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Daily Devotion

  • Doubter to Disciple

    Posted on March 12, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?”Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip... Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel. John 1:46, 49

    Nathanael was without deceit, he spoke his mind. Not taking Jesus at face value, he questioned His origin. Nathanael doubted a person of importance could hail from a small, insignificant village. He hesitated. He judged Jesus as unfit, since He did not fit into Nathanael’s profile of a prophet, much less Messiah. In similar fashion, some people today don’t take Jesus seriously. Christ’s credentials don’t meet the standards of their cultural bias. They doubt His credibility.

    However, Jesus did not defend the quality of His origin. His hometown was not the focus of their discussion. Instead, He complimented His critic as being a good man, one without guile. Because Jesus knew his heart, Nathanael’s heart was drawn to Jesus. Thus, when someone seeks first to know Jesus, they quickly realize, they are known by Jesus. Sometimes a serendipitous spiritual moment happens when we are honest with God. Yes, a guileless heart easily reaches God in faith.

    “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit” (Psalm 32:1-2, NKJV).

    Furthermore, our role as disciples of Jesus is simply to present Jesus. “Come and see Christ for yourself,” should often be our first step in apologetics. Seekers of God can weary over arguments for God. It’s not our flawless logic that finally converts them to Christ, but the Spirit’s wooing. God’s love is what’s irresistible. Perhaps instead, we challenge them to rest in the Lord’s presence and quietly read His words in the Bible. The Holy Spirit will draw them to Himself.

    Therefore, we move from doubter to disciple when we take Jesus at His word. Wherever He leads, we follow. Whatever He says, we do. We obey His commands, because we love Him. Anyone can find reasons to doubt, but few choose to unconditionally follow Christ. Since we believe in the resurrection of Jesus, we can trust in Jesus. Where do you struggle to trust Him? Your future career? Your present problem with a child? Your past divorce or addiction? Trust. Stay in a prayerful process, as you process pain. Be a trusting Nathanael, not a doubting Thomas.

    “Jesus said, ‘You [Nathanael] believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that’” (John 1:50).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, calm my fears. Replace my doubts with trust. I place my faith in You.

    Related Readings: Genesis 28:12; Psalm 17:1, 26:4; Matthew 4:3; John 12:13, 14:12

    Post/Tweet today: Stay in a prayerful process, as you process pain. #doubtertodisciple

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Hope for When You Feel Hard Pressed

    Posted on March 12, 2014 by Sharon Glasgow

    Sharon

    "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 (NIV)

    We watched as our only working vehicle was hoisted onto the back of a tow truck. How would we manage without it?

    In an attempt to be wise with our money, we had chosen the cheapest place around to fix the car. But week after week passed and the car wasn't finished.

    Finally the repair shop called. Hope and relief faded instantly when the mechanic said, "No, your car isn't ready." He told me we needed to come and pay more because there was a leak. I was perplexed, as there hadn't been a leak prior to us taking it there.

    As we pulled into the parking lot, I was shocked to see the car! The leak was the least of the new problems. Three of the four windows were gone or broken! Our car had been vandalized, and the shop didn't have insurance to cover it. How? What? Why? No!

    Our trouble doubled when we learned our insurance deductible was higher than the cost of the new windows. Needing a working vehicle desperately, we ordered and paid for the windows out of pocket. Obviously, with the delays and windows, that repair shop was no longer cheap!

    To top it off, the guys from the glass shop called. They'd never had this happen, but each window they ordered for us arrived broken!

    These costly frustrations and time delays aggravated me to say the least. Everything in me felt like falling apart. Instead, I pressed pause before that could happen and tried to find perspective.

    The only way I know to find any perspective when facing hardships is to view them in light of God's Word. When trials come, and they will, it helps me to confront them with truth from Scripture. Without this perspective, it's hard to triumph over feelings of despair, anger and worry.

    God's Word reminds us that nothing surprises God, and nothing can overcome Him. A good place to turn for truth is our key verse today, 2 Corinthians 4:7-9:

    "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."

    The "treasure in jars of clay" referred to is the Word of God stored within us. The truth we find and believe in the pages of our Bibles gives us the perspective, hope and encouragement we need when we feel pressed, perplexed, persecuted and struck down.

    I definitely could have felt pressed, perplexed, persecuted and struck down with all that happened. Not having a vehicle to get my family around was hard. Health issues and mounting medical bills compounded the situation. But using God's Word as my perspective reminded me that God is my provider (Matthew 6:26), and I shouldn't worry (Philippians 4:6-7). Trusting in His truths gave me freedom from despair.

    We eventually got our car back — working and with all the windows — along with a pretty big bill. But we didn't have the stress and frustration, thanks to trusting in God and His Word.

    Life will always have seasons where we are hard pressed on every side. Yet in the crushing moments, God's all-surpassing power will prevail. What a comfort to know that truth in the middle of trying times. In the midst of despair, let's combat trials with Scripture. When we do, we are triumphant!

    Lord, open my eyes that I may see the wondrous things in Your Word while I'm in the middle of my trials. Help me to see Your glory and power. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Write down the things that are making you feel hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted and struck down.

    Now, find a Bible verse that speaks truth to those specific situations. Write the verses next to your situation and leave space to record how God provides.

    Power Verse:
    James 1:12, "Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Sharon Glasgow. All rights reserved.

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

  • Freedom In Christ

    Posted on March 11, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. 1 Corinthians 7:22

    The desire for freedom is a longing of the human heart. It is the heartbeat of God. Liberty for all is foundational to free nations. Let freedom ring is the battle cry of republics who have sacrificed lives, so future generations can live free. It opens door of opportunities, like freedom to worship and work. We are free to be sad or glad, free to pursue God or money, and free to experience good or evil. Freedom in Christ is fundamental to the faith. By faith in Jesus, we are free indeed.

    However, we have an enemy to freedom: slavery. Slavery to sin, self, and Satan. A soul’s bondage brings despair and dread. We are not free to make wise choices, until our minds have been freed from the confusing claims of lies. But, truth clarifies. Moreover, there is a hideous slavery to sinister human beings. Human slavery treats people like property, not as precious people created by almighty God. Those imprisoned by evil need the righteous to rise up. Yes, freedom in Christ bears the responsibility to rescue those trafficked by greedy perverts. We must help the captives!

    “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life” (Romans 6:22).

    Furthermore, freedom in Christ comes from being a slave to Christ. Before Christ, our master was evil, after Christ our master was good. Before Christ our master was selfish, after Christ our master was generous. Before Christ our master was mean, after Christ our master was merciful. In Christ, we cannot serve two masters, only one: God Almighty. Thus, our glad servitude to the Lord frees us to serve for the Lord. Grace binds us to God’s love, so we are free to love for God.

    Human slavery is against the will. Spiritual slavery is free to choose. Human slavery is bondage. Spiritual slavery is freedom. Human slavery is hurtful. Spiritual slavery is healing. Human slavery is exploitation of helpless humans. Spiritual slavery is glorification of holy God. Thus, we ask ourselves, “Does anything other than Jesus Christ master any part of my life?” “Who in my life needs to be set free by faith in Jesus?” “How can I bring awareness to the atrocities of human trafficking?” Freedom in Christ comes from being a slave to Christ. So, live free for Him!

    “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, break my heart for what breaks Yours, especially the hideous sin of human trafficking.

    Related Readings: Genesis 2:16; Galatians 5:1; Hebrews 13:5; 1 Peter 2:16

    Post/Tweet today: Human slavery treats people like property, not as precious people created by Almighty God. #freedominChrist

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • The Right Order of Love

    Posted on March 11, 2014 by Lynn Cowell

    Lynn

    "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 (NIV)

    "I just want a boy to like me," she said with a sigh.

    My heart understands her desire. As I sat around my kitchen table with my small group of high school girls, I realized again how some things never change.

    We all want to be wanted. Whether you're a girl wanting a date with the guy in math class or a woman hoping for an invitation to lunch with a friend, each one of us wants to be wanted. To know we matter. To be chosen.

    Wanting to be wanted is a good thing. It doesn't mean we're incredibly needy. It means we're normal. In fact, God created us with this desire. Here are two reasons:

    1) So we would want a relationship with Him.

    God created us for the sake of love. He has so much love to share and He wants a relationship with us. He chose us; now we choose Him.

    2) So we would want relationships with others.

    God also created us with the desire to share our lives with others, for friendships and family too.

    Things get tricky and difficult when we reverse the order of these desires, which we easily do.

    Whether we want to be loved by a boyfriend, a friend or a husband, when we go looking to "the one" to meet our needs before we fall in love with The One, we can get ourselves in a world of trouble.

    Today's key verse from Matthew confirms the importance of this order. In this passage, an expert in the law asked Jesus the most important commandment. Jesus answered: "'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).

    Jesus is clear on the order. The first command is to love the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind. Then we are to love others.

    God didn't intend for people to fill our hearts with love. In fact, they couldn't even if they tried! We aren't equipped to do a job that big, as God never wants another to take His proper place.

    When we love God with all we have first, our love expands, multiplies even, and we have more love to give to others. And that love is healthy because our hearts' needs are met by Him first.

    However, when we reverse God's order and seek the love of others before God, our love source and its purity diminishes. Then love can become self-focused and unhealthy because our own God-designed needs aren't met.

    God created a love gap in us only He can fill. When we try to love others out of our human love, we can run out of love. We begin looking to others instead of overflowing on others.

    God's order is best. Get filled by Him first. Spill over to others after that.

    Lord, it can be so much easier to look for love from those around me, those I can touch and see. Help me to keep love in order by first loving You with everything in me, and then allowing Your love to spill over on those around me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What negative effects can occur in our lives when our need to be wanted drives our actions?

    What positive effects occur when we love God first and others second?

    Power Verse:
    Deuteronomy 10:12, "And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, ..." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

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

  • Active With God

    Posted on March 10, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” John 1:43

    Jesus sought out Philip and found him. This is the heart of our Lord: to seek us out and to find us. He seeks us out in our sin to find us. He seeks us out in our success and failures to find us. He seeks us out at school and work to find us. He seeks us out in our singleness or in our marriage to find us. He seeks us out in new seasons of life to find us. He seeks us--even if, we haven’t sought Him. He came to seek and to save us, because He loves us. He seeks us, so we will seek Him.

    Like a loving shepherd looks for one lost sheep, our Lord comes after us with compassion. Like a focused woman searches her home for a misplaced piece of silver, God does what’s required to reach out and find us--His valuable possession. Like a loving father runs toward his repentant son, so our Savior meets us in our pain to minister His healing grace. Jesus finds us, so we will follow Him. He discovers us, so we will do something with Him. Disciples are active with God.

    “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

    What a privilege to follow the One who formed us in our mother’s womb and who formed the heavens and the earth. What a joy to join the One who rescued us from fighting for the devil, instead enlisting us to fight against the devil. Christ is our Commander-In-Chief from whom we take orders with an attitude of instant obedience. He is our Savior; we follow by faith. Christ is our model of character whom we seek to imitate with our actions. He’s our intimate friend with whom we commune.

    Time is short--so, be an active follower of Jesus. Your love for the Lord and people can’t sit still. Heavenly intentionality defines engaged disciples. Be occupied with Christ’s agenda upon His return. There are a variety of opportunities to partner with the Spirit’s work. Perhaps you serve at Celebrate Recovery. Volunteer at a woman’s shelter or girl’s home. Lead at a men’s retreat or boy’s club. Facilitate a new believer’s class at church or park cars. Yes, just as exercise benefits bodily function, so active faith flushes out your soul’s spiritual toxins. Stay active with God!

    “The same is true with faith. Without actions, faith is useless. By itself, it’s as good as dead” (James 2:17, The Voice).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, Your loving grace activates my faith to lovingly engage others on Your behalf.

    Related Readings: Ezekiel 35:12, 16; Matthew 7:21; Luke 15:3-31; Galatians 5:6; James 1:22

    Post/Tweet today: Jesus rescued us from fighting for the devil, instead enlisting us to fight against the devil. #activewithGod

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • You Are Worthy

    Posted on March 10, 2014 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy

    "Whatever you ask for in My name, I will do it so that the Father will get glory from the Son." John 14:13 (The Voice, emphasis added)

    A few years ago, I received the best birthday present ever. At first, it seemed liked the gift was a weekend with my friend. But God knew I needed something more, something deeper, something that would heal an ache in my heart and change me forever.

    Lendy and I had been friends since college. We even worked together after graduation. So when my husband suggested a weekend getaway with her for my birthday, I was thrilled.

    Through the years, I had admired Lendy's relationship with God, longing for the faith she had. Lendy graciously mentored me as I grew in my faith until I moved away. So, being reunited with her sounded like just what I needed.

    While on a walk, Lendy asked if she could pray over me. What a gift! Of course, I jumped at the chance.

    Lendy had no idea how desperately I needed prayer. I hadn't told her about the anxiety churning inside me. I'd been teaching Bible study for years, but recently feelings of unworthiness invaded my soul. Why did God call me? What qualifications did I have? I had no seminary degree. No formal Bible training at all. I was an attorney, for heaven's sake!

    Yet every week I stood and taught, sharing my concerns with no one, not even my husband. I feared the women in my class would lose confidence in me as their teacher if they knew the feelings of unworthiness harbored in my heart.

    But God knew. He had heard the cry of my heart and responded in a most gracious and loving way.

    After our walk, Lendy took me to a quiet spot and placed her hands on my shoulders and prayed. She prayed for my marriage and family. As she spoke of me as a teacher, she moved her hands from my shoulders to my head and anointed me with a fragrant oil she had brought. Her words poured over me like a healing balm:

    "Wendy, you are worthy."

    Tears fell. She repeated the words again and again.

    "You are worthy."

    More tears.

    She cupped my face in her hands, looked intently in my eyes and declared one last time:

    "You are worthy."

    God knew the ache in my heart, my desperate need to know I was worthy ... and called by Him to teach His Word. God orchestrated that weekend so that someone I loved and trusted breathed life back into my ministry.

    God brought His Word alive to me: Wendy, "whatever you ask for in My name, I will do it so that the Father will get glory from the Son" (John 14:13, The Voice, emphasis added).

    Since that day, I've been teaching and writing with greater confidence ... trusting God with every message. God answered my prayer and breathed life back into my ministry so that as I study and teach His written Word, and share the hope found in Jesus, He receives glory.

    Friend, you're reading this devotional because God has heard the cry of your heart. He is speaking to you so that His Word will encourage you and speak into your life as it did mine.

    God hears our cries, and He answers our prayers so that He will receive all the glory as we grow together in His Word and journey toward living "so that" lives.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for hearing the cry of my heart. Thank You for answering that cry because You are faithful to Your Word. Help me hear and obey so that You will receive all glory and honor and praise. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What is the cry of your heart? Have you asked God to answer that cry? If not, will you do that today? Write a prayer inviting Him to be at work in a longing, insecure or doubting place in your heart.

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

    © 2014 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

  • The Vision

    Posted on March 9, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    The vision of Obadiah. This is what the Sovereign LORD says about Edom—We have heard a message from the LORD: an envoy was sent to the nations to say, “Rise up and let us go against her for battle.”  Obadiah 1:1

    The vision God has placed in your heart cannot be ignored because it is His vision for you. Indeed, your God-given vision can be daunting, for it requires extraordinary faith that at times feels uncomfortable and overwhelming. Your leadership is challenged and stretched. You become assertive in ways that seem unnatural for your personality and temperament, but this is God’s way of growing you and implementing His vision simultaneously.

    A big vision accompanied by a large Lord, led by a leader of humble faith, is fun to watch. Some days you pinch yourself, wondering why God chose you to carry out this creative assignment on His behalf. Other days you tremble with feelings of anxiety, unsure of how the next few phases of the vision can become a reality. Money and time are both short, but your provision flows from the Lord (1 Timothy 6:17).

    Yes, God is at His best when you feel overwhelmed with responsibilities and worry. He has prepared you and others for this vision of Kingdom significance. Do not oversell or understate the vision He has placed in your heart. Trust that the Holy Spirit will reveal its significance over time. A vision starts with an acorn of an idea, but then grows into an oak tree of influence. This takes time and outside resources that you cannot control. The more patient you are, the more vital the vision becomes; so do not present a half-baked vision. You know you want to be a mom, build a business, or serve overseas. This is good, but let your concept for Christ mature. Like an infant in the womb, the vision needs time to grow so it can be birthed in good health.

    Lastly, the vision God has lodged in your life requires all of you to be fully focused. There are two focuses: the focus of the vision and your focus on the vision. Start by crystallizing the idea Christ has placed on your heart. If you cannot clearly articulate the vision in a sentence, it is not focused. Clear communication of the vision is concise and compelling. If others see it, they can conceive it.

    Secondly, focus on the vision in prayer and do not be distracted by other good opportunities. Furthermore, the vision is top of mind for you, but it takes time to register in the hearts and minds of others. Your part is to cast the vision; their part is to catch the vision. So present the vision in a relevant way to your audience, and seek to align with those of like-minded passions. Communication of vision takes repetition. What is familiar to you may be foreign to your followers. However, in the process, the vision becomes better focused, you are more focused, and it comes into focus for others. This is the vision God has given you, so be true to the Almighty, the author of the vision. Your vision of God determines the quality and quantity of your vision. So stay fixated by faith on your heavenly Father, for the vision flows from Him.

    Taken from the March 7th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 1”

    Post/Tweet today: A vision may start with an acorn of an idea, but then grow into an oak tree of influence. #thevision

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • When in Doubt

    Posted on March 8, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Matthew 11:2–3).

    Doubt seeks to destroy our faith. It is in our discouragement—even despair—that we begin to question God. “What did I do wrong?” “Lord, did you call me to this place of confusion?” “Where is my joy and hope?” “Are you even real or just a figment of my imagination?” Left to its natural conclusion, doubt crushes our faith in Christ.

    Fortunately, faith does not have to take a furlough when we are frustrated and fatigued. It is in your confinement that Christ wants to remind you of His great power. So cry out to Him in your confused circumstances, and He will earnestly listen in love. “In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came to His ears” (2 Samuel 22:7). He does not leave His loved ones alone and in doubt.

    It is okay to be in doubt, but it is not okay to remain in doubt. What doubt challenges your faith in God? Is it His provision, His promises, His presence, His character, or His care? When these questions assault your confidence in Christ, take a step back and review His track record. The reality of your salvation sets you on the productive path of peace and forgiveness. Answered prayer over the years is proof enough of His love and concern.

    Furthermore, use this temporary time of distrust to go deeper with Jesus. The pressure you feel on all sides is your Savior’s way of soliciting your attention. When in doubt, seek out the Lord, learn to love Him completely, and discern more fully His profound promises. Use doubt to dig deeper into the truth of Scripture; marinate your mind. “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8).

    When in doubt, stay steadfast in seeking out your Savior. Wait on Him, especially when you wonder what is next. Where there is true faith there may be a mixture of unbelief; so remain faithful, even when questions manipulate your faith. Perseverance will one day free you as a stronger and more-committed follower of Christ. See Jesus for who He is. Doubt dissolves in His reassuring presence. Doubt starves to death when it is not fed.

    “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—the Lord, who remains faithful forever” (Psalm 146:5–6).

    Prayer: What doubts do I need to acknowledge and release to God? Is Christ trustworthy?

    Related Readings: 2 Chronicles 33:12; Job 36:16–19; John 20:27; Jude 1:22

    Taken from the March 8th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 2”

    Post/Tweet today: Faith does not have to take a furlough when we are frustrated and fatigued. #Whenindoubt

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Go and Tell

    Posted on March 7, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. John 1:41-42

    Those who experience the abiding joy of Jesus cannot sit still with their new discovery. Lost souls who have seen the love of the Lord forgive their sin, are compelled to love their friends to the Lord. People who once panicked in fear, but now have peace with their heavenly Father, must share with others their hope in Christ. The fullness of the Spirit in a saved soul bids believers to bring people to Jesus. We who know Jesus are called by God to introduce others to Jesus.

    You may say, “I am not a great debater,” or “I have limited experience following Christ,” or God forbid, “I am not a professional Christian.” See these statements as assets not liabilities. A knowledge of apologetics is helpful, but not necessary to explain the depth of God’s love in John 3:16. Yes, you have the opportunity to grow your faith with life’s ups and downs. But, from the start of salvation you can tell your story, “Once I was spirally blind, but now I see.” Lastly, those in vocational ministry are paid to serve, but you can serve as a grateful and generous volunteer.

    “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did” (John 4:39).

    Once we introduce people to our best friend Jesus, He will invite them unto Himself. The Holy Spirit will reveal the needy heart of the seeker and the holy heart of their Savior Christ Jesus. He initiates irresistible intimacy their soul longs to enjoy. We make the introductions, but the Spirit draws hungry hearts to know Him in a loving relationship for a lifetime. We plant a seed of Scripture, the Spirit waters the Word with conviction, and God harvests the heart for Himself.

    Therefore, be creative with your invitations to Jesus. Invite your family to Easter Sunday and lunch after the church service. Invite a co-worker to a men or women’s weekend retreat with you. Scholarship their registration fee so there are fewer obstacles to their attendance. Host a Bible study on the life of Jesus, with a few friends who are interested in learning Christ’s claims.  Invite a neighbor to a prayer breakfast to hear the story of how a respected leader came to the Lord. Most of all, prayerfully ask individuals who trust you, if they would like to trust Jesus.

    “They said to the woman, ‘We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world’” (John 4:42).

    Related Readings: Matthew 11:9; Mark 5:19; Luke 2:11; 2 Corinthians 6:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:2

    Prayer: Heavenly Father give me the courage, love and grace to speak boldly salvation through faith in Jesus.

    Post/Tweet today: We who know Jesus are called by God to introduce others to Jesus. #goandtell

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Three Ways to be the Best Friend Ever

    Posted on March 7, 2014 by Micca Campbell

    Micca

    "Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself." 1 Samuel 18:1b (NIV)

    Growing up, my best friend knew everything about me. She knew which boy I liked, my favorite song and all my dreams. She knew my secrets too, like who kissed me at the skating rink. Friendships like that are rare, and these days I find myself longing for a friend like that.

    Making good friends in our constantly-moving society is getting harder. It's not that we don't want close relationships, but people come and go so fast it's difficult to establish long-lasting friendships.

    But it's more than that. Some of us have been hurt and betrayed so often we keep others at arm's length. Perhaps you had a close friend once who proved to have looser lips than you thought. Behind your back she spilled your secrets to others. You felt betrayed and rightly so. Now, you suffer from hurt, unforgiveness and distrust.

    While it's tempting to wish God would bring me a good friend, more often than not, He asks me to be a good friend to someone else first. That's when I need to go to Scripture for a reminder of what true friendship looks like.

    God knows the agony of broken relationships and our need for godly role models. That's why we're allowed to look into the lives of two biblical characters who succeeded at a long, intimate friendship. Their names are David and Jonathan.

    We find their story in 1 Samuel 18 and 19. Jonathan, son of King Saul, was David's closest friend. The king despised David because he was growing in popularity and because God had anointed David to be king — instead of Saul's own son. These facts enraged King Saul, and he commanded his aids and Jonathan to assassinate David. But because of Jonathan's love for his friend, he refused to betray David.

    Love isn't the only fruit of true friendship. It consists of sacrifice too.

    Jonathan is a picture of sacrifice. He removed his robe and gave it to David, along with his armor, sword, bow and belt. Jonathan was the potential heir to his father's throne, but we see him sacrificing his future as he gives David his place as king. We learn from Jonathan's action that true friendship means a willingness to sacrifice for each other. It's the choice to put another's needs, desires and wishes above our own.

    Loyalty is also a mark of true friendship.

    We're told that Jonathan went to his father and spoke well of David. He reminded the king that David had done nothing wrong. In fact, David had been loyal to Saul.

    Jonathan impresses me. It's tough to do the right thing and stand up to authority. We learn by his actions that a true friend is a loyal defense before others, and one who won't talk badly about you when you're not around. True friends stick up for each other and are ready to defend when others attack.

    Finally, true friends trust each enough to be themselves.

    When Jonathan told David that his father was out to kill him, the two were forced to say goodbye. The text in 1 Samuel 20:41 tells us that they "wept together." I love that.

    When your heart is broken, you can fall apart and a good friend understands. She won't try to correct you in your misery or tell you to straighten up. True friends let each other hurt. They weep together. They listen to fears. They don't bail; they stay. They allow you to be yourself — no matter what "self" looks like.

    God challenges me to be a better friend with the story of Jonathan and David. I check my heart to see if I'm loyal, loving, selfless and trustworthy, then I ask God to help me be that kind of friend and bless me with the same.

    A good friendship takes time. If things get rocky, don't walk out. Work it out. Give your relationship time to grow because a true friend is a rare and precious gift.

    Dear Lord, help me be a friend like Jonathan. And bless me with the same. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What kind of friend am I?

    What can I do this week to show loyalty, love, sacrifice and trust to a friend?

    Power Verse:
    Proverbs 17:17, "A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need." (NLT)

    © 2014 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.

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

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