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Daily Devotion

  • Obey Him

    Posted on October 6, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him… Hebrews 5:8-9

    Obedience to God is the heartbeat of Jesus. He learned and modeled obedience, and suffering was the incubator in which His obedience grew. The best lessons we learn seem to come out of suffering. Anyone can obey when it is easy, but in the fire of adversity and pain, our obedience is put to the test. Will we obey even when it hurts, even when it costs us dearly, even when we don’t want to, even when we are uncertain of the outcome? Obedience’s tests unmask our motives; untested obedience may just be the result of convenience.

    So, be prepared to obey, just because you know it is the right thing to do, when no one else but God will ever know. He is watching to see if we will obey Him when no one else knows.  Jesus knows from first-hand experience that obedience is what makes us more like Him. We experience Him in our acts of obedience; He assures us in our obedience; He loves us in our obedience; He empowers us in our obedience; God shows up in the middle of our obedience. It is so important to Him, that He makes it a priority to bless our obedience. His blessing may not be recognized immediately. It may take months or years before we enjoy the fruit of our obedience to pray.
    This is especially true when things are going well. It seems like we don’t need God when we are fine. We unwisely drop our prayer guard and are exposed to a punch in the face by our adversary, Satan. The reality is that success and prosperity need to propel us to pray more. Progress demands prayer. How can we maintain this level of achievement or move forward to conqueror new horizons without obedience in prayer? Success reveals a different type of suffering. We suffer from isolation, greed, and pride. Without obediently seeking Him, we fail where it matters most. God smiled on our efforts and brought success. He is the author of progress by His providence. Therefore, we obey Him with our prayers. We obediently point our prayers toward heaven, often and aggressively.
    When you passed from death to life, from darkness to light, you became a new creation in Christ. Your name changed from self to selfless, you went from control to trust, from disobedient to obedient. As Jesus-followers, you represent heaven on earth; you are the face of your heavenly Father. You obey Him because there is a higher purpose in life. You are ambassadors for Almighty God, hosts for heaven, and greeters for God. Therefore, even in hypocrisy you obey, so you obey your way to obedience. You obey because you are His, you learn obedience from what you suffer. Obedience is God’s ointment for living. The Bible says, “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse—the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known” (Deuteronomy 11:26-28). You obey Him because you are His.

    Post/Tweet: Jesus learned and modeled obedience. Suffering was the incubator in which His obedience grew. #obeyHim

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


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

  • Pursued by God

    Posted on October 5, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost” (Matthew 18:12–14).

    The Lord’s great love is not passive in its pursuit of people. He longs for every last, lost soul to be saved from the snares of sin, the devil’s deception, and the world’s allure. The Lord Almighty is personally engaged in engaging a human heart with heaven. Christ’s love crosses all cultures and socioeconomic levels. He is in humble, hot pursuit of those He loves. Have you yielded to the Holy Spirit’s tender wooing of your heart to God?

    Left to our own whims and desires, we are prone to wander away from the Lord. Our culture competes with our heavenly affections until we grow indifferent to eternal matters. But Jesus does not quit His traversing for our heart’s allegiance. Even during our darkest days, He is a light of hope that hovers over our head as a reminder of His love.

    “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them” (Isaiah 42:16).

    Like wandering sheep, bad things distract us, and good things attract us. When we lose our way, we have a loving Shepherd ever present to show us the way. We are never out of His sight or out of reach from His sympathetic staff. The Lord looks for us and looks out for us because He loves us unconditionally. No one is too far from the love of God.

    “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20–21).

    When Jesus found you, how did you feel? Was it forgiven, grateful, relieved, and ready for heaven? You probably felt these few emotions and many more. If you have not given in to God’s good intentions, you can come to Christ now. Turn and look to Him. He loves you as no other can love you. Heaven rejoices when the pursued are persuaded by God.

    “‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent” (Luke 15:6–7).

    Prayer: How is God pursuing me? How does Christ want me to respond to His compelling love?

    Related Readings: Job 19:22; Isaiah 41:2–4; Luke 19:20; John 10:3

    Post/Tweet: The Lord’s great love is not passive in its pursuit of people. He longs for every last, lost soul to be saved. #pursuedbyGod

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


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

  • Share Extra Stuff

    Posted on October 4, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same. Luke 3:10

    Those with none need those with some and those with some need to be generous with those with none. Our love for the Lord does not let us sit still when another needy soul is without. We pray for a need to be met, but we also offer our stuff in answer to our prayers. Like a holy offering to God we place our stuff on His altar of compassion. Christ can entrust more to those who hold an open hand. Our life is a canal for cargo ships of care to carry our stuff to others.

    Instead of complaining of a single parent’s unkept yard, consider its anonymous care. Invest in a monthly bus or train ticket for a friend who needs transportation to look for a job. Take the children of a family out of work to buy school clothes and supplies. Create work around your house or at your work that gives others opportunity to work. Look up your local food bank and become a volunteer and/or contributor. Share your extra stuff with those in need in Jesus' name.

    Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Isaiah 58:7

    Helping hands are heaven’s call for those who have extra. How can we enjoy self indulgence and ignore one who has none? Thus, we pray for a couple we can give gas gift certificates to, so they can travel to visit a friend. Maybe for every bottle of water we consume, we provide a bottle of water for a child where water is not easily accessible. For every pair of shoes we buy, we provide a pair of shoes for some other barefoot believer. Maybe our prayer is for anything we buy ourselves,  who can we purchase the same for? Those with none need our extra some.

    Lastly, look to the Lord for who to help and how much to help. The Holy Spirit will lead you and your family in the creative care process. You could match every dollar a person invests to pay down their debt. Use your small investment in another to leverage a large feeling of being loved. A little bit of encouragement may be all another needs  not to give up and keep going for God. Jesus gave His all, so we could be forgiven of all. Those with none need those with some!

    I [Jesus] needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Matthew 25:36

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me by Your Spirit to give my some to those with none.

    Related Readings: Job 31:19-20; Ezekiel 18:16; Isaiah 16:4; Luke 10:33-37; Hebrews 13:2

    Post/Tweet today: Those with none need those with some and those with some need to give to those with none. #shareextrastuff

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


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

  • For When You're Lost

    Posted on October 4, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    "Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn't she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." (Luke 15:8–10 NIV)

    I was awash in a sea of three toddlers. Trying to do anything outside the house was an adventure. But one day I decided to brave a trip to the mall to shop for Christmas gifts. As I stood at the register, I asked my children to hold onto mama's jeans. Their tightly clutched fists let me know that they were close. After completing my purchase, I turned around and realized that two-year-old Ryan was nowhere in sight. The three tiny hands clutching my pant leg turned out to be one child holding on with two hands, and the other holding on with one while their brother made his escape.

    I buckled the kids in the monster-sized stroller, threw my package underneath, and blasted through the store calling out my two-year-old's name.

    "Have you seen my son? He's two. He has brown hair and he's tall for his age. Has anyone seen him?"

    Finally an older woman approached me. "Honey, I saw a little boy with brown hair just a few moments ago carrying a really large box out those doors."

    Seconds later, I saw him strolling through the mall with his little two-year-old gait, carrying an extra large shoebox. My son wasn't just lost. He had shoplifted a pair of men's shoes in the process.

    I scooped up my little lost shoplifter and held him close.

    Something had captured my toddler's attention and he wandered. I knew what might have easily happened to him if I had not found him. My love for him meant I'd push that stroller to the ends of the earth, calling his name, until he was safe in my arms.

    In his book Amazing Grace, K. W. Osbeck says, "If the New Testament teaches us anything, it teaches us about God's love in searching for lost men. Becoming a Christian in a very real sense is simply putting ourselves in the way of being found by God—to stop running from His loving pursuit."

    Maybe you have escaped God. One adventure took you to the next and suddenly you were lost in a crowd, wondering if you'd gone too far.

    You haven't.

    Stop. Right where you are. Let Him scoop you up.

    And that box of things you're carrying—those emotions, mistakes, choices you wish you'd never made—give it to Him. He'll return them to where they rightfully belong as He leads you back home.

    Dear Lord, I willingly climb into Your arms. Please accept this box of gathered mistakes and failures. Today I am joyfully found by You, In Jesus' name, Amen.

    Remember
    Stop. Right where you are. Empty your arms of that weight you've been carrying and lift it up to be scooped into your heavenly Father's embrace.

    Reflect
    Name one way you have been running. What would it look like to stop?

    Respond
    Imagine God scooping up you as the woman in the parable scooped up her lost coin. Write down God's response to finding you as well as your response to being found by God.

    Power Verses
    Psalm 145:18–19; Psalm 119:151

    Taken from Encouragement for Today: Devotions for Everyday Living by Renee Swope, Lysa TerKeurst, Samantha Evilsizer and the Proverbs 31 Ministries Team. © 2013 by Proverbs 31 Ministries. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.

    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

  • Fruit of Repentance

    Posted on October 3, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. Luke 3:8-9

    A surrendered life to the Lord produces fruit of repentance. Like a well kept vineyard of grapes seasonly tills rich soil and meticulously removes weeds, so a Spirit-filled life is watered with grace, love and mercy. Character cultivation happens to a heart turned toward heaven, captivated by trust in Jesus. Hail storms damage, even destroy the best kept crops, but the sun’s life giving rays and the nurturing farmer bring them back. So, God grows a disciple into His hearty harvest.

    Spiritual fruit from the past is no substitute for fruit produced in the present. Praise God for our faithful ancestors of the faith, but their fruit was for their time. The Spirit of God looks to harvest fruits of repentance for this generation. The good old days of spiritual renewal are inspiring to reminisce, but today the Lord calls those of us with a little gray hair to grow up in His grace. We who identify with Jesus have a significant role and responsibility to produce fruit of repentance.

    I [Paul] preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. Acts 26:20
    How do we know if we produce fruit of repentance? Private belief for salvation and public confession in baptism are the first fruits of repentance, but just the beginning point. The ongoing fruit bearing process is a lifetime of leaning into the Lord. So, the Spirit reminds us when we drift into bad habits or wrong thinking. We confess spiritual pride and we remember that only by the grace of God can we do good. We turn from self righteousness and turn to God’s righteousness.

    What is the proof of fruit produced by repentance? Good deeds from a heart of humility and grace arefruit that glorifies God. Your Spirit-filled actions of abstinence, generosity, tutoring, publicservice, faith sharing, foster care and orphan adoption please your Heavenly Father. Jesus smiles when you are hospitable and when you visit the sick and those in prison. Your authentic repentance keeps you broken to care for the broken. What breaks God’s heart breaks your heart!

    Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. 2 Corinthians 2:10-11

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I repent of known and unknown sin in my heart, I turn to Your heart for forgiveness and the faith to produce good deeds.

    Related Readings: Deuteronemy 4:30; Jeremiah 18:11; Ezekeil 47:12; Acts 11:18; Galatians 3:7

    Post/Tweet today: Our authentic repentance keeps us broken to care for the broken. #fruitofrepentance

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


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

  • Sacrifices of Praise

    Posted on October 3, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Offer sacrifices in the right spirit, and trust the LORD." Psalm 4:5 (NLT)

    I have a confession to make. After many years of walking with Jesus and seeking Him to fill me, I still struggle with unmet longings.

    Maybe you can relate. Have you ever wanted something so badly your heart ached with each thought of it? It seems like life would be so much better if you had that one thing.

    There would be more happiness.

    More contentment.

    More fulfillment.

    More satisfaction.

    More peace.

    You can envision yourself with this thing, this person, this opportunity. And all things are better. So, why doesn't God give you this longing of your heart? This longing of my heart?

    Could it be because He wants us to willingly let it go?

    Ouch.

    That's not the answer I want. Why would God let the aching desire linger and not make things happen? He could. He's certainly able. But when He doesn't, it seems unfair. Not good. Confusing.

    It's easy to get down when we're constantly let down. We hope this thing will happen ... we'll meet this right person ... we'll get this job ... we'll finally be healed ... we'll get that chance ... we'll see that family member turn his or her life around. Time and again it doesn't happen. That's when it's easy to slip.

    That's where trust steps in and reminds us we can't ever learn how to live real faith if we never need real faith.

    As an offering of trust, we must give up that which could so easily bring us down.

    Not give up as in discouraged surrender. But give up as in placing this desire in the hand of God and saying, "Either way, I will see Your answer as the good answer and walk in trust."

    I like to call these types of releases in my life sacrifices of praise, like Psalm 4:5 tells us to do: "Offer sacrifices in the right spirit, and trust the LORD."

    Lord, I sacrifice chasing this so I might more fully and with more focus chase You. I release this grip of desire. I praise You for who You are, what only You can bring, and how You will fill whatever gap this release might leave.

    Yes, I still struggle with unmet desires.

    But not as much today as I did yesterday.

    And that is good. Not easy. But good.

    Dear Lord, I want to offer You sacrifices of praise with a willing heart. Cultivate in me an attitude of obedience as I choose to trust Your plans above my desires. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What can you offer up as a sacrifice of praise to the Lord?

    Take small steps each day as you walk in obedience and give that thing up to God.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 62:8, "Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge." (NIV)

    Isaiah 26:4, "Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal." (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 Psalm

  • Everyone Has a Story

    Posted on October 2, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. Philippians 3:4-7

    Everyone has a story. Maybe your story is similar to mine. A story of my parent’s divorce at age five followed by confusion, hurt and blame. A story of insecurity and distrust based on a constant state of transition and multiple moves. Embarrassed by being the new kid in the class, over and over again. A story of a coach who loved Christ and loved his wife, who led Bible studies and encouraged me in my undeveloped faith. At 19, Jesus entered the screen play of my life as Lord.

    Married my high school sweetheart, whose family’s faith in God flourished. My bride was and is my best friend. She is also the best wife and mom I know. My father-in-law became my mentor of hard work and how to love my family. Sold my service business, graduated with a Masters of Divinity, worked in large churches, started three ministries and experienced the joy of my Dad’s salvation. Blessed with four daughters, three sons-in-laws and four grand babies. Have survived by God’s grace, prostate cancer, abusive stepfathers, rejection and financial challenges. My story.

    I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 2 Timothy 1:5

    So, each day we look into the eyes of each person the Lord sends our way and we inquire about their story. A rough persona may  mask  a big, insecure heart. A hyper happy person may be hiding  intense hurt that needs the healing touch of God’s grace. A fatigued face may have been up most of the night with a special needs child. A sad soul may struggle under a financial burden and a joyful co-worker could use our support and affirmation. Learn another’s story.

    Above all else, the story of Almighty God’s grace, love and judgment is the main attraction. Our stories are the warm up band, but His story is what others really want and need to hear. When we submit our story to Christ’s story our story becomes complete and His story becomes the focal point of our life. His humility becomes our humility. His love becomes our love. His sacrifice becomes our sacrifice. His forgiveness becomes our forgiveness. His story becomes our story.

    The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master. Philippians 3:7-9, The Message

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray Your story of love and forgiveness becomes my story of love and forgiveness.

    Related Readings: Jeremiah 9:23-24; Psalm 73:25; Matthew 1:1-17; Acts 16:1, 22:22-29

    Post/Tweet today: Our stories are the warm up band, but His story is what others really want and need to hear. #everyonehasastory

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


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

  • Going Solo

    Posted on October 2, 2013 by Lynn Cowell

    Lynn Cowell

    "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV)

    The toll of an emotionally draining week had reached its peak. Though I was trying to use various diversions to clear my mind, my thoughts were overpowering. All I wanted was to curl up in a ball and fall apart. Worry was winning.

    My husband sensed the pain that was showing from my welling eyes. Like any good friend, he asked, "What's going on?"

    Determined to keep my composure, I chose to fight my battle alone. "I'm okay" slid out before I caught my lie.

    Minutes later he asked again, "What's wrong?" My resolve couldn't hold up any longer and I blubbered, "I just can't get past this anxiety." Greg listened as the thoughts swirling in my mind came out. After I emptied my heart, he shared a story from Scripture, which helped me override my stress with thankfulness and trust.

    I am so glad the Lord preserved stories in the Bible of those who had issues as well. During this hard season I was in, Greg reminded me of Elijah. Like Elijah, sometimes when I struggle, I opt to struggle alone.

    In 1 Kings 19:3, even after seeing God work miracles, Elijah was undone by a threat. A queen was trying to kill him and he decided the way out was to run.

    We get a look into his thought process in 1 Kings 19:3-4, "Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. 'I have had enough, Lord,' he said. 'Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.'" (NIV)

    I don't blame Elijah one bit for running when trouble hit. I have that instinct myself some days. Running to social media or a chocolate goodie when my emotions are a jumbled mess is the easiest way out—at least temporarily.

    Where Elijah missed it, and I did too on my bad day, was when he chose to go solo.

    Elijah had a servant who was traveling with him, but he left the servant behind. He went farther into the desert alone, where his emotions only turned darker.

    Elijah and I both could have used the truth in Ecclesiastes 4, "Two are better than one ... if either of them falls down, one can help the other up." When we share our troubles with another godly friend, she can often help us to see what we cannot. Her different perspective opens a new way of thinking that can lead to hope and faith and away from despair.

    When you add the power and presence of the Holy Spirit to that friendship, Ecclesiastes 4:12 tells us our relationships become "... a cord of three strands... not quickly broken." Our pain, when shared, can be transformed to peace. Strength can take the place of sorrow.

    I eased my stress that difficult week by sharing my worries with my husband. Thankfully he directed me to God's Word where I found hope and encouragement in the midst of my anxiety. Is there a burden you are carrying that would be lighter if you shared it with someone? Make a way today to allow them to help you handle your load.

    Jesus, thank You that You have given us the gift of relationships. Give us the wisdom to know when and with whom to share our personal problems. Please strengthen us so we can help strengthen another. Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Who is your "go to" friend who lifts you up when you fall down? Give them your thanks today!

    If you need a friend who makes you stronger, ask the Father to give you the type of friend described in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.

    Power Verse:
    Proverbs 27:17, "As iron sharpens iron; so one person sharpens another." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lynn Cowell. 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 Ecclesiastes

  • Uniquely Gifted

    Posted on October 1, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    I wish that all of you were as I am.But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. 1 Corinthians 7:7

    Our generous Heavenly Father uniquely gifts His children for His glory. It may be the gift of service, encouragement, teaching, mercy or administration. Regardless of one’s role, all gifts are necessary in the Body of Christ. One may quietly serve as a prayer intercessor behind the scenes, while another may boldly proclaim truth in front of the faithful. Yes, the Lord specially equips individuals for His good works. God’s gifting is His distinctive stamp of value on each one of us

    What do you do well? How can you discover your sweet spot of service for your Savior Jesus? One way is to develop abilities that come natural for you and engage in activities that energize you. The Spirit wires you in a way that brings both of you pleasure when you exercise your gift. For example, a generous giver finds great joy in giving and an evangelist is ecstatic when they share the gospel. An administrator is not content until everyone and everything is in its place.

    For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

    You may be an analytical thinker who loves crunching numbers, managing data and interpreting trends from both. Your gift of linear deduction is critical for business, finance and engineering. Perhaps you are great with people. People love your company, because they sense you know, understand and care for them. Thus, your ability to network, convene and lead others is valuable for accomplishing a big vision or executing a strategic initiative. Yes, steward well God’s gift.

    Moreover, seek to marry your passion with your giftedness. For instance, if you love to see someone encouraged, use your gift of writing to convey God’s love to their hungry heart. If you love children, use your ability to nurture and train, as a conduit for Christ’s truth. If you love sports, use your teaching gift to lead athletes in Bible study. If you love travel, use your aptitude for business to help entrepreneurs here and abroad. Be who God has uniquely gifted you to be!

    We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. Romans 12:6

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, use my gift from You to bring you glory. Marry Your gift with my passion.

    Related Readings: Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31, 14:12; Ephesians 4:11-12

    Post/Tweet today: Develop abilities that come natural for you and engage in activities that energize you. #uniquelygifted

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 1 Corinthians

  • Voices of Accusation

    Posted on October 1, 2013 by Melissa Taylor

    Melissa Taylor

    "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1 (NIV)

    Do you ever hear the whisper of condemnation? It hisses: you're not what you should be ... your past sins define you ... you'll never change.

    Unfortunately I do. Self-condemnation is a default for me. If I let it, it can wipe out my confidence as a woman, wife and mom.

    Thankfully, I'm just as familiar with God's truth as I am with Satan's lies. My heart has heard Jesus' gentle reminders of His love and goodness, like "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).

    Although I know this truth God speaks over me, I've learned it's up to me to respond correctly. If I don't keep my ears tuned to His voice and my mind set on His thoughts, I forget God's truths.

    Condemning thoughts come back and drown out the confidence I have through Christ.

    One morning I was struggling with self-condemning thoughts when I read these words written in my morning devotion: "Do not listen to voices of accusation for they are not from Me [God]."*

    I opened my journal and responded from my heart:

    Hello Lord, I often feel disappointed in my decisions and who I am and call myself names. But my negative thoughts aren't the only ones I hear. My feelings have been hurt by someone else's comments that cut me down and stole my confidence. Instead of feeling worthy, I feel like a loser. I hear You telling me not to listen to voices of accusation. Thank You for this reminder right when I needed it.

    The devotion continued, "Pause before responding to people or situations, giving My Spirit space to act through you. Hasty words and actions leave no room for Me."

    Again, I reached out to God:

    Lord, I spoke unkind words back to my friend. Thank You for gently reminding me to "pause before responding." You are so faithful to remind me of what You want from me.

    If left to defend ourselves from self-condemnation or the condemnation of others, we'd be defeated every time. Thankfully, we have the greatest defender in God and His Word. His truths re-build the confidence that condemnation breaks down.

    Our part is to know God's promises and believe and apply them! Staying saturated in His Word and taking time to listen to the Holy Spirit is the best way to overcome condemnation. We can supplement these through reading devotions, digging into books on our specific area of struggle, and participating in Bible studies. All these things help re-build our confidence that is in Christ.

    As we take the time to listen to Him today, let's ask God to remind us that He is with us; He loves us, and His Word is true: "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." That means you and me!

    Dear Lord, when I forget, please remind me that because of the cross and because You are my Savior, I am not condemned. Help me keep my eyes and thoughts on You. And to accept Your Word as truth so my confidence stays strong in You. In Jesus' Name, amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What condemning thoughts do you believe about yourself?

    What are some of God's promises you can use to replace your accusing thoughts?

    Power Verses:
    Exodus 14:13-14, "Don't be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm." (NLT)

    Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (NIV 1984)

    * Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young

    © 2013 by Melissa Taylor. 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 Romans

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