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Daily Devotion

  • Fear in the Dark

    Posted on September 16, 2013 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy

    "... all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land." Exodus 14:21b (NIV)

    God seemed distant and I felt completely alone after I was physically and sexually assaulted at knifepoint in my early 20s. For years after the attack, I lived cocooned in a prison of despair and hopelessness, fear hounding me. Finally, after years of searching for help and believing there was nowhere else to turn, I fell on my knees before God and poured out my tears, anger and questions to Him.

    During that very dark time, God lead me to the story of the Israelites' escape from slavery in Egypt. Initially, Pharaoh agreed to let God's people go, but soon after they left, Pharaoh changed his mind. He pursued them with 600 of his best chariots and terrified the Israelites. Can you imagine their fear?

    They cried out to their leader, Moses. Even though Moses reminded the people of God's promise that He would deliver them, the circumstances barreling toward them said otherwise. Their reality included Pharaoh's finest soldiers hot on their heels, and the colossal Red Sea blocking their escape. God's people had no idea the miracle awaiting them.

    When they reached the Red Sea, Moses stretched his hand over the water. Scripture says, "... all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land" (Exodus 14:21b). Because it was dark, the Israelites couldn't quite see the full picture of what God was doing.

    In the black of night, the Lord tirelessly worked on behalf of His children to deliver them, just as He had promised.

    It was as if the words of this story leapt off the pages of Scripture and into my desolate heart. Although the Israelites could not see or hear God, He was moving in the midst of their darkness. I too could not "see" or "feel" God, but He was at work around me in invisible ways—present and active on my behalf to carry me through.

    The dark is a very scary place to be. Whether it's the darkness of our fears or circumstances pressing in, we have two choices as to how to respond. We can take matters into our own hands, turning to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain, seeking advice or reading the latest self-help book, never knowing if any of them is the way to healing and wholeness. Or we can look to God. We can pray and open His Word, knowing He guarantees healing and wholeness.

    For years I tried the first approach to deal with my darkness. Yet each attempt to help myself failed. It was only when I turned to God, crying out for His help, that things started to change.

    Would you like to experience God's help for yourself? Ask. The Lord promises, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV). Like He was for the Israelites, God is there for us. And He is always working on our behalf, even when we can't see or feel Him.

    Today, if you are in the darkness ... if your circumstances are threatening to consume you ... if you feel utterly defeated ... seek the Lord. Ask Him to rescue you and remember this, He is there ... parting your "Red Sea."

    Dear Heavenly Father, it's so difficult to walk through darkness. You feel so far away. I feel so alone. Thank You for the promise that You will never leave me or forsake me, and that there is nothing in all creation that will ever separate me from the love I have in You and in Your Son. Walk ever so closely with me during this darkness, Lord. Speak to me. Give me hope. In Jesus' Name, amen.

    Related Resources:


    Reflect and Respond:
    Sometimes God allows difficult circumstances to do a mighty transformational work in our lives. How would viewing your difficult circumstances as part of His refining process help you trust Him and change your perspective?

    Power Verses:
    1 John 1:5b, "God is light; in him there is no darkness at all." (NIV)

    Romans 8:38-39, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

  • Hurting Spouse

    Posted on September 15, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
    1 Corinthians 12:26-27

    Sometimes our spouses experience hurt. It may be for a moment, for months, or in some chronic situations they may hurt over years. Hurt can come from a variety of sources. Busy parents who lacked love can lead to childhood hurt, disappointments deposit hurt, lack of control contributes to hurt, shattered dreams hurt, and health issues exacerbated hurt. Hurt may linger on the surface of your spouse’s heart, or it may have inflicted deep wounds into the soul—a soul that desperately needs God’s healing hand. Sadly, the scars of hurt can disfigure his or her countenance. So be aware because your insensitivity can compound the hurt, or your sensitivity can cure the hurt. Hurt hurts.

    When your spouse hurts, you hurt. You may hurt because of the empathy you feel for her pain, or you may hurt because of the pain he has knowingly or unknowingly imposed on you. Hurt cannot be ignored as it will expose itself mildly in public and wildly in private. Hurt will not go away unless there is healing. Your tender touch brings healing. Your extra patience eases the pain. Your kind words are an ointment that soothes anxiety. Your gracious attitude is a legion of love ready to recapture your spouse’s heart. Don’t give up reaching out to your hurting husband or wife. Yes, it’s inconvenient, and your goals may be on hold for now. You are in survival mode. Do not grow weary in doing good, for in due season you will reap God’s blessings (Galatians 6:9).
    If you are the one who is hurting, go to your heavenly Father for healing. Let Him love you through this. Lay down your burden before it crushes your spirit. You cannot bear this burden by yourself or fix this alone. Your loving Lord wants to lead you into forgiveness and freedom. Release your regrets and disappointments to Him, and let go of your need for control. Demands for control are the fruit of fear. Remember that Jesus can be trusted during this time of turmoil.
    Don’t buy into a false feeling of freedom that comes from pushing back. Instead, open up and let the Lord and your lover into your heart. Healing is the outcome from applying the outrageous love and forgiveness of God. Indeed, you may be in a mid-life reflection. You are tempted to walk away from your family, friends, and faith, but it is a long and lonely walk that only enflames the pain.
    Take your Savior’s advice, and experience His healing for you and your spouse. Jesus said to go to Him for rest in your weariness, and for wholeness for your heart. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

    Post/Tweet: Your gracious attitude is a legion of love ready to recapture your spouse’s heart. #hurtingspouse

    Related Resources
    Billy Graham - The Reason for My Hope: Salvation

    In The Reason for My Hope, Graham presents the core message that has guided his life and calling for more than 70 years. Filled with new stories and timeless truth, he once again calls the world back to its spiritual priority as only he can.

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

  • Forgiveness of God

    Posted on September 14, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

    The forgiveness of God is far-reaching and without limitation to anyone who believes. He forgives the worst of sinners and the best of saints. Atheists, adulterers, murderers, liars, the hot-tempered, and the mild-mannered can all receive the free forgiveness of their heavenly Father. The good, the bad, and the ugly are all candidates for God’s grace.

    Jesus Christ’s death on the cross bought us back or redeemed us from the penalty of sin. By faith in Him we no longer have to be burdened by our own indiscretions against almighty God. All sins of omission, commission, and ignorance can be laid at the foot of the cross and left for our Lord’s pardon. Have you been freed by His forgiveness?

    Will God forgive years of religious neglect? Yes. Will God forgive a life that lives for itself alone? Yes. Will the Lord forgive divorce, irresponsible living, and laziness? Yes. Will he forgive my chronic complaining, my bad attitude, and my tendency to gossip? Are my pride in my good works and my self-sufficiency covered by Christ’s blood? Yes, God will forgive anything that is an enemy of His grace. His death gives peace.

    “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:19–20).

    Forgiveness is free to all who believe, but it came at a great cost in Christ’s death. God gave His Son for our salvation from sin. So have you personally appropriated faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord? If so, since your salvation do you regularly bow to Him in confession for the cleansing of your heart? Unconfessed sin clouds clear thinking.

    Since you have believed, you are rich in God’s grace and have a robust remedy for sin. Do you take advantage of your Lord’s forgiveness? As a Christian, do you sit daily at the feet of your Savior and receive freedom through His forgiveness? At the cross you were set free from the eternal penalty of sin, and now His forgiveness frees you from the guilt of sin. Jesus said, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

    “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you” (Acts 13:38).

    Prayer: Have I trusted Jesus for the salvation of my sins? What hidden sins do I need to repent of and confess to Him?

    Related Readings: Matthew 26:28; Acts 26:17–19; Romans 6:18–22; Hebrews 9:15

    Post/Tweet: Forgiveness is free to all who believe, but it came at a great cost in Christ’s death. #Godforgives

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

  • Faithful in Prayer

    Posted on September 13, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Be faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

    Faithful followers of Jesus are faithful in prayer. To pray is to love and need Jesus. To not pray is to express a shallow sentiment toward Jesus and not really depend on Him. To pray is to get quiet before God, out of silence the noise of life is managed. To not pray is to be too busy to hear God, so the noise manages an exhausted life. To pray is to wait and ask for the Lord’s blessing. To not pray is to rush ahead and ask Him to bless after the fact. To pray is to keep short sin accounts by confession and repentance. To not pray invites sin to increase its control over a life.

    Furthermore, there is a devotion to Christ that calls His disciples to be prayer devotees. When we are devoted to prayer, we are enthusiastic in looking for opportunities to pray for those God daily sends our way. Like a police officer tracks the speed of a car with a radar gun, so a prayer agent has his spiritual antenna up to detect hurting hearts, discouraged dispositions and scared souls. The Holy Spirit opens doors for our faithful prayers to be applied. Yes, we watch and pray!

    Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2

    So, how are we to pray? The Scriptures are not overly prescriptive, but there are inspiring and practical examples to follow: Hannah, while anguished of heart, poured out her heart to God in prayer. Jesus rose early to pray at a secluded place. In the morning David praised and meditated on God’s word. When we pray at the beginning of the day we refocus on what’s really important. The Holy Spirit clarifies His agenda for our daily activities as we pause to listen to His heart.

    Furthermore, you may pray spontaneously throughout the day for needy souls, or pray practical petitions from Scripture. The Bible has engaging prayers that bless the heart. Prayers for: Salvation-Romans 10:1, John 17:20; Spiritual maturity-Ephesians 3:14-19; God’s will-Luke 22:42; Unity-John 17: 11; God’s glory-John 17:1-4; Protection from evil-John 17:15; Growth in truth-John 17:16-19; God focus-Matthew 6:5-13; Praise and thanksgiving-1 Chronicles 29:10-13. Remain faithful in prayer and the Spirit will lead you where you need to go. Your prayers matter!

    In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. 1 Samuel 1:10

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, teach me to pray in a way that honors you, changes me and blesses others.

    Related Readings: 1 Kings 13:6; Psalm 86:1-6; Acts 12:5; Romans 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:17

    Post/Tweet today: Remain faithful in prayer and the Spirit will lead you where you need to go. #faithfulprayers

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

  • When Change is Hard

    Posted on September 13, 2013 by Lisa Allen

    Lisa

    "Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time." Ecclesiastes 3:11a (NLT)

    There's a cluster of photos in my living room that I love. They've been there for almost 20 years and tell our family's story: pictures of my kids' first steps, vacations, and graduations. The other day as I was dusting, our son's baby photo caught my eye. Well, not so much the picture, but the old frame around it.

    Though our furniture and décor tastes have changed in 20 years, our picture frames haven't. So I decided to give my photos a facelift by swapping the old frames with up-to-date ones.

    When I placed the almost 20-year-old photo in the new frame, the picture took on a whole new look. Though the photo didn't change, the reframing altered how I viewed it.

    Redecorating brought to mind a season in which God did some serious work in my own life. Life changes caused me to put a "new frame" around my calling, so I could view this time with God's perspective, not mine.

    You see, I had felt sure God called me to minister to women. Whenever I had the opportunity to do so, my heart overflowed. Though my days were often long and complicated, I somehow felt more energized by serving in my calling.

    Over time, however, doors in women's ministry at my church were closing. These transitions were healthy and good for the church, but they left me feeling like part of my dream and calling had died.

    I prayed for God to show me His will and sensed He had something on the horizon, but I couldn't see any tangible open doors to serve with women at my church. It turned out, He had other plans for me. Plans that helped me see this season, not as one of letting go and sadness, but of exciting new opportunities and joy.

    God stretched me beyond my comfort zone. Instead of serving women locally, He called me to serve globally in Burundi, Africa. Though this wasn't my "sweet spot" in ministry, my leadership abilities grew by leaps and bounds. Not only that, but with my free time, I took classes in a totally new profession which allowed me to help women in a fresh way. I learned and absorbed everything I could.

    Perhaps you are facing a season of change and would be encouraged by some "reframing" and a fresh perspective. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says God has made everything beautiful "for its own time." God has designed our lives into beautiful seasons, but there is a time limit on each one.

    Some seasons are wide-open doors for our passions and calling … and some seasons are closed doors when God asks us to grow spiritually, professionally, relationally, or maybe emotionally.

    A question that helped me in the season of waiting for my dream of working with women was, what does this time make possible? For every season, God has a purpose for us. During mine, closed doors made continuing education possible. Closed doors allowed me to travel to Africa twice. Closed doors helped me grow by ministering in a different culture.

    What about you? Do you feel like you are in a closed-door season? Ask God what this new time makes possible for you. Join a Bible study. Serve at a school. Mentor a young person. Pursue a dream. Take a class to help you develop professionally. These are all new frames you can put around this season of change.

    Father, thank You for the rhythm You have woven into our lives. I am grateful for this past season and recognize that You have made it beautiful in Your time. I am grateful for the upcoming season and ask You to give me a confident expectation. Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Billy Graham - The Reason for My Hope: Salvation

    In The Reason for My Hope, Graham presents the core message that has guided his life and calling for more than 70 years. Filled with new stories and timeless truth, he once again calls the world back to its spiritual priority as only he can.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Is there anything in this season causing you fear or anxiety over the transition? Write a Bible verse on a note card and tuck it in your car, on your windowsill or your clothes dryer to remind you about God's perspective on this new season.

    Ask God what this new season makes possible for you, and then take action!

    Power Verses:
    Daniel 2:21, "He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding." (ESV)

    Ecclesiastes 3:1, "For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Lisa Allen. All rights reserved.

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

  • Patient in Affliction

    Posted on September 12, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Be patient in affliction. Romans 12:12

    Affliction can draw us closer to Christ or drive us away from Christ. It can be a tool of the Lord's to build our trust in Him or it can be a wrecking ball of belief in His goodness. Whether a heavy or light malady, we accept disruptions as either a blessing or a curse. Sometimes pain is produced in circumstances totally out of our control, other times our unwise decisions create cruel consequences. Either way God uses our afflictions for His glory and brings us sweet comfort.

    Those who fight against affliction exhaust their energy, but those who embrace difficulties endure. To embrace difficulty does not mean we like pain or enjoy suffering, but it does mean we trust God to work out a good outcome for His glory. He is full of mercy and compassion in the middle of physical upheaval and emotional exhaustion. Thus, we are patient to pray for God’s grace to give us the will to wait on Him and to rest in Him. Prayer perseveres.

    As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. James 5:11

    What are you facing that has your face focused on your Heavenly Father? If disease, make the most of conventional medicine and natural remedies, but mostly go to the Great Physician Jesus for care, comfort and healing. If divorce, lean into the Lord for Him to reconcile you to Himself and for you to be reconciled to severed relationships. If death of a dream or dear one, pause to grieve and get to know yourself and God at a deeper level. Hard times require a mature patience.

    Above all, follow the steps of Jesus as He dealt with detrimental circumstances. He wept, yes, but He resolved “Thy will be done,” not “My will be done.” He cried out in the night but eventually experienced the day break of His resurrection. In His most intense time of pain He forgave ignorant acts and invited a repentant sinner to be with Him in paradise. Jesus was patient in affliction so He could save us and offer us a remedy for our pain, His enduring grace!

    Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:3

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow my patience in affliction, so I can be a blessing to those around me for Jesus' sake!

    Related Readings: Acts 14:22; Romans 5:3; Hebrews 10:32, 36; Philippians 1:29; James 1:3-4

    Post/Tweet today: Those who fight against affliction exhaust their energy, but those who embrace difficulties endure. #patientinaffliction

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

  • Should I Quit?

    Posted on September 12, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

    We all have those times we wish the voice of God would audibly speak so loudly there's no way we could miss it: "THIS IS THE DIRECTION I WANT YOU TO GO." Then we'd know whether to stay the course or head in a new direction.

    Have you ever wished for this kind of certainty?

    I have.

    Most of us want to know what to do. Without that confidence, sometimes we stay in a place too long. But the greater loss happens in those times we quit too soon. Then, we can live with this nagging sense of "what if?" What if I'd persevered one more year, one more month, one more day?

    Knowing when to stop and when to keep on keeping on is a crucial life lesson. One I want to learn well. Often, the more I struggle on my own, the less confident I am with the right next step. It's exhausting!

    But the truth is, I don't need to be confused or tired. There is one central place I can go for direction and rest. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus encourages us, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

    I used to get so frustrated with this verse because I thought, I don't want rest. I want reassurance! I'm burdened by this decision I have to make. I don't want to mess up by missing a cue from You, God.

    But the rest Jesus offers is not a spiritual sleep aid. The Greek word for this kind of rest is anapauo which has as one of its definitions, "of calm and patient expectation."

    In other words, Jesus is saying if you come to Me, I will take your exhaustion and uncertainty and turn it into a calm expectation.

    But how?

    My friend Jennifer Rothschild does this enlightening exercise at some of her conferences. She tells the audience to imagine her writing two different words on a large chalkboard. She then speaks the letters as she draws the first word into the air ... R-E-S-T. She does the same for the second word ... R-E-S-I-S-T. Then she asks what is the difference?

    The difference is, of course, "I."

    I don't know what to do. I can't figure this out. I'm worn out. I've tried everything I know to do. I've given all I have to give.

    I'm familiar with these "I" statements because I've said them myself.

    We can only find anapauo rest — fresh hope — as we stop running ragged and simply take on the next assignment Jesus gives.

    In verse 29 of Matthew 11, Jesus gives us the assignment: to take on His yoke and learn from Him. Ask Jesus to show you how to rest in Him. It might mean sitting quietly, asking others to join you in prayer or clearing your calendar to read the Word. Once you're still, take the next step. Not ten steps. Not the whole path. Not the Google map with the highlighted route. Just the next step. You'll know it because it'll be in line with God's character and His Word.

    Complete that step with excellence and an open, humble heart. Listen and look for all Jesus wants to teach you in this next step.

    This is your part of the equation.

    But after the assignment comes the reassurance in verse 30, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." We don't have to have all the answers. We just have to stay connected to the One who does. Where our strength ends is the exact point where His will begins.

    This is God's part of the equation.

    I must do all I can do. Then trust God will do what only He can do.

    Should I stay? Should I go? Maybe the better question is, "God, what is the next step I'm to take today? I'm going to do my part. And trust the rest to You."

    Dear Lord, I am tired, and I can't figure things out. Please help me see Your part in this equation. Where my strength ends is where Your will begins. Help me, Lord, to look to You for my very next step. I will wait in calm expectation. In Jesus' Name, amen.

    Related Resources:
    Billy Graham - The Reason for My Hope: Salvation

    In The Reason for My Hope, Graham presents the core message that has guided his life and calling for more than 70 years. Filled with new stories and timeless truth, he once again calls the world back to its spiritual priority as only he can.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Listen and look for all Jesus wants to teach you in the very next step you will take. Determine what your part is and then look to God for His.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 16:9, "Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure." (NIV)

    Psalm 51:12, "Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • God Gets Angry for You

    Posted on September 11, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie

    "Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord." Romans 12:19 (NIV)

    Not too long ago there was a bust on a major interstate. Authorities discovered teens as young as 14 being held against their wills. The trucking industry was being used as a way to force these victims into modern-day slavery.

    This not only makes my heart hurt, it makes me angry. I know without a doubt that God calls these precious girls beloved and worthy-not products to be sold.

    This bust is a reminder that evil exists around the world. We see it in news-grabbing ways like terrorism and mass shootings, but it's also hidden behind closed doors. It's on every continent and in our own neighborhoods.

    My emotional response to these types of evil is strong. But what about our Heavenly Father? Does He see it? Does He care?

    Without a doubt, the answer is yes. Scripture tells us evil is the result of sin showing up in human nature. So how does God respond to our sin?

    The Bible shows us God's heart is to forgive. When we seek forgiveness with a repentant heart, He grants it. Not only that, but God asks us to forgive bad behavior of others. His love in us gives us the ability to pardon flawed humanity with humility and compassion.

    Although God is ready to forgive us, the tone changes when Scripture talks about the evil one, Satan. Jesus described him in John 10:10 as "the thief [who] comes only to steal and kill and destroy."

    All sin grieves God's heart, but He displays a righteous anger over unrepentant, premeditated acts that attempt to steal, kill, or destroy His beloved. The Bible tells us God will demand justice. As Romans 12:19 says, "Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord."

    You may think it is up to you to make someone pay for the wrong they have done. You long to let go of the anger and live again, but you feel chained to the past, chained to unforgiveness. It feels wrong to forgive what seems unforgiveable. When evil comes to your front door, or impacts those you love, you may struggle with feeling angry and secretly wanting revenge. You may think it's up to you.

    That's when God's righteous anger steps in to make us whole. When we realize God is angry for us, it removes a burden we aren't big enough to carry. His righteous anger overshadows our anger as we let it go, and He scoops it from our hearts.

    Does God care? The answer is yes. And the reason He's asking you to forgive is not to absolve another person's sin against you or to say that it was okay. It's so that you, His precious daughter, can live free.

    The enemy thinks he can steal dignity and peace from you, but as you release your anger to God, you keep your self-worth and calm instead.

    The enemy wants to kill your spirit, but you can find renewed life as find freedom in forgiveness.

    The enemy means to destroy you and your future, but God's redemptive power is released as you let God handle the burden of anger for you. With His help, you can forgive the unforgivable.

    Dear God, Your righteous anger toward evil overshadows the pain in my heart and allows me to forgive as You are righteously angry for me. Thank You for freeing my heart so that I may begin to heal. In Jesus' Name, amen.

    Related Resources:
    Billy Graham - The Reason for My Hope: Salvation

    In The Reason for My Hope, Graham presents the core message that has guided his life and calling for more than 70 years. Filled with new stories and timeless truth, he once again calls the world back to its spiritual priority as only he can.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Read 1 Peter 5:8. How is the evil one described?

    How might holding on to anger leave a person defenseless?

    Power Verses:
    Leviticus 19:18, "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD." (NIV)

    Colossians 3:13, "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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

  • Sincere Love

    Posted on September 10, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:9-10

    Insincere love is motivated by control and self satisfaction. The one in need of love is used to satisfy the giver's guilty conscience. They deludedly admire one another for their good deeds. Hypocritical love lacks unconditional and unselfish attributes that an unfeigned faith exhibits. Furthermore, sincere love hates what is evil. The resulting acts of charity are shallow if they ignore injustice or heaven forbid, promote sin. Genuine love upholds God’s holy standards.

    Sincere love looks to do good in the name of God. Yes, you love not expecting anything in return, but you hope the recipient of your kind gesture will pay it forward in Jesus' name. For example, you may anonymously help pay off a friend’s debt so one day they could be in a position to do the same for someone else. Or, you quietly provide meals for a sick friend and volunteer to care for their lawn. Perhaps you invite your neighbor and their child to church.

    The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 1 Timothy 1:5

    A pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith can’t help but love well. The closer we walk with Christ the more we love and the more genuinely we love. Like luscious green ferns flourish from regular rain, so our devotion to one another hydrates and brings our love alive. My devotion to you in love means I think the best of you and do not give up on you. A devoted love looks out for the best interest of its friends. Sincere love is available to serve when needed.

    Lastly, how I honor you above myself is evidence of my sincere love. So, I offer you the better seat at the theater, the preferred position at work or the optimal opportunity in a relationship. I defer to your comfort not mine, your financial benefit not mine, and your interests not mine. I best honor you above myself when I model how Jesus honored me above Himself. He died for me when I was dead in my sins. He loved me before I loved Him. Sincere love loves like Christ!

    Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow my love to be sincere like the love of my savior Jesus.

    Related Readings: Romans 5:8; Ephesians 6:23-24;  Philippians 2:1-3; 1 John 3:16

    Post/Tweet today: Like luscious green ferns flourish from regular rain, so our devotion to one another hydrates and brings our love alive. #sincerelove

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

  • Condemning Thoughts

    Posted on September 10, 2013 by Melissa Taylor

    Melissa

    "He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." John 8:44b (NIV)

    Do you ever question if you are good enough? Are you more likely to dwell on what's wrong with you than what's right?

    One day I realized I was scrutinizing myself to find out what my problem was. The more I picked myself apart, the more it dawned on me another voice was egging me on: the voice of the enemy, Satan. As I listened to his lies, they zapped my sense of worth and security.

    For a long time, I didn't recognize the enemy for who he was. The negative thoughts and deceitful suggestions simply sounded like my own voice.

    The Bible opens with a serpent slithering into the lives of Adam and Eve. This snake is also known as Satan, and he filled their heads with lies they believed. Lies which separated them from God. From the start, Satan’s goal has been to trick and deceive. John 8:44b tells us "He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." This liar also tempted Jesus. He was always ready though, with the Word of God, to defeat the evil one.

    We too can have this weapon in our arsenal. As we fill our hearts and minds with Truth, we can defeat the lies we tell ourselves, and the lies Satan whispers in our thoughts.

    When I compare my negative thoughts to God's Word, the differences amaze me:

    My thoughts: I want to give up.
    God's Word: Be committed (Philippians 4:13, Galatians 6:9).

    My thoughts: I'll feel lost.
    God's Word: He watches my paths and establishes my ways (Proverbs 5:21, 4:26).

    My thoughts: No one loves me.
    God's Word: He loves me more than life (John 3:16).

    My thoughts: I'm ugly.
    God's Word: I'm wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

    My thoughts: I'm all alone and no one understands me.
    God's Word: He will never leave me. He has plans for my life (Deuteronomy 31:6, Jeremiah 29:11).

    My thoughts: I'm just not good enough.
    God's Word: I was created in His image (Genesis 1:26).

    When the enemy tries to slither in with false accusations, we must be ready to combat him with what God's Word says about us. To get started, evaluate your thoughts and pray for wisdom to distinguish the voice of the enemy.

    Condemning thoughts that steal your confidence of who you are in Christ aren't from God. Let's commit today to renew our minds with the Word of God each day, and replace those worn-out, deceitful lies with truth.

    Dear Lord, thank You for Your life-giving truth. Please fill me with Your Word so that I can live in freedom and confidence! In Jesus' Name, amen.

    Related Resources:
    Billy Graham - The Reason for My Hope: Salvation

    In The Reason for My Hope, Graham presents the core message that has guided his life and calling for more than 70 years. Filled with new stories and timeless truth, he once again calls the world back to its spiritual priority as only he can.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are your thoughts reflective of who God's Word says you are?

    If not, what one or two things will you begin to change based on the verses above?

    Power Verses:
    Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (NIV)

    Romans 8:1, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Melissa Taylor. All rights reserved.

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

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