• War Room in Theaters this August

Daily Devotion

  • Silver and Gold

    Posted on December 18, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:11

    The Magi came with genuine gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the new born Messiah. However, this was the closest Christ would come to obtaining treasures for Himself. He arrived in the world with no economic mandate or political agenda. His goal was not to bring finances to bear as a solution to poverty or the nation’s war torn conditions. No, Jesus was born to bring the new birth of a prosperous soul, a peaceful mind and a forgiven heart. Gold was not His goal.

    We have to honestly ask ourselves, ‘Is our plan to fix the culture with financial solutions or is the Spirit’s transforming power our remedy?’ What is our role in bringing the life giving gospel of Jesus to those spiritually bankrupt? Jesus lost what was rightfully His, so He could reach the lost. He came to seek and to save the lost so they might be saved from sin, self and Satan. A global movement of God does not depend on money, but on our hearts being moved by God.

    A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. Proverbs 22:1

    History describes a powerful church when it wasn’t prosperous and a powerless church when it was prosperous. Thus, we go back to the beginning of the Christian faith in the modest manager and we embrace the idea of reliance on God, not gold or government. We worship the One whose Kingdom is not of this world, who reigns over the hearts of humans. Yes, your good name is more valuable than great riches. Use your influence so seekers embrace the Christ of Christmas.

    Some think they need more stuff, but what they need is to be loved by their Lord. Your material means may be modest, but your spiritual resources are abundant. Therefore, during the season of your Savior’s birth be bold to invite others to celebrate your birthday party for Jesus. Pray for those who hijack His special day to commercialize Christ. Stay focused on a faith expression of the holiday and don’t get caught up in the influence of money and materialism. Like the early Christians, you may not have silver and gold, but you have God and He has you.

    Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk. Acts 3:6

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me to lean into Your power and not depend on the influence of money to solve spiritual issues.

    Related Readings: Proverbs 3:3-4; Ezekiel 34:16; Luke 19:10; John 8:58; Revelation 9:20

    Post/Tweet this today: A global movement of God does not depend on money, but on our hearts being moved by God. #silverandgold
    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Click to Change

    Posted on December 18, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen

    "For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12 (AMP)

    "Look, Miss Karen! When you click here you can change the color of her fingernail polish just like that!" I was watching my friend's pre-teen daughter for the weekend. She was parked on the couch playing around on a nail art website on my computer. Each time she clicked on a different color nail polish bottle the color instantly changed on the model's hands.

    Clicking a mouse to change things on our computer screen is so simple. If only real life were the same!

    Many times I look at my circumstances and wish I had a special mouse so I could click and change everything I don't like. But life's not like that. While there's much I can change, there's much more I can't.

    And when I focus on all I can't revise, my heart can feel defeated. There are people I can't change, finances I can't control, and circumstances that leave my heart feeling shattered. If only I could recolor bad attitudes or rewrite difficult experiences, then I'd feel better. Right?

    Wrong.

    I've discovered that changing other people or circumstances isn't really a fix for my often-troubling situations because it isn't something I can make happen. I can't control other's behavior, only mine. Here is where the solution lies.

    Even when circumstances and people stay the same, my attitude towards them and my perspective can change. What can bring about this transformation?

    God's Word.

    It can snap me back to attention, soften my heart and help me view my life through a different and God-honoring lens. It can align my heart and actions with God's so I don't do or say things today I will regret tomorrow. As Hebrews 4:12 states, it helps to expose, sift, analyze and judge the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.

    In a very practical way, God's Word makes it all click and that clicking makes me change.

    Spending time daily in the Bible is imperative to bringing about this change, and we at Proverbs 31 Ministries have committed to help women around the world interact with God's Word daily through our many ministry avenues. Just this past year God impacted the lives of over 600,000 women daily through our free Encouragement for Today devotions. We celebrated with over 4,000 women who made first time decisions for Christ, and our team responded to over 10,000 prayer requests.

    It isn't just the volunteers and staff who get to be a part of helping bring God's transforming work. So does everyone who gives a financial gift — no matter the size — to Proverbs 31 Ministries.

    We value every gift and giver. The ones who give hundreds ... the ones who go without lattes each month and share their saved $25 ... the ones who donate $5.

    Yes, $5 makes a big impact.

    Together, we offer perspective-changing truth that can renew a woman's heart and mind no matter what age or stage of life she's in.

    Together, we point women to the Healer, made known on the pages of Scripture, who can make their spirits whole.

    Together we can teach women how to study the Bible, forgive and mend a friendship, strengthen a marriage, or effectively parent children.

    Do you want to change the world by offering hope, help, and even life from behind your computer screen? We'd love for you to join us. When we give our collective "littles," God transforms them into a big movement that can alter lives both now and for eternity.

    With a click of your mouse, you help change the world.

    We'd be honored if you would join us.

    Dear Lord, thank You for the life-altering and perspective-changing power of Your holy Word. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    When is a time that God's Word helped to change your bad attitude or wrong perspective?

    Will you forward this email to a friend who needs to receive encouragement from God's Word?

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 119:11 "I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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

  • Rich Poor Rich

    Posted on December 17, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9

    Jesus exchanged the riches of heaven to become poor on earth. He gave up His mansion to be born in a manager. He gave up His Kingship to be pursued by jealous King Herod. He gave up His train of royalty to ride on a lowly donkey at His humble coronation. He gave up His majestic throne to take a towel and wash filthy feet.  He gave up His glory to glorify His Heavenly Father. Jesus gave up His riches, so we might be made rich by His grace and love! Rich, poor, rich.

    Yes, Jesus Christ was born in poor conditions, lived a low income life and died impoverished. Yet, He was the richest gift ever given to the human race. The gifts brought by the wise men were a mere trinket compared to the gift of salvation who quietly lay at the back of the inn surrounded by noisy animals. All the natural resources in the world combined do not begin to define the value of this one child, Christ Jesus. One man’s poverty made the world rich indeed.

    And all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:24

    What is the value of one saved soul? What is the worth of God’s grace that gets us through life with peace and joy? The human mind cannot properly monetize the mission of Jesus, but we know its worth far exceeds any earthly comparisons. Diamonds and jewels are only shiny rocks in light of God’s love given to all who love Him. Grace is the Lord’s blank check to draw on in time of need. His bank of love never has a run on its resources. It is insured by infinite grace!

    Furthermore, your adoption by grace through faith gives you full benefits as a child of the King.  So, steward well the riches you received at salvation when you inherited the Kingdom of God. You have been made rich by every good deed that flows from God’s grace at work in your heart and life. Thus, remember the poor, because the One who was poor gave up His riches to make you rich. You are able to enrich others by introducing them to the poor child born at Christmas. For your sake, Jesus gave you His riches. Yes, thank Him this season for His indescribable gift!

    And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:14-15

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I am eternally grateful for Your surpassing grace that exceeds my expectations, needs and wants.

    Related Readings: Matthew 20:28; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Philippians 2:6-8; Hebrews 3:1

    Post/Tweet this today: The wise men’s gifts were measly compared to the gift of salvation who quietly lay at the back of the inn surrounded by noisy animals. #richgrace

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

  • He Sees You Right Where You Are

    Posted on December 17, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified." Luke 2:8-9 (NIV)

    It's interesting who the Bible records as the first to hear the good news of Jesus' birth. It wasn't a king. Or a religious leader. Or a rich man. It wasn't to anyone in the center of attention and importance. It was to shepherds. Dirty, smelly shepherds.

    It's also notable that it wasn't broadcast in the day. It wasn't announced with trumpets on the temple steps as hundreds crowded to offer sacrifices. Or proclaimed in the marketplace in the middle of a busy day. It was night, in quiet isolation.

    The fields weren't where important people visited. Especially not at night. And that night the dark field was covered with sleeping sheep and tired shepherds. Just them. Outside the world's notice. Men performing a wearying task at a wearying hour.

    Of all the ways and to all the people and at all the times God could have announced His Son's birth, He chose this way, these people, and this time of night.

    Luke 2:8-9 tells us, "And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified." (NIV) God saw those shepherds right where they were that night. He noticed their work; He noticed them. And He had a message of hope they desperately needed to hear.

    It's a message I've needed to hear many times. I've needed to know that God saw me in the dark. When I've felt alone. And in need of a message of hope.

    As a young mom there were many nights I held crying babies, wondering if I'd ever feel normal again. Would I ever get to sleep through the night, wear clothes without baby drool, or have an adult conversation?

    I've worked late, worried over finances, and wondered when help would come. Did God see me working so hard? Did He see me wrestling with problems or how tired I was?

    The message to the shepherds tells us God does see our hard work and long nights. And He doesn't sleep. He doesn't prefer those in authority. He doesn't leave us alone. And He has a message of hope for each of us.

    I see you, rocking your crying baby at 2 a.m., doubting you'll ever sleep again.

    I see you, up late studying while the rest of your classmates have fun.

    I see you, pacing the floor wondering when your teen will get home.

    I see you, working an extra shift to help pay the bills.

    I see you, sleeping on the couch fearing your marriage can't be repaired.

    I see you, sitting with a friend who received the worst news of her life that day.

    To you, the news of the angels to the shepherds is yours as well.

    Behold ... pacing mother, hardworking student, worrying wife ... to you is given "good news that will cause great joy for all the people." (Luke 2:10 NIV)

    To you ... exhausted mommy, anxious sister, steadfast friend ... "a Savior has been born ... he is the Messiah, the Lord." (Luke 2:11 NIV)

    It was no mistake God sent His angels to the dark fields and to the humble shepherds that night. He sent a message of good news to those who desperately needed to hear it.

    Today, in your place of darkness, isolation, weariness ... God sees you and sends the same message: A Savior has been born for YOU.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for caring about those who feel alone, forgotten, and weary. I confess I feel like that some times. Thank You for seeing my needs and sending Jesus to be the answer to all of them. In His Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Do you ever wonder if God sees you? Trust that He does and spend some time in prayer today.

    Besides the reasons mentioned in the devotion, why else might God have chosen to announce His Good News to the shepherds?

    Power Verses:
    John 10:11, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." (NIV)

    Psalm 121:3, "He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber ..." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Belief in God

    Posted on December 16, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Whoever believes in him [Jesus] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. John 3:18

    Belief in God is vastly different from my belief that God exists. For example, I may see a stranger walking down the street and believe they exist, but I certainly don’t believe in them, because I don’t know them. In the same way, I must move beyond my mental assent of the Almighty to a belief in Him as my Lord and Savior. I grow from a religious routine related to a distant Deity to a personal love relationship with Jesus Christ. Belief in God is trust in God.

    Belief in God is much more than turning to the Lord only when we are in trouble. It is a moment by moment consciousness of Christ and a daily walk with Jesus in His way. This level of trust in the Trinity transforms our thinking and molds our behavior. The Holy Spirit becomes our trusted guide who reveals our next step in a sticky situation and who warns us regarding unwise decisions. Yes, belief in God gets us to God as our number one trusted advisor. Belief births salvation.

    He [Jesus] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:2

    Take to heart a heart felt faith experience by your personal belief in God. Jettison the idea that God is disconnected from daily life for it is the difference between heaven and hell and peace and insecurity. Glory to God! Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to free it from the sentence of sin. The instant you trust Christ’s death for your sin’s absolution in place of your morality, you are free indeed. Belief in God equals eternal life with God.

    Not being an atheist is not enough, even the devil acknowledges the existence of God. So, your belief in the Lord is focused, not vague. It is concrete, not abstract. Trust in Christ listens first to His voice and shuts out the competing noise of the culture. Before belief, God was your enemy and the devil your ally. After belief the Almighty is now your ally and the Adversary your enemy.  Thus, in Christ, you are no longer condemned, but set free to worship, serve and love your Lord!

    Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. James 4:4

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I believe You’ve existed for all eternity and I believe in Your son Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and Lord.

    Related Readings: Numbers 14:11; Luke 8:12; John 7:38-39; James 2:19; 1 John 3:5-10

    Post/Tweet this today: Belief in God is vastly different from my belief that God exists. Belief in God is trust in God. #beliefinGod

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

  • The Giving Gift

    Posted on December 16, 2013 by Amy Carroll

    Amy

    "They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life." 1 Timothy 6:18-19 (ESV)

    It was time to decorate for Christmas. As I set up my new artificial tree, I pondered what to do with the old one. It still had lots of life in it and rather than donating it to an organization, our family wanted to add a personal touch and show love to a specific family.

    We wanted to put into action what we're told to do in 1 Timothy 6:18-19, "They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life." (ESV)

    When I went to my volunteer job at the domestic violence shelter the next week, I asked the manager for a suggestion. "I'd like to donate our Christmas tree to a mom who has just completed the shelter's program and moved into her own home," I explained. The manager gave me a woman's name, and my husband Barry and I made plans with her for delivery.

    On the night we were to meet Robin* and her children, Tasha* and Nathan*, Barry and I loaded the car with anticipation. We drove to her neighborhood and hauled the tree and bags of lights onto the porch. Before we could fully knock on the door, it was flung open to reveal the twinkling eyes of excited children.

    "I didn't expect a big tree!" Robin exclaimed. "I just thought it would be a little one to set on the table!"

    Tasha and Nathan literally danced around the room as Barry set their tree up and showed them how to put lights on it for the first time. While they decorated, Robin told me about her hopes and dreams for a safe future for her and the kids.

    As we drove away, my husband and I reflected on this truth; it truly is more blessed to give than to receive. It's a glimpse of God's image in each of us. We are created by a Father who delights in giving to His children.

    That night, we didn't just give a Christmas tree and some lights. We shared an evening of friendship, laughter, and joy. And gave the gift of time. We brought the love that only Jesus can give us for those we don't know.

    The Christmas season is a time we focus on giving gifts and doing good to others, but I want to emulate God's giving and goodness all year long. That starts by focusing on the way He gives. It's an overflow of His character and an example of how He calls us to share what we have with others.

    God gives lovingly. (Exodus 34:6)
    God gives freely. (James 1:17)
    God gives abundantly. (Psalm 132:15)
    God gives wisely. (Romans 16:27)

    As you're running errands, look to see who you can bless with a kind word or a cup of coffee. As you're putting up your decorations, think about whose home you could bring some festivity to. And as you pause during your day, remember who you can give the gift of prayer and encouragement to. Let's all develop our giving gift by giving more like our Father and by being a blessing to others!

    Lord God, You are my example for how to give good gifts. Please give me Your heart to be generous and a blessing to others. Help me be mindful of the receiver and to give carefully to ensure my gift is a blessing. In Jesus' precious Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What do you have that you could share this Christmas season?

    What steps do you need to take before you give to make sure the gift is a blessing?

    Power Verses:
    Matthew 7:11, "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (NIV)

    2 Corinthians 8:7, "But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving." (NIV)

    *The names are fictitious in order to protect the safety of our friend and her children.

    © 2013 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

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

  • God Cares

    Posted on December 15, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

    God cares about you. He cares about your job; He cares about your fears; He cares about your spouse; He cares about your children; He cares about your parents; He cares about your worries; He cares about your finances; He cares about your car and your house; He also cares about your character, and He cares about you caring about Him and caring for others. He is a caring God. You cannot out-care God. His capacity to care is infinite and his competence to care is matchless. You can care because He cares. There is no care of yours that God does not care about. If it is important to you, then God cares about it. Yes, you will experience misdirected cares, but God’s desire is to come alongside you and realign your cares with what He cares about the most. He cares enough to bear your anxieties and to replace them with His peace and assurance.
    When you give God your worries, you in turn, receive His calming presence. God’s system of care is countercultural. God transforms your cares into what He cares about; so cast your cares on Christ. Equally spiritual people may cast their cares on God in polar opposite ways. One may find release in a quiet written prayer, while another may feel cared for by God through raucous worship. Let another’s processing of anxiety be a guide, not a guilty comparison.
    You know God cares immensely. So how do you cast your cares on Him? By faith, you let Him care. He cares and can be trusted. Therefore, allow Him to do what He does best. You allow Him to care for you. This takes humility on your part. You are acknowledging a desperate need for God. Your declaration of dependence is two-fold. You admit you are anxious, and can’t handle your worry alone. Secondly, you submit to the fact that only God can handle this level of concern. Hence, your submission to God allows His care to consume your anxieties. Your care-giving to God is recurring. Over time, He helps bring your feeble faith and misguided mind into focus on Him. What started out as a burden, He transforms into a blessing. Your pain becomes productive.
    You become free to care for others, because He has freely cared for you. Your perspective takes on a heavenly flavor. Do not wait until matters get worse before you off load on the Lord. Go to God first, because He cares the most. Let bad news travel fast, because He already knows. An all-caring God cultivates a carefree attitude. The more you allow Him to care about your worries, the less you have to care. Then you can focus your care on people and eternal issues. Let God be consumed with your cares so you are not. Then you can lead others to your all-caring Christ. Care for them as Jesus does. Your care will lead to His care. This is the beauty of the circle of care. You do it right, and they will want your God. You care for others, and they will want the God that cares for you. Keep your caring Christ-centered. You care because He cares. You can care because you have let Him care for you. Keep the circle of care rotating.
    Do not grow weary of caring; He doesn’t. He cares for you. Therefore, give Him your cares and experience His care. Christ is your number one caregiver. Jesus said it well: “…do not worry about your life…”(Matthew 6:25).

    Post/Tweet today: You are free to care for others, as you let the Lord care for you. #Godcares

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

  • Radical Trust

    Posted on December 14, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:17–18).

    Radical trust means you trust God even when He does not come through. You are not pregnant, but you still trust God. You do not have a job, but you still trust God. You have been betrayed, but you still trust God. You are sick, but you still trust God. You are lonely, but you still trust God. You are afraid, but you still trust God.

    Your wise decision making is based on God’s trustworthiness. You know He is able, but it is still about His timing. And you will not compromise your convictions because you trust Him. It does not seem fair or right. But God has a bigger picture in mind. Do not be held captive by your finite knowledge and understanding. You can still trust the One with infinite wisdom and understanding. You are not alone in your current fire of adversity.

    The Lord is with you. Your faith has been bolstered and is not extinguished because you know God is walking with you. Your faith is fireproofed by the Holy Spirit. The flames of hell are no match for fire from heaven. Your Savior defeats Satan in every encounter. But even when you are denied acceptance and physical comfort, you can still trust God.

    Trust in God is not just for the good times, though there is a radical trust required as prosperity pelts your faith. But radical trust is much needed when things heat up. When you lose something precious or you are refused something you deserve, this is the time to ratchet up your radical trust. It is for times like this that God has molded your faith.

    What if God has not come through? Radical trust means you stay focused on His past faithfulness. The mundane every day life is a link in the chain between life’s transitions. Today’s link is as important as tomorrow’s transition. Hope for the transition to come, but trust God with today. You cannot handle more than today’s troubles and triumphs. Do not worry about matters in the future over which you have no control.

    Trust God with today, and do not worry about the uncertainty of tomorrow. This is radical trust in Christ. If you obsess over fear of the future, you most certainly will define the ambiguity with negative consequences. Then unwittingly you create a self-fulfilling prophecy. You worry yourself sick. You worry others sick. Or you are of no use for today because you are worried about tomorrow. You are stuck in the inertia of distrust.

    But the Lord can be trusted. Meditate on His faithfulness instead of what might happen. Unleash the radical trust that resides within you. When you were younger, radical faith marked you as a follower of Christ. Reignite that passion for Jesus. Lay aside the sins of disbelief and worry. The cross of Christ and His resurrection are radical. Trust God even if He has not or does not come through. He is still trustworthy; so be radical in your trust!

    Prayer: Do I radically trust the Lord with past events and decisions? How is He trustworthy?

    Related Readings: Psalm 28:7; Isaiah 12:2; John 8:26; Romans 15:13

    Post/Tweet today: Trust in God means today’s troubles become tomorrow’s testimonies. #radicaltrust

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

  • Affection and Acceptance

    Posted on December 13, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:13-14

    Jesus was tender and tough. He took the time to love little children, but He was also bold to confront greed in the face of businessmen using God for personal gain. However, most of the time Jesus modeled affection toward those who could or could not reciprocate—and acceptance toward those who had experienced rejection. He graciously extended both.

    Do you daily receive the affection and acceptance of Almighty God? Have you begun to comprehend the depth and breadth of His magnificent love? Oh, what a Savior and lover of your soul! A close friend may give you the cold shoulder, but Jesus warmly embraces your cares and concerns. Perhaps a fellow Christian rejected you for your indiscretions, but Jesus accepts you despite your failures and lifts you up to walk faithfully with Him.

    “Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:10-11).

    Acceptance is a magnet for those feeling isolated and misunderstood. It is a remedy for realized or unrealized rejection. Your spouse caught up in their own concerns can communicate insensitivity and lack of intimacy. It’s when you feel this relational distance that you turn to Christ and enjoy His closeness. Only Jesus provides acceptance all the time. His approval gives you confidence to go forward by grace through faith.

    Affection is a tender touch, an empathetic ear, a compassionate conversation and a patient prayer. It looks beyond the ugliness of sin and the harshness of humanity—and engages the heart. Affection is not concerned about getting—but is consumed with giving. An affectionate heart cannot wait to love those dismissed or discounted by others.

    Who in your life needs your affection and acceptance? Does your child feel your support and sensitivity? Do you honor your distant parents with love and respect? What about friends and family who are consumed with their own concerns—do you invite them into your life to experience your family’s joy and the compassion of Christ? Reach out to those whom others have rejected and watch the Lord do a work of redeeming love.

    “Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me” (John 13:20).

    Prayer: How does Christ accept me and show His affection? Whom can I serve in the same way?

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 10:15; Acts 15:8; Romans 14:1-3; Philippians 1:8

    Post/Tweet this today: Affection is a tender touch, an empathetic ear, a compassionate conversation and a patient prayer. #affection

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

  • Running on Empty

    Posted on December 13, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie

    "You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!" Psalm 68:35 (NIV)

    We were in between moves, living out of suitcases. My husband was working in one state while I was staying in another to sell our home. I had a bad cold, and coughing had interrupted my sleep for nights. I was so tired that the rings under my eyes had rings under them.

    When my husband suggested we take time away from the packing, selling, and traveling, just to rest, I mentally listed the reasons we couldn't. How could we manage our many to-do's if we took time off?

    In all of these excuses, I was ignoring that I had become very, very tired.

    I was tired spiritually as we encountered hurdle after hurdle in the plan we knew God spoke into our hearts.

    I was tired physically from a week-long cold.

    I was tired relationally as I missed my husband.

    Our circumstances weren't awful. I had battled much more challenging ones in the past. So I reasoned that I needed to put on my big-girl pants and just keep moving forward. Admirable, maybe, if you're a machine, but I am a plain ol' human who had run out of steam.

    God knew it. My husband knew it. It was time for me to admit it. I needed time to rest and re-connect with God through prayer.

    In Psalm 68:35 the Psalmist writes of a living God whose might and power sustained the people with power and strength. I was in need of that kind of help.

    The writer of this verse responds to the Lord with great joy and praise. "You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!" (NIV) When we take our eyes off of worthless and powerless gods or even our own selves we rediscover the power and might of God. I needed to take my eyes off of the self-sufficiency of Suzie to rediscover what God had waiting for me.

    Kneeling, I surrendered my schedule, time, and need to just keep going. I confessed that I was exhausted and needed my Heavenly Father's strength to complete the tasks in front of me.

    That weekend I refueled as I nestled on a couch and prayed for a calm mind that was focused on the Lord, rather than all I had to do. I sat in God's beautiful creation and asked for Him to help me drop my stress over selling our home. I sensed His peace as I rested and took time to get better from my cold.

    When the weekend ended, I was me again. It wasn't that I walked away with all my challenges erased, but I left filled up with God's strength.

    Maybe you're like me. You are spiritually and physically tired, but you don't feel like you can take time to take a break. You think running full steam ahead is the strong way to handle things.

    If we continue to run on empty and never stop to let the Lord fill us up, we will eventually discover the limits of our own strength.

    Is it time for a prayer retreat of your own? Your special time with God might be in a park or a quiet place like the corner of a library. It's not the place that matters, but that you find one and take time to meet with the Lord.

    We schedule everything else. Why not take time to rest in our Heavenly Father? Let's take a break and allow Him to fill us up as we seek His strength for the days ahead.

    Dear Lord, I am spiritually and physically tired, and I have heard the whisper to stop and be refilled. Thank You for the sanctuary I find in You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Think about a tired friend who never stops to refuel. What advice would you offer her? How would you pray for her?

    We often have more empathy or mercy toward others. Today, take that same advice and pray, and embrace it for yourself.

    Power Verse:
    1 Chronicles 16:27, "Honor and majesty are [found] in His presence; strength and joy are [found] in His sanctuary." (AMP)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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

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