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Daily Devotion

  • Hold on to Hope

    Posted on August 5, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

    Faith creates hope, so where faith is conceived hope is birthed. Yes, hope is the daughter of faith. Those who profess to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior possess hope. Hard times try to hinder hope’s comforting company, but it is unhindered where faith in God is the focus. Those who hold on to hope are happy. Where faith peers hope makes clear. Where there is a wall, hope finds a door. Where there is darkness, hope looks for a light. Hope expects Christ to come through.

    What is hope? It is confidence in Jesus Christ, period. Confidence He is faithful. Faithful to follow through with His promise to provide us peace in the middle of our turmoil. Faithful to answer our prayers in His most productive process. Faithful to give our children what they need as long as they look to Him. Faithful to facilitate financial resources when we steward well what we already have. He is faithful by His restorative grace to heal relationships severed by sin. Hope bursts forth in possibilities when we embrace the promises fulfilled by the Lord’s faithfulness.

    You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. Job 11:18

    Since your security is in your Savior Jesus who has conquered sin, sorrow and death, hope is your wise weapon. Your Heavenly Father holds you in the palm of His hand, therefore nothing can reach you lest your divine protector gives permission. The Holy Spirit is your guide, thus you have a trusted leader who directs your path. “Your hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.” Your two-handed grasp of God includes His double fisted hold on you!

    When hope is deferred avoid rejecting God and giving up. Wait on the Lord and hope in Him. He helps you when you feel helpless. He empowers you when you feel powerless. He encourages you when you feel discouraged. He gives joy when you feel joyless. Hope never disappoints. It gives life and a reason to live. If you let go of hope, your gracious Lord doesn’t let go of you. Like Mount Everest, your hope is unmovable, so hold unswervingly to your living hope: Jesus!

    We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. Psalm 33:20

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to hope in You when all seems hopeless.

    Related Readings: Psalm 33:22; Proverbs 13:12; Lamentations 3:21-29; Romans 4:18; 1 John 3:3

    Post/Tweet today: Like Mount Everest, your hope is unmovable, so hold unswervingly to your living hope: Jesus! #holdontohope

    © 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, Hope

  • When You Have a Choice to Make

    Posted on August 5, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    "And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left." Isaiah 30:21 (ESV)

    According to recent statistics, I made 5,000 decisions today. Seriously?

    Well, I made a decision to get out of bed. I made a choice to put on my tennis shoes and run at 6 a.m.

    I chose peanut butter Cheerios™ over oatmeal. I decided which bills to pay. What to make for dinner. Whether to answer a phone call. Which clothes to wear. Whether the plants needed watering or if they could wait another day. I chose to fill up the small car instead of the gas-guzzler.

    I may have made more than 5,000 decisions today!

    Some of our everyday choices are random, others weighty, but many of our decisions are choice points. Choice points are seemingly insignificant decisions yet they lead us in one direction or another.

    I choose whether to react in anger, or respond with understanding to my husband.

    I choose whether or not to create drama with a friend who hurt my feelings.

    I choose time with my Heavenly Father, or push that time to another day ... again.

    I choose whether or not to say those words that cause my child pain.

    Recently I was on a mission trip and the team was exhausted after nearly six days of intense travel. We had missed a train and stood on the platform in the moonlight. It was nearing midnight and cold and wet. Our next ministry event was early in the morning.

    The coordinator walked over. "I'm so sorry," she said. "I didn't mean for it to work out this way."

    There I stood with a choice to make.

    I could share my frustration. I could explain that my sleep tank was on empty. I could say nothing, while sighing with a martyred expression. Or I could choose to override my fatigued irritation and be gracious.

    As she waited for my reply, a gentle voice softly spoke to my heart: "This is the way, walk in it" (Isaiah 30:21).

    I knew it was definitely the leading of the Holy Spirit, just as Scripture promised. Yes, I was exhausted, but I reminded myself what a privilege it was to be there. Ease and comfort were not readily available to Jesus, and losing a little sleep was nothing in comparison to anything He went through. The Holy Spirit nudged me to recognize that everyone around me was just as tired as I was. He led me in the way to respond.

    "I'm fine," I said. "In fact it's been an amazing day and I can't wait to see what God does tomorrow."

    She grabbed me and pulled me in a huge hug. "Thank you, Suz."

    I wish I could say I handle every choice I have to make that way, but sometimes I fail and gripe, nit-pick, am critical and grouchy. It's my prayer that I'll remember how much my choices matter. You see, they don't just affect me; they affect those within the vicinity of my decisions.

    In the 5,000 decisions you make today, take a moment to pause before deciding. Ask the Holy Spirit for His guidance and counsel. And choose to follow as He leads the way.

    Dear Lord, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all my choices, and it makes me cranky. Today as I make my 5000 decisions, walk with me, remind me of how my choices affect others and help me follow Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    Keep a journal this week of choice points. Note those that lead you in the wrong direction. Are there common themes?

    If you were overtired, how can you implement rest?

    If you were trying to live a packed life with your spiritual tank unfilled, will you stop and fill it up?

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 16:9, "The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps." (ESV)

    Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (ESV)

    © 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 Isaiah

  • Sharpened Skills

    Posted on August 4, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    If an ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success.  Ecclesiastes 10:10

    Life is not meant to be full of endless activity and busyness, without pause it loses its edge. A life worth living is one that takes the time to sharpen its skills. Skill-sharpening is an investment that will serve you well the rest of your life. Do not settle for mediocrity, by God’s grace seek to be the best in your life roles. Your commitment to sharpen yourself is much like that of a farmer. A wise farmer will use his seasonal down time to upgrade, replace, and repair his equipment. He literally sharpens the tips of his plow, rebuilds the tractor engines, and upgrades and cleans his equipment.

    A prepared farmer will not only survive, but will thrive with this type of motivation to always improve. In the same spirit, there is a time to execute and a time to regroup and sharpen yourself for the next initiative. A person with sharpened skills is an effective tool in the hand of God. He wants to use you to your full potential. Your part is to continually improve. Your activities and work will produce more lasting results when you take the time to hone heaven’s gifts.

    God wants to use your life to cut through life’s issues the way a sharp knife slices through a juicy ripe tomato. A skilled concert pianist practices the piano. A skilled writer searches out new words and becomes engrossed in sentence structure. A skilled speaker learns how to understand his audience and communicate his point in a variety of ways. A skilled mom quizzes other moms on how to become a better mother. A skilled golfer continues to hit balls way after the tournament ends; he smashes the little white spheres into the night. So, seek out new ways to keep your mind sharp and engaged in new ideas.

    Read about and learn from wise leaders of the faith whose writings have stood the test of time. Books are tremendous skill-sharpeners. Join a book club to ramp up your commitment and accountability. You can attend seminars or pursue a graduate degree. Use a variety of tools to stay sharp. Sparks fly when steel is sharpened, which means there will be some discomfort and growing pains. You are either moving forward or shrinking backward; there is no standing still. As you sharpen your skills, you are moving forward. You are stewarding God’s talents and gifts to their fullest. Swinging at issues with a dull life will lead you to the brink of giving up.

    Sharpen your mind with the Word of God. Nothing sharpens a mind like wisdom from above. God’s principles are like a whit rock on a battered blade. He smoothes the jagged edges of your roughed up life. Like an axe that has become chipped and blunt over time, your life is refurbished by God till it regains its radiant and shiny silver edge. Discover your skills through assessments and the counsel of others. A hint: when you operate within your skill set, executing the plan is almost effortless. Stay sharp, and your skills may swing open some impressive doors.

    Wisdom says, “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men” (Proverbs 22:29).

    Post/Tweet: God’s wisdom is like a whit rock on a battered blade. He smoothes the jagged edges of a roughed up life. #sharpenskills

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


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

  • Break Bad Traditions

    Posted on August 3, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “‘Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!’ Jesus replied, ‘And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?’” (Matthew 15:2–3).

    There are good traditions and there are bad traditions. A good tradition aligns with God’s expectations and honors Him and others in the process. A bad tradition benefits man and breaks Christ’s commands. Indeed, it is wise to take an inventory of our current traditions and make sure they are grounded in God, not made up by man. Is there any habit, belief, or assumption you give credence to that may be undermining your family or faith?

    For example, a good tradition is routinely giving ten percent of our income to the Lord’s work, beginning with the local church and expanding to support ministries. However, a bad tradition is when a Christian leader tries to control the conscience of a person’s giving through guilt and intimidation. It is Spirit-led giving, not man’s manipulation, that gains the best outcome. Tried and true traditions are anchored by trust in the Lord’s control.

    You may face a colleague at work or a strong-willed person in your extended family who has his or her way of doing things. This person’s tradition worked well in the past but is inefficient in the present. How do you break bad habits of another for the good of the company or for what is best for the family? Prayer, patience, and a plan are your best change management tools.

    Prayerfully come up with alternatives that honor the old but give preference to the new. Be bold to ask challenging questions in a spirit of humility. Why are we doing it this way? Is there a better way? How can we improve the process to make the best progress? Are you called to do this? Do you have the gifts and experience required for this project?

    Good traditions enjoy God’s favor over time; bad traditions struggle to survive. What project or program needs to be taken off life support so other resources can be freed up to further the mission? Some traditional strategies suffer from fatigue and need to be put to rest. Other new ones need focused support to execute with excellence. Be honest about your spiritual life and strategic direction. Are your traditions truly from God and for God? Are you trying to change the unchangeable, or are you trusting Christ with change?

    “See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you” (Isaiah 42:9).

    “And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins” (Mark 2:22).

    Prayer: What accepted traditions do I need to respectfully reject? What new traditions do I need to embrace by faith?

    Related Readings: 2 Chronicles 35:25; Micah 6:16; Mark 7:4–9; Galatians 1:14

    Post/Tweet: Good traditions enjoy God’s favor over time; bad traditions struggle to survive. #traditions

    © 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

  • 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

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