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Daily Devotion

  • Daily Burden Bearer

    Posted on August 20, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Psalm 68:19

    Believers in Jesus have the Lord who daily bears their burdens. He is a Savior who is not crushed by back breaking circumstances. He reinforces the tentative trust of those under the weighty issues of wealth, sickness, leadership responsibilities, and becoming single again. Yes, a burden becomes too much to bear when it is managed alone. This silent suffering is soul abuse. But in Christ we have the righteous and resilient resources of heaven to persevere through pain.

    Therefore, make sure to engage the eternal grace of God to get you through temporary trials. You do not have to fake it to make it because faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master will give you the godly gumption to get through. Partner with the Holy Spirit to lift from your fleshly shoulders any feelings of doubt, false guilt or the fantasy of living a problem free life. He who lifted your sin burden at salvation remains a strong burden bearer today. God supports you daily.

    Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22

    Just as a nurse cuddles and carries a newborn, so your Heavenly Father cradles you in His sustaining care. Any back and forth movement you may feel against your faith is the soothing rock of your comforting Savior, Christ Jesus. When He holds you close to His breast, you can rest in Him. Resist fear’s desire to pull away and flee from the palpable peace of God. A soul snuggled against the chest of deity will not be shaken. What He holds close, He keeps secure!

    Hallelujah, praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior who daily bears our burdens. We praise Him in the morning, we praise Him in the noontime and we praise Him in the evening for removing our anxieties with His loving lift of compassion. Because He is our burden bearer we are freed to help carry the burdens of those stuck in sin or beat down from life’s challenges. What a joy divine to be Jesus to someone who needs to see Jesus. Thank your Burden Bearer, Jesus Christ!

    Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
    Prayer: Heavenly Father, what a joy to know You bear my burdens daily, so I am free to help others bear theirs.

    Related Readings: Psalm 81:16; Isaiah 9:4, 10:27, 46:4; Matthew 11:28-30; 1 John 2:6

    Post/Tweet today: He [Jesus] who lifted your sin burden at salvation remains a strong burden bearer today. #dailybearsburdens

    © 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

  • The Gift of Listening

    Posted on August 20, 2013 by Renee Swope

    Renee Swope

    "I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray." Psalm 17:6 (NLT)

    One night I heard my husband calling our dog to get her treat. He was actually trying to lure Chelsea, our thirteen-year-old dachshund, to her doggie bed. She was in her favorite chair and nothing was getting her to budge, not even the promise of a treat.

    I asked my kids if they thought Chelsea had "selective hearing" because she didn't want to go to bed or if she was going deaf. I had a feeling it was the latter.

    We reminisced and laughed about how Chelsea used to hear every little thing, from the icemaker in our kitchen to a leaf blowing outside. Then my son Andrew, who was nine at the time, looked at me with great concern. "Mom, I hope when you get old you don't go deaf like Chelsea."

    I laughingly told him it might be good if I can't hear everything when I get as old as Chelsea. She gets a lot more sleep, and she's not offended by the doggy jokes we make about her advanced age.

    My light-hearted response didn't wipe the concern off his brow, so I asked why he was afraid I wouldn't be able to hear him. He answered without hesitation, "Well, sometimes you don't hear me now. Like when you're on the computer and I ask you a question."

    Ouch! I had no idea my child thought I couldn't hear him. His answer almost sent me on a bad-mommy guilt-trip. Flashbacks popped up from times I'd heard him but hadn't listened because my focus was on someone or something else, like the computer and TV.

    Instead of defining that moment with guilt, I pulled Andrew close and told him I was sorry for not listening sometimes. I explained how me being on the computer is similar to him watching a movie. He gets so involved he doesn't hear me call him for dinner. He smiled recognizing his own "hearing loss" at times.

    Still, I didn't want that to be my excuse. So I promised him I would try to stop what I am doing when he comes to me. In my heart, I committed to look away from my computer or phone to really listen. His comment made me realize, we all long to be heard, don't we?

    Psalm 17:6 reflects our desire for God to hear us. The psalmist wrote, "I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray." It reminds me that in the same way I go to God because I want Him to listen and answer me, my child and others come to me because they want me to listen to them. When I stop what I'm doing and listen, it tells them that they, and what they have to say, are important to me.

    In our culture of constant contact through technology, it's easy for our attention to be divided and our focus to shift away from those who are in the room with us.

    Although we are physically present, often times we are mentally absent.

    That night God showed me the valuable gift we can give our children, spouses, friends, co-workers and even strangers. It's the gift of listening.

    We give it each time we stop what we're doing and turn our full attention to others when they talk to us. And, it's a gift God gives to us each time we talk to Him too!

    Lord, thank You for listening to me. Please help me be a better listener. It's easy to hear with one ear while the other is turned toward my computer, television or cell phone. I want to give the gift of listening because it communicates that I value those who want me to hear them. Make me aware and willing to push past this habit so that I can be a listener like You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    A Life That Says Welcome, Simple Ways to Open Your Heart & Home to Others by Karen Ehman

    The NIV Real Life Devotional Bible for Women with 366 devotions written by the Proverbs 31 Ministries team on everyday life.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Ask God to show you throughout the day how you are doing when it comes to really listening to those you live and work with.

    Make a list of people you will give the gift of listening to this week.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 54:2, "Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth." (NIV)

    Luke 2:46, "After three days they found him [Jesus] in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions." (NIV)

    © 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 Psalm, Listening

  • Identity Crisis

    Posted on August 19, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:3-4

    Traumatic events like divorce or a job loss can create a crisis of identity. I previously parented with my spouse, but now I raise my child alone. As a single parent I feel angry, ill equipped and financially stressed. Before I was let go from my job I managed a team and felt respected. Post firing I struggle just to manage myself. I feel unimportant. An identity crisis is an opportunity for Christ to remind me of my identity in Him. I am significant in Him, so I am important to Him.

    What feels out of control the Lord uses to bring His child under His control. A parent's identity is challenged after a child leaves home as a young adult, just as an individual struggles for significance after retirement. If who we are is wrapped up in what we do, we are set up for disillusionment. What we do will change, but our standing in Christ remains the same. Our value isn’t measured by our role, but by the abundance of God’s grace we enjoy. Relationships are what really count.

    Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! Philippians 4:1

    Because Christ is your life, your life is complete. There is no need to strive to be someone you are not, nor is it necessary to reach back and become someone you were that was only relevant for that season of life. Yes, the value of your life increases as you increasingly align with Almighty God’s character and will for your life. An identity crisis is the Lord’s opportunity to take your integrity to another level of influence. You walk securely when integrity instructs your actions.

    Therefore, by God’s grace die to the desire to be someone other than God’s workmanship in Christ.  Rest in your relationship with Jesus and enjoy the people He brings into your life for you to bless. It is the immaterial not the material that marks your real worth. Peace of mind, purity of heart and selfless service make you attractive to be around. As you love the Lord and others well it will be well with your soul. You are Christ’s bride, your identity is defined by His last name!

    The bride belongs to the bridegroom. John 3:29
    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I rest in Your son Jesus as my life. My identity and security is in Him.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 29:23, 43:7; Psalm 45:1-17; John 17:13; Ephesians 2:10

    Post/Tweet today: Love the Lord and others well; it will be well with your soul. #identitycrisis

    © 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 Colossians

  • Do You Have Enough?

    Posted on August 19, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "Then he said to them, 'Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.'" Luke 12:15 (NIV)

    "On your mark. Get set. Go!!" my husband shouted as our three kids began the M&M race.

    The rules were simple. Each child had a bowl in a separate corner of the family room. In the middle of the floor sat a huge bowl of M&M's. The kids were to transport their candies one tablespoon at a time back to their individual bowls. If any dropped on the floor, they couldn't pick them up.

    The most important rule was this: when the timer rang, they had to stop in place. If the kids weren't sitting in their corner holding their bowl, all their M&M's would be forfeited.

    The clincher? We wouldn't tell them how long the timer would be set.

    Four-year-old Spencer, the family clown, giggled as he dashed back and forth, candies flying off his spoon. He kept going, thinking he would get the most by hurrying and scurrying.

    Methodical Mitchell was slow and careful so he could balance more candies on the spoon, not drop any and fill his bowl to the brim. But he forgot about the timer.

    Big sister Kenna quickly clued in to the "catch" of the game. She too was careful transporting her M&M's. But after a few trips, she sat down with bowl in lap and waited.

    Moments later the timer went off. Spencer dove for his bowl. Mitchell, who was meticulously scooping, realized all of his tedious effort had come to nothing. Both boys were without a single M&M.

    In her corner sat their sister, now the proud owner of everyone's candies. One boy began to complain, the other to cry. They wanted their candy! We had them calm down to listen as we finished the Bible lesson. There was a point to this shenanigan.

    My husband read the story of the rich fool in Luke 12:13-21. This man had a prosperous farm that earned him quite a deal of money. Instead of using his wealth to bless others, he tore down his barns and built bigger ones to stash his stuff.

    However, that very night, life's timer would go off and he would die. All of his earthly possessions would be of no value to him. In fact, they would be left for others. We related this story to our family game that day.

    You know, when I step back and look around, it's easy to see how I can seek excessive earthly treasures too. I spend money on things I don't need instead of giving to feed the poor or reaching out to people with the good news of Christ. Clothes, out-on-the-town outings, or money spent on luxuries for ourselves can fill our home and heart. I'm not only talking about really expensive items or trips. It can be as simple as a pair of sandals on sale.

    Even though three pairs of sandals sit in my closet that are in good condition, I can justify spending $15 on new ones. They're cute, match my favorite blue shirt and are half price! And I sure do want to get to the store early so my size is still there.

    Do I really need them? No. Do I want them? Yes. And here's where I have to do some soul searching and re-read the story of the greedy farmer from Luke12:15. In it, we're warned, "Then he said to them, 'Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.'"

    Am I hoarding my money for an abundance of possessions? Could I limit myself by setting a budget for splurges (like those sandals) and spend the money I save on needful things?

    While there is merit in saving for a rainy day, we should also share that which God has given us. This is exactly what our daughter did that day with her M&M's and her two baby brothers!

    Dear Lord, show me where I can spend less on myself and more on others. All I have belongs to You. May I use it for Your glory. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    A Life That Says Welcome, Simple Ways to Open Your Heart & Home to Others by Karen Ehman

    The NIV Real Life Devotional Bible for Women with 366 devotions written by the Proverbs 31 Ministries team on everyday life.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Keep track of what you spend on items that aren't necessities. How could you spend that money in a way that would help someone else?

    What areas are strongholds for you in the struggle with greed? Pray about what action God would have you take to curb your cravings for more.

    Power Verse:
    Proverbs 28:25, "The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the LORD will prosper." (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 Luke

  • Follow-Up

    Posted on August 18, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the LORD had commanded.  So Moses blessed them.  Exodus 39:43

    Follow-up is necessary for effective leaders. It is necessary in your work and family. It is necessary as you manage and hold others responsible. Follow-up means you care about the person who is performing the task and you care about the work being done. You follow up with your children because you care for them too much not to stay involved in their lives. They may seem distant and disinterested, but you still follow up. Relationships retreat for lack of follow-up.

    Ego and pride resist follow-up and expect others to initiate, but people forget. People do not place as high a priority on your activities as you do. They may even commit to a certain time, but because of busyness, fail to follow through. Extremely active people need more follow-up than is normally necessary. You may feel rejected when a person appears disinterested. They may be, but you are responsible to provide gentle reminders and reengage them at a more robust level. Effective follow-up is as much an art as a science. Yes, have a systematic style to your communications, but do not badger people by bombarding them with too much, too often.
    People do better when you “inspect what we expect.” So, take the time to inspect. Create margin for inspection and accountability. Follow-up is an appropriate time to revisit expectations. The longer disconnected expectations are left unaddressed, the higher the probability for misunderstanding and failure. Frequent inspection leads to clarification and correction. Small adjustments along the way defuse frustrations and avert subtle surprises down the road. Do not assume that someone understands the first time. Don’t assume you understand the first time.

    Make sure everyone is on the same page and that there is a coalition of efforts and resources. Also, be willing to adjust, as thinking and engaged people will discover a better way of doing things. Encourage and reward their wise and resourceful innovation. Follow-up frees people to give much needed feedback. Above all else, make sure the project and the process revolve around God’s principles of work and relationships. It is imperative that everyone be aligned around the Almighty’s agenda. His way is the best way; so do not compromise the non-negotiables that define the values and mission of the enterprise.
    Follow-up keeps a focus on the purpose of glorifying God. Follow-up is for the purpose of wise stewardship, excellent communication, and affirming accountability. Use your frequent follow-up as a way to bless the other person. Make the follow-up of the transaction or task a small percentage of the conversation. Use this excuse for relational engagement to find out about the person. Listen for their fears, their frustrations, and their dreams. People want to know they are cared for before they care to listen. Follow-up leads to follow through, all for a greater purpose than any one individual.
    Use your faithful follow-up as an opportunity to bless others on behalf of God. For example, Paul wrote out expectations and then followed up in person. “Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:14-15).

    Post/Tweet: People want to know they are cared for before they care to listen. #followup

    © 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

  • Gifted Bible Teachers

    Posted on August 17, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel” (Ezra 7:10).

    A gifted Bible teacher is a gift from God. He equips them with the discernment of His Word and the ability to apply it to everyday life. Gifted teachers dissect facts from Holy Scripture and then bridge their relevance into contemporary society. This requires prayerful preparation. Biblical facts without application become dry, dusty, and boring. Indeed, factual information without individual life change facilitates our pride.

    “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know” (1 Corinthians 8:1–2).

    The danger is to fill our minds without a change of heart; so the gifted Bible teacher presents his message to both mind and heart. Of course, the other extreme is a potential problem. Bible teachers who attempt to apply the Scripture without proper biblical context and grounding in God’s Word run the risk of sharing opinion rather than absolutes and Scriptural principles. Truth needs to be released, not watered down or overexplained.

    “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 nkjv).

    The teacher’s role is to harvest God’s truth and humbly deliver it to the sheep of his flock. Like a seasoned chef, he wants the delivery to invite interest. The presentation of a delicious meal is inviting to the eye and stomach; so the proper presentation of God’s Word is to the head and heart. One quality of an effective delivery is a humble spirit.

    People do not want to be talked down to. They want to be taught by a fellow learner and struggler. People respect you for your strengths but connect with you for your weaknesses. “Perfect” Bible teachers build walls between the people, while “imperfect” ones build bridges to the people. The best Bible teachers are those who perceive themselves as growing in the process of their own Christian maturity.

    Another good quality of a compelling presentation is stories. Jesus told stories. Stories illustrate truth with clarity. Like the sun shining through a freshly cleaned window, you can see much better. Interesting storytellers are students of people who understand their hopes and fears. Gifted Bible teachers comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

    Lastly, the gifted Bible teacher loves to read, research, and engraft God’s Word into his own soul. The Bible oozes from his being. Scripture is not just a source for sermon preparation, but first a source for heart preparation. He opens the Word of God and asks God to speak to him and to change him. Private study with personal application leads to public connection.

    God, change me first, so I can present your truth to others in need of You. Pour me out as a broken vessel to others who are hungry and thirsty for Your truth!

    “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

    Prayer: Do I allow the Word of God to change me first, before I teach it to others?

    Related Readings: Ezra 7:6; Ecclesiastes 12:9–11; Hebrews 5:12; James 3:1

    Post/Tweet: People respect you for your strengths but connect with you for your weaknesses. #giftedbibleteachers

    © 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 Ezra

  • Direction From God

    Posted on August 16, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.” Exodus 13:17-18

    The Lord’s path for His people is not always a straight line from point A to point B. In His wisdom He may allow us to go through the wilderness, before we arrive at the promised land. He knows preparation precedes the blessing of the destination. He desires that we learn trust in Him—along the way to where He wants us to go.

    It’s when the Lord’s will is a non-linear route that we begin to doubt and wonder why He has led us through a desert experience. However, if life were that easy we could easily take credit for our successes and grow demanding and proud, instead of grateful and humble. Thank the Lord that He has you in a process that requires intense prayer and faith. He knows what’s best to grow your faith, so you are able to handle His blessings.

    “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

    Do you find yourself in a wilderness, unsure of your next steps? Are you overcome with doubt and uncertainty? If so, do the next right thing and trust God with the future. Remind yourself of His history of faithfulness to lead you into the very best plan. The timing may not be to your liking, but you can trust the Lord that His timetable is for your best.

    If it’s a job transition—let go and let God—because He is your pilot to navigate the next steps. If it’s relational upheaval—figure God in—and He will figure it out. If you still wallow in anger from past hurt—get over it by God’s grace and forgiveness—and get on with your life. Above all, follow by faith your heavenly Father’s gentle leading. Remain in the palm of His protective hand, as you traverse up and down His trusted pathway.

    “Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long” (Psalm 25:4-5).

    Lastly, make the Bible your roadmap for righteous living. It is in His holy writ that the Lord lays out clear boundaries as you travel through life. The route of His will involves exit ramps to rest, driving at night with limited vision and occasional car wrecks. But throughout your travels in this life keep an eye on eternity’s prize in the person of Jesus Christ. Keep your faith in Jesus for He will never let you down. Get directions from Him.

    “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the nations” (Revelation 15:3b).

    Prayer: How can I better let go and let God lead me along His best path for my life?

    Related Readings: Proverbs 12:28; Isaiah 55:8-9; 64:5; Jeremiah 32:19; Hebrews 3:8

    Post/Tweet today: Preparation precedes the blessing of the journey and the reward of the destination. #directionfromGod

    © 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

  • Quiet My Soul

    Posted on August 16, 2013 by Wendy Pope

    Wendy Pope

    "But I have stilled and quieted my soul." Psalm 131:2a (NIV 1984)

    I'm a talker ... I always have been. When report cards came home, my parents never expected anything better than a C beside the word "conduct." One of my elementary school teachers politely called me "very social." Most were more blunt: "Wendy talks too much. She could learn more if she would talk less."

    Unfortunately, old habits die hard. I brought this trait of talking too much into the time I set aside each day to spend alone with God. I often fill my "quiet time" with my words ... lots and lots of words. I wonder if sometimes the Father looks to the Son and says, "I can't get a word in edge-wise with this girl! She could learn more if she would talk less."

    No, silence wasn't easy for this girl who likes to gab. Rather than waiting for God to speak to me, I wanted to tell Him what I thought would be good solutions to my problems. To-do lists ran through my head, instead of peace and quiet. It was easy to go on and on about the dusty shelves and piles of toys. But sit and listen? That felt unnatural, so I resisted and kept talking.

    I shared this uneasiness with God, knowing silence and stillness were things I needed to practice. During these times I felt God's gentle encouragement: Shhh ... be still. It's okay to be silent. You don't have to say a word.

    God was clearly trying to teach me something. His direction to be quiet was about more than resting my mouth-it was about resting my heart. I understood this when I read Psalm 131:2, "But I have stilled and quieted my soul." God wanted me to understand true rest ... His rest.

    As with anything, practice makes perfect. With great intention, I slowed my 90-mile-an-hour thoughts and parked them during my alone time with the Lord. Sometimes this required me writing out my to-do list prior to our time together. Or re-adjusting my priorities. Vacuuming was not as important as listening to God. Many times my thoughts would rev up, and I'd be talking without even realizing it! But I'd rein them back in and start over.

    My spirit felt renewed and at peace. In silence and stillness, I sensed God's direction for my day, peace for my circumstances and the soul-rest I needed.

    As we fill the reservoirs of our souls with true refreshment from God, we learn to relax as we experience real peace and rest that only comes from the silence and stillness of being with Him. We carry this refreshment with us as we face the challenges of our day.

    Do you have the gift of gab like me? Do you find it challenging to sit quietly with God? Ask Him to help you practice and enjoy silence and stillness. Your soul will find refreshing peace. God's rest is exactly what our restless souls need.

    Dear Lord, my soul is having a hard time being still. I lay down my resistance to silence and ask for your help to spend time in silence with You every day. I praise You in advance for what You are going to say to me in the silence. I thank You for the rest only You can give. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    What Happens When Young Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst and Hope TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    What keeps you from silencing your soul during quiet times with God?

    For five days spend five minutes in silence with God. Open the time of silence by repeating today's key verse, "But I have stilled and quieted my soul" (Psalm 131:2a). Keep a journal of your time with Him.

    Power Verses:
    Matthew 11:28-30, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." (MSG)

    Ecclesiastes 3:7b, "... a time to be silent and a time to speak." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


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

  • Honor Aging Parents

    Posted on August 15, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise. Ephesians 6:2

    Aging parents are a gift from Almighty God. How many children have the opportunity to grow old with their mom and dad? Some see disease or an accident snatch away their mother or father before they become elderly. It is a blessing to support those who may have supported us over the years. To serve and honor our parents is to serve and honor Jesus. Yes, caring for them is a picture to a lost world of how our Heavenly Father cares for us. Aging parents are God’s excuse to love.

    How can we help our aging parents in a way that honors them? What if they don’t want assistance, but find themselves in a very needy situation? Build up relational equity with your mother and father before their bodies begin to break down. Don’t wait until they really slow down, before you start your service to them. Dignify the aging process by honoring them along the way. They’ll feel more comfortable as you continue your care, as mentally they are less aware.

    Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:32

    Receive whatever level of engagement your loved ones allow. You may have total access to their finances, if so seek to co-manage their money with them. They may invite you into the inner sanctuary of their soul for spiritual support, do so with humble prayers, Bible reading and church attendance, if they are able. Perhaps you join your mom and dad in their conversations with their physician. Ask questions as their advocate. Or, maybe they move in with you for a season.

    Most of all pray aggressively for your aging parents. Pray for them to feel the caring comfort of Christ in their heart and His peace in their mind. Pray for them to come to know Jesus in a personal relationship of trust in His death and resurrection for their salvation. Pray for opportunities for you to love them to the Lord and to share the gospel. Pray for yourself to patiently model the grace of God. Aging parents are not about our convenience, but their honor.

    Love is patient. 1 Corinthians 13:4

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me favor with my parents to love and honor them as You do.

    Related Readings: Malachi 1:6;  Matthew 15:5-7; Romans 13:7; 1 Timothy 5:1-2; Titus 2:2-3

    Post/Tweet today: Aging parents are not about our convenience, but their honor. #honoragingparents

    © 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 Ephesians

  • When My Happy Gets Bumped

    Posted on August 15, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:11-12 (NIV)

    Most days, I wake up fairly happy. It's not like I wake up in a mood for a party but generally I'm not grumpy when I arise. I wake up and things seem pretty good, level and fresh with possibilities. And then inevitably something will bump into my happy.

    An early morning meltdown by one of my people. It's amazing what a bad hair day can do to a teenager's attitude.

    Or a forgotten something for school. And one of my people wants their irresponsibility to suddenly become my emergency.

    Or an email from somebody who clearly gets pleasure from trying to bring others down.

    Or me misjudging the time and suddenly everything is rushed, hurried and stressful.

    Or my husband, Art, lowering the thermostat in the house to 68 degrees and I can't stop shivering until the temperature hovers closer to 72. It's amazing how much difference four degrees makes.

    Things happen. Things that bump into my happy. And suddenly I'm a little off-kilter and little less nice.

    Can you relate?

    Well, I'm learning something about a little mental perspective I need to have when things bump into my happy. In that moment, Satan is scheming to have me help him out. If he can just get me jostled to the point where I react out of anger, it's like lighting a spark near a puddle of gasoline.

    Even the smallest spark can ignite quite a fire. A fire that will spread and feel much bigger than what the situation ever should have been.

    Take the temperature discussion for example.

    It should be just a simple discussion about the thermostat. But, add a little anger and suddenly things in my brain escalate to the point where I've just about convinced myself Art is completely insensitive and couldn't care less about me.

    Is that true? Of course not. He just likes to sit in his house without sweating. Surely, we could find a compromise with the temperature or I could go put on some socks and a sweatshirt.

    Instead, when he bumps my happy, a "growth opportunity" ensues that leaves us both feeling a little burned.

    In other words, I play right into Satan's scheme and help him out. Remember, Satan's very name means one who casts something between two, causing a separation. Be it a temperature issue, tight finances, a misunderstood statement or one of the millions of little things that can bump our happy ... we have a choice.

    We can choose to play into Satan's schemes and enable his attempts to separate us from God's best.

    Or, we can choose to fight for our relationships and against Satan's divisive attempts.

    When I think about it in these terms, it helps me identify the real enemy.

    My real enemy isn't any of the people who bump my happy. My real enemy is the one who tries with all his might to get me to jump into a grumpy mood and help him tear down all that I love.

    Knowing I need a strategy against these attacks, I turn to the wisdom found in Ephesians 6:11, "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."

    You better back up and back off Satan. I'm on to your schemes. You are my enemy, not people. And now I have a totally new game plan for when my happy gets bumped. Starting with finding just the right pair of socks and a sweatshirt to wear in the ice cave.

    Dear Lord, sometimes my happy gets bumped and my emotions get the best of me. Help me to react in a way that's honoring to You instead of reacting in a way that will fuel Satan's agenda. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    What Happens When Young Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst and Hope TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    What bumps into your happy and sends you off kilter?

    Could this realization that it's not just you feeling jostled, but a scheme of Satan's to separate, give you a different perspective?

    Power Verse:
    James 4:7, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (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

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