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Daily Devotion

  • Divine Christ

    Posted on June 4, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. John 11:43-44

    As a warm up to His own resurrection, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. The One who called Himself the resurrection and the life, brought a dead man back to life. This seventh miracle  recorded by John is the most outrageous. Who brings a man back to life after being dead cold  in the grave for four days? Only God can do this--Christ, 100% divine in nature, transcended His natural law of death with His supernatural law of love that brings back life. Jesus is God.

    Jesus in His humanity wept bitter tears, knowing there would very soon be tears of joy. He hurts when we hurt and He rejoices when we rejoice. Hallelujah our Lord Christ cares; in the middle of our crisis His calm comfort is available and His hope is on the horizon. Our divine Christ sees with compassion a dead end job, and gives us life with fresh vision and opportunity. Natural man may seek to squelch, even kill our dreams, but our divine Christ supersedes cynical claims. What man tries to destroy by discrediting, Christ can bring back to life in a full display of His glory.

    “God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not” (Romans 4:17).

    Has something you hold dear died? A relationship that may have spiraled down into a suspicion filled scenario where neither of you trusts the other? The ability to enjoy a dear one’s company, because they have moved away or their physical functions are impaired? Whatever has died, trust Christ to bring back to life something exceedingly better. Our best and brightest imagination of what’s possible with God retreats penniless, compared to the incomprehensible riches of His grace.

    Above all, we look forward to the voice of Christ calling us forth from the dead. The final resurrection is anticipated by those dead in Christ, but is dreaded by those dead in their sin. The One who conquered death gives us the keys to escape death’s dungeon. What’s cloudy and overcast now, will be clear and sunny with Him. We may weep in the night of this life, but we will find the limitless joy of Jesus in the morning of our glorious resurrection body. In Christ, He sets aside our dingy grave clothes of sin, and robes us with His radiant robe of righteousness!

    “In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I praise You for the divine power of Your son Jesus Christ, who brings to life my life and love.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 26:19; John 8:58-59; Romans 6:4; Philippians 2:6; Revelation 22:12

    Post/Tweet today: Our imagination of what’s possible with God retreats penniless, compared to the incomprehensible riches of His grace.

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • Why God Makes Me Do the Hard Stuff

    Posted on June 4, 2014 by Chrystal Evans Hurst

    Chrystal

    "... for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come." 1 Timothy 4:8 (NASB)

    Recently, I went to the gym to get in some cardio. Cardio makes me sweat, and sweat means my fat is crying.

    Hallelujah!

    Then I decided to go for some strength training. I don't like strength training.

    I found myself wandering around, trying to remember which machine did what and how much weight was the right amount. I looked like a lost puppy.

    I just don't like weights. They are unfamiliar. They are hard.

    My visit to the gym was the first time in a long while that I've attempted resistance training on my own.

    At various times last year, I'd been at the gym, hitting the weights ... but not by myself.

    Last year, my husband and I made a commitment to invest in our health and worked with a personal trainer.

    It. Was. So. Hard. And it involved a lot of weights.

    We were with someone who knew what they were doing, giving us direction.

    Someone successful in getting both of us to try new machines, routines and levels of resistance.

    Someone who worked us hard ... very hard.

    I didn't like it.

    Well, I didn't like it until I started seeing a change in my body.

    There is something about being pushed to lift a weight you think is too heavy that brings a new level of physical and mental strength — challenging you to attempt more reps than you would on your own.

    There is something about a person knowing what you are capable of doing, even when you don't know that for yourself.

    There is something about a trainer.

    In my spiritual life, I like to do what "works." I go to church. I pray. I read my Bible.

    But sometimes I'm challenged in the gym of life to hit the heavy stuff. But not by myself.

    When I made the commitment to have Jesus be the Lord of my life, I also committed to allow Him to be my personal Trainer.

    And I'm not gonna lie. Sometimes it's been hard. And involved a lot of heavy lifting.

    But I've learned that God is truly Someone who knows what He is doing.

    Someone who gets me to try new experiences, routines or levels of resistance.

    Someone who allows the hard ... the very hard.

    And many times I don't like it.

    That is, until I start seeing a change in my soul.

    There is something about being pushed to lift a weight that we think is too heavy that brings us to a new level of spiritual maturity — challenging us to go for a few more days, weeks, months or years in a situation we wouldn't even attempt on our own.

    There is something about a Person knowing what you are capable of even when you don't know that for yourself.

    There is something about the Trainer.

    Indeed, God the Master Trainer, has the health of our spirit and soul in mind.

    And because He knows where I need to be tested, challenged and stretched, He will not allow me to stay in my comfort zone.

    Although I could keep doing what "works" in my spiritual life, it's the uncomfortable situations God allows that strengthen and make me more "fit" in the faith.

    So hang in there. God is the Master Trainer. He knows what He's doing.

    Father God, I really don't like when life is hard. I don't like carrying heavy loads or pressing through difficult situations. Please help me see each and every uncomfortable circumstance You allow in my life as an opportunity for me to grow. Help me to trust that You are indeed the Master Trainer. Help me to believe and rest knowing that, even when life is tough, You know exactly what You are doing and have my spiritual strength and well-being at heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    James 1:3-4, "After all, you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. Let this endurance complete its work so that you may be fully mature, complete, and lacking in nothing." (CEB)

    2 Corinthians 4:17, "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    In what area of your life are you having to do some "heavy lifting"? What heavy load is God asking or allowing you to carry?

    Take a moment to reflect on your life. Where do you see that you have grown spiritually? What circumstances has God allowed that have helped you to grow?

    © 2014 by Chrystal Evans Hurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Emotional Jesus

    Posted on June 3, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!" John 11:33-36

    Jesus felt; He felt deeply. He felt the intense sorrow of Mary and Martha losing their brother. He felt gratitude for friends and family who came alongside to support them in their grief. His spirit was moved and troubled by the trouble those He loved were experiencing. Yes indeed, our Lord wept with those who wept, and rejoiced with those who rejoiced. He was much more than the pale, emotionless European portraits of the renaissance. Love feels deeply human needs.

    Love takes the time to be with those who hurt and mourn over loss. Love in action is emotion expressed. Friendship is a communication of affection. We are strong for the weak, when we weep with the weak. Non-emotional responses to a hurting heart only prolong the healing. Thus, we pray by the Holy Spirit to enter into emotional access with our troubled friends and family. We love by being available and use words only when necessary. Love emotionally connects.

    “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it” (Luke 19:41).

    What human condition deserves our empathy? Have we so insulated ourselves from pain that we are numb to those who silently suffer? Indeed, we are called by Christ to be intentional to comfort the comfortless. Others who grieve and wail from within need our supportive, tender compassion. So, almost stealth like: we cook a meal, sit by the bedside holding a clammy hand, cradle a crying baby in our arms, or hug a sobbing soul. Our love feels what those we love feel.

    Are your emotions whole, so you are able to wholly love another soul? If not, invite the sweet salve of Jesus’ comfort to free you to feel again. Under the Spirit’s control, freely express what you feel: anger, fear, insecurity, disappointment, grief or frustration. Feelings processed properly in prayer become helpful prescriptions for others stuck in sorrow. Learn the skills of emotional conversation, so you can help others locked up by unresolved pain. An expressive heart loves Jesus with its heart, so prayerfully speak what you feel and feel what you speak. Jesus does.

    “At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, 'I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth'” (Luke 10:21).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the compassion and joy of Jesus, help me express my emotions in a healthy way.

    Related Readings: Job 16:5; Psalm 100:2; Isaiah 63:9; Luke 6:23; Hebrews 12:2; Jude 1:24

    Post/Tweet today:. Feelings processed properly in prayer become helpful prescriptions for others stuck in sorrow. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • Welcome to the Bad Mom's Club

    Posted on June 3, 2014 by Kathi Lipp

    Kathi

    "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

    It was an "I'm crushing this motherhood thing!" kinda morning.

    Backpacks? Check.

    Justen's Colonial Day costume? Check.

    School lunches? Check.

    Crushing it.

    Then, at work, came Justen's teary phone call: "Mom? I left my costume at home!"

    Normally I didn't interfere with natural consequences, but I could tell Justen was broken-hearted. I promised to bring his costume in time for the Colonial Parade.

    I got to school just as all the kids were lining up to change and raced to hand Justen his bag. But the teacher stopped me, saying: "If Justen can't remember to bring his costume, then he'll not be wearing it in the parade."

    What? It was an honest mistake. And who was she anyway to tell me how to discipline my kid?

    My son marched onto the stage ... the only child still in school uniform.

    He was upset. But as soon as the parade was over and the kids were enjoying their orange slices, he'd recovered.

    But me? Not so much.

    I knew that while Justen stood there in his blue polo, every person in that audience saw the invisible sign hanging around his neck: "Bad Mom" and thought: Obviously, if Justen's mom had her act together, he would be sporting his George Washington costume.

    Have you ever been there? Overwhelmed by the shame of failing as a mom?

    I tried to hide my failures, hoping nobody would see my weaknesses. But what I've learned is that when I'm fearless enough to admit that I don't have this mom thing completely down, I'm finally humbled enough to admit my need.

    Second Corinthians 12:9 reminds us that God's "grace is sufficient" and that His "power is made perfect in our weakness." Which means the weaker we are, the more we experience God's power.

    So, how do we allow God's strength to overpower our weaknesses?

    Have grace for other moms.

    And I mean a ton of grace. I'm talking, "I'm giving you a look of solidarity, mom whose child just ended up in the principal's office for saying a bad word because his friends dared him to. I realize it could just as easily have been my kid."

    The phrase "My child would never ..." needs to be banished from our vocabularies. I can promise you that every mom's kid has done something shame-producing. And every kid's mom is sure she's the only one who is failing.

    Have grace (and some mercy) for myself.

    Years ago, I would fall into the "bad mom pit of despair" when one of my kids threw a fit in public. I would kick myself for days because I wasn't a better mom with kids who said, "Yes, Mother" and "May I help?"

    But as my friend Kim would say, "Have you been to Target lately? There is a meltdown happening in Every. Single. Aisle."

    One meltdown is, well, a meltdown, not a report card on your parenting.

    Beg God for help.

    Perhaps we turn quickly to God for the big stuff. But do we seek Him out when we forget the George Washington costume?

    I, along with two friends, actually did start The Bad Mom's Club simply because we were all feeling like failures at the same time. Don't you love it when God gives you company in your pit of despair?

    When one of our kids is "going through it," whatever "it" may be — bad attitudes, bad behavior, bad choices — we have two other moms ready to listen, to pray like it's their own kid, and when we ask for it, offer advice.

    Because that's what it's all about. Admitting our weakness, holding it up to God, and letting His blanket of grace cover it.

    Dear Lord, I pray that I would look for Your grace in my strength and in my weakness, so that everyone who sees the good and the ugly in my life knows that I live each day with Your power sustaining me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Isaiah 40:29, "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." (NIV)

    Isaiah 41:10, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    When you're in that Bad Mom pit, who do you turn to?

    How can you encourage another mom who is hanging out in the pit with you today?

    © 2014 by Kathi Lipp. All rights reserved.

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

  • Trust and Verify

    Posted on June 2, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Jesus said to her [Martha], “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?"  John 11:25-26

    Trust Jesus first and verify His claims second. We cannot recognize the works of God until we exchange our works for belief in God. Before Jesus demonstrated His ability to resurrect the dead, He asked Martha to believe He was the resurrection and the life. Her faith preceded His power. Real trust is not expressed in a sentimental reading of a creed or the halfhearted singing of worship songs. Genuine trust embraces Jesus--the resurrected Savior, and then experiences Jesus--the resurrected Lord. In Christ, we pass from death to life to be with Him and enjoy Him.

    Have you truly trusted Jesus and verified His presence and promises in your life? Belief is like a drawbridge into the comforts of Christ’s castle. Faith is a suspension bridge between sinful man and holy God. Trust is the tunnel under a river of worry, as we follow the Holy Spirit’s leadership toward the Lord’s best. Thus, make trust your ticket to traffic with Jesus. He promises peace, hope, forgiveness, wisdom, strength, direction, love and eternal life. Verify these things.

    “Then Peter came to himself and said, 'Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches'” (Acts 12:11).

    Furthermore, we have daily opportunities to trust and verify with people. It may be a child who asks for a second, third or fourth chance. Perhaps a struggling work associate has improved his skills,and desires an opportunity to reengage with excellence. Has a friend violated a trust, but asked forgiveness and took responsibility for their immaturity? When we trust individuals we give them confidence. So, we clarify expectations (even in writing), we trust, and we check up. Yes, as we extend trust, it's easier for others to reciprocate. Trust grows healthy relationships.

    Most of all, have you totally trusted Jesus in your heart and mind? Have you sought to verify His claims in a loving personal relationship with Him? Unregenerate religion thinly cloaks a conscience still soiled from sin. But, a sensitive soul that’s been born again is transformed by a mind renewal. Once we are resurrected in Christ, by faith in Christ’s resurrection, we are positioned to observe His resurrection power. Our loving Lord can’t wait to bring back to life dead souls, dead relationships, and dead deals. Trust Him and enjoy verifying His great works!

    “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).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father give me the humility to truly trust You and to verify Your works with an obedient heart, all for Your glory.

    Related Readings: 2 Kings 5:15; Nehemiah 8:12; John 6:35; 1 Corinthians 13:12; Galatians 4:9

    Post/Tweet today:As we extend trust, it's easier for others to reciprocate. Trust grows healthy relationships. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • Am I Devoted to God?

    Posted on June 2, 2014 by Micca Campbell

    Micca

    "Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you." Psalm 73:25 (NIV)

    I long to be fully devoted to God, but it amazes me how far things can get out of line when I'm not paying attention.

    In weak moments, I can spend money on myself that I've saved to give away. I've sat halfway through a sitcom before realizing I'm laughing at things contrary to the will of God.

    Bad habits quickly gain the upper hand when I neglect to address them daily. Worse yet, a passion for self-indulgence can sometimes trump my devotion to God.

    Perhaps you can relate. If we aren't careful, it's easy to let worldly desires become obsessions, redirecting our love and devotion away from God.

    When I give more devotion to anything or anyone other than God, I'm being unfaithful. Why? Because I belong to God and He deserves my whole heart.

    Yet one of the most amazing things about our great God is no matter how unfaithful we are, God is never unfaithful to us. He is wholly devoted to His children, holding nothing back.

    Not love.

    Not forgiveness.

    Not mercy.

    Not provision, protection or His presence.

    Not even His Son.

    Our heavenly Father, by example, models devotion for us. Take another look. God is totally devoted to you. The question is, "Are you totally devoted to Him?"

    You already know my devotion isn't always what it should be. However, giving in to worldly passions isn't the only thing that exposes my lack of devotion. Holding back parts of myself from God is a sure sign of a divided heart.

    I tend to withhold my time, adoration, dedication, honesty and gratitude. Yet without full surrender on my part, I'll never become fully devoted to God. It's only when God means more to me than anything or anyone on earth that my heart will be fully devoted to Him alone. Then I can state our key verse with passion:

    "Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you" (Psalm 73:25).

    Our key verse is attributed to a music director of King David named Asaph. And from this verse, it's obvious nothing meant more to him than God. Asaph knew God was far more excellent than any object on earth.

    God is our peace and joy. He is our salvation and security. He is our daily portion and strength. Nothing of earth's wealth, honor or fame comes close to God. Even in heaven there is nothing more superb than He. For that reason, Asaph proclaims, "earth has nothing I desire besides you."

    When you and I are able to say those very words and mean them, our devotion for God will shine. But that's not all. There are benefits to being fully devoted to God.

    A devoted heart draws near to God and experiences His presence throughout the day. A fully surrendered heart calls us to fellowship with Christ so that His power can equip us to carry out His plans. Devotion allows us to adore Him for who He is: a God who withholds nothing from His children.

    A love like that reminds me of the lyrics from an old hymn penned by Isaac Watts: "Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all."

    May the Holy Spirit stir our hearts until we can say, "There is nothing I desire besides you, Lord."

    Dear Lord, I'm so grateful for your immeasurable devotion to me. Work in me until I'm completely devoted to you. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    2 Chronicles 16:9a, "For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    A devoted heart is a surrendered heart.

    What keeps you from being fully devoted to God? Could it be worldly desires? Perhaps you're holding back a part of yourself. Identify what it is and write a prayer surrendering it to God today.

    © 2014 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.

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

  • Spiritual Receptivity

    Posted on June 1, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Then Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Mark 4:9

    Spiritual receptivity is necessary for the growing follower of Christ. Jesus knew that there had to be a willingness to want to know and understand, before there could be any comprehension of His teachings. This hunger for God is an innate appetite that only He can satisfy. Even if you do not hear, you can want to hear. This is the attitude of a growing disciple of Jesus Christ. A willing heart is what the Holy Spirit infuses with insight.

    Spiritual receptivity is born out of your attitude and validated by your actions. Actions are an indicator but not an initiator of openness to the Almighty’s agenda. Have you ever grown weary working for the Lord, struggling to have a patient attitude? Yes, we all have from time to time, but it is a patient and grateful attitude that hears Christ communicate the most clearly. Gratitude for His grace, love, and forgiveness leads to hearing His voice.

    His Word lodges alive and eventually bears fruit when the ears of your heart humbly listen to the Lord with an attitude of obedience. Jesus explained the results of a spiritually receptive heart; hearing and understanding His Word, thus finding faith and healing. Indeed, the comprehension of His ways is not limited to a select few “professional Christians”. In fact, their ministry vocation can become a stumbling block to belief.

    “For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them. But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it” (Matthew 13:15–17).

    Spiritual receptivity means I submit to the Holy Spirit’s prodding to preempt my pride. Instead of reacting to raw data, I wait and process with prayer so I am able to gain God’s perspective,  not being rushed by the world’s way of doing things. Spiritual receptivity sees the face of God and hears the heart of heaven.

    “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’” (Isaiah 30:21).

    Prayer: Do I hear with a heart toward hearing from heaven? Is my heart humbled to hear from the Holy Spirit?

    Related Readings: 2 Samuel 7:22; Jeremiah 6:10; Romans 11:8; 2 Timothy 4:3

    Post/Tweet today:.  Spiritual receptivity is positioned to see the face of God and hear the heart of heaven. #wisdomhunters

    Taken from the June 1st reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 2”

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • I Am Sorry

    Posted on May 31, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.  2 Corinthians 7:10

    “I am sorry” are three freeing words. “I was wrong”; “You were right”; “I apologize”; “Please forgive me”. All of these phrases communicate culpability. Sincere sorrow means taking responsibility. You initiate peace because your desire is to repair the relationship. Disharmony and disconnection are not acceptable options. Yes, someone may take advantage of your goodwill, but that’s in God’s hands. Have faith that God expects behavior that brings reconciliation. You put the relationship at risk if you resist humbling yourself and apologizing. Someone has to start by saying, “I am sorry”. It is smart to extend your apology as soon as possible. A more powerful apology occurs when you admit your error, transgression, or sin before you are found out. You take the first step in asking forgiveness because you know it is the right thing to do.

    Godly sorrow sends a message of change, for you want to change for Christ’s sake. You have sinned against your Savior and those you love. The pain inflicted is not worth continuing with the same bad habits. No one ever regretted repenting of sin. Godly sorrow leads to repentance, which results in transformation. Change occurs around a humble and honest heart. So, where do you start? Family is a logical place to extend your apologies. You hurt your parents by breaking off communication and care. Perhaps you have intentionally gone out of your way to not go there. There is a widening rift in the relationship. Now is the time to reach out and recover your relationship with your mom and dad. Take the time during the holiday season to pay a surprise visit or place a long overdue phone call. Start the conversation by saying, “I am sorry”.

    Sincere sorrow is a relational magnet, and trust reoccurs around repentance. When others sense you have really changed, they extend trust. However, they may withhold that trust until you prove yourself worthy of it. People who have been burned in the past by shallow and insincere sorrow will not automatically engage. They need time to see that your apology is authentic. Sorrow that does not lead to change results in relational death. Sincere sorrow hurts your heart, causing you to weep visible or invisible tears of remorse. It makes you sick to think you let down the One who loves you the most.

    On the flip side, be patient with those who ask your forgiveness. Forgive them and give them a chance to change, while releasing your anger and their broken promises to Jesus. Give them over to the Lord and pray for their repentance. God can do more with a person’s heart in a minute, than a lifetime of your nagging could ever accomplish. Do not hold them in contempt. Rather, entrust them to Christ. Give time for repentance to root out bad habits and destructive behaviors. Lies can be extracted by the everlasting love of God and replaced with His transforming truth. Accept apologies at face value and hope for the best. Pray for the work of the Holy Spirit to have His way in a humble heart. Be quick to forgive and just as quick to ask forgiveness. Replace fear with faith. Your sorrowful confession connects with Christ and with others. Therefore, take the first step and apologize. Ask for forgiveness, and surrender to your Savior. Become broken, for brokenness leads to freedom. Say, “I am sorry”, and see how your Savior blesses your apology.

    Post/Tweet today:. Sincere sorrow is a relational magnet, as trust reoccurs around repentance. #wisdomhunters

    Taken from the May 31st reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 1”

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • Sickness for God’s Glory

    Posted on May 30, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.  John 11:4

    Sickness is an opportunity for God to be glorified and for observers to believe in Jesus, God’s Son. This perspective is easy to forget, because sickness is often a struggle. The physical body can be extremely demanding. It can writhe in pain, convulse from seizures, sweat from fever, ache from infection, and fatigue from fighting cancer. Some feel so badly, they are ready to go home to heaven. In the meantime, illness can be a hard, but meaningful moment for God’s glory.

    Furthermore, the Lord uses sickness to draw people to each other and to Himself. A sick child causes mom and dad to come together on their knees on behalf of their precious one. Elderly parents are an invitation for adult children to spend time together and to work together for the betterment of their parent’s quality of life. Sickness can reveal a heart of giving or a heart of taking. As we serve the sick, those who need Jesus see His love in action.

    “The strong spirit of a man sustains him in bodily pain or trouble, but a weak and broken spirit who can raise up or bear” (Proverbs 18:14, The Amplified Bible)?

    Are you struggling with sickness? If so, seek to experience the intimacy of God’s glory in the middle of your illness. Your afflictions can be eclipsed by His glory. Similar to the stamina of a mother caring for a needy child, His glory engulfs your soul with energy to endure chronic pain. The sweet spot of His sweet Spirit provides security in your sickness. Christ’s peace guards your heart and mind to get through intense health issues. God’s glory gives you hope and healing.

    Is someone you love suffering from an illness? How can you glorify God in your love for them? Start with a simple prayer for the Holy Spirit to strengthen your sick friend by His grace and love. Share Scripture with them, such as Psalm 59:16-17 for comfort and peace. Your faith in God is a rock to those whose world is being rocked by adversity. Be available to support them by caring for their children or raising funds to pay for their medical bills. Prepared to give a reason for their hope in Him,God’s people love and serve like Jesus, glorifying Him.

    “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, use my illness or the sickness of a loved one to bring glory to my Savior Jesus Christ.

    Related Readings: John 9:2-3; 2 Corinthians 3:18, 4:6; Colossians 4:6; Hebrews 1:3

    Post/Tweet today:Your faith in God is a rock to those whose world is being rocked by adversity. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • Don't Miss the Ride of Your Life

    Posted on May 30, 2014 by Leah DiPascal

    Leah

    "Haven't I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 (HCSB)

    I watched my family as they waited in line for the heart-pounding experience of riding the Griffon. We read about this roller coaster in the theme park brochure, but now it was time to put words into action.

    My sons kept looking back from the line, motioning for me to join them for the cliffhanger thrill ride. With a convincing smile, I shook my head no and pointed to my camera. My reason for not riding was to take pictures of them during each upside down loop and heart-pounding free fall.

    After their turn, my husband walked up with an exhilarating smile and said, "You missed out on an awesome ride!" As our sons shared the hair-raising moments and laughed about each other's reactions, I felt a twinge of sadness and disappointment.

    Truthfully, saying no to my family's request that day had more to do with fear and less to do with capturing family photos. I was afraid of the unknown, and when given the opportunity, I opted to stay safely away from the risk and inside the padded walls of my comfort zone.

    For years I was aware of this pattern in my life. When faced with adventurous opportunities, fear and uncertainty often held me securely within the boundaries of my comfortable space. Then I'd be disappointed that I missed out.

    I longed to be brave but instead allowed the enemy to convince me I was a coward. I dreamed about being adventurous, but compared myself to others, which left me feeling less than and discouraged.

    Then one day I came across Joshua 1:9 and the words resonated deep within me: "Haven't I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

    I'd read this verse many times before, but that time I realized being brave wasn't just a personal want-to in my life. God was commanding me to live strong and courageous.

    God originally spoke these words to Joshua (Moses' successor as leader of the Israelites) while presenting him with a new opportunity. Joshua's assignment was to lead more than two million people into a strange new land, claiming it as their promised territory.

    Now that's what I call a hair-raising experience! And way more difficult than riding a roller coaster at a theme park.

    God could have chosen someone else for this great task, but He specifically selected Joshua.

    First, there was a command: "be strong and courageous ... do not be afraid or discouraged." And it was wrapped inside a promise: "for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

    What if Joshua had allowed the unknown to keep him from saying yes to God? What if he gave insecurity and doubt permission to keep him firmly within his comfort zone?

    Joshua would have missed out on the blessings. He would have missed his calling in life. He would have missed the adventure with God.

    Is God presenting you with a new opportunity? Is He asking you to go back to school, start a new career or accept a new ministry position?

    Without God it can be scary. But with God it can be a great adventure! Just as God was with Joshua, He promises to be with us. We may not conquer nations, but with God by our sides anything is possible.

    I'm learning to be brave. To trust God more when He gives me new opportunities. I don't want to miss out on anything God has for me because of fear, doubt or insecurity.

    Will you choose to be courageous and step out of your comfort zone? Will you say yes to God and no to fear when He opens the next door of opportunity?

    What are you waiting for? The greatest ride of your life is just up ahead. So go get your seat next to God, strap into the safety of His presence and experience the adventure with Him!

    Dear Lord, You are my greatest adventure. Help me to trust and follow Your lead. When I start to feel afraid or discouraged, strengthen me so I can fulfill the assignments You've chosen for me. Thank You for always being with me wherever I go. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Psalm 32:8, "The LORD says, 'I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.'" (NLT)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    What opportunity is God presenting to you today? What is keeping you from stepping outside your comfort zone and saying yes to God?

    © 2014 by Leah DiPascal. All rights reserved.

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

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