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Daily Devotion

  • Careless Words

    Posted on April 13, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. Matthew 12:36–37

    My words are a reflection of my heart. When Christ captures my heart, my words are measured and meaningful. A heart pregnant with the Lord’s purpose produces good fruit for its recipients. When my heart avoids the Almighty’s instruction, my words become careless. They wound and bring harm to hearers who receive my insensitivity.

    We communicate better when we understand the gravity of undisciplined speech. There is an accountability to God that will one day gauge what we have said. No idle word will miss the microscope of our Master’s judgment. “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless” (James 1:26). The Holy Spirit bridles our tongues with words of great worth.

    So does your speech represent your Savior well? Do your words incubate in a heart of intimacy with God and accountability to man? Like a thoughtful and creative artist, use your words to paint a picture that provides understanding and instruction. Prepare your heart in prayer before you speak in a meeting or prior to a performance review. At home, resolve to be respectful in all matters of conversation and others will reciprocate.

    Careless words are best corralled by Christ’s calming presence. When He seasons our speech with grace, there is a gravitas that gains the attention of the most unsuspecting souls. It is when the Lord speaks through us that we experience the best communication. Indeed, a humble heart full of Christ’s courage carries the right words at the right time. Speak with bold clarity, and trust God with the results. Convert careless words to kind ones.

    “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6 nkjv).

    Prayer: Are my words measured in prayer? Do I speak with accountability to God in mind?

    Related Readings: Psalm 139:4; Proverbs 18:21; Job 15:3; Ephesians 5:4

    Post/Tweet today: A humble heart full of Christ’s courage carries the right words at the right time. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Love Him

    Posted on April 12, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Love the LORD, all his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full.    Psalm 31:23

    God commands His saints to love Him. He loves you so you can love Him. Love and the Lord go hand in hand, for you are locked into a love relationship with your Savior. The question is not if you love the Lord, but how you love the Lord. Yes, your love for Christ pales in comparison to His love for you. But you love because the Lord is worthy of your love. He longs for your love, and He invites and desires it. Indeed, God is honored and worshiped when His saints love Him. Your love holds Him in eternal esteem. What joy, for you can love the Lover of your soul. Unredeemed sinners cannot love the Lord because they are incapable of loving Him. This is a perk that only disciples of Christ can enjoy. Unless you have been converted by the free grace of God, you cannot love Him. Love for the Lord is not unlocked until you turn the key of faith. It affords you the opportunity to love the Lord. You will remain unfulfilled, lost, and confused until you are able to love Him.

    Your relationship with the Lord is tolerable at best without an engaging and loving relationship, but loving your Creator completes you, His creation. Loving the Lord moves you out of the basement of loneliness to the balcony of basking in His presence. Love lifts you to the Lord, and He is drawn to your love. He loves to be loved by His children. Love of the Lord starts you out in faith and sustains your faith. Loving the Lord fuels your faith, energizes your soul, and galvanizes your beliefs. It inflames hope and feeds forgiveness. Loving the Lord is a catalyst for becoming more like Him. You take on the traits of whom and what you love. You reflect the object of your affection. Therefore, love Him because you want to be like Him. Love is a magnet that draws you toward your model for living. Transformation into the character of Christ is the goal for those who love Him.

    Indeed, your love for Him transforms your behavior. So, love the Lord with your whole being. Love Him with your body, soul, and spirit. Love Him physically by taking care of the body He created. Keep it pure and healthy. Love Him emotionally by processing and expressing your feelings. Allow Him to convert your anger into holy passion. Allow your love for Him to explode in emotions of thanksgiving, praise, and celebration. Love Him with your spirit. Connect with Christ in prayer and meditation on His Word. He reveals His will to seeking souls; so love Him in the morning, in the noontime, and love Him when the sun goes down. Since loving Him is right, you don’t want to be wrong.

    Post/Tweet today: Loving the Lord moves you out of the basement of loneliness to the balcony of basking in His presence. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Double Minded

    Posted on April 11, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. James 1:6-8

    Double mindedness comes from doubt. Doubt about being in the right career. Doubt related to investing in the right relationships. Doubt in the Almighty’s ability to handle the circumstances or the people. Chronic doubt is a detriment to faith and hope, because it causes instability and insecurity. Has doubt and double mindedness frozen your faith?

    Do you feel torn between two people? Have your divided loyalties at work created conflict and confusion? Does your lack of conviction cause you to react like a whipsaw to the latest advice? Like a ship without a rudder or sail, you are tossed back and forth by the winds of change and conflict. Without confidence from Christ there is confusion.

    “I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty” (Galatians 5:10).

    Wavering faith is made stable by reassurance from the Lord’s faithfulness. There is nothing distrustful about wisdom from above. You can count on Christ to lead you through the valley of uncertainty, along the upward path of prayer to the mountaintop of trust. Challenges allow you to grow in grace—and live out the advice you give to others.

    So, determine by God’s grace to be single-minded, not double-minded. Your single-minded devotion to Jesus is simple, but powerful. Like the tip of a razor sharp spear, it cuts through the noise of competing voices and allows you to hear from heaven. This humble posture of believing prayer unlocks the Lord’s wisdom and discernment.

    Whatever Jesus says to be—be, and whatever Jesus says to do—do. Do not complicate your conversation with Christ with contingency plans. Rather, simply trust and obey the truth. Do what He says to do today and trust Him with tomorrow. The Lord will handle the little details and the big outcomes—your part is to remain faithful. Wisdom is what He wants you to follow by faith. Single-mindedness is stable and secure in all its ways.

    “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:8-9).

    Prayer: How can I grow in single-minded faith in the Lord? Who needs my focused attention?

    Related Readings: Isaiah 41:29; 50:7; Matthew 6:22-23; 1 Peter 1:13

    Post/Tweet today: Challenges are an opportunity to grow in grace and live out the advice we give others. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • What if I Don't Get Any More Tomorrows?

    Posted on April 11, 2014 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie

    "How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog — it's here a little while, then it's gone." James 4:14 (NLT)

    Before the plane backed away from the gate, the flight attendant warned us: "It's been a rough day in the air. Prepare yourself for tremendous turbulence." Although I wanted to make a mad dash for the door, I simply tightened my seat belt and prayed for safety. Soon, her verbal warning became a reality.

    The plane rocked back and forth, as if it were slamming into walls instead of fluffy clouds. It was a short, but difficult, flight and after several attempts at landing, we were diverted to another airport, adding hours to the trip.

    During this extra time in the air, I did a lot of thinking about what was most important in my life. I didn't really believe we would crash, but I couldn't keep from wondering ... What if the worst happens? What if I don't get any more tomorrows?

    I thought about my loved ones. What were my last words to them? Were they kind or harsh? Were they filled with love, or merely instructions to carry out during my absence? Did I hug everyone and tell them how much they meant to me? If I didn't make it home, had I prepared my children spiritually and emotionally to handle life, trust God and walk in faith? Had I told my husband how much I appreciated him?

    Was there anyone I needed to forgive? Were there people I had been meaning to call or visit but never took the time? Had my priorities and plans been in line with God's will? Had I sought God's insight about everything on my to-do list? Had I done all I could to bring glory to God? Would I be ready to meet Jesus face to face?

    Although my heart knew God was in control, my mind and emotions ran wild as I peered out the oval window at the dark clouds hovering all around us.

    In an effort to ignore the panicked voice over the intercom, I began searching my Bible for scriptures about how God knows the number of our days. The first verse I found was today's key verse.

    In the rest of chapter 4, James reprimands the people for their self-centered living. Their self-indulgent, judgmental and prideful ways caused arguments and quarrels. They were consumed with business profits and neglected to seek God's insight.

    They focused on their personal agendas instead of what actually mattered. They acted as if God didn't exist, or didn't matter, and pursued their own plans. They disregarded God's control over their lives and the number of their days.

    James then wrote these words that spoke truth into my heart, "How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog — it's here a little while, then it's gone" (James 4:14).

    That passage could have been written to me. Sometimes I focus on my own plans, ignoring that only God knows how long He will allow me to carry them out. Other times, I make plans without seeking God's will and get distracted by lesser things, instead of what really matters.

    James wanted his readers to remember God directs us to live with a holy perspective, knowing every breath we take is one more gift from God. We aren't promised any tomorrows, so we need to live today with an eternal perspective.

    I remained calm in the midst of the airborne chaos, but that time of reflection in the bumpy skies served as a great reminder not to take time for granted. I don't want to assume I'll always have another tomorrow, or another chance to love on those I love the most. From now on, I want to include God in my plans and serve Him as best I can.

    Lord, forgive me for focusing on my own plans or neglecting to seek Your insight. Help me to never put off until tomorrow what You want me to do today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What might I need to do today that I've been putting off until tomorrow?

    Have I sought God's insight about my future plans, or wise counsel from a trusted friend?

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 90:12, "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (NIV)

    Proverbs 16:9, "In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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

  • More Than Enough

    Posted on April 10, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. John 6:12-13

    God normally provides more than enough for His children. More than enough grace to get through a tough time. More than enough time to do His will. More than enough wisdom to make the best decision. More than enough work support to be successful. More than enough provision to care for our family. More than enough friends to stay accountable. More than enough truth to protect us from lies. More than enough forgiveness to forgive others. Jesus is more than enough!

    How do you thank God for the extra He has given you? One way is to manage it well with a grateful heart. You can imagine the massive leftovers from feeding thousands of people. So, Jesus clearly instructed His disciples to gather up the valuable morsels for future meals--twelve baskets full. Nothing goes to waste when you steward well the extra God has entrusted to you. It is easier to neglect and be wasteful, but trustworthy people prayerfully manage their abundance.

    “Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty” (Proverbs 28:19).

    The Lord is prone to bless those who manage His blessings well. But, those who exhibit sloppy stewardship tend to be lazy in caring for the left overs from God’s provision. Yes, the Holy Spirit looks for faithful partners who will share His abundant blessings with others. Our life does not consist of what we can hold on to for ourselves, but what can gather, then deploy for God’s Kingdom. We are charged by Christ to make available His abundant provision to needy people.

    Therefore, we feed on Jesus, the Bread of Life, so we can fill our baskets of belief with His extra grace. Similar to a niece or nephew who inherits riches from a wealthy aunt, we have received the riches of our heavenly Father. Like the prodigal son we can squander our stuff or we can leverage it for our Lord. We are sons and daughters of the King who have access to a baker that always serves up fresh bread for us to enjoy. Yes, we feast on hot, moist bread out of the oven of Christ’s heart, so it can warm our soul. He gives us more than enough new grace to grace others.

    “Those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:11)!

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me more than enough to carry out Your plan for my life and work.

    Related Readings: Psalm 31:19, 145:7; Jeremiah 33:6; Luke 12:13-21; 2 Corinthians 9:8

    Post/Tweet today: We feast on hot, moist bread out of the oven of Christ’s heart, so it can warm our soul. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • The Day I Lost My Smile

    Posted on April 10, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

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

    I looked at my schedule and an overwhelming sense of dread started creeping into my heart. "What's wrong with me? Why am I always running late, running behind, and running after my people who all seem to compound this issue?"

    Because time refused to stand still while I pondered, it was necessary to jump right into task mode. There were lunches to pack, permission forms to sign, and tangles that needed gathering up into ponytails. I put one foot in front of the other and kicked into automatic, mentally crossing off one thing after another on my morning routine checklist.

    I gathered up backpacks and lunchboxes and started announcing from the front door that we had to leave right this minute. And then I said it again. And then I yelled it in a tone that finally got my kids to appear. I quickly checked to make sure we didn't repeat yesterday's mistake of letting one leave with no shoes on. Then I marched out of the house while tossing out a stern reminder to please shut the door quickly so the dog didn't get out.

    But the dog did get out.

    As I slipped the car in drive, the dog darted right out in front of me causing me to simultaneously slam on the brakes and spill both cups of orange juice I had gingerly perched between my purse and the little stacks of toast.

    I jumped out to usher the dog back into the house and let hot tears just have their way. The green numbers of the dashboard clock seemed to simultaneously mock and remind me I had no time to sit and cry it all out.

    I handed my kids their soggy toast and in a rare moment of silence, they took it without protest.

    We pulled into the carpool line at school and I stared at the long line of cars ahead of me. I imagined all the wonderful smiling mothers who were doing this better than me. They probably had organized systems for packing lunches the night before and making sure their kids kept up with their shoes. They probably did family devotions each morning, ate breakfast at the table, and sang songs all the way to school.

    I compared all that to the realities of my morning and came to one heart-sinking conclusion: "I stink at this."

    Almost at that exact moment my phone buzzed with a text message from a friend: "I had a really hard morning with my kids today. I'd love to have coffee some time and learn how you do it all so well."

    I couldn't believe it. I half sighed and half chuckled at the irony.

    I turned around to my kids in the back and said, "Hey guys, I'm really sorry Mommy was such a grump this morning. I think I misplaced my smile. So I just want you to know while you're at school today I'm going to do everything I can to find it."

    After I dropped them off, I called that friend and told her what a gift it was to get her text.

    I shared with her. She shared with me.

    Together, we brainstormed better ways to prepare for these morning pitfalls we both kept finding ourselves in.

    Together, we gave ourselves the permission to admit how hard motherhood can sometimes be and that it's okay to feel caught off guard by the endless demands.

    Together, we listed reasons to be so very thankful.

    Together, we found strength.

    Together, we regained our sense of dignity.

    And it wasn't too long until we both found ourselves laughing together.

    It reminds me of our key verse, Proverbs 31:25, "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." But sometimes it takes a friend to bring us back to the place where we can live this verse.

    We need each other. The key word that day I processed life with my friend and gained a better perspective was, "together." It's such a powerful word and the exact reason I wrote this devotion today.

    You are not alone.

    Oh, how easy it is to lose our smiles and forget to laugh at the craziness of our lives. I need reminders. Just recently, I bought a necklace with a gold pendant that reads, "She laughs." (See below in related resources for more information.) When I see the reflection of this necklace in the mirror I remember laughing is one of the best ways to show those I love that I enjoy them and I like doing life with them. What a gift for them to have memories of me laughing.

    I imagine, though the circumstances might be different for you, you know that place where I was. And maybe you need a reminder to laugh too. We all have times where we feel like failures. We feel like others are doing life so much better. We feel so very alone in our struggles and issues and chaotic emotions. And we look up one day and feel like it was a lifetime ago since we laughed.

    So, I slip this little devotion into your life and whisper, you're not alone. You're doing this so much better than you think you are. God has entrusted you with your life, your loved ones, your unique challenges because you are perfectly equipped for it all.

    Just don't lose your smile. And if you run into me today looking a little worn out, might you remind me of this as well?

    Dear Lord, help me not to lose my smile today. I want to find my joy in You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What friend can you share your struggles with today?

    Choose someone you can be honest with, and determine to encourage each other through meeting for coffee, praying for each other, and sending text messages throughout the week.

    Power Verse:
    Ecclesiastes 4:12, "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Audacious Faith

    Posted on April 9, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks,and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. John 6:10-11

    It takes audacious faith to believe Jesus could take five paltry loaves and two measly fish and feed five thousand men, plus women and children. What seemed like a cruel joke (one loaf per thousand men), became a lesson in the Lord’s resourcefulness. He sometimes tests our hearts to see if we will obey and wait on His provision. We are quick to obsess over our limitations, while God has already applied His limitless assets. Audacious faith acts like God has already provided.

    We are wise to confess the crumbs of our creativity, but in the hands of Jesus our meager ideas can birth radical ingenuity. What do you have that the Lord can multiply a thousand times over? Influence; give it over to God to educate people of the need for foster care and orphan adoption. Money; invest in indigenous leaders who are effective in planting churches and who serve human suffering. Audacious faith believes Christ’s best; it even waits on those with imperfect obedience.

    “But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them” (1 John 2:5).

    Audacious faith is not afraid to engage the ugliness of hunger and poverty. Is the Lord calling you to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty? It's messy to mingle with the disadvantaged and the disabled, but they starve for the love of Christ. You are the hands and feet of Jesus to those shunned by the world--left to beg, borrow and plea for help. Some elderly lie in loneliness for someone to read them the Bible or to sing about God’s love. Yes, your small efforts are enlarged by the Spirit’s influence. Your audacious faith is a catalyst to draw others to serve.

    Above all, feed on the Lord--the Bread of Life, and give His bread to other hungry souls. Audacious faith is fueled by belief in Christ’s spiritual food. Just as the human body gains energy with proper nutrition, so the saved soul gains strength by spiritual sustenance from its Savior Jesus. Faith comes alive and grows exponentially when energized by the Holy Spirit. Thus, we take our small or large trust and entrust it to the Lord. Our heavenly Father takes what we have, and grows it into what we need. Audacious faith flows from a humble and obedient heart.

    “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).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, take my inadequate resources and make them more than sufficient by the power of Your Spirit.

    Related Readings: Jeremiah 7:23; Matthew 21:21; 1 Corinthians 13:2; Ephesians 6:6

    Post/Tweet today: Our heavenly Father takes what we have and grows it into what we need. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Will I Ever Accomplish Something Great?

    Posted on April 9, 2014 by Leah DiPascal

    Leah

    "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

    Have you ever thought to yourself, "God could never use me"? I have ... many times.

    I spent years watching from the sidelines as some of my closest friends accomplished great things. Rewarding careers. Successful families. Thriving ministries.

    If only I were smarter. If I could just meet the right people. If I had a little more courage. Then surely God would use me.

    What did others have that I didn't? I loved God. He loved me. So why wasn't I on the approved-to-be-used-by-God list? What was the problem? Would my big moment to shine ever come?

    I was under the false impression that if God chose me to accomplish great things for Him, it would include an elaborate theme with plenty of fanfare. Boy, was I wrong.

    Sure, God certainly knows how to manifest grand and elaborate: A snow capped mountain range. A sunrise bursting with color. A field of wildflowers in full bloom. He even gives people tremendous platforms to fulfill His wondrous plans. People whose names we all know by heart.

    God also chooses people like you and me to do great things for His glory. But sometimes our assignments look very different than we think they should. Although the world tends to focus on famous people, high positions and big platforms, God looks at the intent of the heart.

    While admiring the successful journeys of others and wondering why God wasn't choosing me, I overlooked something important. He was using me — as His masterpiece — to accomplish good things that were already planned for me years ago (Ephesians 2:10).

    While I was dreaming up grand ideas, God was waiting for a grateful heart.

    While I was longing for elaborate platforms, God was looking for a humble spirit.

    While I was dreaming of success, God was watching for a willingness of obedience.

    A grateful heart when diapers needed changing and toys were left all over the floor. A humble spirit when dirty clothes sat in piles waiting to be washed and dinner needed to be prepared. A willingness of obedience when God whispered to my heart "Apologize first and say you're sorry."

    Looking back over the years I can now see that some of my greatest accomplishments happened within the simple walls of my own home. Serving my family in messy ways and being stretched beyond what I thought was my breaking point.

    Saying "yes" when I wanted to say "no." Helping with last-minute homework assignments. Holding little hands during bedtime prayers.

    There was no sea of spectators. No cheers from the crowd. No standing ovations. Only a simple family, living life one day at a time, trying to do what was right in God's eyes.

    What great things has God chosen for you to do? Remember, you are His masterpiece, a one-of-a-kind creation, created to fulfill important plans no one else can do.

    Are your God-given assignments wrapped in baseball caps and sneakers?

    Are your grand moments filled with princess tiaras and bedtime stories?

    As you tirelessly serve your family and sometimes wonder if anyone notices, be assured that God does. He sees you as His greatest asset! Your willingness to serve your family brings Him great joy.

    And when will our big moment come? When we get to shine?

    I imagine it will be one glorious day when we humbly kneel before our Heavenly Father and He lovingly speaks our names saying, "Well done my faithful daughter. You have accomplished great things in My Name."

    Lord, help me to accomplish all the plans You've chosen for me. Give me wisdom and discernment to know what path You've laid out for me to follow. Thank you for creating me as Your masterpiece and may I delight in You as I serve my family well. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are you living out God's plan for your life? If not, what is holding you back from accomplishing great things for Him?

    What are some ways you enjoy serving your family? Plan something special for your family to do together. Take pictures and create a memory board to hang up in your home.

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 16:3, "Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed." (NLT)

    1 Samuel 16:7, "God does not view things the way men do. People look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (NET)

    © 2014 by Leah DiPascal. All rights reserved.

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

  • Follow Good Examples

    Posted on April 8, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself;he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does." John 5:19

    Jesus followed the example of His heavenly Father. He only did what His Father did. So in the same way, we who love Christ seek to follow His example. In the power of the Holy Spirit we can do what He does. We can do nothing of eternal significance in our own strength, but in His strength we can do His works. Thus, we start with Jesus when we initiate new activities. We ask Him to validate our direction, before we move forward. We want to follow His wise example.

    For instance, Jesus put individual needs before the needs of institutions. He did not allow the control of religious leaders to keep Him from doing good for those who suffered under bad circumstances. The Sabbath was holy to God, but it was also an opportunity to glorify God by curing those in physical pain. The mercy and compassion of Christ trumps the unnecessary sacrifice required by some religious leaders’ strict rules. Relationships take priority over rules.

    “Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath” (John 7:23)?

    Furthermore, follow the examples of those who follow Christ well. A good example is their humility in pointing people back to Jesus. They are quick to say that anything worth emulating in their lives comes from the life of Christ in them. Their goal is for others to fall deeper in love with their heavenly Father and to only do what He leads them to do. Validation of human behavior begins with the life of Christ and His word--the Bible. Good examples lead to the Lord.

    Therefore, follow Jesus first, follow those who love Jesus, and be a good example for others to follow. When you hurt a child’s feelings, ask their forgiveness. When you pray, humbly confess your sins before you pray for the needs of others. When you worship God, focus on His glory and goodness. When you give, give discreetly and generously. When you serve, don’t expect to be served. Use your freedom in Christ to do what’s wise, not just what’s permissible. Be a good example who follows the example of Jesus. Many who respect you may model what you do.

    “Set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I desire to be a good example that follows Your example and I want to be a good example for others to follow.

    Related Readings: Hosea 6:6; John 14:24; Titus 2:7; 1 Peter 2:12

    Post/Tweet today: Validation of human behavior begins with the life of Christ and His word--the Bible. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Everyday, Ordinary Glory

    Posted on April 8, 2014 by Lisa-Jo Baker

    Lisa-Jo

    "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." Colossians 1:17 (NIV)

    It's late. Only 9 p.m. But so late. The night shift will soon begin, and the day shift with bath times and teeth brushing battles is just winding down. With my husband Peter finally home, I slink away to steal some quiet and maybe a few moments of sleep between shifts.

    But they find me.

    They pad down the hallway, long shadows stretching around the corner and into my room before deep breaths whisper, "Mama, can we stay by you?" Then they sandwich beside me and we begin the losing battle against not speaking.

    One may as well try and hold back the tide. The day, their highs, lows and secret wishes come trickling out. First in whispers and then in bold declarations! When they grow up they will be trash truck drivers, builders, policemen, game rangers, fathers and heroes.

    Their profiles against the hall light are brave and delicate at the same time. I can feel the sand, gritty against my foot where it's escaped socks and sandboxes, now taking up residence at the foot of my bed. Someone farts, someone else burps and my retreat is now a mini-locker room experience with my growing up boys-will-be-boys boys.

    I relive snapshots of the day from their perspective and discover how someone's minuscule boo-boo looms large in their memory and how someone else likes to be the leader during walks around the block.

    Who would have thought boys giggled this much?

    And in the dark and the tired and the small, everydayness of these moments I can feel it. The weight of glory. The glorious ordinary that is God's gift to us.

    Colossians 1:15-17 speaks of the glory of God in everything: "The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."

    And sandwiched between two talkative boys, I know there is no part of our everyday, wash-rinse-repeat routine of kids and laundry and life and fights and worries and play dates and kindergarten orientation and work and marriage and love and new life and bedtime snuggles, that Jesus doesn't look into it deeply and say, "That is Mine."

    In Him all things hold together. All things. This messy house and my fears and chaos and incomplete to-do lists.

    Turns out, I'm not defined by my mothering skills or my name on a business card. I'm not defined by what I accomplished today, or whether or not I lost my temper. I'm not defined by my jeans that I wish were a different size, or by my kids when they won't obey. I'm not defined by my wrinkles or tired eyes.

    I am, however, defined by the God who knows me by name ... by the God who promises that nothing I do or don't do can separate me from His love that is in Christ Jesus.

    Right where we are at the end of long days, long lists and long sleepless nights, Jesus meets us and in Him we are tenderly, patiently, lovingly held together. So we can be ready for tomorrow.

    Dear Jesus, thank You for not seeing anything boring or routine when You look at us. You don't see failure, insignificance or ordinary. But instead, You see one-of-a-kind daughters of the King. Thank You for entering into every part of our days, for delighting in all we cycle through, and for how You celebrate, grieve, counsel and comfort every step of the way. We love how You see wonder in even our most ordinary routines and how You hold us together even when we feel like we're falling apart. We love You, Jesus. Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Think about your routine today and identify something glorious that is buried in your everyday ordinary.

    What is one way you can start to remind yourself to be looking for wonder in your routine? For example, keeping a gratitude journal, setting an alarm throughout the day to stop and reflect, sharing something that each family member found special at dinnertime?

    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)

    Acts 17:28a, "For in him we live and move and have our being." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lisa-Jo Baker. All rights reserved.

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

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

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