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Daily Devotion

  • Active Accountability

    Posted on December 1, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “But if you do warn the righteous man not to sin and he does not sin, he will surely live because he took warning, and you will have saved yourself” (Ezekiel 3:21).

     

    Effective accountability partners are not passive. Once someone invites a friend into his or her life for accountability, it is a serious responsibility. Accountability is active, engaging, and encouraging. The giver and the receiver of accountability have entered into a trusting relationship. Indeed, wisdom listens to the warning of its accountability partner or group.

    Authentic accountability requires caring confrontation. A little bit of short-term discomfort and embarrassment will save you a lot of long-term regret. Thus, when you encounter emotional situations, keep a level head. Accountability facilitates objectivity. When you are under pressure, you have an objective team that gives you wise perspective. Your accountability group is there as a buffer to unwise decision making. 

    “Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to heed a warning” (Ecclesiastes 4:13).

    Accountability provides much needed courage for another to do the right thing. Sometimes it is hard decisions that paralyze us into non-action. However, avoiding a difficult decision today will compound its inevitable consequences in the future. Accountability encourages you not to procrastinate when you are afraid. It relieves your fears and bolsters your faith.

    For example, team members may need to be terminated for the good of the company and for their individual betterment. Prospective church volunteers may need to be told “no” because their character is not fitting for a leadership role. Your young adult children are not prepared for marriage because they need to first move out from home and experience independent living. Accountability helps everyone move forward in God’s will.

    Above all else, live like you are accountable to almighty God, as one day we all give an account to Him for our actions. “They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead” (1 Peter 4:4–5).

    Prayer: Am I truly accountable to others, and do I provide effective accountability to friends?

    Related Readings: Proverbs 7:1–27; Jonah 3:6; Luke 17:1–4; Hebrews 4:13

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

    Post/Tweet: Avoiding a difficult decision today will compound its inevitable consequences tomorrow. #decide

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Walk in Contentment

    Posted on November 30, 2012 by Family Christian

    "But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches." 1 Corinthians 7:17 NJKV

     

    A walk in contentment learns how to stroll with its Savior Jesus. There is not a panicked rush to make things happen or to give up on God. Rather there is a quiet resolve that Christ can be trusted and there is no need to go anywhere else for assurance. Contentment wards off fear and replaces it with faith. It patiently waits out any unwanted influences.

    Moreover, contentment is not a call to abandon godly ambition. On the contrary, you are steadfast to persevere in your career or your current leadership role until the Lord transitions you in His timing. You walk by faith—focused. This protects you from running around in aimless activity. You can be satisfied where God has called you and still anticipate where He wants to take you. Contentment rests in doing the next right thing. 

    "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you." Romans 12:3

    Your contented walk moves forward by faith not backward, second guessing God. You ask, why hasn't the Lord blessed me like some of the people I know? Wisdom avoids comparing children, homes, and wardrobes to a friend's. Their lifestyle may be temporary because it is artificially inflated by debt. Or, it may be legitimately the Lord's favor, but a contented walk doesn’t covet another's stuff or seek to impress others with its possessions.

    Yes, contentment comes with a growing relationship with Christ. As you continue on your contented walk with Jesus, you experience the joy and power of His presence. He is all you need—to be what you need to be. He slows you down to steady your relationships. He speeds you up to seize the moment for His purposes. Be content with the capacity God has given you to serve Him. Your contented soul receives grace to make you whole.

    “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, may I walk in contentment and move forward by faith.

    Related Readings: Ecclesiastes 4:8; Song of Songs 8:10; Luke 3:14; Hebrews 13:5

    Post/Tweet this today: Contentment rests in doing the next right thing. #content

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • What It Takes to Struggle with Something Hard

    Posted on November 30, 2012 by Rachel Olsen

    Rachel

    "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Romans 8:37 (NIV)

    Beginning in my twenties, I wrestled each day with chronic pain and fatigue. The first few years of it, doctors had no idea why.

    Then came the diagnosis: fibromyalgia.

    I was told this condition was poorly understood, not very treatable, and also not reversible. In fact, they called it "degenerative," meaning it would worsen as I aged. In short, doctors said I had no chance to conquer this pain.

    The pain worsened for a couple years and I couldn't image what my life would be like five, ten or fifty years down the road. I prayed for deliverance.

    Looking back I'm astonished that despite my pain, I continued to work a full time job and take courses for a master's degree. I really don't know how I did that—except through Christ—because it was such a struggle daily. To concentrate on my work or schoolwork took an inordinate amount of effort because I had to focus over top of the ever-present pain in the foreground. Not to mention, a lack of quality sleep.

    Fibromyalgia was the thorn in my side, quite literally. And I leaned into God for strength. Often through tears.

    A long-distance friend wrote me this week to tell me she was experiencing a near debilitating condition: fibromyalgia. She gave me permission to share a portion of what she wrote:

    "Life has thrown me some pretty horrible punches and I have always gotten right back up. Except now. And to be honest with you, Rach, this is NOT a LIFE! And I can't BELIEVE that GOD would do this to me ... why isn't He healing me? All He has to do is say the word! I BEG Him to do that daily. While He keeps His mouth shut [on the healing] He did give me Psalm 88 the other night, and I cried a river. I was jumping for joy in my heart, but at the same time. Do you know what I mean?"

    I did know what she meant. So I told her my story. I told her that I walked this painful path too. I gave her my best tips for physically managing this condition. I told her how I tried to do all the right things according to my doctors. How I prayed, and prayed, and prayed for healing—sometimes out of faith and sometimes out of desperation.

    I told her how, seven years after my pain began, I was walking by a lake one day praying yet again for deliverance from this. And while I had often sensed God heard my prayers, this time I sensed He also answered. I sensed deliverance.

    Year-eight saw me pain free from fibromyalgia—the incurable, degenerative condition doctors don't totally understand. My condition stopped degenerating that evening by the lake and instead began improving.

    So in honesty and with compassion I told my friend:

    "Will God heal you soon? I don't know."

    "His ways are higher than our ideas of how things should go. But I can tell you this: It is possible. He hears your prayers and He is not indifferent to your plight. God loves you. Above all, don't equate your suffering with how God feels about you."

    Because despite all this stuff we're struggling with, victory is ours through Christ who loves us.

    I don't know what your story is today—what you are struggling with or against. But I know this: God knows your situation and He is not indifferent toward it or you. He loves you mightily! And His right arm is not too short to save you.

    So lean into Him because you need His strength until His deliverance comes.

    Lean in, pray and persevere despite the pain you are in. And keep hope alive in your heart. For this is how we struggle with something hard while holding the title "More than Conquerors in Christ." In Him overwhelming victory is ours.

    Dear Lord, thank You for rescuing me from all my troubles–either here and now, or in eternity. Strengthen me until your deliverance is seen. I believe victory is overwhelmingly mine through You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Lose the long list of resolutions and do something about one thing this year instead of nothing about everything. In My One Word, Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen help you find lasting change by spending an entire year focusing on just one word that represents what you most hope God will do in you.  Prebuy My One Word by Rachel Olsen

    It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know by Rachel Olsen

    Reflect and Respond:
    Study and take heart today in the truth from Romans 8:18: "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." (NIV)

    Power Verses:
    Romans 8:22-25, "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Rachel Olsen. All rights reserved.

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

  • Walk in Purity

    Posted on November 29, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    "Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy." Romans 13:13 NKJV

     

    A walk of purity is just the beginning to becoming more like Jesus. There is a consecration to Christ that takes place in the process toward holiness. Indeed, purity is not an end in itself, but a path to holiness. A pure heart wants more of God and has more of God. Yes, the closer we get to Christ the more we abhor sin and embrace righteousness. Purity positions us for the things of God. Being like Him is the ultimate goal.

    Are you on the path of purity or do you flirt with foolishness? Do you long for integrity to lead you into intimacy with Jesus? Purity without intimacy is just sterile self-discipline devoid of the Spirit's power. But purity packaged with prayer invites the Lord's favor. You matter because your guileless life points to God. You are a trophy of trust in Christ that shines forth with brilliant belief. 

    "Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God." 1 Thessalonians 4:1, NKJV

    When you walk in purity, you partner with purity. Thus, you avoid impure thinking and compromising situations. Like a noticeable spot on a freshly laundered shirt, your conscience guides you away from gray area stains. Your pure thinking makes friends with fidelity, but enemies with unfaithfulness. The sorrow from the slightest sin sends chills to your clean heart. So, stay pure to enjoy the fruit of peace.

    Furthermore, purity follows the procession of Christ's train of clean living. Society and unseemly forces will soil your soul. But, invite your Savior to scrub it clean. Your walk of purity is without pretense--open about its struggles and challenges. So, stay honest about your weaknesses and the Lord will walk with you like a righteous bodyguard. A pure walk is not perfect, but it is prayerful. Cling to Christ and His word, and He will cleanse your heart from impurities!

    "How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word." Psalm 119:9

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, my heart's desire is to walk in purity with You and for You.

    Related Readings: Psalm 24:4; Hosea 8:5; 2 Corinthians 6:6; 1 Timothy 4:12, 5:2; 1 Peter 3:2

    Post/Tweet this today: The closer we get to Christ the more we abhor sin and embrace righteousness. #purity

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • I Know How to Manipulate

    Posted on November 29, 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." Isaiah 58:11 (NIV)

    Just because something great happens doesn't mean it is from God. I know this is true because I know how to manipulate and make great things happen.

    Honestly, I hate that word—manipulate. It rubs something rough and grainy into the softer places of my heart.

    But there it is. And I know it. Because sometimes I do it. I manipulate.

    I know how to sell an idea I think is really great.

    I know how to go the extra mile.

    I know how to strategize to make my plan seem like a great strategy.

    And not that any of this is intrinsically bad. Some of these things are great qualities God can certainly use in good ways.

    But what if I use these skills and talents outside God's will? To push past God's timing, God's direction, God's plan to teach me stuff in the process?

    Sometimes I think He lets us push past His better plan to experience the consequences of our headstrong attitude. Boy do I know all about that. I've jumped headfirst into something I thought I wanted so much, only to find extreme stress, fear, anxiety and an overwhelming sense of regret.

    It's great to know how to sell an idea. But it's not great to do it outside God's will.

    It's great to go the extra mile. But it's not great to do it out of a desire to secure what I want—rather than out of a desire to serve another.

    It's great to strategize and have a plan. But it's not great if that plan stretches me so I seek my desires more than God's desires.

    I am learning. Learning to not always push so hard. Run so fast. And desire so much more.

    Recently I had the opportunity to be considered for something huge. Really huge.

    And I knew how to secure it.

    I knew the words I could use to sell my idea. I knew I could go the extra mile with my pitch and look impressive. I knew a strategy that could be implemented and the plan to propose.

    But what I didn't know is if this was God's plan or my desire.

    If I knew for sure it was God's plan, all my efforts wouldn't be manipulation—they'd be smart. But I didn't know.

    Therefore, all my pushing and plotting were manipulation. So, I stopped. I backed off. I stepped aside.

    I waited.

    And then I doubted. It was hard to watch the opportunity possibly slip away. But I reminded myself that this was a place where my trust in God has to step in. This was one of those times when a deeper faith could be found.

    I can rest in the assurance that if something is to be, it isn't up to me. It's up to God. It's not that I just sit back and don't pursue things. I do. But I give what I can give without manipulation. And then I wait for God to give what only He can give. So, if He makes it happen without all my chaotic self-effort, then I will know it is His best.

    And if it doesn't happen, I will thank Him for saving me from myself.

    Dear Lord, I am so grateful for Your everlasting love and vision for my life. Help me to embrace the fact that Your plans are so much greater than mine. Humble my heart in the moments when I try to maintain control so that I can fully serve You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Sometimes it's easier to follow our gut response, rather than wait on God's direction. In her book Unglued, Lysa TerKeurst shares great wisdom on embracing God's ways, not ours. Click here to purchase a copy.

    Why not gather some friends and study Unglued together with the DVD and Participant's Guide?

    Reflect and Respond:
    Do you ever catch yourself manipulating past God's plans to secure your own desire?

    God wants you to give up your own agenda and trust in His plans for your life! Set aside some time every day to reflect on Bible verses dedicated to this particular issue. Having this daily reminder of God's sovereignty will help you to recognize when your own desires are taking precedence over His will.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 9:10, "Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you." (NIV)

    Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Walk in Humility

    Posted on November 28, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love." Ephesians 4:1-2 NASB

     

    The Christian life is a step-by-step walk of faith on the path of humility. The goal is not to get ahead of God with fleshly footsteps or to lag behind in fearful procrastination. It is a balance where behavior is molded by beliefs and doing flows from being. A walk with Jesus leads to a talk with Jesus--prayer. It is beautiful to know the Lord longs to linger in lock step with the ones He loves.

    We walk in humility because this is the cadence of Christ. Our heavenly Father is not interested in us sprinting through life void of the Spirit's power. On the contrary, He smiles when He sees His servants wait on Him to accompany them to the next opportunity. In the process, a walk of humility takes the time to recognize surrounding relationships: the needs, wants and dreams of others.

    "Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.” Daniel 4:37 NASB 

    Are your steps pleasing to the Lord? Are you walking with or away from Jesus? Each of your steps are important because they build on a sequence of wisdom or foolishness. Each step of obedience reveals another footprint in God's will. You may not understand where the final step will find you, but you can be confident of the next step. Thus, in humble submission take the necessary next step in raising your teenager and entrust their ultimate outcome to the Lord. Humility walks with the One who has already won.

    Pride is dismissed by the patient tolerance of your humility. Because you love others, you trust others. Pride walks alone, but an accountable community accompanies humility. Any autonomy you may experience is required by humility to automatically and voluntarily submit to wise counsel. Thus, you walk in the light of God's love that exposes and disposes the dark deeds of pride. As you walk in humility a pace, powered by grace, sustains you!

    "Does he not see my ways and count my every step?" Job 31:4

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, humble my heart to walk in obedience with You.

    Related Readings: Proverbs 3:34; Isaiah 13:11; Micah 6:8; Matthew 23:12

    Post/Tweet this today: A walk with Jesus leads to a talk with Jesus--prayer. #humility

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Do You Have "I" Issues?

    Posted on November 28, 2012 by Jennifer Rothschild

    Jennifer

    "He must become greater; I must become less." John 3:30 (NIV)

    In the late '70s I sat

    with my folks in a hospital room in the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. The doctors who had just completed tests on my eyes were explaining what it meant to have retinitis pigmentosa. They described how I would slowly lose my remaining sight and eventually be totally blind. My mind raced and my heart welled with confusing emotions. I was silent in that hospital room that day.

    A few days later at my next visit, I only wish I had been silent.

    We went back to the sa

    me room with some of the same doctors. This time it was to help me get on a rehabilitative program. One doctor described how large, thick glasses might help with the little vision I still had. Another discussed walking with a cane. Another doctor told me how important it was for me to have an over-sized

    magnifying glass and advised me to use a flashlight to find my locker at school.

    They stepped out of the room, and with full adolescent belligerence I ranted to my parents. "I will not wear any of that junk or use that embarrassing stuff! No way! I will not look weird!"

    Just as I finished my outburst, the door opened and my new rehab counselor "rolled" in. Being legally blind, I couldn't see him well enough to detect what my mom described to me later.

    He was blind in one eye, his face was disfigured, he was missing an arm, and his legs evidently weren't functional. What I could detect, even without sight, was that his voice was only audible by using an apparatus that made it sound synthesized.

    Unfortunately he arrived just in time to hear my tirade about looking weird.

    I was mortified by how self-centered I acted. I was humiliated by my own smallness and pride. I know he was a professional who most likely understood my immature response, but he also was a man who had lost his former physique and abilities, and who probably felt "weird" when he looked in the mirror. I was so ashamed.

    I was only a few days into learning to live with blindness when I received my first lesson: when I am most self-aware, I am most miserable. Even today, as a 48-year-old woman, I still feel tinges of self-pity, self-awareness and self-absorption.

    "I don't feel that's fair to me."
    "Do I look okay in these jeans?"
    "I don't think she likes me."
    "I look weird when I can't make eye contact. I don't want people to notice."
    "I need, I want, I wish."

    When a big "I" is the center of our thoughts and feelings, we truly are miserable!

    Perhaps that's because "I" is also in the center of pride and sin. Ouch!

    Jesus said in John 12:24 that "... unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone." Alone is a miserable place to be.

    "But," Christ continued, "if it dies, it bears much fruit." (ESV) The principle is this: when it is all about us, we are like that seed that is unwilling to die. Consequently, we find ourselves alone in the prison of our own self-awareness. But, when we are willing to turn our big "I" into a little "I," we are then ready to experience real life, satisfying life.

    God is teaching me that true self-esteem comes from being reduced—less of me, more of Him. As I am willing to relinquish my sense of self—self-pity, self-awareness and self-absorption—I am finding simplicity in an identity that comes from His life in me, rather than an identity based upon me, myself and I.

    Today, let's choose to be more full of God than we are of ourselves.

    Dear Lord, I want to decrease so You will increase in me. May I be like a seed, willing to die, so I can truly live and give life to others. May my letter "I" not be in pride or sin, but may it be found in Christ. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Self Talk, Soul Talk: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself by Jennifer Rothschild

    Reflect and Respond:
    Ways to shrink your letter "I":
    1. Focus on someone else's needs. Yours will feel less obvious.
    2. Grant someone else the attention you are trying to get for yourself.
    3. Begin your day with this question, "How may I serve You today, Lord?"

    Power Verses:
    Matthew 22:37-39: "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.'" (NIV)

    Psalm 27:8: "My heart says of you, 'Seek his face!' Your face, Lord, I will seek." (NIV)

    Philippians 2:3-4: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Jennifer Rothschild. All rights reserved.

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

  • Affective Affirmation

    Posted on November 27, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “The LORD bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor.” Ruth 3:10

     

    Affective affirmation engages the heart and soothes the soul. There is an emotional tipping point that takes place when someone brings acceptance, approval and comfort to a conversation. It builds trust in relationships and moves friendships toward vulnerability. Men long for approval from their wives and women desire attention from their husbands. Affirmation from those who know us the most—means the most. Their support provides security for us.

    We all want to feel special—we want to be the most important person to the one we love the most. This position of significance positions a relationship for success. The effect of affective affirmation is a healthy environment at home and at work. Negative brow beating and intimidation may get a short-term result at the expense of long-term commitment. We need affirmation like a tender plant needs nurturing. Affirmation grows relationships.

    “How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves. How handsome you are, my beloved! Oh, how charming! And our bed is verdant.” Song of Songs 1:15-16

    Do you intentionally affirm another’s value to you? Do you treat them how you want to be treated and do you grace them with words of significant meaning? The Lord has you in a seat of influence during good and bad times. Therefore, use your role of supervisor, peer, parent, spouse, son, daughter, brother, sister or friend to free others with your approval. Speak into their lives by admitting your struggles and airing your concerns. Affirm them.

    Most of all seek effective affirmation from your heavenly Father. When you stumble and fall—He picks you up. When you sin—He forgives. When you forget—He remembers. When you lose hope—He gives hope. When you are weak—He is strong. When you are unsure—He is sure. When you are afraid—He is your peace. Your Father in heaven cares about you. When He sees you, He sees His son Jesus—you are 100% affirmed in Him!

    “I will listen to what God the LORD says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants— but let them not turn to folly.” Psalm 85:8

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for your affirmation in Your son Jesus.

    Related Readings: Numbers 22:38; Micah 6:9; Luke 10:39; Ephesians 4:29

    Post/Tweet this today: Affirmation from those who know us the most—means the most. Support gives security. #affirmation

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Found Hope

    Posted on November 27, 2012 by Nicki Koziarz

    Nicki

    "For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." Romans 15:4 (NASB)

    We were out of options. The day the Sherriff's car pulled into our driveway, I knew what was coming. After a series of unfortunate events, things had gone from bad to worse to hopeless.

    Her friendly, official, sheriff smile did nothing to relieve the emotional discomfort of this dreadful moment. The neighbors peeked through their blinds to see what was happening.

    As she handed me the papers, I took them with tears in my eyes.

    Looking at the baby in my arms and toddler peeking out from behind me, this kind woman genuinely said, "I'm sorry."

    "Thank you," I whispered, as I slowly closed the door.

    I sat down on our stairs and read through the official documents. Elaborate lawyer terms, forceful sounding laws I didn't understand, and words bolded in dark ink conveyed the dreadful news; "You must vacate the premises within thirty days."

    Foreclosure.

    It was unwanted and unavoidable. It felt shameful and embarrassing. And the foreclosure of our home was an aching process of letting go.

    The carefully painted mustard-yellow walls: I would miss them so much. How would I survive without the daily afternoon play dates with my neighbor and her children? And what about all those hot dog dinners my husband and I ate to save pennies to buy this sweet home?

    So much was about to be taken from us. Just like that.

    I didn't understand why God would allow us to walk this humbling road. We had trusted Him, why hadn't He provided?

    Any hope I had left in God faded fast. It wasn't something I could muster back up on my own. No, I needed others to fill the gap for me.

    In scripture Paul wrote, "For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." (Romans 15:4 NASB)

    I learned during this devastating season, when our hearts become grounds of broken dreams, we may need to turn to the hope others have found.

    The Bible holds deep historical roots of hope waiting for us to uncover.

    We can find hope because ...

    Abraham and Sarah found hope by believing while it seemed impossible for them to get pregnant, it was possible for God. (Genesis 15, 17-18)

    We can find hope because ...

    Ruth and Naomi found hope by moving their lives forward after losing their family. (Ruth 3)

    We can find hope because ...

    Mary and Martha found hope when they saw Jesus could do anything, including raising their brother from the dead. (John 11)

    As I closed the door to our home for the last time, I accepted this place of brokenness. But I also made a choice to find hope no matter what.

    I found hope through the eyes of wonder my daughters had as they explored our new rental house. I found hope when my mom helped me unpack our boxes and organize toys. I found hope when my husband's heart drew closer to mine through this difficult experience.

    Hope is at the core of who we are as followers of Jesus. As we allow hope to flow into us, it will flow through us even in the most difficult circumstances.

    If you feel hopeless in this season of your life, will you look back at those who had hope in Scripture to give you courage to have hope for your future? Hope, it heals our broken dreams.

    Dear Lord, thank You for the hope You give us to heal the broken places in our lives. May we have the strength to find hope in all the places that feel hopeless today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    If you are feeling hopeless, reach out to someone and ask her to share a time where God has given hope.

    What is an area in your life you are seeking hope from God? Leave a comment today and let's share our hope struggles.

    Power Verses:
    1 Peter 1:3, "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." (NIV)

    Romans 5:5, "And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." (NIV 1984)

    © 2012 by Nicki Koziarz. All rights reserved.

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

  • God of Hope

    Posted on November 26, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

     

    I struggle with consistently placing my hope in God alone. I say He is my support, but then I add a secular safety net as a back up to my belief in Jesus. So, my prayer is to hope in God without any worldly props. When He is the sole focus of my faith then trust in Him trumps any whispering idols in the temporal. Christ’s hope is all I need to persevere though pain, change and challenges. His hope anchors my soul in His unchanging grace.

    There are many gods who offer fleeting hope. The god of more money offers financial hope. The god of bigger government offers entitlement hope. The god of blind loyalty offers relational hope. The god of harder work offers security hope. However, all hope not founded on God is false and disappoints. Hope in heaven gives peace on earth. And any earthly competitor for the Lord’s hope is powerless. God’s hope generates real joy! 

    “Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the skies themselves send down showers? No, it is you, LORD our God. Therefore our hope is in you, for you are the one who does all this.” Jeremiah 14:22

    Is your hope in God conditional or unconditional? Is it merely words or the conviction of your heart? You know your hope is all in with the Almighty when your life overflows with the power of the Holy Spirit. Bad news only emboldens you to look for the Lord’s creative solutions to sticky situations. You hand over people out of your control over to Christ’s control. Your focus on heavenly hope silences howls from the hounds of hell.

    Therefore, hope in God, the Savior of your soul. He is your sole provider who needs no supplementary support. Intensified belief in Jesus is your back up plan. Thus, you embrace hope—an unchanging attribute of God. He is the object and author of your hope. Joy comes from being justified by Jesus. His peace produces perseverance. When Christ’s hope has its way—He shows you the way. Open hope’s door; it hinges on God!

    “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, my hope is in You—not the competing hopes of this world.

    Related Readings: Psalm 43:5, 62:5; Micah 7:7; Ephesians 2:12; Titus 1:2, 2:13

    Post/Tweet this today: Hand people out of your control over to Christ’s control. #hope

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

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