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  • Kirk Cameron Mercy Rule

Daily Devotion

  • Relational Investment Plan

    Posted on January 17, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. Titus 1:4

    Relational investments compound into eternity. Yes, loving people takes time, effort and perseverance, but the dividends pay off handsomely. For example, we can regularly read a children’s bible to our little one and not see immediate character change, but hopefully over time they will accept the Scripture as God’s wisdom and love letter to them personally. Or, our efforts to encourage a friend may be frustrating, but at least they know we love them unconditionally.

    Who needs your intentional attention in this season of life? A co-worker? A relative? A neighbor?  Relational involvement is messy, so ask the Lord for His grace, patience and forgiveness to fill your soul. Go the extra third and fourth mile to serve, even if someone takes advantage of your good will. Better to take the risk to love than to hide your affections from a hurting heart. If you receive a cold shoulder for your care, keep a warm heart. Love is the best relational investment.

    A new command I [Jesus] give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34

    We love like Jesus when we share our life with people. We eat together, we travel together, we worship together, we pray together, we study the Bible together, we work together, we play together, we laugh together and we cry together. Perhaps there is someone who needs to live in our home for a defined period of time. They understand their exit strategy after six months and they agree to abide by the ground rules of mutual respect, church attendance and doing chores. Our home is an incubator for relational development. An open home opens hearts to Jesus.

    Furthermore, a solid relational investment plan requires a focus on faith. Equip another teachable soul in the tenets of trusting God. Pray with them, discuss the Bible with them, share your struggles with them and talk of the Lord’s faithfulness in your life. Or, you may facilitate a book club with a few friends, join a small group from your church or take a mission trip. Have a mutual fund of diverse friendships and you will never go relationally broke. Be grateful and give more than you receive in all relationships. Your relational investments will grow into true riches! Learn from a relational hero of mine Dan Glaze... http://bit.ly/KkUJQz

    We cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 1 Thessalonians 2:8

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, show me who I need to invest my life in with love and service for Your sake.

    Related Readings: Genesis 13:8; Luke 16:11; Acts 2:44-45; Ephesians 5:2; 1 Peter 1:22

    Post/Tweet today: Invest in a mutual fund of diverse friendships and you will never go relationally broke. #relationalinvestmentplan

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • Not What I Expected

    Posted on January 17, 2014 by Lynn Cowell

    Lynn Cowell

    "So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." Luke 15:20 (NIV)

    My daughter, her two friends and I packed the car for our overnight trip to the mountains. Our plan was to pick up my son and head for the slopes for a wonderful day of tubing and making memories in the snow. Then reality set in with a series of disappointments.

    Disappointment #1: When we arrived at my son's apartment, he had decided not to go snow tubing with us.

    Disappointment #2: The bitter wind made me want to crawl back in my car.

    Disappointment #3: The girls weren't having as much fun as I had expected.

    Disappointment #4: When we arrived at the cabin, it wasn't clean.

    By this point, disappointment draped itself over my heart. So when the girls asked if there was an alternative to the homemade lasagna I'd planned for supper, I felt like losing it! I didn't yell, but you know you don't have to yell at someone to "yell" at someone!

    The small issues throughout the day had created one big issue in my heart. My expectations that this mountain excursion was going to recharge, rejuvenate, renew me didn't happen!

    Expectations of others can easily cause bumps in my relationships. Often when I hit one of those bumps, I choose to wait. Wait for the phone call, text or email saying "I'm sorry" before moving on.

    However, the Bible shows me a different way to respond to unmet expectations using the example of the father in the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15.

    In the story, the son showed an audacious amount of disrespect by requesting his inheritance while his father was still living. As a parent, you could interpret this rudeness on endless levels. I am sure the father was more inconvenienced or disappointed than I was that snowy day in the mountains.

    To make matters worse, the son's choices after receiving the money caused more heartache. He had wasted his entire inheritance and had nowhere to go. So this desperate young man headed home.

    It is the father's next step that humbles me and causes me to reconsider my response to disappointment: "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him ..."

    While he was still a long way off ...

    The father had no idea why the son was returning. He could have been coming to ask for more money or possessions or land. However, no matter the son's motives or attitude, the father's love was in motion as soon as he saw his son. Not holding back to see what the son had to say, the father gave his love.

    I wonder if like me, the father was ever tempted to keep score. If he did, not only would it have been uneven, there would have been a huge deficit. Father: 100. Son: -100.

    Thankfully, God, our Heavenly father, is like the father in Luke 15. He continually extends love to us despite the deficit we bring to the relationship. He settled the score when Jesus died on the cross to take away our sin.

    Because God freely and unconditionally pours love on me, I can freely give to others. I, too, can give up keeping score—with my family, my friends, even with the rude woman in customer service.

    Because I am forgiven, loved and embraced I can forgive, love and embrace.

    The father demonstrated love. He ran, he kissed, he gave. Love that is demonstrated is love that is felt. John 15:13 says, "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends" (NIV).

    For me, I demonstrate love by laying down my expectations of others and stop keeping score. This becomes easier when I understand God's great, unconditional love for me.

    Thank you, Father for demonstrating a different way. Your love, through us, makes it possible to love others. Help me stop keeping score and open my eyes to see Your love poured over me. Teach me to rely on that love so I can pour love over others. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Write a note to that person in your life you've had a hard time not keeping score with. Assure them of your love for them!

    Power Verse:
    John 15:9, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lynn Cowell. 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 Luke

  • Physical Care Plan

    Posted on January 16, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own. 1 Corinthians 6:19

    The Holy Spirit has such a high regard for our body that he makes His residence within us. Our body His temple, is His holy habitation. We wouldn’t desecrate a church with unholy influences, nor should we mistreat the temple of the Holy Spirit with unhealthy influences. Indeed, it is our spiritual responsibility to nourish and care for what God owns and allows us to inhabit. We seek to make wise decisions in our physical care plan since our soulmate, God’s Spirit, lives within us.

    A plan to care for our body protects us from abuse and neglect. Yes, God’s pinnacle of creation is fearfully and wonderfully made, evidenced by its resilience to restore and heal itself. Though elegantly created, its lifetime is brief with only the soul living on into eternity. So in the meantime we are called to give intentional physical care to our body. The Maker of our marvelous self expects us to love our body as He does. We care for ourselves so we can care for others.

    Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church. Ephesians 5:28-29

    What does it mean for us to feed and care for our body as Christ does the church? For one, He cherishes and nourishes the church, His Body, with what is necessary for its growth, holiness and happinesses. In the same way we love our body by submitting it to a healthy diet and regular exercise. Hence, we grow to love, respect and enjoy ourselves as God does. So, our physical care plan can include healthy meals at home, a workout partner and a competent, caring physician.

    Perhaps a fast is necessary to refocus on the Lord and flush toxins from our system. A break from solid food can be a solid remedy to break us from its addictive influence. Food is for our physical nourishment and emotional enjoyment, not to become an idol over consumption. What consumes us controls us. So, perhaps we start with a juice fast for three days before we tackle a water only fast for a week. A fast can recalibrate our physical and spiritual desires with God’s will. Learn more about fasting from my friend Chris White... http://bit.ly/1cmqnGh.

    When you fast, wash your face and beautify yourself with oil, so no one who looks at you will know about your discipline. Only your Father, who is unseen, will see your fast. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:17-18, The Voice

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, my heart’s desire is to nourish and care for my body as Christ does for His body the church.

    Related Readings: 1 Samuel 7:6; Daniel 1:15-16; Psalm 139:14; Matthew 4:2; Acts 14:23

    Post/Tweet today: What consumes us controls us. #physicalcareplan

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 1 Corinthians

  • Isn't This Just a Small Thing?

    Posted on January 16, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food." Romans 14:19-20a (NIV)

    I always considered my food struggle as a small thing in light of the bigger challenges of life.

    I can remember saying, "God, you can mess with my pride, you can mess with my anger, you can mess with my money, you can mess with my selfishness, you can mess with my frustration with my children, you can mess with the times I disrespect my husband ... you can mess with all that, but don't mess with my overeating." However, small things can easily become big things. Consider this example.

    On January 15, 2009, Flight 1549 took off from New York's LaGuardia Airport with 155 occupants on board. The takeoff went fine, but three minutes later, at only three thousand feet, the plane encountered a flock of geese. Both engines shut down. Captain "Sully" Sullenberger had to make an immediate decision with life or death consequences. He made a miraculously successful emergency landing on the Hudson River.

    Those geese were small, but they brought down an entire plane. Small things can easily become big things. We would do well to remember this principle.

    Let's begin to acknowledge the "big" emotions that often accompany our "little" food struggles. I realized that I constantly bounced between feeling deprived and guilty; deprived, then guilty. My disgust and frustration with myself stripped me of the peace and joy that I wanted to be the hallmark of my life.

    Having peace is a big deal. Scripture tells us to let the peace of God rule in our hearts (Colossians 3:15). Isn't peace what we want in every area of our lives — even our health? Is your heart dominated by feelings of inadequacy, self-loathing, or defeat about your food struggles? Those are big emotions.

    Whenever we feel defeated by an issue, it can prevent us from following God completely. That's why my weight loss goal isn't a number on the scale. My real weight loss goal is peace. I knew I would be successful one day when I stood on the scale and I felt peace, no matter what the number said.

    As we move through our healthy eating journey, the goal shouldn't just be a smaller waistline measurement, but a larger measure of peace. The apostle Paul puts it this way: "Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food" (Romans 14:19-20a). In other words, don't let a small thing become a big thing.

    I often ask myself this pivotal question before making a food choice: Will this choice add to my peace or steal from it? Remember, nothing tastes as good as peace feels.

    Dear Lord, Your peace is what I plead for today. I don't want my focus to be on food, a number on the scale, insecurity, or inadequacy. I want my focus to be on You. That is where I will find true peace. In Jesus' name. Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What "big" emotions are accompanying your "little" struggle?

    Whether it's a struggle with food or something else, write down the emotions you feel when you think about it.

    Then, write down action steps you can take to move away from those feelings and toward peace. Start with talking to the Lord and offering up this struggle to Him.

    Power Verse:
    Colossians 3:15, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Financial Management Plan

    Posted on January 15, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. Matthew 25:16

    Money manages people or people manage money. It is a productive servant, but a dreadful master. Thus, a financial plan is necessary to organize assets around a system to spend, give and save. Simple processes offer checks and balances to keep the check book balanced, avoid debt, pay taxes, stay accountable to not over spend, be generous, and prepare not presume on the future. Our Heavenly Father entrusts us with His material blessings to be wise managers.

    Perhaps you start by recording all your expenditures over a month. Watch closely how much it takes you to live, save receipts from everything: coffee, gasoline, books, magazines, food, eating out, medical, house and car repair. Store the amount of the receipts on a budgeting app or spreadsheet. This discipline to details gives you a realistic understanding of what it costs to live. You may discover the need to designate more funds to areas that are subtle spending costs.

    Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer. Proverbs 30:24-25

    Like the tiny ant we are extremely wise to define our needs and prepare a financial plan to facilitate good outcomes. For example, God expects and blesses generosity. Giving marks mature followers of Jesus. So, we start by giving 10% of our income before taxes to the Lord’s work. We also save 5% in a short term contingency account and 5% for long term savings. Now we are positioned to spend responsibly after investing in what’s most important. Wisdom plans well. Learn from my friend Greg Stipe on the good example of C.S Lewis’ life: http://bit.ly/1hUFvN4

    Above all, be prayerful and nimble in your approach to financial planning. Make sure the plan serves your priorities, if it doesn’t, modify the plan to meet your needs. Every season is different, so be aware of how you must adjust. For example, you may have to choose between private education now for your child or a college fund for later. Don’t put unrealistic pressure on your family to do both if it erases your financial margin or dips into debt. A financial plan is freedom.

    The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. Proverbs 21:5

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me by Your Spirit to plan and manage well Your material blessings.

    Related Readings: Proverbs 15:22, 25:28; Luke 12:16-21, 14:28-30; 1 Timothy 6:6-10

    Post/Tweet today: Money manages people or people manage money. It is a productive servant, but a dreadful master. #financialplan

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • Grace in the Middle

    Posted on January 15, 2014 by Alicia Bruxvoort

    Alicia Bruxvoort

    "Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)

    She is slumped on the couch all grumpy and mad, her lips pursed in a dramatic pout. "Why didn't you name ME Elizabeth Grace?" my little girl asks as she punctuates her big sister's name with a hiss of frustration.

    I set down the laundry basket I'm lugging through the living room and turn my head toward my four-year-old.

    Her blue eyes churn indignant like a thundercloud on a hot summer's day, and this girl of mine who is never satisfied with the name I chose crosses her arms in front of her chest with a big harrumph.

    Trying not to laugh at the theatrics, I move to the couch where my daughter sits sulking. I push back the bangs hanging haphazard across her forehead and slump lower on the cushions so we can perch head to head.

    "I didn't name you Elizabeth Grace," I murmur in her ear, "because when you were tucked in my tummy, God gave me the name Magdalene Hope."

    I let my words dangle in the air, the sound of Maggie's sniffled breathing ticking off the silent seconds. I hold my little one's hand and say, "And once God whispered that name to my heart, I knew that's exactly who you were going to be. Our one and only Maggie Hope."

    My dramatic girl raises an eyebrow and sighs, her vexation melting into sadness.

    "But I just want Grace in my middle, Mom. Right between Maggie Moo and Bwuxfort..."

    She adds her nickname to the mix and slaughters our fine Dutch surname, but her gaze is so earnest that now I'm not even tempted to giggle.

    Instead, I pull my fifth-born onto my lap and rock her ever so slightly. And as I rest my chin on her tangle-haired-head, I understand her wish.

    Grace in the middle. Who doesn't need that?

    No matter where life on this earth begins or how it ends, we all need a little grace in the middle. We were made with purpose and our Savior promises joy in the end. But making it through the middle? That's a different story.

    The middle is where hours creep long and the view wanes dim. It's where the starting block feels like a distant memory and the finish line looms like an impossible dream.

    The middle can douse our dreams, derail our zeal, and diminish our faith. It can make us desperate. For mercy. For hope. For grace.

    • When the baby's teething and the toddler's tantrum-ing.

    • When the dishes pile high and the laundry's run wild.

    • When our souls are empty and our calendars are filled, when our dinner tables are noisy and our accolades are quiet.

    • When the bread's burning and our patience has gone up in smoke, when our best isn't good enough and our worst is magnified.

    Right in the middle of that darkness, right in the middle of that mess, we need grace.

    Grace to take one more step, to utter one more prayer, to risk rejection one more time. Grace to trust in His promises and to cling to His hand.

    We linger long there on the couch, me and my girl who wants a new name.

    We just rock and cuddle and listen to the patter of rain on the window, the hum of the washing machine a floor below.

    And instead of offering my mopey Maggie a lecture on the grandeur of her given name, I simply hold her. Hold her with compassion, right in that middle place of wishing for something different and trying to accept what really is.

    And this mom, living somewhere between my beginning and my end, reminds her little girl of one simple truth (Because sometimes we just need to say it aloud for our own road-weary souls):

    There is only one name worthy of our wishing, one name deserving of our dreams. And when we keep that name in the middle of our madness, He offers hope in our beginning, glory in our end, and grace for every moment in-between.

    Jesus.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for being here with me in the middle. May Your grace sustain me in the long days, giving me perspective, courage and hope. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What circumstance are you facing today where you need God to step in with His gracious help?

    Is there someone you know who needs your help? Consider how you can be God's hands and feet to someone this week.

    Power Verses:
    Numbers 6:25-26, "... the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Alicia Bruxvoort. 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 Hebrews, Grace

  • Spiritual Growth Plan

    Posted on January 14, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

    Scripture memory is a spiritual growth plan against sin, Satan and self. It is also His primary method of conforming us into the image of His son Jesus Christ. We all are privileged to renew our minds with the truth of Scripture and to cleanse our hearts with the purifying Word of God. Perhaps we commit to memory a verse a week related to what we are experiencing in life. Over the course of a year we will hide fifty-two nuggets of spiritual nourishment within our soul. Thus, when needed, the Spirit brings to mind what has been deposited deep within our hearts.

    We may not be the best at memorization, but we do seem to remember what engages our affections. Our ability to retain sports statistics and other details related to interests or hobbies should be trumped by the truth of Scripture. Sure, some have the uncanny ability to recite each word perfectly, some even paragraphs of content. We need not be intimidated, but work within our God given abilities. Let’s start off the new year with a systematic plan to retain the Word of the Lord.

    The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word. 1 Samuel 3:21

    Furthermore, the Lord reveals Himself through His word. We increasingly desire to know God, love God and obey God, as His word makes its way into the crevices of our character. We are conformed by the character of Christ as we mature in our understanding of the Word made flesh. Yes, we grow in our love for the Word as we grow in our love for Jesus since He was the Word revealed on earth. God’s secret weapon of scripture memory grows us into the likeness of Christ.

    We are wise to see scripture memory as a blessing not a burden. Be creative. We can listen to God’s word as we commute to work, exercise or do chores around the house. Download free Scripture memory cards (http://bit.ly/1cQ2N7y) you can display to review and recite. Yes, we follow Jesus’ example when we seamlessly say to Satan, “It is written.” God’s word written on our hearts through memorization and meditation equips us to stand strong in Him. The spiritual growth plan of hiding His word is used by seasoned saints who deeply know and love the Lord.

    How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.
    Psalm 119:9

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me hide Your word in my heart that I might know You, love You and obey You.

    Related Readings: Psalm 19:14; Jeremiah 15:16; Matthew 4:1-11; John 1:14; Ephesians 6:17

    Post/Tweet today: We increasingly desire to know God, as His word makes its way into the crevices of our character. #Scripturememory

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • Vulnerable Strength

    Posted on January 14, 2014 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    "If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them!" Luke 6:32 (NLT)

    Do you meet aggression with aggression and call it strength? Sometimes I do and it leads me to a place I never intended.

    Not long ago a friend told me someone had revealed her secret, and she wondered if I knew who it was. Though I told her no, she asked again. And yet again. Finally I realized she suspected I was the leak.

    My first reaction was surprise, then frustration.

    If you really knew me, you'd know I don't tell secrets.

    I didn't do anything wrong.

    I answered your question. Why are you still asking?

    There were many things I could have done in that instant, but somehow proving I was right was more important. Though I didn't raise my voice, it was clear in my stance and terse response that I was angry.

    Moments later, the Holy Spirit began to show me the bigger picture. My friend's questions were borne out of frustration and fear as the spilled secret could have created damage. Sadly, rather than have a conversation, I took a stand.

    Often, our default in these types of situations is to defend ourselves by meeting aggression with aggression. To throw a punch when we feel punched, whether that is verbal or passive aggressive.

    But is this really strength?

    In Luke 6, Jesus is teaching the disciples a hard truth. Life is not always fair. You might be accused unjustly. You might take a punch that hurts. Someone may move from friend to frenemy and it won't feel good.

    It's easy to respond in love in comfortable situations and with people who are kind. But what about the harder places? Jesus is showing the disciples that rather than aggression, there's a vulnerable strength that can heal conflict and lead to resolution.

    Vulnerable strength isn't a verbal assault. You speak the truth in love, but you let it settle rather than hammer it in.

    Vulnerable strength isn't an emotional outburst, rather it's working through misunderstanding.

    Vulnerable strength isn't one-sided, but it's stepping into another person's shoes for a moment to expand your understanding of the conflict.

    But this is the hard part. You might still get punched verbally, and you might still be at odds. Vulnerable strength doesn't guarantee a happy ending.

    When aggression is met with aggression, there are bound to be casualties. Vulnerable strength reduces the potential for casualties and paves a path for resolution. And if not, then as Luke 6:35 says, "you will truly be acting as children of the Most High ..." (NLT).

    Wouldn't it be unfortunate if we made it to the end of our lives and only loved those who loved us? What might we miss in those harder places of our faith?

    As I changed my approach to vulnerable strength rather than aggression, my friend and I worked through that painful conversation. Thanks to the Holy Spirit's prompting, I have an opportunity to move the focus from what I think someone does wrong, to what I can do better.

    Dear Lord, I have been focusing on what others said or did, instead of asking for Your insight. I have called aggression strength, whether it's been passive, or lashing out, or shutting out. Today, may I love others who seem unlovable with vulnerable strength. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Find a quiet place. Write down a recent offense and how it makes you feel. Then ask God to help you answer these questions:

    1. What were they trying to say? (Step into their shoes for a moment.)
    2. How did I respond? (Shift the focus from their wrongdoing to your potential to grow.)
    3. In what ways might I have responded differently? (How might this have impacted the direction of the conversation?)

    Power Verses:
    Matthew 5:46, "If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much." (NLT)

    1 Peter 1:2b, "May God give you more and more grace and peace." (NLT)

    © 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 Luke

  • Intentional Living

    Posted on January 13, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. Nehemiah 1:2

    Intentional living is meaningful living. It is an invitation to significance. Intentional living inquires where God may be working and then serves there. It's a wise balance between peering into the future at what can be accomplished, while focusing on what presently  needs to get done next. Intentionality separates good leaders from great leaders, average parents from exceptional parents, and mediocrity from excellence. Greatness insists on intentionality.

    Nehemiah was set for life. He had significant influence with the most powerful person on the planet. However, his heart was set on helping his people. He traded affluence and comfort for modesty and discomfort. Yes, intentional living is willing to let go of current success and replace it with lesser notoriety. For example, intentional parenting may require a pause in our career advancement to come home for a season until the children leave home. Faithfulness is deliberate.

    By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. Hebrews 11:24-25

    How can we be intentional in our time with God, our relationships and our leadership? If we desire to be a man or woman who understands and applies Scripture, then we plant it daily deep in our heart. If our goal is to be a loyal friend who is available in times of need, then we ask how we can pray and follow up with appropriate care. If we desire our leadership to be distinguished by wisdom then we intentionally grow in grace and humility. Wisdom grows in listening prayer.

    Therefore, be intentional with your time and money. See opportunities as good, bad or the best investment. By the Spirit’s discernment and godly advice avoid settling for the good, refuse the bad and embrace the best. Be intentional in your marriage to schedule marriage enrichment training along with an annual budget and calendar planning weekend. Be intentional in your diet and exercise. Most of all ask Jesus to lead you in His process. Intentional living anticipates God.

    He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. Hebrews 11:26-27

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me by Your Spirit to live a life of intentionality for Your glory.

    Related Readings: 1 Samuel 3:9; Psalm 37:4; John 15:4-5; Ephesian 6:13-15; Colossians 3:23

    Post/Tweet today: Use discernment and godly advice to not settle for the good, refuse the bad and embrace the best. #intentionalliving

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • The Three-Word Prayer God Loves

    Posted on January 13, 2014 by Stormie Omartian

    Stormie Omartian

    When my husband, Michael, and I were first married and differences arose between us, praying was definitely not my first thought. In fact, it was closer to a last resort. I tried other methods first, such as arguing, pleading, ignoring, avoiding, confronting, debating, and—of course—the ever-popular silent treatment. And the results? Not surprisingly, they were less than satisfying!

    When I did pray, often resentment, anger, unforgiveness, or an ungodly attitude clouded my communication with God. While I may have had a good reason for these emotions, my prayers were not coming from a right heart. What's more, I was praying that my husband would conform to my ideal image of him. My prayer was for God to change him into the person I wanted him to be.

    However, as I went to God in prayer every day, something unusual started to change—me. I was the one God decided to work on first, not my husband. Gently, the Lord began to soften my heart. Humble it. Mold it. And reconstruct it. As He did so, He erased the bitterness and resentment that were affecting my attitude and damaging my marriage.

    And this is how I came to discover a three-word prayer God loves: Change me, Lord.

    Gradually I came to realize that it was impossible to truly give myself in prayer for Michael without first examining my own heart.

    And it wasn't just my relationship with my husband that required me to pray this powerful three-word prayer. My relationship with my son and daughter required it. My relationships with my friends required it. Most of all, my relationship with God required it.

    Change me, Lord.

    I went into my prayer time with the goal of asking God to change others—making them less critical and more obedient. Less fearful. More loving.

    I came out of my prayer time with my own heart changed. My mind changed. My attitude changed. My life changed.

    Now, if you're like I was, this might make you mad at first. "Wait a minute!" you might object. "I'm not the one who needs changing here!"

    But God sees the things we can't see. He knows where we have room for improvement. He doesn't have to search long to uncover attitudes and habits that are outside His perfect will for us.

    Sometimes God uncovers sin in our hearts. This is important to identify because it separates us from Him and hinders our prayers being heard as Psalm 66:18 tells us, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear" (NKJV). God wants our hearts to be right so the answers to our prayers are not compromised.

    Early in my marriage, I knew it was important to pray for my husband. And a favorite trio of three-word prayers was often on my lips: Protect him, Lord. Save our marriage. Change him, Lord. I was convinced that this was the right way to pray, that God and I had the same goal in mind—a changed husband who was able to better meet my needs. But God's way is not always our way. God didn't choose to make those first changes in my husband. He chose to make them in me.

    One of the greatest gifts I could give to Michael was the gift of my own wholeness. One of the most effective tools in seeing transformation in his life was my own transformation.

    You have to trust that God is big enough to accomplish all this and more.

    I learned to pray a new prayer: Whatever you want, Lord. Show me and I'll do it. Change me, Lord.

    Lord, create in me a clean heart and a right spirit before You. Give me a new, positive, joyful, loving, and forgiving attitude toward others. Where there is anything that needs to change in me, I pray You would enable that change to happen. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    The Power of a Praying Woman by Stormie Omartian

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are you praying for God to change others but ignoring the possible change needed in you? What might God need to work on in your own life—selfishness, impatience, resentment—before your relationships with others can begin to change?

    When you begin to get frustrated with others, take a look at your own heart and pray Change me, Lord.

    Power Verses:
    1 Corinthians 10:24, "Let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well-being." (NKJV)

    Psalm 139:23, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties..." (NKJV)

    © 2014 by Stormie Omartian. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Harvest House Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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


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

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