staple them together to form a chain. Place your Blessings Chain somewhere in your home you'll see it often. It's a great conversation piece, and provides the opportunity to share God's goodness with company.

    Design a Blessings Box
    I keep a Blessing Box in the middle of my kitchen table. Inside are strips of colored paper and a pen. Throughout the year, my son and I write down things we're grateful for and place them inside the box. Together, we read the strips in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.

    Give a Treasury of God's Promises
    If you know someone who's going through a difficult time, create a gift box filled with God's promises personalized for them. Imagine them opening the box and reading this note, "My plan for your future, Gabriel, is filled with hope" or "Give thanks to the LORD, Jackie, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!"

    Raising a child as a single parent hasn't always been easy. There have been weeks and even months that have been "bad." But as I've chosen to praise God for the good, the bad days turn around. Today, let's begin to look for the blessings He's given us and praise Him for them.

    Dear Lord, please turn our "bad" days into praise. And help us notice Your blessings all around us. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Notice three blessings today that yesterday you would've missed.

    Do you know someone who is going through a rough time and needs some encouragement? Right now, decide to do one practical thing to support them.

    Power Verses:
    1 Corinthians 2:12, "But God has given us his Spirit. That's why we don't think the same way that the people of this world think. That's also why we can recognize the blessings that God has given us." (CEV)

    Proverbs 10:22, "The LORD's blessing enriches, and struggle adds nothing to it." (HCSB)

    © 2012 by LeAnn Rice. 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, Leann Rice

  • Master Meditation

    Posted on November 11, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. Psalm 48:9

     

    Wise men and women meditate on God. There is a heart and a passion to hear from Him. This is the goal of meditation. It is a process of really listening to the Lord. And the primary purpose for listening is for the transformation of the hearer. It is not to gain more information so we can impress others with our knowledge, which pride promotes. Our flesh wants to leverage listening for our own advantage. We sometimes listen only so we can size up someone or something. We try to determine how we can persuade others to our way of thinking. So listening becomes a lever for personal advantage rather than personal transformation. The Lord loathes this low level of listening. His desire is for us to listen to Him and others for the purpose of becoming more like Jesus. Our Master’s desire is for us to master meditation for the purpose of His mastery over our life. 

    If we are not careful, we cringe at the thought of what Christ may say and we only listen to what we want to hear. However, selective listening is not satisfactory to our Savior. Meditation means we listen to the full counsel of God. It is listening to everything related to God’s character and His personal purpose for you. So when you get quiet before Christ, you cannot pick and choose what you want to appropriate to your life. In fact, our heavenly Father’s passion desires much from His children than just applying truth to their lives. It is engagement. Meditation on our Master leads to massive transformation. It unleashes a work of grace in our heart that jumps to the next generations. Meditation on God becomes the Spirit’s system for governing your life.

    We meditate personally and corporately. We individually hear God speak. His intimacy is unrivaled in the way He loves us specifically for who we are. Personally, He has a plan and a purpose that we come to appreciate and understand in solitude and silence. But we also meditate on our Master among the masses. This is our gathering for collective praise and worship. Our spirit engages with His transcendence and holiness through the coming together with other believers in bold proclamation of our belief.

    Dig out time daily for meditation on your Master. Listen to Him through His written word. This is a personal letter from your heavenly Father that oozes with His unfailing love. Secondly, listen to Him through the life of the living word, Jesus (John 1:14). He is God incarnate. When we encounter Christ we are wise to be transformed by His grace.

    Lastly, listen to the Lord through writing. Journal what Jesus is saying to you. Pen to paper pulls out what is within your heart. It exposes you to who you are and who He is, and how you can become more like Him. Consider calendaring a weekend of worship with Christ. The more you meditate on His word, the more you comprehend Christ’s great love for you. And, as you are able, fulfill His greatest command of loving Him and loving others. Meditation migrates us toward our master, Jesus. It is His tool of transformation. Authentic meditation moves us to be mastered by our Master.

    Taken from Reading #35 in the 90-day devotional book, “Seeking God in the Psalms”…  http://bit.ly/InvUdR

    Post/Tweet this today: Our Master’s desire is for us to master meditation for the purpose of His mastery over our life. #meditation

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Christian Mediation

    Posted on November 10, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church!” 1 Corinthians 6:4

     

    A lawsuit is not an option for two believers in Christ; otherwise there is no difference between followers of Jesus and non-believers, which means there is no distinction in values, standards, beliefs, and morals. So, Christian mediation has a much greater effect for two individuals who are locked in a relational crisis. There is a much greater purpose at work, which is to be a good example to the church and to those outside the church. Your obedience with this mediation opportunity matters.

    Your family is watching; your friends are watching; your foes are watching; God is watching. In the middle of conflict and disagreement, it is of great consequence that you remain true to the process of mediation. Do not be discouraged or downtrodden. God can be trusted to work it out. Yes, it takes time, and yes it is painful at times, but this may be the result of not dealing with issues in a timely fashion. Early on, if you are mad or disagree with a decision or behavior, talk it through. If you wait for the misunderstanding to fester, the foundation of trust begins to crack. Your communication ceases, and lies begin to creep into your thinking. Before long, there becomes a standoff, and both parties feel hurt and disrespected.

    Bad news needs to travel quickly so it can be processed and corrected. Your current situation calls for Christian mediation because a severe disagreement has occurred. Hurt hovers over the relationship. It is extremely critical, at this point, to check your anger at the door before you enter the room of mediation. Make it your goal to restore the relationship, rather than getting what you feel you deserve; the relationship is what’s most important. What you think you deserve may be inflated compared to what you really deserve. This is why a trusted, fair, and wise mediator is invaluable. Whatever the mediator decides is to be accepted by both parties. The mediator will define the facts and listen objectively to both sides. After verifying the facts and processing the information, the mediator will offer a solution that is beneficial and fair to both parties. At this point, you can chose to forgive, trust, and move forward, or you can chose to stew in your self-pity.

    Everyone wins when everyone chooses to grow through this process. If you listen intently with a heart to learn, you will come away a better person in Christ. It is through conflict that pride and arrogance either flame up or fizzle out. The goal is the latter. Do not see this disagreement as an affront to you or an opportunity to get even. See this process of Christian mediation as purging your own sin. You will learn from this, and you will not assume certain things in the future. Make sure you value the relationship over riches. Money can be made up, but an offended brother may be lost forever. It is not worth living in relational disrepair. People are more important than getting what you want. Focus on the spirit of the original agreement. You have the opportunity to serve them instead of demanding from them, so take the high road. Die to your expectations, and watch God work; His mediation is masterful. 

    Taken from the November 10th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God”… http://bit.ly/InvUdR

    Post/Tweet: Make sure you value relationships over riches. Money can be made up, but an offended friend can be lost forever. #riches

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Relational Repair

    Posted on November 9, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

     

    Relationships are in regular need of repair. Like a well-driven car they require scheduled maintenance and tender care. Indeed, relationships fall into disrepair if neglected, taken for granted or misunderstood. Healthy relational repair requires humility and seeking to understand another’s needs. It is a prayerful process that is never finished this side of heaven. Past relational deposits are not adequate for current emotional connections.

    It is our real time relational repair that contributes to building trust and intimacy. Wise are we to keep short accounts by forgiving insensitive actions, angry outbursts and not harboring hurt. Yes, we can forgive without being reconciled, but by God’s grace there can be a return to good graces. We seek to move beyond forgiveness to reconciliation because Jesus has reconciled us to Himself. His grace reconnects severed relationships.

    “Blessed is the one? whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” Romans 4:8

    Have you forgiven a friend, but still feel disconnected by distrust? What will it take to mend your mistrust? Perhaps time will heal your wounds and grow your confidence in their character. Furthermore for your faith to be reinstated in a broken trust there needs to be intentionality. Pray for your friend or spouse to be reconciled to God and daily re-calibrated by His truth. Reconciliation with people begins with reconciliation to God.

    Jesus calls you to the ministry of reconciliation. This is not an option but an obligation. Like Christ, you do not count another’s sin against them. You show mercy because the Lord has shown you mercy. By faith lift the anchor on your ship of reconciliation and sail from the harbor of hurt. Jesus draws you to Himself, so you can draw others to yourself. The world takes notice when you repair relationships—bringing glory to the Reconciler!

    “For from Him [Christ] and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen” Romans 11:36 

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me a heart to reconcile with those whom I distrust.

    Related Readings: Psalm 32:1-2; Romans 11:15; Colossians 1:20-22; Ephesians 5:21

    Post/Tweet this today: We can forgive without being reconciled, but by God’s grace there can be a return to good graces. #trust

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • An Unaccepting Heart

    Posted on November 9, 2012 by Wendy Pope

    Wendy Pope

    "Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit." Psalm 32:2 (NIV 1984)

    I spent many years regretting sins from my past; sins that had hurt others and myself. Day after day I would replay my decisions. Two decades later, the sting of past sin still had a hold on me.

    Yet I knew God had forgiven me; I'd asked Him to. So why couldn't I accept the freedom of His forgiveness?

    I wanted so badly to believe I was the person David mentions in Psalm 32:2, "Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit." Yet I struggled with accepting that God's grace could erase my sin, wiping it away as if it never happened.

    I think for many of us, this is hard to do. It sounds all well and good, but in reality we are still carrying the weight of sin we can't seem to forget or forgive ourselves for.

    Yet, His Word assures us that God does not count our sin against us. So how can we live in this truth?

    I've discovered through our key verse that the first step is acknowledging our sins: to ourselves and to God. Confession reconciles our heart with God's heart.

    The next thing is to begin filling our heart and mind with truth. Throughout the Bible, God teaches how an unaccepting heart can be changed and softened to accept His forgiveness. The following verses are truths from a loving God who longs to transform our lives through the grace of His forgiveness.

    My God doesn't condemn.
    "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1 (NIV)

    My master is grace not sin.
    "For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace." Romans 6:14 (NIV 1984)

    My Savior Jesus has set me free, therefore I am free.
    "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:36 (NIV)

    My old is gone; because of Jesus Christ I am new.
    "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV 1984)

    Are you lugging a load of sin that God has already forgiven and forgotten? Are you ready to stop living in shame, shackled by regret? Life is too short to exchange the freedom of grace for the bondage of our unbelief.

    Today, let's allow God to wash the hurt and regret from past sins away with the transforming power of His truth. And let's pray for an accepting heart that lives in the freedom of God's grace and forgiveness.

    Dear Lord, by faith I accept Your forgiveness and refuse to be a slave to forgiven sin any longer. Today, I confess and move on! I commit to believing Your transforming truths to live fully and freely in Your grace. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Confessions of an Adulterous Christian Woman by Lyndell Hetrick Holtz

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you been unaccepting of God's forgiveness? Spend time talking with God and allowing yourself to accept and live in the freedom of forgiveness.

    Use index cards to make several copies of the transforming truths above. Place a copy in your purse, car, Bible, desk, and other places you often go. Read them as long as it takes to experience the blessed life David speaks of in Psalm 32:2.

    Power Verses:
    Isaiah 1:18. "'Come now, let us reason together,' says the LORD. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.'" (NIV 1984)

    Isaiah 43:25, "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more." (NIV 1984)

    Matthew 19:26, "Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'" (NIV)

    © 2012 by Wendy Pope. 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, Wendy Pope

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