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Daily Devotion

  • Thorough Work

    Posted on May 18, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “The Israelites had done all the work just as the Lord had commanded Moses. Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the Lord had commanded. So Moses blessed them” (Exodus 39:42–43).

     

    We live in an instant society. We want relationships, money, and our dining experiences in an instant. In the process of making everything instantaneous, we have lost something. We have lost an appreciation for thoroughness in our work and in our relationships. We take shortcuts to finish on time, sacrificing quality, just to end up with an inferior outcome. Or even worse, we misrepresent the facts or lie outright to reach a goal because of the pressure we feel to produce. Thoroughness requires attention, trust, and tenacity.

     

    Whatever happened to thoroughness—the discipline to plan ahead, provide accountability, cover the details, create a beautiful result, and celebrate the success? Instead, we plow ahead without proper understanding and procedures. Everyone does what is right in his own eyes, and we miss the opportunity to learn and benefit from one another. Indeed, thoroughness begins with a good example from the leader. Like Moses, Nehemiah stayed focused on the work at hand.

     

    “So I sent messengers to them, saying, ‘I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?’ They sent messages to me four times in this manner, and I answered them in the same way” (Nehemiah 6:3–4 nasb).

     

    Moses was a thorough leader. He listened patiently to God and then delivered in detail to the team what was expected and required to accomplish the project. He understood and applied wise management of people. He understood each of their individual gifts and skills. People who take pride in their work are the most thorough when they are competent in their area of responsibility and clear on expectations. They understand what is needed and when it is to be complete. Details and deadlines are friends of thoroughness.

     

    Lastly, thoroughness is dependent on the resources and relationships needed to carry out the project. Do not be afraid to be resourceful. Seek out the people and information needed to carry out your job. Your thoroughness will speak volumes to your boss and to your peers. Your thorough and excellent work is the best testament to your trust in Christ. In the end you are blessed because of the quality product or service you created. God is glorified through thoroughness and the enduring influence of your work experiences.

     

    “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began” (John 17:4–5).

     

    Prayer: What current project requires my thorough attention to detailed implementation?

     

    Related Readings: Genesis 7:5; Exodus 23:21–22; Matthew 28:20; 2 Timothy 2:15

     

    Post/Tweet: Details and deadlines are friends of thoroughness. #bethorough

    © 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 Exodus

  • Work in Retirement

    Posted on May 17, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    At five o’clock he went back and found still others standing around. He said, ‘Why are you standing around all day doing nothing?’ “They said, ‘Because no one hired us.’ “He told them to go to work in his vineyard. Matthew 20:5-7, The Message

     

    The spiritual age of retirement is not the same as the secular age of retirement. Retirement from God’s work comes after death, not in this life. Followers of Jesus are not idle, caught up in their own issues, rather they look for ways to work for the Lord. Maybe they greet people with a smile at church, sing in the choir, serve on the board, teach preschoolers or manage the ministry’s finances. Freedom from the shackles of secular work is to serve others, not to pamper self.

     

    Culture claims that those over age 65 live for themselves in travel, ease and pleasure. It's all about indulging the flesh and starving the spirit, or maybe tipping a charity or two. But our Lord Jesus calls us to remain engaged in His eternal agenda: evangelism, discipleship, mentoring and giving our time, talents and treasures. The gospel of Jesus Christ allows an old soul to remain young at heart. You truly learn to live when you lean into the Lord in your golden years!

     

    They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock. Psalm 92:14-15

     

    Are you in the empty nest season with an available schedule? Perhaps you host young couples in your home for a meal and Bible study. Are you doing life with those you can invest in and with those who can invest in you? If your soul idles long enough in isolation it will dry up and die. However, as you engage your energy in others, you will come alive to live another day. Perhaps you foster children, adopt, or invite your parents, who selflessly cared for you, to live with you..

     

    Lastly, keep the vineyard of your heart and mind free from the kudzu of lazy living and empty thinking. Aggressively pray for your children and grandchildren to fall deeper in love with Jesus and with each other. Daily move your body outside into the Lord’s creation. Push through deadly inertia with a lively walk. Fresh air clears your mind and lifts your gaze upward to God. Let the warm caresses of the sun facilitate onto your face the warm caresses of your Father’s son. Work for the Lord until the day comes when you go to be with the Lord. He rewards work for Him!

     

    That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:3

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, may my work for You not cease and may it be pleasing to You.

     

    Related Readings: Proverbs 11:30; Ecclesiastes 7:10; Romans 9:12; 1 Timothy 5:1-2; Titus 2:2

     

    Post/Tweet today: The spiritual age of retirement is not the same as the secular age of retirement. #God’swork

    © 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, Retirement

  • Answer Envy

    Posted on May 17, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV)

    Do you ever envy God's answers to someone else's prayers?

    I recall the twinges of pain that shot through my heart each time I would open my mailbox discovering yet another baby shower invitation. As a young bride longing to become a mother, the joy of my positive pregnancy test was shattered a few months later when I suffered a miscarriage. And, although I was genuinely thrilled for my friends who were pregnant, I was also heartbroken that it wasn't my name on those pale pink or baby blue invites.

    I call this answer envy. It is that "poor me" mentality that creeps into my heart when God answers someone else's prayers more quickly than mine. Or when His answer seems to be a "no," or at least a "not right now."

    I've had my fair share of answer envy outbreaks over the years, at all stages of life.

    As a child, I was envious of the kids who came from two-parent homes while I resided in a family torn apart by divorce. No matter how hard I folded my little hands and prayed to God, my daddy didn't come back to us.

    In high school, it was other girls' good looks, cute clothes or even cuter boyfriends that I longed for. Instead, I was granted average looks and wore hand-me-down fashions. And, as sports editor of our school paper, although I was every guy's pal, I was usually nobody's gal.

    In college, I envied those whose prayers for a knight in shining armor (complete with a diamond ring) were answered while I remained single.

    My heart was filled with questions. God, why did my daddy leave? Where's my knight? Why don't I have a baby to hold? When will it be my turn?

    Over the years I've discovered the cure for answer envy isn't always easy. Rather than stay stuck in disappointment, I must play an active role in my healing.

    What I need is a shift in perspective. When I call out to God with my questions as encouraged in Jeremiah 33:3, I must trust He will keep His word. He will tell me "great and unsearchable things" that I do not know. Sometimes those things He provides are the answers to my request. However, do you know what those great and unsearchable things more often are? They are the reasons He seems not to be answering my original request!

    While God is generous to answer my requests, I also need to ask myself some questions. Questions like, "What is my Creator trying to teach me that I might never learn if He were to suddenly pluck me out of this situation?" Or, "What character qualities is He trying to grow in me? Patience, trust, compassion, contentment?"

    Not available in quick microwave form, the cure for answer envy has to be cultivated moment by moment.

    We must believe that God will answer. He will clearly say "yes," "no," or "not right now." He is able, ready and willing to answer our prayers—here is the catch—as He sees fit and to grow us to be more like His Son in the process.

    Sometimes we'll have a long stay in God's waiting room. Having been there myself, I now know this to be true: I must not merely seek the answer to my prayer. Instead, I must seek a deeper relationship with the answer Giver.

    Dear Lord, thank You for Your perfect plans ... Your perfect timing ... and the perfect way Your development happens in my times of waiting. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    If you have trouble trusting God's timing and try to "fix things" yourself instead, check out Karen's latest book LET. IT. GO. How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith.

    Follow us on Facebook.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Think back on a prayer request or two from your past where God seemed not to be answering. What else did you learn about Him as you waited for His reply?

    List out personal prayer requests you currently have. As you continue walking through life in the next few months, next to your requests, chronicle all of the peripheral blessings that come from the waiting.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 38:15, " But for you, O LORD, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer." (ESV)

    Romans 8:25, "But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Karen Ehman. 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 Jeremiah

  • Unacceptable Prayers

    Posted on May 16, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable... The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people— Luke 18:9,11

     

    Unacceptable prayers come from a proud heart. The self-righteous look down on others different from themselves and find pleasure in publicly praying about their moral inferiority. Yes, those who use their prayers to “preach” at others are conceited in their own high mindedness. Prayer is not meant to flaunt a person’s faith, but to model the need for mercy from the Almighty! Proud prayers focus on mankind, not on Mankind’s Maker. However, humility qualifies quality prayers.

     

    We first prepare our hearts with humble submission to Almighty God. Our Heavenly Father looks for humility as an indicator of good and acceptable prayers. Time constraints push us to transactional prayers, while our Lord and Savior Jesus longs for relational prayers. Humble prayers engage in conversation with Christ, which listens most of the time if not the entire time. Our patient prayers enable us to remain in the presence of Jesus until we get to know Jesus.

     

    All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. Isaiah 64:6

     

    The Righteous One reminds us that our righteous acts outside of Christ are like filthy rags. Only to the Cross do we cling, as we bring ourselves into the presence of Holy God. He is the object of our worship. He is who we bow to in awe and adoration. He is who we cry out to for mercy, grace and forgiveness. He is who we petition in our pain. He is who we sit with silently in sweet surrender and trust. He is who loves and comforts us, so we can love and comfort others.

     

    You may feel distant from God in your sorrow, but He invites you to come closer and feel His comforting presence. Moreover, sin doesn’t disqualify you for prayer, it qualifies you. It’s out of your weakness that He makes you strong. It is out of your despair that He repairs your mind, will and emotions. Bring your successes and failures to the feet of Jesus as an offering of praise. He takes what is dedicated to Him and multiplies it for His glory. Humility prays acceptable prayers!

     

    You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, may my prayers be humble and acceptable to you.

     

    Related Readings: Isaiah 66:2; Jermiah 31:19; Psalm 18:27; Luke 1:52; 1 Timothy 1:15

     

    Post/Tweet today: Sin does not disqualify us for prayer, it qualifies us. It is out of our weakness that He makes us strong. #prayer

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • Space to Exhale

    Posted on May 16, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord." Isaiah 58:13-14a (NIV)

    Rest.

    That sounds so good, but it's really difficult for a girl like me. Even when my physical body is at rest, my mind rarely is.

    I feel like I'm always juggling balls in my brain. Kids' needs. Home demands. Work projects. The to-do lists never stop.

    Yet the Bible makes it very clear that we are to honor the Sabbath day and pursue rest. Literally we are to hit the pause button on life once a week and guard our need to rest. Guard it fiercely. Guard it intentionally. Guard it even if our schedules beg us to do otherwise.

    But why?

    There are honest, personal reasons we need to observe the Sabbath that will be unique for each person. There are private conversations we need to have with God. We all need to pause, to sit with God, and ask Him to reveal some things to us.

    And when I consider our key verse Isaiah 58:13-14a, something occurs to me—it's not just a day for me to give to God. It's a day God established for me. He wants to give me something if only I'll slow down enough to receive it.

    "If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD."

    The Sabbath isn't merely a time to be observed; it's a time to be preserved. It's a time to rediscover our joy in the Lord.

    I need this. I want to be a preserver of this day—one who is determined to protect this day of personal preservation and rediscover the delight of God.

    The observer remembers to rest.

    The preserver rests to remember—to remember that it's all about God.

    The observer remembers to rest and pause on the Sabbath day in order to follow a rule.

    The preserver does more than follow a rule. She follows God's desire and embraces His purpose in the rest. She spends one day a week letting the fresh wind of God's rest blow through her, cleaning out all she's been taking in during the week with a purifying soul exhale.

    It's all about pausing and connecting with God without the distracting chaos of our everyday routines. For one day a week, we step out of the fray and let God direct our day according to His rhythm, not ours.

    God's rhythm preserves a space in us to hear His voice, reveals the places we're off track, and prevents us from being filled with unnecessary clutter. Quiet rest allows us to see the places where we're going our own way, the areas where we're more self-pleasing than God-pleasing, the idle words that need to be reined in. During the down time, we can deal with the mental clutter and focus on the ways of God.

    The Sabbath makes this possible.

    Taking one day for rest gives my soul the freedom it so desperately needs. Freedom to breathe. Space to breathe. Inhaling and exhaling in a gentle rhythm set by God.

    Dear Lord, space to breathe, this is what I need today. Thank You for showing me how important it is to create a place for freedom and rest. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

    Related Resources:
    For more encouragement and practical advice on creating a place to exhale in the midst of raw emotions check out Lysa TerKeurst's book Unglued.

    The accompanying Unglued Bible study will help you understand what the Bible says about better ways to react. To order your copy, click here.

    Follow us on Facebook.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Take a moment to think about your own practices for rest and reflection on the Sabbath.

    What can you do to hit "pause" and spend some time with the Lord this week? It could be taking a break from your to-do list, committing to spend some time journaling, etc.

    Power Verses:
    Hebrews 4:9-10, "There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his." (NIV)

    Psalm 62:1, "Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him." (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 Isaiah

  • Unanswered Prayers

    Posted on May 15, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. Luke 18:1

     

    Sometimes God is silent, even when His children cry out for answers. The unfair becomes a test of faith that grows the prayer life of those who stay persistent with the Lord. No, He is not too busy answering the billion other prayers bombarding heaven, but He does want an unfeigned faith in His followers. God is not a cosmic “google” waiting to give unlimited information to all requests. Too much data can break a spirit, puff up a mind or confuse a heart.

     

    Our Heavenly Father knows what’s best in how we process unanswered prayers. We may not be ready to receive what we want or think we need. We seem stuck in a stage of suffering because we are learning the depths of dependency on God. We feel like we are dog paddling in a phase of waiting because our patience needs to progress to perseverance. Our aloneness can suffocate us, but we breathe better spiritually in a close walk with Christ. Unanswered prayers produce prayer.

     

    Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

    Jesus says that even an unjust judge can be convinced of the right thing to do, but our Heavenly Father does not have to be convinced of good actions. He is all good and He knows what’s best for His children. He wants us to be convinced of the next right thing. So, a prolonged prayer process creates new convictions we cherish and cling to for comfort. For example, in prayer the Spirit may reveal anger in a pocket of our heart that He replaces with forgiveness. Unanswered prayer pushes us to unknown places that need soul care. Humble prayers are always productive.

    Lastly, we remain in prayer to remain in Him. Our perspective grows in Christlike clairvoyance as we focus on our Heavenly Father in His liberal love and holiness. Trust wins, not suspicion, when we grow familiar with the dynamics of faithful living. Prayer becomes like oxygen for our soul, lest we smother ourselves in worry. Like a needy widow we need assurance from our righteous judge, Jesus! Yes, our Lord never sleeps, He listens intently and loves us passionately.

    While he was speaking to me, I was in a deep sleep. Daniel 8:18

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, while I wait on You, I will pray to You and remain in You.

     

    Related Readings: Isaiah 40:31; Luke 11:5-8; Romans 1:10; Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 4:2

     

    Post/Tweet today: Unanswered prayer pushes us to unknown places that need soul care. Humble prayers are always productive. #prayer

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • Praying With Confidence

    Posted on May 15, 2013 by Renee Swope

    Renee Swope

    "This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." 1 John 5:14 (NAS)

    I used to be hesitant to pray and found myself stumbling over my words when talking to God. I especially didn't know how to pray when struggling with uncertainty and doubts.

    Desperately wanting to say the right things, I believed if I prayed the right way God would listen and answer my prayers the way I wanted Him to.

    It took me a while, but I eventually got up the courage to talk with a friend about my fears and struggles. She shared how she had struggled with the same things. She also explained how, over time, she had discovered that prayer isn't about saying or asking the right things; it's about building a relationship with God by talking to Him.

    She also showed me how to take verses from the Bible and turn them into powerful prayers. Using God's Word as a guide gave me a new sense of confidence and direction when I didn't know what to say.

    One day I was reading 1 John 5:14, and noticed it says we can pray with certainty when we ask God for what is already part of His will: "This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us."

    Praying Scriptures increased my confidence over time, knowing that I was praying God's will when I prayed God's Word.

    Wanting my prayers to be filled with power and my heart to be infused with faith, I now look for Scriptures about God's will and God's ways. One is Hebrews 4:12 where God teaches us His Word is "alive and active." Praying that truth, I ask God to make His Word come alive in a situation and become active in the person's life I am praying for, including my own.

    Oftentimes when I pray now, I'll remember verses in the Bible that apply. For instance, when it feels like my plans are spinning out of control, Jeremiah 29:11 will come to mind. On those days, I'll pray:

    Lord, You know the plans You have for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me a future and a hope. You say that if I come to You and pray, You will listen and will lead me. So, today I surrender my plans for Your plans. Please guide my decisions and thoughts to match Yours so I can experience hope and not harm. Even though things aren't going so great today, I trust the plans You have for me."

    God isn't looking for the perfect combination of words, and there's no formula to get it right. Now that the pressure to say the right things is gone, praying has become one of my favorite things to do—whether alone or with a friend.

    Sometimes I just sit still and let God whisper His promises into my thoughts and then I ask for their fulfillment in my prayers.

    Lord, I'm so glad I don't have to say that right thing to get Your attention. Thank You for Your Spirit that lives in me and leads me—in my daily activities and even in my prayers. Please show me verses You want me to pray so I can see Your Word come alive in my circumstances and become active in my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    In her life-changing book, A Confident Heart, Renee Swope ends each chapter with a prayer weaving together powerful scriptures to help you overcome doubt and insecurity based on the topic and teaching in that chapter. Buy a copy for yourself or a friend!

    Follow us on Facebook.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Use God's Word as a guide to pray when you don't know what to say.

    Pick a verse today to begin praying.

    Power Verse:
    Matthew 6:9-13, "Pray then like this: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.'" (ESV)

    © 2013 by Renee Swope. 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 Prayer, 1 John

  • Christian Duty

    Posted on May 14, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty. Luke 17:10

     

    Christian duty is illustrated by a master and servant relationship. The Master (Jesus Christ) is caring and clear in His expectations for His servants (Christians). The Master expects diligence and thoroughness in the tasks at hand. He does not patronize the sincere servant with flowery compliments, but allows the servant to enjoy fulfilling work for the Master’s sake. Honorable service done for our Master Jesus Christ is the duty of all His followers. This is fundamental.

     

    Our Heavenly Father does not owe us anything for our routine or radical efforts for His Kingdom. Indeed, our life in total is all His grace. Our relationships, our ability to work, our mental reasoning, our feelings of love and hope all spring from the heart of our Savior Jesus. It is our duty to do what Christ commands without complaint or expecting anything in return. Like a good soldier does his duty for God and country, so servants of Jesus are faithful to their charge.

     

    Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12

    Those of us who long for approval struggle when our service is absent commendations. Yet, this is a test to see if our motivation is for what we get out of obeying God, or for what we can give, by doing our duty in pure gratitude to Him. We become miserable, even angry, if we expect   special treatment by the Lord or His people because of our sacrificial service. Yes, unexpected blessings will come back to those who bless, but this is not why we give. Our duty has no claims.

     

    Therefore, your Christian duty needs no more than to diligently follow Christ’s calling. He is your Master and you serve at His bidding. He may have you engaged in the mundane tasks of motherhood or the boring basics of an entry level job. Wherever your Lord has you on assignment, do it with joy. Total submission to Christ is your best option, yes, repent of negotiating your own recognition and rewards. Christian duty done by grace glorifies God!

     

    Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. Ecclesiastes 12:13

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I submit to your service and trust you to lead me in Your calling.

     

    Related Readings: Psalm 16:2; Job 22:2; John 15:20; 1 Timothy 5:21

     

    Post/Tweet today: Wherever your Lord has you on assignment do it with joy. Total submission to Christ is your best option. #submission

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • Worth the Effort

    Posted on May 14, 2013 by Lynn Cowell

    Lynn Cowell

    "The purposes of a person's heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out." Proverbs 20:5 (NIV)

    There are two kinds of young women who live in my house. One speaks her mind freely; you don't have to guess where she stands or how she feels. The other is more reserved, holding her emotions and words in check.

    Neither one is right or wrong. Both are deep thinkers and deep feelers. Yet my girls couldn't be more different when it comes to how their thoughts and emotions are expressed. With one, I have a sense of her constant pulse as she daily shares her joys and struggles. With the other ... well, as my mother used to say about my father, "Still waters run deep."

    The writer of Proverbs 20:5 encourages us to make the effort to "draw out" people. As I have found with my daughter, there is much beauty and young wisdom in the deep well of her heart. And while it takes extra work to tap into that low-lying spring, it is often rewarded.

    In a culture where our conversations are often capped at 140 characters on Twitter or summed up in 2-3 sentences on Facebook or text messaging, real conversation may be in jeopardy. The days of front porches and Sunday dinners seem to be all but gone. Yet God's Word tells us a person's heart is deep waters-not something simple and concise that can be summed up short and sweet.

    Whether it is with our daughters, neighbors or girlfriends, we need unhurried moments to draw from each other's hearts. We need time to listen to the wisdom and work God is accomplishing in another's life. These types of conversations usually don't develop in a quick greeting of "How are you?" as we're moving from one task to another. But more often, they are in the intentional moments when we purpose to listen.

    In the original Hebrew language of the Old Testament, "purposes" in this verse means advice, counsel, and plans. Many times, when we take time to listen, we can discover plans our friend has tucked away in her heart. Sometimes it will mean realizing her hidden hope of visiting prisoners and sharing the Gospel with them. Or you might discover your child is reading the Bible on her own as she shares a verse she found.

    Drawing out others or engaging in purposeful conversation also helps us gain insight, wisdom, hope and encouragement when we listen to all God is doing in their heart. We can receive advice and counsel simply by listening to one of His children.

    Stop right now and look at your calendar. Pick a time—tonight, tomorrow or this weekend, and invite someone dear to you to spend time together. Whether it is your daughter whose life spins in and out of your home, or that girlfriend you haven't had coffee with in months, be intentional. Send her a text, give her a call, just make sure to make time. And to listen to the deep waters of her heart.

    Jesus, help me to slow down today, and listen. I need to be present in the present and intentional in investing in others by listening. Make me one who draws others out. Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Help a teen girl in your life learn to fill that deep well in her heart with Lynn's book Devotions for a Revolutionary Year - 365 Days of Jesus' Radical Love for You.

    Follow us on Facebook.

    Reflect and Respond:
    When was the last time you had a heart-to-heart with someone you love? How can you be more purposeful and make this a habit?

    Think back to a time someone asked you to share what God was doing in your life. How did that make you feel? Excited, joyful, loved?

    Power Verse:
    Proverbs 18:4, "The words of the mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

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



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

  • Place of Torment

    Posted on May 13, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ Luke 16:27-28

    There is a place of torment designated for those who die without trusting in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. It is a lonely place void of the Lord’s presence and His loving comfort. No courier can be sent from the other side to warn those on this side. A decision to follow Jesus must be made on earth to gain a future place in heaven. Those who reject the Lord before they die will be rejected after they die. But, salvation from a tormented soul is sure through faith in Christ.

    Life on earth is only a brief prelude to our eternal existence. The proud strut across life’s stage concerned only for themselves. The humble bow in dependence on Christ, prepared to meet their Maker after death’s final curtain comes down. Only fools jog down the path of the devil and his demons. Yes, evil on earth in compounded in eternity where the influence of Holy God is nonexistent. The place of torment is no place for those who have placed their total trust in Jesus.

    It has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 2 Timothy 1:10

     

    Have riches kept you from a real relationship with Jesus Christ? Are you warning friends and family members today of the judgment to come outside of Christ? Yes, we are to engage lost loved ones with eternal truths wrapped in our care and concern. We love others at their point of emotional, physical and financial need, so we can share with them the significant spiritual truths of heaven, hell, sin and forgiveness. Love is relational lubricant that allows us to speak boldly.

     

    Lastly, be intentional to love those with riches. Who are the rich? One definition is: those who have extra beyond life’s necessities, or it could be someone who has more stuff than you. Serve the wealthy without expecting anything in return and you will earn the right to influence them for the Lord. Warn them not to let riches keep them from an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Challenge them to simple living so they can serve and give generously. Help another avoid the place of torment by abandoning themselves to Jesus Christ. He alone can save to the uttermost!

     

    Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:17-19

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I place my trust in Jesus Christ to save me from the place of torment.

     

    Related Readings: Psalm 62:10; Jeremiah 49:4; Luke 12:20-21; John 5:24; 1 John 3:14

     

    Post/Tweet today: Those who reject the Lord before they die will be rejected by God after they die. #besavednow

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


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

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