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  • Kirk Cameron Mercy Rule

Daily Devotion

  • When in Doubt

    Posted on March 8, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Matthew 11:2–3).

    Doubt seeks to destroy our faith. It is in our discouragement—even despair—that we begin to question God. “What did I do wrong?” “Lord, did you call me to this place of confusion?” “Where is my joy and hope?” “Are you even real or just a figment of my imagination?” Left to its natural conclusion, doubt crushes our faith in Christ.

    Fortunately, faith does not have to take a furlough when we are frustrated and fatigued. It is in your confinement that Christ wants to remind you of His great power. So cry out to Him in your confused circumstances, and He will earnestly listen in love. “In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came to His ears” (2 Samuel 22:7). He does not leave His loved ones alone and in doubt.

    It is okay to be in doubt, but it is not okay to remain in doubt. What doubt challenges your faith in God? Is it His provision, His promises, His presence, His character, or His care? When these questions assault your confidence in Christ, take a step back and review His track record. The reality of your salvation sets you on the productive path of peace and forgiveness. Answered prayer over the years is proof enough of His love and concern.

    Furthermore, use this temporary time of distrust to go deeper with Jesus. The pressure you feel on all sides is your Savior’s way of soliciting your attention. When in doubt, seek out the Lord, learn to love Him completely, and discern more fully His profound promises. Use doubt to dig deeper into the truth of Scripture; marinate your mind. “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8).

    When in doubt, stay steadfast in seeking out your Savior. Wait on Him, especially when you wonder what is next. Where there is true faith there may be a mixture of unbelief; so remain faithful, even when questions manipulate your faith. Perseverance will one day free you as a stronger and more-committed follower of Christ. See Jesus for who He is. Doubt dissolves in His reassuring presence. Doubt starves to death when it is not fed.

    “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—the Lord, who remains faithful forever” (Psalm 146:5–6).

    Prayer: What doubts do I need to acknowledge and release to God? Is Christ trustworthy?

    Related Readings: 2 Chronicles 33:12; Job 36:16–19; John 20:27; Jude 1:22

    Taken from the March 8th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 2”

    Post/Tweet today: Faith does not have to take a furlough when we are frustrated and fatigued. #Whenindoubt

    © 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

  • Go and Tell

    Posted on March 7, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. John 1:41-42

    Those who experience the abiding joy of Jesus cannot sit still with their new discovery. Lost souls who have seen the love of the Lord forgive their sin, are compelled to love their friends to the Lord. People who once panicked in fear, but now have peace with their heavenly Father, must share with others their hope in Christ. The fullness of the Spirit in a saved soul bids believers to bring people to Jesus. We who know Jesus are called by God to introduce others to Jesus.

    You may say, “I am not a great debater,” or “I have limited experience following Christ,” or God forbid, “I am not a professional Christian.” See these statements as assets not liabilities. A knowledge of apologetics is helpful, but not necessary to explain the depth of God’s love in John 3:16. Yes, you have the opportunity to grow your faith with life’s ups and downs. But, from the start of salvation you can tell your story, “Once I was spirally blind, but now I see.” Lastly, those in vocational ministry are paid to serve, but you can serve as a grateful and generous volunteer.

    “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did” (John 4:39).

    Once we introduce people to our best friend Jesus, He will invite them unto Himself. The Holy Spirit will reveal the needy heart of the seeker and the holy heart of their Savior Christ Jesus. He initiates irresistible intimacy their soul longs to enjoy. We make the introductions, but the Spirit draws hungry hearts to know Him in a loving relationship for a lifetime. We plant a seed of Scripture, the Spirit waters the Word with conviction, and God harvests the heart for Himself.

    Therefore, be creative with your invitations to Jesus. Invite your family to Easter Sunday and lunch after the church service. Invite a co-worker to a men or women’s weekend retreat with you. Scholarship their registration fee so there are fewer obstacles to their attendance. Host a Bible study on the life of Jesus, with a few friends who are interested in learning Christ’s claims.  Invite a neighbor to a prayer breakfast to hear the story of how a respected leader came to the Lord. Most of all, prayerfully ask individuals who trust you, if they would like to trust Jesus.

    “They said to the woman, ‘We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world’” (John 4:42).

    Related Readings: Matthew 11:9; Mark 5:19; Luke 2:11; 2 Corinthians 6:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:2

    Prayer: Heavenly Father give me the courage, love and grace to speak boldly salvation through faith in Jesus.

    Post/Tweet today: We who know Jesus are called by God to introduce others to Jesus. #goandtell

    © 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

  • Three Ways to be the Best Friend Ever

    Posted on March 7, 2014 by Micca Campbell

    Micca Campbell

    "Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself." 1 Samuel 18:1b (NIV)

    Growing up, my best friend knew everything about me. She knew which boy I liked, my favorite song and all my dreams. She knew my secrets too, like who kissed me at the skating rink. Friendships like that are rare, and these days I find myself longing for a friend like that.

    Making good friends in our constantly-moving society is getting harder. It's not that we don't want close relationships, but people come and go so fast it's difficult to establish long-lasting friendships.

    But it's more than that. Some of us have been hurt and betrayed so often we keep others at arm's length. Perhaps you had a close friend once who proved to have looser lips than you thought. Behind your back she spilled your secrets to others. You felt betrayed and rightly so. Now, you suffer from hurt, unforgiveness and distrust.

    While it's tempting to wish God would bring me a good friend, more often than not, He asks me to be a good friend to someone else first. That's when I need to go to Scripture for a reminder of what true friendship looks like.

    God knows the agony of broken relationships and our need for godly role models. That's why we're allowed to look into the lives of two biblical characters who succeeded at a long, intimate friendship. Their names are David and Jonathan.

    We find their story in 1 Samuel 18 and 19. Jonathan, son of King Saul, was David's closest friend. The king despised David because he was growing in popularity and because God had anointed David to be king — instead of Saul's own son. These facts enraged King Saul, and he commanded his aids and Jonathan to assassinate David. But because of Jonathan's love for his friend, he refused to betray David.

    Love isn't the only fruit of true friendship. It consists of sacrifice too.

    Jonathan is a picture of sacrifice. He removed his robe and gave it to David, along with his armor, sword, bow and belt. Jonathan was the potential heir to his father's throne, but we see him sacrificing his future as he gives David his place as king. We learn from Jonathan's action that true friendship means a willingness to sacrifice for each other. It's the choice to put another's needs, desires and wishes above our own.

    Loyalty is also a mark of true friendship.

    We're told that Jonathan went to his father and spoke well of David. He reminded the king that David had done nothing wrong. In fact, David had been loyal to Saul.

    Jonathan impresses me. It's tough to do the right thing and stand up to authority. We learn by his actions that a true friend is a loyal defense before others, and one who won't talk badly about you when you're not around. True friends stick up for each other and are ready to defend when others attack.

    Finally, true friends trust each enough to be themselves.

    When Jonathan told David that his father was out to kill him, the two were forced to say goodbye. The text in 1 Samuel 20:41 tells us that they "wept together." I love that.

    When your heart is broken, you can fall apart and a good friend understands. She won't try to correct you in your misery or tell you to straighten up. True friends let each other hurt. They weep together. They listen to fears. They don't bail; they stay. They allow you to be yourself — no matter what "self" looks like.

    God challenges me to be a better friend with the story of Jonathan and David. I check my heart to see if I'm loyal, loving, selfless and trustworthy, then I ask God to help me be that kind of friend and bless me with the same.

    A good friendship takes time. If things get rocky, don't walk out. Work it out. Give your relationship time to grow because a true friend is a rare and precious gift.

    Dear Lord, help me be a friend like Jonathan. And bless me with the same. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What kind of friend am I?

    What can I do this week to show loyalty, love, sacrifice and trust to a friend?

    Power Verse:
    Proverbs 17:17, "A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need." (NLT)

    © 2014 by Micca Campbell. 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 1 Samuel

  • Disciples Are Made

    Posted on March 6, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. John 1:39

    Disciples are made, not born. God makes them. God makes them for His glory. He makes them so they in turn will make disciples. The Lord makes disciples who serve the needy, feed the poor, and reach out to the rich. Disciples are trained by the Holy Spirit to follow the Spirit’s leading. They learn to make much of their master Jesus and make less of themselves. Disciples schooled by the Spirit bear the fruit of the Spirit. They are made to invite others to meet their Savior Jesus.

    Disciples begin as followers of Jesus at their new birth, but they quickly learn that to grow in Christ requires time with Christ. Unhurriedly they seek to be still at the feet of Jesus in prayer. They listen and learn from their Lord. Moreover, disciples of Jesus are not infatuated by gifted men and women of the faith. They respect and learn from these seasoned leaders, but only for the purpose of growing in their devotion to Jesus Christ. Disciples are made to follow God, not man. Like John the Baptist, humble and wise Christian leaders point people away from themselves to Jesus.

    “He [Jesus] must increase, but I [John] must decrease” (John 3:30, NKJV).

    Are you engaged in discipleship training? Are you intentional in your intimacy with Jesus? Start today to be a stronger disciple tomorrow. Aging is meant to mature a heart to become more like Christ. Similar to a good wine aging well, so a disciple’s faith grows robust in intentional intimacy with the Lord. Just as these two early disciples accepted Jesus’ invitation to come and see Him, Jesus invites us to come and see. Spend a day seeing your Savior’s heart and hearing His voice.

    Furthermore, invest time in those around you to grow in their faith. God makes disciples, but you can be a facilitator in their faith development. Perhaps you start a monthly book club with three or four like-minded friends. Read Christian classics like, A.W. Tozer’s The Pursuit of God. Sign up for iDisciple: https://www.idisciple.org. Most of all, do life with a few equally committed individuals who love God and love people. Search the Scriptures together for God’s answers to life’s questions. Disciples are made by their Maker to grow with each other and remain faithful.

    “Strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith” (Acts 14:22).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, make me into a dedicated and loving disciple of Jesus so I can disciple others for You.

    Related Readings: Mathew 28:19; John 13:5, 35; Acts 6:7, 19:9, 20:1

    Post/Tweet today: God makes disciples, but we can be a facilitator in their faith development. #disciplesaremade

    © 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

  • Don't Say You'll Pray for Me

    Posted on March 6, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Proverbs 25:11 (NIV 1984)

    I've been convicted about empty statements. These are words I say to make a conversation a little more comfortable in the moment. But do I really mean what I say?

    Empty statements can also be little promises that give a needed lift to someone. Yet without a plan to actually keep that promise, do I really intend to keep it?

    It's not that these statements are wrong, bad or ill-intentioned. But they are empty at best and potentially hurtful at worst. People in my life deserve better than that.

    I want to be a woman who exemplifies God's Word by keeping my word.

    The Bible is clear that our words matter; our words carry weight. Proverbs 25:11 says, "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Our words can be gifts.

    But if we speak words with no follow-through, they can be hurtful. It's like holding out a gift but refusing to give it.

    Here are three empty statements I want to stop saying if I don't have a plan for follow-through:

    1. I'm praying for you.

    Obviously, I do want to pray for people. And sometimes when I say this, I have great follow-through. But other times I forget.

    A great intention doesn't make for a great prayer.

    So, I need to pray for that person right then and there, or I need to keep a journal in my purse to write down prayer requests.

    2. Let's get together sometime.

    Either I need to pull out my calendar and schedule time with someone or be honest about my current time constraints. The people-pleaser in me struggles with this.

    When people say this to me without any follow-through, it hurts. While I can't change what others say to me, I can make a heart policy to not do this to others.

    3. I'm good, how are you?

    Understandably, sometimes this is the right, polite statement to say when I'm quickly greeting someone. But I will also say this to others with whom I really should be more open and honest.

    I'm reluctant sometimes to let even close friends know needs bubbling below my "I'm good" statements.

    If I will be braver to open up, it will give my friends permission to do the same.

    So, there they are. My three empty statements and my convictions to do a better job of saying what I mean and meaning what I say.

    Let's commit to being women who keep our word. Right now. Today. Not only will it strengthen our friendships but it will make our relationship with the Lord more authentic as we live out His Word.

    Dear Lord, thank You for convicting me about using empty statements. My words can be powerful tools and I want to use them for Your purposes. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Which one of the three empty statements resonates with you the most? (Keep a prayer journal in your purse, schedule a specific time to get together with someone or open up with how you're honestly feeling.)

    This week, make it a point to put action into place when using that statement.

    Power Verses:
    1 John 3:18a, "My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love." (MSG)

    James 1:23-25, "Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it — not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it — they will be blessed in what they do." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. 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 Proverbs

  • No More Guilt

    Posted on March 5, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

    Before beholding and believing in Jesus as the Lamb of God, we were all guilty before the Lord. Guilt is the result of being born a human being. None of us escapes sin’s influence and control, until we come to know Christ. Regardless of our degree of unrighteousness, we still need a sinless Savior to lighten our darkened hearts. Our own efforts at eradicating sin are a picture of pouring a bottle of water into an active volcano; pointless. Only Jesus removes the guilt of our sin.

    Has guilt got the best of you? Have you confessed your sin, but still feel crummy? Yes, guilt can come and go, based on our trust in God to remove its residue. Like the discarded, scaly skin of a snake, guilt is the empty shell we left behind when we believed in Jesus. Just like God gave Abraham a lamb to sacrifice for his sins, the Lord has provided a sacrifice for our sins in His son Jesus. Therefore, we place our faith in our sin bearer Jesus Christ, for He frees us from sin’s guilt.

    “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).

    Moreover, we will make mistakes after we make Christ our master and Lord. Mistakes in the way we address someone with our words--harsh or insensitive. Mistakes in sloppy money management causing marital conflict. Mistakes in overindulgence of food or drink creating health issues. But, the grace of God is what keeps us from flagellating our conscience with guilt. Christ gives second, third, and fourth chances. Thus, we give in to grace and give up on guilt.

    Furthermore, by God’s grace we let go of holding guilt over the head of someone who has hurt us. Since Jesus has forgiven them, we can forgive them. “I can never forgive them,” is not an option for a Spirit filled follower of Christ. Because God is the judge of the guilty, we do not play God by holding offenders hostage with guilt’s manipulation. We are administrators of God’s grace, not man’s guilt. In Christ we are not condemned, so we are free to forgive another’s guilt.

    “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I am grateful to You for removing the guilt of my sin, by Jesus, the precious Lamb of God.

    Related Readings: Genesis 22:8; Hebrews 10:22; James 2:10; 1 Peter 1:19; Revelation 5:6, 13:8

    Post/Tweet today: Give in to grace and give up on guilt. #nomoreguilt

    © 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

  • Overcoming the Doubts of Motherhood

    Posted on March 5, 2014 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie Miles

    "Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God." 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 (NIV)

    It was another one of those days when I wondered why God ever thought I was capable of being a mother.

    I haven't always thought that way. When my children were younger, parenting seemed easier. I nursed their little wounds, played their favorite games, helped with homework and tucked them into bed each night with prayers and goodnight kisses.

    But years passed and my sweet little ones started maturing, with their own opinions, hormones, friends, social lives and tempers. My heart broke with each disagreement. Frustration rose with every disrespectful word. My fears elevated, worry became my middle name and at times it seemed every ounce of patience had dripped out of my body.

    So on that particular day, when it seemed I could do nothing right, insecurities and doubts flooded my mind.

    With a heavy sigh, I slipped away to my room, sunk onto my bed, rested my head in my hands and prayed. I asked God for guidance, understanding and patience (lots of it). I prayed for the strength to continue standing strong in my parenting beliefs, even if they made me unpopular with my children and their friends. I prayed for peace and joy to fill my heart, even when our house didn't seem peaceful or joyful.

    But then a confession slipped from my lips: "Lord, I obviously don't know how to be a parent now. I feel painfully inadequate and incapable of doing it right."

    Through a quiet whisper to my spirit, the word "confidence" popped into my thoughts. God gently reminded me that depending on my own strength would eventually shake my confidence because deep down, I know my weaknesses.

    Despite how hard I tried to be the mom God called me to be, I always fell short in my own eyes. Plus, I allowed difficult situations or comparison to other parents to shake my confidence. I needed to start depending on His strength to find my confidence instead.

    Later that day, I searched for scriptures relating to "confidence" and came across today's key verses, which soothed this mama's heart. The apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians reassures us that although life can cause us to doubt our capabilities, we can always find strength and confidence by trusting in the Lord.

    When we rely on God in everything we do, including raising our children, we can be confident He will equip us for this calling of motherhood.

    On those days when we doubt our strength, we can ask God for His strength to persevere.

    On those days when we feel like the least-liked person in our homes, we can ask for confidence to stand strong in our beliefs.

    On those days when we question whether or not we're cut out to be a parent, we can find assurance knowing God will surely stay beside us during the journey.

    Most importantly, on those days when we find ourselves hiding in our bedrooms, we can boldly approach the throne of God, knowing with full confidence He hears our prayers and will give us wisdom to carry out this task of parenting.

    That was not the last day I felt inadequate and insecure about my parenting skills. But now when those feelings creep in, I remember to pause and seek holy confidence.

    The question we should ask ourselves when doubt creeps in isn't whether we're perfect parents. Instead, we can ask whether our children will look back and be thankful we loved them enough to pray and persevere through the hardest of days.

    And that alone will be a rich reward.

    Jesus, please strengthen me to persevere through the trying days of parenting children. Let me not waiver, but stand firm in what I know to be right, despite peer pressure from children, friends, other parents or society. Help me remember to be confident by believing You have equipped me to be the parent my children need. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have I allowed the challenges of parenting to cause me to doubt my abilities?

    Consider the most difficult struggles weighing on your heart today with respect to raising your children. Pause and talk to God about your feelings. Seek support and confidence in Him.

    Power Verses:
    Jeremiah 17:7, "But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him." (NIV)

    1 John 5:14, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Tracie Miles. 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 2 Corinthians

  • Law and Grace

    Posted on March 4, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17

    The law was given through the man, Moses. Grace and truth came through God’s son, Jesus. Moses saw the glory of God in a burning bush. Jesus displayed the glory of God in Himself. Moses took the life of a man. Jesus gave life back to a man. Moses spoke on behalf of God. Jesus spoke as God. Moses led God’s children out of human bondage. Jesus led those who believed in Him out of spiritual bondage. The law condemns the guilty, but grace forgives the guilty.

    Jesus came to fulfill the law, not destroy the law. How did He fulfill the law? In several ways. First, Christ was the fulfillment of the Messiah, as the prophets predicted. Secondly, His life fulfilled the moral law of the ten commandments. And thirdly, His death completed the ceremonial law as the final sacrifice of sin. Moreover, the Old Testament is foundational to the New Testament. The new covenant of grace fulfilled the old covenant of the law. Jesus fulfilled His law by His grace.

    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17).

    Since Christ has fulfilled the law, what is the role of the law for today? The law is meant to point us to faith in the Lord. We cannot keep God’s commands with perfection, so we need our perfect Savior Jesus. It is a declaration of dependence on Christ, since we have not kept from breaking at least one of the ten commandments: not lying, stealing, or coveting. It is a teacher than instructs in the way, the truth, and the life of Jesus. The law of God leads us to rely on the grace of God!

    Are you tired of trying to be good enough? Is your joy gone because your standard for serving God is higher than His? If so, seek to rest in the grace of God, not striving under the law of God. Submission to Christ gives you freedom in Christ. You are no longer a slave to statutes, but a slave to Christ. Grace frees you from needing to be good enough for God’s acceptance. In Christ, you have all you need to be free from the law’s guilt. Enjoy your freedom through grace!

    “Christ is the culmination of the lawso that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your law that leads me to depend on Christ’s grace.

    Related Readings: Jeremiah 31:31; Romans 8:4; Galatians 2:16, 3:19, 24; Hebrews 8:1-13

    Post/Tweet today: The law of God leads us to rely on the grace of God. #lawandgrace

    © 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

  • Time to Get Up

    Posted on March 4, 2014 by Kyle Idleman

    Kyle Idleman

    "So he got up and went to his father ..." Luke 15:20a (NIV)

    After high school graduation, I joined my senior class for a trip to Dallas, Texas. While there, for the first time ever I saw someone bungee jump. At several hundred feet off the ground, this was one of the tallest jumps in the country.

    We watched as a guy got ready to make the leap with nothing but a chord strapped to his ankles. He dove headfirst, and it was clear my fellow students were impressed.

    Trying to sound cool enough to bungee jump but too cool to actually spend the money, in that moment, here's what came out of my mouth: "I'd do that, but I'm not going to spend 40 bucks on it."

    Suddenly there was a little commotion behind me. One of the girls in my class pulled out a $20 bill and asked, "Would this help?"

    At that point, my back was against the wall. A girl had called my bluff — in front of everyone. I could've said, "Well, I'm not going to spend 20 bucks on it either," but that wouldn't have gone over well. So without stopping to consider the fact that I don't like heights, I took the $20 bill and got in line.

    As the crane lowered, I told myself: It's not that high. But once the platform was at ground level and I stepped onboard, my nerves began. The platform rose higher and higher until the crane finally lurched to a halt. I stepped to the edge and made a horrible choice: I looked down.

    Overcome with paralyzing fear, I turned to the crane operator and said, "I can't do it. I just can't do it!" But then a thought struck me, and I asked, "Would you just give me a shove?"

    Apparently I wasn't the first guy too scared to jump, but too embarrassed to ride the platform back down. The worker replied, "Well, we're not legally allowed to push someone off."

    Frustrated with his answer, I replied, "Do you have any other ideas for me?"

    "Well, sometimes it works if you just close your eyes and fall," he said, adding, "Anybody can do that."

    So I stepped to the edge, closed my eyes and I'm proud to say that ... well, I didn't so much as bungee jump, I bungee fell.

    It's one thing to say what you are going to do, but it's another thing to do it. Action is where a lot of us get stuck. We know what needs to be done, but when we step out onto the platform, we just can't move.

    This is an opportunity for an "AHA" moment. In Luke 15, the story of the Prodigal Son tells of one of these experiences. The younger son asked his father for his inheritance early, but then wasted it. After losing everything, he came to his sense and experienced an AHA moment. Moments like this always include:

    1. A Sudden Awakening
    2. Brutal Honesty
    3. Immediate Action

    In Luke 15:20 we read a simple phrase that changed the personal story of the Prodigal Son. Jesus simply said, "So he got up ..."

    He took immediate action. He recognized that it was time to get up. And unless our personal stories read, "So she got up," or "So he got up," then nothing really changes in our lives.

    I want you to see a connection between these two phrases in Luke 15:

    "He came to his senses ..." (verse 17)

    "So he got up ..." (verse 20)

    Without verse 20, verse 17 doesn't really matter.

    My question for you is: When are you going to get up?

    When are you going to join a Bible study group?

    When are you going to talk to one of your coworkers about your faith?

    When is verse 20 going to be a part of your story?

    It's time to get up.

    Dear Lord, please show me where I need to take action in my life and give me the courage and strength to move forward. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Remember, awakening happens to us, honesty happens in us, but nothing really changes unless action comes out of us.

    In what areas of life are you finding yourself stuck? Identify what's holding you back and make a plan to take action and overcome your obstacles.

    Power Verse:
    Luke 19:8, "But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, 'Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.'" (NIV)

    © 2014 by Kyle Idleman. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks David C. Cook for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

    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 Luke

  • Affirmation Before Instruction

    Posted on March 3, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction. Proverbs 16:21

    A heart that yearns to learn listens best to instruction preceded by affirmation. Genuine encouragement lets another know we care about comforting their heart as well as teaching their mind. Yes, children especially need to be continually corrected, but not without a hug, a kiss on the head, or a compassionate look into their eyes. Language laced in grace gets the best results. Patience is wise to wait and pray before it says what it’s pondering. Affirm, then instruct.

    Are you gifted with discernment? Do you have the ability to see and understand an individual or situation before the average person is able to comprehend? If so, be wise not to rush in with a remedy without preparing the person. Better to prayerfully wait another day, week or month, so your friend has time to discover for themselves what needs to be done. To offer advice without earning the right can create an apathetic reaction. Relational investments open ears to hear truth.

    “The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent,and their lips promote instruction”

    (Proverbs 16:23).

    On the job we probably have co-workers who need to know we care before they will care about what we know. It’s not enough for us to leverage our supervisory position without building relationships. Our respect and reassurance open the door for some insecure individuals to be instructed. When someone feels understood, they seek to understand. Compassionate managers make themselves known and seek to know their team. Our gracious words promote instruction.

    Almighty God affirms, but also instructs. His Holy Spirit comforts, but also convicts. So, be grateful for the discipline of the Lord. He corrects, because He cares. If we despise God’s discipline we distance ourselves from His love. The Lord’s loving discipline affirms us. He corrects His children, so He can instruct His children. God’s precepts are received by a heart prepared by the Spirit, so learn from Him.

    “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to Him” (Ezra 8:22).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me to affirm others, before I seek to instruct others.

    Related Readings: Psalm 25:8; Ecclesiastes 10:12; Luke 4:22; 2 Timothy 2:24

    Post/Tweet today: A heart that yearns to learn listens best to instruction preceded by affirmation. #affirmationbeforeinstruction

    © 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 Proverbs

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