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Daily Devotion

  • The Most Important Christmas Choice

    Posted on December 4, 2013 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie Miles

    "Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.'" Luke 2:13-14 (NLT)

    Tis' the season to be merry... and stressed. Although it should be a season of peace, this month can often make us feel more tangled up inside than a messy string of Christmas lights.

    Some people dread the hustle, bustle, and emotional rustle this time of year brings, knowing that irritability, loneliness, or depression will threaten. While there are others who may love the Christmas season, but worry, busyness, family conflicts, and unmet expectations take their toll.

    In either case, we have a decision. We can choose to get bogged down with stress or we can choose to bow down in worship.

    Scripture gives us a beautiful picture of praise in Luke 2:13-14. When Jesus was born, an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds sharing the good news. Then many other angels joined together and praised God.

    "Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.'" (NLT)

    That's not the only place the Bible records angels worshipping the Lord. In Hebrews 1:6 it says, "And when he brought his supreme Son into the world, God said, 'Let all of God's angels worship him.'" (NLT) And Revelation 5:11-12a says, "Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. And they sang in a mighty chorus." (NLT)

    Angels serve as role models of worship. They bow down before Jesus. They shout with incredible joy as they sing songs of praise. Through worship, angels spread the news of God's glory and exhibit holy reverence. Angels intentionally and deliberately spend time praising God.

    Keeping Christ in Christmas is more than just a cliché. It is an intentional act of worship. It requires a heart of adoration, much like the angels had. When Jesus is the focus of our holiday, we're centered on His love, peace, and joy.

    This prompts us to be His hands and feet to others in need. When worship fills our hearts, it leaves little room for aggravation in long lines at the store. We focus on what Christmas is truly about—the amazing gift of a Savior—rather than stressing out over buying the perfect presents. We exhibit grace to someone when we'd rather do otherwise. Worship turns our attention to giving thanks to Jesus for all He has done, rather than letting stress strip His joy from our hearts.

    And it might even mean joining in with the heavenly chorus to sing praises to Him, even if we can't carry a tune!

    The holidays can bring a flurry of heightened emotions and can often result in an unhealthy level of stress which can prevent us from engaging in worship and praising the One we are supposed to be celebrating.

    There will be lots of choices to be made during the month of December: where to serve, what gifts to buy, and how many events to attend. The most important choice we can make is to worship and sing praises to our Lord. For His gift. For His love. For His peace.

    And when our hearts are at peace, our holidays can be too.

    Lord, I choose to intentionally worship and praise You during this Christmas season. Help me stay focused on You and Your goodness. Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Pick a praise song that you will commit to sing to the Lord this Christmas season as a way to intentionally focus on worshipping Him.

    How have you allowed the emotions of the season to distract you from worship?

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 148:2, "Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts." (NIV)

    © 2013 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 Luke, Christmas

  • Spiritual Buoyancy

    Posted on December 3, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

    Hope keeps us afloat. Sin and sorrow cannot sink a soul that finds spiritual buoyancy from belief in its living hope, Jesus Christ. We have hope because Jesus rose from the dead, therefore death is not final. It is a pass through into the presence of Almighty God. Our bodies were created for decay, but our soul for life eternal. As the body winds down in weakness the soul revs up in strength. The smell of death is like smelling salts to the soul searching for their unseen hope.

    Furthermore, we do not lose heart when we lose our health or any other earthly attachment. We can’t lose what we have already let go of and given over to the Lord. Relationships, reputations and riches lose their control over our peace when they are first given to God. Yes, the Holy Spirit is our Comforter when earthly comforts are threatened or removed. While some count on their savings for security, only what is eternal is truly dependable. Faith facilitates spiritual buoyancy.

    Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. Isaiah 40:31

    Do you feel like you are treading water with only your nose barely breaking the surface? Do you find yourself choking for air because life’s circumstances have sucked all the oxygen from your lungs? If so, the Lord has His lifeboat of love for your rest and renewal. You do not have to flail around unable to swim in the waters of the world, the flesh and the devil. They will drown you if you fight them alone. Help from the Holy Spirit lifts you up, back onto solid ground.

    Parenting teenagers requires mom’s nurturing, dad’s discipline and a mentor’s support. So, seek out a couple ahead in their child’s development, who can share their wisdom. Moreover, it may be harder to raise your parents than your children. If your aging mother or father need your help, be patient and let them discover their new realities in a respectful process. Yes, you receive the Spirit’s buoyancy so you are able to assist those who may be sinking under the weight of anxiety. Spiritual buoyancy from God’s mercy gives you inner energy to not lose heart!

    Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Corinthians 4:1

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, You are my refuge for rest and renewal when I feel alone and anxious.

    Related Readings: Psalm 103:5, 121:1-8; Romans 8:35-39; Colossians 3:10; 1 John 2:14-17

    Post/Tweet this today: Sin and sorrow cannot sink a soul that finds spiritual buoyancy from belief in its living hope, Jesus. #spritualbuoyancy

    © 2013 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 2 Corinthians

  • Sharing Our Lives

    Posted on December 3, 2013 by Amy Carroll

    Amy Carroll

    "We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us." 1 Thessalonians 2:8 (NIV 1984)

    A few years ago, one of my son's friends, Lindsey, began asking some big questions. He had the chance to talk with her about Jesus, and at a church youth retreat Lindsey gave her life to the Lord.

    It was a thrill to watch her fall in love with Jesus and begin a brand new life. She had lots of questions and thankfully many people lived out 1 Thessalonians 2:8 for her: "We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us." (NIV 1984)

    Friends put aside the time they'd normally spend watching TV to come alongside Lindsey. She was surrounded with support at school. Others got up early to pick her up for church and welcomed her in their youth group. Adult friends visited Lindsey's home and built relationships with her family. And I led a small group to help teach some of the basic foundations of the faith and practices that lead to spiritual growth.

    I haven't always walked alongside new believers though. Sometimes I've abandoned them, without sharing my life or what I've learned. Sadly, when I look around me, often newborn Christians are sent out into their fresh spiritual life with little more than a "God bless you" and pat on the back.

    These excited new followers of Jesus set off on an unfamiliar path brimming with zeal and hope. But they stumble quickly without mature Christians to answer their questions, clear up confusion, and encourage them through the inevitable rough spots. Although no one can snatch them from their Father's hand, many new Christians fall prey to discouragement and walk along paths that Scripture warns against.

    There are many reasons that new Christians are abandoned and left to walk alone without nourishment or protection. One key reason is the busyness of our culture. Our time is stretched between families, jobs, friendships, computer, TV, etc.

    Nurturing a baby Christian means sharing our lives, like 1 Thessalonians 2:8 says. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes commitment. But most of all it takes love. Robert Coleman, author of The Master Plan of Evangelism, says, "There is a lot of talk in the church about evangelism and Christian nurture, but little concern for personal association when it becomes evident that such work involves the sacrifice of personal indulgence."

    Ouch! I really wish he would move along and get out of my personal space! He continues, "Unless new Christians have parents or friends who will fill the gap in a real way, they are left entirely on their own to find the solutions to innumerable practical problems confronting their lives, any one of which could mean disaster to their new faith."

    Lindsey doesn't have a lot of pain in her background. But what about baby Christians who have baggage? Financial crisis, promiscuity, addiction, and bitterness are just a few of the very real issues with which new Christians grapple ... and mature Christians can help them walk through based on what the Bible says.

    Will we commit to feeding, nurturing, and loving these new followers of Jesus? It may seem easier to gently pat them on the back and walk away, but the toll is too high not to invite them into our lives. Trusting in the transforming power of Christ and asking Him to make us an instrument of His grace, let's care for these precious new believers.

    Dear Lord, You are a kind, loving, and nurturing Father. Help me to follow in Your footsteps as I nurture Your new children. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Feed—Ask a young Christian to attend a Bible study with you. Go out to coffee to discuss it afterward.

    Nurture—Call a new Christian to share something that helps you to grow. Ask for requests and pray with her.

    Protect—Do you see a new Christian struggling with a sin with which you've found victory? Be transparent and share your story!

    Power Verses:
    1 Peter 2:2-3, "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Amy Carroll. 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 1 Thessalonians

  • Strengthened By Grace

    Posted on December 2, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

    The grace of God strengthens a child of God. Like a B1 vitamin gives energy to the body, so God’s grace energizes the inner being of believers. This is why in the face of human weakness, grace flourishes. Fear weakens, but faith strengthens. Anger weakens, but forgiveness strengthens. Busyness weakens, but prayer strengthens. Noise weakens, but quiet strengthens. Stress weakens, but rest strengthens. Yes, the love of God strengthens His servants by grace!

    Has your patience been tested to your very last nerve? Are you exhausted and depleted by the demands of others? Look for the way of grace to give you what you need in your emotional emptiness. Your heart yearns for what only the Lord can provide through the fullness of His Spirit. So, Christ consoles your soul with His eternal encouragement, the good hope you have in Him. Gladly and gratefully receive God’s grace like at salvation, abandon yourself to His care. Because of the disgrace Jesus experienced on the cross, you enjoy His grace when you bear a cross of pain.

    It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace. Hebrews 13:9

    Furthermore, the inner energy we receive by God’s grace is supplied for our service. This is why it is remarkable when a man or woman on their sickbed become a blessing to those who serve them. Nurses, nutritionists and neurologists go away scratching their heads having been in the presence of heaven’s emissary, a grace filled follower of Jesus. Indeed, our adverse condition is not about us, but about how we can graciously exhibit what we believe for God’s glory. Grace strengthens!

    Grace gives you stamina to serve a needy child or an aging parent. Grace engages your empathetic heart with a friend’s hurting heart. Grace is the fortitude you need to remain steadfast in a relationship that is not life giving right now. So, whether strength of character or mental toughness is required, God’s grace is available as your supply chain. Grace does carry Christ’s expectations, but with it HIs power to execute. Grace is a sweet, soothing sound that is music to your soul.

    I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ. Ephesians 3:7-8

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, strengthen me by Your grace, so I can serve others in Your power.

    Related Readings: Acts 15:39-41, 18:27; Romans 5:2, 15; 1 Corinthians 3:10; Galatians 5:4

    Post/Tweet this today: Grace does carry Christ’s expectations, but with it His power to execute. #strengthenedbygrace

    © 2013 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 2 Thessalonians, Grace

  • Search Carefully

    Posted on December 2, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 'Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.'" Matthew 2:1-2 (NLT)

    Our family has a tradition we've kept running for over 20 years. Every December, we pick a night to enjoy barbecue chicken pizza and peppermint stick ice cream. Then we pile in our old tan Buick and venture off to look at the area's Christmas lights. A snow flurry is always a plus and makes the bright lights dance in the distance.

    When our kids were young, they'd each pick a story character to look for in the decorations. They'd keep a running tally of what they saw amongst the seasonal displays. Kenna might look for snowmen, Mitchell for reindeer. And Spencer loved to discover a green Grinch or two. Whoever picked the most frequently spied character won a small prize.

    Our family tradition evokes sweet memories for this mom. However, there was one troubling aspect of our yearly adventure. No matter how hard we searched, we rarely discovered a nativity display with the Christ child lying in a manger.

    Yes, secular characters brought giggles to our wide-eyed, pajama-footed children, but the main person of the holiday—the whole point of Christmas—was seldom to be found. We did locate a few homes that displayed a nativity, but we had to search diligently for them.

    As we go through December we, can easily be inundated with responsibilities. While trying our best to "get it all done," it is easy to miss the Christmas Child. We scurry and scamper to put on a big bash while practically ignoring the One whose birthday it really is.

    Let's purpose that this year we'll search for Jesus carefully and diligently just as the wise men did in Matthew 2:1-2:

    "Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 'Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.'" (NLT)

    These wise men left their daily duties, homes, and studies and went out of their way, traveling many, many miles on camelback through the dry desert, to find Jesus. Like these men, we need to break away from our routines and busyness to take time to look for the Christ Child.

    It might mean stopping in the midst of shopping to sit quietly in our car, praying that God will help us center our thoughts on Jesus more than holiday tasks. Or perhaps it will require us to put down our to-do list in order to pick up our Bible to read and absorb the account of Jesus' miraculous birth.

    However it looks, let's search carefully for the Christ Child. He's there in the middle of the hustle and bustle. When we find Him, let's not keep the wonder of His love to ourselves. We can share it. Serve others. Bless intentionally. And lift our eyes (and those of our children too) off of ourselves and on to the real reason for Christmas.

    Dear Lord, help me to intentionally seek and find You just like the wise men did. May I share the love You give with those I encounter this season. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What fond traditions do you have of Christmas as a child? How can you build new traditions today that center on Christ and teach others to do the same?

    Grab your kids or some friends and head off on an adventure of blessing. Call a homeless shelter or nursing home to ask what needs they have, whether it be coats, blankets, food, cheer, etc. Whatever you do, leave a handwritten note for the recipient that declares, "Jesus came to earth briefly to live with us so that we could go to heaven to live forever with Him. Merry Christmas!!"

    Power Verses:
    Jeremiah 29:13, "You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." (ESV)

    Luke 2:11-12, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Karen Ehman. 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 Matthew

  • God’s Messenger

    Posted on December 1, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment...” I Samuel 25: 32-33a

    God dispatches His messengers daily. You can expect a regular word from the Lord through others. They may represent His envoy of much-needed encouragement, or they may engage you with a regiment of rebuke. Whether He sends His messengers with a positive or a negative word, it is critical that you concur with their instruction. Your emotions may be driving you in one direction because you have been treated unfairly, even inflicted with a gross indiscretion. But God’s messenger is imploring you to take the more reasonable road of understanding and forgiveness. Just because you have been wronged, does not mean you are to wrong. Anybody can do that; it takes strength of character to not retaliate.
    God is in control. So leave your transgressors in His hand. Let the Lord deal with them in His timing. God’s messenger may be telling you to wait. This opportunity staring you down does not deserve your acceptance. Your pride and ego have nominated you to the task, but you know in your heart it is not the wise thing to do. Listen to God’s messenger and avoid a year of regret. Money and status are not worth jeopardizing your marriage and your health. There will be other opportunities, much better ones that will fit in your next season of life. It is easy to ignore, reject, or argue with God’s messenger, but think twice before you debate with Deity’s representative. They are ambassadors of heaven, reaching out to you on earth. He has things under control and desires His very best for your life.
    Many times, God’s messenger comes in the form of a friend who knows you all too well and has seen some of your destructive patterns over the years. He has your best interest in mind. Their desire is for you to learn from your unwise decisions of the past and flourish in the future. They are taking a risk with their friendship because they care. If they were self-serving, they would shut up. So, listen to God speaking through your friend, especially when it is not what you want to hear. He also speaks, frequently, through your spouse. They love you, and yes they may be fearful and insecure, but it is because they don’t want you to miss God’s very best.
    Do not allow ego and pride to blind you to their warnings and concerns. They may not understand all of the ins and outs of business, but they do understand the Holy Spirit’s promptings. This is a level of discernment which God has wisely given to them as your gift. Make sure you receive it and use it well.
    Lastly, reward God’s messengers. This is behavior that deserves recognition and appreciation. You reward the behavior you want repeated, and you rebuke or ignore the behavior that you want to cease. Do more than say you agree. Instead, make a big deal over their determination to deliver the truth. Instead of blowing off the messenger of good will, invite them into your circle of influence. Promote those who persist in pitching the facts. God’s messengers can be trusted because they bear news from your heavenly Father. Therefore, take seriously their words, and act accordingly. Listen actively to God’s messengers, and in turn, become one.
    The Bible says, “He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise” (Proverbs 15:31).

    Post/Tweet today: Money and status are not worth jeopardizing your marriage and your health. #God’smessanger

    © 2013 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 Samuel

  • Little Is Much

    Posted on November 30, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “‘Truly I tell you,’ he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on’” (Luke 21:3–4).

    Little becomes much when the Lord is factored into the equation. He takes a little money and multiplies ministries. He receives a little faith and moves mountains and heals sick bodies. He applies a little forgiveness and restores relationships. He blesses a little sacrifice from leadership and saves a business. Christ takes a little courage and fulfills a grand vision. Thus, do not despise your small contribution. It makes a huge difference.

    Jesus exhorted His disciples regarding the potential of a little faith: “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20).

    You may be the only person at work or in your extended family who stands up for Christian values. It is tempting to ease into the status quo and blend in with a complacent culture. However, with humility and love, stay the course of unselfish service, and you will see Christ work. Exceptions become exceptional with eternal favor and persistence.

    “One of them [a leper], when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan” (Luke 17:15–16).

    Do the right thing, even if the majority does not take seriously the Lord’s expectations. Your quiet service is not unnoticed by Jesus. Keep thanking God when others take Him for granted. Persevere in your prayer closet when it seems like prayerless people are progressing. Remain faithful in gift giving, especially when money is tight and uncertain.

    A little is much when you lay it at the altar of obedience and the Holy Spirit’s fire ignites it for God’s glory. So lay before the Lord your gifts, talents, and faith, and watch Him forge you into a faithful disciple of Jesus. Lay your plan before almighty God, and trust Him to lead you through a prayerful process of implementation and adjustment. A little faith and obedience go a long way in God’s game plan.

    Joshua brought his army to Jericho expecting a brutal battle, but the Lord simply had him march around the wall and worship! “When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city” (Joshua 6:20).

    Prayer: Have I laid before the Lord my little faith for Him to multiply and grow for His glory?

    Post/Tweet today: Little is much when laid on the altar of obedience and ignited by the Holy Spirit’s fire. #littleismuch

    © 2013 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 Luke

  • Pure Motives

    Posted on November 29, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me you fasted?” Zechariah 7:5b

    Pure motives are sometimes hard to distinguish. Especially difficult are motives related to religion. Why do we serve God? If gratitude and love are the reasons for our service then our motives are right, but it is not always that easy or clear. Sometimes as committed Christians the lines of pure hearted motivation are blurred. Service for Christ is not to make us feel better about ourselves, rather our service is to glorify our Savior Jesus.

    Indeed, service for God with wrong motives can easily lead to burnout, disappointment and disillusionment. An act of service—on behalf of Christ—is not conditional. You hold it with an open hand and with a pure heart you offer your time and money. Your expectations are at peace knowing you have followed the example of Jesus. Your motive is to please and obey Him—it is not for your fame, but for your heavenly Father’s name.

    Hence our contentment comes from Christ, not our achievements and the accolades of men. Men may see our righteous acts and want to give us more credit than is deserved. This is the time to publicly reflect the glory back to the Lord. Praise offers the opportunity to privately and humbly thank God for His unmerited favor, mercy and blessing.

    It is important to do a motive check of your life. It is a moment-by-moment, day-by-day, and year-by-year process. We are all experts at rationalizing and justifying good results that emerge from shady motives. The methods may even be acceptable, but the reasons are wrong. However, pure motives can be found, as they come from a pure heart. Seek to align your motives with love. Great works can be accomplished, but without the foundation of love we gain nothing in the eyes of God.

    “If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing” (I Corinthians 13:3).

    Just being in God’s presence tends to purify our motives. So, do all things for Him and His glory. Moreover, let your reward be unseen rather than seen. Then the pure motives represented by gold, silver and precious stones will one day survive God’s revealing fire. It’s all for His needs and their needs. Stay motivated with pure motives for Jesus’ sake!

    “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.  If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work (I Corinthians 3:11-13).

    Prayer: Why do I do what I do in the name of the Lord? Has Christ cleansed my motives?

    Related Readings: Proverbs 30:12; 1 John 3:3; Revelation 19:8, 14

    Post/Tweet this today: Contentment comes from Christ, not from achievements and accolades. #puremotives

    © 2013 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 Zechariah

  • Boldness

    Posted on November 29, 2013 by Lynn Cowell

    Lynn Cowell

    "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14 (NIV)

    My daughter reclined in the hammock, face in a book. She chooses to read stories based in history, where the author's words transport her to another setting when life seemed grander.

    She often says, "Mom, I wish I was born in a different time and place."

    As a mom, it's easy for me to slip into similar thoughts too. To look around, observe the not-so-positive changes in our culture and wish for the seemingly tranquil world of generations past. To lament over how easy it must have been to raise kids, take care of your family, and share your faith back then.

    These thoughts have discouraged me and sometimes left me wondering, "Why keep trying? It's hopeless."

    Yet, when I read of Esther in the Bible, I am reminded that God has a purpose for placing me exactly where I am right now-in this time and place-just like He did for Esther.

    When Esther was a young woman, she was taken from her Jewish family and brought to Susa, the Persian King Xerxes' fortress, for twelve months of beauty treatments. This was done to her and other women in preparation to meet the king so he could choose a new queen.

    Esther found great favor with the king and he appointed her the new queen. Despite her good standing with King Xerxes, Esther hid the fact she was Jewish. But when a plot to destroy the Jewish people was revealed, Esther's family member, Mordecai, asked her to intervene and request help from the king to save them.

    By law, no one was to approach the king without being asked. Doing so would risk being put to death. Plus, the king hadn't summoned Esther in 30 days, an indication he was losing interest in her. But Mordecai reminded her, "... if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14 NIV)

    Esther understood the greater good and risked her life on behalf of the Jews. God appointed Esther to be in Susa at that specific time to rescue her people from the potential destruction. A bold girl in the right place at the right time saved an entire nation from annihilation.

    Like Esther, we can trust that God has placed us where we are "for such a time as this," for His purposes. Our assignment is important too. We are surrounded by people God loves and wants to rescue. Sharing Jesus with family, at our job, with our neighbors, and in our community could lead them to accepting God's love.

    Jesus willingly gave His life so we could approach our King for eternal life. He asks us to share this new life with those around us. Today, let's boldly step out and make ourselves available to God just as Esther did. God surely can use us to free someone from despair as we share the hope of eternal life!

    Although it's enjoyable to daydream about times past, the most important work we can do is today.

    Powerful and Wise God, You always know exactly what You are doing. Open my eyes today to see the rescue mission You want me to be a part of "for such a time as this." Empower me to be bold! Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Do you know someone who needs reassurance they've been created "for such a time as this"? Send them a card, text, or email today, pouring in hope that God has them exactly where they need to be.

    Do you shrink back from being bold and sharing about Jesus and eternal life? Pray for conviction and courage to do so.

    Power Verse:
    2 Timothy 1:7, "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline." (NIV)

    © 2013 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 Esther

  • Thankful for Answered Prayer

    Posted on November 28, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” John 11:41-42

    Jesus thanked His Father for answered prayer, before His prayer was answered. His heart was so in tune with the heart of the Father that He could boldly ask knowing it was the will of God. In the same way, our Savior calls us to align our hearts with our Heavenly Father’s heart. His plan is for our desires to be His desires, our wants to be His wants, our goals to be His goals, our will to be His will and our prayers to be His prayers. Hence, we can thank Him for answered prayers!

    What prayers are yet to be answered, but need to be prayed? What is Christ asking you to confidently pray in His name knowing He will answer in the future? Perhaps it's a yet to be determined job promotion you can thank God for now. You can praise the Lord today for your wayward child, who you have a peace in your heart will eventually come back to their Savior Jesus. Or, you pray with the Spirit’s certainty over an uncertain illness that threatens your joy. Whatever you face you can face down with faith in your Heavenly Father who hears your prayer.

    You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:14

    We ask in Jesus' name when we pray for Him to be glorified through answered prayer. When Jesus is lifted up all men and women are drawn to Him. We ask in Christ's name when our desire is for our answered prayers to be a benefit for believers to grow in their faith, and for unbelievers to come to faith. Oh the joy of seeing someone come to know Jesus in personal salvation, because they saw the love of God transform the life of a loved one. Gratitude glorifies God!

    Lastly, as we look to the Lord and thank Him for answered prayer, He may call us to be a part of His provision. Jesus told the disciples to pray to the Lord of the harvest for laborers and as they prayed He called them to labor for Him. So, what is your role in relation to the future prayers He wants to answer on your behalf? Perhaps you can resource the need or call on a relationship that can provide answers. Be grateful, God has you positioned to be a part of His answered prayers!

    Then He [Jesus] said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Luke 10:2, NKJV

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I praise You for the assurance of answered prayers in the future.

    Related Readings: 2 Chronicles 7:15; 2 Kings 20:5; Psalm 17:6; Matthew 7:7; 1 John 5:14-15

    Post/Tweet this today: Whatever you face, you can face down with faith in your Heavenly Father, who hears your prayer. #thankful

    © 2013 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 John, Thanksgiving

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