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Daily Devotion

  • Making the Resurrection Real

    Posted on March 26, 2014 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness. Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power. I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor and your wonderful miracles." Psalm 145:3-5 (NLT)

    The television host leaned over to make sure the microphone was close to the precocious girl's mouth so as to catch her every word. He'd just asked her, along with a panel of other school-aged children, about the real meaning of Easter. Her classmates' answers ranged from getting candy and trinkets from the Easter Bunny to the official beginning of spring.

    This curly-haired youngster seemed to have an answer that was more spiritual and accurate than the others. She spoke quietly into the microphone stating, "Easter is the time when Jesus died on a cross for our sins and got buried in a tomb."

    "That's right!" the host responded. "But He didn't stay in the grave, did He honey? Tell the audience what happened next."

    "Oh, that's easy!" she chimed. "He rises from the dead and comes out of the grave."

    The host smiled and started to commend her for her correct answer. But before he could, the no longer camera-shy student grabbed the microphone, pulled it closer to her mouth and heartily added, "And each year, if He sees His shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter!"

    Often holiday traditions can get mixed in with the real essence of holy days. Which can be confusing, like when that sweet little girl merged Easter with Groundhog Day. As a child, I wondered what Santa caravanning his reindeer through snowstorms had to do with baby Jesus who was born in Bethlehem. Wasn't that in a desert?

    And I never did figure out why the Easter Bunny brought me chocolate eggs each year. Didn't chickens lay eggs, not rabbits?

    Today's passage from Psalms encourages us to teach our children and future generations of God's mighty acts. We are to proclaim His power over all the earth. I can't think of a more powerful act than when God raised His only Son Jesus from the dead, making a way for us to gain access to heaven to live with Him for all eternity.

    There are many fun, family-bonding Easter traditions to celebrate with children. But this year, why not be intentional to tell the powerful story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in ways that stick in little minds? Here are some ideas to help make the reality of the story come alive for us too:

    • Attend a live passion play put on by a church in your area.

    • Read the account of Jesus' last week of life out loud as a family while enjoying a favorite snack. Read a passage each night beginning in Luke 22:1 through the end of the book of Luke.

    • Watch a movie on the life of Jesus. The Jesus Film by Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) is well done with each scene coming directly from the words of the Bible. Make sure to decide if the child is ready to see a depiction of the crucifixion.

    • Use Resurrection Eggs to tell the story over several days. (See the Related Resource section below for purchase information.)

    All of these activities help portray the true meaning of this sacred season and point the children to the God who created them, knows them and sent His only Son to die on a cross for them.

    Let's purpose to tell of God's mighty act of raising Jesus from the dead to the generations that come after us. Fun traditions can be OK, so long as we don't miss the real meaning of this Christian holy day.

    Dear Lord, help me to tell of Your wondrous power and mighty acts to those generations that come after me. May I not let the season pass by without pondering the real meaning of Easter. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Was there ever a time in your life when the secular traditions and the true spiritual meaning of a holiday got mixed up for you?

    In what ways have you seen Easter celebrated that drove home the real meaning of the season?

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 71:18 "Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come." (NIV)

    John 17:3 "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." (NKJV)

    © 2014 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Psalm

  • Spiritual Freedom

    Posted on March 25, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. John 3:8

    The Spirit of God brings freedom to everyone born of the Spirit. Just as the wind is free to blow in any direction, so we are free to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading. He calls us to prayerfully persist against culture’s prevailing winds. Similar to a sailboat on choppy seas, we ride out the rough waters with the wind of God at our backs. We have freedom to do the right thing, because the Spirit of God empowers our actions. So, we listen for the Lord’s leading and join with Him.

    Sometimes the wind of the Spirit blows with the roar of religious revival; other times it barely brushes over our brow in peaceful assurance. Thus, as we remain under the Spirit’s influence, we are free to experience His effects. It’s not doing as we like, but doing what the Lord likes. He likes for us to love, so we love. He likes for us to serve, so we serve. He likes for us to forgive, so we forgive. He likes for us to laugh, so we laugh. Spiritual freedom likes what God likes.

    “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17, NKJV).

    Are you free in your faith or bound up in unbelief? Do you feel the freedom to follow the Spirit’s leading, or are you limited by the expectations of others? By faith, you can break out of your shell of fear and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in your life. Behead the tyrant of unbelief with the sword of the Spirit and enlist in the Lord’s army of the faithful. Pray in your heart, “Where- ever He leads, I will follow.” You have been set free from above, so you can live free here below.

    Spiritual freedom is a benefit of belief in Jesus, so we seek to steward it responsibly. It is not a pass for poor decision-making, but permission to pursue wise opportunities. We use our spiritual freedom to shun self-indulgence and invest in the needs of others. Yes, by God’s grace, we set up spiritual halfway houses outside the prison gates of hell, so we can love and instruct those who exit eternal damnation. People recently set free need to know how to responsibility use their new freedom. We are freedom fighters in the faith. Spiritual freedom is God’s gift of the Spirit.

    “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (Isaiah 61:1, NKJV).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me wisdom to use my spiritual freedom under the Spirit’s influence.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 40:13; Luke 4:18; 1 Corinthians 2:14-16, 3:1; Galatians 6:1

    Post/Tweet today: We have been set free from above, so we can live free here below. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • You WILL be OK

    Posted on March 25, 2014 by Jennifer Rothschild

    Jennifer Rothschild

    "Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail." Lamentations 3:22 (NIV)

    I was stunned. This was not the news I expected.

    "You have atypical ductal hyperplasia, or ADH," the doctor said. He explained that ADH is an abnormal growth of cells within the breast ducts.

    "You need a bilateral lumpectomy as soon as possible," he concluded.

    My first thought was, "Seriously? I'm blind, for heaven's sake! Haven't I already met my quota for suffering?"

    Well, that was my first thought, but it was followed by all the "what ifs." You know — What if it's cancer? What if they don't get it all? What if I need radiation? What if this is only the beginning of something far worse?

    While my heart was racing, my husband Phil's Ph.D. mind was calculating. He broke the silence and said, "It will be OK."

    It didn't feel OK, though. And maybe the reason was that we really didn't know it would be OK. None of us really knows if it will be OK, do we? Life is uncertain.

    We want to live out a story that makes sense. We want poems to rhyme and puzzles to be solved. We just want everything to be OK. But the truth is, we really don't know whether or not "it" will be OK.

    After the call with the surgeon, Phil and I continued to sit in silence. My soul was churning. When all the pieces hadn't fallen into place, a tidal wave of fear washed over me. But instead of being a wave of emotion that drowned me, it cleared my head and awakened me to a vital truth I needed: It may not be OK, but I will be OK.

    I had a deep, inner knowing that within the uncertainty, I could be certain that God cared and was with me.

    During the lumpectomy, the doctor removed two golf-ball-sized lumps and I emerged a 34 used-to-be-B! And this may be too much information, but I was only tennis balls to begin with! (Big goofy grin.) A few days after my surgery, Phil and I met with the surgeon for the results of the pathology. All benign!

    Thankfully, that chapter of my story had an ending that was genuinely OK. However, during the uncertainty, my emotions vacillated between fear and faith, peace and panic. Yet, my soul remained OK even though it, my situation, wasn't. Why? Well, it wasn't because of my great faith! I did trust God, but I was scared too. It was because of the Lord's great love, I was not consumed; His compassions never failed (Lamentations 3:22).

    My friend, because of His great love, you will not be consumed either. Fear, anger or insecurity will not overtake you. His compassions will never fail you. Even in the midst of your heartache, you're still cradled in His compassion. You are as cared for and protected as a baby in a mother's womb.

    That's why you will be OK, my friend — no matter what.

    When we trust the compassion of God, our problems and fears do not consume us. Because of His love and compassion, we are not overwhelmed.

    I was grateful to be among the 70 percent of women who emerge from lumpectomy surgery with a cancer-free result. Many women receive far more difficult news. I couldn't imagine enduring a series of biopsies and surgery just to find myself facing more surgery or radiation, like many women do. Oh, how my heart goes out to them!

    You may be one of those women. You may know and love one. Do God's compassions fail if the diagnosis isn't good? Is a bad diagnosis evidence of God's failure to be compassionate?

    No.

    A surgery may fail, but God's compassions will not.

    A treatment may fail, but God's compassions will not.

    A relationship may fail, but God's compassions will not.

    A dream may fail, but God's compassions will not.

    My friend, no matter what you're facing, God cares for you and will carry you. It may not be OK, but, because of the Lord's great love, you will be OK.

    Lord, carry me today. Show me Your care for me. If I begin to feel overwhelmed, overwhelm me with Your peace and presence. Reassure me that no matter what, I will be OK. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What are you facing that makes you feel fearful — as if it won't be OK?

    How can the Lord's great love for you protect you from becoming consumed by your situation?

    Power Verses:
    Romans 8:38-39, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Jennifer Rothschild. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Lamentations

  • Curious About Christ

    Posted on March 24, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    He [Nicodemus] came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. John 3:2

    Some start their quest for Christ discreetly. Quietly they read a book about God or seek Him in the confines of a church or cathedral. It is a low key search for the Lord. Those who are just curious about Christ are not ready to follow Him in faith, but they are open to learning more about Jesus. For fear of being made fun of by their unbelieving friends, they may hide their faith experiment. Nonetheless, like a moth moves toward light, they draw closer to God’s warm love.

    Nicodemus was curious about Christ. He came to see Jesus by night for fear of being found out by his friends. Like many today, he acknowledged that Jesus was a gifted teacher from God, but did not accept Him as God. Yes, our Lord taught as no one else: with authority, clarity and humility. He taught beautifully and boldly. However, His teaching was not an end, but a means to reveal a person’s need to believe in Him, as their Lord and Savior. Christ taught to trust in Him.

    “The people were amazed at his teaching, because he [Jesus] taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law” (Mark 1:22).

    Are you just curious about Christ, or do you really know Him in a trusting relationship? Do you secretly seek Him or do you publicly profess Him? Curiosity about Christ is not enough, unless it leads to conversion to Christ. Curiosity can create a circumstance that educates and allows the Holy Spirit to draw a heart to Himself. So, seek to learn more of the Lord, so you can know the Lord. It’s not a sterile intellectual exercise that tingles your thoughts, but a spiritual transaction that transforms your heart. Engage in curiosity to move you closer, not further from God.

    Furthermore, curiosity can lead to conversion. Nicodemus eventually went public with his faith. He defended Christ to his peers and he accompanied Joseph to request and prepare the body of Jesus for burial. Thus, be patient with those curious in their faith. Be a catalyst for them to grow in their spiritual understanding by pointing them back to the study of Scripture. Pray with them, pray for them and support them in their search for God. Curiosity about Christ can lead to Christ.

    “Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian” (Acts 26:28)?

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, use my curiosity about Christ to grow my faith in Christ.

    Related Readings: Psalm 69:32; Isaiah 55:6, 58:2; John 7:45-52, 19:38-42; Acts 15:17

    Post/Tweet today: Curiosity about Christ is meant to move us closer to Christ, not further from Christ. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • It's Just Girlfriends Talking

    Posted on March 24, 2014 by Wendy Pope

    Wendy Pope

    "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

    My mouth has always gotten me in trouble. You might say I am "quick to speak, slow to think." Apparently, the filter between my brain and my mouth doesn't always work well.

    I don't mean to hurt anyone. I mean, it's not really "gossip." That's wrong, I know. But this is only harmless sharing ... really. I'm concerned and share those concerns. It's just girlfriends talking. Right?

    The danger of "just girlfriends talking" hit hard after recalling a recent conversation with a friend after church. After speaking my mind, I realized the woman we were chatting about was very close to where the conversation took place. Panic and a sick feeling stirred in my stomach. Questions raced through my mind:

    Did she hear us?

    How should I act when I see her?

    What kind of excuse can I make up for why we were talking about her?

    Words from Ephesians 4:29 rushed into my mind as conviction filled my heart: "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

    Nothing in that conversation had been helpful in building up the topic of our conversation. Not one word spoken brought benefit to anyone who listened. Our conversation was truly gossip — casual, unconstrained talk.

    That potentially-damaging conversation made me realize once again the power of my words. I can use them to hurt or to help.

    I'm committed to making a change with my words. Oh how different my conversations are when I use the acronym "T.H.I.N.K." before saying anything. This helps me determine if I should speak or keep silent. Are my words:

    T: True?
    H: Helpful?
    I: Inspiring?
    N: Necessary?
    K: Kind?

    I love to talk. But sometimes my careless chatter has hurt others, and my loose lips have left me full of regret. However, God's Word and the T.H.I.N.K. acronym help me to use my words wisely. They help me know when to press pause so I can walk away from a conversation without any regrets.

    Will you join me in becoming more than just a girlfriend talking? Will you challenge yourself to T.H.I.N.K. before you speak and to use your words to benefit as well as to build up others?

    Dear Lord, You gave us one mouth and two ears for a reason. Help me think before I speak. I want to be a wise woman and use my words to help, heal, honor, benefit and build up those who listen. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Put to memory T.H.I.N.K. How can this acronym benefit your relationships?

    Is there a recent conversation you regret? Consider if you need to apologize for any hurtful words.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 141:3, "Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips." (NIV)

    James 1:26, "Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Ephesians

  • Why Me?

    Posted on March 23, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Luke 1:43

    Sometimes you wonder why God has blessed you so much. You pinch yourself because of the overwhelming blessing of God. It may be gratitude for life itself or for a new baby. It may be the blessing of God a good friend is experiencing. Your joy may be because your children married people who place God at the top of their priority list, or because your career has taken off to a level of success you never imagined, and your financial abundance exceeds your expectations many times over. You often question why you are the recipient of God’s magnificent grace. The magnitude of His blessing seems to be greater than normal because you are the object of Almighty God’s sovereign selection of unmerited favor.

    It is good that you have not gotten over your gratitude to God. Your faith would be suspect if you routinely expected God to go over the top on your behalf. This type of presumption regarding God’s favor is influenced by pride because it not only expects but demands the blessing of God. However, joyful obedience is God’s expectation of you; He expects your surrender and submission. Doing His will is the least you can do, for He has chosen you for this opportunity to exalt Him. Never get over the fact that faith in God and obedience to His commands position you to be blessed at His discretion (1 Chronicles 29:12).

    Furthermore, embrace those who have been graced with God’s blessing. Wish only His very best for them. Do not be jealous because you did not receive what they received. The Bible says that the Lord made us all unique. “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly” (Romans 12:6a NASB). Be grateful that you can hang out with those on whom God’s hand rests. He will choose to bless others differently than you, but blessing differentiations are meant to promote celebration, not division. This is how God expresses His sovereign control. He even blesses those outside the faith to promote His kingdom. He uses His indiscriminate blessings to draw good, but unredeemed people to Himself.

    Blessing is the Lord’s lightning rod for the remembrance of a righteous God. The next time a friend is blessed by God, turn your inner snarl into an authentic smile. Be extremely grateful that He allows you to live or work with someone who is blessed to have the hand of God on his or her life. “Rejoice with those who rejoice…” (Romans 12:15a). These special, chosen servants are rare indeed. They are energizing to be around because they encourage you to be better. You don’t feel patronized, but privileged to be in their presence.

    Trustworthy followers of Jesus are rare, so seek to learn from them and model their wise and humble ways. Watch how God works in their lives. Emulate their pure hearts for the Lord. God has you where you are for a season. Seize this time to learn from those who know how to lean on the Lord. Be thrilled that He has trusted you with this relational stewardship. God’s blessing is bountiful, so be aggressively appreciative that you and others are so blessed. Gratefully accept His blessing on your life and the lives of others. When you ask, “Why me?” remember it is because He wants you to be blessed on His behalf. Therefore ask, “Why not me?”

    Taken from the March 23rd reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 1”

    Post/Tweet today: Our blessings are the Lord’s lightning rod for remembrance of our generous God. #whyme?

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Practical Provision

    Posted on March 22, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them” (Matthew 12:1).

    The Lord’s provision does not lack in practicality. What need do you have? Are you stressed out by striving or have you looked around for a simple solution? It may take some creativity and risk, but if Christ has what you need in close proximity, do not be shy. Forgo ego and appropriate faith. Access His provision and let Him manage your image.

    Is your struggle over lack of work? Are you willing to work with your hands outside of your interests to provide for your family? Labor is labor; it can be toilsome and tiring at times. So even if your job is temporarily tedious, look at it as a gift from God. Be proud of your work, even when it is more transactional than relational. Our perspective becomes more grateful and realistic when work becomes a necessity, not an option.

    Productive work keeps us focused on provision for those who depend on us, keeping us away from unproductive activities. Paul states it well, “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat.’ We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies’” (2 Thessalonians 3:10–11). Provision follows preparation; so prepare your heart in humility, your head in integrity, and your hands in diligence. God helps those who prepare, work hard, and trust Him.

    It is bad theology to blame God, the church, and others for our needy situation. It is good theology to be resourceful and seek solutions that require humility and focus. Whom have you invested in over the years who would be honored to give back to you? When you are transparent about your needs, you give other souls an opportunity to be blessed by blessing you. Honesty is a pure platform to invite God’s provision through friends.

    Lastly, do not allow religious restraints to rob you of receiving mercy and being served on the Christian Sabbath. Is there a better time for the body of Christ to care for one another than on our day of corporate worship and biblical teaching?  Indeed, engage with believers when you are in need, each part of the body needs the other. If you remain silent you deny others a blessing; when you speak up God practically provides.

    “But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1 Corinthians 12:24-26).

    Prayer: Have I recognized and received God’s provision? Who needs my provision?

    Related Readings: Joshua 9:14; Proverbs 6:8; Romans 5:17; 1 Timothy 6:17

    Taken from the March 22nd reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 2”

    Post/Tweet today: Provision follows preparation; so we prepare our heart with humility and our head with integrity. #practicalprovision

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Natural Disaster

    Posted on March 21, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    "The priests are in mourning, those who minister before the Lord. The fields are ruined, the ground is dried up; the grain is destroyed, the new wine is dried up, the oil fails.” Joel 1:9 b – 10

    A natural disaster may or may not be judgment from God. One thing is for sure, it is evidence of God. It is a wake up call. The extreme devastation is from forces uncontrived by mankind. The wind, the water, and the floods are the result of heaven's fury. This arrest in activity is an opportunity to look up. It is a time to take the attention off ourselves and ask God what He is up to. He is in control. He does have a plan and He does have His way of doing things. He has a purpose in this wake up call we define as a natural disaster.

    Certainly it is a time to seek God, and secondly, it is an opportunity to serve people. Basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter are wanting. God’s people have the prime time chance to shine for Jesus. Natural disasters are gargantuan ministry opportunities. Life is passing by for some. They are naked, bleeding, and hungry. Their friends and family have perished before their very eyes. There is a hurt, hunger, and displacement that most cannot understand. The window is open to act. In the name of Jesus, we can and will rebuild.

    We can rebuild homes, schools, churches, businesses, and most importantly, lives. Cities are a shell of their former glory. Sin has been squeezed out of them like the ringing of a dirty dishrag. Saints know their hope is eternal, but they still struggle with their loss. A natural disaster is evidence of the destructive power of our Creator. He is not a passive spectator, rather an engaged and patient heavenly Father. He cannot and will not be ignored. This is the time to bow before Him in confession, repentance and worship.

    “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45b).

    We can certainly pray for those caught in catastrophic calamity. Pray for God’s comfort and provision. Pray for God’s healing and mercy. Pray for God’s presence to permeate callous hearts, and pray for His love to draw others to Himself. Pray for people to ask God for forgiveness. Pray that we all would walk in humility with God, instead of indifference toward God. Pray that this time of brokenness will bring us all closer to God.

    Indeed, we can pray and we can pay. We can give to our churches to help rebuild churches. We can give to ministries that provide food, clothing and shelter. We can house those who have relocated to our cities in need of friends and a roof over their heads. We can facilitate their dignity by helping with job opportunities, networking and training.

    Life cannot go on as usual. We need to ask ourselves what our role can be. Everyone doing a little accomplishes a whole lot. A natural disaster can lead to a supernatural revival. We can experience a revival of awareness and worship of God. We can witness Jesus in action through love and service to our fellow man. We can use this pause in life to reevaluate our own priorities and recalibrate them with more eternal significance.

    A natural disaster should lead us to a supernatural sense of God’s wonder. The Lord is large and in charge. Let’s not stay mad or sad. Let’s be glad we serve a risen Savior who’s in the world today. He is here to walk with us through the flood, famine and fire. God is with us. He is here. He cares and He is drawing mankind to Himself!

    “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:1b-3a).

    Prayer: During a natural disaster, how can I be a conduit for Christ’s supernatural resources?

    Related Readings: Psalm 82:5; Isaiah 24:19; Acts 16:26; Revelation 6:13

    Post/Tweet today: A natural disaster should lead us to a supernatural sense of God’s wonder. The Lord is large and in charge. #naturaldisaster

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • I Really Should Have More Fun

    Posted on March 21, 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." John 15:11-12 (NIV)

    Why is it so hard for me to stop working and just have fun?

    Other people have no trouble doing this. They look for any reason to drop the dust rags, ditch the dirty laundry, turn off the computer, and head to the park! Or the movies. Or a hike. Laughing all the way.

    I wish I were more like that.

    Couldn't the personality tests I've taken throughout the years just once show a different result? But alas, they always confirm what my family knows too well: I'm the responsible, serious one. The one who picks up cups and plates at someone else's party. And watches the clock at events to ensure they're on schedule. I'm the one who wants to make sure we get all the work done first — before any fun begins.

    Only the work is never done. When I finish one task, another sits waiting for me. There's always something more to do. As a result, I experience false guilt. All the time.

    Every strength has a good and bad side. The good side of being responsible is, well, I'm responsible. If I say I'm going to do something, you can be fairly sure it will get done.

    The bad side of being responsible is feeling like the weight of the world rests on me. It makes a girl crazy worrying about assignments that are hers — and even those that aren't. It's hard to relax. My heart can get resentful when others aren't carrying the weight of the world with me. How do they have so much time to not work?!

    The reality? Not every assignment is mine to do. To assume responsibility for more than is mine speaks of a lack of trust ... in God to do His job ... or in others to do theirs.

    I'm pretty sure this all-work-no-play routine wasn't the life Jesus intended me to live as one of His disciples. Carrying the weight of burdens that aren't mine to carry. Choosing to interact with a computer screen rather than being with people.

    The Bible values hard work, but Jesus' message is clear: Love God. Love people.

    In John 15:11-12, Jesus said, "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."

    Jesus, with more to do in His three years of active ministry than I'll have in a lifetime, focused on His main assignment — to love people. Sometimes that meant teaching them. Or serving them. Yet other times it meant just hanging out. Enjoying dinner with friends. Celebrating at a wedding party. Welcoming children. These fun times weren't empty of significance. Rather they were filled with value as Jesus showed love in a different way.

    We love God and others when we work. And when we have fun.

    This is a truth I need to apply to my life more often. My idea of loving others is often shown by serving them. But some people feel loved when I simply spend time with them. And for some, that time needs to be a little less task-oriented and a lot more laughter-filled.

    That's my challenge. To be intentional about having fun. To initiate getting together with others. To say yes when invited. To stretch outside my comfort zone. And to relax about the details.

    Work will always be there — but the people might not be.

    God has a pretty good handle on managing the world. I can leave that job to Him while I grab a loved one and make a lasting memory instead of checking something off my to-do list.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for creating us to laugh. Thank You for putting in us the desire to enjoy life. Help me learn to relax and show love to others without worrying about the details. Forgive me for putting work before someone who needed my time and attention. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Is it hard for you to have fun? What holds you back?

    Think of one fun activity you can do with someone this week. Make a call, send a text or email, and extend the invitation.

    Power Verses:
    John 2:1-2, "On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. (NIV)

    Colossians 1:17, "He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

     


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with John

  • Created for Worship

    Posted on March 20, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market! John 2:16

    Christ was furious that His place of worship had been robbed of its original intent. The purpose of the Temple was prayer, worship and confession, but it had become commercialized for the sake of convenience and cash. Merchants muddled the grounds with their wares and currency exchanges, so the faithful could easily purchase their sacrifices to God. However, the holiness of the temple turned into the mayhem of a chaotic marketplace. Thus, Christ cleansed His temple.

    Have some of our churches gone to far by commercializing Christ in competition with worshipping Christ? Have we lost our central focus of prayer, worship, confession and Bible teaching for the sake of convenience and cash? Perhaps we invite Christ to cleanse our churches of any methods or programs that compete with His commission to make disciples. We make sure our mission is faith in Jesus. We worship God without the distraction of selling God’s resources.

    “For zeal for your house consumes me,and the insults of those who insult you fall on me” (Psalm 69:9).

    Furthermore, we have to ask ourselves, "Am I intentionally leveraging my time with the Lord’s people for my own personal gain?" "Am I using Sundays to serve, only so it benefits my work the other six days of the week?" A subtle solicitation of our services during the holy hour of worship can be as harmful as blatant selling. Men and women of integrity focus on who they need to be in God’s sight, rather than promoting what they do during the work week to fellow parishioners.

    Lastly, the Holy Spirit desires to regularly cleanse the temple of our heart. He knows motives become mixed; money seeks too much attention and pride is ever persistent to influence. So, we ask the Spirit to flush out selfish desires and any attachments that distract our personal worship of our heavenly Father. The temple of our heart needs noisy voices to be escorted out and peaceful prayers to be invited in to stay. Christ cleanses our hearts in readiness to worship Him.

    “And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers'” (Mark 11:17).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, cleanse the temple of my heart, so I can worship You wholeheartedly with Your people.

    Related Readings: Exodus 20:40; Isaiah 56:7; Jeremiah 7:11; Luke 2:49, 18:10; Acts 3:1, 22:17

    Post/Tweet today: The temple of our heart needs noisy voices to be escorted out and peaceful prayers to be invited in. #createdforworship

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


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

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