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Daily Devotion

  • Looking for God

    Posted on June 18, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    "Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!" 1 Chronicles 16:11 (ESV)

    My granddaughter Elle is almost three. Recently we had a family event and Elle and her parents arrived before we did. It had been a few weeks since we had seen her, which is unusual. When we walked in the door, a wide smile filled her face and she ran into my arms.

    For the next several minutes Elle circled around the crowded room. Each time she made her way purposely back to me, placed both hands on my knees, looked me in the eye and said, "There you are!"

    It was as if Elle wanted me to know that, in the midst of a crowd, she delighted that I was in the room.

    I wonder if I show my Savior this same joy? I wonder if I seek Him like 1 Chronicles 16:11 teaches me to.

    In a crowded schedule, do I carve out time to find Him?

    The reality is that sometimes, if I am not intentional, my time with Him can get pushed to second or third place behind deadlines, bills to pay, errands to run, events to attend. And yet when I seek Him out and sit in His presence, I realize all over again how beautiful it is to worship Him, to feel the pleasure and love of a Heavenly Father.

    In my crowded thoughts, do I pause and say, "There You are!"

    Or do I let anxiety, anger, frustration, or worry take center stage, forgetting His promises of comfort, of strength, of peace in the midst of storms. Yes, He's there for He assures us that He is (Joshua 1:9; Romans 8:38-38; Hebrews 3:15). But do I ask Him to shine His Light on my troubled thoughts?

    In my crowded life, do I invite Him in to every area?

    Time with God is not confined to a prayer time or a few moments reading Scripture. Instead, we are invited to live and move and breathe in Him (Acts 17:28). That means that He is with us as we parent, as we go to work, as we reflect on a beautiful sunset, or as we comfort a friend. As believers, we don't just have to live. We live in Him, and He lives in us.

    Elle had many options that day. Aunts and uncles held out open arms. Toys and books were offered at every turn. Cousins gave her kisses.

    But she delighted in me instead. She didn't have to, for I love that little girl with every fiber of my being. But the fact that she loves me back with abandon is sheer joy for this grandma.

    How long has it been since you delighted in God? Or experienced His pleasure in your presence? He loves you; that we know for certain. But what if today you pushed aside crowded thoughts, a crowded schedule, and a crowded life to proclaim with delight, "There You are!"

    Dear Heavenly Father, I delight in You. Not for what I might receive, but simply because of Who You are to me. I love You with my heart, my soul, my mind. No matter the crowd I find myself in, with You is where I long to be. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    NIV Real Life Devotional Bible with devos from the Proverbs 31 Ministries team, including Suzie Eller.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Find a "There You are" moment in your thoughts or schedule today. Speak a word of praise or breathe a prayer of gratitude.

    How would things change if, instead of responding to situations with stress, doubt or worry, you looked for God in the moment? Instead of choosing these other things, decide to find the Lord and delight in Him in the middle of your moments today.

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 92:4, "You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • God is Good

    Posted on June 17, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    "The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him…” Nahum 1:7

    God is good. He is good when times are bad. He is good all the time. Do not relegate God to the bad side of the ledger just because you are experiencing bad. Focus on the goodness of God, for He is good. His goodness is a refuge for you in times of trouble. Your security is in the safe environment His goodness provides.

    God’s goodness is the standard by which people act "good". No person’s goodness exceeds God’s goodness. Your goodness is but a reflection of His, because apart from the Lord there resides in us no good thing. “I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing” (Psalm 16:2). His goodness is foundational for all goodness.

    Thus, Christ dwelling in you by faith, allows the goodness of God to flourish. It is one of the wonders of grace. Indeed, faith in Jesus unleashes the goodness of God in your life. Good works without the goodness of God are just good works for the temporal. But, good works, motivated by the goodness of God, reap eternal benefits. The Lord is good.

    People receive food, shelter, clothing, a job and forgiveness. This is the beauty of God’s goodness. He cares for those who trust in Him. Earthly goodness is fleeting. It is here today and gone tomorrow, but heavenly goodness is eternal. You can always depend on the goodness of God. Your trust in Him guarantees His care—His godly goodness.

    However, God’s goodness does not preclude His judgment. Rather it demands it—because God is good—He must judge bad. In Christ—it's all good—but when sin enters the equation, bad inflicts its evil influence. Evil inebriates people with bad behavior. Corrupt men and women are not conscious of the goodness of God. An insomnia of righteousness drives them to sin, as demons sear the conscience of the ungodly.

    “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:1-2).

    Furthermore, do not be stunned or disillusioned when bad things happen to good people. God rains on the just and the unjust. His judgment does not always discriminate between the good and the bad. He wants our attention. He wants a loving and growing relationship with His creation for His glory and goodness sake. His people are good because He is good. Rejoice for He can be trusted and the goodness of God cares for His children!

    “May your priests, LORD God, be clothed with salvation, may your faithful people rejoice in your goodness” (2 Chronicles 6:41b).

    Prayer: Do I exhibit joy, trust and gratitude for the goodness of God?

    Related Readings: Luke 16:25; Hebrews 6:4-6; 2 Thessalonians 1:11; Titus 1:15

    Post/Tweet today: Our goodness is but a reflection of His, because apart from the Lord there resides in us no good thing. #goodness

    © 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 Nahum

  • Clashing with Others

    Posted on June 17, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found..." Proverbs 10:12-13a (ESV)

    My husband and I often joke about what would have happened in our college-courting days if we had sent our profiles to an online match-making website. We are pretty sure that instead of pairing us, the computer screen would have blinked DO NOT DATE!! TOTALLY NOT COMPATIBLE!

    We're a lot like the two candlestick holders on the dresser in our bedroom. While both are crafted from solid brass with similar round bases, the rest of each holder couldn't be more different.

    One is straight and streamlined, more functional than fancy. That candlestick holder has tall, strong lines. The second is designed with a touch of flair. It has two strands of brass that whirl and swirl from top to bottom in a "look at me" manner.

    I found the candlesticks at different yard sales. While their styles aren't the same, somehow this eclectic pair is an interesting match. And more importantly, they're a visual reminder to my husband and me of our marriage.

    My husband is the first candlestick. No frills. Straight-forward. Only about function. I am the second one. Crazy. All over the map. All about fun. While we both are "forged from brass" in that we are followers of Christ with the same spiritual foundation, pair our opposite-ends-of-the-spectrum personalities together and disaster could ensue.

    Beyond the normal male/female differences, we have a lot in our personalities that cause friction and sometimes (mostly from me) snapping and harsh words.

    Mismatched personalities in marriage, parenting or in work or friendship situations, can cause frustration, anger and at times, wounded feelings.

    Someone who is not wired as we are, does not think like we do and who makes decisions and carries out actions we would never dream of, can rub us the wrong way. It causes our feathers to ruffle and not-so-nice thoughts enter our brains.

    Usually, if dealing with a non-family member, we manage to keep our composure and tame our tongues to avoid saying anything we might regret. With our children or spouses however, sometimes we open the floodgates and spew cutting comments, nasty words, criticisms and awful accusations. My husband and I call it "throwing flesh balls." At that point, we no longer "walk by the Spirit" but "gratify the desires of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16 NIV).

    If I allow it, my flesh likes to be satisfied and nothing satisfies it more than a good ol' verbal assault on my thinks-and-acts-so-differently-from-me husband.

    There's a different way God calls me to respond though. Proverbs 10:12-13a provides direction for how we should handle conflicts that arise from trying to mesh two differing personality types. "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found ..." (ESV).

    Love is key to wise responses in a relationship. Because we love God, and others, we should seek to understand when we clash. And ask God for wisdom when we don't understand. We should love intentionally. Not necessarily in an "ushy-gushy, touchy-feely" way, but in an "I am going to choose to react gently and behave kindly because that is what God is asking me to do" sort of way.

    Cementing this thinking in our minds will help us to respond with God's love and biblical truth. Especially when faced with someone who thinks and acts differently than us.

    Will you join me in purposing to stop stirring up strife when it comes to someone in your life? And to choose to love and understand them? Especially when they are oil while you are water. Yes, even your spouse.

    Dear Lord, grant me the ability to speak kindly, respond gently and at times, to hold my tongue. I want my actions and reactions to please and reflect You and Your love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    The NIV Real Life Devotional Bible for Women with devotions by the Proverbs 31 team.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What is the driving force behind your words when you spew anger? Wanting to be right or to be heard? Anger, selfishness, or pride? Take time to formulate a loving, understanding, and godly reaction for the next time you clash with someone.

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 15:1, "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (ESV)

    John 13:34-35, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (NIV)

    © 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 Proverbs

  • Affectionate Father

    Posted on June 16, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.” 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12

    Am I an affectionate father? Like the geyser “Old Faithful,” do I spontaneously spew out love and affection on my children? Am I faithful to fill my daughter or son’s emotional tank with a warm embrace or a kiss on the head? Or am I so caught up in my own career and needs that I have no emotional capacity to give affection? Affection must be displayed.

    A father with affection reflects his heavenly Father’s affection for him. It is out of an overflow of being comforted and loved by Christ that redeemed fathers show affection to their children. When the Holy Spirit gives us a warm and secure hug, we can’t help but hug our children and grandchildren. Eternal affection translates into earthly affection.

    “Yet the LORD set his affection on your forefathers and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today” (Deuteronomy 10:15).

    Perhaps you have a routine of kissing and hugging your children each time you leave home and when you arrive home. There is no rushing out the door until you have made emotional deposits in your most valued relational account. Your child is your lockbox of love, waiting with a tender heart to be touched by their daddy. Initiate hugs and kisses.

    When a child’s heart hurts from fear, rejection, or physical harm, move closer with care and compassion. Listen with empathetic ears and outstretched arms. Affectionate fathers are up close and personal, distant fathers are unsympathetic and impersonal. Your seeds of affection reap a harvest of healthy adult children who want to come back home.

    "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20b).

    Since He sets His affections on you, you set your affections on Almighty God. A father who is first loved by his heavenly Father  has the capacity to love his children appropriately and fully. Adult children who have experienced their father’s affection more easily show affection. So seek affection above and then apply it below.

    “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul” (Psalm 143:8).

    Prayer: Do I regularly receive affection from my heavenly Father? How can I intentionally be the most affectionate with my children?
    Related Readings: 2 Kings 17:41; Psalm 103:13; Malachi 4:6; Luke 11:13

    Post/Tweet today: When the Holy Spirit gives us a warm and secure hug, we can’t help but hug our children and grandchildren. #hugs

    © 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 Thessalonians

  • Thoughts on Father's Day

    Posted on June 15, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    You see it in every Father’s Day commercial or Hallmark card, images of dad playing catch with his son, embracing his daughter, scenes of a blissful and carefree love of a father. However, that is not everyone’s reality.  For years, I lived the reality of a distant dad, and by God’s grace have gleaned wisdom through this process.

    Dad's distance began with divorce

    Dad divorced mom soon after I turned five years old. I remember a stern man who expected me to be thorough in my chores. As a young lad raking the leaves at our humble home was one of my assignments. Dad was quick to point out any missed leaves and slow to affirm the vast majority that found themselves wrapped warmly in mom’s old tattered blanket.

    My brother Mitch and I did spend summers with Dad and his new wife Pat. He met Pat at a bar in Grand Rapids, MI. She was a pretty and patient lady from England, who was able to stand up to my father with grace, and sometimes not so much grace. Pat accepted us, and always made sure we were fed and cared for during our brief time together.

    Dad took us fishing from a pier in Pensacola, FL. and to Six Flags in Dallas, TX. We always engaged in activities, but never engaged much in discussions. Busyness competed with our conversations. Dad seemed comfortable not showing much affection and buying us gifts to somewhat sooth his growing guilt.

    Dad's distance never changed until I did

    When Jesus Christ became a reality in my life at age 19, I learned that I was to forgive my dad as God, for Christ's sake, had forgiven him. It was freeing for me to release anger, resentment and self-pity. Now I was energized by God’s grace to love my dad to Jesus. Rita, Rebekah and I moved to Ft. Worth, Texas in 1982 to attend seminary, but with a bigger mission to know my earthly father with the leadership of my heavenly father. I decided it was time I pursued my distant dad.

    I learned to love dad in God’s strength, not my own. As a result he relaxed and bean to open up about his fears, dreams, work and upbringing. Though he was an accomplished technical writer of operational manuals in the Aerospace industry, he would lament that he was only a hillbilly from Kentucky. Amazingly, he even attended church with us one Easter where I pastored a small congregation outside of Comanche, TX.

    Dad's distance transformed to pursuit

    Fifteen years after I graduated from Seminary Dad had his third heart attack. It was in his horizontal state of sickness that he looked vertically to the Lord. He called and invited me to visit him! The next three years I traveled once a month to Dallas for work and stayed in Garland, TX. with my Dad and Pat for a day. It was rich as we went deeper in our respect and understanding of each other. We discussed the Bible and prayed together.

    Dad attended the Pastor’s Wednesday Bible study at the local church. He told me in the hospital that he believed in Jesus Christ as the Savior for his sins! In 2000 my father went to heaven. I wept tears of grief and tears of joy, because my distant dad was close to Christ and close to me. Here is just a sampling of the wisdom I learned from my Heavenly Father through this time:

    1. Pray, pray, pray and get others to pray for you and your relationship with your father.

    2. Pursue your father with grace and patience.

    3. Do not take his remarks personally, because unbelievers act like unbelievers.

    4. Find common ground like a grandchild, sports, investing, food, golf or chess.

    5. See your father as your Heavenly Father sees him: with compassion, forgiveness, love.

    © 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 Fathers Day

  • A Godly Legacy

    Posted on June 14, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “When Jacob had finished giving instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.” Genesis 49:33

    Jacob gave his dying instructions to his sons as they waited at his beside. They lingered there out of love and respect. They had observed his life. And though not perfect by far, it was a life of overall faithfulness to God. The sons of the father wanted to receive his blessing and they were proud of the legacy left to them, a legacy of faithfulness to God.

    What legacy will you leave? If you died today, how would you be remembered? These are important questions for your children’s sake. Maybe your parents did not leave you a godly heritage. Nevertheless, you have a wonderful opportunity to start a new tradition, one based on the principles of Scripture. Lord willing, your legacy will start a godly lineage that will reach across the future for generations to come. Yes, your name will probably be forgotten, but what you stand for will be held in high esteem for all to remember.

    Perhaps you can start by documenting your family vision and mission. Write down outcomes you are praying for related to your family. Pray that your parental example of character compels your children to walk with Christ. Hold the Bible in such high regard that its commands and principles are lived out in love and obedience. Love your children with acceptance, discipline, training, and kindness. Follow the ways of God, and your children will see and secure a clear path of purpose to pursue.

    Moreover, consider a family credo that defines what you value as a family. Character traits like humility, hard work, community, forgiveness, communication, and relationship. Weave these beliefs throughout the language and behavior of your family. Challenge each child to be intoxicated by Scripture, so much so that God’s word is on their breath and seen through their behavior. Slow down and be intentional in legacy building. Then your children and your children's children are more apt to love Christ.

    “But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children” (Psalm 103:17).

    Prayer: Do I live life with legacy in mind, and do I uniquely and fully bless each child?

    Related Readings: Daniel 10:19; Joshua 24:27-29; Luke 2:29; Hebrews 11:13-22

    Post/Tweet today: Follow the ways of God, and your children will see and secure a clear path of purpose to pursue. #modeltheway

    Taken from Reading #3 in Wisdom for Fathers, click here: http://www.wisdomhunters.com/bookstore_category/books/

    © 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 Genesis

  • When You're a Run-Away Bride

    Posted on June 14, 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer

    Samantha Evilsizer

    "I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people." Psalm 116:14 (NIV)

    As soon as the opening prayer ended, I knew I had to leave my wedding. Whispering a quick apology, I turned and ran.

    My patent leather shoes burned rubber, leaving my soon-to-be groom in a cloud of confusion at the altar. Fast down the aisle where my father and I had just walked. Past the curious wedding guests. Straight to the powder room where my purse and coat were waiting.

    I breathed a sigh of relief. There they were, my written vows, forgotten in the excitement of preparations.

    I hurried back to Joshua waiting patiently for me at the altar. Facing the man I loved, we exchanged our vows.

    It's not every day that a girl makes a lifelong commitment like that. But it is every day I get to carry one out. Not just to my husband, but to my God.

    Sadly, although I made a vow to follow God years ago, there've been times when I've left my vows behind. I've been a run-away bride, leaving Jesus and my commitment to Him in the dust as I took off for what I thought were greener pastures.

    The whole time, He waited patiently. Waited for me to return and say, "I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people" (Psalm 116:14).

    We can run all our lives, but we're never truly settled until we make and keep a lifelong pledge to the One to whom our heart truly belongs. In Him, we have all good things, including the gift of love—God's love.

    As I read my marriage vows out loud at my wedding, I realized they were vows my heart needed to make to Christ as well. So I took the promises I made to my earthly husband, and re-addressed them to Jesus, as a covenant with my Savior, to record my heart's vows to Him:

    There really is no place like home. I've come to know this with great certainty as my love for You, Jesus, has grown. You're my favorite place to be. That's because You are where I am most at home ... You are where my heart is settled, comforted and loved.

    I vow to always keep You as my home base. To never stray emotionally, physically, or in my thoughts.

    I vow to keep You as the center of my home. To seek You every day with all my heart, mind and soul, and to serve You with all that's within me.

    I vow to keep my home clean from doubt, strife and unnecessary cares, and will fill it with believing the best about You, humility, and prayerfulness.

    I vow to willingly submit to You as head of my life, to lean on You, and not be stubborn. And to allow You to serve me.

    I vow to stay healthy and keep active, inviting You into my everyday activities.

    I vow to dream and plan and pray for my future with You.

    I vow to love mercy, act justly, and to walk humbly with You.

    I vow to let You know every day just how very much I love and honor You. And to thank You for all the wonderful things about You that make You ... YOU!

    If home is where the heart is, then my heart will always be with You.

    I don't know where you stand with God right now ... how near or far you are. But I know from experience, the further away you are, the more lost you will feel. Today, let's run to Christ—and make or renew our vows to Him.

    Lord, You alone are worthy of all my heart, soul, mind. Please help me keep my vows to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Scripture is the best thing to read to reignite your relationship with God. The new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women is a great way to start.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Consider your relationship with God. Do you take it as seriously as a marriage covenant? Write your vows to Him today.

    Power Verses:
    Joel 2:12-13, "'Yet even now,' declares the LORD, 'Return to Me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping and mourning; And rend your heart and not your garments.' Now return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness And relenting of evil." (NAS)

    Ephesian 5:25-27, "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer. 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 Psalm

  • Sibling Rivalry

    Posted on June 13, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.” Exodus 37:3-4.

    Do you outwardly favor one of your children over another? Have you used a phrase like, “I wish you were more like your sister, she always gets an A on her tests?” If so, you are in danger of creating an environment that fosters rivalry between your children. Sad is a child who thinks they have to live up to a sister or brother’s unreachable standard.

    Jealousy jabs at the heart and causes a child to react angrily toward the  object of their parent’s affection. Since they don’t feel like they measure up, they try to discredit the favored sibling or they create chaos to draw attention to themselves. It is disheartening to see even grown children remain in a state of fierce competition. Cruelty needs to be replaced with calmness—and anger with forgiveness, patience and love.

    “Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy? Better is open rebuke than hidden love” (Proverbs 27:4-5).

    Is there chronic conflict between your children? Is it to the point that they are becoming a poor testimony to the model of Christ’s caring approach to relationships? If so, consider creating boundaries in the home that help prevent disrespectful—even mean behavior. Start early on and instill disciplinary actions for disrespect, dishonesty and disobedience.

    Perhaps you are one of the few Christians in your family and other family members treat you as suspect or strange. If so, prayerfully use your position of integrity to invest unconditional love and acceptance into their lives. Serve them unselfishly and forgive their insults expressed by their insecure attitudes and actions. You know better and they don’t.

    “Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace” (Acts 7:9-10).

    Eventually you may be in a position to crush or care for your siblings—it is of course God’s will that you extend compassion and forgiveness toward them. When those who should love you the most treat you unfairly—forgive them—and model the gracious way or our Lord Jesus Christ. God chose your family for you to influence them for Him.

    “But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them” (Genesis 50:19-21).

    Prayer: How can I embrace and celebrate the accomplishments of my siblings?

    Related Readings: Job 42:11; Luke 14:26; Acts 13:45; 2 Corinthians 12:20

    Post/Tweet today: Sad is a child who thinks they have to live up to a sibling’s unattainable standard. #rivalary

    © 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 Exodus

  • A Restless, Unsettled Heart

    Posted on June 13, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land." Psalm 143:6 (NIV)

    A few years ago, I sat with a beautiful young woman as tears streamed down her face. Six months before our meeting, her world was full. A loving husband, a healthy toddler, fun friends, and a new home.

    But part of her heart felt restless, unsettled, a little empty. She couldn't put her finger on it. She tried talking to friends, but they laughed it off as something that would pass.

    Only the feeling didn't pass.

    She felt detached from her husband and disappointed that his love didn't fulfill her. Why couldn't he make her feel loved? She'd always thought of marriage as the ultimate love. He was going to be the one to right her wrongs and fill up her insecurities, or so she thought.

    Questions bombarded her ... What is wrong with him? Why doesn't he say what he's supposed to say? Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm not pretty enough, witty enough, good enough?

    Then one day she met a man who said things she'd longed to hear her husband say. He made her feel pretty and witty. Soon, she rationalized that she'd never really loved her husband. She convinced herself she'd made a mistake marrying so young. That this new man was her true love.

    She fell into his arms. A web of lies was spun. The thrill of new romance clouded every decision.

    She had not wanted to come to the women's retreat. She knew it might make her feel guilty, and she was past guilty feelings. She was just waiting for the right time to leave her husband and start over with the real love of her life.

    But her friends had started to grow suspicious of her pulling away. So, to appease them, she went.

    Over the course of the weekend, the walls she'd so carefully constructed to keep everyone at a distance and her secret hidden started to crumble. By Saturday night, she sat down with me and confessed it all.

    She desperately wanted to know how I felt so full of God's love. She'd never known that kind of relationship with Him. She now recognized it wasn't the love of another man her heart craved; it was the love of God.

    I think this is true for many of us. We spend years chasing things we think will make us feel loved. But everything this world offers is temporary. Everything. And will leave our souls dry, crying out to God, "I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land" (Psalm 143:6).

    The kind of love our souls crave is lasting, eternal. And only God can fill up our hearts with that kind of love.

    Chasing love outside the will of God invites so much into our lives that is the exact opposite of love. First Corinthians 13:4-8 is a picture of God's perfect love. It is patient and kind. It does not envy ... it is not self-seeking ... it does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth ... it always protects and perseveres. Love never fails.

    This is not a description of what is inherently ours when we fall in love with a person. It's a description of God's love.

    Because our souls were designed for God's fulfilling love, if we aren't staying closely connected to Him, our hearts will start to feel empty. Restless. Unfulfilled. Parched.

    Let us never think we are beyond being tempted. If we're honest, we're only a few bad decisions away from the same mess my friend is untangling herself from.

    The kind of love our souls crave will never be found in the things of this world. Lasting, satisfying love will only be found when we stop chasing others or possessions, and thirst for the things of God.

    Dear Lord, please help me see my marriage for the sacred gift that it is. Help me to remain faithful in a way that honors You and brings joy to our home. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    If you're looking to strengthen the connection and communication in your relationship, don't miss Lysa TerKeurst's marriage books, Capture Her Heart for husbands and Capture His Heart for wives.

    Reflect and Respond:
    If someone seems appealing enough to draw your heart away from the truth of God, will you pray about asking another godly woman for help?

    What step do you need to take to remove that temptation from your heart, mind, and soul?

    Power Verse:
    Ephesians 1:4, "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight." (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 Psalm

  • Friendly Makes Friends

    Posted on June 12, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24, NKJV

    A friendly person is fun to be around. They are upbeat and look for the best in those they meet. Yes, friendly can come on too strong, but those with relational understanding are sensitive to not go too far too fast. Indeed, a friendly person makes you feel at ease and gives you unspoken permission to be yourself. You feel safe to share your feelings with those who feel what you feel. Friendliness adds emotional energy to the conversation and encouragement to the heart.

    Furthermore, your friendly spirit qualifies you to make friends. Friends want to be around friends who have the capacity to listen and love. Are you the giver or taker in your friendships? How can you be intentional to invest in those the Lord has put in your life? Perhaps you pray by name for the children of your friends or keep their children, so the parents can enjoy a 24 hour respite. Friendly takes the risk to make friends and follows with steps to retain friends. Friends care!

    An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends. Proverbs 18:1

    A bond of trust and loyalty grows between two friends who try to out serve each other. However, if giving only goes one way,  over time the giver may grow weary in their solo service. Perhaps your Heavenly Father is calling you to fewer, more fulfilling friendships. He wants you to ratchet back your relationships to a manageable number. Who needs you to go deeper in this season of friendship? Pray for your friend and be emotionally available to enter into their world.

    Most importantly, lock arms with the Lord Jesus in your growing friendship with Him. Your maturing friendship with Christ will develop your capacity to love and care for your friends. Friendship with deity brings reality to relationships on earth. Ask your friend to bow and pray with you to your mutual friend Jesus. Friends who pray together replace conflict with resolution and anger with joy. Confidants can be closer than blood relatives through the blood of Jesus!

    A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:7

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray Your Spirit will grow a spirit of friendliness in my heart.

    Related Readings: Exodus 33:11; Psalm 109:4; Proverbs 12:26; Acts 19:31, 24:23; 3 John 1:1

    Post/Tweet today: We feel safe to share our feelings with those who feel what we feel. #feelings

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


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

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