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Daily Devotion

  • Keep Learning

    Posted on January 3, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. Proverbs 1:5

    Wise men and women are lifetime learners. The knowledge and understanding that served us well last year will not be sufficient for following years. It is what we are learning today that prepares us for tomorrow. Wisdom and discernment listen and learn. They listen to people around them and learn what to do and what not to do. Another person’s unfortunate tragedy can be a teacher of decisions to avoid.

    When you see the use of irresponsible debt destroy a family, you learn the discipline of saving. Another person’s triumph can be a teacher of choices to embrace. The sacrifice of a mom who stays home to serve her family increases the probability of children with character. You listen and learn from her how to teach little ones to love Jesus; so keep learning.

    “Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning” (Proverbs 9:9).
    Your counsel increases in value as you grow in wisdom and discernment. Lazy learners are left to be by themselves. It is an educated life that others desire to learn; so seek out a mentor who models learning, with whom you can meet weekly to challenge your assumptions. Invite your mentor to question your answers more than answer your questions. Oral learning through the exchange of ideas unlocks and applies wisdom. You are positioned to learn in an audience of one with graying hair.

    Above all, learn by submission to God and His Word. A humble life can be trusted with God’s wisdom and the Holy Spirit’s discernment. It is out of your compassion and mercy that knowledge is converted to wisdom. Keep learning, and the Lord will lift you to new levels of influence. Stop learning, and you will lower into irrelevance. Learning expands your kingdom effectiveness and deepens your character.

    “Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning” (Proverbs 9:9).

    Prayer: What lesson do I need to learn today so I can better serve the Lord and others tomorrow?

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 5:1; 31:13; Job 34:2–4; Psalm 119:73; Hebrews 5:8

    Post/Tweet today: Learn by submission to God and His Word. A humble life can be trusted with God’s wisdom. #keeplearning

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

  • Unmixing Our Motives

    Posted on January 3, 2014 by Amy Carroll

    Amy

    "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." Philippians 2:5 (NIV 1984)

    I'll never forget when mixed motives almost killed my true calling. Soon after accepting a leadership position in the women's ministry of my church, a friend on the team came up to me. "Oh! We forgot to tell you," she said with a grin. "You're in charge of the annual women's conference."

    Despite the surprise, I loved every minute of organizing the event. But as I interacted with our guest speaker, envy began to wind itself around my heart. If it could have spoken aloud, it would have said, "I want THAT!"

    I wanted her platform.

    I wanted her eloquence.

    I wanted her audience.

    I wanted her cute outfit.

    Fortunately, I recognized these "wants" as signs of covetousness rather than signs of my calling. I knew God had called me to be the women's ministry director during that season—not to speak. And each time I desired what that speaker had, it took my focus off what God had for me.

    So I asked God to kill the weed of envy that was choking the life from my calling to lead women. I asked Him to purify my motives and steer my heart to the women He had called me to serve.

    It's so easy for wrong motives to creep in to our hearts. You might not want to be a speaker, but maybe you're the mom who dresses her children to impress others. Or maybe you're the employee who takes charge of the room to show your boss your readiness for the next step up.

    There's nothing wrong with cute children or promotions, but so many times our motives trip us up. Instead of being pure, our motives get mixed with other things that sully the outcome—emotionalism, pride, and strong personal preferences are just a few.

    Several years after my prayer to remove my "speaker envy," God started whispering to me about speaking as I prayed and read the Word. My first reaction was to think, "There's that old, nasty envy again. God, purify my heart!"

    But this time was different. As I unpacked my motives, I realized God had really changed my heart. He'd refined my motives to just one, and that was to obey Him.

    Philippians 2:5 states our ideal position: "Your attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus" (NIV 1984). Our one motive should be to follow Him and become more like Him. That's the motive that should supersede and reign over any others. How do we practically live that out?

    I think the clue is in the following verses. "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness" (Philippians 2:6-7, NIV 1984).

    Our focus has to be on becoming nothing. Nothing is not our status or worth. We are always holy and dearly loved children of the King.

    Nothing is to be our chosen position as a servant.

    How does this look in everyday life? Jesus is our perfect example. He is everything: the Lord of lords and the King of kings. He is so incredibly powerful and important that Colossians 1:16 says "all things were created by him and for him" (NIV 1984). Despite His exalted position, Jesus showed the purity of His motives toward us by giving up all He had.

    As I've thought about how to imitate Jesus in my motives, I ask myself two questions when making choices:

    • Does this put me or others first?
    • Is this a choice to be more or to be nothing?

    These two questions expose any twisted motives and bring me back to my chosen position of nothing. Day by day, my motives are refined. It's a painful process sometimes, but it's a good process that ultimately produces pure motives with divine outcomes.

    Lord God, You are the only One with uncontaminated motives. I confess mine are often mixed with pride, emotion, or personal opinion. Please purify my heart. Forgive me, un-mix my motives, and help me move forward with a pure heart. Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What decisions are you making today? Are they cluttered by impure motives like unforgiveness, fear, pride, or overwhelming emotions?

    Pray and ask God to show you any impure motives that might affect your decision-making, and then ask Him to remove the ones He shows you.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 51:10, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; And renew a right spirit within me." (ASV)

    Matthew 5:8, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

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

  • God-Size Goals

    Posted on January 2, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with men is possible with God”. Luke 18:27

    God-size goals are meant to challenge our thinking and further our faith. These Holy Spirit inspired ‘big ideas’ are crafted by our Creator to spur us on to good works and transformational living. God-sized goals make us uncomfortable at times. They are not guaranteed to happen, but they position us to pray more and believe in God better.

    It is through prayerful planning and implementation that gigantic goals move from mere possibility to a more sure probability. Huge objectives are a hedge against mediocrity, and a prod toward perfection. God-sized goals are given to govern your thinking, and determine your time, so you are intentional and focused on His big picture. Otherwise, you can drift around without a rudder of reality, destined to disappointment.

    Best of all God-sized goals get you to God. It is prayer and planning with significant progress that moves you from the realm of possibility to the place of probability. In most cases it is one man or woman’s passion and focus that proves catalytic to the creation and execution of the goals. The leader looks failure in the eye and extinguishes it by faith, wisdom, and hard work, which are all wrapped around a skilled and unified team.

    Christ-centered possibilities, way outweigh man-centered probabilities. Perhaps you need to get away in solitude for several days, and ask your Savior to sear your soul with His goals. Think out of the box of small belief, for the Lord is unlimited in His abilities and resources. God-sized goals arrest your attention, adjust your attitude and accelerate your actions.

    So, prayerfully set great goals, and He will grow your character in the process, while influencing others for His glory. Trust Him to teach you the way; to show you with eyes of faith way beyond the bounds of your experience, for His plan will prevail. The Bible says, “I know you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).

    Prayer: What goal is God giving me that I need to accept by faith, and work hard towards its accomplishment?

    Related Readings: Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:17; Matthew 19:26; Ephesians 1:19-20

    Post/Tweet today: Christ-centered possibilities, way outweigh man-centered probabilities. #Godsizegoals

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

  • Blog Summary for December 2013

    Posted on January 2, 2014 by Family Christian

    Here are some of the most popular blogs that have been read by our followers during the month of December.

    Michael Landon Jr. - Leaving a Legacy in Film

    Michael Landon Jr., son of the late television legend, Michael Landon, has been in the film

    business for over 25 years.  Educated at USC and a Directing Fellow graduate of the

    American Film Institute, he has worked in just about every capacity of the movie making process including film loader, 1st and 2nd assistant cameraman, stedicam operator, Director of Photography, apprentice film editor, production assistant, and actor.

    Read the full interview here.

     

    Phil Robertson. Father. Teacher. Theologian. Commander.

    If you have never heard of Phil Robertson or the Robertson boys, well, you must be living under a rock.  The Robertson family has taken American TV by storm, along with it the hearts of almost every person. Along with Phil, his wife Kay and their boys, the reality TV show Duck Dynasty has been a gathering place for the whole family. In other words, it's been a breath of fresh air.

    Phil Robertson was born and raised in Vivian, Louisiana, a small town near Shreveport. With seven children in his family, money was scarce and very early on, hunting became an important part of his life.

    Read the full interview here.

    Pulling No Punches - an interview with Lecrae

    From “latch-key kid” to key player in the Man Up movement, Lecrae’s life is an example of God’s transformative power – and he’s not quiet about it. In his signature straight-shoot approach, new album Gravity calls Christians to open their eyes to the weight of need in their world and share the love of Jesus as never before.

    Read the full interview here.

     

    The Storm Inside - Sheila Walsh

    The chaos of life can be overwhelming, and women seem to get a heavier dose. Each day comes with its own pressures, heartaches and disappointments that slowly erode the joy, peace and closeness to God every woman needs. Chaos always feels like the enemy as it rages around us and inside us.

    In The Storm Inside: Trade the Chaos of How You Feel for the Truth of Who You Are, bestselling author and Women of Faith speaker Sheila Walsh invites you into ten life-changing, hope-filled transformations where hurt and heartache are divinely redeemed into joy and faith.

    Read the full post here.

    Question and Answers with Nick Vujicic

    Millions around the world recognize the smiling face and inspirational message of Nick Vujicic. Despite being born without arms or legs, Nick’s challenges have not kept him from enjoying great adventures, a fulfilling and meaningful career, and loving relationships. Nick has overcome trials and hardships by focusing on the promises that he was created for a unique and specific purpose, that his life has value and is a gift to others, and that no matter the despair and hard times in life, God is always present. Nick credits his success in life to the power that is unleashed when faith takes action.

    Read the full interview here.

    A Q&A with Capital Kings

    There’s no denying much of today’s music has the power to move the masses
    physically. Inventive beats and hooky choruses are the currency of the day. Now
    enter Capital Kings, a talented duo that blends pop, electronic dance music, and
    rap into an intoxicating musical mix that makes audiences want to move, and yet
    there’s a thought-provoking, life-affirming undercurrent. Capital Kings combine
    style with substance and introduce flash with a foundation.

    Read the full interview here.

    Mandisa - Finding Freedom by Overcoming

    Coming off her most successful album ever, Mandisa returned to the studio to record her new album, Overcomer. Her previous album, What If We Were Real, has sold over 270,000 albums and featured the breakout radio hits “Good Morning,” “Waiting For Tomorrow,” and the #1 hit, “Stronger.” The American Idol alum and three-time Grammy nominee continues to be a voice of encouragement and truth to women facing life’s challenges. Mandisa also continues to have unprecedented media exposure for a Christian artist including two recent appearances on Good Morning America.

    I sat down with Mandisa at a local coffee shop to talk about new music, coffee vs. tea, family and what it means to be an over-comer. What follows is a real conversation. Mandisa, some would say is a true artist. She is that for sure, but she is so much more. She is a warrior in a huge battle. She is a fighter - fighting for the truth of the Gospel. That can be summed up with one statement from her, "There is joy unspeakable!"

    Read the full interview here.

    Skillet. The Rock Band That Doesn't Quit

    Skillet recently made headlines when their last album, Awake, became one of just three rock albums to be certified platinum in 2012, forming an improbable triumvirate with the Black Keys’ El Camino and Mumford & Sons’ Babel. The news that Skillet had sold more than a million albums in the U.S. came as a shock to all but the band’s wildly diverse horde of fans, male and female, young and old—known as Panheads—whose still-swelling ranks now officially number in the seven-digit range. This remarkable achievement was announced just as Skillet was putting the finishing touches on their eagerly awaited follow-up album, Rise (Atlantic/Word).

    As soon as the master was turned in to the studio to finish post production on the new album, I sat down with John Cooper

    Read the full interview here.

    Running on Empty - devotional from Suzie Eller

    We were in between moves, living out of suitcases. My husband was working in one state while I was staying in another to sell our home. I had a bad cold, and coughing had interrupted my sleep for nights. I was so tired that the rings under my eyes had rings under them.

    When my husband suggested we take time away from the packing, selling, and traveling, just to rest, I mentally listed the reasons we couldn't. How could we manage our many to-do's if we took time off?

    Read the full devotional here.

    Combating Loneliness - devotional from Samantha Evilsizer

    "My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted." Psalm 25:15-16 (ESV)

    Don't look his way, her heart and mind insist.

    She doesn't want to look. Then again, she does. Though my friend did not check the "Plus One" box on her RSVP card, she wishes she had. Why had she come to this party alone? Maybe then she wouldn't gravitate to him.

    He's reckless and destructive. My friend knows better, but he's the only one who can relate to her. Even so, she avoids eye contact, hoping to make him believe she doesn't need him anymore.

    Read the full devotional here.

    Which blog posts did you enjoy the best?

  • Triggers

    Posted on January 2, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ." Ephesians 3:17-18 (NIV 1984)

    I was elated one day when the number on my scale dipped below the plateau weight I'd been stuck at for two weeks. I did a little happy dance and thought, "Finally, I'm making some real progress in this journey. It's going to be such a great day. I'm super motivated. Bring on the raw veggies. Nothing's gonna stop me now!"

    Too bad things didn't stay that way. Life can be unpredictable and includes many variables, kind of like math. I'm no math whiz, but I do remember there being these things called polynomials. Polynomials are algebraic expressions that include real numbers and variables.

    That's the way my food issues are—they contain real numbers and variables. I suspect yours do as well. And while we must pay attention to the real numbers by eating less and moving more, we would do well to consider the variables in our lives as well.

    Variables are those daily triggers we didn't account for but will detour even the best intentions. Triggers can be as large as the stab of loneliness from a broken relationship or the memory of a childhood trauma. Triggers can be as small as a discipline "chat" with a teen out past curfew or stumbling across fresh doughnuts in the office break room. They can prompt the thought, "Life will be better if I eat that."

    Triggers have nothing to do with physical hunger or the need for legitimate nourishment. They are lies we've thought so routinely they've become well-worn paths to careless eating. Life is not made better because we overindulge in an unhealthy choice.

    The best thing we can do in these triggered moments is to pause and ask ourselves, "Do I want to eat this right now because I need nourishment or because I'm feeling empty emotionally or spiritually?"

    If I need nourishment, I can choose a healthy option. If I'm just feeling empty, I must realize food can fill my stomach but never my soul.

    The only way to negate an emotional eating trigger is to match it with truth. The truth is this: "I'm not physically hungry right now, but I need to be filled in another way."

    The Bible tells us that we can be rooted in love, not emptiness; that we have power to choose truth; and that as we comprehend the love of Christ, we will be filled to the measure of all the fullness—not of that brownie—but of God. Let's look at Ephesians 3:17-18 together: "So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ" (Ephesians 3:17-18 NIV 1984).

    Here's the great thing about truth: it contains no variables! Truth is stable, secure and a surefire way to get me through the unpredictable moments of life.

    Take time to pause and use God's truths to challenge your triggers. And, when you're truly physically hungry, that pause will give you the moment you need to choose a healthy snack. Then you will be truly full.

    Dear Lord, please help me to battle each of my triggers today with truth. Your truth. Moment by moment. I understand that food can fill my stomach but never my soul. Only You can fill my soul, and I am thankful for that. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    This week write down what triggers determine an unhealthy pattern with your eating habits.

    Pause and use God's truths to challenge those triggers.

    Power Verse:
    Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Giant Opportunities

    Posted on January 1, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “The Lord said to Moses, "Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites… Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it." But the men who had gone up with him said, "We can't attack those people; they are stronger than we are." Numbers 13:1a, 30-31

    As we face life, we can be overwhelmed by its giant obstacles, or be inspired by its giant opportunities. Challenges and uncertainty tend to corrode our confidence. It is in the face of the unknown that we can move forward by faith, or backward in disbelief. What giant obstacles are you facing? How can your obstacles be converted into opportunities? Obstacles are stepping stones for obedient feet to follow.

    Therefore, with aggressive patience, stay focused and you will eventually see some obstacles dissolve, and others transformed into treasures. Maybe a financial giant is looming large as an intimidating obstacle. If so, stay true to your integrity by not selectively suspending your core values for much needed results. Instead, remain faithful to wise stewardship and honesty, and the right results will follow at the right time. Trust God to use scary giants for His glory.

    God orchestrates giant opportunities for His greater good. He told Moses that He was giving His children the promised land; all they had to do was show up and receive His gift. Giant opportunities do require faith, planning, perseverance and hard work, as the reward of obedience and trust in the Lord is enough. So how are you facing the giants in your life; as obstacles or opportunities?

    Leaders look and pray for opportunities, and then explore them with energy and enthusiasm. Your relentless leadership inspires your family, friends and work associates to remain faithful and not freak out. Therefore, take the land of opportunity the Lord has given you. Difficult days and economic challenges are greater opportunities for God to get the glory. So be aggressive, increase your efforts, pound heaven in prayer and by faith receive what your Savior Jesus has already given you. Go after the giant opportunities with gusto and by grace.

    The Bible says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, NASB).

    Prayer: What giant obstacle can I trust God with to become an opportunity?

    Related Readings: Joshua 14:6-8; Isaiah 41:10-16; Romans 8:31-37; Hebrews 11:33

    Post/Tweet today: It is in the face of the unknown that we can move forward by faith, or backward in disbelief. #giantopportunities

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

  • My New Year's Offering

    Posted on January 1, 2014 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy

    "Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering." Romans 12:1a (The Message)

    Happy New Year!

    During this first week of January, many of us will begin anew. New diets and exercise regiments. New Bible studies and reading plans. New organization and time management routines.

    We'll commit to break bad habits, restore broken relationships, and be "better" people.

    We call these New Year's resolutions. I confess. I've made more than my fair share of these in the last 25 years.

    But most, like me, soon forget our good-intended resolutions. We mean well. But life gets busy. We return to our old habits. To that which is comfortable and doesn't require so much sacrifice.

    I want something better. Something new.

    What about you?

    Will you join me in doing a new thing this year?

    Let's begin the very best place we can ... God's Word. Romans 12:1-2 says,

    "So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering ... Fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it ... God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." (The Message)

    Using this passage, let's write a New Year's Prayer. But not just any prayer. Reread Romans 12:1. There is a powerful little word tucked in that first sentence. Paul tells us to take our lives and place them before God as an offering.

    Together, let's make a New Year's offering.

    We can make all the resolutions we want, but we can't change ourselves. But when we willingly offer our lives to God, He will change us. The NIV translation of Romans 12:2 says, "...be transformed by the renewing of your mind." The renewing of our mind requires inward change and comes from God at work in us. It requires diligence on our part. It requires changing our thoughts, our priorities, and goals to be aligned with those of Christ.

    It's baby steps. And it doesn't require changing everything all at once.

    Let's begin today with our first step ... a simple prayer, offering our hearts to God.

    How do we do this?

    We're going to write a prayer together. I'll start. You finish.

    Heavenly Father, I praise You this day as Elohim, God my Creator. You are the Author of my life. You are the Strength of my heart and my Portion forever. You are all I need. My heart's desire in this New Year is to grow closer to You. In knowing You better, I will know myself more because my identity is found in You.

    I want to become a woman after Your own heart. God, I ask You to help me each day carve out time to spend with You. Give me eyes to see, ears to hear, a heart to receive, and a mind to understand all that You will teach me. Make my heart tender to hear Your voice each time I meet with You.

    Take Your Word and penetrate my heart. Create a hunger deep inside my soul for more and more of You. May nothing else satisfy me more than You.

    Give me a heart of humility. If there is anything in me that keeps me from hearing You, reveal it to me. Convict me. Move me to confession. Cleanse my heart and renew a right spirit within me so I can be in perfect fellowship with You.

    Fill my heart with Your truth. Plant it deep so that it takes root. Move me. Change me. Transform me. Empower me to live out what I hear and learn.

    Every day of this New Year, make my life one long walk of obedience in response to Your Word and Your Holy Spirit Who lives and reigns in me. Let Your love and Your Word shape my life. This is my prayer offering. I ask this in Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Now let's commit together to pray our prayer throughout the year ... asking God to change us from the inside out ... in baby steps.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Read through Romans 12:1-2. Take some time in the next few days to make this New Year's prayer offering your own. After you've written it, tuck it in your Bible or journal and commit to pray it each day.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 51:17, "The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God." (NLT)

    © 2014 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

  • Money’s Distraction

    Posted on December 31, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” He said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!     Mark 10:21-23

    It is easy for money to become a distraction. Just the making and management of money alone takes effort and focus. Yet money becomes a subtle master if it is not held in check. We love what we think about, so if the majority of our waking moments are consumed by the thought of making more money, then we are distracted. Yes, we need to do our work with excellence as unto the Lord. However, if making money becomes the consuming focus, then our devotion to the dollar competes with our devotion to God. Billions of people wake up every day to make money, but are they making money for wise use or is money using them? If a life is consumed by money, then very little is left over for a life well spent. Time and energy for others become scarce in the wake of compulsive money making.

    You may think that your current obsession with making money is for the long-term purpose of autonomy.This thinking is flawed, because the follower of Jesus Christ is never really autonomous. A wealthy believer is still tethered to God’s will, with an expectation for submission to community and Christ for accountability and service. Yes, finances afford you options, but only options that are under the aegis of God’s will. A life of unshackled leisure and self-indulgence is not on God’s radar. He may free you up to serve Him and others, but not to sit and soak. Too many options can be a distraction to God’s best. So how can you avoid money’s distraction?

    The Lord will love you away from money’s allurement for the here and now. He will love you into heavenly investments instead. Let Him love you away from the seduction of possessions. Then you will want to reciprocate with love to the One who loves you. If your love quotients are currently met by stuff, then your affections will gravitate in that direction. This is the nature of the mistress of moneymaking. When you allow money to love you, you feel a debt to money. Then, your emotions and energies feel obligated to love back. This is a subtle but effective tool in the enemy’s arsenal.

    An affair with money and possessions leaves nothing for the Lover of your soul. Without a love relationship with your Creator, you will become sad, even in the midst of more stuff than you ever dreamed. How ironic. A money lover’s ultimate experience is emptiness.

    There is a solution to money’s distraction. By faith, regularly look into the loving eyes of Jesus. Let Him love you, and you will feel led to love Him. Money’s distraction is derailed by a love relationship with Jesus. When you love Him wholeheartedly, there is no room for money to distract. It is a love issue. When you love Him, your treasure is in heaven and not on earth. You cannot love God and money at the same time. This is double-mindedness. Receive His love, and love Him, not money. Give generously, especially to the poor. Then you can enjoy your citizenship in His kingdom with community, accountability, and authentic love.

    The Bible says, “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).

    Prayer: Dear Lord, keep me from money’s distraction and I pray I will focus on fellowship with You.

    Related Readings: Proverbs 23:5; Luke 16:13; 1 Timothy 6:6-10

    Post/Tweet today: An affair with money and possessions leaves nothing for the Lover of your soul. #money’sdistraction

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

  • New Year's Traditions

    Posted on December 31, 2013 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie

    "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 11:18-19 (NIV)

    While driving my kids to school one morning, I asked what their favorite Miles' Family Christmas traditions were. My daughters answered in unison, "We don't have any traditions."

    I was shocked and a little annoyed as I replied, "You mean all these years I have been trying to make memories for you, and you honestly think we don't have any special traditions?!" My holiday spirit diminished as my blood pressure rose.

    They meekly asked me to remind them about these traditions. I provided them with an exhaustive list of family holiday activities and events that we've participated in every year since their births.

    When I stopped to take a breath, one said, "Oh, I just thought those were things we do every year. I didn't know they were traditions."

    I was relieved all my Christmas efforts had been noticed. And smiled realizing the problem was a simple lack of understanding the word "tradition."

    The conversation wouldn't leave my thoughts, so when I got home, I read the definition of "tradition." The first definition was, "the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice." The second definition read, "a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting and a continuing pattern of culture, beliefs or practices."

    Through the misunderstanding with my children, God showed me annual activities and events aren't the only things we should pass down to our kids. Rather I should be concerned about spiritual traditions - the passing down of faith - as even more important.

    I had been fretting over my children remembering that we drank hot chocolate while putting up our Christmas tree one month out of the year, when I should have been focusing on the spiritual traditions throughout the entire year.

    With a bit more research, I realized God gave us guidance on how to do this in Deuteronomy 11:18-19. He was talking to the Israelites in this passage, but the wisdom applies today:

    "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." (NIV)

    This verse changed my thinking about traditions. Now my New Year's resolution each year is to focus on the spiritual traditions I can pass down throughout the entire year in the Miles' home. Traditions that will matter long term and make a difference in the hearts of others.

    Deuteronomy 11 guides me in making these resolutions. They include reading the Bible with my kids and applying it to everyday life. Also important are talking to them about God and praying with them, memorizing verses together, and understanding Scripture so that all we do reflects the love of Christ.

    I don't want these spiritual traditions to be passed down simply by word of mouth, but by practice. As a parent, I have to live out these traditions in my own life to lead my kids to pick them up. The tradition of reading, living out, and loving God's Word is a tradition worth passing down.

    Dear Lord, forgive me for losing sight at times of what is really important. Help me see ways I can build spiritual traditions in my home that will impact hearts and lives for generations to come. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Consider what traditions you focus on in your home. Are they all attached to a holiday, or are there spiritual traditions that create a bond to Jesus year-round? Ask God to show you what new traditions you can begin in your family to help them learn God's Word.

    If your children were asked what your spiritual traditions were, what would they say?

    Power Verse:
    Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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

  • Money Motivated

    Posted on December 30, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. Mark 11:15-16

    Money motivation is not the best motivation; in fact it can make you down right miserable. It frustrates you and those around you because money-motivated people are never content. They have an insatiable desire for the next deal or the next opportunity to make more. An all-consuming desire for money leads you to compromise common sense and character. Ironically, your family suffers the most even when your desire is for them to enjoy the benefits money may produce. Moreover, money-motivated individuals stoop as low as using the Lord to line their pockets. Religion and church become means for cash creation. This angers God, for He is moved by righteous indignation when His bride is prostituted for worldly purposes. The church is a conduit for Christ, not a clearinghouse for economic gain. It is a house of prayer (Isaiah 56:7).

    He is greatly grieved when money becomes the driving force of any institution or individual. A church bound up in debt is destined for ineffectiveness. If the Bride of Christ is preoccupied with paying the bills, then the mission will be watered down and even ignored. Money-driven ministries miss the opportunity to trust God and wait on Him to provide in ways that exceed human capability. Businesses that are driven by bottom line performance alone contribute to an unhealthy company culture. People are willing to work somewhere for less if they know the culture has a much bigger vision than just making money. There is so much more to life and work than money (Matthew 6:25).

    Money motivation is the antithesis of mission motivation. The latter has a greater purpose in mind. The focus is on excellent work accompanied by eternal expectations. The mission is what drives you to do more, because a transcendent spark ignites within your soul. Money becomes a result, not a reason, when the mission creates a culture of care and collaboration. The mission gives you permission to say no. Enterprises and individuals are defined more by what they say no to than by what they say yes to. A well-focused team makes it a habit to defend the mission. There is a discipline in decision-making that characterizes mission-driven people and organizations. Paul said, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal…” (Philippians 3:13-14a).

    Mission is the master of money, so focus on the mission of your Master, Jesus, and you will be much more productive in the long run. Mission motivation keeps you trustworthy, effective, and blessed by God.

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, keep my heart purely motivated by Your mission and not by money.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 56:7; Matthew 6:25; Philippians 3:13

    Post/Tweet today: People are willing to work somewhere for less, if they know the culture has a much bigger vision than just making money. #moneymotivated

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

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