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Daily Devotion

  • Dealing With Disappointment

    Posted on October 24, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.” Isaiah 49:23

     

    Everyone deals with disappointment—some more than others. These let downs vary in scope: another year of no raises at work, a friend’s forgetfulness, a lost opportunity, a teenager’s poor choices, a missed deadline, a relative’s financial woes, a boss’s oversight, an injured body or unexpected dental work. In this world troubles abound, but in Christ His peace is profound. Yes, disappointment is a fact that forces us to make appointments with Jesus. He doesn’t disappoint.

    Moreover, disappointments left unattended lead to disobedience. The hole in our heart is meant to grow our dependency on God. He brings wholeness and holiness to a lacerated soul. The Lord heals hurt feelings when we offer forgiveness. Yes, disappointment feeds selfishness when we don’t get our way. So be wise, if your frustration replaces your faith you can lose patience and respect. Allow your trust in Jesus to trump testy relationships. Adjust your expectations to His concerns.

    “My soul, wait silently for God alone,?For my expectation is from Him.” Psalm 62:5, NKJV 

    Appointments with God help us to deal with disappointment. He gives us rest when we are restless. He gives us calm when there is calamity. He gives us peace when there is chaos. He gives us trust when there is distrust. But how do we respond to those who disappoint us? We see them as our Heavenly Father sees them—sheep in need of a shepherd. Friends falter, so will we judge them from a distance or love them up close and personal? Disappointment is cause to care.

    What is your greatest disappointment? Is it you? Have you appropriated God’s forgiveness and have you forgiven yourself in Christ? Regret is like a large rock on your chest—it is a burden you are not meant to bear. By God’s grace open up to a trusted friend about your past embarrassments—even shameful behavior. Let another’s love cover your disappointment in yourself like a warm blanket on an exposed body. By faith, accept your Savior’s acceptance.

    “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, take my disappointments and grow my love and obedience to You.

    Related Readings: Job 6:20; Psalm 5:3, 22:5; John 6:60-71; 2 Corinthians 8:5; James 1:6-8

    Post/Tweet: In this world troubles abound, but in Christ His peace is profound. #peace

    Download the free Wisdom Hunters app… http://bit.ly/OVrYb9


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

  • That's What Friends Do

    Posted on October 24, 2012 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    "Here's another old saying that deserves a second look: 'Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.' Is that going to get us anywhere? Here's what I propose: 'Don't hit back at all.'" Matthew 5:38 (MSG)

    Jack tossed the papers on my desk. His eyebrows knit into a straight line as he glared at me.

    "What's wrong?" I asked.

    "Next time you want to change anything, ask me first," he grunted, turning on his heels.

    One small change. Wasn't that what I was paid to do? It's not that I hadn't been warned. One co-worker cautioned me, "He's personally responsible for two different people leaving the firm."

    As the weeks went by, I grew to resent Jack, although my anger went against what I believed in: turning the other cheek and loving my enemies.

    However, many days I felt justified. Jack had been given plenty of chances to be kind, yet inevitably he slapped a verbal insult on any cheek I turned his way.

    Other days I felt convicted, and prayed about my indignant feelings toward Jack. But to be honest, I wanted to put him in his place, not love him.

    I knew I had to give him what he deserved. I went into his office to tell him how I felt.

    When I opened the door, Jack glanced up.

    "What?" he said abruptly.

    God help me, I prayed.

    "Jack, I've never had anyone speak to me the way you do. As a professional, it's wrong. And it's wrong for me to allow it to continue," I said.

    You see, even though I wanted to give Jack an "eye for an eye" to treat him the way he treated others, I couldn't. Because earlier the Lord had shown me something Jesus taught on in Matthew 5:38.

    Under the Law, punishment was to match the crime. But a group of men named the Pharisees had taken that specific rule and made it literal. If a person stole a loaf of bread, even if they were starving, the punishment no longer matched the crime—they cut off the hand of the thief.

    Rather than an eye for an eye, Jesus said that when we meet someone who is evil (in this case that word can mean a person who is stingy, a bad friend, one who exerts authority over you in the wrong manner, or someone with wrong motives) and they hit us on our right cheek, rather than meet violence with violence, we do the opposite.

    We meet a stingy person with generosity.

    We respond to a person who is overbearing with patience.

    This was not only contrary to the Pharisee's interpretation of the Law, but a peaceful response founded in love that introduced self-control and gentleness into an offense.

    "Jack, I want to make you a promise. I will treat you with respect and kindness. You deserve that. Because that's what friends do." I slipped out of the chair and closed the door behind me.

    One year later, I discovered I had breast cancer. I was 32, the mother of three beautiful young children, and scared. Even after surgery, chemo, and radiation, the diagnosis was grim.

    People didn't know what to say. They were afraid for me. There were days that the news was so grim that I asked God for just one word of hope.

    On the last day in the hospital, the door darkened and Jack stood awkwardly on the threshold. He walked over to my bed and, without a word, placed a bundle beside me. Inside were several bulbs.

    "Tulips." He cleared his throat. "If you plant them when you get home, they'll come up next spring." He shuffled his feet. "I just wanted you to know that I think you'll be there to see them when they come up."

    His words were just what I needed to hear. They gave me hope.

    I watched those tulips push through the soil that next spring, and the next. In fact, last month I celebrated 21 years of survival.

    In a moment, years ago, when I prayed for just the right word and actions, a man with very few words said and did all the right things.

    And isn't that just what friends do?

    Dear Lord, thank You that You are a friend to me, even on those days that I am gruff. You are patient. You are kind. Help me to be more like You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Turning your cheek simply means that you meet an unmerciful action with mercy or peace.

    Describe one way you can respond differently.

    Power Verses:
    1 Corinthians 13:4-7, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Matthew, Suzie Eller

  • Free From Worry

    Posted on October 23, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7

     

    Worry is a weight that is self-imposed. It uses up today's strength on tomorrow's concerns. Worry worries most when others don't seem worried. It feels the responsibility to be anxious on behalf of friends or family members who are not engaged in anxiety.  A fearful person may even get mad because other people are not concerned enough. If left unchecked, worry crushes confidence and grows into an all consuming fear and faith killer. Worry becomes dramatic and ignores intimacy with Christ.

    The remedy for worries is to give them to God for His safekeeping. Like a secure vault inaccessible to man, lock up your worries in the Lord's bank of trust. Your salvation is His safety deposit box of eternal security. Because you trust Him with the eternal, You can trust Him with the temporal. Worry given away stays at bay, but worry held on to—controls you. Anxiety is a discontent master who is never satisfied with future preparations—the worst case is already assumed.

    “I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’ “The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that!” Matthew 25:25-26, The Message

    However, when you leave your worries with Jesus, He removes the warts of worry with His liquid love. Your Savior soothes your soul with His sweet presence. Christ is your compassionate advocate who takes your petitions of concern and presents them to your Heavenly Father. He empathizes with your predicament, because He understands the physical pain, rejection, anger, betrayal and aloneness that Jesus experienced. His severe sufferings are for your present hope.

    Hope hits at the heart of worry. It removes its fangs of fear and calms you under its peaceful influence. Therefore, embrace hope and drink in this encouraging elixir for emotional wholeness. Your hopeful waiting dismisses worry and invites intimacy. Clear communication with Christ and His followers facilitates faith and casts out fears. Verbally process your inner pain and then gaze out at your soul’s portal of hope. Jesus is your living hope—your resurrected Lord and Savior!

    “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for hope in Christ that overcomes my worries.

    Related Readings: Jeremiah 17:3; Psalm 139:23-23; Matthew 6:25-34; 1 Timothy 4:10

    Post/Tweet: Worry given away stays at bay, but worry held on to—controls you. #worry

    Download the free Wisdom Hunters app… http://bit.ly/OVrYb9


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Matthew, Philippians, Worry

  • Pick Me! Pick Me!

    Posted on October 23, 2012 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "For we know, brothers and sisters, loved by God, that he has chosen you ..." 1 Thessalonians 1:4 (NIV)

    I stand with my back against the school's red brick wall, my woolen plaid skirt scratching my legs even though I have on my best cable-knit tights. Trying not to look desperate, I secretly pray I won't be the last one chosen for the team that morning.

    It is recess time and kickball is my classmates' game of choice. Names are called. As I look to the captain pointing and choosing kids, my heart's cry is simple, "Pick me! Pick me!"

    I sit in sixth hour a few years later awaiting the end-of-day announcement of the homecoming court nominees. Earlier that crisp autumn day, the lunchroom had been all abuzz, a whirlwind of activity: scribbled ballots and scrambling beauties seeking votes. Now that the folded papers are tallied and the results are being read, my heart's cry remains the same, "Pick me! Pick me!"

    College girls gather around the stately cement fountain in the middle of campus. It is the place where many women give others a glimpse of "the ring." The ring that means they are chosen and loved, soon to be some dashing coed's wife. While the third finger on my left hand remains painfully naked, my heart's cry is still so very, very simple. "Will some man please pick me?"

    Throughout much of my early life I desired nothing more than to be wanted. Yet, at many junctures my heart repeatedly felt rejection as someone else was chosen instead of me. It wasn't until late in college that a wonderful truth was shared with me.

    I am already chosen. Already loved.

    1 Thessalonians 1:4 nails it. "For we know, brothers and sisters, loved by God, that he has chosen you." (NIV) We are loved by God. He's already picked us.

    So there is no need to hope and wish and cross our fingers for good luck. We won't be left standing against a wall, unloved and passed over for someone with more skill, better looks or more brains. We are the objects of our Savior's love and nothing we do will change His feelings for us.

    Will you cling with me to the very words of God? Let them be louder than the voices from your past or the jeers of the present or even your own negative self-talk that tells you that you're not worthy, not loved, not _________ enough.

    You are the one He is pointing at, in front of the whole wide world's schoolyard, boldly declaring both now and forever, "This is My heart's cry: I choose you!"

    Dear Lord, help me erase the negative thoughts that run through my mind at times, making me feel unloved and rejected. Remind me that I am chosen and dearly loved both now and forever. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

    His Princess: Love Letters from Your King by Sheri Rose Shepherd

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you ever been chosen or passed over? What happened? How did you feel when you were chosen? How about when you weren't?

    You are the object of your Savior's love and nothing you do will change His feelings for you.

    Power Verses:
    Ephesians 1:4-6, "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will — to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. (NIV)

    © 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 Thessalonians, Karen Ehman

  • Made to Make

    Posted on October 22, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

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

     

    God makes things beautiful, so in turn they can make beautiful things. For instance, an artist who has tasted the grace of God is able to take a blank canvas and create a complex and attractive expression of Christ’s love. A writer can take a blank sheet of paper and describe, in desirable detail, what it looks like to worship the Lord, despise sin and serve people. Architects make plans, builders make houses, homeowners make warm homes and chefs make meals. Senators make laws, technicians make systems, leaders make decisions and gardeners make gardens.

    What are you making for your Maker? Perhaps you have made loved ones who love the Lord and people, a legacy of wise living, eternal financial investments and relationships built on respect and unselfish service. You are God’s wonderful workmanship created in Christ for good works. Yes, He molds you with messy circumstances, painful processes and daily discipline. Your spiritual formation in Christ is not always easy, but it is fulfilling. Indeed, Jesus doesn’t make any junk.

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

    The Lord has prepared beforehand what needs to constitute the work of our hands. The world tempts us to spend abnormal amounts of time in time bound busyness. However, our heavenly Host frees us to focus on faith and timeless significance. Christ’s desire is that we integrate our being with our doing. He wants us to assimilate what we learn at church with what we do at work and home. We are joint-heirs with Christ to advance His Kingdom on earth, as it is in heaven.

    Furthermore, the last words of Christ to us, His disciples, were to make disciples. This is the end game for our Lord. Are you in the disciple-making business? Do you pour into others—so out of their overflow—they pour into others? Yes, disciples are made not born. You learn Scripture, so that you can share Scripture with other students of the Word. Disciple making invites the power and presence of Christ. Thus, ask God who you can invest your time in to help make them a mature disciple of Jesus. Model for them how their Maker wants to make them a disciple maker!

    “Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 The Message 

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for those who invested in me, so I can invest in others.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 49:6; Acts 1:8; Ephesians 4:24; 2 Timothy 2:2; Titus 2:14

    Post/Tweet: Disciple making invites the power and presence of Christ. #Discipleship

    Download the free Wisdom Hunters app… http://bit.ly/OVrYb9


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Ephesians, Matthew, Isaiah

  • Our Thoughts Have Wheels

    Posted on October 22, 2012 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie Miles

    "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he." Proverbs 23:7a (KJV)

    The day started off just fine, but ended with confusion and tears. As a timid middle-schooler, I climbed the steps of my school bus eager to get home after a long afternoon.

    Sitting quietly in my seat, all of a sudden I got this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Although my surroundings appeared to be the same, something was not right.

    The bus was the normal sunshine yellow. The seats were standard black vinyl, displaying rips and tears from years of students. The floor was littered with the usual misplaced pencils, erasers and wadded-up papers. Yet, I felt out of place.

    That's when I realized I did not know any of the kids sitting around me. And I had never seen the bus driver before. Frantically, I searched for anything familiar. My cheeks grew hot and my heart raced with panic as I realized I was on the wrong bus.

    Although I WAS headed somewhere, it was NOT where I wanted to go.

    I'd been distracted by conversations with friends, thoughts of sleepovers, and how much homework I had. My thoughts were not focused on where I was going. The actions that followed caused me to end up somewhere I did not want to be.

    Thinking back on that day, I've considered how our thoughts determine a lot about the direction of our lives. Like my school bus, our thoughts will always take us somewhere, but it may not be somewhere we want to end up.

    If we spend time thinking about how our boss does not appreciate us, our thoughts will take us straight to a bad attitude at work and possibly poor performance.

    If we focus on how much we do for others and how little we feel appreciated, our thoughts will take us to a place of resentment, with lack of patience and love.

    If we spend an entire day fuming over something our husband or kids did, and mentally practice the harsh words we plan to say to them, those thoughts will lead us into a place of arguments, hurt feelings and damaged relationships.

    If we dwell on why God has allowed certain problems in our lives, we will transport ourselves into a state of insecurity and unhappiness as we stop trusting God.

    If we focus our thoughts on money, career, success and pleasure, we will find ourselves in the land of the lost—feeling frustrated and discontent.

    Our thoughts are powerful and need our navigation. If we allow them to run rampant in negative directions, focusing on things that lead us away from God's perspective, we will eventually end up stressed out - from the inside out.

    In today's key verse, God shows us why we should choose carefully what we think about, because our thoughts determine who we are and how we live.

    Reacting to stressful situations by becoming a chronically negative thinker will eventually increase our stress and possibly take us to a destination we would never choose.

    My childhood memory reminds me to consistently ask God to help me keep my mind on Him and on the thoughts He has for me. That way I can live according to His plans and with His perspective, seeking to be acutely aware of where my thoughts may lead me.

    Our thoughts really do have wheels. Where are your thoughts taking you today?

    Dear Lord, please help me take my thoughts captive, and focus on things that are pleasing to You. Please give me the desire to control my thoughts and maintain a Godly perspective about the circumstances in my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    For more to manage stressful emotions and navigate negative thoughts, consider Tracie Miles' new book Stressed-Less Living: Finding God's Peace In Your Chaotic World.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you been guarding and guiding your thoughts, or have your thoughts been leading you to a place you don't want to go? Is it possible that you've allowed negative thoughts to bring more stress into your life?

    Make a list of all the negative thoughts you have had lately. Ask God to help you replace those emotions and start new with a fresh attitude and a healthy, Godly perspective.

    Power Verses:
    Romans 12:2a, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." (NIV)

    Ephesians 4:23-24, "Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy." (NLT)

    © 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 Proverbs, Tracie Miles

  • Enjoy Great Peace

    Posted on October 21, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. Psalm 37:11

     

    Meekness is a bridge to blessing. It is an attitude God honors with the enjoyment of His great peace. Meekness meanders, moving in and out of the halls of heaven. It sets us up to be served by our Savior. Meekness is the manner by which our Master can move us forward in His will. Our meekness transports us toward absolute surrender and obedience to God. It is the meek who tend to trust God. It is the meek who most want to faithfully follow Jesus. Indeed, meekness is most like Jesus. Jesus said of Himself, “I am meek…” (Matthew 11:29, KJV). It is here, with meek Jesus, that we find rest for our souls. However, meek does not mean we are weak; on the contrary, we are strong in our Savior.

    Meekness is a conduit for what Christ has for us. He has an inheritance for His children. What is His is ours. He owns the land and all that is within its expanse. We see His quiet white clouds cover the mountaintops like soft sheets. As the sun rises, its warmth pulls back the submissive sheets of cloud cover and introduces us to the day. He has given us His earth for our great enjoyment. It is on the side of the green mountain of His creation that we sit quietly and contemplate Christ. His peace prods our pride to be still and know Him. He hushes our hurried spirit to be silent before Providence. A silent tongue often exhibits a wise head and a holy heart. We have His earth to enjoy now and to inherit in eternity. The meek understand this priceless privilege. They enjoy great peace. 

    Even as we suffer, we topple tribulations with trust in Jesus while we rest in His great peace. Christ’s consolations carry us along the way. His peace is a platform for His faithfulness to perform. As if watching an engaging drama on stage or in film, we wait until the end for the plot to fully unfold. If we jump to conclusions or draw premature assumptions, we may get caught up in bad beliefs or false fears. So life is a stage where God’s great drama plays out. We are not to fret over what seems to be fearful or a forgone conclusion. God’s plot is still unfolding by faith. His will is being revealed. His cast of characters is still in development. While His plot thickens, we trust. Until the end, enjoy His great peace.

    We may not have an abundance of stuff, but we have great peace. It is better to do stuff with our Savior than to have stuff without Him. He is our wisdom when we face complex circumstances. He is the one to whom we cling during a crisis. We silence our murmuring so that we can be silent before Him. It is in silence before our Savior that His great peace saturates our soul. It engulfs our edginess with eternal assurance. On earth we may seem deprived of some things from an  enjoyment aspect. But, there is coming a day where this accursed earth will be no more, and we will enjoy the benefits of His new earth without sin, sickness, or sorrow. We will inherit the land of our Lord. In the meantime, go to God for His great peace. Like a river of love, it attends to our soul with soothing security and peace. Enjoy God’s great peace in Christ. Fret not, but have faith in Him. He seeks the meek.

    Taken from Reading #26 in the 90-day devotional book, “Seeking God in the Psalms”…  http://bit.ly/InvUdR

    Post/Tweet this today: Even as we suffer, we topple tribulations with trust in Jesus. #trust

    Download the free Wisdom Hunters app… http://bit.ly/OVrYb9


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

  • Profitable Patience

    Posted on October 20, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14

     

    Life is normally lived waiting. We wait in lines; a teenager waits for his or her next birthday; we wait for job promotions; we wait for news from the doctor; we wait for the next meal; we wait for our future spouse; we wait for a lawsuit to be settled; we wait for a meeting to conclude; we wait for those who have yet to keep their commitment. Every time we turn around we have an opportunity to wait. Why wait? Because most of the time, it’s what’s best and most beneficial. A vegetable gardener is a prisoner to waiting, but this is an asset, not a liability. A tomato is much tastier when it is red, large, and juicy, rather than green, small, and hard. The smart gardener will wait for the vegetables to ripen, though he will nurture the soil along the way and keep the weeds out.

    There is a waiting cycle that must be completed before there is worthwhile fruit. If you didn’t have to wait, you may have been satisfied with how things have always been done. Now you have the opportunity to think differently. Maybe there are other people or resources that can contribute to your project or plan. So, when things do not go as planned, see it as an opportunity to improve the plan. Or providing help to another may be the very thing, as waiting is a lesson in loving others in spite of themselves; even providing valued assistance during this parenthesis in your own life. 

    Most importantly, learn how to wait for the Lord. What a valuable asset to wait upon. The Lord God Almighty is worth the wait. It is worth waiting for His joy, because it comes to uplift you, and bring a smile to your face; it is worth waiting for His peace that calms your soul, and allows you to sleep at night; it is worth waiting for His wisdom that provides discernment in the middle of conflicting options; it is worth waiting for His strength that propels you through adversity and gives you confidence and perseverance for life’s journey; it is worth waiting for His hope that lifts you up and out of your despair and depression.

    People camp out to see a rock star, or pay big bucks to meet the President; so waiting on God should be a cinch. Waiting is being fundamentally patient with God. He is running the universe, He knows what is going on, and He knows what is best for you. He knows. He knows. He knows. You can trust Him in your waiting. Use this sabbatical-like time to get to know your heavenly Father more intimately. Use this time to love your family and others, like no other time in your life. Allow Him to mold your character so that others will comment to themselves that you are somehow different. You are different because you have been with Jesus. Waiting is not just a passage to God’s blessing. It is God’s blessing. Wait for the Lord, because He is worth the wait. The Bible says, “I wait for you, O LORD; you will answer, O Lord my God” (Psalm 38:15).

    Taken from October 20th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God”… http://bit.ly/InvUdR

    Post/Tweet: Waiting is not just a passage to God’s blessing. It is God’s blessing. #wait

    Download the free Wisdom Hunters app… http://bit.ly/OVrYb9


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

  • Gift of Evangelism

    Posted on October 19, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” Ephesians 4:11-12

     

    Every follower of Jesus can and should be a witness of His amazing grace. But, there are some specifically gifted to share the gospel. The good news of salvation from sin in Christ somehow makes its way into the conversations of an evangelist. These bold believers are compelled by the love of God to share the love of God. This gift of evangelism cannot be silent about the need for a Savior. Because their conversion to Christ was transformational, they pray for all to come to know Him.

    Many of us became believers because of the message we heeded from an evangelistic messenger. Maybe we heard on the radio, “You must be born again.” Perhaps a visiting preacher at church proclaimed Christ’s death on the cross as the payment for our sin, and His resurrection as the power to live the Christian life. A friend may have asked us about our assurance of going to heaven when we die. Or, in reading the Bible the fiery faith of the Apostles may have ignited our faith.

    “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38

    Do you actively share the good news of Jesus Christ? Is your gift of evangelism vigorous and alive? Any gift that is unused becomes ineffective. Like a piece of idle, rusty machinery your gift can lock up for lack of use. If this is the case, ask the Holy Spirit to fall fresh on your faith. Let the Lord lubricate your life with courage—to loosen your lips as Christ’s witness. Yes, you share the gospel with humble passion, not in proud judgment. But don’t stay silent—be bold for Jesus!

    You talk about what you love. If you love cars, you read about, discuss and drive cars. If you love your family, you spend time with them and you tell others how they are doing. If you love Jesus, you are loved by Jesus, so that you can love others to Jesus. Love compels you to grow closer to Christ and out of your intimacy with Him, engage your lost world with soul saving truth. You can’t be quiet, because you have the cure for the curse of sin—faith in Jesus. Love speaks up.

    Furthermore, use your gift of evangelism to equip the saints of God to do the work of God. Your experience, passion and theological understanding are a bridge to help other believers share Jesus. You teach others who in turn teach others to turn to God. Don’t be shy in multiplying your influence by training up faithful evangelists for Kingdom advancement. Yes, stay in the reality of reasoning with others about Christ—but also, be wise to mobilize an army of witnesses for Jesus!

    “They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:4-5

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for those who shared the gospel with me Now use me to love others to Jesus with my words and deeds.

    Related Readings: John 3:14-15; Acts 13:46; Romans 1:2,16; Galatians 3:8; 2 Timothy 1:8

    Post/Tweet: Bold believers are compelled by the love of God to share the love of God. #bold

    Know your gift? Get a free “Spiritual Gifts Assessment” http://bit.ly/P4FYlw


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Acts, Ephesians, 2 Timothy, Evangelism

  • Why Should I Care?

    Posted on October 19, 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matthew 9:36 (NIV)

    Our van drove snake-like, around tight corners and up steep mountain grades to reach a neighborhood in the hills above Quito, Ecuador. No fresh mountain air greeted us as we stepped carefully on to the streets. Instead the thick smells of garbage, outdoor cooking and animal droppings blanketed us.

    Walking through the tin shacks I understood helplessness as I never had before. There was no government support, no food bank down the street. Unless someone stepped into these people's lives with a helping hand, they would stay trapped in poverty.

    Something shifted in my heart that day. I had always been committed to missions and evangelism in an academic way. Sadly, however, there was always this secret part of me that thought people could ... no they should ... help themselves.

    This experience changed my motivation to reach out. Rather than simple obedience, urgency gripped me. I was starting to understand Jesus' compassion. Was this what He felt like? The disciple Matthew captured Jesus' heart with these words: "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36 NIV).

    Jesus saw the helplessness of those He loved. Standing on a dirt street just south of the equator I got it. The helpless cannot help themselves. Just as the lost cannot find their way back on their own. They need someone to step in to their despair, into their darkness, and bring hope and help.

    My heart burned with a new understanding. It's not just those broken under the weight of poverty and injustice that Jesus cares about - although He loves them desperately. He cares about all who feel helpless. Like the divorced woman who wonders if anyone will ever love her again. Or the man who can't find a job. And the teenager looking for approval and acceptance in all the wrong places.

    These are the lost and helpless living on my street. And they need to hear about the hope that only Jesus can bring.

    Jesus gave His disciples an important command before He returned to heaven. He said, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV)

    If I close my eyes I can see myself on another dirt road filled with the smell of animals and cooking, and I see Jesus' eyes of compassion staring at me. "Glynnis," He says. "Listen carefully. I'm going back to My Father, and I need you to go to those who are helpless. They don't all look the same, so don't make any assumptions. And you don't have to go everywhere, because I'm going to tell your sisters and brothers the same thing. But I want you to go where I send you."

    This command isn't just another Bible verse now. It doesn't go on my to-do list. It's been engraved on my heart. Now I get it.

    Dear Lord, forgive me for my lack of mercy. Help me to see the helpless, lost and hurting all around me. I want to have Your heart of compassion, and be willing to go where You send me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Read Matthew 28:18-20. This passage is called "The Great Commission." Does this command from Jesus have a high priority in most Christians' lives? Why or why not?

    Many Christians read this passage and think about traveling abroad to fulfill it. However, this command starts in our own homes, work places and churches. What changes can you make in your own life to start fulfilling the command of Jesus?

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 91:1-2, "Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'" (NIV)

    Luke 19:10, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." (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 Matthew, Glynnis Whitwer

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