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Daily Devotion

  • Trading Fears for Freedom

    Posted on July 4, 2014 by Leah DiPascal

    Leah DiPascal

    "But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?" Psalm 56:3-4 (NLT)

    {Editor's note & trigger alert: We are mindful today's devotion might stir up emotions for anyone who's survived intense trauma. We pray you are encouraged by Leah's message.}

    As a teenager, I lived a pretty sheltered life. I believed nothing bad would ever happen to me. Then one day, I found myself in the middle of a really bad situation.

    Being in the wrong place at the wrong time resulted in a pistol put to my head. A robbery that was a sudden and terrifying scenario for this naive teenage girl.

    "Don't move or I'll shoot!" The sharp words of my abductor rattled me to my very core. Shaking uncontrollably, I could feel the cold, hard surface of his gun pushing against my pulsating temple.

    As my heart raced, thoughts ran through my mind: I'm going to die. This is it ... my life is over. I wanted to run, but saw no way out.

    By the grace of God, I survived. But although I had no physical wounds, the memories of that experience settled deep within my heart. Like acid, it seeped into the center of my shaken soul and ate away at my once-upon-a-time teenage confidence.

    At night, my mind replayed the awful scenario. And during the day, I was afraid to go anywhere alone. Or even be left alone.

    What if I run into him again? Will he recognize me? What if he followed me home that day and knows where I live? What if he comes looking for me again?

    I didn't feel safe ... anywhere.

    I was afraid ... most all the time.

    I struggled ... the memories haunted me.

    Looking back, I realize my abductor abused me momentarily, but fear held me hostage for what seemed like a lifetime. It kept my thoughts in bondage and dictated my daily decisions.

    My biggest regret during that season of distress was not having God's Word hidden in my heart. If I had taken the time to not only read but memorize His Word, I could have traded my fears for God's truth of freedom found in John 8:32: "And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (NLT).

    On those sleepless nights, I could have claimed this promise instead: "When you lie down, you will not be afraid; you will lie down, and your sleep will be pleasant," Proverbs 3:24 (HCSB).

    When I was alone and scared my abductor might return, I could have replaced my thoughts with today's key verse: "But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?" Psalm 56:3-4.

    Have you ever experienced something tragic that's left you feeling afraid? Are your thoughts sometimes filled with "what-if" worries or scary scenarios that keep you awake at night? Does fear and anxiety hold you hostage today?

    If so, I understand. I've been there. God's Word is the answer to help you move beyond your fears to freedom with a new level of unshakable courage. Here's the key: Real and sustainable freedom from fears can only be found in Jesus Christ and through His powerful Word.

    Here's what I've discovered: What consumes our thoughts overtakes our thought life. We can't change what's happened in our past, but we can change how we respond to those difficult situations in the future.

    As women of faith, we find freedom from fear when we choose to capture those fearful memories, cover them with God's Word and begin building a healthy thought life as we place our trust in Him.

    Let's commit to focusing on thoughts that bring life, hope and freedom. Let's surrender our broken memories to God and allow Him to saturate them with His healing grace.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for being with me so that I'm never alone. Help me to replace my fearful thoughts with Your Word as I begin memorizing Scripture verses today. I believe I can live a life of freedom from fear with Your help. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Isaiah 43:18-19a, "Forget what happened in the past, and do not dwell on events from long ago. I am going to do something new. It is already happening. Don't you recognize it?" (GWT)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    You can start today by memorizing a few of the Scripture verses shared above. Speak them aloud or personalize them into prayers.

    How can you let God's Word change your thinking as it brings healing to painful memories and true freedom to your life?

    © 2014 by Leah DiPascal. All rights reserved.

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

     


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

  • Christ and Country

    Posted on July 3, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind. Psalm 33:12-13

    God blesses a country that honors Him, but He brings down a country that dishonors Him. It is  honoring to Him for His people to pray in earnest for righteousness to reign in religion, the work place, seats of government and the home. It dishonors the Lord when we behave like His commands are suggestions and marginalize His mandates. Countries founded on Christ are blessed if they continue with Christ.

    Where is our Christ conscientiousness? Do our actions reflect accountability to almighty God and His ultimate judgment? Faith without the fear of God is anemic in the face of moral relativism, academic attacks and the indulgences of affluence. A nation that fears the Lord fears sin and its deadly consequences. Thus, Christians are called by Christ to engage in their communities with compassion and a standard of right and wrong.

    The law of the Lord is the basis of the law of the land in a country that honors Christ. The Bible is clear, “All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous”(Romans 2:12-13). God blesses a nation that obeys His laws.

    Therefore, for our children’s sake, let’s raise our standard of acceptable actions for preachers, politicians and parents. Let’s return to public prayers of dependence on the Lord and private prayers of repentance from sin. Without God’s blessing a country creeps into moral chaos, economic meltdown and institutional irrelevance. But, with God’s blessing a country thrives on trust in Him. We desperately need to stay bless-able before the Lord.

    "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14).

    Prayer: Am I a citizen who unashamedly represents Christ in my community? Do I pray with persistence and humility for repentance among God’s people?

    Related Readings: Exodus 19:5-6; Psalm 144:15; Romans 12:14-15; 1 Peter 2:9

    Post/Tweet today: Countries founded on Christ are blessed if they continue with Christ. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved. www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • Encouragement for the Hurting

    Posted on July 3, 2014 by Chrystal Evans Hurst

    Chrystal Evans Hurst

    "He has made everything beautiful in its time ..." Ecclesiastes 3:11a (NIV)

    Sometimes life hurts.

    Am I the only one who wants to tuck her tail, give up and stay home forever with a stash of chocolate and great coffee?

    Sometimes I want to straight up hide. I hope I'm not alone.

    However, yesterday I was reminded that while life does hurt at times, life also has days that feel really good.

    Because yesterday, during his swim lesson, my son swam the entire length of the pool. Twice.

    He swam from the deep end to the shallow end and back again.

    Every mother is proud when her child learns to do something new. But not every mother gets to know the joy of seeing her child do something she thought she might never see.

    My son was a shoulder dystocia baby. He got stuck in the birth canal and as a result acquired nerve injury during delivery. That meant for months he had no use of his right arm. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I watched my newborn son throw, wave and extend one arm, while the other arm lay still.

    My heart was like a stone. I felt guilty, grieved and heartbroken for my baby who did not have perfectly moving limbs. I cried every day for months.

    I cried because I wondered how hard his future life would be with only one fully functional arm.

    I wanted to figure out how to avoid the hurt.

    I was angry with God for allowing a bad thing to happen.

    And I was on a mission to fix it. We spent time and money seeing various out-of-town doctors and trying different therapies — none of which changed the bottom line. He was injured. For life.

    But here's what I didn't know then that I want to share with you now: eventually things get better.

    Even when the source of our pain may leave a scar or a memory of deep heartache, time brings a healing like no other.

    Yesterday, my son swam the length of that pool. Twice — with both arms moving — and then he asked if he could try out for the swim team.

    Over time, things have gotten better, thanks to God's power and the gifting He has given many capable medical professionals.

    I'm not going to sugarcoat things. My son still has an injury and his arm will never be perfect. My mother's heart will always want to fix that, but I can't.

    But you need to know that time has brought healing. With the passing of time, I have learned the depths of pain I experienced are matched equally with the heights of joy. God can make all things beautiful with time.

    How is that possible?

    God changes us and our perspective.

    He allows us to see what He sees. He shows us that when things are not always as perfect, easy or as straightforward as we would like them to be, they still can be beautiful.

    This isn't always easy to learn. You or someone you love may have to live with the reality of a mind, body or soul injury. With all your heart, you may always want to fix, change or redo something ... and you can't.

    Some things may never be perfect. But with time, God can take the hard and make you happy. He can take the sorrow and make you smile.

    He can turn the mountain you are climbing of grief or regret into a place where you can view the beautiful landscaping He has created on your behalf.

    Resist the urge to tuck your tail and hide every time you run into the hard, because you will not only be hiding from the bad, you will be exempting yourself from the good that's down the road.

    God makes things beautiful in time. Hang in there. Have the courage to allow time to pass between your place of pain and unveiling of joy.

    Father God, I wish I could fix everything. I wish I could make it all just the way I want it to be. Truth be told ... I get frustrated when I can't. Help me to wait on You and Your timing. Give me courage to trust You and believe that You are good, despite how things may feel. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Psalm 71:16-17, "I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign LORD; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone. Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    What in your life do you wish you could "fix" on your own? Do you think you are trusting God despite what's "broken"?

    Have you ever experienced God making things beautiful with time? Click HERE to leave a comment and share your thoughts today, as it might give others hope as they wait on God's timing.

    © 2014 by Chrystal Evans Hurst. 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 Ecclesiastes

  • Our Providing Father

    Posted on July 2, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Give us today our daily bread. Matthew 6:11

    Our heavenly Father is our provider. He gives us each day what we need. It is in the moment that He gives, so we can be content with His provision. Daily bread may not be as exciting as His future provision toward a big idea. However, each day He supplies one link in His caring chain that binds our hearts to His. If we take for granted His day by day care, we grow discontent or worse, demanding. Humility doesn’t assume daily bread, so it asks God in grateful dependence.

    Daily bread is a daily reminder of Who provides the most basic necessities in our lives. The air we breathe, the rain that moistens the soil and the sun that warms our faces are all life giving blessings from the Lord. We ask for daily bread, because we need the reminder of the source of our provision--the Bread of Life--Jesus. He who created a beautiful world from chaos brings beauty to our chaotic lives. Our daily bread from heaven feeds our body and satisfies our soul.

    "Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread” (Proverbs 30:8).

    Since pride struggles to ask for anything and busyness forgets to ask, how can we remember to ask our heavenly Father for His daily provision? A grateful prayer before a meal is a good beginning. Perhaps we pray with bowed heads, “Heavenly Father, I am extremely grateful for this meal You have provided for the nourishment of my body and soul. You are my generous and loving provider. Thank You in Jesus' name, amen.” Daily bread deserves daily gratitude to God.

    Our heavenly Father’s provisional daily bread may be the slightly soiled ‘hand me down’ clothes from a friend’s older child. It could be a neighbor’s used piece of furniture left on the curbside to be taken away. Or, He may provide a shiny new car or piece of jewelry. However our Father in heaven provides for our needs, even wants--we praise Him for His faithfulness. When we ask for daily bread we learn to trust Him with a little, so we are prepared to trust Him with a lot.

    “Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant” (Jonah 4:6).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I trust You for my daily bread and I am extremely grateful for Your abundant provision.

    Related Readings: Genesis 22:8, 14; 2 Kings 13:5; Psalm 65:9, 68:10; 1 Timothy 6:17; 1 Peter 4:11

    Post/Tweet today:.. When we ask for daily bread we learn to trust God with a little, so we are prepared to trust Him with a lot. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved. www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • Not Defined by the Size of Our Jeans

    Posted on July 2, 2014 by Emily T Wieringa

    Emily T. Wierenga

    "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NASB)

    The moon was a slice of white in the night sky.

    It looked like the rim of a coffee mug, the mug with a picture of a teddy bear saying "I love you beary, beary much" ... the mug my brother gave me when I was 13 and hospitalized for anorexia.

    Here I was again, in a green hospital gown, only this time, I wasn't hypothermic and 60 pounds.

    This time I was holding a baby doctors had said I'd never be able to have. He was 8 pounds, 2 ounces, his name was Aiden Grey and I couldn't stop crying. Because he couldn't stop hiccupping.

    "Is he okay?" I touched the nurse's elbow as she straightened my sheets.

    She smiled. "Yes," she said. "There's nothing that can be done for hiccupping — it just has to take its course," and I tucked Aiden close to my heart, because I couldn't tuck him back into my womb.

    I have two sons now, and I've had two miscarriages too, and there's nothing harder than watching your body fail your baby. But God — He never fails.

    He is always there. Even in the miscarriage.

    He was there when I was a pastor's kid who began starving herself at age 9; when I was an 18-year-old hippie who ran away from home and traveled the world searching for faith. When I came home to a mother who was dying from brain cancer, who still sang Great is Thy Faithfulness from somewhere deep her in sleep.

    In the midst of our pain, He is there, hanging from a cross, only to rise again.

    When I was young I stopped eating to avoid feeling pain. Now, I'm learning to wait for the resurrection. I'm learning to trust God in the ache.

    This past spring, I looked out my office window, saw snow on the ground, and my 2-year-old jumping on our trampoline.

    Naked.

    His clothes strewn around him, and he was singing.

    I laughed even as I ran to cover him, but secretly, I was envious. I envied the freedom to sing naked, oblivious to the audience of a highway running perpendicular to our house.

    Perhaps this is a picture of what God's Word invites us to do in 1 Peter 5:7, where it says cast "all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you."

    It's not easy to truly cast our anxiety on Jesus in a world that tells us we are defined by the size of our jeans. It's a lot easier to hide, than trust Jesus with our pain, or our questions about who we are and if we matter.

    And I think it's somewhere in there, in that quiet place of being loved — in the mother's embrace of her baby — that we find ourselves.

    The other night in a rare moment of quiet in my house, I felt as if I had stepped straight into love. Like it had been waiting there for me the whole time.

    I saw the real me: a passionate, scatter-brained 33-year-old woman who loves the world deeply and laughs loudly and needs alone time. Who gets paint on the kitchen table when she's making art, who would rather write than do housework, who has tattoos, who cries when her sons refuse to listen to her.

    And suddenly I knew who I was. Right in the middle of that sacred moment surrounded by Legos and train tracks.

    I was loved.

    It's who we all are, friends.

    We're not defined by the size of our jeans. We're not the sum of our Twitter followers or the square feet of our house.

    We are God's daughters, tucked in His arms, where He aches over hiccups, where He longs to carry our worries, and where He would die for us.

    He did die for us. Yes, this, friends.

    We are loved.

    Dear God, help me know You love me. Help me feel Your caring arms around me today, even in the dark. Help me hear Your voice singing over me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Psalm 46:10, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Have you ever felt your Abba Father's presence in the midst of a difficult time in your life? If so, how?

    Are you clinging to fear, or do you know the kind of love that casts it far, the kind that evokes utter peace and joy?

    © 2014 by Emily T. Wierenga. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Baker Publishing Group for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

    Click here to view our policy on 3rd party links.

    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 Peter

  • Our Purposeful Father

    Posted on July 1, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Bring about Your kingdom. Manifest Your will here on earth, as it is manifest in heaven. Matthew 6:10, The Voice

    Almighty God is intentional in building His kingdom on earth. Unseen by the naked eye of  natural man, the Lord is at work behind the scenes facilitating spiritual outcomes. Earthly kings build their kingdoms, but ultimately it is the kingdom of heaven that reigns. So, to be on the right side of history (His Story), we align with what God is doing by prayer. We submit to His reign in our hearts, so His Kingdom comes within us before it manifests itself out to the world.

    What are the purposes of our heavenly Father? How can our lives line up with what the Lord wants? We know our heavenly Father’s major purpose is growing our love relationship with Him. He is our King who loves us, His citizens, so we can grow to love and accept His gracious governance of our lives. Our king Jesus died for us, so by His resurrection power, we die for Him. Yes, we pray for His love to rule our hearts and motivate our words and deeds.

    “Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him” (James 2:5)?

    The love of the Lord is an attractive advertisement to a lost and confused world. They see love and they wonder, 'Why?'. Why do we take the time to listen to a person’s story and enter into their life? Why do we give expertise and cash to help alleviate suffering and help create opportunities? Love is God’s greatest command, so we model for others our joyful privilege to love and be loved by the Lord. Yes, the kingdom of God is built on the love of God. God’s will is manifest on earth every time we love in Jesus' name. His kingdom of love defeats the kingdom of hate.

    Therefore, the more complete we become in Christ, the more the Kingdom of Heaven manifests itself in our lives. We usher in His dominion every time we pray for His will to be done down here, like it is up there. For example, oneness of heart with the Lord means we refrain from having to have the last word. Unity of soul with God means we are content to grow in our character above needing the praise of our peers. Alignment with the Almighty’s agenda supports the advancement of His Kingdom and the retreat of our own. We either pray our kingdom come or His Kingdom come, amen!

    “Giving joyful thanks to the Father,who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdomof the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:12-14).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray for Your Kingdom to come into my life, so Your Kingdom can be manifest in the kingdoms of this world.

    Related Readings: Luke 17:21; Acts 26:18; Ephesians 5:20; 2 Peter 1:11

    Post/Tweet today:.. Oneness of heart with the Lord’s heart means refraining from having to have the last word. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved. www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • When You Feel a Little Stalled

    Posted on July 1, 2014 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:2 (NIV)

    I hung on to a vine to climb over one more rock. My heart was beating hard, and I struggled to catch my breath.

    My friend turned in concern. "Are you okay?"

    Well, yes and no.

    When we started the hike I knew it was challenging, but I hiked often and this wasn't my first tough trail to navigate. What I didn't anticipate was the combination of elevation and the steepness of the climb.

    I paused for a few moments until my heart rate settled down and my lungs expanded to catch a breath. While waiting, I soaked in the sight of water splashing down over huge rocks and tree branches bending down as if to pray. Roots from hundred-year-old trees laced up the trail.

    Yes, the path was hard, and it required more of me than I thought, but it was worth it.

    Sometimes our faith can feel the same way. We started this journey because we wanted more of Jesus, but somewhere along the way it got hard.

    Really hard.

    In those hard times you might even feel stalled. And it's at those moments when the enemy can declare you're a failure or you don't measure up. May I share something with you?

    Feeling stalled is different than being stagnant.

    Feeling stalled can be a result of moving forward. There was a time you didn't even know you weren't moving, and now — because of what God has done in your heart — you are aware of those days when old behavior or feelings creep in. You know when you feel further from God.

    Stagnant, on the other hand, is never moving. It's staying away from the hard parts. It's throwing your hands in the air and giving up.

    So, what do you do when you feel stalled?

    Celebrate how far you've come.

    Look back. Where did you begin? How have you grown? Check out the beauty of what God has already done within you.

    Ask for wisdom.

    You don't have to figure out the entire journey. Ask God for the next step, and the next after that. He promises to give us wisdom when we ask for it (James 1:5).

    Allow Him to work in you before you move on.

    On the mountain, my body was signaling that I wasn't getting enough oxygen. I needed to breathe deeply. To allow my heart rate to rest. Perhaps this is the perfect time to allow God to fill you or give you the necessary tools before you move ahead.

    Invite God into that stalled place.

    In Isaiah 43:2, we are promised that God walks with us through hard times. Our key verse says: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."

    When I stopped to rest on the mountain, my friend sat beside me. That harder place turned into a time of conversation and kinship.

    Your stalled place can be a time of intimacy with a God who loves you deeply.

    And what about when you finally arrive?

    When I finished the hike, I lay in the grass and threw my arms out at my sides in exhaustion and joy.

    I had experienced sights that I would have never experienced otherwise. I learned what I could do, and what might help me the next time around.

    If you've been feeling a little stalled, take heart. Feeling stalled is different than being stagnant. With God's help, your stalled place can become a beautiful part of the adventure.

    Dear Lord, I feel a little stalled today, but I praise You because I am not stagnant. Thank You for helping me find You in the hard places of my faith. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Psalm 61:2, "From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety." (NLT)

    Isaiah 30:15b, "... in quietness and trust is your strength ..." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    C. S. Lewis said, "Feelings come and go, and when they come a good use can be made of them, but they cannot be our regular spiritual diet." How does this quote resonate with you?

    Just as Suzie filled her lungs with air when she was feeling stalled, what is one way you can fill up spiritually when you feel a little stalled?

    © 2014 by Suzie Eller. 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 Isaiah

  • Power of the Path

    Posted on June 30, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    I [the angel of the Lord] have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. Numbers 22:32 b

    The path you choose is the path you use. It may be a path of pride or a path of humility. The path may stimulate purity or impurity. It could be a path of wisdom or a path of foolishness. The path may be one of cooperation or a path of independence. Your path may be family friendly, or hostile to the health of your home. Watch the path of success as it can easily veer down the path of lost accountability. The path you choose is the path you use. So, be very wise about the choices you make. Make sure the path you traverse meanders through the woods of God’s will. Your path is a picture of overlaid choices. One after another, your daily decisions carve out a well beaten path. But do not be deceived, every path leads somewhere.

    "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it" (Matthew 7:13-14). Your current path is not insignificant. If it is a path of preparation, then prepare well. A well prepared path paves the way for opportunity. This is the path of patient preparation. The more you prepare the wider this path becomes. The less you prepare the more narrow it becomes. The path of preparation may seem long and onerous at times, but be patient.

    Your faithfulness now will bolster your influence later. The path of preparation requires persevering patience. Travel this path with focused attention. Enjoy the ride, for these may be the simplest days of your life. The path of preparation is the strong foundation of any excellent and eternally significant endeavor.

    Another path to walk wisely upon is the path of personal intimacy with God. It is easy to overlook this path because of familiarity or busyness. But without a worn out path to God, you will wear out. It is a path that requires discipline, but the fruit of your faith’s exercise will serve you throughout life. When you walk the path of intimacy with God, He fills you with His peace, security and hope. It is not a path of quick fixes, rather one of trust and endurance.

    Traveling a path without God is like walking in the country on a moonless night or, running blindfolded through a city during the day. In either case there is a lot of activity, but it is filled with fear, confusion, misdirection and eventual hurt. Indeed, the path of God is not without pain or uncertainty. But as you travel on His path you are filled with His presence.

    As you travel with God, be ever mindful of His guardrails of grace, love and law. They are there for your protection. They keep you from straying off His path of kingdom purpose. The worldly road most traveled is reckless compared to the less traveled path of heaven’s security. Choose daily the wise path of confession and consultation with your creator. The path of obedience to God leads to peace with God.

    "Show me your ways, lord, teach me your paths" (Psalm 25:4).

    Prayer: Am I on the proper path to fulfill the Lord's purposes for my life?

    Related Readings: Proverbs 2:15; Psalm 119:35; Luke 1:79; Acts 2:28

    Post/Tweet today:. Our faithfulness now will bolster our influence later. The path of preparation requires persevering patience. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved. www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • The Best Approach with a Frenemy

    Posted on June 30, 2014 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie Miles

    "The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? Yes, the LORD is for me; he will help me. I will look in triumph at those who hate me." Psalm 118:6-7 (NLT)

    Day after day, month after month, the hurtful behavior continued. The longer it went on, the stronger my emotions grew.

    Someone who'd been a friend to my daughter had somehow become an enemy. Not an enemy with physical strength, but rather one armed with the power to injure through hurtful words, lies and gossip while manipulating others to do the same. Each day presented a new conflict, inducing heightened feelings of rejection, isolation and lowered self-esteem.

    We reported the issue to the appropriate people, but despite many attempts, nothing changed. We felt hopeless. When yet another situation sent my daughter home from school in tears, I felt my hostility and frustration bubbling to the surface, and knew I was faced with choices about my own behavior.

    I could fuel my daughter's anger by reminding her of all the reasons she had a right to be mad, causing both of us to grow more bitter.

    I could allow hostility to become a stronghold in my heart and refuse to forgive.

    I could talk to my friends and family about the situation, soliciting their support.

    I could cry buckets of tears, although that wouldn't dry the tears of my daughter.

    Unfortunately I did a little of all that, because nothing hurts a mom's heart more than when her child's heart is broken or her spirit is crushed. But eventually, I grew weary of my emotions holding me hostage and turned to prayer instead of pouting.

    I prayed daily for God to give us both the strength to continue trusting His purpose for my daughter's pain. I asked God to help me see those involved through His eyes, instead of my own — which were tainted with anger and concern for my own child. I prayed for Him to intervene and give us hope, peace and the comfort that only He could provide. I also prayed for God to help me forgive, when nothing in me wanted to.

    As I sat down and prayed with my daughter, we discussed these words from Psalm 118:6-7a, "The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? Yes, the LORD is for me; he will help me."

    I reminded her (and myself) of the truth of the Psalmists words, that regardless of what anyone said or did, God still was on her side. I wanted her to know eventually this difficult season would pass, but in the meantime she could find strength and courage in Christ. A tear fell as she promised to try and remember God would be with her every step of the way.

    Even in the face of suffering and heartache, the Psalmist chose not to fear but instead focus on the favor of God, trusting He would protect and prevail over his difficult situation. He remained calm, confident and focused on God, intentionally choosing to fight his enemies with faith. As a mom, I knew our faith was the best choice for us as well.

    We knew we couldn't force anyone to alter the way they treat others. Only God can change a heart. But we could choose to trust God and approach this situation the best way possible — through the eyes of faith.

    Lord, I know You see our children and what they are going through. Help me to know how to speak truth into their lives, and help us have strength and courage to continue trusting You are bigger than our conflicts. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Editor's Note: If you or someone you love is facing a bullying situation, please report it immediately to someone in authority and make sure you or your loved ones are safe.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Proverbs 18:10, "The name of the LORD is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe." (NLT)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    If your child is hurting due to a similar situation, which have you been doing more: praying or pouting?

    If you struggle with negative emotions stemming from concern over your child's situation, write a prayer to God seeking His strength. Ask God for help to push past feelings, focus on faith and discern how best to handle the problem.

    © 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 Psalm

  • Live in the Moment

    Posted on June 29, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    For the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.    Luke 1:49

    Master living in the moment. By God’s grace, it can be done. Mary did it. She could have missed the Mighty One working in her presence in the present, but she didn’t. She took the time to trust God with an impossible outcome. Birthing a baby conceived by the Holy Spirit challenged her categories. It forced her to ponder in the present. She chose to be with her heavenly Father in the here and now. Nothing would keep her from living with and for the Lord in this defining moment.

    She could have lived in the past, worried over the rampant rumors of her perceived unfaithfulness. She was pregnant out of wedlock. People did not understand a pregnancy created by God, without a man. She could have lived in the future, paralyzed by fear over what the human father of her child might do. He might have deserted her. He might have divorced her. He might have denied her. But when all was said and done, she refrained from living in the past or the present. She chose to live in the moment.

    Mary lived in the moment because she trusted her Lord with issues out of her control. She could not control what other people thought or what other people might do. Therefore, she drank in the present like a tall glass of homemade lemonade on a hot summer day. Living in the moment fed her faith and satisfied her soul. Her son, Jesus, would save the people from their sins, and He would also save her. She captured His significance, and Christ captured her. He is with you in the moment too, so you can live in the moment.

    Living in the moment is what the Lord longs for you to do. It’s where He does His best work. He knows that living in the moment engages you with His will, as it is lived out in the present. So if you are with your children, be with them. Laugh with them, cry with them, listen to them, play with them, and pray for them. Lock eyes with your little ones and be with them. Turn off your mind and heart and keep them from running ahead to other issues, problems, and people. These distractions will still be standing in line for your attention when you get back to work. Value living in the moment, and you will live in the moment; for you do what you think is important. Technology was made for man, not man for technology.

    So turn off your phone, shut down the computer, and most important, discipline your mind to be present. Bend your mind to listen well and honor others with your purposeful presence. Your undivided attention in the moment says you love and care. Trust God with all the impossible outcomes that await you. You have this one moment, then it is gone forever. So be engaged today, be with the ones you love. Live in the moment, and other things will take care of themselves. Do this one thing, and you will live the life God intended for you. Master living in the moment with the discipline and love of your Master. Seize the moment for your Savior, for other people, and for yourself.

    Post/Tweet today: We live in the moment and trust other things will take care of themselves. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved. www.wisdomhunters.com


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

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