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Daily Devotion

  • Get Up

    Posted on September 7, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. ‘Get up,’ he said. ‘Don’t be afraid.’ When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus” (Matthew 17:6–8).

    The world can get us down, but God gets us up. The cares of this world can choke out our motivation to move forward, but Christ is close-by to release the pressure and resuscitate our resolve. What has you down? Is it finances, faith, family, foes? Is it a deal gone south or a relationship that has gone awry? Whatever has you down, the Lord can lift you up!

    “But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head” (Psalm 3:3).

    We bow down in humility and reverence to almighty God so we can get up, full of grace, to go on our way in quiet confidence. It is humble worship and praise that brings us back to the foot of the cross in gratitude to God for the gift of His only Son Jesus. We kneel at the cross overwhelmed by the forgiveness of our Savior Jesus, and we get up to forgive.

    “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself” (John 12:32).

    If fear has you down, get up and walk by faith. If regret has you down, get up and go make restitution. If a relationship has you down, get up and initiate interest. If your job has you down, get up and go after excellence. If misunderstanding has you down, get up and clarify your concerns. If life in general has you down, get up and live a life for God.

    Jesus gently admonishes us to lift our eyes off our circumstances and onto Him. So first get up and go to God in trusting determination. Ask Him for directions, and He will lead you in the way you should go. How do you get to your next destination in life? Ask the Lord. How do you solve your most pressing problem? Ask the dispenser of wisdom, holy God. It is from your humble posture in the low place that He lifts you up to see His face.

    “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (James 4:10).

    Prayer: How can I humble myself before God? Where does He want me to get up and go?

    Related Readings: 1 Samuel 2:8; Psalm 30:1; Psalm 145:14; Luke 22:46; Acts 22:16; Acts 26:16

    Post/Tweet: The cares of this world can choke out our motivation, but Christ is close by to resuscitate our resolve. #Christresuscitates

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


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

  • Better Together

    Posted on September 6, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

    The flesh tends to roam alone with a false sense of security, but the Spirit knows the value of walking with like-minded friends and resting in Christ’s security. Even a lion, the respected King of the jungle, needs other lions to watch his back. Money may create a bubble of comfort, but genuine camaraderie cannot be bought with cash. Believers in Jesus are better together, they thrive holistically where intimacy is alive. Humility trusts in another to be better together.

    We are all better together. God’s divine math calculates one plus one equals ten on His scale of effectiveness. Your management skill set needs the complementary skill of leadership, and vice-versa. Your gift of encouragement is balanced by the gift of prophecy. Your ability to innovate requires someone who can implement. Your generosity needs a trusted budget planner. Your comfort and nurture is stronger when supported by disciplined accountability. Two trumps one!

    The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. Genesis 2:18

    An American dream may be autonomy, but the Lord’s plan is community. If we strive for self containment, we miss blessing others and being blessed. Engagement and integration with another requires prayerful intentionality. For example, at work we ask a team member how we can support their project; at home we use our strengths to cover another family member's weaknesses. Wise living rejects a silo approach to relationships but embraces the common good.

    Pride makes you feel like you are bulletproof, in need of no one; but all fall down. Pity those who have no one to pick them up, but what a joy to journey through life with ones who watch out for you. Your faith stays warm when insulated by faithful friends. Most of all, you are truly better together with God. Trust in Jesus Christ guarantees you are never, ever alone. He walks with you, He talks with you and you are complete in Him. Yes, you are better together, forever!

    And surely I [Jesus] am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I need You; we are better together, just as my faith flourishes within a community of Your faithful followers.

    Related Readings: 2 Samuel 10:11; Mark 10:8; Acts 2:44; Philippians 2:1; 2 Timothy 2:20

    Post/Tweet today: Believers in Jesus are better together, they thrive where intimacy is alive. #bettertogether

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


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

  • A New Way to Process Conflict

    Posted on September 6, 2013 by Amy Carroll

    Amy Carroll

    "When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly." Proverbs 31:26 (MSG)

    It was like we were speaking two different languages. Even though my friend and I were both talking in English, we couldn't seem to understand each other. I started the conversation with the assumption we would see things the same way, but emotions rose, opinions conflicted, and wounds were inflicted. How did we get to that frustrated place?

    After cooling off, I called a wise, truth-telling friend. I told her the basic outline of the conversation, trying to keep it neutral. Finally I asked, "What do you think went wrong?"

    She astutely turned the question back to me. "What could you have done differently?"

    Initially, I couldn't think of one thing. After all, the conflict wasn't my fault! But then I took some time to reflect, and God began to soften my heart, revealing my part in the conflict.

    I had called my friend during an extremely busy time in her life with a suggestion that would have added to her overloaded schedule. Instead of being sensitive, I pushed and pushed my own agenda. As our emotions escalated, my defensiveness increased, making my responses sharp.

    The friend I had called for advice gently prodded, "How could you have listened more carefully? Would truly listening have made you more compassionate? How could you have responded with more grace?"

    For the rest of the afternoon, God etched a new way of interacting in hard situations on my heart. This is the truth He carved: Listen with compassion. Speak with grace.

    Listen with Compassion. Years ago my pastor shared an invaluable method for re-adjusting his attitude when dealing with conflict. He asks, is this behavior consistent with the person's general character?

    Wow! If I had applied that question in the conversation with my friend, I would have remembered her kindness, her servant’s heart, and her calm nature. Then, I might have wondered what was changing her normal response. Compassion would have flooded my heart toward her and the stress she was under. My heart would have been positioned to serve her, rather than insisting on my own way.

    At its core, listening with compassion is simply obeying the biblical commands to die to ourselves (John 12:24-25) and to consider others more highly than ourselves (Philippians 2:3).

    Speak with Grace. Proverbs 15:1 says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" (NIV). There is no downside to a gentle, grace-filled answer. I'm embarrassed to admit that I've often viewed responding this way as losing or giving in. That's simply not true. Needed truths can be told in kind and gentle ways. Just think about how my wise friend treated me when I sought her advice.

    Before I called my friend to ask for forgiveness and clear up the misunderstanding, I prayed for a Jesus-sized dose of compassion and grace.

    Since then, I've been rehearsing "Listen with Compassion - Speak with Grace" over and over in my mind. Last week I had a chance to put it into practice when I received a difficult email. My first response was defensiveness, but then I started to repeat my new way of processing until I could hear the needs in the email with compassion and respond with grace.

    I love how God gave me the chance to practice what He had taught me after I had time to take a breath, pause, rehearse my new motto and then respond. Life and relationships are filled with conflict, so I have no doubt I'll have a chance to practice again. Next time, I'm praying I'll be ready!

    Dear Lord, sometimes it seems like conflict pops up out of nowhere. One minute the conversation is going fine and before I know it, hurtful words are being said. Please help me listen and respond as You would. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Reflect and Respond:
    Who are you focused on during a hard conversation? Are you trying to understand the person speaking or already working on your defense?

    If you feel yourself becoming defensive, make yourself pause and put yourself in the other person's shoes.

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 17:27, "A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered." (NLT)

    Proverbs 18:15, "The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; for the ears of the wise seek it out." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Relational Equity

    Posted on September 5, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:9-10

    Relational equity is the trust and goodwill we build up over time with those we love. The goal of other centered people is to make more relational deposits than withdraws. They serve more than they are served. They love more than they are loved. They honor more than they are honored. They care more than they receive care. They give more than they take. They generate emotional energy more than they withdraw emotional energy. They pray more than they request prayer.

    Yes, when we honor another above ourselves we grow our relational equity. When we are devoted to one another in love we develop our relational equity. But, what happens when we overdraw our relational equity? How are we to correct our misaligned expectations? There are two options. Either we make additional relational deposits by speaking their love language or they forgive our debt of love. Ideally, both of these options can by God’s grace, occur together.

    Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 1 Peter 1:22

    Genuine affection flows freely like an underground spring regularly refreshes a lake or pond. Thus, quietly but deliberately look for ways to sow seeds of service into those the Lord brings into your life's path. Be a blessing in small things like reaching out to encourage a child of your adult friend. Lead them in Bible study. Perhaps you pray for a person who seems alone in their singleness. Pray for them to feel the camaraderie of Christ and the closeness of a community.

    Your deep heartfelt love is determined to love like Jesus loves. He loves: Sacrificially, yes. Sensitively, yes. Sacredly, yes. Sincerely, yes. Soothingly, yes. Secretly, yes. With a servant-spirit, yes! Indeed, the love of the Lord builds up relational equity in all who surrender to His heart of affection. The relational equity of Jesus is eternal. Because His love is everlasting, He never runs out of compassion for people. Thus, your devotion to Christ creates unending relational equity.

    Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, use me to invest in people with relational equity that points them to You.

    Related Readings: Psalm 133:1; John 13:34, 15:12; Philippians 2:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 John 4:10

    Post/Tweet today: Relational equity is the trust and goodwill we build up over time with those we love. #relationalequity

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


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

  • A Different Kind of School Year

    Posted on September 5, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)

    As we get back into the routine of a new school year, I'm making a commitment: no more unglued mama mornings. I want our mornings to go better this year with less frustration, yelling, and chaos.

    This idea developed last spring when we had a string of really hard mornings.

    One day, as I pulled up to the school, the atmosphere inside the car was thick with tension. Not wanting the last words spoken to my daughter to be harsh, I tried to change the course of our conversation. "Sweetheart, I love you. I'm sorry we had a rough morning."

    "We always have rough mornings," she shot back before slamming the car door.

    Nothing quite makes a mom feel more successful than a little dialogue like that.

    As I rubbed the stabbing feeling in my chest, I thought, Something has got to change. Each day I promise myself I won't yell at the kids. But each morning something triggers me and I lose it.

    Ever been there?

    It's not like we wake up in the mood to get frustrated with our people, right? I usually wake up in a good mood. But then the stress of getting everyone ready and out the door on time makes the crazy creep in.

    This one can't find her shoes. That one needs a report printed and we have no ink. The bread for sandwiches is still at the grocery store because I forgot to buy it the day before. And to top it all off, I don't have any cash to give the kids so they can buy lunch at school.

    The whining. The complaining. The feeling that I can't ever get it together. It all escalates and sends me over the edge.

    I want this school year to be different. I want to be like Ephesians 4:22-24 describes: "made new in the attitude of my mind." The Greek word for "made new" is kaino. One of its definitions is uncommon. I want to be an uncommon calm in the midst of chaos and an example of peace for my kids. For that to happen, I came up with a plan:

    Tell the world to wait. When I wake up, my mind is like a dry sponge. What I soak up first will saturate me most deeply. If I don't want to be consumed with the stresses of my day, I must put the world on hold to soak up what will renew my mind—God's Word.

    Remember I'm managing blessings. If I want my attitude to be made new, I must keep things in perspective. While my frustrations seem big, things like lost shoes and less than perfect lunches aren't big problems. They are small aggravations that come with managing blessings.

    Let my kids own their irresponsibilities. My kids' irresponsibilities will not become my emergencies. I need to communicate my expectations so they know they're going to have to own the consequences of their choices. For example, if they wait until the last minute to print their report and the printer doesn't have any ink, they'll have to print it at school or turn it in late. Either way, I can't own this situation and let it throw me into frantic, fix-it mode. I can let the consequences of my kids' choices scream, so I don't have to.

    All of this is going to take some intentionality, and I doubt I'll do it perfectly. But I'm excited about trying. I'm excited to "put on my new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Which is another way of saying, I'm excited to have less unglued mama mornings and more peace this school year.

    Dear Lord, thank You for the grace You give. I don't want to live in the same pattern of coming unglued anymore. Help me put these principles into practice. In Jesus' Name, amen.

    Related Resources:

    Reflect and Respond:
    Which of the following action points can you put into practice?
    1. Tell the world to wait.
    2. Remember you're managing blessings.
    3. Let your kids own their irresponsibilities.

    Power Verse:
    2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Practice Hospitality

    Posted on September 4, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:13

    The needs of those around us can be overwhelming: sick children, aging parents, unemployed friends, prodigal teenagers and acquaintances crushed under the weight of financial pressures. Their needs are like a noose around their neck, ready to choke out their joy and peace. If we are not intentional in helping others, we may do nothing. We hold back when we feel like we can’t do something for everyone. Everyone’s responsibility becomes no one’s responsibility. So love one.

    Yes, it's better to do for one what we wish we could do for everyone. As the wise woman on her walk along the seashore picked up one marooned starfish and tossed it back into the ocean, she rescued and refreshed one. She saved one life and trusted other caring souls to do the same. Thus we nurture one infant’s life who may become a mayor, missionary or medical professional. We tutor one troubled teen who finds forgiveness in a loving relationship with Jesus. Hospitality cares.

    Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us. 2 Kings 4:10

    Hospitality can be a simple, small, practical room filled with warmth and love. Let your guest set the schedule that serves them best, but be there as a silent supporter. Certainly, if they want to engage in conversation, do so with discretion and discernment. The ability to make one person feel loved and at home is priceless compared to doing nothing for the needy multitude. Your model of hospitality inspires even introverts to open their home as a sanctuary for their Savior.

    Lastly, look to the Lord’s people for a place to stay. Better to be in the presence of people who care for you than alone in a hotel hounded by sin’s allure. You save money, you bless others and you protect your testimony when you free a friend to practice hospitality in your honor. Because it is more blessed to give than receive, you allow others to be blessed when you accept their invitation to stay with them. Christian’s care for their own. Hospitality is heaven’s gentle hand!

    Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:9

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, show me who I can share Your love with by opening up my home and offering hospitality.

    Related Readings: Job 31:32; Matthew 10:41; Acts 20:35; 1 Timothy 3:2, 5:10; Hebrews 13:2

    Post/Tweet today: Better to do for one what we wish we could do for everyone. #praciticehospitality

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


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

  • Loved No Matter What

    Posted on September 4, 2013 by Micca Campbell

    Micca Campbell

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

    I don't recall what my son did wrong. I just remember his reaction to my husband Pat's discipline. It was unlike any time before.

    "You're not my dad!" Mitch screamed with rage. "I hate you, I hate you!" he ranted between sobs.

    I was shocked watching the two of them battle out their affections. Our son hadn't behaved that way before. He was completely out of control and overwhelmed with anger, fear, and pain.

    Mitch was a baby when my first husband, his biological father, died in an accident. Now, standing before the man who had vowed to love him as his own, Mitch wasn't certain he trusted his stepfather's heart.

    Pat fell to his knees and embraced Mitch. My little boy continued to fight him. Without letting go, Pat spoke calmly, "You can hate me if you want ..." Pat struggled to keep his arms around Mitch as he tried to pull loose. "But you're my son, and I won't let you go. I will always love you—no matter what."

    With every word Pat whispered into Mitch's ear, and as my husband held our child tight, Mitch's fears began to melt away. Suddenly, his body relaxed, and he returned his father's embrace.

    It was a defining moment for us all. In that instant, our cheeks wet with tears, we realized Mitch had let down his guard. He began to trust this man who had promised to be his father, to accept his father's love, and to offer love in return. Mitch didn't do it because Pat was his playmate or because his stepfather filled a certain role in Mitch's life. He did so because he knew Pat loved him, even though he had rejected that love at first.

    Pat mirrored the character of our heavenly Father when he vowed to always love Mitch and never let him go. Pat was saying to our son, as God says to us, "No matter what, I'm here for you."

    What a beautiful picture of 1 John 4:19, "We love because he first loved us."

    Our heavenly Father is not some far away God. He is near to us, and we can approach Him, regardless of what needs we come with. Our Father wants to be involved in every detail of our lives. He wants to know and share in our joys and our pains because He loves us.

    I find it interesting that the word "Father," referring to God, is often translated "Papa" or "Daddy" in Scripture. These expressions of endearment comfort me as I equate them to my earthly dad. But perhaps you've never had an earthly father to turn to in times of celebration or sorrow.

    Maybe your dad was absent and uncaring instead of loving and available. If so, you've discovered that not all people love sincerely and you've been hurt. When this happens, it's easy to think God acts in the same way. But because He is trustworthy and never changes, we can be assured that His love is unconditional and always present.

    The comfort of knowing Pat loved him gave Mitch the confidence to love his stepfather back. Today, let's renew our love for our heavenly Father as we rest in the knowledge that He loves us—no matter what.

    Dear Lord, thank You for Your unconditional love. Please give me the grace I need to stop fighting and to receive Your love. In Jesus' Name, amen.

    Related Resources:

    Reflect and Respond:
    Do you fight God's affections or do you accept His love daily?

    Make this your prayer each day until you grasp the reality and wonder of knowing that God truly loves you!

    I pray, Father, that out of Your glorious riches You may strengthen me with power through Your Spirit in my inner being, so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith. And I pray that I, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge; that I may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (based on Ephesians 3:16-19).

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 36:7, "How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings." (NIV)

    Psalm 136:26, "Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Spiritual Fervor

    Posted on September 3, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:11-12

    Spiritual fervor is evidence of faith that is alive. It is vibrant and effervescent in expectation of an encounter with God. The commitment of a zealous follower of Jesus is contagious. They lift the faith of other believers by simply believing what the Lord says is true,  adjusting their behavior to His commands. Like a match stick ignites a fuse of dynamite, so someone’s spiritual spark can enflame an entire community for Christ. Spiritual fervor burns brightly in service to God!

    For example, a person who passionately prays influences other prayer partners to earnestly pray. Your prayer life is revived when you pray with someone who has a hot heart for heaven. What area of your Christian life has cooled off? If your generosity has grown cold then hang around a generous giver who  liberally shares their life and money. If you have become mute in sharing the gospel then accompany a bold witness for Jesus. Zeal for Christ is as much caught as taught!

    He (Apollos) had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately. Acts 18:25

    Spiritual fervor comes from sitting at the feet of your Heavenly Father and learning His ways. His Holy Spirit will instruct you accurately about Jesus and His great love for you. Learn from the Lord and you will have fervor for the Lord. Also, engage as a student of Holy Scripture under the teaching of gifted Bible teachers. Scripture applied to your soul is like pouring gasoline on a campfire. You are combustible for Christ when the Spirit ignites your heart with God’s truth.

    Lastly, make sure by God’s grace your knowledge keeps up with your zeal. Ignorance on fire can bruise relationships and even alienate those who want to know more about Christ. As a Spirit-filled follower of Jesus you can be confrontational without being combative. The honey of God’s grace is sweet to the lips of the lost, but self righteous speech is sour and distasteful. Stay broken before the Lord and your spiritual fervor will be a life giving fragrance to all you influence.

    For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other; the fragrance of life. 2 Corinthians 2:15-16

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, fuel my faith with your Holy Spirit, so my life burns bright for You.

    Related Readings: Psalms 119:139; Proverbs 19:2; John 2:17; Ephesians 4:18-20; Philippians 3:6

    Post/Tweet today: You are combustible for Christ when the Holy Spirit ignites your heart with God’s truth. #spiritualfervor

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


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

  • Your Easiest Day is Always Tomorrow

    Posted on September 3, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "The appetite of the lazy craves, and gets nothing, while the appetite of the diligent is richly supplied." Proverbs 13:4 (NRSV)

    Numbers intimidate me. So I put off doing anything that involves counting more digits than are on my hands and feet combined. This approach tends to have significant consequences, especially when those numbers are connected to dollars. Hence a few bounced check charges in my banking history.

    Avoiding uncomfortable (but necessary) parts of life is a dangerous habit to develop. With very few exceptions, problems don't resolve on their own, no matter how long we procrastinate in fixing them. A leaky faucet never stops leaking by itself. A root of bitterness toward my husband will grow. The squeal in my car brakes will get louder. And putting off medical tests is never a good idea.

    I've also delayed pursuing dreams because there's discomfort involved. Maybe you've done this too. Your dream could be to write a book, take a vacation or find a new job. But you know it will involve sacrifice, so you put your dream on the back burner while time slips away.

    Sometimes God tells me to wait while He initiates a solution, but usually, the reason for my delay tactics is my own fear of the work, or the possibility of failure, or the inconvenience and self-sacrifice it will take.

    A few years ago I read a book by Josh Riebock that helped give me perspective when I want to postpone a difficult assignment. In it, he says, "Everyone can change tomorrow. Everyone solves problems tomorrow. But the only changes that matter are the ones I make today. Tomorrow is the easiest day I'll ever live. Today is the scary one, which is probably why I've spent so much time avoiding it."

    Scripture also offers wisdom about dealing with procrastination. Proverbs 13:4 uses some challenging words, but it also includes hope: "The appetite of the lazy craves, and gets nothing, while the appetite of the diligent is richly supplied" (NRSV). This verse gets to the heart of the matter, which is my hunger. While I bristle at being called lazy, the reality is when I procrastinate, I am hungering for comfort or safety. I might be busy, but I'm never accomplishing anything when my goal is ease.

    It's easy to know I shouldn't procrastinate, but it's much harder to do something about it. That's because my reasons are mixed. Sometimes I am afraid like Riebock says, and sometimes I am lazy like the Bible says. Other times I'm overwhelmed and can't think straight.

    Whatever the cause of my procrastination, I've found some approaches that help combat my reticence to tackle an assignment. And it starts with something easy:

    I present my concerns to God with honesty. I tell God why I don't want to do something and ask for His help, strength, wisdom and courage. When I'm honest about my hesitations, God can start to build up my weak places. But then I get practical.

    I keep my to-do list short and manageable. Long to-do lists discourage me from doing anything. That's why I keep two lists going at all times: A master list of projects and a to-do list for the day or week.

    I divide big tasks into smaller tasks. For example, I needed a better filing system for organizing receipts for taxes. So the next time I went to the office product store, I purchased hanging files and a desktop organizer and moved that project forward.

    I assign small tasks to a specific day. Instead of doing a lot of things I don't like on one day, I'll spread them throughout the week.

    Whether it's numbers or words that intimidate you. A relationship that needs to be addressed, or a dream that needs to be followed. There is nothing we have to handle alone or in our own power. The truth is God has already gone ahead of us into these scary places. He knows the future and He's already got it under control.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for going ahead of me when I want to hold back. Help me to deal honestly with my reasons for procrastinating and allow You to work in my heart and life. In Jesus' Name, amen.

    Related Resources:


    Reflect and Respond:
    Consider one project or task you've delayed starting. What are some of the real reasons?

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 31:17-18, "She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night." (NIV)

    James 4:17, "If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Undivided Heart

    Posted on September 2, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    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 way of the Lord is an ongoing education in eternal matters. It is a lifetime of study and learning from the Holy Spirit. A believer graduates from God’s spiritual school only after he graduates to heaven. Even the most fully developed disciple has the next stage of maturity to aspire to. Many lessons learned from the Lord are progressive and contingent on each other. The course of study Christ teaches His child this semester builds on what they learned last semester.

    The core curriculum for a Christian is to rely on the faithfulness of God. The amount of time it takes for us to trust God with a troubled situation is an indicator of our growth in grace. A divided heart of distrust is created when we are offended, frustrated or hurt. The quicker we learn to thank God, forgive and rely on His faithfulness, the quicker we enjoy the grace and peace of our Heavenly Father. Our trust in the character of God builds His character into our life.

    Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5

    A man or woman is made weak when their heart is divided by forces competing with faithful living. Their lives can resemble a powerful river with surging water guarded by two river banks, or be severely weakened like scattered tributaries that barely trickle forth water. Pride divides, humility unites. Fear divides, faith unites. Anger divides, forgiveness unites. Selfishness divides, selflessness unites. Harshness divides, kindness unites. Hate divides, love unites. An undivided heart has focused faith in Jesus Christ.

    Lastly, the fear of the Lord is the fruit of your undivided heart. Your life unencumbered by the world’s trappings is free to love, worship and revere Holy God. Your whole heart dedicated to growth in godliness is an influential instrument in the hands of the Lord. The Holy Spirit uses your daily quiet time to keep noisy diversions at bay. Yes, guard your heart with the glue of God’s grace that fills any fissures of unfaithfulness. Your undivided heart fears the Lord’s name and unites around His love!

    Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:5

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, teach me to rely on Your faithfulness, so my devotion to You is wholehearted.

    Related Readings: Exodus 33:13; Ezekiel 11:19; Hebrews 3:6; Colossians 2:2; James 4:7-8

    Post/Tweet today: The Holy Spirit uses your daily quiet time to keep noisy diversions at bay. #undividedheart


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


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

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