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Daily Devotion

  • Too Polite

    Posted on February 6, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong. Matthew 5:37, The Message

    When we are too polite we can be guilty of deception. In the process of trying not to hurt someone’s feelings, we can communicate a false trust or conceal a hidden agenda. Certainly we are to avoid harshness and use kind words. However, if our conversation remains shallow and sentimental it only disrespects the need to ‘speak the truth in love’ (Ephesians 4:15). It's patronizing to be too polite. Politeness that masks fear is merely a poor player at courtesy.

    So, how can we be truly honest with our words? One wise approach is to ask questions, so our language is not accusatory, but helpful in discovery of what needs to be done. For example, a wife may feel alone in her role as a mom and wife. A encouraging question could be, What can your husband do to support you? Or, a husband may feel insecure in his position as the spiritual leader. Perhaps ask, How can your wife make you feel affirmed as the spiritual leader at home?

    "These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other" (Zechariah 8:16).

    Furthermore, trust is foundational to effective, forthright speech. Trust assumes the best and is not fearful of rejection. A feeling of goodwill between two parties gives everyone permission to speak freely. Trust builds over time as two people really know and understand each other. They accept one another, forgive one another’s weaknesses, and celebrate one another’s strengths. Mostly, trust in the Holy Spirit to heal hearts, apply truth, and create a spirit of loving dialogue.

    Lastly, let your words flow over your lips, but only after you have prayed to the Lord. Prayer is a buffer that keeps the flesh from making a fool of itself. Speech sanctified by the Spirit is kind, but clear. It keeps the conversation cordial, but corrective, if necessary. Our talk with God prepares us to talk with people. It engages our hearts with an emotional and spiritual connection. In a spirit of politeness we can still be to the point and trust the Lord for redemptive outcomes.

    "Speak to David privately and say, ‘Look, the king likes you, and his attendants all love you; now become his son-in-law'" (1 Samuel 18:22).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the faith to speak forthrightly in a spirit of comfort and love.

    Related Readings: Psalm 119:103; Proverbs 22:11; Ezekiel 33:31; 1 Corinthians 13:1

    Post/Tweet today: Prayer is a buffer that keeps the flesh from making a fool of itself. #toopolite

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Five Scriptures to Pray Over Your Marriage

    Posted on February 6, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "[Jesus] also told them this parable: 'Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit?'" Luke 6:39 (NIV)

    I sat down to write some thoughts for a young friend getting married. I wanted these words to be encouraging but also realistic. I didn't want to pen the typical "best wishes on your wedding day." Wishes might be sweet for a church full of flowers and white tulle, but it takes a whole lot more for a marriage to go the distance.

    So I wrote honest thoughts as they came to me:

    "Being married is incredibly difficult. Being married is amazing. Being married can seem impossibly hard. Being married can seem incredibly beautiful. There is no other person who can frustrate me the way my husband can. There is no other person who can make me feel as loved as my husband can."

    As these words tumbled out I wondered if my friend would think me a bit crazy. One minute I painted marriage as blissful as a kite catching wind and rising to the sky. And the next minute it was as if the string had gotten caught in a thorny bush and sent the kite crashing to the ground with thuds of disappointment.

    So which is it? Bliss or disappointment?

    It's a fragile blend of both.

    In the end, I crumpled up my original note and simply wrote this: "Determine to pray more words over your marriage than you speak about your marriage."

    I wrote that note not because it had been true for my relationship but because suddenly I wanted it to be true.

    The teacher being taught by her own lesson.

    And you know what I've discovered in the weeks since? I haven't been praying nearly enough for my marriage.

    I think about things. Discuss things. Complain about things. Attempt to fix things. Work on things. Apologize for things. Want to change things. And then I discuss things some more.

    But talking about things, thinking about things and working on things ... these are not at all the same as praying for them.

    In Luke 6:39 Jesus asks an important but simple question, "Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit?" My husband and I need Jesus leading us, guiding us, teaching us, redirecting us and showing us how to have a marriage that honors Him and each other.

    This year, my goal is to spend a lot less time in the pit. And I think praying more words over my marriage will certainly be key to this.

    Here are some Scriptures I'm praying:

    "He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters ... You, LORD, are my lamp; the LORD turns my darkness into light" (2 Samuel 22:17 and 29, NIV).

    "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone" (Colossians 4:6, NIV).

    "What then shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31, NIV).

    "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12, NIV).

    "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful" (Hebrews 10:23, NIV).

    Actually getting intentional about praying for something in my marriage today is the first step toward that marriage I've been dreaming of—the one that seemed so possible for Art and me 20 years ago in that church full of flowers and tulle.

    Making sure I'm headed in that direction as a wife is only a few intentional prayers away.

    Dear Lord, I want to honor You completely with my marriage. Help me to remain dedicated to praying over my relationship with my husband. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    It's so tempting to think praying for your marriage would be a good idea but then not take the next step.

    Assign yourself the next step you want to take with getting more intentional in praying for your marriage. Choose one of the Scriptures above and pray it out loud each day for the next week.

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Strength From Joy

    Posted on February 5, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10

    Believers in Jesus find joy and strength in their Savior. Joy begins with God, because we are created for His enjoyment, and He for our enjoyment. Just as a husband and wife find great pleasure in a marriage of growing commitment and love, so an overflow of joy comes to a committed Bride of Christ. Strength is the fruit of this quality of relationship. Security and peace support a cheerful heart. Joy is the attitude of all who bow to Almighty God in worshipful awe.

    Any cynical soul can focus on a cow patty in a luscious green pasture. Ironically, it's the cow patties that grow the green grass. In the same way, we can count it all joy for the trials that grow our faith. We find strength in the Lord during severe circumstances. He brings a smile to our heavy hearts. The drought of grief is for a season, followed by heaven’s rain of happiness. A joyful disposition awaits us, when we wait on Christ. His enjoyment creates internal energy.

    "I always praywith joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now" (Philippians 1:4-5).

    Furthermore, the memories of meaningful experiences with other Christ followers bring joy and strengthen our faith. We celebrate answered prayers for our children to grow in God’s grace and make wise choices. We thank the Lord for the rich community of honesty, shared emotions, love, forgiveness and laughter. We muse on hard truths like hell and the joylessness that accompanies disobedience to Jesus. Sustaining strength comes from the joy of an intimate faith fellowship.

    Lastly, we put our hope in the Lord, who richly provides us everything we need for our enjoyment. We need not feel guilty for the blessings of good health, a loving family, a solid job, fun friends, financial freedom or a dynamic church. We gratefully enjoy Christ’s favor. However, what keeps us grounded in God’s strength is not putting our hope in anything but Him. He is our generous Heavenly Father who gives good gifts. Hope is heaven’s strategy for strength and joy!

    "Put their hope in God,who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment" (1 Timothy 6:17).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, may my strength and joy come from Your Spirit, not from my stuff.

    Related Readings: Psalm 19:8; Isaiah 35:10; Luke 10:21; 2 Corinthians 1:24; Philemon 1:7

    Post/Tweet today: What keeps us grounded in God’s strength is not putting our hope in anything but Him. #strengthfromjoy

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • The Things We Do For Love

    Posted on February 5, 2014 by Renee Swope

    Renee

    "What a person desires is unfailing love ..." Proverbs 19:22a (NIV)

    I had everything I wanted yet felt empty and confused.

    My life was full of relationships and accomplishments I'd worked hard to gain, but none could fill or fulfill me.

    Frustrated by my aching emptiness, tears streamed down my face as I thought about the guy I dated through high school and college. Our future plans had crumbled under the pressure of me expecting him to be all I needed. I had been crazy about him — a little too crazy.

    I'll never forget the time a friend mentioned my ex-boyfriend was heading to our hometown for the weekend. We worked near each other, so Friday afternoon I parked by his office and waited for him to leave.

    We both "happened" to be at the same fast food restaurant, at the same time and bumped into each other. After getting my order, I got in my car and followed behind him, hoping he'd see me, realize he couldn't live without me and signal to pull over so we could talk.

    Seriously, what was I thinking? As you can guess, he never stopped. I was hopeless and humiliated.

    A few weeks later, I was taking a walk around my college campus. My eyes drifted to the buildings, dorms and other landmarks of memories. Suddenly my mind filled with a collage of faces, reminding me of my efforts to win the approval of advisors, friends and professors — hoping their affirmation could fill my emptiness.

    Although I was graduating soon, had a few great job offers and achieved success in many ways, my heart still felt restless. And I couldn't help but wonder: Why was all that I had never enough?

    A thought rushed through my soul, stringing together two words I had never put next to each other. I sensed God answering me.

    Renee, all you have ever wanted is unconditional love.

    Unconditional love? I didn't know there was such a thing. Then God whispered into my soul: You'll never find the love you long for in anyone or anything but Me. I AM the unconditional love you're looking for.

    The thought of God loving me without any conditions was inconceivable, yet something deep in my soul told me it was true. I'd been looking for love that didn't have to be earned. Love I didn't have to fear losing.

    Honestly, it was hard to see how God's love could fill the emptiness in my heart. It took time, but I came to understand that God created me with that need for fulfillment so He could meet it.

    Our key verse, Proverbs 19:22a, says, "What a person desires is unfailing love."

    The word "desire" comes from the Hebrew word ta'avah, which means: to greatly long for, deeply desire or crave. Interestingly, unfailing love is mentioned over 30 times in the Bible, and not once is it attributed to a person. It is only attributed to God.

    God gave us a desire for unfailing love because He knew it would lead us back to Him.

    His love draws us to Him. Only we can stop God from reaching the deep and hidden parts within us that need Him most.

    Will you invite Jesus to look into your heart today so He can show you what, who and where you might be looking to be filled and fulfilled? Then ask Him to fill and fulfill you with the promise and reality of His unfailing love instead.

    Jesus, help me stop searching for fulfillment in anything or anyone but You. Will You satisfy me with Your unfailing love and help me depend on You to meet my deepest desires and needs. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What or whom do you look to, to fill and fulfill you?

    Write down steps you can take to transfer your hope from other things and people to God to satisfying your longings. Start by talking to God and processing this struggle with Him.

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 90:14, "Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

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

  • Attentive to Instruction

    Posted on February 4, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read. Nehemiah 8:8

    The Lord God Almighty instructs individuals from His Word the Bible. His gift of an instruction manual for living is necessary to know how to live life purposefully. If we wonder what is the wise thing to do, we look into the pages of Scripture and learn from those who made smart and foolish decisions. Yes, people who already experienced what we have not experienced can show us what to do and what not to do. The Bible is full of practical teachings that demand our keen attention.

    However, it takes our intentionality to be instructed well. The education process in eternal matters engages our heart and mind. So we learn, not to impress with our newfound information, but to humbly apply insights for living. We are not just moved by emotion, but we are moved to make Jesus Christ the Lord of our lives. We grow intensely attentive to the Holy Spirit’s work the more we grow in understanding of Scripture. Instruction frees us from ignorant assumptions.

    "Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" (Proverbs 9:9-10).

    Moreover, wise are we to learn from those who study and give clear meaning to the inspired written word of the Lord. Seek to sit under those who rightly divide the word of truth. Find those absent of pretense in their presentation and who instruct out of weakness from their own struggles. Clear teaching comes from one who is clear about their own propensity to sin. Yes, those who instruct well in the ways of God, walk in the ways of God. Learn from a humble heart.

    We know we are attentive to instruction from God’s Word, if we read and apply Holy Scripture. We gain insight, as we read books that give fresh meaning to ancient writings. We are perceptive when we discuss the life principles we are learning with other honest individuals who help us refine our thinking. Regular attendance at a church that gives practical understanding of the Bible is an indicator of our attentiveness. Most of all, humbly learn from the Spirit’s instruction.

    "You gave your good Spirit to instruct them" (Nehemiah 9:20).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me to learn from those who can instruct me well in Your ways.

    Related Readings: Psalm 25:12, 32:8; Daniel 11:33; Romans 15:14; 1 Corinthians 2:12-16

    Post/Tweet today: Those who instruct well in the ways of God, walk in the ways of God. #attentivetoinstruction

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • The God of the Dark

    Posted on February 4, 2014 by John van der Veen

    Close your eyes for a second. Well, close your mind's eye. Think back at all the beautiful moments you have seen throughout your life. Some of us may have less than others and that's ok. Just bring some of them back.

    Perhaps you were standing on the edge of the crashing waves on the Pacific Ocean. Others may have experienced the rocks of Zion National Park. Some have lain on a grassy plains in the middle of Nebraska and have been in awe of such a grand land. Perhaps you have enjoyed the peacefulness of a bubbling brook along the Appalachian Trail. It doesn't matter where you have been in life, I am fairly certain that each one of us has been able to capture a moment when beauty was lit up for us.

    There we stood. In amazement as the God of the universe was showing His handiwork. In moments like those, it's almost as if our breath is knocked out of us. Such beauty. Such glorious artwork in the creation. How do we behold such artistry?

    Now picture those places in the middle of the night. The ocean waves still crash against those rocks at 1 AM. Don't they? The majesty of mountains, plains, brooks are all still there in the darkest part of the night.

    Who enjoys those times? God could have given His creation a break in those hours when no one is looking. The ocean could rest. The brook wouldn't have to bubble up. You see what I mean. Why is all the beauty of God's creation that is visible during the day is still there in the darkest hour?

    Perhaps the intent is to remind us of something.

    There are moments in all our lives when we face dark times. The doctor shares bad news with us. We lose our jobs unexpectedly. We discover that our closest friend is actually not as close as we thought. Life is hard. It's not all sunny. It's not all roses. There are dark times.

    And yet, God never leaves us, does He? For even when we don't see Him, we hear Him. Even when we don't believe He is close, He is there. Those dark moments in life, yes, He is still there. Right with us. Just like a crashing wave at 1 AM. We may not see it, but it's still there. We may not see the vastness of the plains of Nebraska in the darkness of night, but they are still there. Reminding us that God is the God of the light and the God of the dark.

    “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (Psalm 19:1-4)

  • I Don't Do Fancy

    Posted on February 4, 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God." 1 John 4:7 (NIV)

    I'm not a spontaneous or particularly fancy person. Some people I know are, and their creativity amazes me. They whip up a gourmet dinner from leftovers in the fridge and what's in the cabinet. They create craft projects out of dried macaroni, spray paint and shoe boxes. They can think of birthday party games, favors and food that leave the celebrant feeling like a million bucks.

    Not me. Ask my kids.

    I'm thankful four out of five have summer birthdays and we have a pool! Cut up a watermelon, order pizza and voila!

    It's not that I didn't care. Or that I didn't want to do more. But for so many years in my early parenting, I was overwhelmed with managing a job, home and very active children. Plus I believed my celebrations had to look a certain way. Since I didn't possess many creative skills, I always felt like a party-failure.

    It was years later I realized most people don't really remember all the whoopla of a big party. There might be some shock-and-awe at first, but when the streamers fall and the balloons droop, people are more apt to remember moments inside those events. For example, at my 8th grade graduation, the only memory I have is of my older sister fixing my hair. Granted it was a long time ago, but her loving gesture meant the world to me.

    People just want to feel loved. Remembered. Noticed. Valued.

    That's how we were designed. God created us with a heart and soul to receive His love, so we could share it with others. In fact, loving God and each other is our highest calling. The Bible says it this way, "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God" (1 John 4:7).

    Jesus said this, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you" (John 15:12, NIV). The New Testament shows that Jesus loved His disciples by spending time with them, and caring about them deeply. He didn't need anything fancy to show His love.

    Fancy's not wrong. Some people show their love through their creativity. And I applaud them. But for those of us who walk out of a craft store crying because we can't figure out which tie-die kit to buy, maybe a simpler option is more our style.

    Maybe for some of us, we need to remove the self-imposed unrealistic expectations. Maybe we need to focus more on showing love rather than having our centerpieces match what we saw on Pinterest.

    I've learned that it's often the little things that speak love to my friends and family. It's sitting outside at that summer pool party and watching the silly jumps off the diving board. It's abandoning the dishes to play a board game. It's an impromptu potluck dinner with friends on paper plates.

    While I'll still try to make things pretty and creative, it's not my focus. My goal every day is to show love to my friends and family somehow. I may not always accomplish that goal with perfection, but I can come closer to it with God's help than I'll ever be able to pull off a spectacular birthday party.

    Heavenly Father, forgive me for the times I've gotten so worried about how my dinner or gathering looks that I've neglected what matters most to You. Open my eyes to ways I can show Your love to others, making them feel valued. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Remember a special event where someone made you feel loved. What did that person do?

    What can you do this week to show someone you care deeply for them?

    Power Verse:
    Romans 13:8, "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law." (NIV)

    John 15:12, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • God's Great Work

    Posted on February 3, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    So I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?"   Nehemiah 6:3

    God's great work is where He's got you now. His mission for you is in the moment, not some mystical opportunity that tingles the flesh somewhere in the future. Faith flourishes when it is focused on the task at hand. Like a sculptor with a block of marble not yet hewn, the beginning of the Lord's project may lack form and void. Though unseen, your soul sees what the Spirit has in store, if you persevere. God's great work deserves a relentless engagement of energy.

    The leader who models the way, shows the way. If we wander away from our responsibilities some team members will lose focus. The speed of the leader is the speed of the team. The interest of the leader is the interest of the team. The intensity of the leader is the intensity of the team. Like a rising tide lifts all boats, so the faith of the leader lifts the faith of all team members. A great work is sustained by great leaders who remain engaged in the execution of the mission.

    "He [Jesus] poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet,drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him" (John 13:5).

    Like with Nehemiah, distractors will send disingenuous messengers to create a diversion. They seek to strike fear into the team, so they stumble to complete the project. Seeds of doubtful questions are planted. Has the Lord really called me to finish this task? Is the sacrifice worth what I receive in the end? Am I just being used? Are the motives of the leaders really noble? Is all this effort worth carrying on to completion? Yes, great works survive a crisis of doubt.

    Furthermore, your Heavenly Father is your biggest fan to push through pain and gain His blessing. The Holy Spirit will give you the courage to have a hard conversation with an unfair critic. Your Savior Jesus Christ is your example of how to confront the enemy in prayer and with God’s Word. A great work requires a greater depth of character and a righteous resolve to remain in the process. It is a great work, because God is at work. Work with Him, bring Him great glory!

    "I [Jesus] have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do" (John 17:4).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, by faith keep me focused on Your work for Your glory.

    Related Readings: Genesis 2:2-3; Psalm 90:17; John 6:27-29; Acts 14:26; 1 John 3:8

    Post/Tweet today: Like a rising tide lifts all boats, so the faith of the leader lifts the team’s faith. #God’sgreatwork

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • He Really Loves Me!

    Posted on February 3, 2014 by Darlene Sala

    Darlene

    "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)

    Our hearts long to be loved. We want to know someone treasures and values us. Truly. Faithfully. Lavishly. Would someone, anyone, be willing to give up an item of great value for us?

    I'm stunned God willingly paid so much for me to know Him. It's mind-boggling to grasp that Jesus left His Father in heaven to come to this earth as a baby, then die by crucifixion. I can hardly comprehend a love that cost so much.

    I can't imagine sacrificing any of my three children to save someone else's life. Yet Peter writes, "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed ... but with the precious blood of Christ ..." (1 Peter 1:18-19, NIV). What love!

    What makes it even more costly is God the Father knew He would need to turn away from His son during Jesus' death.

    When Jesus was hanging on a wooden cross, God the Father withdrew His presence because of the sin His Son bore on our behalf. Jesus cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46b, NIV). A great shadow had come between Jesus and the Father. Jesus was excruciatingly alone on that cross because of you and me.

    A story from the mission field illustrates a similar kind of love. For years, Dr. Margaret Brand served as a missionary eye surgeon in southern India. In the rural areas she would sometimes do 100 cataract surgeries in a day.

    In one instance where there was no electricity, Dr. Brand asked a 12-year-old boy to hold a large flashlight so that its beam gave her enough light to operate. Dr. Brand doubted whether the boy would be able to endure the sight of eyes being sliced open and stitched. For the first five operations he did his job impressively. During the sixth, however, he faltered.

    "Little brother, show the light properly," Dr. Brand instructed him. But she could sense that he simply could not bear to look at the eye. When she asked him if he felt well, she saw tears running down his cheeks. "Oh, doctor, I cannot look," replied the boy. "This one, she is my mother."

    You see, God loves us so much, "For our sake he made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21, NRSV) when we put our faith in Him. The high price Jesus paid makes us incredibly valuable — no matter how worthless we may feel at the end of the day.

    Here's another way to look at it. When it comes to placing a value on a piece of art, that value is derived from three things:

    • Who made it?
    • How many are there like it?
    • What is someone willing to pay for it?

    You are a priceless work of art. The greatest Artist in the universe hand-crafted you. God gave the life of His only Son to have a relationship with you. That's how valuable you are. I'm clearly a sinner, not holy like God. But God loves me, and He loves you enough to pay an enormous price so that we could have our sins forgiven.

    With a word the universe was brought into being. With a touch lepers were healed. But when sin was forgiven, Jesus the Son of God willingly died. What amazing love!

    And the focus of that love? You and me.

    May we pause in this moment to absorb the depth of God's love for us. And may our lives be filled with thankfulness that He was willing to pay the price!

    Loving God, help me always remember that my only true worth is found in You. Thank You for the gift of Your Son; thank You for loving me so much that You thought I was worth Christ's life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Knowing how treasured you are by God, what part of you doesn't feel like a "priceless work of art"?

    What would your day look like if you thanked Him for this "flaw" all day long?

    Power Verses:
    1 John 3:1a, "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are." (ESV)

    1 John 4:19, "We love him, because he first loved us." (KJV)

    © 2014 by Darlene Sala. All rights reserved.

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

  • Joy Is Gone

    Posted on February 2, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Joy has gone from our hearts; our dancing has turned to mourning. Lamentations 5:15

    What happens when the joy is gone? It’s not fun anymore. What we are experiencing is not what we signed up for. Indeed, a joyless state is not a good place to stay over a prolonged period of time. It may be that you just lost a loved one suddenly,without warning. You grieve because of your tremendous loss, but their great gain is that they knew Jesus. It is not unusual for joy to rise from the ashes of our grief. Joy does come at dawn after the dark night of the soul (Psalm 30:5). Your heart laments and longs for one more conversation and warm embrace from the dear one departed to heaven. But joy comes when you know they are with Jesus.

    Jesus and joy go hand in hand. He understands that joy comes from obedience and faithfulness to God’s call. It was for the joy that was set before Him that He endured the cross and despised its shame (Hebrews 12:2). Consider Christ, along with His model of endurance and obedience, in the middle of opposition and persecution. Do not grow weary and lose heart. The Lord is your lesson in joyfulness. Jesus never forgot the bigger picture of hope for a better tomorrow. Hope ultimately leads to heaven. Just the thought of heaven’s hallelujahs brings a smile to the face of the faithful. Joy is set before us in the person of Jesus Christ, reigning on His throne of grace. It is imperative that we stay fixed on Him. Our faith flees when it loses perspective from the Prince of Peace. Joy is found in Jesus. He wrote the book on experiencing joy in the midst of misery.

    Joy, at the very least, lies dormant within every disciple of Jesus Christ. Therefore, awaken it from its slumber if you have slid into a joyless state. Look to the Lord for an infusion of His eternal joyfulness. Joyfulness is found in His hopefulness. Do not allow joy killers to rob you of hope and peace. A naysayer will always be around to remind you of his reality. But for the follower of Jesus Christ, a definition of reality without hope is wrong.

    Reject joyless jabs from revisionists of a hopeless reality. Instead, seek out companions of Christ set on seeing Him as the joy giver. Jesus is a dispenser of joy. Navigate toward His lighthouse of love, and enjoy Jesus. You know His love; this is joy. You know His forgiveness; this is joy. You know His faithfulness; this is joy. You know His mercy; this is joy. Joy is not based on changing circumstances, but on knowing an unchanging Christ. Seek Him in your sad state, and you will not have to search far for joy. When you find Jesus you have found joy. Confusion will try to keep you from Christ, but want of joy motivates you to your Master. Make joy a juggernaut of obedience in your relentless pursuit of Him. Give joy to the world. Giving joy brings joy. Thus, receive Jesus and give Jesus, because He is joy.

    Taken from the February 2nd reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 1."

    Post/Tweet today: Jesus is a dispenser of joy. Navigate toward His lighthouse of love, and enjoy Him. #joyisgone

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

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