• 90 Minutes in Theaters September 11

Daily Devotion

  • Flawed Leaders

    Posted on November 17, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Since he himself is subject to weakness. This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.      Hebrews 5:2b, 3

    Even the best of leaders are flawed. Jesus Christ was the only flawless leader to ever live. The rest of us operate in the flawed category. The wise leader will acknowledge this, as his flaws loom over his life like a canopy of accountability. The smart leader uses his flaws to facilitate a closer walk with Christ. As the adversary accuses you of your flaws, agree with him. Use your flaws as an asset rather than a liability. The leader who fails to flush out his flaws into the open is pretentious and positioned for a fall. Flaws can only hurt you if they remain concealed. Exposed flaws wither in their influence under the heat of confession and repentance. This is when you go to your flawless heavenly Father and ask for His forgiveness and grace. Ask Him to use your flaws to further His Kingdom.
    Many times, God works through us in spite of ourselves; so, lay bare before Him your fears, insecurities, weaknesses, and flaws. Watch Him do a beautiful work of transformation. Your weaknesses become His strengths that carry out His purpose. Where you feel out of control, He is in control. He is the pilot and you are the co-pilot. Trust Him to guide you through the complex instrument panel of life. Your flaws do not surprise Him, because He knows they can keep you close to Christ. Your honest feedback to others about your flaws frees others to do the same. Pretension crumbles and honesty flourishes in a culture of self-awareness of—and openness to—one another’s flaws.

    Therefore, be patient with the flaws in others. We recognize the flaws in others because they are flawed copies of ourselves. Normally, what ticks you off the most are your flaws exhibited in the life of another. Cut them some slack and learn how to use their flaws to facilitate God’s will. Allow flaws to promote relational intimacy rather than relational hostility. Flaws are friends who can lead us closer to God and closer to each other. Flaws remind us all that we are a work in progress. Flaws begin as concealed imperfections. Just as flaws lead to the shattering of an imperfect crystal under pressure, they can lead to our brokenness. Flaws make us better, if they lead to our brokenness.
    The world is made up of flawed people. Those who recognize and accept this use it to their advantage. Leaders have a unique opportunity to set the example in this area. Your ability to be honest about your own flaws sets the course for those you lead. Season your language with, “I am sorry that is a weakness of mine.” Or, “Please be patient with me; I am a work in progress. Details are not my strength.” Or, “Help me not to overcommit. I can say yes to too many things, and fail to do any of them well.” Or lastly, “I was wrong. Please forgive me.” This honesty and transparency creates a safe environment for the authenticity of everyone. Flaws revealed lead to freedom, but flaws concealed lead to bondage. Do not project a flawless image, but one of learning, growing, and many times, struggling. Make confession and repentance a normal part of your vocabulary and behavior. Focus on the flawless leader, Jesus. He will never let you down.

    Post/Tweet today: Smart leaders use their flaws to facilitate a closer walk with Christ. #flawedleaders

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

  • Audience of One

    Posted on November 16, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me” (John 14:31).

    I struggle playing to an audience other than almighty God. I create an unnecessary tension by asking myself, “What will they think? How will they respond?” Yet the heart of Jesus asks, “What does my heavenly Father want? How can I obey Him with my whole heart?” It is an audience of one with my heavenly Father that requires my focus.

    So I ask myself, “Whom do I love more? Do I love my Savior more, or do I love the praise of people more?” If I truly love the commendation of Christ more than the approval of people, then I will obey His commands, even when I am misunderstood and mistreated. A life that loves God longs to grow in a relationship that faithfully follows His ways.

    Caution is required not to become proud in our obedience. In a distorted way, a disciplined life can play into impressing people instead of pleasing God. It is false humility to be proud of our humility and wish others could attain our level of maturity. False humility on the stage of life acts out its spirituality for the world’s accolades.

    “These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence” (Colossians 2:22–23). True humility seeks only to deflect glory back to God’s glory.

    However, when all is said and done, living for an audience of one insists on intense intimacy with Jesus Christ, so that we naturally follow His lead. It is like an eloquent dance rendition, where He leads and we follow. Some steps are new and awkward, while other moves are comfortable and unconscious. If we dance with Jesus before others, He will amuse them most, as He leads us into His will. True humility follows Christ’s lead.

    Lastly, learning to live for an audience of one means giving away recognition and resisting taking credit. For example, at work give the team credit for success, and take responsibility for failure. At home quietly serve behind the scenes without a worry about who gets the recognition for the household chores. Most of all, minister for Christ’s kingdom, so your kingdom fades away and His becomes full center. An audience of one pleases the One.

    Joseph revealed his devotion to an audience of one with the Lord when he declared, “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9).

    Prayer: Do I live unashamedly for an audience of one? What competing audience can I dismiss?

    Related Readings: 2 Chronicles 32:12; Isaiah 65:16; John 17:1–5; Colossians 2:18

    Post/Tweet today: Living for an audience of one insists on intense intimacy with Jesus Christ. #audienceofone

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

  • Diligently Obey

    Posted on November 15, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “… This will happen if you diligently obey the Lord your God.” Zechariah 6:15 b

    Diligent obedience to the Lord is a command for the follower of Jesus Christ. We have the responsibility, the opportunity and the obligation to obey. What a joy to receive marching orders from Jesus. He is the Commander in Chief. What He says and expects matters dearly, as obedience can be a matter of joy or despair and life or death.

    Our obedience facilitates God’s will for our life and the lives of those around us. We cannot handle the blessings of God if we are not obedient to the commands of God. He blesses our hard work when we apply our skills and gifts well. However, what keeps us successful and creditable is our character. When we sow obedience, we reap character. When we sow disobedience, we become a character. Thus, diligently obey the Lord.

    Obedience matters to your family. Your example of obedience propels them to do the same. It may mean a job change or a change of churches, but explain to your family the Lord’s leading. Share your fears with your family. Then pray together and ask God to empower you to obey. Diligent obedience also matters to your work associates. They follow what you do, not what you say. Obedience pays dividends now and for eternity.

    “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:6-8).

    How do you know if you are obeying God? His word is your first indicator. Ask Him to reveal His truth and ways to you. He is looking for a hungry heart of obedience. It delights God to instruct His teachable child in His will. Let the word of God seep into your soul through prayer and meditation. Memorize it, learn it, and, most importantly, apply it. Be volitional in your obedience. Obey even when you don’t feel like it.

    Your emotions may betray you and tell you it's ok to not obey if you feel a certain way. Flee from this faulty thinking. God’s word is living and active. He will speak into the deepest recesses of your heart. Listen intently, then diligently do what He says. Do not hold back or be distracted. He may be saying to meet with the ones you have offended. You need to take the first step in reconciliation. There is a purpose much greater than your hurt feelings. By God’s grace, forgive and let Him heal your hurting heart.

    Do not jeopardize the bigger vision for your own selfish needs. It may take a wise mediator to listen to both sides and make a recommendation. Do whatever the mediator suggests. This is a way of diligently obeying God. Yes, it is humbling. Yes, it is a little humiliating, but this is God’s plan. Do not allow the severed relationship with family or friends to fester. You may win the short-term battle of wills, but there is a good chance you will lose the long-term relational war. Diligent obedience requires a humble faith.

    “I call with all my heart; answer me, LORD, and I will obey your decrees. I call out to you; save me and I will keep your statutes” (Psalm 119-145-146).

    Prayer: Where is the Lord calling me to diligently obey with humble faith?

    Related Readings: 2 Kings 22:13; Jeremiah 11:4-7; Matthew 8:27; Hebrews 4:2

    Post/Tweet today: When we sow obedience we reap character. When we sow disobedience we become a character. #diligentlyobey

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

  • Giving Away Pieces of Ourselves

    Posted on November 15, 2013 by Lisa Wingate

    Lisa

    "My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret." Psalm 139:15a (ESV)

    It's a mystery the way God sends lessons ... sometimes softly, sometimes suddenly and unexpectedly. I experienced one of these lessons while leading a youth weekend at church recently.

    At an evening session, I found a middle-school girl alone in the sanctuary foyer. I sat down and asked her why she wasn't inside.

    Her answer had attitude, "Oh, it's all just fake. This whole weekend is about how to be real, how not to be 'posers,' and everybody's all friendly. But when we get back to school, those girls won't even talk to me. That's why I quit coming here."

    Her purse contents were spilled on the seat between us, a God-given thing. I reached for her cell phone and asked, "If I picked up your phone and walked off with it, what would you do?"

    She looked at me like I was daft. "I'd make you give it back. My life is in that phone!"

    Next, I took her tube of lip gloss and asked how much it cost. It was $1.50.

    "What would you do if one of those girls you're worried about walked by and took this lip gloss?"

    She quickly informed me that she would "Jump 'em."

    "Why would you bother getting in a fight over a $1.50 lip gloss?"

    Her answer was both obvious and profound, "Because it's mine. It's not theirs."

    I looked at her, this little girl-becoming-a-woman. "You're right," I told her. "This lip gloss does not belong to them. It belongs to you. And so does your faith in God. And you have to defend that with at least as much determination as you would this $1.50 lip gloss. Or better yet, your cell phone. You cannot go through life letting other people walk off with what belongs to you and God."

    As soon as those words left my mouth, I knew this wasn't a lesson just for this young woman. I too needed to hear my words. In a world where people sometimes disappoint us, it's easy to give away pieces of our faith and of ourselves. We give away pieces to people who don't even ask for them. It can be a natural reaction in a society focused on outward perfection. We do it each time we look at others and feel inferior, not as pretty, not as thin, not as ... whatever.

    It's so simple, yet so difficult to grasp the truth found in Psalm 139 that tells us God created us and knew us from the very beginning. The Bible says, "My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret" (vs. 15 ESV). We were only visible to Him as He intricately knit all the parts of our bodies together.

    Only a master artist has this ability. Much like someone who weaves together delicate fibers in a tapestry, God took the care to fashion us beautifully. Not only are we perfectly made, but we belong.

    God loves the child He created. I like to think of it this way: God Loves Our Secret Selves (G.L.O.S.S.). He has poured beauty into us, into the very parts we often feel are less-than, compared to others.

    I've been working on accepting this truth myself since then ... retaining and practicing this lesson.

    I am loved. I am okay. I am treasured.

    I am His.

    Father, I pray I will hold on to the truth that You are a wonderful Creator and made no mistakes when You formed me. Help me value Your thoughts about me more than what others say about me. Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you given away pieces of yourself or your confidence in God to people you wouldn't allow to walk off with your lip gloss? Why?

    Take time to memorize a few Bible verses about God's ability to create marvelous and beautiful things, and how you belong to Him.

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 139:14b, "Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well." (ESV)

    1 John 4:4b, "... for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." (RSV)

    © 2013 by Lisa Wingate. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Tyndale Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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

  • Persistence Pays Off

    Posted on November 14, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” Luke 18:1-5

    Has rejection caused you to give up on an opportunity or a person? Are you tired of trying to do the right thing, without experiencing positive results? It is precisely at this point of frustration and fear that God calls us to persevere in prayer and continue to graciously engage individuals and circumstances. Those who give up—give up on God.

    Like an oscillating fan your faith may waver back and forth between confidence and uncertainty, so hit the button of belief and stay focused on the Lord. Go forward by faith to love an estranged relationship—call the company who went with a competitor and see how you might still serve them—reach out until your requests are not ignored anymore.

    A faithful man or woman in the hands of God has the attention of heaven and earth. When you are on His assignment, rejection has to first go through Almighty God’s agenda. It's not the individual full of energy at the outset who outlasts others, it’s the wise ones who conserve their vigor over the long haul—strengthened by their Savior’s stamina.

    The fortitude of faith is what forges great relationships and gets long-term results. Anyone can start a race with excitement and anticipation, but few are the runners who climb the hills, overcome the adversity of the elements and finish the course. You may not be the fastest—you may not finish first—but by God’s grace you will finish well.

    Most of all stay persistent in prayer. Respond to God as the violin responds to the bow of the master. The Lord makes beautiful music on the strings of a life surrendered to Him. Persist through the pain of rejection and to the pressures of responsibility—all the while remaining in an attitude of prayer. Persistent prayer to Jesus produces His best outcome. Persistence pays off when you are prepared to move forward on behalf of your Master.

    “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

    Prayer: What relationship or opportunity calls for my focused attention and persistence?

    Related Readings: Numbers 14:38; Daniel 6:10; Acts 20:22-25; Romans 2:7

    Post/Tweet today: Fortitude of faith is what forges great relationships and gets long-term results. #persistencepaysoff

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

  • When You Don't Know What to Say

    Posted on November 14, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him." Nahum 1:7 (NIV 1984)

    Recently a moving truck pulled up to my friend's house. Sometimes moving signifies something exciting and new. Sometimes it doesn't.

    This move signified an end. A few hours into the process of emptying her home, the movers carried out her wedding portrait and asked, "Are you taking the photographs separately?"

    "Yes," she said, the irony not escaping her. Separately. That was how she'd be living now. Separate from their neighborhood. Separate from her husband. Separate from the way she thought life would be.

    She took the wedding portrait and through her tears she called me and said, "I don't know what to do with this portrait. What do you do with things that have no place anymore? We built a life together and now there's no more together."

    I knew better than to throw out something just to fill the uncomfortable silence. Trite sayings weren't going to curl up in bed with her and hold her unglued heart.

    Maybe you've been there. You were the one sitting in the midst of confusion or the one trying desperately to know what to say. In these difficult moments, we have to place our feet on the only solid ground there is—God's truth.

    His truth won't shift with feelings.

    His truth won't drown in a sea of tears.

    His truth won't leave you even when your gut honest cries don't sound so Christian.

    I finally said, "I don't have answers, but I do have prayers. And I'm going to write out conversations I have with God so you'll know He's not being silent right now. He sees you. He hears you. And through His truth He will comfort you."

    I pulled out my Bible and poured out the hurt and sadness. "God, please show me the right truths. Use my hand to write out some comfort from Your Word for my friend."

    Me: Lord, it's hard to watch my friend hurt so much. She begged You to help save her marriage and honestly we're confused why it still fell apart.

    The Lord: Does Job 17:11 express the way you're feeling? "My days have passed, my plans are shattered, and so are the desires of my heart." (NIV 1984)

    Me: Lord, don't You see her tears? If seeing her sadness breaks my heart, it must break Yours too.

    The Lord: Recall the beauty of trusting the only One who can see what is and what is to come. Nahum 1:7... "The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him." (NIV 1984)

    Me: I do trust You. But for everything to end like this is so hard. It just seems pointless.

    The Lord: Nothing I allow is pointless. Even in the midst of hurt I will work good. Proverbs 19:20-21... "Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise. Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." (NIV 1984)

    Me: Why does she have to go through this?

    The Lord: You don't have to have answers. You just need to trust. Isaiah 55:9b... "My ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (NIV 1984)

    Me: What about the desires of her heart Lord?

    The Lord: I am the only one who knows the full scope of those desires. Just encourage her to trust Me and make wise choices. Psalm 37:3-4... "Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." (NIV 1984)

    I sent this written out conversation with God to my friend. My note didn't fix her hurt or answer her questions. It didn't give her a place to put those things that seemed to have no place right now. But it did get her to open up God's Word and start having conversations with Him for herself. And as she moves on, this is a good first step to take.

    Dear Lord, I lift my hurting friend to You. For You are the only One who can ultimately lift her up. Through all the ups and downs in life, may she trust You in a very personal way. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Reflect and Respond:
    What is a disappointment you've walked through? Write the verses above on index cards to carry with you and write the words "I believe" after each one.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 37:3-4, "Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." (NIV 1984)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Emotional Manipulation

    Posted on November 13, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead. Mark 15:9-11

    Emotional manipulation can be subtle or not so subtle. The Jewish leaders, in fear of losing their power, preyed on the fear of the crowd in losing their rebel leader Barabbas. In a mob-like environment the hearts of the masses were motivated by jealous religious leaders to free the guilty and punish the innocent. Yes, fear is the favorite method of those who are afraid of losing control over people and circumstances. Like a bully club, they use fear as an intimidation tool.

    Beware of those who manipulate your emotional pain for their gain. Guilt is a ‘go to’ tactic used to get your attention and coerce you to make a foolish decision in the moment, forgetting the fall out of long term consequences. The pressure from peers needs to be filtered by your prayers. A friend’s agenda is probably not the Lord’s plan for your life. So, allow the Spirit to calm your emotions and give you His outlook. Holy Spirit persuasion trumps unholy spirit manipulation.

    This is what the Lord says about Shemaiah the Nehelamite: Because Shemaiah has prophesied to you, even though I did not send him, and has persuaded you to trust in lies. Jeremiah 29:31

    On the other hand, it is good to be persuaded by the Holy Spirit and those filled with the Spirit. Listen to saints who love the Lord and learn from them. Be influenced by individuals of integrity, whose only goal is for you to enjoy God’s game plan. So, be wise. Wait to validate a person’s reputation. Total trust too quickly can be manipulative on your part. For example, you may crave a friendship, so during your first visit, you immediately share a confidential issue expecting a reciprocal response. But, healthy expectations give emotional space. Godly persuasion is patient.

    Finally, in the power of the Holy Spirit seek to persuade others of God’s love for them and of the judgment to come. The fear of the Lord compels us to urge the unsaved to fear God. The Lord is the beginning and end of wisdom. Jesus is King and Lord over all. His salvation is freedom from sin, self and Satan. God’s grace is good and life giving. Our Lord has risen from the grave. He is alive to live in and over all who call on His name in repentance and faith. We persuade, because someone persuaded us. Emotional manipulation is temporary, but spiritual persuasion is eternal!

    Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 2 Corinthians 5:11

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, move my heart not to manipulate but trust, to persuade in the Spirit, not push in my power.

    Related Readings: Luke 20:45-47; Acts 28:23; Romans 4:21; 2 Timothy 4:14-16; Colossians 2:8

    Post/Tweet today: Emotional manipulation is temporary, but spiritual persuasion is eternal. #emotionalmanipulation

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

  • Faith in Action

    Posted on November 13, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie

    "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." James 2:17 (NIV)

    When I was 31 years old I received a diagnosis of breast cancer and affected lymph nodes.

    Three months later I stood in front of a mirror. One breast misshapen from surgery. Twenty extra pounds after a second surgery and early menopause. Skin translucent from chemotherapy meds flowing through my veins.

    I didn't recognize myself. I didn't recognize this new season. Life was uncertain at best, and scary on most days.

    I wanted to be strong for my three babies.

    I wanted to be strong for my husband, who was in protective mode, but also vulnerable as his young wife battled cancer.

    I wanted to be strong for my mom, who snapped pictures when I wasn't looking, to capture memories of the daughter she loved, but feared she'd lose.

    Where was I to find strength?

    In the midst of what often felt like rough seas, my faith in Christ became my anchor. Additionally, God provided people who helped carry my burden.

    Their strength became mine in a hundred small and large ways. How? By putting their faith into action as James 2:17 tells us to do: "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." (NIV)

    Throughout the hard days of my treatment and recovery, I saw this verse lived out over and over.

    A neighbor and his wife mowed our yard every week while I sat through chemo. Many brought groceries. Others cleaned our house. Put gas in our car. Cooked meals.

    This faith in action eased the burden of physical and financial needs I felt I had to carry alone.

    Friends sat in the waiting room with Richard while I was in surgery. They took our children out to eat and brought them treats.

    This faith in action lifted the weight of worry over my beautiful children and husband.

    One friend noted my need for humor in the midst of so much bad news; her attempts at being funny were just the right prescription. Another brought balloons to chemotherapy. I sat with a needle in my vein, bright balloons attached to my chair, and a smile on my face.

    This faith in action bore my weight of sadness as I laughed out loud.

    There are days I pinch myself; it's hard to believe 23 years have passed since then. My "babies" grew up and have given me grandchildren. Richard and I are growing older together.

    Cancer is a word in my past, but faith in action is woven in my present.

    I'll never forget how small acts, piled upon one another, equaled big relief for a family in crisis.

    Sometimes we might think that faith in action is doing big things, and certainly it is; but small actions matter too.

    James 2:17 doesn't diminish the beauty of faith, but rather tells us to put action with it. Action moves your faith from being one of words to life-changing impact on others.

    Right now in your church, across the street, or somewhere in your community there is someone in crisis. Perhaps there's a friend or family member who is sick, grieving, confused or afraid, and you aren't sure what to say, or what to do.

    Take a look at their needs and your means to meet them. Determine what you are able to do, then put your faith into action. Serve up a hearty dose of food, love, laughter, babysitting, or comfort!

    Dear Lord, thank You for showing me someone who needs You. May my faith in action be a blessing today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Reflect and Respond:
    Sometimes when a friend or family member is battling cancer, you might not know what to say. Ask about what mattered to them the day before they were diagnosed with cancer. Family, faith, interests, etc.

    Who do you know in need, and what is one act of kindness that would relieve their burden? Do that today.

    Power Verses:
    Romans 12:13, "When God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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

  • Money’s Betrayal

    Posted on November 12, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. Mark 14:44-45

    Money betrays with false promises and conflicting loyalties. Seductively, it lures in a once godly ambition and converts it into a scheme to secure cash at all costs. Once firm boundaries between work and home were in place but drifted through circumstantial suggestions, eventually to be ignored when more money could be made. Ironically, someone can spend a lifetime consumed by accumulating wealth, only to lose their health and exhaust their net worth paying for their physical care. Judas betrayed a friend for financial gain. Beware of those enamored by the image of being wealthy.

    How do we know if we have been betrayed by money? How do we know if we are being betrayed for money? If our lifestyle has surpassed our modest means and handcuffed our home, we have been betrayed by money. If we worry more about stuff and having a status symbol, we have been betrayed by money. Moreover, we may be in the process of being exploited for money if our company or boss owns us. No margin for relationships, health, hobbies, emotions, family and faith is a warning sign to slow down, stop and objectively evaluate. Money’s betrayal steals.

    But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages. John 12:4-5

    Cash is the number one competitor with our devotion to Jesus Christ. Some even spiritualize their intentions to get rich by declaring that one day they will have a benevolent heart, once they acquire excess cash. However, generosity is not governed by the amount given, but by the capacity to give. This is why a widow’s mite means much more to God than a rich person who publicly tips the Lord only to be seen. Yes, the remedy to money’s betrayal is generous living in the moment.

    By God’s grace we release the unrighteous motivation to make money and replace it with devotion to Jesus and generosity to our community. We rest in who we are in Christ, not being tossed back and forth emotionally by feelings of letting people down, because eventually, we will let them down. Our heart is to fear the Lord, not fear what people say, do or think about us. The reality is people think very little about us anyway. So, we die to self and stuff, and we live for Christ. We turn our backs on money’s betrayal and turn in trust to God and His loyalty.

    Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will not stand, for God is with us. Isaiah 8:10

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I turn from money’s betrayal and turn toward You in trust of Your loyalty to me.

    Related Readings: Psalm 118:6; Luke 12:18-21, 16:13; Acts 5:3-5; Hebrews 13:5; 1 Timothy 6:17-19

    Post/Tweet today: Generosity is not governed by the amount given, but by the capacity to give. #moneysbetrayal

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

  • Lonely

    Posted on November 12, 2013 by Amy Carroll

    Amy

    "Suppose someone falls down. Then his friend can help him up. But suppose the man who falls down doesn't have anyone to help him up. Then feel sorry for him!" Ecclesiastes 4:10 (NIRV)

    Lonely. It's not a word I thought I'd ever use to describe myself, but that's how I felt.

    For many years after a hard move I felt alone.

    Close friends had always been a part of my life, and the absence of intimate friendships left me feeling sore-hearted. I longed to have someone to meet for coffee or help me expend some of my many daily words on the phone. It would have been wonderful to have a woman who would both listen and share.

    Over time, I made new friends and re-established older friendships, and most days I feel connected and content. But I still remember what it felt like to be lonely. Recently, I read a study published by the American Sociological Review that cited statistics that showed half of Americans only have two close friends. And one out of four Americans say they don't have any close friends.

    Not a single one. That's a lot of lonely hearts.

    Why should we care? Scripture tells us in Ecclesiastes 4:10 that our friends are our helpers. When times get tough, they can help us navigate through them. "Suppose someone falls down. Then his friend can help him up. But suppose the man who falls down doesn't have anyone to help him up. Then feel sorry for him!" (NIRV)

    So how can we be part of the solution, to help guarantee no one falls down without having a friend to pick them up?

    If you're lonely ...
    During my lonely days I told myself this over and over: When you don't have a friend, BE the friend to others that you would like to have.

    "Amy," I'd say ...

    • "Would you love a friend who takes time to show that she cares by picking up the phone and asking about your day? Then pick up the phone and ask about someone's day."

    • "Would you love a friend who keeps confidences and is trustworthy? Then be trustworthy."

    • "Would you love a friend who asks you to go the movies or for a walk? Then ask someone to go along when you do these things."

    It's easier to stay isolated sometimes than to reach out, especially if you've been hurt or disappointed many times. I know too well. But I want to encourage you to reach out, show love and care about others.

    God taught me so many things during my loneliness. I learned to be more dependent on Him. I learned to appreciate the friendship of my family more. I took a hard look at some things that weren't so wonderful about myself and worked to change them.

    During lonely times of life, be intentional about connecting to God and others. There's so much to be learned in these times.

    If you're not lonely ...
    Think about your neighborhood, church, or an organization you are part of. If there are 40 women there, 10 of them feel like they don't have even one friend. Could God be calling you to be that friend?

    Look for ways to open your circle of friends to new people. Watch for that woman at church sitting by herself, the co-worker who eats lunch alone, or the neighbor who never seems to be invited.

    Reach out today to be part of one less life feeling lonely.

    Dear Lord, You are the friend who is closer than a brother or sister. In this time of loneliness and seeming friendlessness, show me how precious friendship with You can be. Please teach me everything I need to learn in this phase of life. Would You also prepare a friend for me and prepare me to be a trusted, valued friend? In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Reflect and Respond:
    If you are lonely, take a step to be around people with whom you have things in common. Sign up for a class, join a book club, or attend a women's small group at your church.

    What is God teaching you about friendship with Him through loneliness?

    Power Verse:
    Proverbs 17:17, "A friend loves at all times. He is there to help when trouble comes." (NIRV)

    © 2013 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

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

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