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  • A Mother's Love Precious Moments Musical Figurine

Daily Devotion

  • The Three-Word Prayer God Loves

    Posted on January 13, 2014 by Stormie Omartian

    Stormie

    When my husband, Michael, and I were first married and differences arose between us, praying was definitely not my first thought. In fact, it was closer to a last resort. I tried other methods first, such as arguing, pleading, ignoring, avoiding, confronting, debating, and—of course—the ever-popular silent treatment. And the results? Not surprisingly, they were less than satisfying!

    When I did pray, often resentment, anger, unforgiveness, or an ungodly attitude clouded my communication with God. While I may have had a good reason for these emotions, my prayers were not coming from a right heart. What's more, I was praying that my husband would conform to my ideal image of him. My prayer was for God to change him into the person I wanted him to be.

    However, as I went to God in prayer every day, something unusual started to change—me. I was the one God decided to work on first, not my husband. Gently, the Lord began to soften my heart. Humble it. Mold it. And reconstruct it. As He did so, He erased the bitterness and resentment that were affecting my attitude and damaging my marriage.

    And this is how I came to discover a three-word prayer God loves: Change me, Lord.

    Gradually I came to realize that it was impossible to truly give myself in prayer for Michael without first examining my own heart.

    And it wasn't just my relationship with my husband that required me to pray this powerful three-word prayer. My relationship with my son and daughter required it. My relationships with my friends required it. Most of all, my relationship with God required it.

    Change me, Lord.

    I went into my prayer time with the goal of asking God to change others—making them less critical and more obedient. Less fearful. More loving.

    I came out of my prayer time with my own heart changed. My mind changed. My attitude changed. My life changed.

    Now, if you're like I was, this might make you mad at first. "Wait a minute!" you might object. "I'm not the one who needs changing here!"

    But God sees the things we can't see. He knows where we have room for improvement. He doesn't have to search long to uncover attitudes and habits that are outside His perfect will for us.

    Sometimes God uncovers sin in our hearts. This is important to identify because it separates us from Him and hinders our prayers being heard as Psalm 66:18 tells us, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear" (NKJV). God wants our hearts to be right so the answers to our prayers are not compromised.

    Early in my marriage, I knew it was important to pray for my husband. And a favorite trio of three-word prayers was often on my lips: Protect him, Lord. Save our marriage. Change him, Lord. I was convinced that this was the right way to pray, that God and I had the same goal in mind—a changed husband who was able to better meet my needs. But God's way is not always our way. God didn't choose to make those first changes in my husband. He chose to make them in me.

    One of the greatest gifts I could give to Michael was the gift of my own wholeness. One of the most effective tools in seeing transformation in his life was my own transformation.

    You have to trust that God is big enough to accomplish all this and more.

    I learned to pray a new prayer: Whatever you want, Lord. Show me and I'll do it. Change me, Lord.

    Lord, create in me a clean heart and a right spirit before You. Give me a new, positive, joyful, loving, and forgiving attitude toward others. Where there is anything that needs to change in me, I pray You would enable that change to happen. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    The Power of a Praying Woman by Stormie Omartian

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are you praying for God to change others but ignoring the possible change needed in you? What might God need to work on in your own life—selfishness, impatience, resentment—before your relationships with others can begin to change?

    When you begin to get frustrated with others, take a look at your own heart and pray Change me, Lord.

    Power Verses:
    1 Corinthians 10:24, "Let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well-being." (NKJV)

    Psalm 139:23, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties..." (NKJV)

    © 2014 by Stormie Omartian. All rights reserved.

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

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

  • Wise Leadership

    Posted on January 12, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Chose some wise, understanding and respected men from each of your tribes, and I will set them over you.”    Deuteronomy 1:13

    The selection process of wise leadership can make or break an organization. We are constantly faced with this in our families, church, work, schools, civic groups, and professional associations. Wise leadership does not come about as a result of pride’s persuasion. It is not found in the “tit for tat” of petty politics. So where do you look for wise leaders? A good place to begin is within the ranks of those who already exhibit wise leadership (Acts 15:22). You see it in the open and authentic environment they create in their work and home, by their own honesty around personal weaknesses and strengths. Indeed, wise leaders are excellent listeners. They listen with the intent to understand. Wisdom desires understanding of what you are thinking and what you are feeling. You observe their wisdom in one-on-one conversation, as they know what questions to ask. They challenge you to think and offer counsel as is appropriate.
    Wise leaders are not gurus or know-it-alls. Instead they are smart enough to understand the vastness of what they don’t know. Moreover, a wise leader is respected (I Timothy 3:8). Those who know them the best respect them the most. If those in someone’s inner circle lack respect for the person in leadership, so will those outside their circle of influence. Indeed, respect comes over time. It is the result of doing what you say. It is integrity in living out what you say you believe. Consistent Christ-like behavior invites raving reviews of respect. Wisdom and respect go hand-in-hand. They promote each another.
    Last of all, wise leadership points toward God. (Any infatuation with them as an individual is directed to their heavenly Father). Wisdom can only remain in a humble heart. It is within the incubator of humility that wisdom germinates and flourishes. Therefore (aptly so), a wise leader shows humility in their heart for God.
    God entrusts wisdom to the humble of heart. He is stingy in giving wisdom to the proud. Pride cannot be trusted to be used for His glory. God-given wisdom is priceless. Even religious leaders can forget the Lord’s wisdom (Jeremiah 2:8). It is the application of wisdom that matures relationships, facilitates faith, and grows business and ministry. Wise leaders do not always tell you what you want to hear, but listen to them. Their words are sometimes hard and seem at the moment to be intolerant and insensitive. But this is the maturing process. Wisdom makes foolishness uncomfortable. It is wise leadership that leads you beyond mediocrity and immaturity. Wise leaders lead you to grow in your relationship with Christ. They promote God’s agenda. Follow wise leaders and be a wise leader. Patiently and prayerfully select and appoint wise leadership.

    Post/Tweet today: It is within the incubator of humility that wisdom germinates and grows. #wiseleaders

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

  • Christ’s Calling

    Posted on January 11, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “‘Come follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him” (Matthew 4:19–20).

    Disciples of Jesus are called by the Lord to minister in their homes and in the marketplace. However, Christ does call some of His followers to vocational ministry. It is a calling that many times comes to ordinary men and women who accomplish extraordinary results. Whom does He call? Christ’s call comes to those who have a hungry heart for God.

    Like Paul, you might have been suddenly smitten by a revelation of Jesus as Lord, or perhaps you were like David, who gradually went from feeding sheep what was perishable to feeding God’s people the imperishable. Wherever Christ calls, His first command is to love God and people. A calling without love is like a car without gasoline. It may be attractive on the outside, but it is not going anywhere. Thus, love large where the Lord has called you.

    Furthermore, He has called you to endure hardship. “You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary” (Revelation 2:3). Christians are not immune to conflict; in fact, your faith invites difficulty at times. So do not seek to shelter your life from adversity, but rather position yourself in obedience to Christ’s calling. It is out of your regular routine of serving Him that you will see what He has in store next.

    Make sure you minister first to your spouse and children. Do not be like the cobbler who has no shoes for his family. Your creditability for Christ is seeing your faith lived out with those who know you the best. What does it profit a man if he saves the whole world and loses his family? A calling to family first frees you to evangelize and disciple with God’s favor. His calling aligns with His commands; so service for Him is seamless.

    Above all, the Lord is looking for those already engaged in His Word, growing in their character, and active in sharing their faith. His calling comes to Christians who desire the Holy Spirit to conform them into the image of Christ. Your humble imitation of Jesus comes out of your intimate walk with Him. He calls those whom He can trust. So do not look for your calling. Look for Christ, and He will reveal His calling to you.

    “I, even I, have spoken; yes, I have called him. I will bring him, and he will succeed in his mission” (Isaiah 48:15).

    Prayer: What is Christ’s calling for my life? Am I steadfast in loving the Lord and people?

    Related Readings: Acts 9:10; 1 Corinthians 7:17; Hebrews 5:4; Revelation 7:14

    Post/Tweet today: Do not look for your calling. Look for Christ, and He will reveal His calling to you. #Christscalling

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

  • Good List

    Posted on January 10, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelation 21:27

    God keeps a record in the Lamb’s book of life of those who have trusted His son Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Salvation from hell to heaven begs the question, “Is my name written in the book of life?” “Am I on the good list?” Yes, if you believe Jesus died for your sins and rose from the grave to give you life in Him, you are known in heaven. There is a required transaction of faith in Jesus before you can enjoy sweet fellowship with Jesus. God’s good list offers eternal security.

    Believers in Jesus do not receive a final judgment of separation from God. The option of exclusion from the Lord’s presence in eternity is removed when His presence is invited on earth. However, there is a judgment after death for Christians regarding how they behaved in this life. Did we store up treasures in heaven or did we waste our time with the trivial and trinkets of earth? Joyous will be followers of Jesus who bow before their Lord and hear from Him, “well done.”

    Their work will be shown for what it is, because the [Judgment] Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 1 Corinthians 3:13

    So, by God’s grace we seek to be righteous in this brief life for this is the caliber of our eternal life. Assurance of being on the good list is not a ticket to live for the flesh, rather it is freedom and motivation to live for the spirit. Our corruptible flesh will perish, but our incorruptible spirit will live. An individual who choses heaven over hell desires its quality of life. The Holy Spirit within yearns for holiness without. Love wins when our name is in His Book.

    Therefore, thank Jesus, the Lamb of God that your name is penned by His blood in His book of life. Rejoice, since your Savior never ever employs an eraser. He writes your name in stone on the pages of His book. Just as the government records your physical birthday, so heaven records your spiritual date of birth. It is well with your soul, since your salvation is sealed by the Holy Spirit. You are on the good list, so do good with God. Invite others to stand firm in Christ Jesus!

    Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you that through the blood of Your son Jesus, my name is forever written in the Lamb’s book of life.

    Related Readings: Psalm 69:28; Philippians 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; Hebrews 2:3

    Post/Tweet today: Exclusion from the Lord’s presence in eternity is removed when His presence is invited on earth. #goodlist

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

  • Who Sits on the Throne of Your Heart?

    Posted on January 10, 2014 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy

    "Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, ..." 1 Corinthians 13:4 (NASB)

    Monty and I began our marriage in a difficult place. Eleven months before we walked down the aisle, I was the victim of a horrific crime. This experience damaged me deeply. Few knew the fear and despair that had made their home in my heart.

    Intimacy was hard. It brought back too many terrible memories. I tried to be a "good" wife and make my husband happy. But I just couldn't.

    Yet, I needed Monty. Fear consumed me. He was my only safe place. Being home alone terrified me. So when he left to play basketball or go to dinner with friends, I pouted, cried, and complained that he wasn't putting me first.

    This caused a huge rift in our marriage. Days were hard and nights were long. Soon I began to imagine Monty looking elsewhere for the companionship he lacked with me. Jealousy grew within me and I demanded to know when and where he was at all times. When I couldn't get a hold of him, I panicked. My mind went places and imagined things it shouldn't.

    Jealousy infiltrated my heart.

    I knew these feelings were wrong. Even destructive. But I didn't know how to overcome them. As jealous thoughts took root, they became a mental obsession that fed me lies.

    My marriage and my husband were slipping away. Completely at a loss for what to do, I dropped to my knees and begged God to help me.

    Thankfully, God made a way to release jealousy's grip on me—and it was through loving Him. As I came to know God more intimately, the jealousy began to subside.

    God opened my eyes to see Christ in a new way ... as my Savior and my "first love." Until that time, love and security were found in Monty. My need for him was so desperate that I expected him to be my savior, defender, and protector from the evil in the world. I needed my husband more than anything else and felt safe only by his side.

    This created a very unhealthy relationship. We should never "need" our husbands, our children, or anyone more than Christ. Ironically, I was so afraid of losing Monty that I treated him in a way that could potentially have driven him away. No one on this earth can ever be our savior. We have only one Savior, and His name is Jesus.

    Healing came as I grew to know my "First Love" as my defender, refuge, and strong tower. This understanding put my marriage in perspective. As God took His rightful place on the throne of my heart, Monty took his rightful place too. Our marriage changed dramatically.

    Of course, I never want to lose Monty, but I have come to know that I could and would be able to live without him because God now sits in His rightful place on the throne of my heart. He is my first love. My husband and children are precious gifts that He has generously given me.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for Your great love and faithfulness. Open my eyes to see anything or anyone besides You who holds first place in my heart. Help me through the power of Your Holy Spirit to replace it with You and You alone. I ask this in the Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Reflect and Respond:
    Who or what sits higher on the throne of your heart than God?

    Write a prayer surrendering this place to Him.

    Power Verse:
    Mark 12:30, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

  • Bad List

    Posted on January 9, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

    There is a bad list of behaviors to avoid for it misses enjoying the Kingdom of God. Rather it is loyal to the Kingdom of this world. Default behaviors of the flesh come from conforming to the culture, while transformational behaviors grow from the fruit of the Holy Spirit. God’s bad list of behaviors represents fleshly discontent that competes with our affection for Christ. Sex, unless it is between a man and woman in marriage, stealing, greed, drunkenness and lying are all listed.

    Furthermore, our behaviors follow our beliefs. If we place our faith in Jesus Christ, we love Him and if we love Him we obey His commands. A crisis of faith occurs when our desire to maintain a bad behavior conflicts with God’s expectations. So, we can justify our disobedience by changing what we believe to accommodate our behavior. For example, we may dishonestly report lesser income on our tax return. Our greed convinces us that the government doesn’t need our money. The flesh bends behaviors toward bad beliefs, while the Spirit transforms with truth.

    As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 1 Peter 1:14

    As a result of being sinners, we all started out on God’s bad list, but once we were born again His grace adopted us into His family. No more are we listed with evil doers who view Jesus with contempt. Our new life in Christ puts away bad habits and replaces them with good ones. We still struggle daily with dying to our selfish desires and pride, but we do not chronically and intentionally sin against the Lord. God’s grace grants us the power to do good and refuse bad.

    Therefore, continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and your behavior will become more and more like His. Believe the truth of God and be set free, or embrace the lies of Satan and stay in bondage to bad behavior. Our actions are an indicator of what’s in our heart, so be changed from the inside out. Reject conforming to the culture’s low bar of behavior and accept the Spirit’s transforming high bar of behavior. Stay off the bad list.

    I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. 2 Corinthians 10:2

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, change me from the inside out, so my behavior reflects your expectations.

    Related Readings: Romans 12:2; 1 Corinthians 1:20; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 John 2:15

    Post/Tweet today: The flesh bends behaviors toward a bad belief system, while the Spirit transforms us with truth. #badbehavior

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

  • A Call to Action

    Posted on January 9, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food." Romans 14:20a (NIV)

    Five years ago I was stuck in a rut of wishful thinking and excuses with my weight. At the beginning of each day I would say I wanted things to be different. I would even make a plan to stop the snacks, increase the veggies, and say "no" to desserts.

    But then life would happen, and excuses were plentiful. My resolve would melt away like butter on a hot yeast roll.

    The next morning I would get up and weigh myself hoping that somehow, something would have happened over night. Despite my indulgences from the day before, maybe the numbers would have gone down.

    But the scale was not impressed with my wishful thinking. It could only tell the truth.

    Do you know who I'd get mad at?

    God.

    I'd beg Him to help me one minute while scarfing down an order of fries the next. And then I'd be doubly mad He didn't steer my car away from that drive-thru.

    I deemed myself a victim of tragic genetics, overactive taste buds, and a stomach that demanded large portions.

    What I failed to realize is there was a much more significant issue going on.

    More important than the ever-increasing size of my jeans was the deception going on inside my heart. My weight wasn't God's curse on me. My weight was an outside indication of an internal situation.

    Honestly, I might as well have taken Psalm 23 which talks about the Lord being my shepherd and my comfort and replaced His Name with various foods. I was relying on food to be my comfort, my ever-present help, my guide. Food was the thing that got me through the valleys. It became the friend I wanted to celebrate with in the good times.

    I don't write to point out anyone else's issue. There are certainly medical and genetic circumstances that can cause weight gain. But I discovered that my issue was spiritual. And no diet would be permanently successful until I got to the root of my problem—craving food more than God.

    I desired and depended on the instant high of physical gratification because I hadn't learned how to let God satisfy my deepest needs. This realization became a call to action.

    Maybe something is stirring in your soul. I know this is a tough issue. I've walked through the tears and the feelings of failure. But I wanted freedom. And I realized that if I wanted to have my deepest desires met by God and not food, I would need to restore God to His rightful place by changing my old thought patterns. Here are some examples:

    Old thought patterns: "I need these chips. I deserve this ice cream. I must have that extra large portion."

    New thought patterns: Chips will only taste good for the moment. But the calories are empty and will do nothing good for my body. 2 Corinthians 7:1 reminds me, "...Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit ... out of reverence for God." (NIV 1984)

    This ice cream will give me a sugar high but then I'll crash and feel terrible. Psalm 34:8 reminds me to get into God's Word and let it satisfy the hungry places of my soul: "Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him." (NIV 1984)

    This extra large portion will overstuff me and make me feel sluggish. I can't look to this food to soothe me. Psalm 34:5 says, "Those who look to [God] are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame." (NIV 1984)

    Learning to do this has been a process that I have to intentionally choose day after day. Eventually, I lost the extra weight. But the real reward was what I gained with Jesus in the process. He became the best part of my journey. And I wouldn't have missed this new found closeness with Him for anything.

    Dear Lord, if this devotion is a call to action that I need to make, please help me. I want to see the root of my issue. I want to learn to crave only You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:


    Reflect and Respond:
    Keep a pocket-sized notebook nearby all week. Every time you crave food, ask yourself if you are hungry or if you are craving something else like comfort or peace.

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 18:1, "I love you, O LORD, my strength." (NIV 1984)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Start Doing

    Posted on January 8, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    I will show you my faith by my deeds. James 2:18

    Sometimes the hardest step is to start. It’s like crawling through traffic at rush hour to get going. However, once we take the first step of faith our Heavenly Father takes it from there. He is waiting for us to begin, so He can continue to work through us. So start the letter, book or blog. Begin the conversation, create a budget or put a date on the calendar. Yes, by God’s grace start a business, ministry or family. One step of faith today leads to God working wonders tomorrow.

    What are you waiting on? The perfect timing? A billboard in the sky? A little encouragement? Whatever the obstacle of your delay give it over to God. What the Lord possesses He positions for success. The Holy Spirit opens and closes doors, but He directs an object on the move, absent of inertia. Yes, apathy is an enemy of faith. It holds back good people with over analysis and a worse case scenario belief. So, get going for God’s glory and He will get it done through you.

    By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. Hebrews 11:8

    A loving activism does accompany our faith in Jesus Christ. Love initiates because it is interested in getting involved with time, money and support. It is unloving to sit still and complain without offering solutions to the problems. However, we only take action after the Lord has taken hold of our heart. He molds our motives into just means that lead to enduring ends. So we feed the poor not to feed our guilt, but for Jesus’ sake. Love compels us to do something now to help out.

    Start today for you have no promise of tomorrow. Each moment is a gift with no assurance of your next breath. So seize the moment for your Savior Jesus and He will show you the way. Show up and the Spirit will guide you on the right path of progress. Take the next step by faith and follow Almighty God in His great adventure. Remain in fear and you will miss God’s best, but be free to obey and you will experience His grace. Start doing and watch the Spirit move!

    We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:3

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, by faith I want to start doing what You would have me to do. Give me the courage to take the next step.

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 9:23; Galatians 5:6; Hebrews 11:32-40; James 2:14-26

    Post/Tweet today: The Lord molds our motives into just means that lead to enduring ends. #startdoing

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

  • Putting Faith in Action - Tony Evans

    Posted on January 8, 2014 by Family Christian



    You can believe in your heart but you need to move with your feet. If you’re believing in your feet but your feet aren’t moving, then your faith isn’t going anywhere. You have a Secret Service kind of faith, a privatized kind of faith, not a public kind of faith. I like to say that everybody else is coming out of the closet. You might as well come out too. Everybody ought to know where you’re coming from. When elections are held, we hold placards in our yards, on our cars. We go door to door to ask people to vote for our candidate. We discuss it around water coolers because we believe in a particular party, a particular candidate.

    We want people to know why we believe what we believe about that particular person or that particular policy that that person holds. If we can do that for human candidates, what about the king of kings and the lord of lords? Doesn’t he deserve to be advertised in our action, not just in our talk, but in our walk, not just in our lips but in our lives? He deserves to be broadcast in our daily conversations. Now I know there’s an appropriate time, an appropriate place and an appropriate way to do it but it shouldn’t be vague. It shouldn’t be hidden. It shouldn’t be unclear. It shouldn’t be fogged over. It shouldn’t be cloudy in our walk, how we related to people, treat people, how we try to serve people, pray for people and most importantly how we seek to share the gospel with people.

    All of that are ways that we put our faith in action. Let me ask you a question. Who are you going to talk to today at home, in work, in your neighborhood, in your family, who are you going to serve today in any of those contexts that will show that you believe in Jesus Christ, that you are a committed Christian and that you want to show the love of Christ while giving people the opportunity to come into a relationship with Christ? You don’t just want to show the love without the relationship but you don’t want to talk about a relationship without showing the love because the two walk hand in hand. It’s called word and deed, not just either or.

    We’re going to join you in putting your faith in action. I don’t think I could be telling you something that I’m not willing to do or that we’re not telling our own church to do. That is to put our faith in action. God bless you as you walk the talk, as you talk the walk, as you put your faith in action.

    _____________________________________________________________

    Dr. Tony Evans' newest book is titled, Destiny: Let God Use You Like He Made You. In it Dr. Evans shows us the importance of discovering our own God-given purpose and helps us discover the reasons why we are here.

    God has ordained a custom-designed life for every believer that leads to the expansion of His kingdom. Until people discover the reason why they were uniquely created, they will be empty and frustrated. But a clear understanding of their personal assignment from God brings about their deepest satisfaction, God's greatest glory and the greatest benefit to others.

  • When the Dog Eats Your Company's Dinner

    Posted on January 8, 2014 by Sharon Glasgow

    Sharon

    "If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 4:11b (NIV)

    I prayed weeks for this dinner. The couple we invited needed Jesus. I wanted to roll out the red carpet and treat them like royalty; God knew they needed a big dose of His love.

    But time got away from me—cleaning the house, making the dessert and all. I still had to run to the store to get the filet mignons. I know they're expensive, but I wasn't going to spare any cost for my guests—it would be a feast!

    I sat the grocery bags inside the front door and headed back out to light the fire in the grill. Our company would be there in less than half an hour! I ran back inside and reached for the steaks, only to pull out an empty package. Puzzled, I pulled out the other packages, all empty. What in the world??

    About that time my dog walked around the corner with his head cowered. He wouldn't look at me but took off to hide behind the couch. I followed him and didn't find a trace of a steak—just one shamefaced dog. He had done this kind of thing before, eaten entire pizzas, cakes, and whole plates of fried chicken without a crumb left. Yep, "guilty" was written all over his face.

    As I stood there shaking my head, I heard knocking at my front door. Our guests were early! Thankfully I remembered a chicken and dumpling casserole in the freezer. I turned the oven on and popped it in, then excused myself to the restroom, closed the door and prayed, remembering the words of 1 Peter 4:11b, "If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen" (NIV).

    "Jesus, help me. Help me get over my own expectations of what tonight would look like. I've asked You for weeks to lavish this couple with Your love. You don't need steaks to do that. Come and fill this place with Your presence. Give me Your ability to love and serve. Help me love like You do. Give me words to speak and Your strength to do it. I give this night to You. May it glorify You. Thank You Jesus."

    As I walked back to join my visitors, I realized once again hospitality isn't about the perfect meal, beautiful decorations, a clean house, or our hostess skills—it's about loving people the way Jesus loves them—wholeheartedly. When people feel loved, they don't care what you feed them or what your house looks like.

    That night turned out to be absolutely wonderful. Not because the chicken and dumplings tasted good. Or because my living room was tidy. But because God's love is powerful.

    When we take our eyes off of ourselves and focus on loving our guests, it takes the stress out of entertaining. Even when we feel inadequate, Jesus gives us His ability to love others when we ask Him. It's not about our efforts; it's about Him.

    Dear Lord, help me to invite others to my house. Keep my heart focused on loving people and not on my home or my cooking skills. Use me for Your glory. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources


    Reflect and Respond:
    What hinders you from inviting guests to your home?

    How can you show love to someone this week through your home or homemaking talents?

    Power Verse:
    2 Corinthians 12:9a, "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness...'" (NIV)

    © 2014 by Sharon Glasgow. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

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