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Daily Devotion

  • Righteous Light

    Posted on October 26, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out” (Proverbs 13:9).

     

    Righteousness shines the brightest when dimming days become the darkest. We are called and compelled as Christians to glow for God during gloomy times. Are you caught up in our culture’s chaos, or do you see a chance to burn brightly for Jesus? Hard times can harden our hearts or humble them, but it is a broken heart that burns the brightest.

    Jesus said, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Light left unattended extinguishes, but light exposed to the air of almighty God’s love illuminates. Difficult days demand dependency on the Lord; so, in fact, your acts of service are fueled by faith. If you panic instead of praying, you will miss out on the opportunities to love others.

    “We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing” (2 Thessalonians 1:3).

    I often ask, “In my uncertainty, am I more worried about my stuff or the window of opportunity to serve others?” It may mean inviting someone to live in my home for a season, paying three month’s mortgage payments for a friend, volunteering at a local shelter, or increasing my gifts to the church. Righteous light longs to love liberally.

    Christ in us invites others to know Him, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Perhaps you invite some neighbors over for a six-week Bible study on money or marriage, and watch what God does.

    “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe” (Philippians 2:14–15).

    Prayer: Where can I bring the light of Christ’s love to someone’s dark circumstance?

    Related Readings: Job 18:5–6; Isaiah 50:10–11; Luke 11:36; Revelation 21:23

    Post/Tweet: Hard times can harden our hearts or humble them, but it is brokenness that burns the brightest. #brokenness

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry
  • A Long and Winding Road

    Posted on October 26, 2012 by Micca Campbell

    Micca

    "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9 (NIV)

    When my daughter was just a toddler she began having reoccurring infections. With every one, she ran a high fever that sometimes resulted in a small seizure. This illness required that she stay on a low-dose antibiotic to prevent infection.

    Sadly, the infections kept happening. Soon the doctor feared that this infection could cause damage to her kidneys. So by the time she was two years old, my husband and I had to make some serious decisions.

    We could keep her on the antibiotics and hope she would outgrow the illness with minimal damage. Or, she could have surgery. There were risks either way.

    Keeping her on antibiotics for a long period of time could make them less effective if she got future illnesses. Plus, we had to consider the risk of her kidneys being damaged. Then there was surgery—which had risks all it's own.

    Faced with a decision that required wisdom beyond us, I kept thinking, "There's got to be an easier way."

    At times the road before me seems long, steep and challenging. I can feel lost. Uncertain. Afraid. Sometimes I'm not sure I have the strength for the journey.

    It's in those times that God wants me to remember I'm not traveling alone. He is my ever-present guide. He knows where the road leads. He can see what lies ahead. And that's not all.

    God also knows my concerns. He knows what I feel. The pain I cannot explain to someone else ... God knows. The fear of the unknown—He knows. And He offers me Himself.

    Perhaps you feel overwhelmed today. You may be experiencing some sadness, loss or worry. You may find that God has called you to a difficult path. "Surely," you think, "God has an easier road for me to travel."

    The truth is, we aren't wise enough to assume another path would be best for us. Maybe the easier road won't make us into the person God intends us to be.

    Perhaps the difficult road is a path of grace—protecting us from the worst.

    Maybe this road is about learning something new about God or ourselves. Could it be the difficult journey is the path that prepares us for a greater purpose or a greater faith in God?

    After much prayer, we felt led to have the surgery. It went well. Our daughter was able to come off her medicine and live a healthy life!

    So, what did I learn? Out of all the possible paths, God knows the best path. Our key verse reminds us, "His ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts." Because of this, we can take the path God has laid out for us today. We can trust, and not fear, in His infinite wisdom and love. And we can be certain that God will never lead us down the wrong road.

    Dear Lord, because You will never lead me down the wrong road, I can trust You when I need to make decisions about my family, my career, and my health. Thank You for Your wisdom and guidance. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Discover a faith stronger than all your fear in Micca Campbell's book, An Untroubled Heart.

    Reflect and Respond:
    God sees a million other connections to your situation than you do. Therefore, He knows the best path to take.

    Seek His guidance through prayer, a godly friend, counselor, and in His Word. Watch for a reoccurring answer marked by peace. Then choose to walk that path.

    Power Verse:
    Psalms 32:8, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.

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

  • Rely On God

    Posted on October 25, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:9

     

    Children of God have the privilege to rely on the only One who raises the dead. He raised His son Jesus from the dead and today He still brings life from death. Indeed, even a dead relationship He can bring back to life. A dead deal He can resurrect. A dead end job He can breathe life into with opportunities and new ideas. A dead marriage He can call forth like Lazarus, and by His grace remove the grave clothes of bitterness and unforgiveness. God gives life—He is reliable! 

    Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is reliable because His track record is 100% trustworthy. It is when we rely on ourselves that our faith becomes stale and irrelevant. However, when we choose to chase after the comfort of Christ, we are comforted. When we wait and seek out His wisdom before we react, we are protected. When we bow in humble worship of the Almighty, we avoid worshipping at the altar of our ego or economics. We rely on God, because He is totally reliable!

    “This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh?and whose heart turns away from the Lord.” Jeremiah 17:5

    Self-reliance is subtle in its servitude. We can say we depend on God, but if we scramble around in a panic we act like He is out of control. Your teenager needs to see you—not just hear you—accountable to God. If you want them to be accountable in their conversations, then you must model words and behaviors that don’t flirt with sin. Perhaps you come off the road and reengage with your family, so your relational equity is built back up. God can fill in the financial gaps.

    Furthermore, make sure not to place too much trust in those who cannot bring the dead to life. Mere human beings have no capacity compared to their Creator’s capacity. Excessive reliance on people leads to unhealthy expectations. Yes, you need the support of friends, but not to the same degree you need your Savior’s support. Your Heavenly Father neither sleeps nor slumbers, so seek out His intimacy in your moments of insomnia. The Spirit is your Guide to lead you into His will!

    “Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem?” Isaiah 2:22

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I am grateful for Your reliability; make me Your reliable representative.

    Related Readings: Jeremiah 17:7; Psalm 108:12; John 5:21; Romans 4:17

    Post/Tweet: When we bow in humble worship of the Almighty, we avoid worshiping at the altar of our ego or economics. #worship

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

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources

    A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com

    www.wisdomhunters.com

     

     

  • When I Want to Quit

    Posted on October 25, 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "He said: 'Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is the Lord says to you: "Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's."'" 2 Chronicles 20:15 (NIV)

    When some exercise-loving friends suggested we join them for a moderate family hike while we were all vacationing in the Adirondack Mountains, we thought that was a great idea.

    Turns out their definition of moderate came from an entirely different dictionary than mine. Actually, an entirely different planet, if I'm being completely honest. Honey ... this was no moderate hike.

    I had pictured a path with a gently winding, upward slope. But what we actually experienced was more like scaling a cliff face made entirely of rocks and roots.

    Not kidding.

    And we were at an altitude so high my lungs felt like they were stuck together and incapable of holding more than a thimbleful of breath. Lovely. And forget about conversation. All I could do was mutter a few moans between gasps for air.

    Up, up, up we went. And when another group of hikers passed us on their way down and cheerfully quipped, "You're almost halfway there!" I wanted to quit. Halfway? How could we be only halfway?!

    I pushed. I pulled. I strained. I huffed and puffed. And I might have even spent a few minutes pouting. But eventually, we reached the top. I bent over, holding my sides and wondering how a girl who runs four miles almost every day could feel so stinkin' out of shape!

    Climbing up the mountain against the force of gravity was hard. Really, really hard. But coming down was a completely different experience. I navigated the same rocks and roots without feeling nearly as stressed. I enjoyed the journey. I noticed more of the beautiful surroundings and had enough breath to actually talk.

    About halfway down the trail, it occurred to me how similar my experience of this hike was to my Christian walk. Starting at the top of the mountain and working with the force of gravity was much easier than starting at the bottom of the mountain and working against it. Although I had to navigate the exact same path both directions, being in the flow of gravity made the journey so much better.

    It's just like when I face a hard issue in life. Operating in the flow of God's power is better than working against the flow of God's power. Seeking to obey God in the midst of whatever circumstance I'm facing is what positions me to work in the flow of God's power.

    I still have to navigate the realities of my situation, but I won't be doing it in my own strength. My job is to be obedient to God, to apply His Word, and to walk according to His ways—not according to the world's suggestions. God, in His way and timing, works it all out.

    That's what happened with King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20. Jehoshaphat was in an overwhelming situation. Three countries had banded together, forming a massive army to attack his much smaller country of Judah. If ever there were a time for a king to feel unglued, this would have been it. But Jehoshaphat didn't fall apart.

    He stayed in the flow of obeying God in his actions and reactions. I'm sure if he had tried to figure out how to win this battle based on his limited strength and numbers alone, he would have surely given up. Judah was outnumbered. No question. But instead of counting themselves out, the king and his army counted God in and determined to do exactly as He instructed.

    I want to participate in God's divine nature rather than wallow in discouragement and fear. Then I won't have to huff and puff and pout while trying to figure everything out on my own.

    I stay in the flow.

    Dear Lord, help me to trust that You've got it all figured out and to remember that I don't. Help me to say yes to You even when it's hard. Help me to say no to anything that doesn't align with Your Word. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Are there situations or relationships that seem to be sucking the life out of you? Want to stay in the flow of God's power but tempted to quit because things seem like they will never get better? If so, Lysa TerKeurst's new book, Unglued is the book you need. Click here to get your copy today.

    The accompanying 6 week Unglued Bible Study is perfect for your individual devotion time or a group study. To order your copy of the workbook, click here. For the accompanying DVD, click here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are you facing what seems like an impossible situation?

    Stop right now and ask God to show you how to walk in His perfect will. Instead of counting yourself out, count God in and determine to do exactly as He instructs.

    Power Verses:
    Isaiah 55:12, "You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands." (NIV)

    Psalm 119:105, "Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • 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

  • That's What Friends Do

    Posted on October 24, 2012 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie

    "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

  • 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

  • Pick Me! Pick Me!

    Posted on October 23, 2012 by Karen Ehman

    Karen

    "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

  • 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

  • Our Thoughts Have Wheels

    Posted on October 22, 2012 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie

    "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

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