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Daily Devotion

  • Tired of Waiting

    Posted on November 23, 2012 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie Miles

    "Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them." Genesis 25:26b (NIV)

    Do you ever get tired of waiting on God to answer your prayers? I do.

    I get tired of saying the same old prayer day after day, month after month, year after year. Tired of telling God about the same old problems still going on. Tired of hearing myself pray about the same old issues, leading me to wonder if God is as tired of hearing my prayer requests as I am of praying them.

    Recently I bowed my head and admitted to God that I was simply tired of praying and waiting.

    In a heavy state of emotional exhaustion, I turned to my Bible. I hoped a few verses would jump straight into my heart and give me patience. That day I read about when Isaac's wife Rebekah gave birth to twin sons. One sentence in particular caught my eye and God used it to speak hope into my soul.

    Genesis 25:26 tells us that Isaac was sixty years old when his twins were born; a simple Bible fact, yet profoundly meaningful to me on that specific day.

    You see, Isaac had waited patiently for the Lord to provide the perfect wife. He was forty years old when he married Rebekah. That means Isaac waited twenty years for Rebekah to bear children!

    He was a man of great patience who waited on God. And eventually his patient faith was rewarded.

    In Genesis 25:21a we see that "Isaac pleaded with the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was unable to have children." (NLT) He earnestly and strongly prayed about their desires to have kids. He did not half-heartedly ask God for a son, he pleaded! He begged. He poured his heart out.

    He trusted that God would provide and continued to pray the same desperate prayer for a son, day after day, month after month, year after year.

    Isaac never gave up hope that his Lord could make the impossible, possible. And after twenty years, God gave him a son.

    Are you tired of the wait? Tired of pleading with God just like Isaac? It may take twenty years for God to answer, or it may only take twenty minutes. But today, let's find comfort in remembering Isaac's patient faith and take hope in believing that God is not tired of hearing our prayers.

    Dear Lord, please help me have patience and faith while I wait to hear from You. Help me live in excited anticipation for the day when I will see how You answer my prayers. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Stressed-Less Living: Finding God's Peace In Your Chaotic World by Tracie Miles

    Reflect and Respond:
    Consider prayers that have not been answered, but which you have not prayed about lately. Ask God to give you a renewed hope about those desires and faithfully wait on His timing.

    Have you stopped praying about something because you've grown tired of waiting on God?

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 27:14, "Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." (NIV)

    Isaiah 40:31, "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (KJV)

    © 2012 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Genesis, Tracie Miles, Waiting

  • Thankful for Thanksgiving

    Posted on November 22, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Cry out, “Save us, God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise.” 1 Chronicles 16:35

     

    A nation that stays on its knees in thanksgiving to God enjoys the blessings of God. Sophistication is never meant to substitute ingenuity for the Spirit’s power. Modern conveniences are meant to be a catalyst for Christ’s love to be leveraged worldwide. Moreover, when a country dedicates a holiday—holy day—in remembrance of the Almighty’s favor the citizens of that nation remember their true Originator and Sustainer.

    We are a blessed people because of the godly people who went before us under the authority of Almighty God. We stand on the shoulders of other saints who believed boldly in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ and the working of His power that fueled their faith, their patriotism, their life, their work and their relationships. Therefore, we are compelled to be thankful for our ancestor’s blood, sweat, tears, resolve and trust in God.

    “I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.” Daniel 2:23

    Yes, you can bow quietly at home with your family in gratitude for God’s great goodness and provision. The faith of your forefathers in your heavenly Father is a gift that keeps giving to this day. Remind your children of the context of their Christianity. It is a privilege they have to praise and worship God without intrusion from outsiders. They can be thankful to the Lord for their heritage of faith that facilitates humility, love and service.

    Furthermore, your freedom to express your faith can be a blessing to other less fortunate nations. A nation that gives away God’s love is a nation that is loved by God. Take His blessings and bless the nations. Your motive is not to make them like your country, but to help them understand how to be like Jesus. One newly converted leader filled with the Holy Spirit can influence the masses to embrace Christ. So today, thank God for a day of Thanksgiving and from a grateful heart give all nations an opportunity to know His love!

    “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.” Romans 1:8 

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thanks for blessing my nation, so that I can bless other nations.

    Related Readings: Exodus 3:15; Micah 7:7; Colossians 3:17; I Thessalonians 2:13

    Post/Tweet this today: A nation that stays on its knees in thanksgiving to God enjoys the blessings of God. #thanksgiving

    © 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 Chronicles, Daniel, Thanksgiving

  • Grateful or Guilt-Ridden

    Posted on November 22, 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "O Lord, I am your servant; yes, I am your servant, born into your household; you have freed me from my chains. I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord." Psalm 116:16-17 (NLT)

    King David really messed up. Not the "oops-I-snapped-at-my-husband-again" type of mistake. Rather, the Bible tells us David committed adultery with a soldier's wife, then had the innocent man killed to cover up the act. Talk about a condition for guilt.

    While I haven't walked in David's sandals, I do know what it's like to feel guilt and shame over what I've done ... or haven't done. It can be all-consuming.

    Guilt wraps its way around your mind and heart until it chokes out the truth. You avoid people, situations and places. Embarrassment leads you into disobedience. Guilt hisses lies like:

    • He'll never forgive you.
    • You're the worst mother on the planet.
    • What kind of Christian does that?
    • Just give up; you'll never do better.

    I wonder if David heard lies too. After all, God took him from a shepherd's field to the king's throne. The guilt at letting down the God he loved, and a soldier who trusted him, must have been intense.

    After David had blown it, he could have given up trying to be a man of God. Who would respect him after such shameful behavior? But David didn't give up.

    Rather than pulling back from life, he pressed into God.

    And God forgave David and continued to use him for years.

    Half of David's situation is common. We all make mistakes. We all fall short. We all need a Savior. The other half, the redemption, isn't so common. Too many people sit on the sidelines after a wrong choice, guilt-ridden and convinced they are disqualified from service. So why was David's story different? How was David restored to a position of honor and respect after behaving so shamefully?

    The answer is whispered and shouted throughout the book of Psalms. We hear it in David's prayers and poems. Rather than living with a sentence of guilt, David chose to be grateful. He turned attention from himself to His God - and that changed everything.

    David sought God's forgiveness with a sincere heart (Psalm 51). He was truly repentant. But then, his focus turned to thankfulness. Psalm 116 records David's words: "O LORD, I am your servant; yes, I am your servant, born into your household; you have freed me from my chains. I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD." (vs. 16 & 17)

    Thankfulness is hard to come by when we feel like the scum of the earth. It feels like a sacrifice to offer praise instead of allowing our hearts to sink into self-pity with thoughts like, "I'll never change." "I'm such a failure."

    Although he was deeply aware of his own lack, David focused on God's character, power and majesty. And when he did, thankfulness overflowed - silencing the lies about his worth and potential.

    Most of us won't go to the extremes David did, but sinful decisions can bring about a guilt-ridden condition that manifests itself in negative thinking and reduced potential. Thankfully, David's example shows me that I don't have to stay there. Yes, I'm a big mess at times. But gratefulness sings these truths:

    • God's grace is sufficient.
    • When you are weak, He is strong.
    • You've been forgiven; you are a new creation.
    • Don't dwell on the past, God is doing a new thing.

    Gratefulness changes my perspective and opens my heart to the truth. And it's your truth as well. Jesus has already paid the price for our sins, so we don't have to pay it every day through guilt. When we humbly seek His forgiveness (and the forgiveness of others when necessary) our sins are forgiven. Through Christ's sacrifice we are set free.

    Dear Lord, today I desperately need Your forgiveness. Please forgive me for what I've done and what I've not done. Help me to exchange the lies of the enemy for Your truth. Create a clean spirit within me so that I can serve You all the days of my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    For more ways to replace guilt-induced doubt with grace-infused confidence and hope, consider Renee Swope's life-changing book, A Confident Heart.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Why is it so hard to forgive ourselves?

    Name five reasons why God is worthy to be praised.

    Name five things you are grateful for today.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 51:10, "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." (NIV)

    Psalm 143:7-8, "Answer me quickly, Lord; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Psalm, Glynnis Whitwer, Guilt

  • Grateful For Leaders

    Posted on November 21, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude.” Acts 24:2-3

     

    Leaders appreciate receiving appreciation. Often they experience isolation that comes with their role and responsibilities. A genuine thank you goes a long way in energizing their will to lead. Ungrateful or insensitive followers challenge the faith of a leader’s good faith. But those who take the time to express their gratitude to those they follow bring honor and encouragement to their leader. Leaders are not to be worshiped, but thanked. 

    How do you express gratitude to your boss, pastor, teacher or coach? Do you have a systematic process to thank those who may serve in thankless roles? Perhaps God would have you become the source for fulfilling the prayers of those who labor in the Lord’s work. How refreshing and practical it is to buy a meal, clothes or a weekend away for your Pastor and his wife. Your tangible appreciation may make the difference in a leader continuing to fight the good fight. Leaders need the support of other friends in Christ.

    “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.” Hebrews 13:17

    Gratitude for the human heart is like gasoline to an automobile’s engine. A fellow leader may be out of gas and in need of your sincere appreciation. What if you prayed for a leader in your life once a week for 12 weeks? It could be the President of a nation or the President of your local Parent Teacher’s Association. Look for leaders who need a prayer. School principals need a pal. Speak a kind word for they normally hear only negative concerns.

    Furthermore, express your gratitude to God for the godly leaders in your life. If may be your wife, husband, mayor, governor, president, business associate or missionary overseas. Pray to the Lord for them to feel His presence and power in their leadership role. Pray they will walk in the humility and wisdom of Jesus. Leaders need to feel the Lord’s love and approval. A leader appreciated by the Almighty is positioned to lead with love.

    “So the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of leadership, and lay your hand on him. Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence.” Numbers 27:18-19

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, how can I be grateful for those leaders in my life?

    Related Readings: Acts 11:30; Ephesians 1:15-23; I Timothy 5:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:12

    Post/Tweet this today: A leader appreciated by God is empowered to lead with 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 Acts, Numbers, Hebrews, Leadership, Grateful

  • What Makes a Family?

    Posted on November 21, 2012 by Leann Rice

    Leann Rice

    "But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus." 2 Corinthians 7:6 (NIV)

    Fifteen years ago I watched an empty hospital bed roll into my living room. What an unlikely place for a bed. What an even more unlikely place for my husband, Ron, to be dying-in our living room.

    How could this be? Ron was young, athletic, my best friend, the love of my life and the absolute joy of our three-year-old son, Nick.

    Soon, fragile days filled with Ron's raspy breathing became what I called my "in between." During that in-between time — the space separating life and death — I wanted to savor the richness of last conversations, last kisses, and last memories.

    But Ron's condition deteriorated quickly. He slipped away much too soon. In an instant, I became both a widow and a single parent. I felt completely alone.

    Most people have a close support network, a soft place to land. Not me. Physical distance separated me from my mother and in-laws, and differences in viewpoints created emotional distances with other family members.

    As a result, my "soft" landing place often felt like shards of glass slashing at my heart. Everything cut deeply. Everything hurt.

    It was my love for our son, Nick, which helped me survive the painful emptiness and move on.

    But I grieved when thinking about spending our future holidays alone. No boisterous birthday celebrations for Nick. No traditional Thanksgiving dinner. We needed a bigger family to do life with.

    When you experience a tragic loss due to death or betrayal, it's hard to trust anyone again. At least it was for me.

    Yet, a little brown-haired boy needed godly male influences, and a loving family with whom to celebrate. I also needed to stop being filled with conflicting emotions about being afraid to trust.

    In 2 Corinthians 7:6, Paul didn't have any extended family present during a time of conflicting emotions and fear either. Yet, God saw Paul's need for a family-like companionship so He sent Titus to encourage and take care of the apostle. Titus was a problem-solver who had a heart for God and a heart for God's people in Corinth.

    God also saw our need for a new, bigger family. With ample love, He sent Nick and me some "Titus" people who have a heart for God and a heart for His people. They helped to transform our downcast souls with His all-encompassing comfort.

    Slowly, I cracked open my heart's door just an inch or two allowing these amazing people into our lives. Over time, God knit all of us together creating a "Titus family" related by our hearts, not our heritage.

    My "Titus family" consists of people who love each other unconditionally, support and encourage each other, sit beside one another's hospital beds, hold each other accountable and share in every achievement, failure and pain.

    Do we look alike? Not so much. But do we share the same heart and many happy holiday celebrations? Definitely!

    The most valuable lesson I've learned since my husband died is that marriage certificates and blood relationships are not the only way to make a family.

    God makes a family.

    Dear Lord, You promised to be a father to the fatherless and to even bring joy to widows during festivals. The holidays are often a hard time for people in a season of suffering. Please open my eyes to see anyone who needs a soft place to land or a safe place to share. And then, give me the resolve I need to respond with the same incredible love You've shown me — no matter how busy I am. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Words of Comfort for Times of Loss by Cecil Murphy and Liz Allison

    Reflect and Respond:
    How do you most often close your heart to shield yourself from being hurt again? Withdrawing? Being angry? Holding on to bitterness?

    Who might you turn to to help you move past your pain, trusting that God can redirect it into a new purpose in your life?

    Take time today to contact someone who needs companionship.

    Power Verses:
    Lamentations 3:32, "Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love." (NIV)

    1 Thessalonians 4:9-10, "Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all of God's family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more." (NIV)

    © 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 2 Corinthians, Family, Leann Rice

  • Gratitude Speaks Up

    Posted on November 20, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.” Luke 17:15-16

     

    Gratitude cannot keep quiet. Like a giddy fan at their favorite sporting event—emotions explode in cheers over a well-executed play. Heart felt thanksgiving has to escape and express itself to those who contributed to this cause for joy. If verbal gratitude is withheld then those who remain silent miss out on bringing public praise to God. Ultimately, Jesus is behind every good gift, and many times He uses His people in the process of a blessing. 

    An outcast of society becomes an insider with God through thoughtful and verbal thanksgiving to Him. Do you still exhibit a humble attitude of gratitude or have you graduated beyond gratefulness? In fact, the more you grow in the grace of God, the more thankful you become. You show up and speak up with thanksgiving. At work you thank your team leader for employment and trust God with opportunities for advancement.

    “We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude.” Acts 24:2-3

    It is easy to get caught up in busy living and forget to thank those who gave us a chance to develop our gifts for God’s glory. Has your Pastor heard from you since you went off to school and applied his teachings to your life and relationships? Have you gone back and blessed the teacher/mentor who inspired your career? When was the last time you looked your parents in the eyes and explained how their example of consistent character caused you to follow hard after Christ? True thanksgiving takes time to say thank you!

    Furthermore, it is praise and thanksgiving to God that is the pinnacle of gratitude. Your gratitude to God generates generosity and bubbles up joy in your heart. Your marriage of humility and thanksgiving invites a dinner reception that feasts on contentment, peace, hope, happiness and security. Open wide your mouth with words of thanksgiving and watch the Lord do wonderful works around you. Gratitude speaks up to its Savior!

    “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” Colossians 3:16

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for healing my heart and giving me Your joy.

    Related Readings: Psalm 147:7; Jonah 2:9; Romans 16:4; Colossians 4:2

    Post/Tweet this today: Wisdom exhibits a humble attitude of gratitude and never graduates beyond gratefulness. #gratitude

    © 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 Acts, Luke, Colossians, Gratitude

  • Christians Acting Ugly

    Posted on November 20, 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa Terkeurst

    "Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV)

    Recently I was skimming some comments left on a social media outlet. Most were encouraging and kind. Some people had a different opinion but stayed civil in their expressions.

    Then there was a third group. A much smaller but a very loud group.

    Their opinions dripped with judgment, harshness, and condemnation. And the saddest thing of all? These were Christians attacking another Christian.

    Honestly, I don't get it.

    I just don't. As I read their comments it seemed as if they felt compelled to rip this person to shreds in order to prove their view. To show how knowledgeable they were and how off-base this other Christian was. Most disturbing of all, they felt it their duty to "protect God."

    But God doesn't call man to protect Him. He calls us to love Him. And love others. Christians acting ugly and justifying it under the guise of holding another person in check isn't loving.

    Matthew 22:36 says, "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"

    "Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" (Matt. 22:37-39 NIV)

    Yes, there is a place to make sure others aren't misaligning Truth. But we must do this carefully and first make sure we aren't misaligning the Truth in our approach.

    Our response must contain these three things: justice, mercy, and humility. "The LORD has told you, human, what is good; he has told you what he wants from you: to do what is right to other people, love being kind to others, and live humbly, obeying your God." (Micah 6:8 NCV)

    I read this quote recently that reminded me of this powerful verse in Micah. "It is right to see justice prevail. But it is wrong when my ego gets in the way — when I retaliate to prove that I am strong, that I am superior to the other person, that I am the almighty righteous cop for God." (Bible commentary writer Michael J. Wilkins)

    I guess I can feel a little sensitive about this subject because I've had some personal ministry friends attacked and accused in the most vicious of ways. And a little of this yuck has slipped into my world as well.

    Maybe this third group sees these growing ministries and assumes their words won't affect their leaders. Or worse yet, because these ministries are growing maybe they hope their words will affect them. Either way, it hurts.

    I know this isn't just an experience exclusive to leaders in ministry though. This can happen to any of us—in any walk of life. Whether you are hyper-critical of those around you, or you have experienced this hurtful criticism from a friend, family member, or co-worker, these words hurt everyone involved.

    There isn't an easy solution to this problem. But if this devotion makes a few people stop and think before blasting someone, whether a ministry leader, a family leader, or friend — then it's good. And most of all, if it reminds me to do what is right to other people ... to love being kind to others ... and to live a little more humbly — it's really good.

    Dear Lord, thank You for Your grace and patience everyday. Help me recognize when I become critical of those around me. I want to show Your love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    For more on learning to tame your words with grace and honesty, check out Lysa TerKeurst's new book, Unglued.

    We can be examples of Christians coming together to act kindly. One way is by doing a small group Bible Study of Unglued with the accompanying DVD and Participant's Guide together.

    Reflect and Respond:
    This week, when you are tempted to speak harsh or critical words to or about someone in your sphere of influence, or about a leader in your life, think about the 'greatest commandment.'

    Are you loving your neighbor as you would like to be loved? If your answer is no, or contains a 'but,' try holding your tongue and remember, only the Lord can judge the heart of another man. And thank goodness, for He is just and loving.

    Power Verses:
    Jeremiah 17:10, "I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve." (NIV)

    Ephesians 4:29, "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." (NIV)

    James 1:26, "Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless." (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 Micah, Matthew, Lysa TerKeurst, Michael J. Wilkins

  • Gratitude Shows Up

    Posted on November 19, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him.” Acts 8:2

     

    When a life has been well spent and invested in the Kingdom of God, admirers show up to pay honor at their home-going to heaven. The godly show up to honor the death of the godly. It is gratitude to God that compels Christ followers to attend the funeral of another faithful brother or sister in the faith. Mourning comforts the one suffering loss and shows appreciation for the loved one’s life. Gratitude shows up to empathize with a shaky soul. 

    If we are grateful for someone we show up for the important milestones in their lives. Graduations, school plays, art lessons, surgery, sonograms, athletic events, dance recitals, grandparent’s day, an open house, retirement, or a friend’s big birthday are all events to attend and express support and gratitude. Attendance communicates appreciation. Our body may be weary, but our spirit compels us to be there for those who need us to care.

    “So we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.” 1 Thessalonians

    Gratitude honors your parents. What makes them feel appreciated? Perhaps a handwritten note or a typed letter reflecting how they have blessed you over the years with their love and support— especially during the trying times in your teen years. You can celebrate their wedding anniversary with a surprise destination event they wouldn’t plan for themselves. So, be creative in communicating gratitude to your dad and mom.

    Furthermore, show up in gratitude for those activities that are near and dear to the heart of your heavenly Father. Church, praise and worship, bible study, missions, community service, loving a dying neighbor and giving hilariously towards heaven’s heart. You are motivated by appreciation because of the Lord’s great love toward you. You can’t out give Christ, but you can express your gratitude to Him by showing up on His behalf!

    “She is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.” 1 Timothy 5:10

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me gratitude and gumption to show up for You.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 30:18; Luke 18:1; 2 Corinthians 12:15; 1 John 3:16

    Post/Tweet this today: Gratitude for someone shows up for the important milestones in their lives. Attendance shows appreciation. #appreciate

    © 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 Acts, 1 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, Gratitude

  • God Wants His Job Back

    Posted on November 19, 2012 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people." Colossians 3:23 (NLT)

    I have a confession to make: I crave control. You know—as in I like to be in charge; the shot-caller; the boss.

    I'm pretty sure I was born ready to be in charge. As a toddler, I lined my frilly dolls and any willing playmates or siblings up in a way that suited my preferences. In elementary school, I couldn't wait to be selected for special duties, like heading up a game or putting on a play.

    Yes, from birth I instinctively ordered and organized anything within my reach—objects, circumstances, and later in life, even living, breathing human beings. I didn't need a boardroom to prove that I was a natural born boss.

    In my defense (and the defense of my fellow control-craving friends), this is often a much-needed skill. Being able to multi-task, identify duties and delegate is beneficial on many fronts. Just glance at my partial to-do list for the week:

    Prepare meals and snacks for the week
    Make appointments for the eye doctor
    Do a few loads of laundry
    Haul kids back and forth to sports practice
    Help kids with homework

    Whew, I'm worn out just writing that!

    But, it helps to see that we need to be able to juggle a lot: home, school, family, careers, and church duties. The problem lies with our failure to know where to draw the line; to differentiate between leading and bossing; to know the difference between taking charge and taking over.

    Competency carried to an extreme can morph into control.

    I've struggled to find a balance between taking charge and ultimately taking over for most of my life. Colossians 3:23 helps me remember that managing my life and to-do list is ultimately an act of worship and service to the Lord. In it we're told, "Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people." (NLT)

    When I work willingly as though I'm working for the Lord, I set about my tasks and navigate my relationships with a humble heart and open hands. I willingly let go of my preferences and desire to be the one in control.

    When I work willingly as though I'm working for the Lord, I focus more on caring about others' feelings than controlling their opinions and resulting actions.

    When I work willingly as though I'm working for the Lord, I want to please Him, not myself.

    I've discovered there exists a minuscule line between being conscientious and being controlling. What I have to constantly keep in mind is the difference between being conscientious (my part) and being in control (God's part).

    I'll probably always have long to-do lists and lots of activities. It's just the nature of my personality. But I'm trying to remember each day that it is God who is ultimately in charge, not me.

    It's not easy for this control-craving woman to let go and let God run the show. It takes emotional effort and intentional change of my ingrained habits. But I am learning to work diligently without being controlling.

    This week as we set about our tasks, lets remember just who the boss is: God. We are on His time clock. May our thoughts, actions and reactions make our Boss proud and accurately reflect His character.

    Dear Lord, may I purpose to learn the difference between being conscientious and being controlling. Help me remember You are God and I am not. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    If you crave control but want to learn how to let go and trust God more with the everyday details and decisions in your life, check out 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:
    Think about your week ahead. What tasks must you perform? How can you go about tackling these in a way that is conscientious but not controlling?

    Power Verse:
    Colossians 1:10 "... walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God." (ESV)

    © 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 Colossians, Karen Ehman

  • Honor God

    Posted on November 18, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God. Psalm 50:23

     

    Honor of God is our obligation as Jesus-followers. It is not an option but an opportunity to afford praise and thanksgiving to the Almighty. The honor of God places the focus of our appreciation on the object of our affection, Jesus. It is way beyond just the mere morsels of language from our lips (Mark 7:6). The honor of God is meant to be a habit of our living. Our life overflows in honor when our attitude of gratitude sets the tone for our actions. It is honorable to God when we are grateful for our jobs and the people with whom we work. We take the time to celebrate birthdays and verbally affirm the character traits of the one being honored. This small scenario of gratitude honors our Savior. It is a celebration of salvation in the life of one of His children. Gratitude honors God.

    Our worship honors God when our behavior matches our beliefs. This is why we come before Christ in confession and repentance. It is an honoring of the standards He has set with His life and word. It is dishonoring to our Lord to receive Jesus at salvation and then ignore Him until we get to heaven. Our enemies get more attention than this lowly form of ingratitude. We go to God because we need it and He deserves and expects it. The simple act of submission and surrender to Jesus honors Him in heaven and on earth. If the angels bow before Him, how much more should we (Psalm 103:20)? Holy living submits its whole way to divine direction. We honor heaven when we ask God for guidance.

    It is out of our honoring of God and others that He shows us the way. Honor is a highway to heaven (Philippians 3:20). It is in our acts of honor that we hear the voice of the one we are honoring. Honoring improves our hearing. Honoring brings clarity. It is when we honor God and people above ourselves that we gain perspective (Romans 12:9-10). A self-honoring person sucks the life out of a situation, while someone who offers honor gives life. It honors others when we serve them. It honors others when we are kind. It honors others when we involve them in the decision-making process. It honors others when we invite them to special occasions like showers, weddings, funerals, and anniversary parties. It honors others when we celebrate what is important to them. Honor helps others understand.

    Furthermore, honor God with your body (I Corinthians 6:20). Our body is a reflection of God. It is His and He expects it to be in its best condition. When we care for our body we care for Christ. It honors Him. It is also unacceptable to the Almighty when we abuse our body. When we abuse our body we abuse Christ. Therefore, honor Him in your body. Dress so you draw attention to your inner beauty. This honors Him.

    Lastly, God honors those who honor Him (1 Samuel 2:30). What an honor it is to be honored by God. He honors us with His intimacy. He honors us with responsibilities and success. He honors us with wisdom. He honors us with blessings undeserved. He honors us with friends and family. He honors us with health and healing. He honors us by calling us His own. Our honor invites His honor. By God’s grace, do the honorable thing. Honor prepares His way.

    Taken from Reading #36 in the 90-day devotional book, “Seeking God in the Psalms”…  http://bit.ly/InvUdR

    Post/Tweet this today: Holy living submits its whole way to divine direction. We honor God when we ask for guidance. #honor 

    © 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, Romans, 1 Samuel, Honor

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