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Daily Devotion

  • Raising Sons

    Posted on August 2, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” Proverbs 1:8

    Raising a son requires intentionality from a parent or parents. Wise are the father and mother who have a plan to instruct and teach their son how to make God-honoring choices and to lead like Jesus. Yes, being an excellent example is fundamental, but it takes more than modeling—sons need to understand the why’s, what’s and how’s.

    For example, they need life preparation in how to become a Christian, pray and study the Bible. Take them through the book of John to love Jesus, the book of Ephesians to grasp grace and the book of Proverbs to embrace wisdom. Boys and young men who grow up fearing God are prepared to persevere through adversity, success, marriage and parenting.

    “Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy the truth and do not sell it—wisdom, instruction and insight as well” (Proverbs 23:23-24).

    Fathers show your son how to relate to girls and young women by loving and cherishing your wife; and wives be an example of the woman he will marry by respecting and following your husband. Parents who agree in their discipline and expectations provide a consistent environment that causes their son to grow in confidence and manhood.

    Anger does not work in molding your son’s will; rather use encouragement and calm correction. Lead him to be accountable to Almighty God and then he will behave well, even when you are absent from his presence. Teach him the value of hard work; let your son sweat through manual labor. Help him discover his God-given gifts and then invest time and money to develop his skills. Competence and character create confidence.

    “Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path” (Proverbs 23:19).

    What if your son strays from the truth? What if he makes a series of foolish decisions? It’s imperative dad and mom stay on their knees in earnest prayer for their wayward son. Pray for him to be influenced by those who love Christ, pray for him to grow weary of sin and pray for the love of God to draw him to Himself. Parent’s prayers are productive.

    Rules without relationship lead to rebellion, so keep your relationship growing and communicate often. Even if you are the only one initiating, stay the course in caring correspondence. Above all—start early instilling godly wisdom into your son, as it is easier to build sons than to fix sons. Lead him to be a leader who loves God. Indeed, joy awaits the parent or parents who by God’s grace are able to grow up godly sons.

    “The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him. May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful” (Proverbs 23:24-25)!

    Prayer: Am I intentional in how I raise my son in the ways of the Lord?

    Related Readings: Proverbs 23:15-16; 31:2; Philippians 2:22; James 2:21

    Post/Tweet today: Rules without relationship can lead to rebellion, so grow your relationships in grace. #relationships

    © 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 Proverbs

  • A Mistaken Identity

    Posted on August 2, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "He who belongs to God hears what God says." John 8:47a (NIV 1984)

    I poured a cup of coffee and logged on to my computer to peek at a friend's Facebook page.

    When I tried hopping over to see her latest pictures, I couldn't get her name to appear in the search bar. I was puzzled. This had always worked before. Glancing at the top of the screen, I realized I wasn't logged in to my own account. My son had forgotten to sign off when he'd been on earlier, so I was actually logged in as him instead.

    I couldn't get where I wanted to go because I had a mistaken identity.

    With a quick click of a mouse, I switched accounts and used Facebook as "me." Under the right identity, I was free to view friends' pages, leave comments with ease and get where I wanted to go.

    Sometimes in life we encounter the same issue-a mistaken identity keeps us from living out God's best for our lives. This may happen when a voice from our past or our own negative self-talk causes us to forget our identity in Christ. We log into our day and encounter wrong thinking that's not in sync with who we are. Those wrong thoughts lead us to doubt God's promise of a life filled with security. We can question our value that is rooted deep in His heart toward us.

    Instead of the truth of our identity, we hear: You can't do that. You aren't good enough. You'll never change. Why can't you be more like your sister? If only you were more ____________ instead of so ___________.

    When self-doubt screams and discouragement sets in, we need to recognize what's happening, log out of the lies we believe and log into God's truth. It's the only way to live in our true identity so we can navigate our lives according to God's Word.

    Here are some truths we can tell ourselves to remember who we are: I am the daughter of the Most High God. I am loved, redeemed and renewed. I am chosen, blameless and holy. I was bought at a great price. God knows me thoroughly and yet loves me completely. He has plans for my future that include hope, not harm; blessings, not banishment. I belong to Him.

    John 8:47a tells us, "He who belongs to God hears what God says" (NIV 1984). We need to listen to His Word, let it take root in our minds and allow it to eradicate any untrue, destructive thought patterns. Replacing the negative chatter with assuring scriptures will gently, but firmly, remind us we are children of God.

    Yes, if we "belong to God" we will hear what He says. As we log into His truths daily, no longer will we mistake our identity. We will know the confident reality of who we are in Christ.

    Dear Lord, when I am tempted to think of myself in a way that is neither healthy nor true, remind me both of who I am and to Whom I belong. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness by Suzanne Eller

    Reflect and Respond:
    What are some counter-productive or self-doubting thoughts that race through your mind at times? The next time you sense this happening, read Ephesians 1:3-14.

    Power Verses:
    Romans 1:6, "And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ." (NIV 1984)

    1 John 3:1a, "Consider this: The Father has given us his love. He loves us so much that we are actually called God's dear children. And that's what we are." (GW)

    © 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 John

  • Jesus Intercessor

    Posted on August 1, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25, NKJV

    Jesus sits at the right hand of His Father, ever interceding on behalf of His followers. Because of His sinless sacrifice for the human race, followed by His glorious resurrection, He is qualified to mediate between God and man. Christ is positioned in heaven to help all who call on His name. Indeed, just as He selflessly served as the son of man, so He still serves in heaven on behalf of His servants on earth. Jesus is an advocate to Almighty God for those who need mercy and grace.

    Praise God, our Heavenly Father looks over to His son Jesus instead of looking down on unholy human beings. In Christ, the Lord sees forgiveness not guilt. He sees sinlessness not sin. He sees acceptance not rejection. He sees life not death. He sees wisdom not foolishness. He sees healing not hurt. He sees grace not law. He sees mercy not judgment. He sees love not hate. Yes, we have entered into a covenant relationship with Christ, thus He represents us to God in purity.

    Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Romans 8:34

    Where do you struggle? Who has hurt you? Lay your sorrows, fears and pain at the feet of Jesus and He will represent your needs to your loving Heavenly Father. Don’t concern yourself with what might be appropriate or inappropriate to ask of the Lord, because Jesus filters your prayer requests in His righteous wisdom. He will only give over to God what is worthy of the grace of God. Yes, Christ weighs the motive of your heart before He presents your request to God.

    Therefore, petition Jesus with bold belief from a pure heart. When you are unsure what to request in prayer, trust Christ to communicate to your Heavenly Father on your behalf. Most of all listen to the Lord and what the Spirit is saying to your spirit. The closer you walk with Christ the closer your will aligns with His will. Prayer becomes a quiet affirmation from the Holy Spirit, as you become one with Jesus. Hallelujah, He lives in heaven and appears for you in God’s presence!

    For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Hebrews 9:24
    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me Jesus as my personal intercessor at Your throne of grace and mercy.

    Related Readings: Job 16:20; Isaiah 53:12; 1 John 2:1; 1 Timothy 2:5

    Post/Tweet today: The closer you walk with Christ the closer your will aligns with His will. #Godswill

    © 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 Hebrews

  • The Secret Place

    Posted on August 1, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." John 15:4 (NIV)

    Can I let you in on something? There's a place I escape to that allows my soul to breathe and rest and reflect. It's the place where I can drop the "yuck" the world hands me and trade it in for the fullness of God. It's a place where God reassures me, confirms He has everything under control, and gives me a new filter through which I can process life.

    Our key verse John 15:4 says, "Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." This peaceful and fruitful remaining place is my secret place.

    Honestly, it can be hard for a well-meaning soul that desires radical obedience to God to live in that way.

    Rather that remaining we allow ourselves to be pulled away. The distractions of the world lure us to sell our souls for temporary pleasures, and it's easy to be conned by Satan's schemes. Other people rub us the wrong way, and we want to give them a piece of our mind. Worldly wealth screams that if only we could do more to have more, then ultimate happiness could be ours. And our right to be right seems to supersede the sacrificial call of God.

    All the while God invites our souls to break away from the world and remain in Him. To remain in Him and enter the secret place, I have to make the choice to be with God by recalling Scripture I've stored away in my heart and acknowledging His presence through prayer.

    Sometimes I do this because I'm in a desperate place. I pray, "God, I am here and I need You right now. I'm feeling attacked, invaded, pressed and stressed. Please meet me here and help me process what I'm facing using Your truth. I don't want this thing I'm facing to be processed through my selfishness and insecurity. I will surely act in a displeasing and dishonoring way if I'm left to face this on my own. Block my natural reaction and fill me with Your Spirit. Please handle this for me. You speak what needs to be spoken and give me the power to hold my tongue for what needs to be left in silence."

    Other times I need to be with God because I'm feeling pulled into something I know is not part of His plan for me. I see something new I can't afford. How easy it is to justify my way to the checkout line, whip out a credit card and decide to deal with the consequences later!

    Maybe it's a relationship we know is not in God's will. Or a particular eating habit we know isn't healthy for us.

    Whatever it is, we don't have to be rendered powerless by this pull. We can pray, "God, I know You are more powerful than this pull I am feeling. I know this thing I think I want so much will only provide temporary pleasure. I know the consequences of making this choice will rob me of joy and peace in the near future. Through Your power, I am making the choice to walk away. I will find my delight in You and look forward to feeling Your fullness replace the emptiness this desire creates."

    I need a fresh filling of God's Spirit and Word in me. So I go to the secret place and simply talk to God through prayer and reading Scripture. Then I listen for His voice. Sometimes He provides direction and instruction on something that needs to be done. A sweet invitation for me to lift up an obedient "yes."

    The more we say yes to remaining in God's secret place, the more we will live in expectation of seeing Him. The more we expect to see God, the more we will. The more we experience Him, the more we'll trust Him. It all starts with denying the pull of the world and saying yes to God's daily invitation to remain in Him.

    Dear Lord, I am so thankful for the secret place, where I can let my soul rest in You. Help me to be obedient and to remain in You above all else. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness by Suzanne Eller

    Reflect and Respond:
    Do you regularly spend time with God?

    If not, what keeps you from making this a priority? What will you do to break the cycle of not spending time with Him?

    Power Verse:
    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 John

  • Spiritual Fitness

    Posted on July 31, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 1 Timothy 4:8, NKJV

    An exercise in faith is what grows the spiritual lungs of the soul and grows grace in a humble heart. However, a faith that has not been stretched cramps up, consumed with itself in the heat of competition with the culture. Like sweat cools the human body and flushes out toxins with regular rigorous activity, so fervent prayer calms the human spirit and cleanses inner impurities. Yes, a faith unchallenged and underused atrophies like a limp muscle lacking resistance. So, spiritually fit saints are intentional in their daily disciplines of prayer, Bible study and service.

    What is your routine for exercise in righteousness? How do you keep your spirit moving and growing in the ways of God? Perhaps you start with a prayer list of those who need you to lift them to the Lord for love and encouragement. Assign each day to a separate group, like on Monday pray for missionaries, on Tuesday pray for your family, on Wednesday pray for the sick, on Thursday pray for the unsaved, on Friday pray for government leaders, on Saturday pray for church leaders and on Sunday confess, repent and listen to the Spirit’s still, small voice.

    And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:18

    Furthermore, feed your soul with a steady diet of Scripture. What fresh fruit and vegetables are to the body is what God’s word is to your spiritual nourishment. The meat of the Bible gives you the stamina to resist the devil and to persevere through pain. As the Holy Spirit applies the Lord’s unchanging truth in your changing world, you become more like Jesus in your attitude, actions and speech. Obedience to Christ’s commands creates in you a healthy and holy heart.

    Lastly, look to your service for the Lord as a privilege to work out your salvation. You are saved to serve. A faith void of works is spiritually suspect of authenticity. Is God calling you to volunteer in the church nursery, pay for your neighbors yard work or take your children to feed the hungry? Perhaps missions is tugging at your heart, just make sure to care for your neighbor first, before you contemplate sharing the gospel with strangers overseas. Yes, the fruit of godliness is good deeds for God’s glory. Spiritual fitness is profitable in this life and for eternity!

    But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6
    Prayer: Heavenly Father, keep me spiritually fit with daily faith exercises inspired by Your Spirit.

    Related Readings: Psalm 37:11; Proverbs 22:4; Matthew 6:33; Mark 10:29-30; 2 Peter 1:6

    Post/Tweet today: A faith unchallenged and underused atrophies like a limp muscle lacking resistance. #spiritualfintess

    © 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 1 Timothy

  • Overlooking an Offense

    Posted on July 31, 2013 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy Blight

    "A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense." Proverbs 19:11 (NIV 1984)

    What did she mean by that? Why does she always hurt my feelings? Why does she treat me that way? I didn't realize these words played through my head on a continual basis until my daughter pointed it out.

    She ended many of our conversations with, "Why do you get your feelings hurt so easily?" Or, "Mom, you're so sensitive."

    At first, her words angered me. But over time, I began to hear what she was saying.

    For years, I allowed people's words to hurt my feelings. In turn, I harbored anger for those words. The anger took root. Satan fed the words to me over and over again. I re-played them in my mind. Each time the anger grew deeper roots.

    Listening to a sermon in church, I would think, "I wish ______ was here. She really needs to hear this!" Of course, the sermon by-passed my heart all together.

    Without realizing it, the words of others consumed my thoughts and focus and stole my time. About this time, God called me to teach a Bible study on the book of Proverbs. I spent days and weeks absorbed in this amazing book of wisdom.

    One afternoon, this verse leapt off the page and into my heart, "A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense" (Proverbs 19:11). I had a choice. Up until then, I heard people's words, jumped to a conclusion and chose to be offended.

    But through His Word, God gently corrected me. I sensed Him saying that I can choose to look past people's words and not receive them with an offended heart. I discovered that I needed to LISTEN objectively and ask: What is driving their words? Do they have a valid point? Do they have a deep hurt? Or do they need something I am not giving?

    The responsibility was on me to stop the words from taking root in my heart. When I accepted this, my attitude changed. Yes, it took time, and I am a work in progress. But now when someone speaks a hurtful word, I check it before letting it take residence in my mind. I hear the words, recognize my issue, and speak Truth over my heart. I literally say, "It is to my glory to not receive this as an offense."

    Everyone wins because I don't ruin the rest of the day by pouting, making it all about me, or soaking in self-pity. Each time I make this choice, I sense God is pleased as I honor Him by choosing NOT to be offended.

    Heavenly Father, thank You that I am created in Your image. Thank You that I find my identity in You. Thank You that it is only Your Word and Your opinion that matter. Lord, give me Your ears to hear. Help me not to be easily offended and easily angered. Help me lay down any offenses to which I am currently holding. Let me live in the freedom of Your love and forgiveness. Help me live not in my flesh, but supernaturally in the fullness and freshness of Your Spirit. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness by Suzanne Eller

    Reflect and Respond:
    Read 1 John 1:8-10 and reflect on its meaning in relation to this devotion.

    Over the next week, listen to your conversations and note if you are easily offended.

    Power Verses:
    Ephesians 4:26-27, "In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." (NIV 1984)

    Ephesians 4:32, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (NIV 1984)

    © 2013 by Wendy Blight. 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

  • Rich Living

    Posted on July 30, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. (Colossians 3:16, NLT)

    Those who invite the message of Christ to dwell in their lives, learn to live life to its fullest. Like a guest who brings a generous house warming gift, so God is generous in handing out His wise instruction to humble hearts. Indeed, the Holy Spirit looks to decorate an individual’s interior with spiritual decor that displays His glory and honor.  Jesus makes things beautiful in His time. What He fills is full of His gorgeous fruit. Rich living follows a surrendered life!

    What is the message of Christ? It is the message of salvation that saves your soul. It is the message of hope that comforts your heart. It is the message of love that sustains your life. It is the message of truth that transforms your thinking. It is the message of forgiveness that wipes away wrong doing. It is the message of humility that becomes nothing, so Jesus can become everything. It is the message of the cross and resurrection that brings alive all who believe.

    Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. Romans 10:17

    Yes, the message of Christ is the Lord’s megaphone to all mankind. He admonishes us to teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives. We are responsible to reason together around the principles of Scripture. As wise mentors, we apprentice hungry hearts in rich living. Be intentional to instruct infant Christians and to encourage mature ones. Everyone needs advice from time to time. Who needs the investment of your time so they can grow rich in God’s ways?

    Lastly, look to the Lord in grateful praise and worship. Join with other Jesus lovers and corporately proclaim His majestic grandeur and glory. Praise Him in your prayer closet, praise Him on your prayer walk, praise Him in the car, praise Him in your pain, praise Him in your comfort, praise Him in the bad times and praise Him in the good times. As long as you have breath praise God always! By faith, rich living regularly recalibrates its focus on Jesus Christ.

    In order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:7

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the rich living I have by faith in Jesus Christ.

    Related Readings: John 1:14, 5:37-40; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Ephesians 3:6; Philippians 4:19

    Post/Tweet today: By faith, rich living regularly recalibrates its focus on Jesus Christ. #richliving

    © 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

  • Will You Give Me Your Son?

    Posted on July 30, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "And she made a vow, saying 'LORD Almighty, if you will only look on your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.'" 1 Samuel 1:11 (NIV)

    As my arms wrapped tighter around my son, I squeezed my eyes hoping the hot tears stinging my lids would stop. Forcing a smile I knew he'd want to see, I released him and stepped back on the airport sidewalk.

    Despite my efforts, tears dripped down my cheeks. I grinned and shrugged, unable to speak. Thankfully my son's gentle teasing helped get past the awkwardness of the goodbye. With a final hug, my 19-year-old left for a mission trip to China.

    Having children willing to serve God was my heart's desire before they were born. It was what I've prayed for since they were small. And it is what I have worked toward for years. I just didn't know it was going to stretch my faith so much.

    You see, long ago my husband and I dedicated our children to the Lord, and we raised them to serve God. I was thrilled at my son's decision to go on a mission trip, but the reality of releasing him to God's calling felt like a piece of my heart was being torn away.

    It was so much easier to dedicate my children to God during the three years my husband and I struggled with infertility. Each time I read the story of Hannah and her struggle with infertility in 1 Samuel 2, my heart leapt in hope. Just as she pledged her child to the Lord if He would only give her one, I was willing to do the same.

    It was also easier to dedicate my children to God once we finally had them, while they were wrapped safely in my arms.

    But standing at the airport, there was a fragile part of me that wanted to take back that offer. Fears rose up. My son is so adventurous, what if something happened? What if I never saw him again?

    I tried to put the fears aside, but hours after our final goodbye, I still had a crumpled tissue in my hand. It was then, I heard God speak to my heart. It was unmistakably Him. I'd never ask myself this question: Will you give Me your son?

    By that time my son was on a plane, so the question seemed pointless. But what I wanted to say was this: Well, now that You've asked ... the answer is no, I've changed my mind about all that dedication stuff I said years ago.

    In the weeks since that day, I've often wondered why God would ask that question since He didn't really need my permission. I've come to believe it's because He knows the influence a mother has on her children, even when they're grown. With words spoken or withheld, tone of voice, and emotional and financial support (or lack thereof) a mother can influence her children's obedience to God's call at every age.

    And in my case, God knows my fears have affected my children. Ten years earlier when my oldest son wanted to go on an international mission trip, my fears stopped him. At that time, I thought he was too young and the destination too far. Without my active support, his plans fizzled.

    Over the years, God has helped me overcome that fear time and time again, and eventually that same son went on other mission trips. Every time I've released my tight grip on my children to obey God, my faith has grown. Apparently my faith needed to grow again, hence God's heart check that day: Will you give Me your son?

    Gripping my soggy tissue, I whispered a shaky "yes." Hoping it was good enough, but sensing it wasn't, I answered again, this time with confidence: "Yes! You can have my son!"

    Immediately peace started to grow in my heart as I turned my eyes from my own situation to His plan for my son. Peace and joy continued to grow stronger each day.

    Sometimes I wish I were one of those mothers who never deals with fear. They seem so confident and faith-filled. But I've learned when I give God my weaknesses, His power is displayed and His kingdom is advanced. So in spite of a bit of trembling, and a few tears, I'm going to say yes each time God asks if He can have one of my children.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me in spite of my weakness. I want to trust You more and confess the times fear has held me back. Help me to be honest with You and receive Your strength. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:


    The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness by Suzanne Eller

    Reflect and Respond:
    Fear has the power to stop us from obeying God's calling for ourselves and in how we support others in their calling.

    How has fear affected your obedience?

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 56:3, "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Kind But Direct

    Posted on July 29, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ Matthew 5:37, NKJV

    Love uses direct language laced in grace. There is no ambiguity with those who care about communicating clearly from a caring heart. Yes, they take the risk of hurting someone’s feelings when being forthcoming with the facts, but better to be aware and adjust now, than to remain ignorant and unmoved. Insightful questions from a compassionate heart are a respectful way to show someone the way. Indeed, kind but direct conversations grow deeper relationships.

    Yes, wise are we to receive what may feel like a rough response from a friend. Because they love us, they will not leave us to languish in unwise behavior. When we are blinded by our own ambition, greed or self righteousness, we need words from our spouse, boss or mentor that challenge our unhealthy thinking. Our ability by God’s grace to ingest another’s instruction into our mind and heart, moves us closer to Christ. Be grateful for good friends who don’t hold back.

    Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. Proverbs 12:25

    Therefore, pray and prepare your heart before you deliver a direct message to one who means so much to you and to your Master Jesus. See them like the Lord sees them: a sheep without a shepherd, a child in need of nurture and instruction, or a novice hiker in want of a guide. Take the time to tell a loved one the truth in love and one day they may thank you. Better for them to be a little offended now than to wander down a destructive path later. Love is kind, but talks direct.

    Moreover, make sure to cultivate a culture of prayer in your home and community of friends. Prayer is relational lubricant that opens the heart of those who need to hear. It gives grace and courage to those whose speech needs to be straight forward. Talk with the Lord before you talk with those who need the Lord. Better to have a little talk with Jesus, before you have a big talk with a child or coworker. Your initiative to kindly instruct another in God’s ways is a gift.

    The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction. Proverbs 16:21

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, use me to speak kindly to those who need a gracious but direct word.

    Related Readings: Proverbs 8:33, 9:9; Jeremiah 17:7; Acts 5:40; 1 Corinthians 1:5; Titus 2:8

    Post/Tweet today: Talk with the Lord before you talk with those who need the Lord.

    © 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

  • White As Snow

    Posted on July 29, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    "Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow." Psalm 51:7 (NIV)

    We were friends in youth group. That led to Saturdays at her house. Double dates. And slumber parties where we talked about boys and did each other's hair.

    But more than silly teen stuff, Michelle and I were among the few in the youth group who attended church with no family support. Consequently, we encouraged each other spiritually and often knelt and prayed together.

    A year after high school, sadly we lost touch. We moved to different cities. Married. Had children. Our lives no longer intersected.

    Until three decades later.

    Her message on Facebook caught me by surprise, and I couldn't wait to see her again. When we met she told me all that had transpired in thirty years, and my heart hurt for my friend.

    So much had taken place, beginning with college and the party scene. She met men who said they loved her, but hurt her instead. Those unhealthy relationships led to more than one marriage. She endured abuse, and eventually began to believe that somehow it was what she deserved.

    Bravely, she left the abusive men. She went back to school and secured a job, taking care of her children on her own.

    But there was still something missing inside of the heart of this woman. Though she had once found sanctuary in an altar at a small church, she wondered if she had strayed too far to find her way back. Did too many men, too many parties, too much sin stand between her and Jesus?

    In Psalm 51:7-9, the Psalmist confronted those same fears. It led to this prayer of repentance.

    "Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity" (NIV).

    Like the Psalmist, Michelle felt the sorrow of her sin and the path that had taken her so far from her once-vibrant relationship with God. But she also knew there was a place to find restoration.

    Not just to be forgiven, but to be restored, renewed, and to rejoice in Whose she was again.

    Michelle reached out for God's love saying, "I knew that I couldn't go back and try to fix the past. I could only make amends and claim the forgiveness that God had ready for me."

    Maybe you know of someone ... maybe you are that someone ... who believes you've gone too far.

    Repentance begins with sorrow or remorse over sin and leads to a change of direction. You turn away from your old life and turn toward God to accept His immense forgiveness. The burden of sin is removed as God cleanses you and takes your sin and replaces it with His righteousness.

    If this is you, return to the love of Jesus. Put the past behind you as you accept the complete forgiveness He freely offers. Don't wait one more moment. Your past may shape you, but it doesn't define you, and it certainly doesn't limit what God can do in and through you.

    Today Michelle is an example of what takes place when we are washed white as snow. She no longer feels ashamed or guilty for her past actions. A light heart and a joyful perspective have replaced these feelings. She volunteers in a rehabilitation home for women who have been abused or are homeless. Michelle delights when a woman opens her heart to receive God's cleansing and healing touch. She knows first-hand the hope and freedom that comes when anyone takes a U-turn back toward all God freely offers.

    Dear Jesus, it is no accident that I read this today. You are inviting me to change my direction and to run toward You for forgiveness. I do so freely and with joy. Thank You for washing me white as snow. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness by Suzanne Eller

    Reflect and Respond:
    When God enters the picture, your past is reframed. How can your past story be used to encourage others to live free?

    Tell one person your story today.

    Power Verse:
    Matthew 9:6a, "But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. 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

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