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Daily Devotion

  • Hope When Afraid

    Posted on April 21, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water;and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid." John 6:19-20

    The disciples, fresh from Jesus feeding the five thousand, toiled away in a terrific storm. They feared for their safety and were frightened by a ghostlike figure walking on the water toward them. They did not recognize their Master--the One who calms the seas. In a similar way, just after we encounter a problem, we can easily forget a prior act of God’s favor. Yet, faith in Christ’s work is meant to keep fear at bay. He who provides in our need can see us through uncertain times.

    Sometimes our Savior tests our trust in Him. He allows us to struggle in our work. He leads us to labor hard for His sake, even as we make minimal progress. Our work is not an end in itself, but a means to grow our faith in Jesus and learn how to rest in His peaceful presence. Yes, those we work with need our support and our example of looking to the Lord during economic storms. If our jobs were easy, we might become proud and self sufficient. So in hard times, hope in God.

    “He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea” (Job 9:8).

    Current circumstances may be calm, but we are wise to prepare for the coming storm. By God’s grace we sink the pylons of our faith deep into the cement of our Savior Christ Jesus. His foundation of faithfulness cannot be shaken. He is our solid rock that cannot be moved by temptation or manipulation. We rest in the cleft of the Rock of Ages--Almighty God. He shelters us in the storms of life. Hope in Him gets us through scary situations. Fear fades in the face of faith.

    Do you find yourself in the middle of a crisis of faith? Has a health issue rocked your world? Has someone else’s decisions destroyed your peace? Whatever worries you have, Christ can cure. He walks toward you to calm your heart in crummy circumstances. Be hopeful in Him and fear will finally run its course. The same Holy Spirit that interceded on your behalf in past prayers, intercedes for you now. Be hopeful for your Creator can cease the storm. Rest in and with Him!

    “You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance” (Psalm 66:12).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, let my only fear be of You. When I face fear, keep my hope in you.

    Related Readings: Psalm 33:18; Daniel 10:12; Matthew 28:10; Acts 18:9; Revelation 1:17

    Post/Tweet today: Current circumstances may be calm, but we are wise to prepare for the coming storm. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • 6 Prayers to Pray the Week After Easter

    Posted on April 21, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "The angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: "He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him." Now I have told you.'" Matthew 28:5-7 (NIV)

    I don't think Easter is quite done with me yet.

    I know what glorious things this Holy Day says to the world at large.

    But what does Jesus want me to know, to think about, to wrestle through at this time of year? This season of new beginnings.

    So, I'm lingering here a bit longer.

    I feel like the girl who wears the same outfit to school two days in a row. Easter is done now. Time to put it back in the closet. Only for me it isn't. I want to wear it again today, tomorrow and many more tomorrows.

    After all, Easter is no longer a ritual to me. It's a revelation. A time where Jesus splits my soul along the fault line of a scar deep within: I was an unwanted child to my birth dad.

    Unwanted.

    But to Jesus ... I was wanted so much that He gave His life for me. It feels so personal. Even though I know God so loved the world, He gave His son, it becomes very individual if we let it.

    Be personal.

    With Jesus.

    Yes.

    So, in the midst of a world putting Easter away, might we let it sit with us for just a bit more?

    I keep my Bible open to the place where the angel spoke to the women at the tomb. And I tangle my thoughts around His words from Matthew 28 as six prayers emerge ...

    "Do not be afraid," - God, I hand over to You those things that make me so afraid. Resurrect the parts of my faith squelched by fear.

    "I know that you are looking for Jesus," - God, when my soul is searching, help me know the answer to every longing can be found in You.

    "He has risen," - God, the fact that Jesus is risen should lift my head, my heart and my attitude. Help me to live today as if I really believe this with every part of my life.

    "just as he said," - Jesus, You keep Your promises. Help me live as though I believe that with every part of me. Help me trust You more, obey You more and resemble You more.

    "Come and see," - Jesus, You had the angels invite the women in to see for themselves that You had risen. You invite me into these personal revelations every day. Forgive me for sometimes rushing about and forgetting to come and see for myself ... You, Your Word, Your insights.

    "Then go quickly and tell his disciples," - Jesus, I don't want to be a secret keeper with my faith. I want to be a bold and gracious truth proclaimer. For You. With You. Because of You. Me, the unwanted girl whom You loved, redeemed and wanted.

    In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Yes, let this miraculous Easter be personal. And prayerful. And linger a bit longer.

    Dear Lord, I want to let Your Truth sink deep down into my heart and soul today. Help me stay focused on You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Find Matthew 28 in your Bible and read through that chapter in its entirety. What verse sticks out to you?

    Take that verse and write it down or speak it out loud in prayer. Let God's Truth sink deep down into your heart and soul.

    Power Verse:
    1 John 3:16a, "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Alive and Well

    Posted on April 20, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. Mark 16:14

    Jesus Christ is alive and well. His earlier followers, taken aback by His death, initially denied His resurrection. They rejected reliable testimonies and refused to receive the truth of Christ’s rising from the dead. However, when they encountered the risen Lord He rebuked them, and then loved them. Unbelievers can loathe the Lord. Deists can deny Christ’s deity. Agnostics can be apathetic over His resurrection, but He is alive and well.

    Contemporary Christ-less cultures could care less about Christ’s resurrection, but it does not lessen His Lordship over them. Everyone will one day confront Christ, “…at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:10-11a). Easter is an excuse for Jesus followers to celebrate His resurrection, and His relevance.

    The Lord is alive and well in your heart. His resurrection resulted in Christ taking up residence in your soul and transforming your life. By faith you believed and God gave you grace upon grace. Because He has risen from the grave, He has given all who confess Him as Lord, abundant grace on earth and the promise of heaven with Him. “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:7). He is all you need.

    Lastly you can live large for the Lord, because He has triumphed over sin, sorrow, death, and hell. Easter is your eternal encouragement that He is alive and well. There will always be doubters, but don’t dwell there. Focus on the undeniable force of faith that has captured you and millions before you. Because He has risen, you can rise above your circumstances, your hurt, and your fears.

    “With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:33).

    Prayer: Am I a disciple that ignores His power, or one who proclaims His power?

    Related Readings: Numbers 14:11; Matthew 28:17; Acts 10:41; 1 Corinthians 15:1-58

    Post/Tweet this today: Christ’s resurrection resulted in Him taking up residence in your soul. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Eyewitness News

    Posted on April 19, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. Acts 3:15

    Eyewitness accounts are compelling evidence for truth. These first hand witnesses bring creditability with their character. They are especially trustworthy if they stick to the facts even when it costs them their lives. When Jesus was arrested by foes, Peter and John were arrested by fear. However, when Jesus rose from the grave, Peter and John’s courage rose with Him. They saw, touched, talked and ate with Jesus after He came back to life. God’s power empowered them!

    Yes, we were witnesses of this idyllic resurrection power when we were born again. Once we were dead to faith, now we are alive to trust in Christ. Once we were dead to assurance of heaven, now we are alive to the security of eternal life. Once we were dead to the Son’s salvation, now we are alive to His grace. Once we were dead to our Heavenly Father’s love, now we are alive to His affection. Once we were dead to the Spirit’s help, now we are alive to His leading!

    "We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life" (Romans 6:4).

    If a case for Christ’s resurrection were presented in a court of law, a thorough jury would find Jesus guilty of being raised from the dead by His Heavenly Father. The compelling proof is on the side of the plaintiff, Holy God. The devil is on the defensive, as all his arguments were destroyed in one fell swoop at the resurrection of Christ. Your risen Savior Jesus, rises above the evil arguments and taunts of Satan. The empty tomb empties the enemy’s arsenal of deception. Jesus lives!

    You stand on the solid rock of Christ’s resurrection, as experienced in person by His disciples and 500 other followers. You base His Story on the historical fact of Christ's entering the grave dead, and walking out of the grave alive on the third day. Furthermore, your own faith experience with Jesus is your eyewitness evidence of engaging your risen Savior. You are His channel of hope to the sick, the lost, the disabled, the rich and the poor. You are a witness!

    "He [Jesus] was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time" (1 Corinthians 15:4-6).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father thank You for raising Your Son Jesus from the dead to give me life.

    Related Readings: John 2:22; Acts 2:31; Romans 8:11; Philippians 3:10-11; Colossians 3:1

    Post/Tweet today: The devil is on the defensive, as all his arguments were destroyed at Christ’s resurrection. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Compelling Cross

    Posted on April 18, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Colossians 2:13-15

    The cross is compelling because Christ is compelling. His character is compelling by the depth of its delivery; His love is compelling by the extent of its capacity; His holiness is compelling by the respect it demands; His forgiveness is compelling by the thoroughness of its cleansing; His power is compelling by its ability to disarm the enemy and deem him powerless.

    Therefore, the cross compels Christ’s followers to be like Him. There is nothing neutral about the cross. Either it compels you or it repels you. The cross either frees you to forgive or it drives you away, stuck in a cycle of cynicism. The cross either leads you into a life of hope or it discourages you to remain in a state of fear and uncertainty. You cannot embrace the cross and self at the same time. It is not possible.

    If it were possible, it would not be advisable. "A house divided will not stand" (Luke 11:17). A heart divided will collapse under the weight of diluted loyalties. Therefore, the cross compels you to make a radical commitment to Christ. For a moment, the cross looked like man’s torture chamber. But it turned into God’s remedy for redemption. The cross is not a symbol of compassion; it is compassion. Man won the physical battle that day, but God won the spiritual one. It took physical death to triumph over the enemy in the spiritual realm. Thus, the cross gives you the power to overcome.

    Go back to the foot of the cross. This is where the love and the blood of Christ flowed down together for you. This is a rare combination that for generations has compelled millions to extend the love of God to the lost and the least. The foot of the cross is compelling because it is the location for the most leverage. “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). But what about the suffering we incur as we bear His cross?

    The cross you bear is compelling (Luke 14:27). It is compelling because it reflects the sacrifice and salvation of the cross of Christ. Moreover, the cross you hold high in word and deed draws all men to Jesus (John 12:32). Christ compels all cultures, denominations, races, and socio-economic classes. His cross invites and even demands a response.

    To remain neutral is not an option. The cross either compels you to repent, or it repels you to remain in your sin. You can choose a divine destiny or one of your own making. The cross means death to self and sin, but life in Christ. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34b).

    Prayer: Am I compelled or repelled by the cross? How can I bear Christ’s cross with grace?

    Related Readings: Galatians 6:12-14; Philippians 2:8; 3:18

    Post/Tweet today: There is nothing neutral about the cross of Jesus Christ. It either compels us to repent or it repels us to reject. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Overcome by Love

    Posted on April 18, 2014 by Sharon Glasgow

    Sharon

    "I will celebrate before the LORD. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes." 2 Samuel 6:21b-22a (NIV)

    Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something zip by me. What was that? A minute later, I saw it again. Someone was running up and down the side aisle of the church.

    Joyful voices filled the church that Easter Sunday morning as we sang, "What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus,"*

    Although I tried to focus on the words of the song, my thoughts were distracted by the runner. I looked inquisitively at the woman next to me, hoping for an explanation.

    She whispered an answer to my unspoken question: "He was a drug addict. A couple of months ago he surrendered his life to Christ and is now free from his addiction. He's overcome by love for Jesus!"

    About that time an elderly woman and man started to dance with him. They were his grandparents. For years, this couple had steadfastly prayed for their grandson.

    Watching this freed man and his joyful grandparents worshipping reminded me of King David returning to Jerusalem. David explodes with love for his Lord. He couldn't contain his awe and gratitude for all God had done for him: winning a huge battle, restoring the ark of the Lord and appointing him king. Coming down the road, everyone could see "King David leaping and dancing before the LORD" (2 Samuel 6:16 NIV).

    Stories of people being overcome by love for God are awesome. But there is one example of love that tops them all: the gift of the cross. I know John 3:16 is a familiar verse to most of us and can be easy to skim. But let's read it again with the view of God's love for us.

    "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (NIV)

    The young man and his grandparents probably gave up some self-consciousness to display their love for the Lord through dance. In our key verse, we learn that King David admitted he let go of pride to show his love through worship: "I will celebrate before the LORD. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes" (2 Samuel 6:21b-22a). He sacrificed his dignity for the Lord.

    And God the Father sacrificed a most precious gift, His Son, Jesus. And Jesus surrendered His very life for us!

    Why? They were overcome by love.

    As a mama of five daughters, I'm hit hard by the depth of God's love to offer His Son in our place. It seems impossible for me to even think about giving up my children for the sake of someone else. Let alone sacrificing my own life!

    Yet out of unfathomable love, God sent Jesus to death on a cross to pay our debt of sin. By this sacrifice, Jesus secured eternal life for those who surrender their lives to Him. That truth makes my heart overcome by love!

    When we're overcome by love for God, the way we show that will look different for everyone. For some, it's quietly praising the Lord in their hearts. For others, it is worshipping at the top of their lungs or dancing in the aisles.

    However you express your praise to God, take a moment to reflect on all the Lord has done in your life and give thanks for His overcoming love. You may just find your toes tapping and your feet moving!

    Lord, thank You for sacrificing everything for me, for sending Your only Son to die on a cross for my sins. Thank You for loving me and offering me eternal life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Today is Good Friday. As you consider what God has done for you, what can you sacrifice to show your love for Him? Time visiting the lonely? Clothes to give to the less fortunate? Food to share with the hungry? Determine today what you will give and put a plan in place to follow through.

    Are you so overcome by God's love that you are willing to tell others about it, even if you're self-conscious?

    Power Verses:
    1 John 4:10, "In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (ESV)

    1 John 3:16a, "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us." (NIV)

    *Nothing but the Blood written by Robert Lowry, 1876.

    © 2014 by Sharon Glasgow. All rights reserved.

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

  • Conflict Resolution

    Posted on April 17, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over." Matthew 18:15

    Christians tend to skirt conflict. Some perceive it as unspiritual, however Jesus teaches it is spiritual.  Healthy conflict is necessary for relational and spiritual growth. It is required to keep clean accounts with others and stay focused on Kingdom priorities. Conflict resolution can be uncomfortable, but if ignored, it can become ugly, even explosive.

    There are two roles in the beginning stages of conflict resolution. One role is the confronter—the other is the receiver. If you are the confronter, it is critical to communicate the facts of the situation. If you are loose with the truth and cavalier in your confrontation, the situation will worsen—so have the details documented and verified.

    The second critical aspect of the confronter is the spirit of the conversation. Do not inflict an accusatory tone in your voice. You are there in a spirit of reconciliation and healing. Avoid a condescending attitude, as you are a potential candidate for the same concerns you are bringing to your friend. It is with a spirit of humility and grace that you confront.

    “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).

    You speak the truth in love. The receiver on the other hand needs to beware of defensiveness, denial and defiance. When confronted, the receiver needs to listen carefully and not interrupt with petty excuses. After hearing out the accuser, the receiver can correct any misconceptions and inaccuracies with a mature and level headed spirit.

    In most cases, the receiver of correction needs to apologize. Nine out of ten times a sincere apology from the one receiving the rebuke remedies the situation. On the other hand, a combative environment will just escalate the debate into a stalemate. It is better to lose an argument and win a relationship. Treat each other as God does and everyone wins.

    If there is not a private resolution, then there is the option of mediation. Mediation can involve one or two additional people. If two more are invited, it is an effective practice for each party to select one person each who is respected by all.  Everyone one should agree that the conclusion of the mediator(s) is the final word.

    To engage with another is to care. To ignore and even gossip about another is betrayal. The mature follower of Christ seeks to lovingly warn others of the consequences of unwise decisions. When you take the time to confront another you could save them from embarrassment and humiliation. Grace gives an opportunity for change. Praise God for those who have done the same for us. We need each other. Confronting now, precludes confrontation later. Diffuse the conflict bomb now and avoid an explosion of egos later.

    “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses” (Proverbs 27:6).

    Prayer: Whom do I need to lovingly confront over a concern, because I care for them?

    Related Readings: Genesis 21:25; Job 6:24; Mark 8:33; Galatians 2:11-13

    Post/Tweet today: It is better to lose an argument and win a relationship. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • The Unsaved Christian

    Posted on April 17, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.'" Matthew 15:8-9 (NIV)

    God wants us to have a relationship with Him. But what does this really mean?

    A few years ago, I met a woman at a conference where I was speaking. I didn't know many details about her life, but I did learn she'd been going to church for a long time.

    And she'd been serving, giving and doing all the right church stuff.

    But something was missing.

    "I never could quite put my finger on it until I heard your message," she whispered. "I never knew what it really meant to have a relationship with Jesus. But hearing you explain it, something clicked. I walked forward today. I gave my heart to Jesus."

    I wondered, What part of that day caused the profound click in her soul?

    Of course, it was the Holy Spirit moving ... somehow in the midst of my sharing the broken places of my life, things came together in hers.

    It got me thinking about us doing life together here through this daily devotion. Each day, we spend a few minutes together over the Internet learning how to navigate life as Jesus' girls. But all that talk is for nothing if our hearts stay far away from Jesus.

    It's not about momentary motivation to make it through today.

    It's not about spiffy quotes to ponder and put into practice.

    It's not about relationship tactics and turnkey solutions.

    It's not about bite-size pieces of peace to make life a little more manageable.

    It's not about making our lives look and feel a little better.

    It has to be about Jesus. And drawing our hearts into His reality. His grace. His love. His hope. His forgiveness. And most of all, the free gift of salvation because of Him.

    Have you ever felt like you couldn't put your finger on what was missing? Maybe you bounce from one religious activity to the next, but your heart feels far from God? Oh, sweet sister, can we chat?

    God doesn't want us to have a religion. A religion is where we follow rules hoping to do life right, and serve God out of duty because we think we have to.

    God wants us to have a relationship. A relationship where we follow Him. A relationship where we serve God not out of duty, but out of delight because we've realized who we are in Him. A relationship where our obedience is born out of love.

    For years, I went to church to get a little "God goodness" in my life. But it was like putting fresh paint on rotting wood. I was living just like those talked about in Matthew 15:8-9, "'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.'"

    I realized I didn't need to be just following the rules ... I needed to be following Jesus. God Himself.

    I didn't need a little "God goodness" to rub off on me ... I needed God to invade the deepest parts in me.

    So, I knelt down in the midst of my messy, chaotic, confused life and started a relationship with Him by simply saying, "Yes."

    Yes, I am a sinner in need of a Savior.

    Yes, I acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Son of God, sent to die on a cross and resurrected on the third day to save me from my sins.

    Yes, I want Jesus to be the Lord and Master of my life.

    Yes, I am now and forever will be a forgiven and saved child of the Almighty God.

    Yes, I will follow Jesus today, tomorrow and every other day I'm blessed with life on this earth.

    Let me quiet the voice of Satan screaming to resist this process. He wants to trip us up by whispering how we won't be able to live this out perfectly. Jesus has never ever asked us to be perfect. He simply wants us perfectly surrendered. I often pray, "Oh Jesus, I am such a mess, but I am Yours. Show me ... help me ... forgive me ... reassure me ... and pour Your tender mercy upon me."

    And He does.

    And He always will.

    My imperfections are safely resting in the reality of His perfection.

    And I simply press on by continuing to say yes moment by imperfect moment ... day by imperfect day.

    Dear Lord, I am such a mess, but I am Yours. Show me ... help me ... forgive me ... reassure me ... and pour Your tender mercy upon me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    In this devotion, Lysa said, "So, I knelt down in the midst of my messy, chaotic, confused life and started a relationship with Him by simply saying, 'Yes.'"

    Think of simple ways you can say yes to God today. How would that look? What would change in how you live your life?

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 53:2, "God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Emotionally Love God

    Posted on April 16, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart.'” Matthew 22:37a

    Emotionally love God for faith has feelings: feelings of gratitude for God’s grace, feelings of joy for friendship with Jesus, and feelings of hope for a heavenly home. Emotions are meant to engage eternity, not be wed to the world. Worry can wreck a life if a heart is consumed with what it can’t control—so trust Jesus with your feelings.

    Because the heart is the seat of emotions, we are wise to guard our hearts. Wisdom appoints the sentinels of grace and truth to protect feelings by grounding them in faith. Pride makes promises to your heart it cannot keep. For example, it may capture your emotions with selfish-ambition, only to ruin relationships. Humility on the other hand, handles your heart with tender care. It leads it into unselfish service and true fulfillment.

    “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).

    We can trust our feelings with the object of our love - Jesus. Our heavenly Father wants to hear our heart - when it breaks under the weight of worry - or when it explodes in joy.

    Love for the Lord is more than a mental exchange of information and learning - it is a heart engagement that feels affection for Almighty God. Faith feels what God feels.

    Truth transforms how we feel: what breaks the heart of God breaks our heart. Lost sinners break our heart - injustice breaks our heart - murdering the innocent breaks our heart - starvation and disease breaks our heart. Also, what brings Jesus joy brings us joy: love, faith, forgiveness, hope, trust, service and generosity all bring a smile to His face.

    “The Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God” (John 16:27).

    Indeed, a heart moved by God is moved to action. You are faithful to the Lord and His priorities when your emotions feel His pain and celebrate His pleasures. It is not enough to just feel good, sense empathy or experience guilt - true love expresses itself in action. Your heart-felt love for your heavenly Father moves you to write a generous check, roll up your sleeves to serve, intentionally forgive and earnestly pray for others.

    Release your emotions to Christ and He will channel your energy into productive activity. Emotionally love the Lord and He will empower you for eternity’s agenda. Lovers of God are known by God and are able to radically receive His love and give it liberally.

    “Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God” (1 Corinthians 8:2-3).

    Prayer: How can I love the Lord, so I am able to express my positive and negative feelings?

    Related Readings: Joshua 22:5; Proverbs 24:12; 2 Corinthians 9:7; Philippians 4:7

    Post/Tweet today: A heart moved by God is moved to action. #wisdomunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Turning Worry Into Worship

    Posted on April 16, 2014 by Karen Ehman

    Karen

    "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." Proverbs 31:25 (NIV)

    I think I have the worry gene. And I'm sure I got it from my mother. She passed down her aqua blue eyes to me, her slightly-crooked smile and her tendency to worry.

    This trait didn't show up when I was younger. In fact, when I was a teenager, I thought it strange that my mom couldn't go to sleep until I got home. Then, I had teenagers of my own, and now I do what she did: sit on the couch appearing to watch television, while my mind rehearses the quickest route to the hospital, or perhaps even plans a funeral.

    Before I had children, I didn't understand the stories my mom shared about her concerns for my health. When I was a toddler, she took me to the doctor because I kept falling when I walked. After observing me play in his office, he assured her that my mind was working faster than my legs. I wanted one object and headed toward it, but then changed my mind and wanted something else.

    You'd think the story would have calmed my own fears when I became a mom. Not so. When my first-born was more than a year old and not yet crawling, I was certain something was medically wrong and headed to the doctor.

    Today, I find endless reasons to worry. Kids. Marriage. Finances. Health. Relationships. The future. If I let my thoughts run wild, I can concoct all sorts of terrible scenarios, all starting with "what if." What if my husband gets laid off? What if my aging parent needs to move into a nursing home or live with us? What if I get sick and can no longer care for my family?

    Over time, I've noticed something about worry: 99% of my past dreads never came true. However, I spent oodles of time fretting about them. How I wish I could redeem that time, to do something productive instead! What if I had turned my worry into worship?

    Contrast my attitude with the woman in today's key verse, Proverbs 31:25 says, "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." No weariness in her thoughts and actions. She laughed at the days to come! Not in a careless sort of way, but with a confidence that came from God.

    Because she wore strength and dignity due to her faith in God, she had a smile on her face and a chuckle in her heart when considering the future. She trusted in God, whose faithfulness in the past assured her He would work out circumstances in the future.

    This has happened many times in my life. Often, things that concerned me have turned out to be blessings instead. For example, when our son was in third grade, we discovered he had severe dyslexia. Oh, the time I spent worried about his academic progress! Even fun milestones for other children were cause for fretting. Would he pass his hunter safety course? His driver's ed written test? And what about college?

    God used my son's learning disability to grow my faith. As I learned to turn my panic into fervent prayer and praise, and trust God's plan and timing, my relationship with God strengthened. Plus, we saw our son grow stronger and more confident as he overcame each cognitive hurdle.

    That's just one way God worked in me to replace my worry gene with confidence in Him. Each time I've turned worry into worship, I find it easier to laugh at the days to come, like my Proverbs 31 sister.

    God knows my future as well as He knows me. My job is to seek to know Him more as I place my future in His hands.

    Oh, and to laugh a little more often.

    Dear Lord, help me turn my worry into worship, believing that You alone know the future. May I rest in Your loving arms, knowing You have my best interest at heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Was there ever a time you were worried about something that never came true? In retrospect, how do you wish you had handled it differently?

    Spend some time today praying over your concerns. Choose to trust God has you in His care.

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 112:7, "They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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

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