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  • Believe Randy Frazee

Daily Devotion

  • Gods Payment Plan

    Posted on November 17, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:30-31

     

    Someone may be in debt to you. They may owe you money, a reputation, an apology, a job, or a childhood. But God is asking you to let go and let Him. Let Him handle this. He has a payment plan for those who are in debt to his children. It may mean He wipes their slate clean with minimal repercussions. It may mean their stiff neck forces God to bring them to the end of themselves through trials and tribulations. Or, it may mean that what awaits them is an eternity of reaping in hell what has been sown on earth. But God’s position is one of judge and jury. You do not have to carry this burden or responsibility. Your role is to forgive and to trust God with the proper judgment and consequence.

    Life gets complicated and draining when we take on the responsibility of making sure a person gets what he deserves. This is arrogant and unwise on our part. How can we know what others deserve for their injustices, neglect, and self-absorption? Our role is not to play God, but to serve God. Playing God is a never-ending disappointment. We were not made for that role. Only the Almighty can fill these shoes. And He does have it under control. There is no indiscretion or blatant injustice that is off His radar screen of sensitivity. He picks up on every “little” sin.

    So, rest in the assurance of knowing God will pay back in His good timing and in His good way. Give this person or issue over to God. Do not bear the responsibility of executing payback time. Your role is to forgive and let go. God’s role is to establish a payment plan of justice and judgment. Yes, your parents may have blown it through their own selfish tirades. Their immature choices may have built up over time and led to divorce. Because of their indiscretions and unwise decisions, you grew up in a less than favorable home environment. But look at their faces. The hurt and the consequences are etched in their countenances. The results of their wrongs have caught up with them. They need your grace and forgiveness. Be a good son or daughter, and by this you may facilitate healing for your parents’ soul. Sin has its own harvest of heartache, not to mention breaking the heart of the heavenly Father. Trust God with your parents. Let Him worry about what they deserve.

    You can bring reconciliation to a fractured family relationship by forgiving. Once you have forgiven, trust God to administer whatever punishment He sees as fitting. He may see a broken and contrite heart in your offender that leads to their salvation and freedom in Christ. Your forgiveness and unconditional love may be the very thing God uses to illustrate what they can experience up close and personal. Forgive and give. Forgive them of their hurt, insensitivity, and selfishness; then give them over to God. Trust Him with His repayment plan. He owns the payback process. His vengeance may be swift, it may be delayed, or it may be dissolved. Regardless, you do the right thing, and trust God to do the same. Vengeance is His, not ours. Payback time is up to God. We have enough in our own lives to consider. Pray for yourself and others to avoid falling into the hands of the living God, for it is a dreadful thing.

    Taken from the November 18th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God”… http://bit.ly/InvUdR

    Post/Tweet: Our role is not to play God, but to serve God. His judgment is best. #judgment
     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Dollar-Cost Averaging

    Posted on November 16, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow” (Proverbs 13:11).

     

    Is there a method to your money management? Do you have a process in place to steadily save over time? If not, it is never too late to set up a system for saving. Some of us struggle with this because we bet on big returns, only to suffer loss. Steadily saving is not sexy but secure. Finances can be an elusive enemy or a friend who has our back.

    Get-rich-quick schemes only feed greed. In God’s economy, it is those who diligently deposit smaller amounts in a secure place who reap rewards. It is wise wealth that makes the first ten percent of their income a gift offering in the form of a tithe to their heavenly Father and the second ten percent an investment in their future. Money obtained by vanity is spent on vanity, but money gained by hard work and honesty is retained for growth.

    “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves” (Psalm 127:1–2).

    It does take discipline not to spend all our earnings in an instant. Commercials and our obligation as consumers exploit our emotions. Culture sucks us in to spend not all we have, but more than we have; so be on guard with a simple system for savings. For example, set up an automatic draft from each paycheck that goes straight into a savings account. Preserve this cash; one day your financial fruit tree will become an orchard.

    Lastly, look to the Lord as your provider, seeing yourself as a steward of His stuff. The management of your Master’s money requires saving. God’s desire is growth in your financial security so you are free to give more and serve others. So we ask ourselves, “Am I frivolously spending just for today, or am I disciplined each day to deposit a dollar toward tomorrow?”

    “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5).

    Prayer: Lord, how would you have me manage Your money today in preparation for tomorrow?

    Related Readings: Psalm 128:2; Jeremiah 17:11; Ephesians 4:28; James 5:1–5 

    Post/Tweet this today: Wise stewards are disciplined to save dollars for tomorrow. #save

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • If I Love God, Do I Have to Love People Too?

    Posted on November 16, 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "'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.'" Matthew 22:36-39 (NIV)

    Have you ever thought it would be easier to serve God if weren't for people? I mean, people can be so annoying at times.

    I wonder if Jesus knew we'd get frustrated with each other. Perhaps that's why He answered the Pharisees' question the way He did.

    In Matthew chapter 22:37-40 the Pharisees, religious leaders of that day, asked Jesus about the greatest commandment. 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.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

    Jesus answered a question the Pharisees didn't ask. They only asked for the greatest commandment, not the second. But Jesus knew one couldn't be done without the other. Obviously He wanted His listeners to consider loving God and loving people as inseparable. But why? Perhaps Jesus knew we would tend toward one or the other.

    The truth is, we can love God and neglect loving people. Of course, none of us would admit to that. But I've been guilty of serving God through my commitments at church and then getting annoyed with people, and not showing compassion or kindness towards them.

    When I was the director of the children's ministry 20 years ago, I loved the kids, but the volunteers sometimes got on my nerves. Especially when they decided to not show up based on what seemed like a flimsy excuse to me. After all, I was there in spite of being tired, having a headache, etc.

    Judgment and a critical spirit crowded out love.

    I've also been so busy serving God that I haven't shown sacrificial love towards my family. One of the first signs of being too busy is my diminished capacity to be kind and loving toward them. It happened a lot when my three boys were little and I was trying to keep the same pre-children schedule. I was constantly frustrated and my children did not always experience a patient and loving mother.

    On the other hand, we can also love people and neglect our love for God.

    We can lower God's standards, minimize His commands, and twist Scripture so as not to offend others. We can ignore how Jesus is the only way to God, because that would exclude so many "good" people from heaven. Yes, it's possible to love people more than we love God.

    So what is Jesus saying here? I believe He's saying we must figure out how to do both. First, we must love God through trusting Him, believing in the goodness of His character and obeying His Word-even when we don't understand things.

    In doing so, we must be honest about the condition of our hearts and ask God to help us love others well.

    I'll be honest, this is hard for me. It is only through daily prayer, dependence on God, and Him working in my heart that I can even attempt to live out what Jesus called the two most important commandments. Even then, on my best day, I feel inadequate.

    Thankfully, God never asks me to do anything without offering to help.

    His Word sustains and encourages me. The Holy Spirit guides me. And God's love and mercy for me, a most unlovable girl at times, helps keep me mindful of why I love Him so much, and why I should let Him show others that same love through me.

    Dear Lord, thank You for loving me. You have shown me more love than I deserve. Help me to love You more and love those You've placed in my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst will help you choose a more loving response to others.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Why is it important to love God with all our hearts, souls and minds? Does this make a difference in how we love people?

    Do you find yourself leaning towards loving God more than people? Or people more than God? If so, what changes might you need to make in your life?

    Power Verse:
    Romans 13:8, "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Remember God

    Posted on November 15, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you. That is why I give you this command today.” Deuteronomy 15:15

     

    God gives good memories to His children. The foundation of what He did has freed them by His great grace and love. Sin shackles the soul with insensitive servitude. Its memories are filled with fear, false hopes and fleeting pleasures. But redemption from Jesus buys back those who step onto the auction block of belief. Sin brings heartache, but Christ brings comfort and joy. God memories make a heart smile in gratitude and obedience.

    Remember we were lost, but now we are found. Remember we lived for ourselves, but now we live for others. Remember we were guilty, but now we are forgiven. Remember we were selfish, but now we are unselfish. Remember we were proud, but now we are humble. Remember God was distant, but now He is our heavenly Father. Remember Jesus was a good teacher, but now He is our Savior. Remember the Holy Spirit was strange, but now He is our personal guide. We remember God and our faith flourishes.

    “They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer.” Psalm 78:35

    Do you suffer from spiritual amnesia? Do you regularly recall the radical love of Christ? He loves you as a beautiful image of His creation. He loves you to the point of laying down His life on your behalf, so by faith you can die to sin and live His resurrected life The Lord’s ransomed love for you is a special memory of sacrifice. He died for you.

    Yes, remember how He brought you out of citizenship in this world to become a citizen of His kingdom. You serve a risen Savior, not a lying serpent. Your allegiance is to Almighty God, not the almighty dollar. You walk in the light, not in the darkness. Your soul is prayerful, not self-reliant. Your body is a temple of the Spirit, not an object of abuse. Your mind is renewed by truth. Thus, remember who you are: a child of God!

    “Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:11-13

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, bring to my memory Your generous salvation and love.

    Related Readings: Psalm 42:4; Isaiah 17:10, 46:9; Luke 22:19; 2 Timothy 1:3

    Post/Tweet this today: God memories cause us to forget sin’s nightmares. #memories

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry
  • The Place Where Disappointment Grows

    Posted on November 15, 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed." Psalm 22:5 (NIV 1984)

    The space between our expectations and our reality is a fertile field. And often it's a place where disappointment grows.

    When I was in high school, I had a friend whose sister had the coolest hairdo. It was cropped short with straight bangs that fell messy over one eye. She was that older sister who just seemed to have a handle on how to do everything with style.

    I somehow decided all of her coolness traced back to her hairdo. Like that was the budding spot from which the life I wanted could sprout.

    Yes, that hairdo.

    Never mind the fact her hair was thin and obedient. And mine was thick and rebellious.

    Never mind that her hair was sleek and straight. And mine was curly at best and frizzy at worst.

    Never mind that her bangs fell nicely over her forehead. And mine had a crazy cowlick causing them to grow up, not down.

    Yes, never mind reality.

    I set my expectation on the highest bar and willed my hair to fall in line.

    The hair dresser chopped. And chopped. And chopped. And tried to assure me I now looked JUST like the picture of the older sister.

    But that was a lie. I knew it. She knew it.

    And oh how the space between my expectation and my new reality grew some serious disappointment. I still have nightmares of that disastrous hairdo where I wake up desperately grabbing at my head to make sure my hair is still there.

    But hair grows back. Bad cuts can be fixed in time. That disappointment can be remedied.

    Other situations aren't so easy. Maybe you have some space between a current reality and an unfulfilled expectation. If so, I imagine disappointment can be found growing there.

    Psalm 23:1 says, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." (ESV) The Hebrew word for "want" is chacer meaning, "to lack, be without, become empty." So, if the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not become empty. I shall not live in a constant state of disappointment where circumstances leak me dry.

    But ... I still do sometimes. And not just with my hair. It's other stuff as well. Important stuff.

    So, how do I let the Lord shepherd me so that the gap between my expectations and reality closes? I ask myself these questions when faced with disappointment:

    What do I need to learn? Maybe God has an appointment for me in the midst of this disappointment. If God wants me to see, learn, know, or grow in some way while I work through this unmet expectation, I have to be open to hear this from Him.

    Many times God shows me a flaw of mine that needs to be addressed. When I am willing to listen to Him, I can more easily adjust my expectations.

    Could it be that I'm so concerned with what I don't have, I've forgotten to be thankful for what I do have? Sometimes, it's not that my reality is bad. It's that I created too much space for disappointment to grow by placing my expectations too high.

    Is there something I can do to change this situation? If so, I need to ask God for the courage to make changes. If I keep hoping things will get better but don't make any adjustments, that's foolish. The space between my reality and my expectations will only change if I do.

    Now back to my high school hair situation. If I ever start flashing pictures of cute pixie hair cuts I'm considering getting, somebody remind me of my high school hair debacle. Please. Pretty please. With a dollop of hair gel on top.

    Dear Lord, thank You for turning my disappointments into opportunities for growth and learning. I know that only You can close the gap between my expectations and reality. Guide me in trusting You through every situation, even if I can't understand why it's happening at the time. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Is there fertile ground for disappointment between your reality and expectations? If you're not quite sure how to tighten the gap, Lysa TerKeurst's book Unglued will help.

    Take it a step further by having a few friends hold you accountable through a small group study of Unglued! Pick up a copy of the DVD and accompanying Participant's Guide.

    Reflect and Respond:
    How do you typically handle disappointment?

    Reflect on the three questions above and write down your answers. This will give you the opportunity to get a better perspective on your own particular situation and the way you handle disappointments.

    Power Verses:
    Romans 5:2b-5, "... and we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Imperfect Perfection

    Posted on November 14, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry
  • Sometimes I Have to Boss My Heart Around

    Posted on November 14, 2012 by Renee Swope

    Renee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    © 2012 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

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

  • Give and Take

    Posted on November 13, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry
  • Find And Replace

    Posted on November 13, 2012 by Karen Ehman

    Karen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

    © 2012 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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

  • Disobedience Disrupts

    Posted on November 12, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry

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