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Daily Devotion

  • Shrewd for Jesus

    Posted on May 10, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. Luke 16:8

     

    Christians can be guilty of not being shrewd for Jesus. I can falsely feel like the Lord will take care of things without my best efforts. On the contrary, Christ expects us to be as innocent as a dove and as shrewd as a snake (Matthew 10:16). Gentleness and astuteness go hand in hand. The gullible miss out on God’s best, but the shrewd know how to manage well the wisdom of God. Engaged and mature thinking considers creatively and calmly how to capitalize on a difficult situation.

     

    Apathy breeds despair and panic creates contempt. However, we who know God, have the mind of Christ. The Holy Spirit is our advocate, whose insights transcend conventional solutions during tough times. The Spirit will lead us as we move forward by faith, but if we remain immobile in an anxious state, we will fail. As children of the light we have heavenly resources at our disposal. God’s favor rests on us when we attempt to influence people for His purposes.

     

    Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. 1 Corinthians 14:20

    How do you use your resources to reach people for Jesus Christ? One gauge of your effectiveness for the Lord is how well you make friends who grow in their faith. People are attracted to your authenticity and audacious faith. Bold risks breathed over in prayer become trophies of God’s grace and work. Use your business or work as a platform of creativity for Christ. Shun the status quo and lean into innovation. Last year’s success needs this year’s relevance.

    Lastly, do business with other believers who are excellent in their field. You support the economics of God’s Kingdom when you support other brothers and sisters in Christ. Yes, Christians will let you down, but learn how to work together and look for those whose values and maturity are similar to yours. Unite your community of faith around Christ. Use the synergies of other Jesus followers to leverage service to society and in the process build eternal dwellings!

    For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Corinthians 5:1

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me Your wisdom to be shrewd for Jesus.

     

    Related Readings: Exodus 1:10; Psalm 18:26; Ecclesiastes 11:1; Ephesians 5:8

     

    Post/Tweet today: The gullible miss out on God’s best, but the shrewd know how to manage well the wisdom of God. #shrewd

    © 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 Luke

  • To Have and to Hold

    Posted on May 10, 2013 by Sharon Glasgow

    Sharon Glasgow

    "Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful." James 5:11 (ESV)

    "Love is patient, love is kind ... It always protects ... always hopes ... always perseveres." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)

    As I sprayed the front porch with my water hose, dirt and bugs poured down the side of my house. Blasting those things was exhilarating. Everything came off under the pressure of that water. Everything except one big spider web.

    So I got a stool to stand on, edged in even closer, and blasted that web again. The silken threads thrashed to and fro with each gust of water. But the spider, the web, and her eggs stayed intact.

    They weren't going anywhere.

    Flabbergasted, I thought to myself, "Spiders must have an inborn instinct to have and to hold. Under the greatest pressure, they don't let go.

    It reminded me of a time several years ago, when a friend came to me in devastation. Her husband told her he didn't love her—in fact, he said, he had never loved her.

    "It's over," she told me.

    We talked and I then asked, "Can you hold on to the marriage for just a while longer? You have nothing to lose. You've already lost him."

    I told her to become his greatest admirer. Find the good in him. She did. It didn't work.

    I told her to make his favorite dinners and desserts. She did. It didn't work.

    I told her to make love to him as never before. She did. It didn't work.

    I told her to do the things she knows he likes done. She did. It didn't work.

    I told her to pray non-stop for him. She did. It didn't work.

    I told her to tell him, "I vowed to you that I would hold on no matter what." She told him. But he didn't care.

    After a month she came to me with tears in her eyes and said, "It's not working Sharon."

    "He's not gone yet is he?" I said. "I know it's hard, but keep doing it ... because love always protects, always hopes, and always perseveres."

    She took a deep breath.

    She chose to keep doing it. And very gradually things started shifting. He started enjoying the dinners at the table and all the other things she was doing for him—even intimacy.

    A year later they found themselves passionately in love with one another. For the first time.

    Now, I know the story is not going to turn out the same for everyone. I've given the same advice to others without the same results. But I can give you this advice with confidence: when the storms come—and they will—hold on tight, just like the spiders on my porch.

    God calls us to have a love that perseveres and hopes. We can't choose what kind of love the other party will give in return, but there is power in God's kind of love—a holding-on kind of love.

    To have and to hold means you've got to hold on when the storm rages. And even if it knocks you off kilter, ask the Lord to give you strength to get back up and hold on some more.

    I finally got all the spiders and their webs off my porch. It looked beautiful.

    As I was gathering my cleaning supplies and enjoying the clean porch, I saw spiders crawling back up the wall.

    I smiled. If I can't get rid of them, at least I can learn a lesson from them!

    Dear Lord, help me to have a love that perseveres through hard times. Help me to love the way You've called me to love. Give me hope, strength and wisdom as only You can do. You know I need it. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    For real hope for real life, soak up God's Word. It offers strength for trials, wisdom for tough decisions, and encouragement for weary moments. The new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women has the Proverbs 31 Ministries team's devotions interspersed throughout.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are there areas of your marriage that you need to work on? Have you lost hope because you haven't seen the fruit of all your labor?

    Ask God to help you and show you areas where you can grow. Ask Him to show you practical ways you can love better. Make an action plan of how you are going to tackle these areas.

    Power Verses:
    James 5:11, "We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful." (NAS)

    2 Thessalonians 3:5, "May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Sharon Glasgow. All rights reserved.

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



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

  • Moral Police

    Posted on May 9, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. Luke 15:28-29

     

    Some religious people feel responsible for monitoring other’s behavior with moral smugness. They judge people’s motives, while their own heart becomes filled with a sense of superiority. These defenders of their definition of decency feel no need for mercy, nor do they offer mercy. The Bible becomes a “billy club” to whip people into shape with bouts of shame and guilt. Ironically, moral police lack moral authority. Their pronouncements are birthed from pride, not pity.

     

    The moral police person is driven by anger. They are not satisfied until everyone they know conforms to their standards. They become especially perturbed when a sinner repents and is accepted back into the fold of faith. Cynically they say, “Is his conversion real?” “If anyone deserves recognition and rewards for their behavior, I do, because I have always been a good person.” Indeed, their pious prayers preach down to those less religious. They become a closed minded judge and jury.

     

    But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry... But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry? Jonah 4:1,4

    Has your religious zeal drifted into the arrogant attitude of the older brother in Jesus’ story: jealous, judgmental and joyless? Are you bound up within because life doesn’t seem to listen to your demands? The same Lord you represent can free you from being a self appointed judge. Take a step off your religious pedestal of pride and kneel in humble brokenness. Confess the need to be free from an attitude of moral superiority and admit to being a chief of sinners.

     

    The moral police of Jesus’ day had Him crucified. Today we are called to be crucified with Christ, so we are reminded of our weak condition outside the love and grace of God. Yes, there are standards God expects us to obey. Christ calls us to a high level of moral and ethical behavior. However, it is the inner work of the Spirit that conforms us into the image of Christ. Truth transforms us from the inside out, so we walk in humility not pride. God is our judge.

     

    Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Matt. 7:1-3, The Message

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, forgive me for judging others and neglecting my own proud heart.

     

    Related Readings: Luke 6:41-42; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5, 5:12; James 4:11

     

    Post/Tweet today: A person who feels morally superior is not satisfied until everyone else conforms to their standards. #moralpolice

    © 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 Luke

  • The Most Important Lesson

    Posted on May 9, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 11:18-19 (NIV)

    Early in my motherhood adventure I realized I could solve my kids' problems for them. Not every problem. But for the most part when they had an issue I could step in and be the solution.

    Or ...

    I had another option. I could mentor and equip my kids to solve their issues. This approach is much more time consuming, brain draining, and sometimes quite frustrating.

    But for me, the most important lesson I want to teach my kids is how to think.

    It's that whole "give a man a fish" thing. Give him a fish and he'll eat for a day ... or teach him to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime.

    I don't want to train my children to always turn to me for solutions. I want them to learn to think in biblically and emotionally healthy ways and process life's choices in grounded, mature ways. Eventually, they will become solution finders.

    If I only tell my kids what they can and can't do, I'm establishing rules for them to follow. This is a part of parenting for sure, but it can't be the whole part.

    If I teach them how to think, I'm establishing healthy processing patterns that will serve them when they're no longer under my immediate watch.

    For example, texting while driving is deadly. I've taught them this rule. But to help them learn to process the dangers of driving while distracted, I decided to have a family discussion.

    Recently, I asked each of the kids to come to a scheduled family dinner equipped to present a brief report on the dangers of texting and driving.

    As they presented their reports, I saw the light bulbs coming on in their thought processes. They weren't just learning a rule; they were discovering how to think about this dangerous habit. They were passionate about it. And the best part? They independently committed to not text and drive.

    They owned it. Not because I preached a rule at them. But rather, because I helped them learn how to think through this danger for themselves.

    The Bible instructs us to teach our kids the truths of God by talking and processing with them all throughout the day. Obviously, texting and driving isn't a biblical truth, but how powerful it is to apply a Biblical mindset to every issue we face.

    So, be it a Scriptural truth or processing life stuff in general, I think the secret is tucked within the beautiful words of our key verse, Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (NIV):

    "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many..."

    Yes, may our days together be many. Learning. Thinking. And processing each problem through the filter of God's Truth.

    Dear Lord, thank You for the opportunity to teach my children how to think in a way that is honoring to You. Use me as an example of Your love and compassion in their lives. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Equip your daughter or a young woman you know to think in biblically and emotionally healthy ways with Lysa TerKeurst's new book, What Happens When Young Women Say Yes to God, co-written with her teenage daughter Hope. Click here to purchase your copy.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    How can you begin to implement this way of thinking with your family?

    Start small – direct your child to Scripture, say a prayer with him/her, or make it an overall family discussion!

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 22:6, "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it." (NIV)

    Isaiah 54:13, "All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace." (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 Deuteronomy

  • Cause for Celebration

    Posted on May 8, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Luke 15:10

     

    The great God of the Universe and those in the presence of angels rejoice when a single sinner repents. A conversion to Christ is a big, big deal to the Lord. Like a body healed of disease celebrates wholeness, a soul healed of sin’s terminal illness can’t help but bring glory to God in celebratory praise. What was lost is found. What was estranged from the Holy Spirit is unified with God’s Spirit. What was sentenced to hell is pardoned for heaven. New life deserves a party!

     

    Do you make a special effort to recognize a friend or relative’s decision to trust Christ? Perhaps you attend their baptism, buy them a Bible, or lead them through a discipleship process for new believers. Maybe you throw a party with a delicious meal and a time of affirmation for the one who has passed from death to life. Just like caring attention is deservedly given to a physical birth, so time and money are great investments in a new birth. Celebrate a new Christian’s faith!

     

    Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests. Luke 2:14

     

    Be intentional not to take for granted someone, who by grace, engaged God for the very first time. A faith that becomes too familiar with itself is a tired faith. However, a faith fired by the flames of a fresh faith is energized and reminded of its past zeal. Oh the joy of being a spiritual parent and grandparent. Alive and well are disciples who are blessed to experience a soul’s new creation within relationships they love. Yes, there is no greater joy than serving as a spiritual obstetrician.

     

    Our Heavenly Father throws a party for those who have come home to Christ. He laughs and sings songs of jubilation when His children repent of foolish living and turn to trust in Him. He expects His other children to join Him in a euphoric expression of gratitude over one sinner who has come to their senses. A saved soul is extremely valuable in eternity’s currency. Like a found silver coin on earth is a converted soul in heaven. A conversion to Christ is cause for rejoicing!

     

    I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I rejoice with You over those who have come to faith in Jesus.

     

    Related Readings: Psalm 51:12, 95:1; Isaiah 65:14; Daniel 12:3; 1 John 2:1

     

    Post/Tweet today: A faith too familiar with itself is a tired faith. However, a faith fired by the flames of a fresh faith is energized. #newbelievers

    © 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 Luke

  • Learn to Rest

    Posted on May 8, 2013 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy Blight

    "He restores my soul." Psalm 23:3a (ESV)

    My words poured through frustrated tears. "I try to be so organized. Every night I make a 'to do' list. I wake up in the morning furiously giving my best to complete every task. There are never enough hours in my day to get them all done. I wake up the next day to do it all over again, only this time, the unfinished tasks from yesterday's list carry over to today's. I'm so tired!"

    My dear friend and mentor calmly interrupted, "Wendy, you must learn to rest."

    Taking a deep breath, I whispered, "Is resting something I have to learn?"

    "Yes," she said firmly, "you must learn to rest."

    "Okay," I told her. "I'll go to bed earlier and when I feel super tired, I'll take a short nap."

    Back then I thought the cure to my weariness would come from resting my tired body and delaying my duties for a time with a catnap. But that wasn't what she meant. My friend knew there was a difference between being physically tired and needing to catch up on some zzz's, and being worn out in our hearts, minds and souls.

    The truth is, we aren't weary simply because our schedules are full. We are weary because our spirits are depleted. Within each one of us resides a soul that desperately needs renewal and restoration, something an overloaded schedule doesn't always allow.

    It's easy to hide our exhausted souls. On the outside we may appear well-organized, emotionally stable, and put together. But on the inside we are often hopelessly overwhelmed and completely stressed out. The remedy for our weariness will not be found in a nap, but in God alone.

    In the Old Testament, Psalm 23 speaks of God as our Shepherd. That passage says our Shepherd "restores" our souls. When I looked a bit deeper into the original meaning of "restore," I learned so much more about God's promise to bring life back to my tired soul.

    The Hebrew word "restore" in Psalm 23 is shuwb. It's a word most often translated "to return or go back." It speaks of God's people returning to Him and means "movement back to the point of departure." The use of the word "restore" implies we must return to God to receive our restoration.

    In the New Testament in John 10:14, Jesus tells us He is our "Good Shepherd." This is from the Greek word poimen. It literally means "shepherd," referring to one who guides, guards, and provides for his flock. When we return to our Shepherd, Jesus, He will guard us, guide us and provide for our every need.

    Our Good Shepherd can only restore our souls when we turn our hearts and our minds away from the noise and busyness of the world back to Him. Sitting alone with the Lord leads us to peace and gives us the strength we need to move forward.

    Do you need restoration? Take this little test.

    Does every word your husband speak irritate you?

    Does every errand you have to run for your kids breed resentment?

    Does every morning bring feelings of stress and anxiety?

    If you answered yes to one or all of these questions, you are running on empty, operating out of your own depleted resources.

    Learn to rest.

    Return to your Good Shepherd.

    Invite Him to restore your soul.

    Receive a fresh filling of His love, mercy and grace.

    When you do, He will replace your weariness with strength, your resentment with thanksgiving, your irritability with patience, and your anxiety with peace.

    The Lord is waiting.

    Meet with Him. He will refresh and renew you, enabling you to go out into the world to serve your family and friends filled with a newfound sense of His peace, love, and joy.

    Dear Lord, help me be still before You. Give me the rest only You can give. Renew and restore my weary heart. Fill me to overflowing. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner by Wendy teaches you how to have a quiet time and grow deeper in your walk with God.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you neglected spending time alone with God? For the next seven days, return to your Good Shepherd. Open Psalm 23, read a portion of the passage each of the seven days, and invite the Lord to refresh and restore your soul.

    Power Verses:
    Jeremiah 6:16, "This is what the LORD says: 'Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls...'" (NIV)

    Psalm 62:5, "Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Wendy Blight. 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

  • Heartfelt Forgiveness

    Posted on May 7, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart. Matthew 18:35

    Forgiveness is a serious matter to our Heavenly Father. It is so significant that He gave His only son, Jesus, on a cruel Cross as forgiveness for our sins. Forgiveness wipes clean a debt that was humanly impossible to pay: only the sinless One can forgive sin. Because of God’s monumental mercy on us, He expects us to extend this unconditional grace to our offenders. Gratitude has a long memory of His great grace. We forgive freely because God, for Christ's sake, has forgiven us!

    Our heartfelt forgiveness gives us freedom. It frees us to be who God wants us to be. Forgiveness frees us from the need to pay back or heap guilt and condemnation on the one who hurt us. When we let go of anger, even bitterness, our emotional energy is free to comfort and care for the needs of other searching souls. A heart bound up in its own hurt cannot even care for itself. Indeed, forgiveness shifts our focus from the idol of self pity to the praise of God’s mercy.

    For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15

    You sin when you chose not to forgive. Furthermore, your fellowship with your Heavenly Father is stifled without your heartfelt forgiveness. Your intimacy erodes without the clean slate of forgiveness from Christ. So, how can you know if you have truly forgiven someone who has hurt, even violated you? You begin to bless them instead of curse them. You talk well about them behind their back. You pray for them to grow in God’s grace. Forgiveness frees you to love well.

    There is a risk involved in your heartfelt forgiveness. Your offender may continue their disrespectful, potentially harmful behavior. They may take advantage of your goodwill. Your forgiveness is no guarantee they will change, but you will change. Christ will conform you into His work of grace, mercy and love. God will deal with the unruly ones in His timing. Their conscience is the Holy Spirit’s auditor who will bring them into account. Your heartfelt forgiveness reveals God’s heart.

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

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, Your great forgiveness compels me to forgive freely.

    Related Readings: Luke 6:37; Ephesians 4:2, 4:32; Colossains 2:14; James 2:13

    Post/Tweet today: Our conscience is the Holy Spirit’s auditor who brings us into account. #accountability
    © 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 Forgiveness, Matthew

  • Reshaping Me

    Posted on May 7, 2013 by Wendy Pope

    Wendy Pope

    "Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives." Galatians 5:25 (NLT)

    It was supposed to be a day filled with the simple pleasure of getting my hair cut. But rather than just a reshaping of my unruly mop, God planed a reshaping of my character.

    Others might find their simple pleasures in sunny spring days on the porch, cool fall evenings with the family toasting marshmallows, or the company of a good friend.

    Me? One of my favorite pleasures is hair cut day.

    It was one of those ordinary days, and a haircut was on my agenda. My appointment was a week overdue, my roots were screaming, and I was anxious to have my messy hair reshaped. Driving to the salon, I smiled thinking how much I would enjoy the experience.

    Little did I know God had a more important experience planned.

    After my cut, style, and primping time had ended, I grabbed my purse to pay for my new 'do. "Before I go," I said to my stylist, "I need to use your bathroom."

    Walking in, I immediately noticed the dirty ring around the toilet bowl, the matching ring in the sink, and well, the gross things that form around the base of the commode.

    Disgusted, I began to criticize and question the sanitation regulations of the salon. In the midst of my mumblings I sensed the Holy Spirit whispering things I didn't want to hear.

    "No. You can't be serious," I argued.

    Again I heard His whisper. Again I debated. I found myself teetering. Would I follow the Holy Spirit's direction or flush, wash, and leave?

    Frozen, I was unable to move toward the door. My only option was to yield. I looked around at the various cleaning products, took a deep breath, grabbed a handful of paper towels and a worn out toilet brush and began to obey the Spirit's direction.

    I wasn't thrilled or interested in doing a good job. I wanted to hurry and get out. But while on my hands and knees, scrubbing and wiping, the reshaping continued as I heard the whisper, "As you would your own."

    It wasn't enough that I had yielded; God wanted my heart to be right. So I continued cleaning, with greater fervor, as if it were my own bathroom. As I worked to change the bathroom, the Lord changed me. My pride turned to humility as I thought about the next person who would enter the restroom. Envisioning the look on her face as she smelled the fresh clean aroma and saw sparkling chrome brought me great joy. This joy melted away my stubbornness as I experienced God's delight.

    Today, tomorrow, or in the future you will be given the opportunity to follow the Holy Spirit's leading as Galatians 5:25 tells us to do. Maybe you will not be asked to clean a bathroom, but there is no doubt your choice to seize or ignore your opportunity will reshape your character. How will you respond?

    Dear Lord, thank You for the opportunity to know You as Savior and Lord. Today and each day forward I want to seize every chance I have to be more like You. Forgive me for ignoring opportunities in the past. Thank You for wanting to reshape my character. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    How is God trying to reshape your life? How are you responding?

    Today, yield to the opportunity God gives to obey Him.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 119:10, "With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!" (ESV)

    Romans 1:5, "We have received grace and apostleship through Him to bring about the obedience of faith among all the nations, on behalf of His name." (HCSB)

    © 2013 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

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



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

  • Love Initiates

    Posted on May 6, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? Luke 15:4

    Love takes the lead in looking out for the needs of another. Grace is a prayerful process of anticipating how someone may be hurting or feeling insecure in their loneliness. Love does not wait until a suffering soul solicits relief, rather compassion is a cure in search of a wounded spirit. Friends or family may wander away to do their own thing, but love keeps up with them. Mercy connects creatively with a cavalier comrade. Love leaves the many to care for the one.

    Is one person really worth our effort? Absolutely! Jesus died for us as individuals. A schoolmate or relative probably reached out to us when we were outside the faith. Yes, our prayers for a single soul need to be followed up with expressions of their worth to God and to us. Your love is irresistible in its affect on those sucked into the world’s system. Thus, give without expecting anything in return and you will see some return to their Savior. Go love for God.

    For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. Ezekiel 34:11
    Moreover, your Heavenly Father is relentless in His love for you. Sin may have scattered you to the fringes of His green pastures, but He still desires you. Your soul may feel distant from faith’s security, if so, surrender back to your Great Shepherd’s care. If your confidence is crippled let Christ lift you in His arms of love and carry you back to the care of His faith community. The Lord of the Universe is concerned about your one concern, so cast your cares on Your Lover.
    Above all, receive the love of the Lord and the love of others. Pride resists help, but humility invites support from Jesus and His followers. Love retained is hope regained. Other green pastures beyond the fence posts of faith are a fallacy. Nothing can compete with Christ’s love. Allow Him to shepherd your soul through anger, conflict, rejection and disrespect. Your Heavenly Father initiates love for you, so you can propagate His love to lost people. Love initiates!
    He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely. Micah 5:4

    Prayer: Heavenly Father thanks for pursing me when I drift away from your love and care.

    Related Readings: Psalm 23:1-6, 119:176; Jeremiah 31:10; Luke 19:10; Hebrews 13:10

    Post/Tweet today: Pride resists help, but humility invites support from Jesus and His followers. Love retained is hope regained. #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 Luke

  • The Micromanaging Mama

    Posted on May 6, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "Don't let your spirit rush to be angry, for anger abides in the heart of fools." Ecclesiastes 7:9 (HCSB)

    I couldn't think of anything more exciting than going to Sylvia's house for the afternoon. She had fancy clothes and the neighborhood's only built-in swimming pool. But best of all?

    Sylvia had one amazing dollhouse.

    There were bedroom sets with dressers, cloth curtains in the windows, and colorful spreads on the beds. There was a living room set with a tiny television and a kitchen with real-looking appliances in the trendy shade of turquoise.

    To top it all off, it came with a family - pliable, lifelike miniature human beings who smiled no matter how I posed them. There was even a trusty canine I named Scrappy.

    I could arrange the furniture any way I desired. The petite pots and pans were just the way I liked on the stove to simmer. The baby woke up from her nap just when I wanted. The family members entered and exited on my cue. No object missed a single prompt in the scenarios that played out at the ends of my chubby little fingertips.

    However, my perfect little world was easily shattered. Sometimes, when I had to go home to eat dinner, Sylvia wanted to play with her own toys. Later I'd return to find the house rearranged by someone who was not going along with my program.

    I never liked when someone messed with my plan. In fact, it made me angry.

    Today my days still revolve around a house. The furniture is bigger. The dishes and rugs are real. The people are too. And I still don't like anyone messing with my plan.

    Messing with my plan often looks like this: abandoned dirty dishes, shoes scattered haphazardly, newly washed windows dotted with sticky fingerprints, mud tracked floors, crumbs trailed, trash not taken out as asked, homework undone, pokey kids making the family late for church. Again.

    And sadly, messing with my plan can also find me behaving like this: sharp words strategically hurled, a caustic demeanor meant to snap my family to attention, or a "martyr mom" pose I suddenly strike to convey my "I-do-so-much-for-all-of-you-people-and-what-thanks-do-I-get?" message.

    At times like this, as today's key verse from Ecclesiastes 7:9 states, my spirit rushes to anger. When anger takes the lead, I can go from mild-mannered mother to micromanaging mama in three seconds flat to try and make my family "get with the program—and PRONTO!"

    Rushing to anger in an attempt to micromanage can lead to hurt feelings, crumpled spirits and fractured relationships in need of repair. Of course we should expect our children to do as they are asked, to perform their chores or remember their school responsibilities.

    But, when they don't—because they are kids and like us, not perfect—how will we chose to behave? Do we choose to be like Jesus who would respond appropriately and with self-control or like a wild woman who somehow thinks yelling is effective although it has never, ever worked in the past.

    Will you join me in a challenge to pause before pouncing? To not rush to anger and instead rush to Jesus' side? It is there we can allow Jesus to temper our tempers and filter our words so we can behave in a way that honors Him—and our family members too.

    Dear Lord, teach me to rush to You instead of rushing to anger. I want others to clearly see You reflected in my actions and reactions. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    For a more in-depth study of the topic of this devotion, check out Karen's new book and DVD curriculum LET. IT. GO. How to Stop Running the Show & Start Walking in Faith.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    Think back to a time when you rushed to anger over the condition of your home or the behavior of a family member. What happened?

    How could the situation have been different if you'd rushed to Jesus' side instead, seeking His wisdom and self-restraint?

    Power Verses:
    James 1:19-20, "Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires." (NLT)

    © 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 Ecclesiastes

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