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Daily Devotion

  • Acts of God

    Posted on November 21, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. Acts 1:1-2

    The Acts of the Apostles is more accurately described as the Acts of God. The recorded history is really His story of working through His servants to accomplish His purposes. In each instance of healing, preaching or miraculous work, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Lord or God are central to the story. Like a canal, we are to be a pass through for vessels of God’s blessings transported to trusting hearts. The deeper our canal for Christ the larger the ships of His love can traverse.

    How do you keep Christ central to your life and work? Certainly conversations are opportunities to explain your experiences with the Lord to others with an open heart. His answered prayers, His healing, His opened doors, His closed doors, His gifts of work, health, children and grandchildren are all evidence of His actions in and through your life. Give detailed reports of God’s acts around you so believers are encouraged to discover the Lord’s work around them.

    Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. Acts 21:19

    Furthermore, to stay fresh in your perspective of the Holy Spirit’s work in the present, recall what He has accomplished through surrendered saints in the past. Read biographies of men and women like: D.L. Moody, Henrietta Mears,George Whitefield, Corrie Ten Boom, George Muller, Ann Judson, John Bunyan and Fanny Crosby. Ordinary followers of Christ become extraordinary when consumed with love for God and people. Jesus works in and through you!

    Perhaps, like Luke, the Lord is leading you to pen short detailed accounts of how you see the Spirit sharing His blessings in your life. Journal for Jesus and you will create a timeless resource for your children and your children’s children. Write about what Christ has done and taught as outlined in the Bible and record what He is doing and teaching you today. The Acts of God did not cease after the first century. His Holy Spirit fills your broken spirit to be His ambassador.

    She [Lydia] was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” Acts 16:14-15

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I celebrate your acts of goodness that bless others and give You glory.

    Related Readings: 2 Kings 8:4; Daniel 4:2; Nehemiah 2:18; Acts 15:12, 19:11; Romans 15:4

    Post/Tweet today: Like a canal, we are to be a pass through for vessels of God’s blessings transported to trusting hearts. #actsofGod

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Acts

  • The Treasure of Thrown-Away Food

    Posted on November 21, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "But thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:57 (NIV)

    My son Jackson wrote a paper about the corruption and greed that caused the civil war in his native land. But Jackson wasn't just explaining a historical event – he lived in the midst of the horrific conditions of this war. You see, for the first 13 years of his life, Jackson lived in a forgotten orphanage in the third world country of Liberia, Africa.

    During one part of the paper, he described what it felt like to be naked digging through the trash looking for the treasure of thrown-away food.

    The treasure of thrown-away food.

    I can hardly type those words without crying. This is my son.

    And yet, despite the horrific conditions of his childhood, there was an unexplainable thread of peace woven through his recollection of the story. A powerful peace centered in the awareness of God's presence.

    The truly thankful person is a truly peaceful person. They have made a habit no matter what, to notice, pause, and choose.

    Noticing something for which to be thankful no matter their circumstance.

    Pausing to acknowledge this something as a reminder of God's presence.

    Choosing to focus on God's presence until His powerful peace is unleashed.

    Will we be a noticer? A pauser? A chooser? A person of thanksgiving no matter what circumstance we're facing?

    I find this truth about the power of thanksgiving over and over in Scripture. What was the prayer Daniel prayed right before being thrown in the lion's den and witnessing God miraculously shutting the lion's mouths? Thanksgiving.

    After three days in the belly of a fish, what was the cry of Jonah's heart right before he was finally delivered onto dry land? Thanksgiving.

    How are we instructed to pray in Philippians 4:6 when we feel anxious? With thanksgiving.

    And what is the outcome of each of these situations where thanksgiving is proclaimed? Peace.

    Powerful, unexplainable, uncontainable peace.

    "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7 NIV).

    One of Webster's official definitions of thanksgiving is: "a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness."

    I wonder how we might celebrate God's divine goodness today.

    I wonder what might happen if we decide in the midst of our circumstances today to notice, pause, and choose something for which we can truly be thankful.

    Dear Lord, will You help me notice things for which I can be thankful in each circumstance I face today? Will You help me remember to pause and acknowledge this as evidence of Your presence? And will You help me remember to choose to focus on Your presence until Your powerful peace rushes into my heart and helps me see everything more clearly? Thank You for the reality that being thankful changes everything. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Start a thankfulness journal where you daily list five things for which you are thankful. Do this for the next 30 days and see how much more peaceful your mindset about life becomes.

    Think of someone who is really thankful. Despite the circumstances they face, are they more peaceful? How does this inspire you?

    Power Verses:
    1 Chronicles 16:34, "Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever." (NKJ)

    1 Chronicles 23:30, "They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD. They were to do the same in the evening." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 1 Corinthians

  • Spirit Empowered Witness

    Posted on November 20, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth... They all joined together constantly in prayer. Acts 1:8, 14

    The very last words Jesus spoke to His followers before He ascended to Heaven focused on the Spirit’s power, not man’s power. Human power builds kingdoms on earth, while the Spirit’s power builds God’s kingdom in surrendered hearts. Issues out of our control defer to trust in God’s timing and do not distract us from being a witness for Jesus Christ. The Lord will come back to establish His kingdom on earth, in the meantime we are to be His Spirit-filled witnesses.

    A witness for Jesus can strive in their own strength or thrive in the Spirit’s strength. So, how do we know if we are witnesses empowered by the Holy Spirit? Prayer precedes power. Prayer positions us in humble expectation to receive the Spirit’s fullness. By faith, we confess and repent of sin and embrace our Heavenly Father’s love and forgiveness. The Holy Spirit fills our hearts once we have emptied ourselves of dependence on our gifts, abilities and experiences.

    After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God  boldly. Acts 4:31

    Once we experience the Spirit’s fullness, we are compelled to speak God’s word with boldness.  Indeed, witnessing is a supernatural exchange with the Trinity: the Father loves the lost to Himself, the Spirit convicts a heart of sin and the Son freely forgives a soul in salvation. Our part is surrender and submission, the Holy Spirit’s part is fullness and power. Yes, it is necessary to both live the gospel and speak the gospel. Faith comes by hearing the spoken word of God.

    Furthermore, look for ways in your church to champion evangelistic training and teaching. Witnesses of Jesus need to know what they believe and why they believe what they believe. Perhaps you enroll in an apologetics class and be prepared to equip others. Just be wise not to substitute the Holy Spirit’s power with superior arguments. Most of all, moment by moment pray for opportunities to speak boldly about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As a Spirit empowered witness of Christ, you can’t help but help others understand the good news of Jesus!

    For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes. Romans 1:16

    Prayer: Heavenly Father fill me with Your Spirit, so I can be a bold witness for Jesus.

    Related Readings: Luke 1:35, 3:16; Acts 2:1-4, 8:14-17; Romans 10:17, 15:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:5

    Post/Tweet today: A witness for Jesus can strive in their own strength or thrive in the Spirit’s strength. #spiritempoweredwitness

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Acts

  • Adjusting Our Holiday Focus

    Posted on November 20, 2013 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie Miles

    "But the Lord said to her, 'My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.'" Luke 10:41-42 (NLT)

    As I stared at the hard wood floor covered in shattered ornaments and tangled lights, tears welled up in my eyes.

    The frustration over my fallen Christmas tree had pushed me to the breaking point. This was not the first time my decorated tree had crashed to the floor that week. It was the fourth.

    After a fun day of picking out a tree, my family brought it home and secured the tree in a stand. When the last ornament was hung, we turned on the sparkling lights and stepped back to gaze at our accomplishment.

    We cherished that moment . . . and cherished it again after the second round of decorating. But when the tree fell a third time and the surviving ornaments were sparse, the task of decorating became a chore. So when I heard the tree crash in the middle of the night, for the fourth time, I loudly vowed to never have a Christmas tree again.

    My Christmas joy had been replaced with frustration and a small dose of anger. I'd become consumed with winning the battle with this tree and decorating my house for upcoming guests. Before I knew it, my focus was no longer on what was really important.

    In Luke 10:41-42, Jesus told Martha that she'd lost her focus on what matters most: spending time with the Lord. Martha was so bent on planning the perfect dinner party and completing her tasks, she was too distracted to take time to enjoy the company of Jesus.

    Her pursuit of perfection left her frustrated with her sister Mary's lack of help to make things "just so."

    When Martha voiced her irritation to Jesus, He gently reminded her that she was worried about aspects that didn't matter. "But the Lord said to her, 'My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about'" (vs. 41). Jesus wasn't bothered with how fancy dinner was, or how clean her kitchen was, or if she had a perfectly decorated home. What really mattered to Jesus was Martha seeking Him.

    This season—when our focus should be gratitude and on the birth of Jesus—we can get easily distracted by other details. Gifts to buy and how much they will cost. Social outings and what to wear. Decorating our homes (inside and outdoors). Cooking and cleaning to prepare for guests or parties.

    It's easy to get swept up in many things and forget to stay connected with, and focused on, the one thing that really matters.

    Just as busyness, cooking, and cleaning pulled Martha's focus away from Jesus, the same can happen to us in the fast pace of the holidays. Whether basting the perfect turkey or re-decorating an unstable Christmas tree, if we allow it, there is plenty to distract us and lure us away from the one thing that matters most.

    Might we make a commitment to adjust our focus this holiday season? Let's slow down, pare down, and sit down with the Lord each day as we set our thoughts on being thankful. And remind our hearts to be blessed by the birth of our Savior, instead of being stressed over the season.

    Dear Lord, I tend to get stressed during the holidays. Help me stay focused on You, and not get distracted or frustrated this season. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:

    Have you allowed a particular frustration or disappointment to pull your focus away from Jesus?

    What holiday plans or activities might you need to adjust to stay focused on Jesus, and not seasonal busyness?

    Power Verse:
    Colossians 3:2, "Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Luke, Holiday

  • God Keeps His Promises

    Posted on November 19, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you. Mark 16:6-7

    Sorrow skews our sense of security in God causing us to doubt God. Even though Jesus promised His disciples He would come back to life after three days, they forgot. In the heat of the emotional fall out from Christ’s gruesome death on the cross, His followers were filled with fear and sadness. He told them the truth of His resurrection, but the disciples’ heart belief had not caught up with their mental assent. Convincingly, their immediate unbelief gave creditability to their final faith.

    Like the disciples, I struggle with spiritual amnesia. I forget my Heavenly Father has promised to heal my broken heart. I stew in sadness instead of receiving God’s gladness. I let my emotions get the better of me when I feel alone and afraid, forgetful of His precious words that He will never leave me or forsake me. I grow weary wondering if my physical needs will be met and my financial obligations covered. Yet I can rest, for my Savior does what He says He will do. He brings back to life what was dead for His good purposes.

    Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. John 2:19-21

    Has sorrow over a loss led you to lose faith? Has worry captured your emotions to wallow around in ‘what ifs’? You can take Christ at His word for He is 100% trustworthy in what He says and what He does. Life may not make sense in the moment, but give God time and cloudy circumstances will give way to blue skies of hope. His promise of grace and mercy is 24/7 in heaven. Your Heavenly Father longs to love you through trials, so your trust grows even sweeter.

    Furthermore, as you experience the resurrected Christ in your life not everyone will believe you. Some will scoff at you, some will ignore you and a few will rejoice with you. Regardless of someone’s disbelief that Jesus rose from the grave, by God’s grace you can still rise above your circumstances as a testament to His wonder working power in your life. Jesus rose from the grave, so all who believe can rise from their grave of sin, sorrow and death. Yes, God says so!

    We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Romans 6:4

    Prayer: Heavenly Father I rest in Your promises and trust You to carry out Your purposes.

    Related Readings: Acts 13:32-34; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8; 2 Corinthians 1:20; James 2:5

    Post/Tweet today: Sorrow skews our sense of security in God causing us to doubt God, but He is still trustworthy. GodkeepsHispromises

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Mark

  • Slippery Friendships

    Posted on November 19, 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer

    Samantha Evilsizer

    "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV)

    The white snow clouds shadowed the faces peering down on me as I lay flat on the freezing ground. Squinting up at the group, my thoughts whirled: How did this happen? Are my bones broken? Did I take anyone down with me?

    Four winters in the mountains, coupled with countless sightings of others falling down, had taught me to watch where I stepped. I had gingerly led my Freshman Orientation group across campus as we picked our way through snowy sidewalks. But the brick steps outside the English building got the better of me.

    After carefully standing up, and gathering my book bag and pride, I spotted the culprit. A small patch of ice—that I thought was melted snow—winked up at me.

    Losing our footing happens, even when using caution. Stepping lightly isn't always a sufficient safeguard when walking into a potentially slick situation, especially one that involves our heart. Jeremiah 17:9 warns, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" (NIV) My friend Mia learned this truth at her first job.

    In her new position, Mia often collaborated with people in other departments. She enjoyed getting out of her office and breaking up the day-to-day routine. There was one thing she most looked forward to though: meetings with her co-worker, Paul.

    Though their jobs were serious in nature, meetings with him were light-hearted. An hour of shuffling paperwork disappeared in laughter and conversation.

    Weekly meetings soon seemed like an eternity apart. To fill in the gaps, Paul and Mia emailed each other funny anecdotes. They'd catch a few minutes on the phone to tell about a snippet in their day. Eventually Mia and Paul shared lunches, inside jokes, and personal stories. When in a crowd, they'd gravitate to each other and sit together at staff meetings.

    I'd heard so much about Paul I wasn't surprised when Mia brought him up one morning over coffee.

    "I think I have a problem," she said. "I have a crush on Paul."

    Honestly, I wasn't surprised after all she'd told me about him—everything but one incredibly important fact: "He's married."

    In that moment, we both saw how little conversations and small confidences shared led her to fall for Paul. She'd stopped looking carefully where she was stepping and convinced herself they were "just friends."

    But Jeremiah 17:9 tells us our hearts are deceitful and sly. The word "deceitful" in the original Hebrew language is 'aqob, meaning slippery and insidious. In other words, our own hearts can cause us to lose our footing before we're even aware it's happening.

    When we fail to keep our guard up, we're at risk to fall down. And after the realization that we've gone too far, we may find ourselves asking: How did this happen? Are any marriages broken? Did I take anyone down with me?

    Looking back, if I had re-routed my tour around campus, I could have avoided the fall. And that's just what Mia did. She asked God for forgiveness and wisdom. Then she determined to change her pattern at work. Mia stopped spending time alone with Paul and limited their non-work interactions. It took time for her feelings for him to go away, and she admitted it was a bit awkward at first. But after a while they settled in to a professional relationship—nothing more, nothing less.

    Sometimes we don't recognize slippery spots on our own. But God does and if we ask, He will reveal these to us. Let's pause before taking another step in our friendships to ask the Lord for guidance. We might just spare our heart and avoid a damaging fall!

    Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of friendship … Yours and others. I want to point others—and myself—to You by my actions, words, and deeds. Help me do this by testing my heart and removing anything that could put me at risk of slipping. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    If you have a friendship with someone of the opposite sex, does their spouse—and your spouse if you're married—know about the depth of your friendship? If not, why?

    Ask the Lord—and a trusted, Christian friend—if you are on a slippery slope. What safety measures can you put in place if you have to work with this person regularly?

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 4:23, "Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life." (HCSB)

    Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Jeremiah

  • Compassion and Courage

    Posted on November 18, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there. Mark 15:37-41

    Christ’s compassionate and courageous death on the Cross gave immediate access to God for all who seek Him in faith. No more does a person need to go through a priest for God’s forgiveness, Jesus is now the High Priest with instant access to the Lord’s forgiveness. Christ’s death tore down the curtain to the most holy place, so all can be holy as He is holy. Jesus felt abandoned by God so sincere faith followers could abandon themselves to God. He became sin to forgive sin.

    How do you express your gratitude to God for the compassion and courage of Christ for you? How do you by faith, access God through your High Priest Jesus in confession and repentance of sin? Sin is so serious that your Heavenly Father sacrificed His only Son as payment for a debt you couldn’t pay. Thus, a true confession is not conditional, nor does it make excuses. Instead, contrition courageously asks forgiveness and by God’s grace repents and makes restitution.

    God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

    Furthermore, a solitary soldier and many women who had supported Jesus’ ministry remained with Him to the end, or in three days soon to be the beginning! Yes, it is the compassion and courage of the earliest Christ followers that fuels our faith to compassionately and courageously follow Jesus. Society will ebb and flow in its interest in a Savior, but our passion intensifies as we receive His love. We stay engaged to support Christ’s work, especially when others fall away.

    Compassion and courage are steady staples for servants of Jesus. We seek out the spiritually lost, the emotionally bankrupt and the physically displaced to invest our time and money in them for Christ’s sake. Compassion is love in action and courage carries it on its broad shoulders of bold belief. Obstacles are only stepping stones for God to show Himself real and resourceful. Hence, continuous courage is fueled by faith in Christ. While others hide out in fear, we remain faithful.

    This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus. Revelation 14:12

    Prayer: Heavenly Father fill me with the compassion and courage of Christ, so I remain faithful to You.

    Related Readings:Exodus 34:6; Joshua 1:7-9; 1 Corinthians 16:13-14; Colossians 3:12

    Post/Tweet today: Compassion is love in action and courage carries it on its broad shoulders of bold belief. #compassion&courage

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Mark

  • The Sacrifice of Thanks-sharing

    Posted on November 18, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." Hebrews 13:15-16 (NASB)

    Enough. That's what I have. Really, more than enough.

    More than enough clothes in my closet. Food in my fridge. Shoes spread on the floor. Cans in the cupboard.

    My children have books, warm jackets, tennis shoes, pencils, and opportunities for more. I have clean sheets, soft pillows, a kitchen table, and indoor plumbing.

    My husband and I have never taken our provisions for granted. Every day we are thankful for the blessings of our home and family. Yet eight years ago we were increasingly aware of what Luke 12:48b tells us, "When someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required." (NLT) We felt an obligation to do something more with our blessings.

    So in 2005 our family of five put a plan in place to share what we had. We had enough home, enough time, and enough love. Our gratitude to God for His blessings couldn't be kept to ourselves any more. We started with some rearranging. Two of our three sons moved furniture around so they could share a room, Then we bought two little white beds, pink curtains, and some dolls. I bought matching calico comforters and guessed at sizes of dresses.

    After months of planning to share what we had, two little orphaned sisters stepped off a plane gripping the hands of their new daddy and walked into our hearts and homes.

    They wore "African suits" bought from the place of their birth, brightly colored dresses that hung on tiny bodies. So proud they were to own their first new pieces of clothing, wanting to greet their new family in their best. As we wrapped our arms around these little girls, our family of five became seven.

    As weeks turned into months, and typical family issues mingled with trauma from our daughters' pasts, we learned God's call to share isn't always easy. Oh, at first it was great, before the first blush of excitement wore off. But the magnitude of sharing our lives with two wounded little girls was harder than we ever imagined.

    When worry about the future threatened to overwhelm me, God quietly reminded me that He didn't ask me to have the answers. That's His job. My job is just to share what He has given me–my love, my home, my life–with two not-so-little girls now who call me Mama. With a heart of thankfulness, and an open hand of generosity. That's all He's asking me. That's what blesses Him.

    God's Word confirms what pleases Him. Hebrews 13:15-16 teaches us that we must link thanksgiving with sharing. But it also says it will be a sacrifice: "Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." (NASB)

    As we walk together as a family, we continue to learn that showing thanks to God involves sharing, and sharing involves sacrifice. God still calls us to share out of our abundance, and it still involves sacrifice. But when we share our lives, our homes, our money, our hearts, our skills, and our time as an outpouring of thanksgiving, God is pleased.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for Your generosity with me. I don't deserve Your favor, and my heart overflows with thanksgiving. Help me to show my gratitude through words and actions that are pleasing in Your sight. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    At this season of Thanksgiving, what can you share with someone else?

    Do you struggle with sharing what you have? Consider if God is calling you to a deeper trust in Him as your provider.

    Power Verse:
    1 Timothy 6:18, "Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Hebrews, Thanksgiving

  • Flawed Leaders

    Posted on November 17, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Since he himself is subject to weakness. This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.      Hebrews 5:2b, 3

    Even the best of leaders are flawed. Jesus Christ was the only flawless leader to ever live. The rest of us operate in the flawed category. The wise leader will acknowledge this, as his flaws loom over his life like a canopy of accountability. The smart leader uses his flaws to facilitate a closer walk with Christ. As the adversary accuses you of your flaws, agree with him. Use your flaws as an asset rather than a liability. The leader who fails to flush out his flaws into the open is pretentious and positioned for a fall. Flaws can only hurt you if they remain concealed. Exposed flaws wither in their influence under the heat of confession and repentance. This is when you go to your flawless heavenly Father and ask for His forgiveness and grace. Ask Him to use your flaws to further His Kingdom.
    Many times, God works through us in spite of ourselves; so, lay bare before Him your fears, insecurities, weaknesses, and flaws. Watch Him do a beautiful work of transformation. Your weaknesses become His strengths that carry out His purpose. Where you feel out of control, He is in control. He is the pilot and you are the co-pilot. Trust Him to guide you through the complex instrument panel of life. Your flaws do not surprise Him, because He knows they can keep you close to Christ. Your honest feedback to others about your flaws frees others to do the same. Pretension crumbles and honesty flourishes in a culture of self-awareness of—and openness to—one another’s flaws.

    Therefore, be patient with the flaws in others. We recognize the flaws in others because they are flawed copies of ourselves. Normally, what ticks you off the most are your flaws exhibited in the life of another. Cut them some slack and learn how to use their flaws to facilitate God’s will. Allow flaws to promote relational intimacy rather than relational hostility. Flaws are friends who can lead us closer to God and closer to each other. Flaws remind us all that we are a work in progress. Flaws begin as concealed imperfections. Just as flaws lead to the shattering of an imperfect crystal under pressure, they can lead to our brokenness. Flaws make us better, if they lead to our brokenness.
    The world is made up of flawed people. Those who recognize and accept this use it to their advantage. Leaders have a unique opportunity to set the example in this area. Your ability to be honest about your own flaws sets the course for those you lead. Season your language with, “I am sorry that is a weakness of mine.” Or, “Please be patient with me; I am a work in progress. Details are not my strength.” Or, “Help me not to overcommit. I can say yes to too many things, and fail to do any of them well.” Or lastly, “I was wrong. Please forgive me.” This honesty and transparency creates a safe environment for the authenticity of everyone. Flaws revealed lead to freedom, but flaws concealed lead to bondage. Do not project a flawless image, but one of learning, growing, and many times, struggling. Make confession and repentance a normal part of your vocabulary and behavior. Focus on the flawless leader, Jesus. He will never let you down.

    Post/Tweet today: Smart leaders use their flaws to facilitate a closer walk with Christ. #flawedleaders

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Hebrews

  • Audience of One

    Posted on November 16, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me” (John 14:31).

    I struggle playing to an audience other than almighty God. I create an unnecessary tension by asking myself, “What will they think? How will they respond?” Yet the heart of Jesus asks, “What does my heavenly Father want? How can I obey Him with my whole heart?” It is an audience of one with my heavenly Father that requires my focus.

    So I ask myself, “Whom do I love more? Do I love my Savior more, or do I love the praise of people more?” If I truly love the commendation of Christ more than the approval of people, then I will obey His commands, even when I am misunderstood and mistreated. A life that loves God longs to grow in a relationship that faithfully follows His ways.

    Caution is required not to become proud in our obedience. In a distorted way, a disciplined life can play into impressing people instead of pleasing God. It is false humility to be proud of our humility and wish others could attain our level of maturity. False humility on the stage of life acts out its spirituality for the world’s accolades.

    “These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence” (Colossians 2:22–23). True humility seeks only to deflect glory back to God’s glory.

    However, when all is said and done, living for an audience of one insists on intense intimacy with Jesus Christ, so that we naturally follow His lead. It is like an eloquent dance rendition, where He leads and we follow. Some steps are new and awkward, while other moves are comfortable and unconscious. If we dance with Jesus before others, He will amuse them most, as He leads us into His will. True humility follows Christ’s lead.

    Lastly, learning to live for an audience of one means giving away recognition and resisting taking credit. For example, at work give the team credit for success, and take responsibility for failure. At home quietly serve behind the scenes without a worry about who gets the recognition for the household chores. Most of all, minister for Christ’s kingdom, so your kingdom fades away and His becomes full center. An audience of one pleases the One.

    Joseph revealed his devotion to an audience of one with the Lord when he declared, “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9).

    Prayer: Do I live unashamedly for an audience of one? What competing audience can I dismiss?

    Related Readings: 2 Chronicles 32:12; Isaiah 65:16; John 17:1–5; Colossians 2:18

    Post/Tweet today: Living for an audience of one insists on intense intimacy with Jesus Christ. #audienceofone

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with John

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