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Daily Devotion

  • 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

  • Committed Love

    Posted on February 5, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

    Committed love is the high bar of behavior in marriage. It is not a convenient love that only remains loyal if it has feelings of love. Indeed, a devoted wife and husband love each other deeply. It is a depth of love not shaken by financial setbacks or a child who breaks their heart. Like western pioneers, a married couple committed to love circles their wagons in wholehearted dedication and stay faithful. Committed love finds a way to forgive and move forward by faith.

    Are you looking for a way out of your covenant with God or have you both shut the door on divorce? Your first commitment is to Christ and His commands. His heart’s desire is for you to cover the sins of your spouse with forgiveness and fidelity to your relationship. Love does not pay back by inflicting harm, but  gives back by believing the best. You know you have committed love for your spouse if your motivation is to heal their hurting heart. Your love flows from Jesus’ love.

    “Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John [Peter], do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” John 21:16

    Peter knew first hand the depth of Christ’s love that forgave him of his multiple sins of betrayal. Indeed, it is out of our incredible sense of being forgiven much that we love much. The reality of the depth of our sin heightens as we mature in the faith. Yes, it is the Lord’s precious forgiveness that constrains us to love deeply our dear wife or husband. Our committed love to each other is built upon Christ’s committed love to us. Marriage focused on Jesus loves one another like Jesus.

    What are some ways you can go deeper in your love for your spouse? You love deeply when you share with them the depth of gratitude you have for their love for you. You love deeply when you defend them in front of complaining children and when you show respect by not publicly criticizing them. You are capable oflovingyour spouse deeply when Christ has loved you deeply. Yes, your committed love is a compelling example of Jesus to your children and to their children.

    “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Luke 7:47, NKJV

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father thank you for deeply loving me, so I in turn can deeply love my spouse.

     

    Related Readings: Proverbs 10:12; John 10:11; 1 Peter 1:22; James 5:20

     

    Post/Tweet today: Love does not pay back by inflicting harm, but  gives back by believing the best. #love

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • The Good Wife

    Posted on February 5, 2013 by Sharon Glasgow

    Sharon

    "Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves." Romans 12:10 (NIV)

    Being a good wife is a lot like being a good cook.

    Any cook using the same recipe and instructions can produce a dish that tastes entirely different from another's. Why is this?

    Well, attention to detail is one characteristic that distinguishes a good cook from an average one.

    Take fried apples for example. All you need are apples, sugar, butter and cinnamon. But, not every cook prepares them the same. I cook mine on high (I want them caramelized) and I never put a lid on the pan or they get mushy. If you take the same ingredients, cook them on low with a cover, you get a dish that doesn't resemble mine at all. The same recipe produces a totally different result.

    The same is true between a good wife and an average wife. There are hundreds of recipes for being a good wife using the same few ingredients: love, respect, communication, intimacy, time, service, and prayer. Even if the recipe is followed without one ingredient omitted, the outcome can be totally different.

    If you love in proportion to what is given you, the recipe will not rise to the fullest. Our key verse, Romans 12:10, tells us to be devoted in love. The word love as used here is an unconditional one with no expectations of a return. Love with every ounce of your being and when you have given all, squeeze even more out.

    I grew up lacking an understanding of respect. I loved my husband, but didn't respect all of his ideas or his role in our family. But through reading Scripture, God showed me the importance of respecting my husband. In fact, Romans 12:10 encourages us to honor our husbands by thinking more highly of them than ourselves. This meant I had to stop thinking my way was the only way! Once I learned to listen before reacting and respect his thoughts, I find Dale is actually right most often.

    Communication is a delicate balance of listening and talking. Listen not only with your ears but with your heart. One author broke down our key verse by saying, "They should speak honorably of each other ... and discourage that evil practice of whisperings, backbitings, and innuendos; they should treat each other with honor and respect in their common conversation."* Allow nothing to hinder this vital ingredient, including interrupting, assuming, or past conversations. He needs to know you care about his every thought, goal, and burden.

    Do not neglect intimacy! The spicier you make this ingredient, the easier the other ingredients gel together into the perfect recipe.

    I'm not the perfect housekeeper, but I try my best. Serving my husband by keeping our home organized and clean, cooking meals he enjoys, and creating an atmosphere of love makes my recipe great!

    Time with him is a vital ingredient too. So, I go everywhere he goes whenever possible. When our five girls were little we would all hop in the vehicle to get gas or pick up nails from the hardware store just to be with him.

    Many nights I wake up and while he sleeps, I watch him and pray. I pray for his health, his work, and his dreams to be fulfilled. Make time each day to regularly pray for your husband, and sprinkle in prayers throughout your day as well. The Lord will be faithful to answer.

    The Good Wife Recipe is about being devoted to one another in love and honoring each other above ourselves. I've noticed that the more I put into the recipe, the more I get out of it ... and the more passionate my marriage is. The more passionate it becomes the less work it is. My desire to love becomes greater, ability to respect becomes second nature, communication becomes like-minded, intimacy is sweeter, and time with him is my desire not a duty.

    Being a good wife is a lot like being a good cook. Anyone using the same recipe and instructions can produce a marriage that is entirely different from another. The secret to The Good Wife Recipe: do not neglect one ingredient. It will be how deliberate you are with the finer details that will determine the outcome.

    Dear Lord, help me be the wife I need to be. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are you using all the ingredients mentioned in this devotion in your marriage?

    Everyone's taste is different. Which ingredient needs adjusting for your husband's preferences?

    Power Verse:
    Proverbs 12:4, "A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones." (NIV)

    * Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

    © 2013 by Sharon Glasgow. All rights reserved.

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

  • Marriage Intentionality

    Posted on February 4, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Marriage should be honored by all.” Hebrews 13:4
    Successful marriages require intentionality. Indeed, most marriages that please the Lord do not happen by accident. There is a prayerful pattern of planning and wise choices that come with a meaningful marriage. The husband and wife honor one another by aspiring to each other’s interests. They connect at deeper emotional levels because they take the time to communicate their feelings. By God’s grace they understand each other's needs and help satisfy those needs.
    How can we be intentional with our spouse? Our acts of service are an example of how we can show them tangible ways we care. If we are the recipient of a deliciously prepared meal, we can insist on clearing the table and cleaning up the kitchen. If our car requires maintenance or repair, we can take the lead taking care of the need. Perhaps we collaborate over a grocery list and then quietly make a trip to the market and purchase the items. Intentional service shows love.
    “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13

     

    Moreover, intentional marriages set goals to get better. You may decide as a couple to dialogue daily, date weekly and depart quarterly. Daily dialogue is a sure fire way to keep the fire of your relationship burning brightly. Consistent emotional connection between husband and wife is necessary to feel loved. Weekly date nights give you an opportunity to romance one another and have fun. Intimacy takes intentionality. Make a marriage plan so life doesn’t make plans for you.

    Above all else, have spiritual intentionality in your marriage. Take the time for prayer walks and initiate talks about spiritual matters. Volunteer together at church and/or in your community. Keep your individual quiet times a priority and then share with one another what the Lord is teaching you. Perhaps you serve on a mission trip together at home and/or overseas. Marriage intentionality honors the Lord and honors you and your spouse. So, be prayerfully intentional!

    “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10

    Prayer: Dear Lord give us wisdom in our marriage to model Your intentional love and care.

    Related Readings: Psalm 133:1; Philippians 2:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Peter 1:22
    Post/Tweet today: Intentional marriages set goals to get better: dialogue daily, date weekly, depart quarterly. #marriage
    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry
    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • The Joneses are Overrated

    Posted on February 4, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen

    "For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well-fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:11-13 (HCSB)

    Psst ... I have a little secret.

    The Joneses are overrated.

    Oh, I know we'd never think that from the way the Joneses appear, but they are not all they're cracked up to be.

    In my mom's day, you only saw the Joneses a few times a week. Maybe you bumped into them on your way into church or perhaps at the PTA meeting. You know, as you were getting into your dented and faded grey mini van while they were piling happily into their new spit-shined Chevrolet.

    What a difference a decade (or two) makes! The Joneses now perpetually parade in front of our eyes nearly 24 hours a day. Where?

    On our computer news feeds. And smart phones. On Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. The "look at me!" Joneses and all their profile-picture-perfect lives. It can tempt us to become jealous and discontent.

    One day an online friend posted: "Fettuccini Alfredo, fresh beans from the garden, and my famous raspberry cheesecake. It's what's for dinner!" A second friend's status read: "Who-hoo! Paid off the mortgage. We're now debt-free!" And still another, "Our Jimmy got student of the month!"

    All of this took place while I was ordering pizza (for the second time that week!), piecing together the mortgage money and answering a call from the middle school vice-principal's office where my son sat, busted for an inappropriate prank.

    Yes, the Joneses invade our homes and our thoughts several times a day through social media and the Internet, robbing us of contentment. Why?

    Comparisons.

    Comparisons always deal a deathblow to our contentment. When we see others owning, enjoying, or experiencing what we do not have, but wish we did, it may make us discontent.

    In a letter to the believers in Philippi, the Apostle Paul penned Philippians 4:11-13 which begins "For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am."

    The Greek word rendered "content" here denotes more than just a throwing up of arms in reluctant acceptance. At its hub it literally means: "to be satisfied to the point where I am no longer disturbed or disquieted."

    God has already prepared a place of contentment for us when the car breaks down, the bills are hard to meet, and our "Johnny" acts out ... again. We find that place when we take our eyes off of our situation (and off of the screen) and fix them solely upon God.

    When we adopt this attitude, we live out the truth I once heard author Elisabeth Elliot declare: "The difference is Christ in me. Not me in a different set of circumstances."

    To truly embrace our circumstances, we must decide to stop pleading, "God, get me out of here!" and learn to humbly ask instead, "Lord, why have You brought me here? What are You trying to reveal to me that I would never discover if You were to suddenly pluck me out of this situation? What godly character qualities are You trying to grow in me? Patience? Trust? Faith? Compassion?"

    When we cease making comparisons and instead willingly embrace our current lot in life, welcoming all that God will teach us through it, we will finally unearth the secret Paul knew. True contentment is not merely having what you want, it is wanting nothing more than what you already have.

    We can only do this when we stop looking at the Joneses and turn our eyes to Jesus Christ who gives us strength.

    Dear Lord, forgive me for looking around and comparing myself or my circumstances to others. May I look only to You for contentment and peace. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    If you want more encouragement on this topic, check out Karen Ehman's new book and DVD curriculum LET. IT. GO. How to Stop Running the Show & Start Walking in Faith.

    Reflect and Respond:
    In what areas of your life do comparisons impact your contentment? Marriage? Children? Finances? Work? Relationships? Looks?

    Pick one of those areas and write out a prayer to God asking Him to shift your perspective from comparing to being content. Post it next to your computer screen or on your bathroom mirror.

    Power Verse:
    Proverbs 14:30 "A tranquil heart is life to the body, but jealousy is rottenness to the bones." (HCSB)

    © 2013 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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

  • Shattered Plans

    Posted on February 3, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “My days have passed, my plans are shattered, and so are the desires of my heart.”  Job 17:11

     

    Sometimes, our plans do not go as we had hoped. In fact they are shattered. They’re obliterated in front of our very eyes. You were almost breathless when  your dismissal finally sunk in. In your shock, you could have been pushed over with a feather. Certainly plans are made to be adjusted, but this one blew up in your face. You were devastated. You had positioned your career for this one opportunity, and it failed to materialize. Even now, your emotions vacillate between bewilderment and anger toward God, and your future feels gnarled and disjointed. You feel emasculated. It doesn’t make any sense. The money was there, along with the relationships and resources that were poised for deployment. It was as if the stars were aligned. Then suddenly, your plan became irrelevant and it vanished overnight.

     

    Now you are positioned to start over. It is hard to assemble the energy to withstand another assault on your vision. It is time to give up and give in to defeat because God is still in control. He controls your plans and their successful launch. He can still be trusted going forward. Just because things have not worked out according to your timetable is no reason to quit trusting Him. Trust the Lord with a re-engineered plan that will be better than the old one. His ways are much better than your ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).

     

    There is no human comprehension to what God has in store if you remain faithful to Him. Indeed, His ways (Isaiah 2:3) can be hard to understand. The cycle of digesting His will into your mind and soul is like “chewing cud,” a repetitive process that requires time and patience. The desires of your heart need validation. This is part of His plan, and this is where prayer plays a vital role. Take the broken pieces of your plan and place them at the feet of Jesus. He will take your shattered plan and piece it back together with His enhancements. A crushed plan in the hand of Christ has much more potential than your perfect plan buried in your grasp. You limit the Lord by holding on in distrust or fear.

     

    Lastly, like the expressed genius of an artist, the newly formed plan has the depth and breadth of a masterpiece. It is an original crafted by the hand of God. Therefore, do not settle for anything less than your Master’s plan. His master plan is monumental and can move mountains. Your desires may be dead, but now is the time to submit to God in a fresh and humble way. Watch in delight as He resurrects your desires to align and connect with His. He has slowed you down so your plans partner with His. See your shattered plan as a blessing, not a curse. God loves to take what is broken, lift it up, and make it whole again. Place your plans and your heart in His hands.

     

    He is the author and the finisher of your faith (Hebrews 12:2). He is the plan provider, and He makes shattered plans better.

     

    Post/Tweet: A crushed plan in the hand of Christ has much more potential than our perfect plan buried in our grasp. #plan

  • God or Money

    Posted on February 2, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money” (Matthew 6:24).

     

    How do you know if you love God or money more? Ask yourself if you worry more about missing your prayer time or missing your paycheck. Are you more anxious about what the Almighty thinks, or do you obsess over the opinion of others? Are you driven to seek God’s kingdom first or to blindly build your own kingdom? Devotion to the eternal or the temporal is a choice. It cannot be to both. One really captures your worship.

     

    Money makes promises it cannot keep, like security, peace, and prosperity. But the Lord makes promises He does keep, like grace, forgiveness, joy, and contentment.  When the commands of these two contradict, will you follow Christ or cash? Decide now, so when you are in the emotion of the moment you do not give in to glittering gold.

     

    What keeps you up at night? Is it how to make more money or how to make more of Jesus? Set your affections above, and you will be more effective below. The Lord is looking for His children with whom He can entrust more of His blessings. He longs for the faithful who use their finances to draw lost souls to salvation, hurting people to healing, and who boldly pray, “Your kingdom come…on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

     

    Perhaps you take your family on a mission trip to see how the masses live with little money but with a lot of the Lord. It is revolutionary for a soul that has been seduced by the mistress of money to see how believers without stuff affectionately embrace their Lord and Savior Jesus. Expose your faith to the poor, so you are liberated from wealth.

     

    This is a heart issue. Who captures your affections—your Savior or your stuff? Money makes a poor master but a useful servant. Indeed, Jesus is the trustworthy Master with whom you can place your faith and devotion. Money tries to maneuver itself into a place of priority, but by faith you can relegate it to serve righteous causes. Love Him, not it.

     

    “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

     

    Prayer: What masters my mind and holds my heart—God or money? Who needs my money?

     

    Related Readings: Malachi 3:8–10; Matthew 6:10; Colossians 3:1–10; 1Timothy 6:6–10

     

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

     

    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

  • Self-Deception

    Posted on February 1, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12

     

    Self-deception is the worst kind of dishonesty because it is so convincing. Subtly it convenes our mind and emotions to ally around a lie. For example, self-deception whispers into the ear of our heart, “You are so smart and capable,” but it forgets to include Christ’s influence in its instruction. Then we wander down a prayerless path, forged in our own strength, only to discover we missed God’s best by a mile.

     

    In reality, we are only as prosperous as our Lord allows. He makes our path straight and successful as He defines success. “I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths” (Proverbs 4:11). To which voice do you adhere—your own or your Savior’s? Perhaps His plan is for you to make less money and have more family time. Maybe you turn down this promotion and trust Him for a better one in a different season.

     

    “The pride of your heart has deceived you” (Obadiah 1:3).

     

    We can talk ourselves into anything, especially as it relates to money. I can easily justify a new house, car, kitchen, furniture, floors, or grill. But do I really need to upgrade or just repair what I have? How can the Lord trust me with something newer if I have not been a good steward of what He has already given me? Trustworthy people can be trusted with more, but the untrustworthy lose opportunities. Thus manage well your present possessions.

     

    Self-deceivers are self-destroyers; so avoid self-delusion by being accountable. Give others permission to ask you uncomfortable, even hard, questions. Better to be embarrassed sooner than humiliated later. Humility invites the inspection of loving friends into our lives. You do much better when others provide loving accountability.

     

    “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be” (Jeremiah 17:9 msg).

     

    Prayer: Am I transparent with my money and motives? What do God and godly advisors think?

     

    Related Readings: Psalm 1:6; Isaiah 59:8; Matthew 7:13–14; Galatians 6:3

     

    Post/Tweet today: Self deception convenes our mind and emotions to ally around a lie. #lie

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • How Do I Know If I'm Called

    Posted on February 1, 2013 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy

    "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

    I stood at the sink and gazed out the window. In that moment, the Lord impressed the strangest words on my heart: "Wendy, your house will become a house of prayer and teaching."

    The thought of opening my heart and home to share Jesus was not even a blip on my radar screen. I did not know a soul in this new town and had no idea what God meant by those words. Was He really calling me to teach and pray for women?

    As I sought God's will for that time in my life, He led me to Ephesians 2:10: "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." It was the start of God confirming His calling in my life at that time.

    Here are some steps the Lord showed me to know I was hearing Him correctly:

    Humble your heart before the Lord.
    Humility is necessary for a teachable heart. To discover our calling, we must set aside our agendas and surrender to God's. We cannot have a predetermined plan and then invite God to complete it. We need to ask, "What are You calling me to do right here and now?"

    Examine your life experiences and current circumstances.
    God uses life experiences (family, education, vocation, spiritual gifts, trials, etc.) to mold, train, and equip us. Sometimes what we want to hide - the horrible trials we want to forget - are the very things God wants to use the most.

    We all suffer trials. Sometimes we surrender and lean on God. When we do, we come out the other side victorious and God is glorified. Nothing is worthless. Everything has value. God uses it all to shape us for our calling.

    Apply your gifts, talents and abilities.
    Gifts and abilities will give you the strongest indication of what your calling is. God will match your calling with your capabilities. He equips those He calls.

    In determining your calling, look at your gifts:

    • What are your strengths?
    • What brings out your passion?
    • How do people respond when you act in your giftedness?

    Read, study and pray God's Word.
    As we seek God's calling, He will direct our steps and confirm what He says. The most common way He does this is through His Word. He can also use avenues like pastors, friends, and Bible studies to direct us, or even things in the culture around us.

    Trust in God's timing and in His answer.
    God will lead you to do things that require you to TRUST in Him. They will always be perfectly orchestrated and timed to display His honor and glory.

    The more you need God to do a task, the more you will rely on Him. If you feel rushed, unorganized, and lack inner peace, these are signs you are not in His will or it is not in His timing.

    As I opened my home for my first Bible study, joy and amazement filled my heart as the women came through the door one by one. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I remembered God's Word to me that first day in my kitchen. "Wendy, your house will become a house of prayer and teaching."

    What has He told you that you are called to do?

    Father in heaven, thank You that You have good plans for us. You know our every need, deepest desires, and hurting places. Lord, as we seek to know You and the calling You have on us more, would You open the eyes of our heart to see the wonderful things You have planned? In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Replace any lack of self-confidence with lasting God-confidence with A Confident Heart by Renee Swope!

    Reflect and Respond:
    Humble your heart before the Lord.
    Examine your life experiences and current circumstances.
    Apply your gifts, talents and abilities.
    Read, study and pray God's Word.
    Trust in God's timing and in His answer.

    Power Verse:
    Philippians 1:6, "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

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