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Daily Devotion

  • Strength in the Lord

    Posted on December 5, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “I will strengthen them in the Lord and in his name they will walk,’ declares the Lord.” Zechariah 10:12

    The Lord is strength for the journey of life. Fatigue and discouragement can assault us like a bandit on a deserted dirt road. Life is constantly swinging its bruising punches. Before long we can become beat down with no energy to continue. We know in our heads we are a child of the King, but our hearts feel no royal resilience. Fatigue requires faith.

    Weariness is an opportunity for the Lord to strengthen you. He uses His people to energize and encourage one another. We are all needy and it is just a matter of time before we all have to learn how to receive. The Lord wraps His strength around the gift of a prayer warrior—someone who storms heaven on your behalf is a strength giver.

    Do not let divorce, death or disappointment exclude you from the Lord’s strength. Work will get you down. People will let you down. Failure will knock you down. Your greatest fears may cause you to wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. Fight fear with fear. Let the fear of God strengthen you, as it fortifies your faith in Him.

    “Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name” (Psalm 86:11).

    The greatest energy drainer may be serving God in our own strength. This is one of Satan’s most effective schemes. He wants to occupy us in good activity void of eternal energy. Serving God and others in our own strength means we are driven by what we can do for God, rather than what He can do through us. It’s the difference in being energized in our service or being drained by our service. Christ’s strength comes from being still.

    He strengthens your soul daily as you sit quietly before Him. His whisper of affirmation motivates you to walk with Him. It is learning to trust in Him, not striving for Him. This total trust replenishes your soul like an ice-cold sports drink to a cyclist ascending the tallest mountain in the blazing hot Tour de France. His spirit gives life and endurance.

    When you received Christ you received His strength. Strength already resides within you. He is available to you. Your Savior has no fuel crisis to reckon with, as His supernatural resources are infinite. You cannot go for encouragement too many times. Walk in His name and be energized by Him. His Holy Spirit infuses strength so be strong in the Lord!

    “Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers” (Acts 9:31).

    Prayer: Does my strength reside in my righteous Savior or in my own exhausting efforts?

    Related Readings: Psalm 105:4; Isaiah 12:2; Luke 10:27; 1 Thessalonians 3:13

    Post/Tweet this today: Fight fear with fear. Let the fear of God strengthen you, as it fortifies your faith in Him. #strengthintheLord

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

  • Embrace the Magnificent

    Posted on December 5, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all." 1 Chronicles 29:11 (NIV)

    A few years ago on a flight to Michigan, I had the distinct privilege of meeting AJ. He was sitting in the row in front of me and made sure to welcome me the minute I took my seat. It didn't take long for AJ to make everyone around us aware of how excited he was to be on this plane.

    His voice was loud, his exclamations seemed a bit child-like for a man his age, and his stuttered words made it difficult to completely understand him.

    But one thing was unmistakable to me: his passionate embrace of the magnificent.

    As we rose into the sky he clapped and bounced in his seat. His eyes were wide as he turned to the man sitting next to him and exclaimed, "The clouds are huge!"

    That's when the nudging on my heart started. This gentle prodding to ignore the task-oriented part of me that wanted to work and tune out what was going on around me.

    Embrace this moment Lysa. Notice him. Notice Me.

    And that's how it is when God wants to get my attention. He interrupts my self-centered thoughts in such a startling way, it can only be Him. He sends my train of thought off the well-worn tracks and suddenly I find myself bouncing along in a meadow full of unpredictable adventure.

    Because there is something about God everywhere, every place we look. My mind parked itself on 1 Chronicles 29:11, "Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all." (NIV)

    Everyone else on the plane looked tired from their travels that day.

    But not AJ.

    He saw what no one else did. We were in a fast moving tube, taking off from the ground, flying through the clouds, being transported from one place to another many, many miles away in a matter of minutes. Minutes! Not days or weeks or months but minutes ... oh what would people a hundred years ago have thought of this feat?

    And there we all sat, bored. Not even bothering to look out at the clouds and notice. Too focused on the task at hand begging for our attention.

    We'd lost our passionate embrace of the magnificent. Our appreciation for noticing God and His provision had been strangled by what the world begs us to pay attention to.

    But I'm not interested in what the world classifies as important. I'm interested in where God wants to point my focus. I'm interested in humbling myself in childlike awe of all that He is.

    When we landed, AJ's excitement reached a new level. He clapped and whooped and rushed into the aisle of the plane tripping over others. When he spotted his mom waiting for him at the end of the jet way, he got even louder pumping his arms into the air telling everyone that was his mom! That was his mom, right there! There she is!!

    His mom's face reddened but kept the sweetest, gentlest look as she embraced her son. She sweetly pressed her finger to her lips signaling him to quiet down just a bit.

    That's when I reached her. With a lump in my throat and tears cresting my eyes I touched her shoulder, "Your son is amazing. Really, really amazing."

    How might we remember to embrace the magnificent on this ordinary day?

    Dear Lord, I praise You today for Your magnificence in all things. Humble me as Your child and guide me as I follow hard after You instead of the world. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    How might you embrace the magnificent today?

    Take some time to write down five ordinary things that you appreciate. Then, list reasons why these ordinary things are actually special blessings from the Lord.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 145:4-5, "One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—and I will meditate on your wonderful works." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Authentic Fruit

    Posted on December 4, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. John 15:1-2

    There is authentic fruit, fake fruit and the fruit of sin. Followers of Jesus who are engrafted into Him, the true vine, flourish with the fruit of the Spirit. It is beautiful and luscious for all to see and taste that the Lord is good. The Holy Spirit’s fruit is all inclusive or none at all, there is no in between. Where there is love there will be joy, where there is joy there will peace, where there is peace there will be forbearance, etc. Imagine one tree that bears a variety of fruit, so one life that abides in Christ displays an array of character traits. Variety in kind validates authentic fruit.

    Authentic fruit grows in abundance, while fruit forced in the flesh provides a meager return at the harvest. So, beware of fake fruit that is the result of human discipline, natural skills and temperament traits. Like plastic fruit that rests in a bowl on grandmother’s dining room table, it looks good but offers no life giving nutrients. We can force ourselves in the flesh to grit our teeth and practice self control, but this is an unsustainable substitute for the Spirit’s work of grace. Fake fruit mimics the real image for a while, but when tested is exposed as a cheap imitation.

    But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. Because you have depended on your own strength and on your many warriors. Hosea 10:13

    The fruit of sin looks appealing, but tastes bitter. Like the serpent tempted Eve and Adam to partake of sin’s fruit, Satan continues to lure us to feast on his deceitful delicacies. So, wise are we not to plant sin’s seeds or cultivate its influence. If iniquity begins to bloom it must be purged and destroyed by the Spirit’s shears of conviction, accompanied by our confession and repentance. Lives purged of sin make room for authentic fruit to flourish in a harvest of holiness.

    Furthermore, invite your Heavenly Father to do a fruit inspection of your life. Will He discover the fruit of the Spirit, self or sin? Motives need a constant cleansing to ensure you are led by the Spirit and not driven by the flesh. Prayerful persuasion replaces impatient manipulation. Authentic fruit bearing is a lifetime process of replacing the unrighteous with the righteous. You cannot bear fruit, but God the Father the Gardner, God the Son the Vine and God the Spirit all bear fruit that remains. Saved souls and Christlike character are authentic fruits that glorify God.

    Filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:11

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I surrender to Your process of authentic fruit bearing in and through my life.

    Related Readings: Matthew 21:43; Luke 3:8, 22:18; Romans 7:4; Colossians 1:6

    Post/Tweet this today: Motives need a constant cleansing to make sure we are led by the Spirit and not driven by the flesh.

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

  • The Most Important Christmas Choice

    Posted on December 4, 2013 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie

    "Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.'" Luke 2:13-14 (NLT)

    Tis' the season to be merry... and stressed. Although it should be a season of peace, this month can often make us feel more tangled up inside than a messy string of Christmas lights.

    Some people dread the hustle, bustle, and emotional rustle this time of year brings, knowing that irritability, loneliness, or depression will threaten. While there are others who may love the Christmas season, but worry, busyness, family conflicts, and unmet expectations take their toll.

    In either case, we have a decision. We can choose to get bogged down with stress or we can choose to bow down in worship.

    Scripture gives us a beautiful picture of praise in Luke 2:13-14. When Jesus was born, an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds sharing the good news. Then many other angels joined together and praised God.

    "Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.'" (NLT)

    That's not the only place the Bible records angels worshipping the Lord. In Hebrews 1:6 it says, "And when he brought his supreme Son into the world, God said, 'Let all of God's angels worship him.'" (NLT) And Revelation 5:11-12a says, "Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. And they sang in a mighty chorus." (NLT)

    Angels serve as role models of worship. They bow down before Jesus. They shout with incredible joy as they sing songs of praise. Through worship, angels spread the news of God's glory and exhibit holy reverence. Angels intentionally and deliberately spend time praising God.

    Keeping Christ in Christmas is more than just a cliché. It is an intentional act of worship. It requires a heart of adoration, much like the angels had. When Jesus is the focus of our holiday, we're centered on His love, peace, and joy.

    This prompts us to be His hands and feet to others in need. When worship fills our hearts, it leaves little room for aggravation in long lines at the store. We focus on what Christmas is truly about—the amazing gift of a Savior—rather than stressing out over buying the perfect presents. We exhibit grace to someone when we'd rather do otherwise. Worship turns our attention to giving thanks to Jesus for all He has done, rather than letting stress strip His joy from our hearts.

    And it might even mean joining in with the heavenly chorus to sing praises to Him, even if we can't carry a tune!

    The holidays can bring a flurry of heightened emotions and can often result in an unhealthy level of stress which can prevent us from engaging in worship and praising the One we are supposed to be celebrating.

    There will be lots of choices to be made during the month of December: where to serve, what gifts to buy, and how many events to attend. The most important choice we can make is to worship and sing praises to our Lord. For His gift. For His love. For His peace.

    And when our hearts are at peace, our holidays can be too.

    Lord, I choose to intentionally worship and praise You during this Christmas season. Help me stay focused on You and Your goodness. Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Pick a praise song that you will commit to sing to the Lord this Christmas season as a way to intentionally focus on worshipping Him.

    How have you allowed the emotions of the season to distract you from worship?

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 148:2, "Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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

  • Spiritual Buoyancy

    Posted on December 3, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

    Hope keeps us afloat. Sin and sorrow cannot sink a soul that finds spiritual buoyancy from belief in its living hope, Jesus Christ. We have hope because Jesus rose from the dead, therefore death is not final. It is a pass through into the presence of Almighty God. Our bodies were created for decay, but our soul for life eternal. As the body winds down in weakness the soul revs up in strength. The smell of death is like smelling salts to the soul searching for their unseen hope.

    Furthermore, we do not lose heart when we lose our health or any other earthly attachment. We can’t lose what we have already let go of and given over to the Lord. Relationships, reputations and riches lose their control over our peace when they are first given to God. Yes, the Holy Spirit is our Comforter when earthly comforts are threatened or removed. While some count on their savings for security, only what is eternal is truly dependable. Faith facilitates spiritual buoyancy.

    Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. Isaiah 40:31

    Do you feel like you are treading water with only your nose barely breaking the surface? Do you find yourself choking for air because life’s circumstances have sucked all the oxygen from your lungs? If so, the Lord has His lifeboat of love for your rest and renewal. You do not have to flail around unable to swim in the waters of the world, the flesh and the devil. They will drown you if you fight them alone. Help from the Holy Spirit lifts you up, back onto solid ground.

    Parenting teenagers requires mom’s nurturing, dad’s discipline and a mentor’s support. So, seek out a couple ahead in their child’s development, who can share their wisdom. Moreover, it may be harder to raise your parents than your children. If your aging mother or father need your help, be patient and let them discover their new realities in a respectful process. Yes, you receive the Spirit’s buoyancy so you are able to assist those who may be sinking under the weight of anxiety. Spiritual buoyancy from God’s mercy gives you inner energy to not lose heart!

    Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Corinthians 4:1

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, You are my refuge for rest and renewal when I feel alone and anxious.

    Related Readings: Psalm 103:5, 121:1-8; Romans 8:35-39; Colossians 3:10; 1 John 2:14-17

    Post/Tweet this today: Sin and sorrow cannot sink a soul that finds spiritual buoyancy from belief in its living hope, Jesus. #spritualbuoyancy

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

  • Sharing Our Lives

    Posted on December 3, 2013 by Amy Carroll

    Amy

    "We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us." 1 Thessalonians 2:8 (NIV 1984)

    A few years ago, one of my son's friends, Lindsey, began asking some big questions. He had the chance to talk with her about Jesus, and at a church youth retreat Lindsey gave her life to the Lord.

    It was a thrill to watch her fall in love with Jesus and begin a brand new life. She had lots of questions and thankfully many people lived out 1 Thessalonians 2:8 for her: "We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us." (NIV 1984)

    Friends put aside the time they'd normally spend watching TV to come alongside Lindsey. She was surrounded with support at school. Others got up early to pick her up for church and welcomed her in their youth group. Adult friends visited Lindsey's home and built relationships with her family. And I led a small group to help teach some of the basic foundations of the faith and practices that lead to spiritual growth.

    I haven't always walked alongside new believers though. Sometimes I've abandoned them, without sharing my life or what I've learned. Sadly, when I look around me, often newborn Christians are sent out into their fresh spiritual life with little more than a "God bless you" and pat on the back.

    These excited new followers of Jesus set off on an unfamiliar path brimming with zeal and hope. But they stumble quickly without mature Christians to answer their questions, clear up confusion, and encourage them through the inevitable rough spots. Although no one can snatch them from their Father's hand, many new Christians fall prey to discouragement and walk along paths that Scripture warns against.

    There are many reasons that new Christians are abandoned and left to walk alone without nourishment or protection. One key reason is the busyness of our culture. Our time is stretched between families, jobs, friendships, computer, TV, etc.

    Nurturing a baby Christian means sharing our lives, like 1 Thessalonians 2:8 says. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes commitment. But most of all it takes love. Robert Coleman, author of The Master Plan of Evangelism, says, "There is a lot of talk in the church about evangelism and Christian nurture, but little concern for personal association when it becomes evident that such work involves the sacrifice of personal indulgence."

    Ouch! I really wish he would move along and get out of my personal space! He continues, "Unless new Christians have parents or friends who will fill the gap in a real way, they are left entirely on their own to find the solutions to innumerable practical problems confronting their lives, any one of which could mean disaster to their new faith."

    Lindsey doesn't have a lot of pain in her background. But what about baby Christians who have baggage? Financial crisis, promiscuity, addiction, and bitterness are just a few of the very real issues with which new Christians grapple ... and mature Christians can help them walk through based on what the Bible says.

    Will we commit to feeding, nurturing, and loving these new followers of Jesus? It may seem easier to gently pat them on the back and walk away, but the toll is too high not to invite them into our lives. Trusting in the transforming power of Christ and asking Him to make us an instrument of His grace, let's care for these precious new believers.

    Dear Lord, You are a kind, loving, and nurturing Father. Help me to follow in Your footsteps as I nurture Your new children. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Feed—Ask a young Christian to attend a Bible study with you. Go out to coffee to discuss it afterward.

    Nurture—Call a new Christian to share something that helps you to grow. Ask for requests and pray with her.

    Protect—Do you see a new Christian struggling with a sin with which you've found victory? Be transparent and share your story!

    Power Verses:
    1 Peter 2:2-3, "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

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

  • Strengthened By Grace

    Posted on December 2, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

    The grace of God strengthens a child of God. Like a B1 vitamin gives energy to the body, so God’s grace energizes the inner being of believers. This is why in the face of human weakness, grace flourishes. Fear weakens, but faith strengthens. Anger weakens, but forgiveness strengthens. Busyness weakens, but prayer strengthens. Noise weakens, but quiet strengthens. Stress weakens, but rest strengthens. Yes, the love of God strengthens His servants by grace!

    Has your patience been tested to your very last nerve? Are you exhausted and depleted by the demands of others? Look for the way of grace to give you what you need in your emotional emptiness. Your heart yearns for what only the Lord can provide through the fullness of His Spirit. So, Christ consoles your soul with His eternal encouragement, the good hope you have in Him. Gladly and gratefully receive God’s grace like at salvation, abandon yourself to His care. Because of the disgrace Jesus experienced on the cross, you enjoy His grace when you bear a cross of pain.

    It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace. Hebrews 13:9

    Furthermore, the inner energy we receive by God’s grace is supplied for our service. This is why it is remarkable when a man or woman on their sickbed become a blessing to those who serve them. Nurses, nutritionists and neurologists go away scratching their heads having been in the presence of heaven’s emissary, a grace filled follower of Jesus. Indeed, our adverse condition is not about us, but about how we can graciously exhibit what we believe for God’s glory. Grace strengthens!

    Grace gives you stamina to serve a needy child or an aging parent. Grace engages your empathetic heart with a friend’s hurting heart. Grace is the fortitude you need to remain steadfast in a relationship that is not life giving right now. So, whether strength of character or mental toughness is required, God’s grace is available as your supply chain. Grace does carry Christ’s expectations, but with it HIs power to execute. Grace is a sweet, soothing sound that is music to your soul.

    I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ. Ephesians 3:7-8

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, strengthen me by Your grace, so I can serve others in Your power.

    Related Readings: Acts 15:39-41, 18:27; Romans 5:2, 15; 1 Corinthians 3:10; Galatians 5:4

    Post/Tweet this today: Grace does carry Christ’s expectations, but with it His power to execute. #strengthenedbygrace

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

  • Search Carefully

    Posted on December 2, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen

    "Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 'Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.'" Matthew 2:1-2 (NLT)

    Our family has a tradition we've kept running for over 20 years. Every December, we pick a night to enjoy barbecue chicken pizza and peppermint stick ice cream. Then we pile in our old tan Buick and venture off to look at the area's Christmas lights. A snow flurry is always a plus and makes the bright lights dance in the distance.

    When our kids were young, they'd each pick a story character to look for in the decorations. They'd keep a running tally of what they saw amongst the seasonal displays. Kenna might look for snowmen, Mitchell for reindeer. And Spencer loved to discover a green Grinch or two. Whoever picked the most frequently spied character won a small prize.

    Our family tradition evokes sweet memories for this mom. However, there was one troubling aspect of our yearly adventure. No matter how hard we searched, we rarely discovered a nativity display with the Christ child lying in a manger.

    Yes, secular characters brought giggles to our wide-eyed, pajama-footed children, but the main person of the holiday—the whole point of Christmas—was seldom to be found. We did locate a few homes that displayed a nativity, but we had to search diligently for them.

    As we go through December we, can easily be inundated with responsibilities. While trying our best to "get it all done," it is easy to miss the Christmas Child. We scurry and scamper to put on a big bash while practically ignoring the One whose birthday it really is.

    Let's purpose that this year we'll search for Jesus carefully and diligently just as the wise men did in Matthew 2:1-2:

    "Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 'Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.'" (NLT)

    These wise men left their daily duties, homes, and studies and went out of their way, traveling many, many miles on camelback through the dry desert, to find Jesus. Like these men, we need to break away from our routines and busyness to take time to look for the Christ Child.

    It might mean stopping in the midst of shopping to sit quietly in our car, praying that God will help us center our thoughts on Jesus more than holiday tasks. Or perhaps it will require us to put down our to-do list in order to pick up our Bible to read and absorb the account of Jesus' miraculous birth.

    However it looks, let's search carefully for the Christ Child. He's there in the middle of the hustle and bustle. When we find Him, let's not keep the wonder of His love to ourselves. We can share it. Serve others. Bless intentionally. And lift our eyes (and those of our children too) off of ourselves and on to the real reason for Christmas.

    Dear Lord, help me to intentionally seek and find You just like the wise men did. May I share the love You give with those I encounter this season. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What fond traditions do you have of Christmas as a child? How can you build new traditions today that center on Christ and teach others to do the same?

    Grab your kids or some friends and head off on an adventure of blessing. Call a homeless shelter or nursing home to ask what needs they have, whether it be coats, blankets, food, cheer, etc. Whatever you do, leave a handwritten note for the recipient that declares, "Jesus came to earth briefly to live with us so that we could go to heaven to live forever with Him. Merry Christmas!!"

    Power Verses:
    Jeremiah 29:13, "You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." (ESV)

    Luke 2:11-12, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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

  • God’s Messenger

    Posted on December 1, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment...” I Samuel 25: 32-33a

    God dispatches His messengers daily. You can expect a regular word from the Lord through others. They may represent His envoy of much-needed encouragement, or they may engage you with a regiment of rebuke. Whether He sends His messengers with a positive or a negative word, it is critical that you concur with their instruction. Your emotions may be driving you in one direction because you have been treated unfairly, even inflicted with a gross indiscretion. But God’s messenger is imploring you to take the more reasonable road of understanding and forgiveness. Just because you have been wronged, does not mean you are to wrong. Anybody can do that; it takes strength of character to not retaliate.
    God is in control. So leave your transgressors in His hand. Let the Lord deal with them in His timing. God’s messenger may be telling you to wait. This opportunity staring you down does not deserve your acceptance. Your pride and ego have nominated you to the task, but you know in your heart it is not the wise thing to do. Listen to God’s messenger and avoid a year of regret. Money and status are not worth jeopardizing your marriage and your health. There will be other opportunities, much better ones that will fit in your next season of life. It is easy to ignore, reject, or argue with God’s messenger, but think twice before you debate with Deity’s representative. They are ambassadors of heaven, reaching out to you on earth. He has things under control and desires His very best for your life.
    Many times, God’s messenger comes in the form of a friend who knows you all too well and has seen some of your destructive patterns over the years. He has your best interest in mind. Their desire is for you to learn from your unwise decisions of the past and flourish in the future. They are taking a risk with their friendship because they care. If they were self-serving, they would shut up. So, listen to God speaking through your friend, especially when it is not what you want to hear. He also speaks, frequently, through your spouse. They love you, and yes they may be fearful and insecure, but it is because they don’t want you to miss God’s very best.
    Do not allow ego and pride to blind you to their warnings and concerns. They may not understand all of the ins and outs of business, but they do understand the Holy Spirit’s promptings. This is a level of discernment which God has wisely given to them as your gift. Make sure you receive it and use it well.
    Lastly, reward God’s messengers. This is behavior that deserves recognition and appreciation. You reward the behavior you want repeated, and you rebuke or ignore the behavior that you want to cease. Do more than say you agree. Instead, make a big deal over their determination to deliver the truth. Instead of blowing off the messenger of good will, invite them into your circle of influence. Promote those who persist in pitching the facts. God’s messengers can be trusted because they bear news from your heavenly Father. Therefore, take seriously their words, and act accordingly. Listen actively to God’s messengers, and in turn, become one.
    The Bible says, “He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise” (Proverbs 15:31).

    Post/Tweet today: Money and status are not worth jeopardizing your marriage and your health. #God’smessanger

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

  • Little Is Much

    Posted on November 30, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “‘Truly I tell you,’ he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on’” (Luke 21:3–4).

    Little becomes much when the Lord is factored into the equation. He takes a little money and multiplies ministries. He receives a little faith and moves mountains and heals sick bodies. He applies a little forgiveness and restores relationships. He blesses a little sacrifice from leadership and saves a business. Christ takes a little courage and fulfills a grand vision. Thus, do not despise your small contribution. It makes a huge difference.

    Jesus exhorted His disciples regarding the potential of a little faith: “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20).

    You may be the only person at work or in your extended family who stands up for Christian values. It is tempting to ease into the status quo and blend in with a complacent culture. However, with humility and love, stay the course of unselfish service, and you will see Christ work. Exceptions become exceptional with eternal favor and persistence.

    “One of them [a leper], when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan” (Luke 17:15–16).

    Do the right thing, even if the majority does not take seriously the Lord’s expectations. Your quiet service is not unnoticed by Jesus. Keep thanking God when others take Him for granted. Persevere in your prayer closet when it seems like prayerless people are progressing. Remain faithful in gift giving, especially when money is tight and uncertain.

    A little is much when you lay it at the altar of obedience and the Holy Spirit’s fire ignites it for God’s glory. So lay before the Lord your gifts, talents, and faith, and watch Him forge you into a faithful disciple of Jesus. Lay your plan before almighty God, and trust Him to lead you through a prayerful process of implementation and adjustment. A little faith and obedience go a long way in God’s game plan.

    Joshua brought his army to Jericho expecting a brutal battle, but the Lord simply had him march around the wall and worship! “When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city” (Joshua 6:20).

    Prayer: Have I laid before the Lord my little faith for Him to multiply and grow for His glory?

    Post/Tweet today: Little is much when laid on the altar of obedience and ignited by the Holy Spirit’s fire. #littleismuch

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

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