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Daily Devotion

  • The Secret Place

    Posted on August 1, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "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

  • Spiritual Fitness

    Posted on July 31, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    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

  • Overlooking an Offense

    Posted on July 31, 2013 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy

    "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

  • Rich Living

    Posted on July 30, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Will You Give Me Your Son?

    Posted on July 30, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Related Resources:


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

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

    How has fear affected your obedience?

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

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Kind But Direct

    Posted on July 29, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • White As Snow

    Posted on July 29, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie

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

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

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

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

    Until three decades later.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Related Resources:

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

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

    Tell one person your story today.

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

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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

  • Disconnect to Reconnect

    Posted on July 28, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns” (Matthew 14:13).

    There are times when the crowds crowd in on me. I need relief—relief from the routine, relief from responsibilities, relief from relationships, or relief from the raw pain of losing a loved one. Jesus felt this intense emotion as John the Baptist, His friend and spiritual confidant, was brutally beheaded. The pain of severe loss led Him to be alone.

    Are you on the edge of complete exhaustion? Is your tolerance for any more trouble at the tipping point of chronic fatigue? If so, it is time to disconnect from distractions so you can reconnect to your relationship with the Lord. You preclude coming apart emotionally and physically when you come apart relationally with your Savior Jesus.

    Our private investment in solitude gives our public service sustainability. If we are always available to everyone, then we are not effective with anyone. A soul that is always exposed to the light of life is unable to discern the desperate state of hurting humanity. So we schedule time on the calendar with Christ in seclusion, and He empowers us.

    Your responsibilities will not rest while you rest, but trust the Lord to take care of any crisis that may arise. For you to disconnect from your duties means you prepare ahead of time to transition from your tasks while you are away. Do not be ensnared by your ego that always wants to be wanted. Let others learn what you know so you can go away and grow. We grow stale if we reject retreats, but we are energized when we engage them.

    When we disconnect, we trust God to get things done through others in spite of our absence. Your break from work and home is an opportunity for a colleague to step up and be blessed with a new opportunity to be stretched. Why keep all the challenging circumstances to yourself? Let go so others can gain invaluable experience. Once you have truly disconnected from your phone, enjoy your soul reconnecting with Christ!

    “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).

    Prayer: What relationship or responsibility do I need to disconnect from for a season? When and where is the best place for me to reconnect with Christ?

    Related Readings: 2 Chronicles 15:4; Daniel 9:3; Acts 17:27; Hebrews 11:6

    Post/Tweet: Our private investment in solitude gives our public service sustainability. #solitude

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

  • Desert Experience

    Posted on July 27, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
    Mark 1:12-13

    Sometimes the Holy Spirit sends you into a desert experience. The purpose of this hard time is not punishment, but purity. God wants to purify your faith and grow your dependence on Him. Naturally, the enemy does not sit still when he senses someone has escaped eternity’s cover. He does, however, miss the principle that God uses all things for His good, even your enemies. Times of trial are full of temptation from Satan, for he appeals to your pride, your physical appetite, and your spiritual vulnerability. He wants to bring you down when you are at your weakest. He sees you alone and ready for the kill. Satan smells blood, but the blood he smells is not your demise, it is your salvation. It is the blood of Jesus Christ that covers you during this crisis time in your desert of life.
    Your desert experience may involve a child who is away from God and away from home. It may be that your health is failing quickly and you are on the fast track to heaven’s gates. Your desert experience may encompass loneliness and a Lord that does not seem to answer prayer. Heaven may be silent during this time of stress and distress. Your marriage may be in the ditch and even on the way to divorce court, so be careful not to make a dumb decision during your desert time. He will carry you through. His angels are not passive to your plight, but present to minister to your needs.

    Your heavenly Father is sending reinforcements for your faith, so stay immersed in the Word of God because His word is your anchor during this troubling time. The promises of God rain down like manna during desolate desert times. Feed your soul with Scripture, and you will have strength to make it through this time of turmoil. Look to the Lord, for He cares. He is willing to make you whole and to walk with you through this desert of distress. Do not attempt to gut it out without God and people.
    Lastly, you will be stronger as a result of this faith-stretching situation. What was meant to drive you away from God will draw you closer. The Holy Spirit knows better than you what you need to become more like Jesus in your faith and deeds. This desert experience will pass, so don’t waste this pain and discomfort, but use it to go deep with the Divine. Turn the tables with trust, for your faithfulness inspires others to remain faithful. The irrigation of God’s love, grace, and forgiveness will flood your desert with new life and will be beautiful to behold. Jesus creates a paradise of character where once existed a desert of temptation.
    The Bible says, “Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert” (Isaiah 35:6).

    Post/Tweet: Feed your soul with Scripture, and you will have strength to make it through times of turmoil. #Scripture

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

  • Faith Living

    Posted on July 26, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

    Faith living is focused on God living. It is the road less traveled. Even for believers in Jesus Christ, faith living is not always predominant. Why settle for anything less? If we limit ourselves to our efforts, our logic and what we can see, then we only tip God with our faith. He is calling us beyond the honeymoon stage of our faith to mature faith. A faith that only thinks of the past is anemic and stunted. Faith alive is focused on God’s vision for the future. It is caught up in the possibilities of today with no fear of tomorrow.

    By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going (Hebrews 11:8).

    Faith living enjoys God’s ability to create. For example, He can create resourceful relational opportunities, as He is the connector par excellent. By faith He can be trusted to lead you to just the right people. People whom you can serve and people who can join you to accomplish God’s will. Determine ways to bring value to the other person. It is not about what you can get from them, it is all about how you can serve them.

    Moreover, faith living is not irresponsible living. This is not some blind excursion that ignores the needs of your spouse and children. It is wrought with prayer and godly advice. This implies that faith living is not lived in a vacuum. It is living in concert with those around you. Abraham went by faith to a new country and cared for his family.

    By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise” (Hebrews 11:9).

    Yes, it requires sacrifice and service, but not in the guise of unwise decision-making. Faith living trusts God’s timing. It does not rush into battle without weapons or a plan. You trust God to prepare you and provide  you the needed resources to carry out His will. You are no match for Satan without the weapons of spiritual warfare.

    Furthermore, trust the Lord with how He has gifted you. Your part is to become more self aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Allow God and others to leverage your strengths and shore up your weaknesses. Be who God created you to be and come alive in Christ. Pursue Him, live by faith and execute His will. Live by faith and not by sight. Faith living is the only way to live for God. You are not really alive until you live by faith in Jesus!

    Prayer: How can I better position my life to live by faith and not by sight?

    Related Readings: Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 2:20; 3:11; Hebrews 10:38

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

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