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Daily Devotion

  • Ahh, Summer.

    Posted on July 19, 2012 by Family Christian

    Just be.

    Summer. A time for vacations, going to the beach and firing up the grill. What a great season for family. Wouldn’t it be ideal if everything slowed down so we could just focus on being together? For most of us though, summer still means errands, working in the office (and now the yard), and a hundred other things we should get done while there’s still sunlight left in the sky.

    Ephesians 5:15 reminds us to “Be very careful then how you live… making the most of every opportunity…” These sunny months are full of delicious moments just waiting to be savored, moments we don’t want to miss because we’re too busy staring at our smartphone or a pile of weeds. This summer focus on finding the balance in it all. Be engaged, be intentional and be fully present with your family; celebrating togetherness and the gift God has given you in each other. Those are the things you’ll savor for a lifetime.

  • God-Size Goals

    Posted on July 18, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with men is possible with God”. Luke 18:27

     

    God-sized goals are meant to challenge our thinking and further our faith. These Holy Spirit inspired ‘big ideas’ are crafted by our Creator to spur us on to good works and transformational living. God-sized goals make us uncomfortable at times. They are not guaranteed to happen, but they position us to pray more and believe in God better. 

    It is through prayerful planning and implementation that gigantic goals move from a mere possibility to a surer probability. Huge objectives are a hedge against mediocrity, and a prod toward perfection. God-sized goals are given to govern your thinking and determine your time, so that you are intentional and focused on His big picture. Otherwise, you can drift around without a rudder of reality, destined for disappointment.

    Best of all God-sized goals get you to God. It is prayer and planning with significant progress that moves you from the realm of possibility to the place of probability. In most cases it is one man or woman’s passion and focus that proves catalytic in the creation and execution of the goal. The leader looks failure in the eye and extinguishes it by faith, wisdom, and hard work, all wrapped around a skilled and unified team.

    Christ-centered possibilities, far outweigh man-centered probabilities. Perhaps you need to get away in solitude for several days, asking your Savior to sear your soul with His goals. Think outside the box of small belief, for the Lord is unlimited in His abilities and resources. God-sized goals arrest your attention, adjust your attitude, and accelerate your actions.

    So, prayerfully set great goals, and He will grow your character in the process, while influencing others for His glory. Trust Him to teach you the way and to show you, with eyes of faith, way beyond the bounds of your experience, for His plan will prevail. The Bible says, “I know You can do all things; no plan of Yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).

    Prayer: What goal is God giving me that needs to be accepted in faith, requiring hard work towards its accomplishment?

    Related Readings: Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:17; Matthew 19:26; Ephesians 1:19-20

    Post/Tweet this today: God-sized goals get us to God. #goals #wisdomhunters

    Click on our Wisdom Video blog… http://bit.ly/JCjzJB

  • Giant Opportunities

    Posted on July 17, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “The LORD said to Moses, "Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites… Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it." But the men who had gone up with him said, "We can't attack those people; they are stronger than we are." Numbers 13:1a, 30-31

     

    As we face life, we can be overwhelmed by its giant obstacles or be inspired by its giant opportunities. Challenges and uncertainties tend to corrode our confidence. It is in the face of the unknown that we can move forward by faith, or backward in disbelief. What giant obstacles are you facing? How can your obstacles be converted into opportunities? Obstacles are stepping stones for obedient feet to follow. 

    Therefore, stay focused with aggressive patience and you will eventually see some obstacles dissolve while others are transformed into treasures. Possibly a financial opportunity is looming large but it seems like an intimidating obstacle. If so, stay true to your integrity by not selectively suspending your core values for much needed results. Instead, remain faithful to wise stewardship and honesty. The right results will follow at the right time. Trust God to use scary giants for His glory.

    God orchestrates giant opportunities for His greater good. He told Moses that He was giving His children the promised land; all they had to do was show up and receive His gift. Giant opportunities often require faith, planning, perseverance, and hard work, buy sometimes the reward of obedience and trust in the Lord is enough. So how are you facing the giants in your life; as obstacles or opportunities?

    Leaders look and pray for opportunities, exploring them with energy and enthusiasm. Your relentless leadership inspires your family, friends, and work associates to remain faithful and not freak out. Therefore, take the opportunity the Lord has given you. Difficult days and economic challenges are great opportunities for God to get the glory. So be aggressive, increase your efforts, actively pursue heaven with prayer, and by faith receive what your Savior Jesus has already given you. Go after the giant opportunities with gusto and with grace.

    The Bible says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, NASB).

    Prayer: With what giant obstacle, can I trust God to turn it into an opportunity?

    Related Readings: Joshua 14:6-8; Isaiah 41:10-16; Romans 8:31-37; Hebrews 11:33

    Post/Tweet this today: Obstacles are stepping-stones for obedient feet to follow. #obedience #wisdomhunters

    Click on our Wisdom Video blog… http://bit.ly/JCjzJB

  • Gods Already Provided

    Posted on July 16, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “He [Jesus] replied, “You give them something to eat.” They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” Luke 9:13

     

    God is not passive in His provision. He aggressively applies His resources directly to the felt need of His children. But His works are outside the small box of unbelief. The Lord's faithfulness flourishes where the soul fluently speaks the language of faith. The Holy Spirit traffics freely on the highway of a trusting heart. Man’s natural eye limits the Lord's supernatural supply, but an eternal gaze engages His possibilities.

    Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where it seems like we lack the Lord's provision. The resources right in front us look like they are limited, without suitable capacity. Can Christ be creative with what He has already given us? Yes, of course, if we are obedient to follow His directives. Faith says yes to God's "what", even when His "how" is unclear. Many times God has already provided for His children. The provision may seem disguised in its unconventional appearance, but nonetheless it is still very near.

    "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18

    Like an explorer on the verge of discovering a valuable treasure, so you may be one step of obedience away from discovering Christ's treasure trove of blessings. What are you facing that requires Jesus to provide? Is it wisdom? He is wisdom. Is it peace? He is the Prince of Peace. Is it comfort? He weeps with compassion. Is it direction? He is the Bright and Morning Star. Is it forgiveness? He forgives. His provision precedes the need.

    The possibilities of God's provision begin to be defined by numbering the grains of sand in the sea. Jesus is asking you to take the step of faith where you are, so He can take you to where you need to be. Christ wants to change you, before He changes your circumstances. He is building your trust to make you trustworthy with His blessings. Like mighty vessels that only cross deep channels of water, so you are the Lord's valued vessel to deliver His unfathomable blessings to others. Perhaps His provision is you!

    "Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I trust you to provide in Your timing, show me the next step.

    Related Readings: Psalm 62:10; Ephesians 6:10; 1 Timothy 6:17; 1 Peter 4:11

    Post/Tweet this today: The Lord's faithfulness flourishes where the soul speaks fluently the language of faith. #faith #wisdomhunters

    Click on our Wisdom Video blog… http://bit.ly/JCjzJB

  • Trust Required

    Posted on July 15, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Yet you brought me out of the womb, you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast. Psalm 22:9

     

    God requires us to trust Him from our birth. In the beginning, we are totally dependent on others. God uses doctors, nurses, and midwives to navigate us through the birth canal. There is nothing we could do to gain access into this life other than wait on the warm embrace of others. Ultimately, it was God’s work that brought us into the world. He conceived us in our mother’s womb and He brought us out of our mother’s womb. There has never been a time we have not been required to trust the Lord. He knew we needed this requirement from the outset. Trust is who we are. It is part of our DNA. Our Savior stamped on our infant soul, “Trust in Me is required.” From our first breath to our last, we are required to trust in God. There is no getting around His requirement. He made us trust in the beginning, so we would learn to continue a life of trust in Him.
     
    We were born desperately needy. The milk from our mother’s breast sustained our life. She was our lifeline. She was the nurturer we trusted without reservation. In the same way, we depend on the milk of God’s word. We are babies in our belief, in need of the elementary principles of the faith. The writer of Hebrews 5:12-13 says, “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” But then he goes on to say that we need more than milk for a mature faith. “Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.” At the genesis of our faith, we were infants who sucked life from our Savior Jesus. Like air to a scuba diver exploring the vast unknown of the underwater world, He was what kept our souls going. We trusted Him totally as our redeemer and refuge. Trust was required then. Trust is required now.
     
    In this life, we never graduate from our Savior’s school of trust. We are in Christ’s classroom of trust until we graduate to heaven. It is a required course for Christ- followers. He loved us when we were infants, and He does not cast us off in our latter years. He was our God when we left our mother, and He will be our God when we return to mother earth. Be glad that God requires trust in Him. Trust connects us to Christ. It keeps us close to Him. There is no better place to be than near the heart of God. Trust Him to love you in spite of those you distrust. Do not project your distrust of others on the Divine.
     
    Moreover, trust in others is required for robust relationships. Do not replace trust with skepticism because of the few who have fractured your faith in people. Yes, in the beginning, because of relational inexperience, you may have been naïve in your trust of others. But do not allow these few bruising relationships to keep you from trusting. If you trust God, you can trust others. Little faith in God leads to little faith in people. A big faith in God thinks the best of others. He can control your feelings of being controlled. Don’t be defensive with your spouse or co-workers. Trust that they are in this with you. You want them to trust you, so trust them. Trust is required for growing relationships.

    Taken from Reading #13 in the 90-day devotional book, “Seeking God in the Psalms”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE
     
    Post/Tweetthis today: Trust in God, even when you distrust others. #trust #distrust

    Click on our Wisdom Video blog… http://bit.ly/JCjzJB

  • Rest from Work

    Posted on July 14, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.” Hebrews 4:9-11

     

    It is hard for some people to rest from their work. They love their work, enjoy their work, and may even worship their work. Hard, smart, and productive work is good, but worshiping work is bad. It is reckless and leads to ruin. It may be relational ruin, physical ruin, or even financial ruin. But work that is worshipped gets out of hand quickly. God is the only one who deserves worship. It is good to be proud of the quality of your work produced with pure motivation, but do not allow work to become an end in itself. Your true identity does not come from work; if so, you are positioned for a roller coaster ride of emotions. One day you will feel secure, another day you will be swept away by insecurity.
               
    As a follower of Christ, your identity is found in Him. This is one reason why rest from work is vital. When you work all the time you tend to drift from your moorings of faith in Christ to faith in yourself. It becomes a trust issue. “Can God be trusted enough for me to rest from my work?” Of course He can handle the work that remains. He divinely redeems the time of your limited work and produces more lasting results; results that will last longer than if you had worked all the time.
     
    After all, you are His workmanship in Christ Jesus. When you take the time to cease working, God is allowed to accelerate His work in you. Some of God’s best work takes place when you don’t work. He works better when you don’t. His work is a work of grace, and it is a beautiful sight to behold. So, enjoy your Sabbath rest as He works on your heart. Allow Him to draw you to Himself, so when you go back to work you are refreshed and revitalized.
               
    There is a trap to avoid as you take a break from work and enter into God’s Sabbath rest. You can physically be away from work but still be at work mentally, so free your mind from this split-focused activity. Do not make your mind jealous over your body’s freedom from work. Rest your thoughts from work, and you will discover your thinking is more robust and innovative when you reengage in your work. During your Sabbath rest, shift your thinking to the bigger thoughts of God and His plan. Superimpose simple faith in Him over the complex issues that are assaulting your rest. Your mind, body, and emotions are all part of your Sabbath rest.
     
    If your Sabbath rest from work involves people, then relate to them with relevance and relationship. Let them see the sincerity of your involved presence. Do not act as if you wish you were somewhere else. Your rest is a time for you to relate the ways of God to others. Your life is a testament to God’s faithfulness. Let others read it up close and personal. Your Sabbath rest can be a catalyst for others to reengage with God. Set the example, and watch others follow. Your Sabbath rest gives others permission to do the same. It’s not always easy to get to God’s rest, but once you arrive, it is well worth the effort. His rest ignites your obedience and trust. So, rest from work and rest in Him. Then watch your work become better.
     
    Taken from July 14th reading in the 365-daydevotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE
     
    Post/Tweet this today: Some of God’s best work takes place when we don’t work. #work
     
    Click on our Wisdom Video blog… http://bit.ly/JCjzJB
  • Beginning of Wisdom

    Posted on July 13, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).

     

    The fear of the Lord is fundamental to finding wisdom.Without awe of the Almighty there is no access to His insights. Where reverence for His holiness is void, there is lack of understanding into the ways of God. The first step in acquiring wisdom from almighty God is to fear Him. There is a worship of the Lord’s majesty and a dread of His judgment.
     
    His Holy Word—the Bible—is taken to heart as truth for the purpose of life transformation. At first, fear of the Lord may be so overwhelming that it conflicts with love and distracts our desire for intimacy. Anyone who has been broken understands this process. However, once a healthy fear of the Lord has been embraced, there is peace and knowledge in submission to and love for the Holy One.
     
    “He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure” (Isaiah 33:6).
     
    Moreover, we mock God when we move away from the language of fear; He is not one to be mocked. So, as devoted followers of Christ, we sow the seeds of respect, reverence, and fear of the Lord. This discipline of faith results in a harvest of holiness, happiness, and wisdom. Fear of Him leads to knowledge of Him. Therefore, bow before Him on your knees in prayer, and seek His face for forgiveness and relational restoration.
     
    Celebrate together with Christ our conquest over sin, sorrow, and death. What is counter-intuitive on earth is intuitive in heaven. Listen to David admonish his son Solomon, who became the wisest man in the world: “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever” (1 Chronicles 28:9 NASB).
     
    Prayer: What area of my life lacks fear of the Lord, and how can I expose it to accountability?
     
    Related Readings: Job 28:28; Psalm 111:10; Matthew 11:27; 1 John 5:20
     
    Post/Tweet this today: Without awe of the Almighty, there is no access to His insights.#awe #wisdomhunters
     
    Click on our Wisdom Video blog… http://bit.ly/JCjzJB
  • Humility Finds Favor

    Posted on July 12, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.) Numbers 12:3

     

    Humility finds favor with God and man. Because of their trustworthy temperament, the spirit of the humble solicits trust and blessing. Like honey attracts a bee, so the Lord’s heart is drawn to the humble. It is a sweet exchange when the Holy Spirit fills a submissive soul. There is no downside in taking the road of authentic lowliness. It is the path less trodden, because its route encounters roadblocks, mix-ups—even ridicule.
     
    However, our humble hearts are the hinges that swing open the door of God’s grace. Greater grace requires greater humility—especially in face of unfair criticism. The Holy Spirit is our defense attorney, retained on our behalf, by our heavenly Father. He will bring the truth to light and discredit the dishonest. The Lord lays bare man’s motives. Our humility is a prescription of choice to combat pride. It cleans our spiritual veins of vanity’s vestiges.
     
    “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5b
     
    Your humility is the product of the Holy Spirit’s deep work of grace. It is not squeezed out of hard human effort; rather it is the delicious juice that flows from an abiding faith in Jesus. So, as you cultivate a heart that harvests humility, you prayerfully ask the Lord: “Are my motives in line with Yours’?” “Are my affections focused on Jesus first?” “Do I, by faith, daily empty myself and invite in the Spirit’s fullness?” Humility is intentional.
     
    Furthermore, will you remain humble as you experience the favor of God? The hounds of hell never stop soliciting you to take credit, where Christ is the only creditor. It takes extreme gratitude and generosity to ward off pride’s persistent assaults. Indeed, your consistent celebration of your salvation in Jesus and your dependence on God’s grace enhances humility. So, never forget where He’s brought you from and where He wants to take you. Your humble heart, in the eyes of the Lord, prepares you for His blessings.
     
    “He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.” Proverbs 3:34
     
    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray for humility to be the default for my heart’s desires.
     
    Related Readings: Job 5:11; Matthew 23:12; Ephesians 5:21; 1 Peter 3:8
     
    Post/Tweet this today: Humility cleans our spiritual veins of vanity’s vestiges. #humility
     
    Click on our Wisdom Video blog… http://bit.ly/JCjzJB
  • Humble Listening

    Posted on July 11, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:9

     

    Humble listening is both science and art. Science, because there are common occurrences in effective communication. Eye contact, emotional engagement and comprehension all contribute to listeners who truly understand. Humble listening is an art as well, because people differ in their experiences, ability to communicate clearly, and limitations based upon their biased interpretation of their own feelings.
     
    Therefore, as a humble listener we see ourselves as servants seeking to truly understand another’s heart and mind. We listen to their words for inflections of emotion. We may sense excitement in a high-pitched voice, or anger in a tone of defensiveness. Fear floods out of shaky speech and apathy is evident in monotone words with a deadpan face. Compassion comprehends these indicators of the heart. Yes, humility diagnoses emotions.
     
    “I waited while you spoke, I listened to your reasoning; while you were searching for words, I gave you my full attention.” Job 32:11-12a
     
    A loving listening ear is a valuable gift you give to those the Lord puts in your path. Do you hear the hurt in your husband or wife’s heart? Are your ears engaged with empathy in prayerful patience, before suggesting solutions? As you listen well, you represent Christ well. As you listen well, you love well. As you listen well, you honor well. Humble listening waits patiently so as not to run ahead of hearing well—it gives space to the process.
     
    Most of all, a servant of the Lord is sensitive to the voice of the Lord. We humbly submit to His speech expressed in Holy Scripture and confirmed by the Holy Spirit in prayer. Godly counsel also validates the voice of God. Lastly, people or institutions in authority over us are a mouthpiece for our Master Jesus. His established authorities are boundaries for our protection and progress. So, listen to and obey the law of the Lord and the law of the land. Indeed, humility is slow to speak, quick to listen and always ready to serve.
     
    “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20
     
    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the grace, patience and discernment to listen well.
     
    Related Readings: Psalm 34:11; Proverbs 10:19; John 5:24; James 3:3-12
     
    Post/Tweet this today: Compassion comprehends emotional indicators of the heart.
     
    Click on our Wisdom Video blog… http://bit.ly/JCjzJB
  • Invite Instruction

    Posted on July 10, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “Rebuke a wise man and he will love you. Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning” (Proverbs 9:8-9).

     

    Wise people invite instruction. They understand correction and rebuke are necessary to grow in wisdom and righteous behavior. Without well-meaning instructors willing to get in our faces, we aspire to be average at best. However, an invitation to mettle into my affairs defines authentic accountability. Effective correction makes us uncomfortable at times, but we become wiser as a result. Indeed, conflict is inherent in accountability.
     
    So, if your relationships are conflict free, you can bet you are not being held accountable in the truest sense. Wisdom comes in the form of raw relationships that reek with loving reproof and a willingness to change. It is out of a rebuke that you wake up and understand the realities you are facing. Your spouse is not nagging, just nudging you to act responsibly. Therefore, invite instruction, and you will increase in wisdom and understanding. There are no regrets from wise recipients of reproof.
     
    “Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear” (Proverbs 25:12).
     
    Furthermore, be willing to be the bearer of bad news. With love and grace, go to your friend who has asked for your counsel, and give him or her truth. Pray first; then deliver the unpleasant news.  It is much better for others to see the error of their ways before they reach a point of no return. Talk to them, not about them. Pray for them privately, not publically with a pious prayer request.
     
    Love motivates rebuke, then become a recipient of love. Your relationship will retreat in anger or rise to a higher level of respect through righteous rebuke. Take the time to prod another toward perfection because you care. Be respectful and instruct with patience. One day the student may exceed the wisdom of the teacher.
     
    “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40).
     
    Prayer: Dear Lord, to whom do I need to listen and learn from their correction and rebuke?
     
    Related Readings: Psalm 141:5; 2 Peter 3:18; 2 Timothy 4:2; Revelation 3:19
     
    Post/Tweet this today: Avoid gossip, talk to them not about them. #gossip #confront
     
    Click on our Wisdom Video blog… http://bit.ly/JCjzJB

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