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Daily Devotion

  • 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

  • Avoiding a Spiritual Stumble

    Posted on July 26, 2013 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie

    "'Yes, come,' Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. 'Save me, Lord!' he shouted." Matthew 14:29-30 (NLT)

    The loud noise and screams suddenly coming from upstairs caused immediate panic.

    That morning my daughter had set out to run a few miles on our treadmill. Everything was going just fine until the worst happened.

    She lost her focus, then her balance, and stumbled. The treadmill violently threw her off and trapped her between the mat, the floor and the wall. She managed to wiggle free, but not before the treadmill wreaked havoc on her back, legs and arms.

    When tears dried and Band Aids had been gently placed over the raw wounds, I asked her how the accident happened. It turned out she had a lot going on besides just running. For example, a blaring television, incoming text messages (which of course needed urgent attention), a loose shoelace and fatigue in her legs.

    There were a lot of distractions that caused her to fall, and she was too weak to regain her balance. She vowed then and there to never get back on another treadmill. Ever.

    My daughter's tumble is a lot like what happens in our Christian walk. We fully intend to stay focused on Christ, but life's distractions cause us to shift our focus, stumble in our faith and leave us feeling too beaten down to get back up.

    Matthew 14:29 shows us how Peter took a tumble of sorts when he lost his focus. Peter and the disciples were caught in a terrible storm with their boat being tossed around by torrential waves. When Peter saw Jesus standing on the water, he asked to do the same thing. Let's pick up the story there: "'Yes, come,' Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. 'Save me, Lord!' he shouted" (Matt. 14:29-30).

    When waves of fear, insecurity, discouragement or stress crash around me, I stumble too. These quickly become my focus instead of fixing my eyes on Jesus. Without fail, I sink under the weight of these circumstances and fall.

    My "fall" looks like this: instead of praying, I worry about my dad's health. Rather than praising God and looking to Him for provision, I stress about paying bills. And instead of trusting He will help me complete a task at hand, I doubt if I'm able to get everything on my agenda done. All these distractions pull me down and pull my faith away from Jesus.

    Here is the amazing thing about Jesus. When Peter began sinking, he cried out for Jesus to save him. And Jesus did. Just as Jesus didn't hesitate to pull Peter out of the rough waves, He will pull you and me back too as soon as we ask.

    Life has stormy seasons. Unexpected health diagnoses', years when children decide to walk away from the Lord, rough patches in our marriage ... all cause waves of doubt, stress, worry or fear. These can cause us to stumble and fall if we only focus on them.

    The best place to fix our eyes is on Jesus. He's our peace, source of hope, and the One person we can trust will always be there for us. And when we do fall, as soon as we call out to Him, He'll pick us up.

    Dear Jesus, I confess I lose focus on You while running through the distractions of life. I have fallen many times. Help me to trust and have faith in You, and avoid letting life distract me from Your truths. Amen.

    Related Resources:

    NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women is interspersed with 366 devotions written by the Proverbs 31 Ministries team.

    Stressed-Less Living: Finding God's Peace In Your Chaotic World by Tracie Miles

    Reflect and Respond:
    In what ways has life been distracting you, causing you to inadvertently lose focus on Christ?

    Close your eyes and visualize yourself standing in a storm looking at Jesus. Be bold and walk towards Him. Have faith that no matter how much life has caused you to get sidetracked, He is ready to reach out and pull you close once again.

    Power Verse:
    Proverbs 4:25-27, "Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don't get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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

  • Friends Follow Up

    Posted on July 25, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing. Acts 15:36

    Friends need follow up. A growing relationship requires catching up and checking on how they are doing. Since life happens every day, a friend’s needs can change overnight. They may suffer from a sudden sickness,  experience a career change or a teenage child might require prayer. Wisdom in financial stewardship may trouble them so their walk with the Lord needs nurturing. A follow up visit carries compassionate care and concern.

    It is not enough for us to proclaim truth to people without providing ongoing discipleship tools and further teaching. Like a fruitful garden requires daily care and cultivation, so do those eager to grow in their relationship with Christ. Yes, wise are we to take hungry hearts by the hand and pray with them, read and study the Bible together, and experience the joy of sharing the gospel with others. Friends are loved and valued as we take time to follow up on their faith and family.

    Because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 1 Thessalonians 1:5

    Furthermore, make it easy on your friends when you visit with them. Be careful not to take advantage of their hospitality by being demanding or expensive in your tastes. Be content with what they have, even if it requires your inconvenience or adjustment to their environment. You are called to serve, not to be served. Pay for your expenses when possible and offer to cover theirs. Be intentional when you travel overseas to adapt to their culture and not be a burden.

    Lastly, let the Lord lead you in your endeavors to encourage friends in the faith. Make sure people want you to come and see them before you announce your intentions to intrude on their lives. Life is short and you have a limited amount of time and energy, so invest wisely in those who genuinely want to grow in their daily walk with God. The Holy Spirit will show you the way to go and what to do, so pray earnestly. Follow God as you follow up with friends.

    During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. Acts 16:9-10

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me to love  those who are hungry to learn Your word and grow in Your grace.

    Related Readings: Psalm 138:8; Proverbs 18:24; John 15:13; Philippians 1:5-6, 4:1

    Post/Tweet today: Like a fruitful garden requires daily care and cultivation, so do those eager to grow with God. #encouragefaith

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

  • There's No Way

    Posted on July 25, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" John 14:6 (NIV)

    I wasn't in the mood to be messed up.

    I put my head against my bedroom wall, closed my eyes, and whispered, "There's no way." It was late summer of 2003 when my world collided with what seemed like an impossible invitation from God: adopt two teen boys from war-torn Liberia.

    All the reasons why this wasn't a good idea tumbled before me. Honest reasons. Understandable reasons. Solid reasons.

    Missionaries would be much more qualified. Missionaries with grown kids and multi-cultural experience. People much more spiritual than me. People much more gentle and patient enough to do this sort of thing.

    Not this disorganized woman who originally thought Liberia was in South America.

    Not this mom who already felt overwhelmed with her three kids. How in heavens would we add two more?

    Not someone who couldn't find the video she rented a month ago and who paid so many late fees at the library they should have named a shelf after her. Maybe two.

    Definitely not me.

    But it was me.

    The invitation was mine.

    And I knew it.

    No matter how many times I whispered over and over, "There's no way," this nagging sense of possibility wouldn't leave me. It wove its way through every fiber of my being until I stood up and shifted everything I thought my family would be with one weak whisper, "Yes."

    I can honestly say there were moments of sheer joy where I felt reassured I'd heard God right.

    But there were many other moments where life felt chaotic, messy, and really hard. There were tears. There were moments where I loved my five kids but I didn't like them very much. There were moments I wondered if I'd heard God wrong.

    And there were more times even after we adopted where I said, "There's no way."

    There was no way we could overcome a medical diagnosis one of my boys received. There was no way two teenage boys who tested at a kindergarten level could catch up in two years and be ready for middle school. There was no way I could be patient enough to educate them at home during those two years.

    But every time I said, "There's no way," I'd remember Jesus calling Himself, "The way ... " (John 14:6).

    John tells us that Jesus is the way to salvation. Through Him we have access to the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:18) who gives us patience, guidance, and peace. All of which I needed. Desperately.

    Yes, Jesus was the One to follow. He was the One who would guide me each day. He was the One I needed to pour out my heart to in prayer. He was the One to listen to. And He was the One who reassured me with many promises in the Bible. One of those promises was Isaiah 58:10-11:

    " ... If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."

    I could be a light rising in the darkness. I could be full of life like a well-watered garden. I could be refreshing like a spring whose waters never fail. Me. Crazy, incapable, crying-in-my-closet me. If I let Jesus be my way and do what He was asking me to do, these things could be true for me.

    And they can be true for you as well.

    There might not be a way if you look at your situation with only human reasoning and calculation. But if you let Jesus' truth and promises fill you, you'll find a different way. A good way. A sure way. His way.

    Dear Lord, thank You for reminding me that You are the only true way. Help me to see this every day as the circumstances of life surround and sometimes overwhelm me. I desperately need Your help as I learn to say "yes" to Your calling on my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Learn more about walking in obedience and strengthening your faith in Lysa's new book, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God Devotional, releasing August 1st! Click here to pre-order your copy.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Do you have a situation in your life where you are saying, "There's no way ... "? How does looking to Jesus to be the way change your perspective?

    Power Verse:
    Ephesians 3:20-21, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Fruit of Pain

    Posted on July 24, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Someone may be chastened on a bed of pain with constant distress in their bones, so that their body finds food repulsive and their soul loathes the choicest meal... Yet if there is an angel at their side, a messenger, one out of a thousand, sent to tell them how to be upright... let their flesh be renewed like a child's.. Job 33:19-20, 23, 25.

    A variety of fruits can be produced out of pain. One is the clear understanding of what breaks the heart of God. Sin may surface through the sift of suffering that invites genuine contrition, confession and repentance. Pain can be a symptom of a wound, self inflicted or inflicted from an unfair situation or an insensitive person. So, whether sin has entered the heart from the inside or out, it requires attention or it will erode the soul. Distress that draws us to God purifies our heart.

    Another fruit of pain is instruction from the Lord. It is an opportunity for God to instruct His children in a better way. A human being on his back is much more teachable than an individual running to and fro in frantic activity. We look up to heaven when we lie down face up, leveled by the forces of physical and/or emotional upheaval. Yes, our loving Heavenly Father whispers intimate instruction to His loved ones who listen to His voice. Pain gives insight into God.

    Jesus said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’ Matthew 26:38

    Our Heavenly Father’s comfort is yet another outcome of suffering under the yoke of pain. As we cry out in desperate dependence on Him He assures us of His presence. It may be our Savior’s silent reassurance: His speaking through another sincere saint, His  calming us with a change in circumstance or soothing our soul with Scripture. The Lord is not limited in His long arm of care and comfort. Our pain is His opportunity to apply His healing balm of love.

    Above all, see pain as a pass through for the grace of God in your life. Your challenges become a conduit to care for other hurting hearts. Your energy is not consumed by your cares alone, but out of the depths of personal hurt you are able to bring the spirit of your sympathizing Savior Jesus to others. You consume the fruit of pain with your hungry heart and by faith your fruitful spirit feeds others who feel out of favor with God. Thus, out of your pain invite the Spirit to cleanse your heart, learn from the Lord’s instruction, enjoy Christ’s sweet comfort and comfort other hurting hearts.

    He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the Lord has cursed. Genesis 5:29

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for meeting me in my pain with Your conviction, Your instruction and Your comfort. Use me to comfort others with Christ’s love.

    Related Readings: 2 Chronicles 6:29; Job 6:10; Psalm 38:6-8, 69:29; Hebrews 12:11; 1 Peter 2:19

    Post/Tweet today: Invite the Spirit to cleanse your heart,  and comfort other hurting hearts. #freedup

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

  • Extravagant Love

    Posted on July 24, 2013 by Sharon Glasgow

    Sharon

    "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:17 (NIV)

    I was SO mad, I thought I would explode! The contents of that explosion would have been hazardous to anyone in my path—namely, my husband Dale!

    Anger was emanating from every pore of my being. What was he thinking? How could he not see the obvious? The more these thoughts swirled in my head, the madder I got. And he didn't seem to care about my feelings either! He just looked at me. That was it! I decided to pack up the kids and leave.

    And (the nerve of him) he didn't even ask where I was going! Apparently, the suitcases said it all. I stormed out.

    Oh, boy. Those were the days many years ago. I'm glad that was then and this is now. My husband said and did a lot of things I didn't understand. It was like we were from two different planets with totally opposite brain and emotional functions.

    All marriages will struggle at some point. Crisis in a marriage has the potential to make or break a marriage. It's tempting to harbor hurt, retaliate with spiteful words and focus on your spouse's faults. But experience has taught me those things do not add up to marital bliss.

    After being gone from Dale for 24 hours, I couldn't stand it any longer. I came home and we made up. Because this wasn't something I wanted to become a pattern, I decided to look carefully at my actions and change the way I loved my husband.

    Turns out there were things I could do differently. Through a lot of prayer and focused choices, I found there were several key things that radically changed my marriage for the better: an attitude of oneness, extravagant acts of love and turning intimacy into a flame of passion, not duty.

    I didn't always feel like doing these three things. As a matter of a fact, many days I didn't have any desire to do them. I knew I needed to draw love out of a deeper well than my own. So I kept Colossians 3:12-17 close at hand and followed it as a way to love Dale. These verses describe a sacrificial and extravagant love, showing compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

    They also encourage us to show love in the name of Jesus, which is a way to honor Him. That was my focus as I re-trained my thought pattern not to emphasize the negatives or the momentary stresses. But instead, to keep my eyes on God. It got easier, knowing that by loving my husband well, I was pleasing God.

    I've seen many struggling marriages ignite with passion when one spouse pours out extravagant love on the other. Sadly, I've also seen times when it didn't work. In those instances, we can take heart in knowing that Christ rewards us for how we live our lives wholeheartedly for Him. You may not be rewarded on earth, but you will be in heaven.

    Extravagant love can transform an ordinary marriage into an extraordinary one, induce greater love, ignite intimacy, help us live above our weaknesses and spend less time quarreling. For over twenty years, I've been putting Colossians 3 love into action in my marriage. From watching the movie my husband picks even when I don't like it, to saying "yes" instead of "I have a headache," to caring for him when he's sick, every little act of love adds up to a big reward. It blesses my husband and honors God!

    Jesus, help me love my husband extravagantly! Sharpen my marriage into a beautiful display of Your glory! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Ask the Lord for His help and for His love to overwhelm you so you can love like Colossians 3 tells us to.

    Journal what He is speaking to your heart today and continue on this course to victory.

    Power Verse:
    Colossians 3:12-14, 17, "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. ... And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Sharon Glasgow. All rights reserved.

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

  • Competing Attachments

    Posted on July 23, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus. Hebrews 12:1-2

    Competing attachments distract disciples of Christ from growing in intimacy with Him. Yes, followers of Jesus can voluntarily let go of attachments or they can be forced to release them by their Heavenly Father. What is an attachment? It is anything that competes with our affection with Christ. It can be a material fondness like a car, house or hobby. And, attachments disguise themselves in emotional bondage like anger, unforgiveness or regret. Thus, live disentangled.

    Moreover, too many commitments can compete with our commitment to Christ. Debt can be a snare that limits our choices. Unresolved conflict consumes our mind, so much that we have no mental margin for our Lord’s thoughts. Pride and anger dig in their heels and demand ongoing attention. Attachments keep us controlled by people, places and things, instead of God. Yes, what we nurture is who we become. So, lay aside all competing loyalties and focus on Christ alone. My biggest weakness is the latent desire to have my way; only true humility and grace free me up.

    You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions. Mark 7:8

    Are you entangled by earthly allurements or are you devoted to the Lord and His divine agenda? Does your obedience to Christ’s commands trump all other sirens that constantly call for your time, energy and money? Like a scuba diver’s weight belt takes him to the bottom, so any worldly trappings strapped around your waist will bring you down. But, as you persevere in prayer the Holy Spirit with help you unhook unhealthy habits and relationships from your faith.

    Yes, make it a priority to obey God, especially when situations scream differently. Just because everyone else is doing it, or it has always been done that way, doesn’t require your response. In fact, blind allegiance attracts attachments. Examine your motives and make sure you are led by trust in the Lord and not fear of man. Detach yourself from any competing emotion, relationship or behavior that strives for your devotion to Christ. Run your spiritual race freed up by faith!

    My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare. Psalm 25:15

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, by Your Holy Spirit detach me from any competitors who vie for my devotion to You.

    Related Readings: 1 Corinthians 9:24; Hebrews 10:36; Philippians 2:8; Revelation 2:3-5

    Post/Tweet today: Detach yourself from any competing emotion or relationship that strives for your devotion to Christ. #freedup

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

  • Encouragement for the Daily Grind

    Posted on July 23, 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer

    Samantha

    "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer." 1 Peter 3:12a (ESV)

    It's common, everyday stuff. She tells me it's nothing, but I know better.

    This solo parent single-handedly holds each strand of her small daughter's hair. It's getting late, but she must continue ridding the unwelcome "guests." Comb, wash and comb again, fingers exhausted as the clock strikes midnight.

    I send her this text message, You're doing great. She writes me back, telling of her doubt. What's so special about picking out lice? she wonders as she finally collapses in bed, daughter enfolded under her mama's wings. Will this little girl remember her mother's sacrifices? Most likely not. But she will remember the safety and care of her mother's nest.

    And my friend? What will she remember? Shins kicked big by tiny feet, sleepy breath in her face, and trudging through the daily grind. These are what she believes she'll remember, and no one else will ever see or know. These exhausting moments when she wishes she were doing something more noble or noteworthy.

    But I know better. I know I'm not the only one who sees her sacrifices of love. I know that these common moments, built one upon the other, create great lifetimes. These moments are mostly free, yet they cost quite a bit, don't they? Their currency? Time, energy, selflessness, dreams and yes, sleep. All these investments build a life of loving high and deep.

    I'm reminded of a story I read years ago of a woman who opened the front cover of a coffee table book about magnificent cathedrals. She paused to soak in the inscription of this book that had been gifted to her: With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.

    A story, hidden in the pages of her book, is recounted: A rich man came to visit the cathedral while it was being built ... he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it."

    And the workman replied, "Because God sees."*

    Though my friend's efforts were unseen by the rest of the world, they were not unnoticed by the Lord. Her late-night labor of love was building something beautiful in the eyes of God. He saw her just as He promises in 1 Peter 3:12a, "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer."

    He watches over us as a mother bird keeps watch on her chicks. God's eyes of love, care and protection see each of our everyday efforts that can bring discouragement in the daily grind. Folding the 11th basket of clothes ... today. Cooking dinner with no "thank you" given. Stripping bed sheets in the middle of the night when kids get sick.

    Whether you are investing in your own children, or someone else's, keep up the greatness in the common moments. It may seem like nothing, but you matter. You're building. You're seen.

    Dear Lord, I can get so weary and tired of persisting in building greatness in the everyday moments of life. It often feels like no one notices or appreciates me. Thank You for confirming that YOU see me. That is more than enough. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Be affirmed of who you are, why you are here and how much you are loved in His Princess: Love Letters from Your King by Sherri Rose Shepherd.

    Our Facebook page offers daily encouragement for the daily grind. Join us by clicking here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    We need to replenish ourselves as we pour out love, energy, and prayer on others. Determine now to set aside time each day to spend with God and notice how He replenishes you.

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 33:18, "Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love ... " (ESV)

    *The Invisible Woman by Nicole Johnson

    © 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer. All rights reserved.

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

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