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Daily Devotion

  • Inclusive not Exclusive

    Posted on November 7, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. Mark 9:38-40

    The disciples argued over who would step into the leadership vacuum after Christ’s death. They debated who was the greatest based on their experiences with Jesus. Ambition and power drove them to want great positions in the coming Kingdom. However, Jesus confronted their egos and put them in their places by calling them to serve as one who cares for a child. He defined greatness as being a servant to all. Christ is inclusive in His call to care for humanity’s needs.

    The disciples also struggled with religious pride. They told a stranger to cease ministry in Jesus’ name because the perceived competitor was not part of their group. Jesus on the other hand, urged His followers to not slow down works done in His name. He sanctioned them as good. A cease and desist to these good deeds for His sake was like tying a big rock around the neck of a child and causing them to drown. Other Kingdom workers need to be empowered, not stopped. We are to support, not exclude, others outside our denomination who minister in Jesus name.

    But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” Numbers 11:29

    Our particular belief system is not a stick to beat others into submission, or expect them to conform to our way of doing ministry. If someone is not a part of our evangelical group, we are not to automatically be suspect of their unique ministry methods and beliefs. Jesus is inclusive not exclusive with groups who give Him the glory. As long as ministries and churches embrace the deity, death and resurrection of Christ for our sins, we have much in common.

    Each legitimate Christian group has their own distinctive and emphasis. There are several compelling categories of focus in our family of faith: Bible teaching, worship, service, evangelism, discipleship, healing, miracles, worship, missions, the Eucharist and prayer. Thus, our motive is to encourage and empower other Jesus followers in their ministry. A unified Body of Christ is inclusive in its make up and its ministry to the world. Our risen Savior Jesus is our rallying cry for those lost in their sin and sorrow. Grace includes all who hunger for God’s love!

    For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I accept and seek to emulate Your example of humble service and support to all who call on Jesus’ name.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 42:6; Luke 2:32; Acts 8:9-25, 15:19, 41, 26:23

    Post/Tweet today: Jesus defines greatness as being servant to all. #inclusivenotexclusive

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

  • When Aggravations Accumulate

    Posted on November 7, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity." Ephesians 4:26-27 (NASB)

    I opened the front door and smiled at the delivery man, "Four large pizzas, right?"

    The look on the pizza guy's face told me the teenagers in my backyard were about to be disappointed.

    "Ummm, well, actually there are only two. Let me check your ticket ... oh, yeah you're supposed to have four. Give me 20 minutes and I'll be back with the other two." I took the two he had and said, "No problem. The kids can start on these and have round two when you get back."

    As I walked into the kitchen, my husband Art gave me a funny look. "I thought you ordered four pizzas."

    "Yeah, the delivery guy forgot two but will be back in a few minutes. No big deal," I quipped with a shoulder shrug.

    Art tilted his head. "You didn't even ask for a discount or coupons?"

    "I felt bad for the guy. It's not a big deal to ask the kids to wait a few minutes," I replied with a smile.

    Remembering the way I'd reacted earlier during a little "growth opportunity" we'd had, Art said, "Wow. I'd like to receive that kind of grace."

    Ouch. His point was well made. I'd gotten aggravated with something Art had done and let him know.

    Why is it I'm so quick to give a gentle answer to a stranger but spew on those I love? Perhaps it's because of accumulated impact.

    This was the only time I'd ever seen the pizza guy. My emotions toward him were completely neutral. When he made a mistake, I was able to let it go.

    But I have a history with Art. We do life together. If I let aggravations collect, my emotions ratchet up, creating more and more tension. Then, when something happens, I find it much harder to brush off the offense and offer grace.

    Accumulated aggravations equal accumulated impact.

    Therefore, it's crucial I don't collect aggravations. I've heard many times: "Do not let the sun go down on your anger ..." (Ephesians 4:26 NASB) I know it. But honestly, sometimes I ignore it. I collect aggravations because I'm too tired to talk. Or, I don't want to deal with it. Or, I try to convince myself it's no big deal to go to bed mad.

    But when I keep reading one more verse, Ephesians 4:27, I understand why I should deal with little aggravations while they are still little. They might not stay little long. Why? Because verse 27 finishes with a strong warning, "... and do not give the devil an opportunity" (NASB)

    Yikes.

    The devil is just waiting for an opportunity. I picture him hissing, "Go to bed mad ... and give me an opportunity." That just sends shivers down my spine.

    I love my husband. I get aggravated with him. But I love him. So, I certainly don't want to open the door of opportunity for the devil to turn little aggravations into big ones.

    I put down the pizzas and kissed Art's cheek. "I love you and I'm sorry I didn't give you that kind of grace."

    To which he replied back with a big smile, "I still think we should have asked for a discount or coupons."

    Like I said, I love my husband!

    Dear Lord, I really want to follow Your example and live a life full of grace. Sometimes it is so hard to show grace to those closest to me. Help me. I don't want to give the devil any opportunities in my marriage, my relationships with my children, or in my friendships. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:


    Reflect and Respond:
    Think about the equation, accumulated aggravation = accumulated impact. Choose one relationship in your life. In what ways has allowing yourself to accumulate aggravations resulted in a lack of grace?

    What actions can you take to safeguard your relationships against the devil's attempts to create conflict and separation?

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

    1 Peter 5:8, "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Timing is Everything

    Posted on November 6, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him. Mark 8:30

    Timing is everything. It is the difference between a strike and a home run in baseball. It determines if a cake is moist and baked perfectly, or hard and dry. Timing in conversation can solicit receptivity or invite defensiveness. It may grow or hinder relationships. When and how we move forward with a decision to change determines the degree of success. Yes, timing in telling the truth is best when anger has subsided and hearts are comforted. Prayer leads to the right time.

    Jesus knew His disciples and their audience could not yet handle the extent of who He was and what He was to do. They were ready to follow a reigning King, but not prepared for a Savior who suffers and dies. In the same way, we as modern day disciples are fast to follow our risen Savior, but slow to follow our suffering Savior. However, both are required for us to be authentic followers of Jesus. We truly follow our Lord, once we are abandoned to our Lord.

    As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead. Mark 17:9

    Have you prayerfully prepared your heart to comfort and confront your child in love? Is your decision making process in the workplace collaborative and infused with wise counsel? A mistimed decision based on a pure motive still makes for an ugly outcome. Better to wait and work out the details before you offer an idea or plan. People fill in the blanks of ambiguity with a worst case scenario. So, a mind that marinates in prayerful reflection gives the wisest response.

    Thus, seek the Lord first, before you seek a sensitive conversation with a friend or foe. Trust the Holy Spirit to lead you into His timing. But when the time is right, be confident of what’s right. Be like Peter at Pentecost, prepared, bold and full of the Holy Spirit. Prayerfully proclaim the gospel of Christ to those the Lord brings into your life, those He has prepared beforehand. Now is the time: surrender to your risen Christ Jesus and embrace your suffering Savior Jesus!

    So don’t waste your time on a scoffer; all you’ll get for your pains is abuse. But if you correct those who care about life, that’s different—they’ll love you for it! Proverbs 9:8, The Message

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I trust in Your timing to lead me into Your will and way for my life.

    Related Readings: Habbakak 2:3; Matthew 26:18; Luke 1:20; 1 Corinthians 4:5

    Post/Tweet today: A mistimed decision based on a pure motive still makes for an ugly outcome. #timingiseverything

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

  • Reunited

    Posted on November 6, 2013 by Micca Campbell

    Micca

    "After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever." 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (NIV)

    When my husband died, a part of me died too. Pain and fear surrounded me during those dark days. I ached inside and felt so lost, empty, and alone. I missed him terribly.

    At times, my need for his comforting touch was so strong it would play tricks on my mind. Once, I saw a man who resembled my husband driving a red truck just like Porter's. I followed that truck for miles. As my heart pounded with hope, nothing else mattered more in that moment than catching up to the truck. I was willing to drive to the ends of the earth if necessary.

    When I finally caught up with him at a red light and our eyes met, my fantasy ended with a devastating halt. It was as if a cruel joke had been played on me. Weakened by the truth, I pulled into a nearby parking lot, lay across the seat of my car, and wept. As the sun set, the temperature inside the car cooled. Sitting up, I wiped my face, zipped up my coat, and headed for home—without my husband.

    There was a great sense of loss, thinking I'd never see Porter again. Maybe you can relate and have experienced grief too? If so, you may be encouraged by this truth: for those who love and know the Lord, parting is only temporary. It's not really goodbye, but see-you-later.

    The apostle Paul assured the Thessalonians of this truth.

    "The dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever" (1 Thessalonians 4:16b-17 NIV).

    That assurance is for us too. There are three words in Paul's statement that provide hope, comfort, and assurance for the brokenhearted: we, together, and them.

    We (people on earth) who are still alive will be caught up together (two parties meeting) with them (those who are in heaven).

    These words of reunion indicate that God's children never have to experience permanent separation. That's good news! One day you and I will be reunited with our loved ones who believed in Jesus while on Earth. What a glorious day that will be.

    Once I really took hold of this truth, my heart settled. Though I still walked through days of missing my husband, the firm grip sadness had on me lost its strangling hold.

    Now, grief no longer burdens my heart. I have hope in God's promise that one day I'll be reunited with Porter, my two grandmothers, and my grandfathers. Holding on to that hope has eased death's sting and filled my heart with anticipation.

    Even in grief there is hope. For those who accept the Lord as their Savior, death is not goodbye. It's simply see-you-later.

    Dear Lord, thank You for communicating to us words of a glorious reunion one day. Thank You that death is not the end. When my grief runs deep, remind my heart to hope in Your truth. I will see my loved ones again. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:


    Reflect and Respond:

    Who can you share this good news with today who needs comfort?

    Power Verses:
    John 14:2-3, "There are many rooms in my Father's house. If this were not true, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. If I go and do that, I will come back. And I will take you to be with me. Then you will also be where I am." (NIRV)

    © 2013 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.

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

  • Misunderstood By Family

    Posted on November 5, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” Mark 6:4

    Jesus was first misunderstood by His family and friends. Once a carpenter they thought, always a carpenter. Those He grew up with had no category for Him becoming Christ. Since He was one of them, they wondered where His wisdom came from. Therefore be encouraged, Jesus encountered our same feelings of misunderstanding and rejection from family. Yet, He was pragmatic; He moved on from where He wasn’t welcomed. Jesus went to where He was honored.

    Our families do not always understand our faith in Jesus Christ. They may be polite, offering a patronizing smile, but saying disparaging things behind our backs. Or they may say to our face that our faith may be good for us, but not for them. There is a barrier of belief to those who see our life change. They fear if they come to Christ they will have to change. However, fear of the Lord precludes other fears. His perfect love casts out the concerns of those who need to receive His love. Our faith in Jesus remains peculiar to people who remain in a state of unbelief in Jesus.

    But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:48-50, NKJV

    Moreover, when those whose hearts are closed don’t have ears to hear, we move on to minister to those with an open heart. We still love our unbelieving family members, but we do not allow their unbelief to slow down our service for Jesus. We pray for them to experience the light of the Lord’s love while we proceed forward with Christ in the assurance of His will. Time is valuable, so we prayerfully look for opportunities to offer the gospel to receptive hearts and minds.

    Furthermore, as you serve others in Jesus’ name, commit to go out in pairs. Serve with another friend so you have their prayer support. Seek to co-labor for Christ to protect you from unwise decisions. Minister with another friend for encouragement and to celebrate God's goodness. Serve with another friend, because Jesus said not to minister alone. Yes, support your family in Jesus’ name. Love them, share the gospel and one day, by faith, they may come to know Him. Pray misunderstandings move to understanding and to receiving Christ as their Lord and Savior!

    “Your father left these instructions before he died: ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father. ” When their message came to him, Joseph wept. Genesis 50:16-17

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, use me to minister to my family even when they don’t understand my faith walk and Your great love for them.

    Related Readings: Nehemiah 1:6; Matthew 6:14; Acts 10:2; Ephesians 4:17-19

    Post/Tweet today: Our faith in Jesus remains peculiar to people who remain in a state of unbelief in Jesus. #misunderstoodbyfamily

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

  • What Can God Do with Difficult Circumstances?

    Posted on November 5, 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer

    Samantha

    "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted." Job 42:2 (ESV)

    This past year, people I love have had to grapple with some very difficult things—home foreclosures, loss of businesses, empty cupboards, and dry gas tanks. Family and friends have endured marital affairs, children sentenced to jail, another year of unemployment, cars breaking down, churches falling apart.

    In the midst of such hardships, it's easy to doubt God can redeem the pain, recover what's lost, heal all that's broken. Can He truly fit the pieces of our suffering into a hopeful future?

    If we rely on what our circumstances imply, we may believe the Lord isn't able to make something good come from our hardships. Or that He won't. But the truth is, God can and does change our circumstances.

    Whether or not God alters our current situation, His power to give a future and hope never changes! We know this based on His Word that stays the same. That's why it's important to take action when difficulties weave doubt in to our faith in God's authority. How do we do this?

    For me, refocusing on the truth found in Job 42:1-2 makes a big difference, "Then Job answered the LORD and said: 'I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted."

    Reading accounts of God's faithfulness bolsters us up when all that is around us is crumbling down. When we focus on what God did for others, it reminds us He is able to work on our behalf as well. Take a look at God's redeeming plans for some of His people throughout the Bible...

    While Job's family, home, crops and health were demolished, God was preparing to give him double of what was killed, stolen, lost and damaged. (Job 1 and 2; Job 42:10)

    While Joseph was a slave and prisoner, God was planning for him to be second in command over Egypt. (Genesis 39:19-21 and 41:41)

    When Ruth was a homeless, childless widow, God was creating a home in Boaz's heart for her to be his wife. God also knew she'd one day be a mother and years later a great, great, great-grandmother to Jesus. (Ruth 1:4-5 and 4:13-17)

    When David lay down in adultery, God was laying the groundwork for him to rise up and repent. (2 Samuel 2:4; Psalm 51)

    When Peter lost faith and denied Christ, God knew Peter would be instrumental in growing the Christian church by proclaiming Christ to thousands. (Mark 14:66-72; Acts 2:38-41)

    While Mary watched Jesus dying on the cross, God had full knowledge of Jesus being resurrected and seated on His heavenly throne! (John 19:25-30; Revelation 3:21)

    No matter what the dire, dreary circumstances, God turned each into a hopeful future.

    God can reverse, restore, revive, and renew. Be on the lookout for His plans that are already in motion right now, even in the midst of your difficult time. Trust Him. He can take any circumstance and use it for your good and His glory.

    Dear Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness shown to every generation, and for recording these stories where You turned dreary pasts into hopeful futures. I ask that You do the same for mine. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:


    Reflect and Respond:
    Today, take a moment to find and reflect on the Lord's faithfulness to you during hard circumstances.

    Write those instances down and spend time giving thanks to Him.

    Power Verses:
    Genesis 50:19b-20a, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good." (NIV)

    Psalm 40:5, "Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Dare To Believe

    Posted on November 4, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He [Jesus] said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering. Mark 5:33-34

    At times our faith dares us to believe Jesus, to take Him at His word. It may be unconventional, like this woman who, chronically ill, suffered for twelve years. She was broke at the bank and broken in her heart. Her last gasp of hope was to seek healing from the Great Healer. Like her, on occasion, we feel our faith has to press through life’s circumstances to get to the Lord. But, by faith, once we touch His merciful robe of righteousness, His healing spirit makes our spirit whole.

    Jesus understands your concerns over rising healthcare costs and the ability to take physical care of yourself and your family. Go to Him for peace and a plan that works for you today, without stressing over the ‘what ifs’ of tomorrow. By His grace through faith, let God bring wholeness to your soul and comfort to your body. The Lord’s healing may come through diet, doctors and medication, or through an inexplicable miracle of His intervention. Dare to believe in His power!

    Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise. Jeremiah 17:14

    What life challenge are you facing that dares you to believe God? Perhaps a prodigal child who continues to break your heart. Pray they come to the end of themselves and become broken before God. Maybe fear of being alone has your stomach balled up in knots. Let go of the lie, of the Lord ever leaving or forsaking you, trust Him to lead you to those who accept you. Dare to believe God, by faith press through your problems, kneel at Jesus’ feet and tell Him your story.

    Lastly, ignore the noise of the crowd who may make fun of your faith or judge you for being bold. Those who love the Lord will love and encourage you in your walk with Christ. Those full of jealousy and insecurity will try to put you down, to in some sinister way lift them up. Ironically, as you grow in your intimacy with Jesus, you will have the spiritual stamina to love naysayers to Christ. They’ll experience your heart of mercy and sense you have been with Jesus! When you raise your bar of belief, others raise their bar. Dare to believe and others will believe.

    Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray for the courage to push through my circumstances and touch the mercy and power of Jesus.

    Related Readings: 1 KIngs 3:6; Psalm 26:3; Mark 1:40, 11:22; Acts 27:25; Colossians 1:4-5

    Post/Tweet today: When you dare to raise higher your bar of belief, others will raise higher their bar of belief. #daretobelieve

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

  • When Nobody Notices Your Work

    Posted on November 4, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Matthew 6:6 (NIV)

    After finishing a big project at work, I was pretty proud of myself. Although most of my part had been behind the scenes, I hoped someone had noticed. The next few days, I checked and rechecked my emails and texts, waiting for an "atta girl" or "well done" message. But none came.

    I wasn't really bothered by the lack of acknowledgment until another person completed one small task as part of my bigger project. Then I was copied in a round of emails where that person was praised effusively.

    While I joined my thanks in the responses, my heart got a little dent in it when my name wasn't mentioned.

    The lack of notice hurt more than it should have. And over the next few weeks, my feelings got hurt with increased intensity each time my work wasn't noticed. Shoes on the floor that I picked up, dirty dishes I washed that weren't mine, the dinner I cooked after a long day. The original hurt was growing.

    When I finally broke down in tears one quiet Friday afternoon, I realized something had gotten mixed up. Somewhere over the past few months, my heart had gotten bent out of shape when I didn't receive praise from others.

    Jesus talked about this very topic in Matthew 6. He specifically taught about our motives when doing good deeds and cut right to the core issue in verse one: "Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven" (Matthew 6:1 NIV). Jesus knew our hearts can get twisted. Even the right behaviors can start with wrong motives and end with harmful outcomes.

    In those days, many religious leaders made a big show of their good deeds in order to garner the respect and admiration of others. Jesus called these people "hypocrites" and taught how doing great things, like giving to the poor and praying, can go awry when motives are bent out of shape.

    Rather than leave off with a stern warning, Jesus gave them, and us, instructions on how to do right things in the right way.

    In secret.

    Verse 6 says, "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

    Jesus wasn't saying don't ever pray out loud; He was giving the key to break our desperate need for approval. According to Jesus, we receive God's approval when we fly under the radar of others and don't parade our deeds in front of them.

    While working on that big project, my time alone with God had been almost non-existent. I managed to read a few Bible verses before bed and whisper a few prayers during the day. But the truth was, I'd neglected time with God. I'd exchanged His whispers of approval for the inconsistent and unfulfilling applause from people.

    I needed to get alone with God, and quiet my desire for the world's feedback, so I could hear His voice.

    One word from God is worth more than a hundred atta-girls from others.

    The next time disappointment creeps up when I'm overlooked, or I think "Why not me?" ... I'll see it as a little warning. It's my reminder to spend time with God in secret.

    That's where I'll get the only approval my heart really needs.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for seeing what I really need and want. The approval of people never satisfies. Help me to see it as a poor substitute for Your approval – which brings me true joy and meaning. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:


    Reflect and Respond:
    Why is the approval of people often more important than God's esteem of our work?

    What is one thing you can do in secret this week to try and break the addiction to applause from others?

    Power Verse:
    Romans 8:5, "Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Finish Well

    Posted on November 2, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’”    Luke 14:28-30

    To finish well is to plan well; to plan well is to understand the cost of commitment. The commitment to follow Christ is not an added luxury but standard equipment for the Christian. To plan to finish well is to plan to follow Christ daily in humility and sacrifice. To finish well tomorrow means you finish well today. Finishing well does not imply a perfect life, but it does require a submitted life. This is a life that is under the authority of Jesus Christ; so finishing well is all about the life of a committed disciple of Christ. You can start the Christian life ablaze with the fire of your salvation, fresh and contagious for Christ.
    However, if the fuel of understanding and applying God’s Word is not added to your initial enthusiasm, you will burn out. You will not finish well. People may even observe, “I thought you were a Christian. Didn’t you used to attend church?” Finishing well is about joining with God to accomplish His will. Thus, finishing well is a building process. It is daily discerning God’s best, and then following Him wholeheartedly. Finishing well is a process that over time begins to take shape. Your faithfulness gives you credibility to invest in others what you have learned. You share with them what works and what doesn’t work, out of brokenness. You are more likely to finish well when you are pouring yourself into others, as it provides accountability.
    Now you may have sons-in-law who are looking to you for leadership. You are one of their role models. Don’t take this lightly. Your children and grandchildren will greatly benefit from your finishing well. It is imperative to pace yourself by God’s grace; so stay in the race until you make it to heaven. Spectators are not needed for this life, only for the life to come. Finish well by becoming wiser today than you were yesterday. Love and forgive more today than you have in the past. This is the essence of finishing well. It is becoming more like Jesus in your attitude and actions. This race of righteousness sweats out our sinful acts. Unrighteous anger is replaced by patience. Fear is replaced by trust. Pride is replaced by humility, and addictions are replaced by love. Be encouraged. If you are growing in Christ and building a life of obedience, you are finishing well.
    Lastly, you can finish well in spite of a soiled track record. God loves to take your false starts or your backsliding ways and place you on the road to finishing well. Stop today, turn from yourself, and turn to Christ. It is never too late to finish well. The wreckage from your past may still haunt you at times. But forget what is behind, pressing forward for the higher calling in Christ. He is your new reason for living. He is your life. He propels you forward to finish well. For His sake you will finish well, for your family’s sake you will finish well, for the sake of others you will finish well. By God’s grace, plan to finish well, and you will.
    The Bible says, “After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10).

    Post/Tweet: Finishing well does not imply a perfect life, but it does require a life submitted to God.  #finishwell

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

  • Faith Finds Jesus

    Posted on November 1, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. Mark 2:4

    Faith finds Jesus, especially when He seems hard to access. Faith is persistent to get to God, because it knows He knows what’s best. Like a honey bee is drawn back to the honeycomb for community and nutrition, so the soul is drawn to God by the Holy Spirit. In the presence of Jesus is forgiveness, healing, peace and contentment. So, faith does not rest until it rests in Christ. The condition of forgiveness and healing is faith and obedience is the fruit of faith. Faith finds Jesus.

    Furthermore, faith finds creative ways to get friends and family to Jesus. Because we enjoy the love, healing and forgiveness of God, we want others to have access to His life changing blessings. Thus, we pray for opportunities to expose a person’s felt need to the power of Christ’s care. We may invite them to a Christian concert to enjoy an uplifting night of praise and worship. Or, we can take them for coffee, listen to their hurts, and pray for their heart to be healed by Jesus.

    And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. Luke 14:23, KJV

    Yes, our faith compels us to help friends find Jesus in personal salvation and forgiveness of sin. Perhaps, we pick them up in our automobile, promise them lunch after church, and take them to hear the Bible taught and the Gospel preached. Some religious people will criticize our zeal and even question the sincerity of someone’s salvation, but the fruit of faith is up to the Holy Spirit. Our part is to love people to the Lord, but it is God’s part to change their heart. Faith finds Jesus.

    Lastly, if our faith does not compel us to help others find faith, we may have a false faith, or at best an immature belief. Mature saints are moved to tears over the sin stained souls of the lost. As we enjoy our sweet salvation, how can we sit still and not engage in serving those who have yet to taste the satisfying grace of God. Thus, by God’s grace we pray for innovative opportunities to get people to Jesus. Perhaps we give a book, offer a prayer, share a video or sit and listen. Whatever pure means we employ, we can trust the Holy Spirit to bring joy. Faith finds Jesus!

    For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I am so blessed to have found Jesus; give me the faith and courage to help others find Christ.

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 4:29; Mark 4:24; Luke 7:48; Acts 5:39; Colossians 3:3

    Post/Tweet today: The condition of forgiveness is faith and obedience is the fruit of faith. #faithfindsJesus

    © 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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