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Daily Devotion

  • Eternal Optimist

    Posted on March 30, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18

    Eternal optimists base their optimism on the eternal, not the temporal. The temporal is consumed with current circumstances, while the eternal experiences eternal security. The temporal is anxious about another adverse event, while the eternal is at peace with Providence. The temporal trusts what it can see, while the eternal trusts in the unseen. Do you glance at the temporal and gaze on the eternal? If so, you are an eternal optimist.

    By faith we see the Lord, who is unseen, and this compels us to obey Christ. Moses experienced this during a time of transition. “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27). Your eternal optimism is what gives you the courage to carry on; so do not let temporal pessimists persuade you to lose heart. Stay fixed on your Savior, the author of your faith.

    Eternal optimism exits when fear gets the upper hand. Fear seeks to flush out your faith as irresponsible and irrelevant. However, it is faith that keeps you grounded in God, the definer of reality. The righteous learn to live in the reality of the Lord’s love and leadership. Pain and striving are temporary, but healing and peace are eternal. You can be optimistic, knowing by faith you can be certain of the unseen.

    “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).

    Lastly, are you a temporal pessimist or an eternal optimist? Are you striving to survive or thriving to succeed? Look to the unseen, and you will one day understand. Engage with the Almighty’s agenda, and your focus will be forever and your results eternally significant. Can your family and friends depend on you to be an eternal optimist? Your hopeful attitude in the eternal gives them reason to be optimists.

    Live and exclaim out loud: “There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off” (Proverbs 23:18).

    Prayer: Where is God calling me to see, with eyes of faith, the unseen, eternal optimism of Jesus?

    Related Readings: Psalm 73:26; Isaiah 51:10–11; Matthew 6:21; John 6:27

    Taken from the March 30th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 1”

    Post/Tweet today: The temporal trusts what it can see, while the eternal trusts in the unseen. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Best for Last

    Posted on March 29, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.   John 2:10

    Jesus sometimes saves the best for last. He delights in delivering the unexpected to the unsuspecting. He waits until there is opportunity to show up where the needs are rampant but the solutions are few. Then He meets the need unconventionally and boldly. Many times, this is His method because Christ is counter-intuitive. He wants others to ask “Why?”  Why did Jesus save the best for last? One reason the Lord saves the best for last is to honor the recipients. Those who persevere deserve the best. For example, in relationships, the fruit of long-term commitment produces the best experience. Trust, contentment, and fulfillment all earn their right in relationships that resolve to remain true.

    God blesses those who wait: “Wait for the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land.” (Psalm 37:34a). You experience the best God has to offer when you save yourself for marriage. Sex within the bonds of marriage exceeds exponentially the settlement of premarital capitulation to hormonally-driven sex. Otherwise, you risk disease and a lifetime of disrespect and regret. Waiting on the best brings out the best, for trust in God fosters hope that there must be something better to look forward to in the future. It protects you from impatient impulses that can instantly implode.

    Waiting for the best is difficult at times, because it means depending on others to accomplish the goal. The outcome is out of your direct control. You have to trust that others can execute the project better than you can by yourself. Your sphere of influence will remain stunted if you try to do everything yourself. You will be limited by your time, energy, and intellect. Your capacity is a drop in the bucket, compared to the resources of an aligned team; you need each other’s gifts and skills (Romans 12:4-5). It is your best that brings out the best in others. Therefore, be the best at what you do, and expect others to do their very best. Excellence attracts excellence, as mediocrity attracts mediocrity. Be the best that you can be and see to it that others do the same. Best breeds best.

    Lastly, trust Jesus to take people and circumstances under your influence and bring out His best. Let go, and let the Lord run with the opportunity. He may surprise you with joy. The best is yet to come if you look to the Lord for His best outcome. Your humble request of God will result in much more than you thought you were capable of, for Christ has no capacity issues. He is looking for those in whom He can trust with His best. He wants those whose faithfulness to Him far exceeds their earthly ambitions. Do whatever He says, and watch Him carry out His very best because obedience leads to His best. Believe the best is yet to come, and don’t settle for less. Believe the best in others. Trust Him for the very best. Expect the best, and be your best. Pray and ask God for His best. Be patient, wait on Him, and remind yourself often: He saves the best for last.

    Taken from the March 29th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 1”

    Post/Tweet today: Waiting on the best can bring out the best, so it can protect us from impatient impulses. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Love Gives

    Posted on March 28, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    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. John 3:16

    Love gives. It gives intentionally and indiscriminately. Love gives. It gives individually and internationally. Love gives. It gives bountifully and without bias. Love gives because generosity is its nature. A soldier who gives for love of country, or a mother who gives for love of her child, reveals their character. A husband who loves his wife gives her emotional attention. A wife who loves her husband gives him physical affection. Love gives as a matter of course. It’s natural.

    God’s love is the gold standard. His banner of love is raised high above the most hideous criminal to the most innocent child. God gave the ultimate gift of His son Jesus, because He loved all of us; each one of us. Just as rays of sunlight warm all of us and each of us, so the love of the Lord is for the world, and each one. We are individually loved by Jesus. Since God is love, His love is effortless. His loving offer of forgiveness comes to us by belief in Jesus.

    “Who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

    How can we intentionally love the Lord, people, and ourselves? Love begins by being loved by the One who is love. Once we receive Christ into our life by faith, His very nature of love resides within us. The deeper we fall in love with the Lover of our souls, the greater our capacity to love. His love gives us peace, so we are able to offer calm in the middle of conflict. His love gives us patience, so we are able to extend a compassionate ear to a fearful foe. His love gives us forgiveness, so we are able to offer total forgiveness to a friend or family member. Love gives.

    Lastly, how can we love ourselves by giving to ourselves? We love when we give ourselves the gift of margin. Margin is time for prayer, exercise, thinking, reading, hobbies and being creative. We can love ourselves by having more or less time with people. Nonetheless, we love ourselves, so we are better prepared to love God and others. An unloved self is a loveless self. Not narcissism of course, but a healthy love of self, like Jesus loves us. Our soul care, emotional fitness, mental refreshment, spiritual nurture and physical rest all contribute to a loving life. Love gives. So, receive God’s love in Christ and from an overflowing heart of love--love generously.

    “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37-39).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, by faith I receive Your love into my life in Christ, so I am able to love like Jesus loves.

    Related Readings: Genesis 22:12; Isaiah 9:6; Romans 5:8, 8:32; Ephesians 2:4; 1 John 4:9

    Post/Tweet today: The deeper we fall in love with the Lover of our soul, the greater our capacity to love. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Living in a World Gone Wrong

    Posted on March 28, 2014 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie

    "Why, LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?" Psalm 10:1 (NIV)

    By the time I returned home that night, I was so agitated that sleep was impossible.

     

    I had travelled six hours by car and made the mistake of listening to news channels rather than my usual Christian music station. Throughout the drive, I became increasingly frustrated and irritated, as I heard one bad news story after another. My mind was spinning with thoughts, and my heart filled with emotions.

    The strongest emotion by far was sadness at the stark reality of our world gone terribly wrong.

    Stories of abuse, death, disaster, political corruption and a general lack of integrity are everywhere. At times it seems the voices and desires of those who are against God's ways shout louder than those who love Him and promote His ways. It frustrates me that things are getting worse instead of better.

    Driving down the interstate with my mind full of mental clutter, my heart felt heavy. I wondered what God's answer might be if I could ask Him, "God, what in the world is going on in this world? And when are You going to take action?"

    In Psalm 10, David expressed this same type of frustration and confusion. He asked the Lord why it appeared He wasn't doing anything about the wickedness of the world, or taking control of the cruelty, violence and injustices that ran rampant through their corrupt society. He questioned why wicked people were allowed to get away with their wrongdoings.

    David wanted to know when God was going to step in and do something. Anything. David prayed with a desperate heart, begging God's intervention.

    Maybe you have felt that way too. Maybe you are struggling with difficult circumstances, and you feel as if God is standing far away, not intervening with help. Maybe you have struggled while walking in God's ways, while others with less-than-godly motives succeed. Or maybe you too are frustrated with the direction our world seems to be headed.

    This is how David felt as well, but in Psalm 10:16-18a, we see his tone change from frustration to hope when he says, "The LORD is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed ..." (NIV). David took comfort in remembering and believing that God was with him, and in due time, He would prevail.

    In prayer, David voiced his deepest fears and honest feelings. He solicited God's wisdom for greater understanding, yet surrendered to trusting that God sees all, knows all and would handle it all when the time was right.

    Our world has gone wrong due to the existence of sin, but we have a choice in how we respond. Instead of letting despair pull us further from God, or cause us to doubt His goodness, we can choose to lean on our faith and draw closer to Him instead, just like David.

    Let's choose to proclaim God's sovereignty today, trust in His ways and be a voice for His truths even when the ways of this world break our hearts.

    Lord, help me remember that You are in control, no matter how out of control this world seems. Give me the desire to stay grounded in You no matter what I see on the news, or what challenges I personally face, and to trust You wholeheartedly. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Do I feel forgotten or overlooked by God, or do I doubt His sovereignty over this world?

    Read Psalms 9, 10 and 11. Consider how your life and the world we live in mirrors much of what David describes. Ask God to speak to you through these scriptures and fill you with comfort and hope regarding our world and the situations you face in your personal life.

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 21:2, "A person may think their own ways are right, but the LORD weighs the heart." (NIV)

    Ephesians 6:13, "Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet." (MSG)

    © 2014 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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

  • Calculated Obedience

    Posted on March 27, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert [on a pole], so must [so it is necessary that] the Son of Man be lifted up [on the cross]. John 3:14, Amplified

    Christ was compelled by love to obey His heavenly Father. He planned in His heart and mind beforehand, that He would die on the cross for lost souls. Jesus knew He must be lifted up on the cross, since this was God’s plan. In the same way, when we are certain of Christ’s commands, we must gladly obey. Our love for the Lord calls us into calculated obedience. We deliberately do our duty, as an honor--not as an obligation. Our prayerful plan is a follow through for our faith.

    What has God called you to do that requires your follow through? What has He placed in your heart to complete, that even as a child, compelled you? Like Jesus as an adolescent in the temple, how must you be about your Father’s business? Similar to a sunflower that moves itself toward the sun for sustenance, so you turn your soul in trust toward God’s son for spiritual nourishment. Calculated obedience comes when you plan ahead of time, what Jesus would have you do.

    “And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business” (Luke 2:49, NKJV)?

    Premeditated obedience is not always easy. We say, “until death do us part” in our marriage vows before God, but soon after the honeymoon period our spouse lets us down, sometimes severely. We commit to a contract at work, but surprisingly discover the other party is not upholding their end of the deal. We are loyal to our boss because of his integrity, but come to realize he has compromised his character. Is our commitment to do the right thing conditional, based on difficulty free circumstances and perfect people? Or, is it based on the ever dependable character of Christ?

    Most of all, make your calculated obedience to Christ preeminent. What Spirit-led sense of urgency is on your heart? Perhaps you define clearly what it looks like for you to finish well in your life roles. Write out a process to grow as a follower of Jesus, and to disciple followers of Jesus. Decide how to be financially faithful with a little, so when you are ready, you will do the same with more. Love for the Lord creates calculated obedience that God uses to bless others. Thus, as a matter of course, obey Him, because you love Him. Love feels it must fully obey.

    “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did” (1 John 2:6).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I desire to be compelled by Your love to obey You in a calculated way.

    Related Readings: Matthew 16:21, 24; 19:16; Mark 8:31; Luke 19:15; Acts 1:21, 20:21

    Post/Tweet today: Similar to a sunflower that moves itself toward the sun for sustenance, so we turn our soul in trust toward God’s son. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • How Much Will This Choice Really Cost Me?

    Posted on March 27, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "... in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes." 2 Corinthians 2:11 (NIV)

    A few years ago I sat at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) with my daughter Ashley while an officer told her the importance of good choices. Ashley was getting her learner's permit and entering the scary world of teenage drivers.

    "We've had 320 teens killed this year in fatal car accidents so we want to do everything possible to keep you safe," the officer said sternly as she highlighted for Ashley all the many rules for new drivers. Then she suggested signing a contract with her parents incorporating these rules.

    I've never wanted to hug a DMV officer. But, it was all I could do not to reach across the desk and throw my arms around her. For you see, my husband and I had already created a driving contract that we've made each of our teenagers sign.

    I'm sure our kids have thought our contract was a bit over the top. After all, none of their friends have had to sign such a document with their parents. So, it was good to hear another adult speak truth into the life of my child.

    And what I loved most about the officer's sermonette on safe driving was her emphasis on the cost of wrong choices.

    How I wish we could all see the cost of our choices as clearly as a price tag on items in a store. If I know how much something is going to cost me, I make much wiser choices. But we have an enemy who schemes against us to keep the cost of dumb decisions concealed until it's too late.

    Satan wants to defeat, discourage and destroy our families. His attacks are not just willy-nilly attempts to trip us up or knock us down. He wants to take us out.

    That's why, as parents, we've got to boldly fight for our families. We must get intentional with teaching our kids to think through their choices. And we must get intentional about modeling good choices as well.

    Do you know why Satan's tactics are called schemes in 2 Corinthians 2:11? A scheme is a plan, design or program of action. Satan's schemes are well-crafted plans specifically targeted to do three things:

    1. Increase your desire for something outside the will of God.
    2. Make you think giving in to a weakness is no big deal.
    3. Minimize your ability to think through the consequences of falling to this temptation.

    Satan is a master of keeping that cost hidden until it's too late.

    Sweet sisters, this is something worth thinking about. And it is something worth talking about with our kids. Consider age-appropriate examples of how costly wrong choices can be. Be real, raw and bold as you walk them through different scenarios of temptations they might face.

    That DMV officer was certainly bold in her explanation of the cost when a teen driver gets distracted by their iPod, cell phone or friends acting silly. Hearing her explain to my daughter how costly others' poor choices have been made these "rules" seem more like life-saving gifts.

    Think how different life might be if we all paused and asked ourselves this crucial question: How much will this choice really cost me? If we teach ourselves and our kids nothing else this week than to ask this one question, we will have invested wisely. So, so very wisely.

    Dear Lord, I am reminded that boldly following You is so much better than any short-term experience that's not pleasing to You. Give me Your eyes so that I can see temptation and its many different faces. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Think of a current situation in your life that requires a decision from you. Have you taken the time to consider the cost?

    Have you taken the time to help a friend, child or spouse think through considering the cost of their choices?

    Power Verses:
    John 10:10, "'The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.'" (NIV)

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

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Look Up To Live

    Posted on March 26, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him. John 3:14-15

    Life has a way of turning our gaze away from God. Instead of looking up to be loved by the Lord, we look around us and feel love’s absence. Instead of looking up to trust Jesus, we look at distrustful people and are disappointed. Instead of looking up for wisdom from God, we look at the world’s wisdom and find it wanting. Instead of looking up for direction from the Spirit, we look at the spirit of the age, and feel lost. Yes, abundant life comes from looking up to Christ.

    Moses was a leader who wisely followed God’s instruction. He made sure to lift up what was important to the Lord, so His people could be healed. He didn’t argue with God about a better way, he simply obeyed. Time was short, so Moses quickly modeled the way to live for his followers. Similarly, we have a brief window of time to be a worthy example of obedience to Christ’s commands. Our family and friends look to us to learn how to best look up to the Lord.

    “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32).

    What are you facing that invites you to look up into the loving face of your heavenly Father? If sorrow, refuse to stay stuck in grief, but look up to the One who wipes away your tears. If hurt by another human being, look up to the One who heals broken hearts. If uncertainty, look up to the One who is wisdom and generously gives wisdom. If fear, look to the One who controls circumstances and consoles souls. The world’s remedies lack, so look up to the Lord and live.

    Most of all, we look at Jesus lifted up on the cross as the payment for our sins. We cannot begin to truly live until sin’s death sentence has been pardoned by God. The snakes’ venomous bites required the children of Israel to look up to the brazen snake on the pole to live. In the same way, sin’s poisonous infection can only be cured by looking up to Christ and believing in Him for the forgiveness of our sins. Look down, our hope dies. Look up and we live for the Lord--forever.

    “In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him,and his resting place will be glorious” (Isaiah 11:10).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, by faith I look up to You for direction in how to live life for You.

    Related Readings: Numbers 21:4-9; Proverbs 30:4; Psalm 5:3; Isaiah 45:22; Micah 7:7; Luke 9:62

    Post/Tweet today: Life has a way of turning our gaze away from God, so instead, we look up to be loved by the Lord. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Making the Resurrection Real

    Posted on March 26, 2014 by Karen Ehman

    Karen

    "Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness. Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power. I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor and your wonderful miracles." Psalm 145:3-5 (NLT)

    The television host leaned over to make sure the microphone was close to the precocious girl's mouth so as to catch her every word. He'd just asked her, along with a panel of other school-aged children, about the real meaning of Easter. Her classmates' answers ranged from getting candy and trinkets from the Easter Bunny to the official beginning of spring.

    This curly-haired youngster seemed to have an answer that was more spiritual and accurate than the others. She spoke quietly into the microphone stating, "Easter is the time when Jesus died on a cross for our sins and got buried in a tomb."

    "That's right!" the host responded. "But He didn't stay in the grave, did He honey? Tell the audience what happened next."

    "Oh, that's easy!" she chimed. "He rises from the dead and comes out of the grave."

    The host smiled and started to commend her for her correct answer. But before he could, the no longer camera-shy student grabbed the microphone, pulled it closer to her mouth and heartily added, "And each year, if He sees His shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter!"

    Often holiday traditions can get mixed in with the real essence of holy days. Which can be confusing, like when that sweet little girl merged Easter with Groundhog Day. As a child, I wondered what Santa caravanning his reindeer through snowstorms had to do with baby Jesus who was born in Bethlehem. Wasn't that in a desert?

    And I never did figure out why the Easter Bunny brought me chocolate eggs each year. Didn't chickens lay eggs, not rabbits?

    Today's passage from Psalms encourages us to teach our children and future generations of God's mighty acts. We are to proclaim His power over all the earth. I can't think of a more powerful act than when God raised His only Son Jesus from the dead, making a way for us to gain access to heaven to live with Him for all eternity.

    There are many fun, family-bonding Easter traditions to celebrate with children. But this year, why not be intentional to tell the powerful story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in ways that stick in little minds? Here are some ideas to help make the reality of the story come alive for us too:

    • Attend a live passion play put on by a church in your area.

    • Read the account of Jesus' last week of life out loud as a family while enjoying a favorite snack. Read a passage each night beginning in Luke 22:1 through the end of the book of Luke.

    • Watch a movie on the life of Jesus. The Jesus Film by Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) is well done with each scene coming directly from the words of the Bible. Make sure to decide if the child is ready to see a depiction of the crucifixion.

    • Use Resurrection Eggs to tell the story over several days. (See the Related Resource section below for purchase information.)

    All of these activities help portray the true meaning of this sacred season and point the children to the God who created them, knows them and sent His only Son to die on a cross for them.

    Let's purpose to tell of God's mighty act of raising Jesus from the dead to the generations that come after us. Fun traditions can be OK, so long as we don't miss the real meaning of this Christian holy day.

    Dear Lord, help me to tell of Your wondrous power and mighty acts to those generations that come after me. May I not let the season pass by without pondering the real meaning of Easter. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Was there ever a time in your life when the secular traditions and the true spiritual meaning of a holiday got mixed up for you?

    In what ways have you seen Easter celebrated that drove home the real meaning of the season?

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 71:18 "Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come." (NIV)

    John 17:3 "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." (NKJV)

    © 2014 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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

  • Spiritual Freedom

    Posted on March 25, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. John 3:8

    The Spirit of God brings freedom to everyone born of the Spirit. Just as the wind is free to blow in any direction, so we are free to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading. He calls us to prayerfully persist against culture’s prevailing winds. Similar to a sailboat on choppy seas, we ride out the rough waters with the wind of God at our backs. We have freedom to do the right thing, because the Spirit of God empowers our actions. So, we listen for the Lord’s leading and join with Him.

    Sometimes the wind of the Spirit blows with the roar of religious revival; other times it barely brushes over our brow in peaceful assurance. Thus, as we remain under the Spirit’s influence, we are free to experience His effects. It’s not doing as we like, but doing what the Lord likes. He likes for us to love, so we love. He likes for us to serve, so we serve. He likes for us to forgive, so we forgive. He likes for us to laugh, so we laugh. Spiritual freedom likes what God likes.

    “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17, NKJV).

    Are you free in your faith or bound up in unbelief? Do you feel the freedom to follow the Spirit’s leading, or are you limited by the expectations of others? By faith, you can break out of your shell of fear and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in your life. Behead the tyrant of unbelief with the sword of the Spirit and enlist in the Lord’s army of the faithful. Pray in your heart, “Where- ever He leads, I will follow.” You have been set free from above, so you can live free here below.

    Spiritual freedom is a benefit of belief in Jesus, so we seek to steward it responsibly. It is not a pass for poor decision-making, but permission to pursue wise opportunities. We use our spiritual freedom to shun self-indulgence and invest in the needs of others. Yes, by God’s grace, we set up spiritual halfway houses outside the prison gates of hell, so we can love and instruct those who exit eternal damnation. People recently set free need to know how to responsibility use their new freedom. We are freedom fighters in the faith. Spiritual freedom is God’s gift of the Spirit.

    “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (Isaiah 61:1, NKJV).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me wisdom to use my spiritual freedom under the Spirit’s influence.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 40:13; Luke 4:18; 1 Corinthians 2:14-16, 3:1; Galatians 6:1

    Post/Tweet today: We have been set free from above, so we can live free here below. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • You WILL be OK

    Posted on March 25, 2014 by Jennifer Rothschild

    Jennifer

    "Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail." Lamentations 3:22 (NIV)

    I was stunned. This was not the news I expected.

    "You have atypical ductal hyperplasia, or ADH," the doctor said. He explained that ADH is an abnormal growth of cells within the breast ducts.

    "You need a bilateral lumpectomy as soon as possible," he concluded.

    My first thought was, "Seriously? I'm blind, for heaven's sake! Haven't I already met my quota for suffering?"

    Well, that was my first thought, but it was followed by all the "what ifs." You know — What if it's cancer? What if they don't get it all? What if I need radiation? What if this is only the beginning of something far worse?

    While my heart was racing, my husband Phil's Ph.D. mind was calculating. He broke the silence and said, "It will be OK."

    It didn't feel OK, though. And maybe the reason was that we really didn't know it would be OK. None of us really knows if it will be OK, do we? Life is uncertain.

    We want to live out a story that makes sense. We want poems to rhyme and puzzles to be solved. We just want everything to be OK. But the truth is, we really don't know whether or not "it" will be OK.

    After the call with the surgeon, Phil and I continued to sit in silence. My soul was churning. When all the pieces hadn't fallen into place, a tidal wave of fear washed over me. But instead of being a wave of emotion that drowned me, it cleared my head and awakened me to a vital truth I needed: It may not be OK, but I will be OK.

    I had a deep, inner knowing that within the uncertainty, I could be certain that God cared and was with me.

    During the lumpectomy, the doctor removed two golf-ball-sized lumps and I emerged a 34 used-to-be-B! And this may be too much information, but I was only tennis balls to begin with! (Big goofy grin.) A few days after my surgery, Phil and I met with the surgeon for the results of the pathology. All benign!

    Thankfully, that chapter of my story had an ending that was genuinely OK. However, during the uncertainty, my emotions vacillated between fear and faith, peace and panic. Yet, my soul remained OK even though it, my situation, wasn't. Why? Well, it wasn't because of my great faith! I did trust God, but I was scared too. It was because of the Lord's great love, I was not consumed; His compassions never failed (Lamentations 3:22).

    My friend, because of His great love, you will not be consumed either. Fear, anger or insecurity will not overtake you. His compassions will never fail you. Even in the midst of your heartache, you're still cradled in His compassion. You are as cared for and protected as a baby in a mother's womb.

    That's why you will be OK, my friend — no matter what.

    When we trust the compassion of God, our problems and fears do not consume us. Because of His love and compassion, we are not overwhelmed.

    I was grateful to be among the 70 percent of women who emerge from lumpectomy surgery with a cancer-free result. Many women receive far more difficult news. I couldn't imagine enduring a series of biopsies and surgery just to find myself facing more surgery or radiation, like many women do. Oh, how my heart goes out to them!

    You may be one of those women. You may know and love one. Do God's compassions fail if the diagnosis isn't good? Is a bad diagnosis evidence of God's failure to be compassionate?

    No.

    A surgery may fail, but God's compassions will not.

    A treatment may fail, but God's compassions will not.

    A relationship may fail, but God's compassions will not.

    A dream may fail, but God's compassions will not.

    My friend, no matter what you're facing, God cares for you and will carry you. It may not be OK, but, because of the Lord's great love, you will be OK.

    Lord, carry me today. Show me Your care for me. If I begin to feel overwhelmed, overwhelm me with Your peace and presence. Reassure me that no matter what, I will be OK. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What are you facing that makes you feel fearful — as if it won't be OK?

    How can the Lord's great love for you protect you from becoming consumed by your situation?

    Power Verses:
    Romans 8:38-39, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Jennifer Rothschild. All rights reserved.

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

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