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Daily Devotion

  • Unwise Argument

    Posted on July 7, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’Does your work say, ‘He has no hands’?”    (Isaiah 45:9)

    Do not argue with the Almighty for it is unwise and unproductive. Debating Deity is a vain and proud proposition. How could you know better than God what’s best? People possess a fraction of all knowledge, He owns all knowledge. Your perspective is limited at best, His view is all encompassing. You are the created, He is the Creator. You are worshippers, He is worshipped. You pray, He answers prayer. You receive grace, He gives grace. You sin, He forgives. You are human, He is God. Mind you, God does not mind sincere dialogue that seeks understanding. Questions regarding clarity of purpose and obedience are okay with Him. However, He rejects exerting energy around arguing about obvious obedience to His commands.
    The best way to relate to God is with agreement instead of argument. Agree with Him about who you are, as He has made and gifted you uniquely. You do not need to be anyone else other than yourself. You will stay frustrated trying to fashion your life after someone else’s, so be you. Let others inspire you to become better, but do not be overwhelmed by their abilities. God may have given them a greater capacity for activities and relationships. Be who God wants you to be, and don’t argue with Him about not having the opportunities afforded to others. He knows what’s best for you. Wouldn’t you rather have time to enjoy your family than to make 30% more  income, or even to double your salary? An increase in pay or a move to another city is not worth neglecting your family.
    You may argue with God and even get your way, but there is a price to pay. Guilt, broken relationships, hurt, and anger are not worth the trouble. Maneuvering around your Maker to get something may come back to haunt you. Arguing often means you are not getting your way. Therefore, call a time out. Take a prayerful pause, and align your way with His. Arguments can be resolved with alignment of purpose. Stay true to His call on your life, take responsibility, and do not argue with God or blame others.

    You have an opportunity to deepen your faith during this time of uncertainty. Cling to your Savior for affirmation and direction. Accept the truth instead of resisting reality. God is in control, He can be trusted. He will send you the relationships and resources needed to accomplish His will. The enemy tempts, so debate the devil with God’s word, and align with the Almighty’s purpose for your life. Choose acceptance of God’s will over argument. Acceptance allows you to channel your energy toward eternal matters. Argue less and accept more. This is wise and acceptable to the Almighty. No need to argue.

    Post/Tweet: Accept the truth instead of resisting reality. God is in control. #God’scontrol

    © 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 Isaiah

  • Attentive to Children

    Posted on July 6, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Samuel continued as judge over Israel all the days of his life. From year to year he went on a circuit from Bethel to Gilgal to Mizpah, judging Israel in all those places” (1 Samuel 7:15–16). “But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice” (1Samuel 8:3).

    Children need attention. They spell love T-I-M-E. We can be so busy, even busy doing good things, we miss out on God’s best, which is spending time with our children. They need time to laugh and time to cry, time to run and jump, and time to be still and nap. Children need time to pray, go to the library, make snow angels, ski, play dolls, dress up, make believe, play in the dirt, climb trees, and play hide-and-seek.

    Parents have the tremendous privilege of investing time in their children by having dates, hunting, and shopping together. You can take trips, run on the beach, chase sand crabs, swim, and watch the sun go down. You can eat a peanut butter sandwich and pretzels at their school, attend their sporting events, and proudly watch their school play or awards ceremony.

    If we miss our children experiencing life, we neglect them. If we neglect our children, there is a high probability they will reject us and/or our faith. Indeed, their perception of dad and mom is their perception of God. If we are distant, uninvolved, and disengaged, so they will see their heavenly Father. Therefore, invest time, money, and love in your children.

    Children require, and in some cases demand, a lot of attention. Your role is to be there for them, to be available. Your quality time with your children flows from your quantity time with them. You cannot stage or script quality time, it just happens, and you have to be around them to enjoy its benefit. When children are comfortable, they open up. Sometimes unexpectedly they begin to share their hearts. These spontaneous snippets of time become precious, teachable moments. Remember, quality time requires quantity time.

    For example, after attending their sporting event, affirm and encourage them. They already know about their mistakes. They just need to know everything is okay and they will do better next time. The most important part is showing up. You are the first person they look for in the crowd. When you are there, it shows you care. You cannot make up for these childhood days, but there will be other deals, work projects, ministry roles, and business opportunities. Be careful not to let work or ministry compete with your family.

    When at all possible, integrate two competing responsibilities. It may mean a family mission trip or serving together in the church nursery. If work requires travel, take a child with you. Make it a special trip with just the two of you. Let your children watch you “do life.” Let them see you trusting God with a difficult situation or watch you give Him credit for a great success. Then as they mature into adults, your children feel accepted rather than neglected, they respect mom and dad, and they embrace faith in Jesus.

    Prayer: How does my child like to spend time with me?

    Post/Tweet: Quality time with our children flows from our quantity time with them. #childtime

    © 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 Samuel

  • Too Sensitive

    Posted on July 5, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. Romans 12:3

    Pride is too sensitive. It easily gets its feelings hurt, because pride has a very high opinion of itself. Indeed, those who are overly sensitive believe they are beyond questioning or criticism. When someone asks for clarification or questions their actions, the proud move quickly to a defensive and/or attack frame of mind. Self focus causes hyper sensitive people to easily get their feelings hurt. Proud people have a protective process of projecting an image of perfection.

    Are you vulnerable and open to other opinions? Or, is your mind made up and no one can persuade you to think differently? Furthermore, how can we think soberly about ourselves? Sober mindedness is a healthy blend of humility and confidence in Christ. Humility sees even in our imperfection, we are loved by a perfect Savior. Confidence in Christ means we can be assured where He calls us, He will empower us. Humility is sensitive to the Spirit and not to self.

    My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Psalm 131:1-2

    There is a calmness that accompanies our heart when it is content and void of conceit. Our spirit is quieted under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit gives us compassionate sensitivity to other souls. The Spirit’s influence keeps us from being consumed with ourselves. We quickly admit our offenses, own them and ask others for forgiveness. We laugh with others at our goofy remarks or silly mistakes. Humility is not easily offended.

    Lastly, look to the Lord for affirmation, approval and acceptance. His nod of approval, His smile of affirmation and His hug of acceptance still your spirit. Your Heavenly Father has given you the faith to forge ahead for Him. Many will support your efforts, some will be indifferent and a few will resist. Regardless, do not take the feeling of rejection personally. Remember, like Jesus  stay focused on bringing glory to God. It is not about you, but Him. Be sensitive to the Spirit.

    You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low. 2 Samuel 22:8

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me to be sensitive to Your Spirit and not to selfish desires.

    Related Readings: Psalm 101:5, 116:7; Isaiah 2:12; Romans 8:14, 12:16; Galatians 5:18

    Post/Tweet today: Humility sees even in our imperfections we are loved by a perfect Savior. #lovedbyJesus

    © 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 Romans

  • Changing History through Prayer

    Posted on July 5, 2013 by Sharon Glasgow

    Sharon Glasgow

    "In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly. 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 ..." 1 Samuel 1:10-11a (NIV)

    Hours before I was conceived, my mom got on her knees. "Lord, if You will give me a baby tonight I will dedicate it to You and for Your service all the days of its life. Amen." God answered her prayer that night, and all my days have been devoted to Him in large part due to the fervent prayers of my mom.

    My mom followed in the footsteps of millions of mothers who prayed for their children. From the time of Samuel until this very day, some of our most influential Christian heroes became history makers because of their mothers' prayers.

    Samuel's mother Hannah poured out her soul to the Lord for years, pleading for a son. Eventually, God granted her prayer requests with her son Samuel, who Hannah dedicated to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:10-11a). He grew in wisdom, became a great prophet and judge, and led the Israelites into victory over the mighty Philistines.

    Susanna Wesley raised her sons, John (one of the greatest evangelists of the 1700's, speaking to crowds of more than 20,000) and Charles (who wrote over 9,000 hymns still sung today) in a home dedicated to the Word of God and prayer. In the midst of raising 10 children, she would spend two hours a day in personal prayer. On days she couldn't find a place of solitude, she would lift her apron over her head to be alone with God.

    George Washington was known for his humility, perseverance and dignity. His mother Mary raised him and his siblings as a single mother after her husband died when George was 10. It is recorded that she went to a nearby rock outside her house to pray continually. George wrote letters to his mother while on the battlefield of the Revolutionary War, that he escaped death when bullets went through his coat and horses were shot out from under him. Miracle after miracle happened to George, and he honored his praying mother with these words: "All that I am I owe to my mother."

    Billy Graham has led nearly three million people to freedom in Christ and has preached the Gospel to more than 80 million people during his lifetime. He has said of all the people he has ever known, his mother, Morrow, had the greatest influence on his life. She would gather the family to listen to the Bible and pray together. She and his dad would pray for Billy each morning at 10:00.

    Every Christian mother contending, interceding and praying for her children has the potential to change the course of history for God's glory. Our world is in need of God-filled history makers to rise up. I'm going to pray more diligently than ever for our children and their future and will stand on these promises of God:

    Matthew 21:22, "And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive" (NKJV).

    John 14:13-14, "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it" (NKJV).

    I will pray as my mother, Hannah, Susanna, Mary, and Morrow did for their children. I will pray for my children and for generations to come with unwavering passion and persistence. Will you join me?

    Let's rise up and be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might as we pray to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can think or imagine.

    Father, You hear our prayers, and You promise to answer them, according to Your will. Teach me how to pray for my, and other's, children that they might become fishers of men and bring You glory. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Scripture calls us to care for all children. In Fields of the Fatherless, Tom Davis shares God's heart for children and how we can be the hands and feet of Jesus to kids.

    Prayers for a Woman's Soul by Julie Gillies

    Reflect and Respond:
    Pick several Scriptures to pray specifically for your children.

    Write out your prayers for your children in a notebook or save them in a special file on your computer. As God answers them, record how He works. Keep this to pass down to your children.

    Power Verse:
    Colossians 1:9, "And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding ..." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Sharon Glasgow. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Absolutes Allow Freedom

    Posted on July 4, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” Judges 21:25

    Spiritual and moral decline is the fruit of a nation or person who abandons absolutes. Once absolutes are dismissed liberties are limited. A decline in spiritual fervor and moral purity always leads to the loss of freedom. For example, a home or car left unlocked in the past is locked today for fear of robbery. Indeed, small loses of freedom lead to larger loses of freedom. Without standards based on absolutes, absolutely anything can go.

    The threat of stealing moves from your home to corporate America where in some cases billions of dollars have been bilked to justify a short-term allusion of success to investors. Immoral and unspiritual individuals become deceptive and dishonest if allowed to do “what is right in their own eyes”. Without boundaries and absolutes anything goes and if anything goes, your freedoms will deteriorate and eventually be destroyed.

    The cultural battle that rages in our country is over the soul of our society. If absolutes win then our children and grandchildren will see their cherished rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness extended. Therefore, will we bow to the false promise of freedom wrapped in the guise of no absolutes, or will we expose the lies and uphold God’s standards and His definition of absolutes? People flourish where freedom loudly rings!

    We lead out of love and compassion, however there are behavioral boundaries to be guarded with vigilance. When the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage are under attack we cannot sit passively by and just pray. As followers of Jesus Christ we have a mandate to defend these bedrocks of civilization. Yes we are busy, and yes we have our own problems to deal with, but “you ain’t seen nothing yet” if good people do nothing.

    Your freedoms will continue to deteriorate like the “frog in the kettle”, unaware but slowly boiling himself to death. We should be the thermostats of society not the barometers; the influencers rather than the ones being influenced. Consider how you might get involved in the PTA at your child’s school or the local government. Volunteer in church or ministries that need your skill set, gifts and passion. Model the fruit of the Spirit (patience, gentleness, self-control…), as you influence the culture for Christ.

    Public policy is a reflection of private morality and spirituality. Absolutes abided by absolutely guarantee your freedoms. So, by God’s grace continue to raise the bar of expectations and absolutes, so that “everyone is doing what is right in the Lord’s eyes”.

    The Lord’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. Psalm 11:4

    Prayer: How can I best model and live out His absolutes in my life and in the life of my family? How would Christ have me engage in our cultural battle?

    Related Readings: Genesis 4:7; Deuteronomy 6:18; Galatians 5:22; Hebrews 13:7-9

    Post/Tweet today: Once absolutes are dismissed liberties are limited. #absolutes

    © 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 Judges

  • Afraid to Turn the Next Corner

    Posted on July 4, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit." Jeremiah 17:7-8 (ESV)

    You know how some people love the thrill of being surprised? They love surprise parties. They would love to show up at work one day and be told they are actually going on a surprise vacation and be whisked from their desk to paradise in just a few hours.

    They would love to have one of those makeover shows pop up at their house with a film crew and be told they're getting a whole new wardrobe.

    Surprises feel thrilling to them. Like the thrill some people get when a roller coaster ride they thought was over suddenly takes off again and starts doing upside down loops. They throw their hands in the air and embrace the thrill of the unknown.

    They call that fun.

    I don't.

    I love a good birthday party. But I don't want it to be surprised.

    I love a good vacation. But I don't want it to be planned for me.

    I love winning stuff and would freely accept a gift certificate for a new wardrobe. But I don't want anyone to pick out the clothes for me.

    I like (not love) a roller coaster. I don't mind when it finally crests the lift hill and then careens downward like the bottom just fell out of the world. But I don't want it to take unexpected twists and turns.

    This dislike of surprises can usually be managed with all the things I mentioned.

    My friends know not to throw me a surprise party. No one is looking to give me a surprise vacation or new wardrobe. And before getting on a roller coaster, I thoroughly check it out and know its patterned route.

    But life is different.

    Life twists and turns and throws loops into those places we think will be flat and smooth. Because that's what life does. Sometimes it all just catches us off guard.

    And at the end of the day, I guess that's why I don't like to be surprised. I can't stand to get caught off guard. It makes me feel exposed and afraid.

    But slowly, I'm learning God can bring good out of feeling exposed and afraid.

    That vulnerable place reminds us we have needs beyond what we can manage by ourselves. It reminds us we need God. Desperately. Completely.

    And into that gap between what we can manage on our own and what we can't, that's right where faith steps in and has the opportunity to find deep roots. Roots that dig down and break up previously unearthed places within us.

    Our faith doesn't just need to grow big, it needs to grow deep. Yes, we need deep faith roots.

    I want to have faith like the believer that Jeremiah describes as, "... a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit" (Jeremiah 17:8).

    Deep roots anchor us when surprises blow like strong, unruly winds.

    Deep roots hold us steady during the storm that didn't show up on the radar.

    Deep roots find nourishment when the surface gets awfully dry.

    Deep roots allow for growth not previously possible.

    Deep roots yield rich fruit.

    So, I'm learning to not be so afraid of what might be around the next corner. Even if it does catch me off guard. I close my eyes and whisper ... "deeper still."

    Dear Lord, deep roots of faith–that's what I need to grow today. Help me to trust in You above all else. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Do you want to grow your faith? Lysa TerKeurst's book, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, will help you do just that as you learn to walk in radical obedience to the Lord each day. Click here to purchase your copy!

    Reflect and Respond:
    Is there something dividing your heart and distracting you from knowing God more?

    Pray a courageous prayer. Ask God to show you one distraction you could distance yourself from to more fully embrace growing your faith.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 52:8, "But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever." (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 Jeremiah

  • Christ and Country

    Posted on July 3, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind. Psalm 33:12-13

    God blesses a country that honors Him, but He brings down a country that dishonors Him. It honors Him for His people to pray in earnest for righteousness to reign in religion, the work place, seats of government and the home. It dishonors the Lord when we behave like His commands are suggestions and we marginalize His mandates. Countries founded on Christ are blessed if they continue with Christ.

    Where is our Christ conscientiousness? Do our actions reflect accountability to Almighty God and His ultimate judgment? Faith without the fear of God is weak and anemic in the face of moral relativism, academic attacks and the indulgences of affluence. A nation who fears the Lord fears sin and its deadly consequences. Thus, Christians are called by Christ to engage in their communities with compassion and a standard of right and wrong.

    The law of the Lord is the basis of the law of the land in a country that honors Christ. The Bible is clear, “All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous” (Romans 2:12-13). God blesses a nation who obeys His laws.

    Therefore, for our children’s sake, let's raise our standards of acceptable actions for preachers, politicians and parents. Let’s return to public prayers of dependence on the Lord and private prayers of repentance from sin. Without God’s blessing a country creeps into moral chaos, an economic meltdown and institutional irrelevance. But, with God’s blessing a country thrives on trust in Him. We desperately need to stay bless-able before the Lord.

    If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

    Prayer: Am I a citizen who unashamedly represents Christ in my community? Do I pray with persistence and humility for repentance among God’s people?

    Related Readings: Exodus 19:5-6; Psalm 144:15; Romans 12:14-15; 1 Peter 2:9

    Post/Tweet today: Countries founded on Christ are blessed if they continue with Christ. #foundingfaith

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


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

  • I Didn't Sign up for This

    Posted on July 3, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good ..." Genesis 50:20a (NLT)

    "I didn't sign up for this!" my friend moaned as we reviewed the printed class schedules we'd just picked up in the school office.

    While I had gotten all my desired classes, she had been assigned one she had absolutely no interest in taking. She couldn't imagine spending four months stuck in a classroom studying something she disliked.

    I tried to empathize, but truthfully I felt she was whining about a very minor issue. Her life, in my estimation, was absolutely fantastic. She came from a well-to-do family. Her parents had been happily married for over 25 years. She had a big extended family and fun get-togethers. She had straight teeth and a nearly-new car.

    I, on the other hand, came from a family rocked by divorce and financial struggles. I had only one brother with whom I didn't get along. My car was old and ugly. My teeth needed braces, but the funds had never been available.

    Hearing her complain about her schedule started my descent into self-pity as I compared my circumstances to hers.

    The more I thought about the unfairness of my life, I reached the same conclusion she had when she spied that unwanted class: "I didn't sign up for this!"

    My friend and I both felt stuck. However, our situations weren't life-threatening. They were issues we could work to change. We could learn the lessons God had for us by not always having a perfect life. And if truly unable to change parts of our circumstances, we could still change our attitudes.

    A young man in Scripture, Joseph, also found himself smack dab in a heap of hassles and difficult situations he never signed up for. His jealous brothers sold him into slavery. He was whisked away to live in a foreign land. To top it off, he was falsely accused of raping his master's wife even though he tried his best to stay away from her. He even wound up in prison.

    These unjust circumstances could have had him complaining, "I didn't sign up for this!" He could have retaliated against those who had caused his turmoil. But he didn't.

    Joseph maintained a God-fearing, God-honoring attitude throughout his ordeals, even as a slave with no freedom in sight.

    At the end of his life we get a glimpse into his continual Christ-like behavior. He'd risen from slave to governor of Egypt through his discernment and wisdom. When his brothers came to buy grain during a famine from the Egyptian authorities, they were shocked to see their younger brother—long thought dead—sitting in a position of power. They feared he would retaliate for the cruel things they did to him, but Joseph's response? "You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good ..." (Genesis 50:20a).

    Joseph refused to let life's hard knocks knock him off course, preventing him from living a life that pleased God. He believed in a God Who works all things together for good. By recognizing God's redemption of horrific circumstances, he found true spiritual freedom from self-pity, anger and retaliation. Instead he characterized what God wants of us in Micah 6:8b, "And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?" (NAS).

    Today when I am tempted to whine as I compare my life with someone I perceive has an easier one, I remember Joseph, the slave-by-force. I want to emulate his attitude, be spiritually free, and walk in the ways of God.

    It also prompts me to remember that today forced slavery still exists; women and children are forced into the sex-trafficking trade every day. These precious ones sit in atrocious circumstances due to no fault or choice of their own.

    We enjoy simple freedoms they never get to experience. Unless ... we band together, purposing to do something about this awful practice. Could we dare to get our eyes off of our sometimes minor problems and spend time doing justice, acting kindly and humbly walking with God to help free these slaves?

    No matter our circumstances, it's never too late to be free. Our God-honoring attitude that comes from a shift in perspective can help us find spiritual freedom. And our intentional actions can help others imprisoned in slavery find freedom, physically, spiritually and emotionally.

    Dear Lord, help me take my eyes off of my circumstances and fix them solely upon You and Your plan so I can find true spiritual freedom and offer freedom to others. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Priceless: A Novel on the Edge of the World by Tom Davis

     

     

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    When you can't change the circumstances, how might you change your attitude, bringing it in line with Scripture?

    Power Verse:
    Romans 8:28, "We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose." (HCSB)

    © 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 Genesis

  • Cultural Christianity

    Posted on July 2, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    She [Lydia] was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. Acts 16:14-15

    Cultural Christianity has a form of godliness but no faith in Christ. There is a resemblance to righteousness, but not an authentic heart change. Because the culture may understand the tenets of Christianity, a citizen may think their birthright into that society makes them a Christian. However, understanding without conversion is just head knowledge. Familiarity does breed contempt where cultural Christianity replaces personal faith with a general "feel good" faith.

    Yes, there are those like Lydia who may even worship God but are worshiping as an unsaved sinner, not as a saint. As Paul taught, she came under conviction from the Holy Spirit to believe in and accept the resurrected Christ into her life. Her baptism was an outward confession of her inward conversion to Jesus Christ. Conversion Christianity is a person who came to the end of themselves and confessed their need for Jesus as Savior. Transformation is from the inside out.

    Assuredly, I [Jesus] say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3, NKJV

    Have you been genuinely converted to Christ? Have you humbled your heart like a little child and embraced Jesus Christ as the resurrected Lord and Savior of your life? Your individual conversion to Christ is a significant source of strength for your church, community and family. You become “salt and light” for a society in search of its soul. Preachers, lawyers, judges, students, mechanics, coaches, teachers, homemakers, executives, artists and athletes who love Jesus begin to influence friends for Jesus. Converted Christians change the culture for Christ.

    Cultural Christians blend into the culture. Converted Christians influence the culture. The apron strings of your parents' faith can not make you right with Almighty God. Your beliefs cannot be a barnacle on the cruise ship of someone else’s conversion. Personal conversion is your only qualifier for heaven after death and abundant life on earth. Cultural Christians are only an imitation of real intimacy and salvation in Jesus. Repent therefore and be converted to Christ.

    Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. Acts 3:19, NKJV

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me out of the comfort of cultural Christianity to the transforming power of being an authentic convert of Christ.

    Related Readings: Psalm 51:13; Romans 16:6; Acts 9:1-6, 15:3; 1 Timothy 3:6

    Post/Tweet today: Your beliefs cannot be a barnacle on the cruise ship of someone else’s conversion. #personalsalvation

    © 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 Acts

  • A Gentle Touch

    Posted on July 2, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, 'I am willing; be cleansed'" Mark 1:41 (NASB)

    The labor and delivery of my second child was fast. In fact, within two hours after the first inkling of pain, I was in the hospital being prepped for delivery. The intense pain surprised and overwhelmed me. Because of the rapid progression, I had no pain relief.

    With my husband's hand squeezed in my left one, I looked into the face of the young nurse standing at my right, coaching me through the delivery. After an excruciating contraction, I asked, "Will you hold my hand?" She smiled and grabbed hold of my right hand while another wave of pain radiated through my body.

    It sounded pitiful and needy to ask someone to hold my hand, but at that moment I needed her strength.

    There have been other times I've needed to hold someone's hand. The first time I went snorkeling, I thought I was going to pass out I was hyperventilating so badly. I held my husband's hand on my left and my son's hand on my right until I could control my breathing and enjoy the incredible sights.

    Hiking up Angel's Landing in Zion National Park, I held someone's hand when I wasn't grasping on to rocks.

    I've held my mother's hand and my sisters' hands as we've walked through the pain of losing loved ones.

    There's something about physical touch that brings comfort and stability in an uncertain world. The New Testament is filled with stories of Jesus touching those around Him. He laid His hands on women who had been scorned, children who were dancing at His feet and lepers ashamed of their faces.

    In this world of virtual relationships, conversations managed via electronic devices and fear of inappropriate touch, I wonder if we are losing our physical connections to each other. And yet God designed us to need touch. In fact, it is critical to our health-both emotional and physical. Babies need touch for their brains to develop and children need touch for their emotions to develop. Experts say appropriate touch has a profound effect on the brain's programming and re-programming.

    Perhaps it's time to become more intentional about offering loving and appropriate touch to others. We all need it, but often find it's awkward to accept and offer. My immediate family is very comfortable with touch, as my children have grown up with lots of physical affection. But I have to be intentional about reaching out to others in gentle and creative ways.

    I have discovered reading the New Testament that the first believers were very affectionate with each other. In fact, at the end of Acts 20, we read that all the believers embraced and kissed Paul as he was leaving for a journey. They were also encouraged to greet each other with a holy kiss.

    While I realize not everyone is ready to be touched with such intimacy, I am challenged to bring healthy touch into my relationships in greater measure. Whether it's a hug, pat on the head, stroke on the arm, or a holy kiss, touch is needed in our society. Maybe if we brought more healthy touch into our relationships, people wouldn't be driven to seek it in inappropriate ways.

    For whatever reason, God designed us to need the physical touch of others. The next time you are at church, a family get-together or out with friends, challenge yourself to offer healthy touch to two or three people, especially those seniors in your midst. Become the person who offers a hug, rather than waiting for one.

    Dear Lord, I know You designed us to need the touch of other people. It's not always easy to admit we need someone to hold our hand, or give us a hug. Help me to be more aware of the needs of those around me and to offer gentle touch in natural ways. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Study different Scriptures where Jesus reached out and touched someone in the NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women. We've sprinkled 366 devotions, written by our team, throughout this Bible to help encourage you.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What are some reasons you refrain from offering a gentle touch to others?

    How can you emulate Jesus' care for others, as seen in Scripture?

    Power Verses:
    Matthew 19:14-15, "But Jesus said, 'Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.' And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left." (NLT)

    1 Peter 5:14, "Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ." (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 Mark

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