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Daily Devotion

  • God, Are You Enough?

    Posted on May 31, 2013 by Melissa Taylor

    Melissa Taylor

    "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19 (NIV 1984)

    God, are You enough? It's a question my circumstances bring me to quite often.

    Over a lifetime I've concluded not only is God enough, but He has to be enough.

    It takes effort on my part to make sure my heart is staying in this truth.

    As a young child, I didn't realize my need for God, but I did realize I had a need that was not fulfilled. I was sexually abused when I was seven years old. My dad left our family when I was eleven. Both circumstances left me devastated, and I didn't understand then how God could ever heal my broken heart. So I spent many years trying to heal myself and make myself feel better.

    Nothing was enough to meet my needs. Nothing worked.

    As I grew older, I moved from being a Christian who simply believed, to becoming a Christian actively seeking and following Jesus. That was when my life began to change.

    Because I was having direct conversations with God through prayer and consistently reading His Word, my faith grew. I learned that when the hard knocks came, and they would, I needed to ask one question: "God, are You enough?"

    When a friend betrays me, "God, are You enough?"

    When I need to forgive what seems unforgivable, "God, are You enough?"

    When my child has issues out of my control, "God, are You enough?"

    When my marriage is on the brink of destruction, "God, are You enough?"

    When my mom is dying of cancer, "God, are You enough?"

    When others don't recognize my value, "God, are You enough?"

    When I struggle professionally, "God, are You enough?"

    When someone I love uses words to hurt me, "God, are You enough?"

    When I am in debt and don't know how I'll pay my bills, "God, are You enough?"

    When my past haunts me, "God, are You enough?"

    When my health declines, "God, are You enough?"

    When I am let down and disappointed in my life, "God, are You enough?"

    Every time I asked "God, are You enough?" I opened my Bible and began reading, verse by verse. Though my doubts were strong in the beginning, God's Word started to silence the thoughts paralyzing me.

    Through promises fulfilled and promises given in Scripture, I discovered the answer was always the same when I asked: "God, are You enough?"

    Yes, He is.

    Nothing here on earth is guaranteed, except for one thing: Jesus is with us always. And when we understand who He is, our doubts begin to disappear.

    The Bible tells us Jesus is sufficient; He's enough. Philippians 4:19 says, "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (NIV 1984). I discovered this to be true. Every need, every doubt, every inadequacy, every fear was met, answered and removed by Jesus.

    If I lost everything, I'd be okay because no one can take away my Jesus. Whether I live in a mansion on a hill or in a tent on the side of a swamp, I have my Jesus. Whether the world is for me or against me, I have my Jesus. When I am knocked down, I get on my knees and find my Jesus.

    When life becomes more than you think you can handle, don't quit. And certainly don't believe the lie God is not enough. Instead, ask yourself, "God, are You enough for me?" Then plant His Word deep in your heart so you'll always have the ready answer, that yes He is. He is enough for me, for you. Ours is the God who "... will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19).

    Dear Lord, help me to realize and remember the secret to being content in all circumstances is You. Help me to be aware of Your presence in my life at all times. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Follow us on Pinterest today.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Honestly assess if God is enough in your life. Do you find yourself needing or wanting more? Remind yourself that God knows you inside and out. He loves you no matter what and He always will.

    Is there a situation in your life you need to turn over to the Lord?

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 33:4, " For the word of the LORD is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness." (ESV)

    Isaiah 46:3b-4, "You whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Melissa Taylor. 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 Philippians

  • Love Does

    Posted on May 30, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

     

    Actions born out of love speak like a megaphone of compassion to those in need. Words of concern are empty unless they are backed by involved behavior. A need does not necessitate a call, but Christ's love  compels us to engage in another’s messy situation. Love does what is necessary to bring hope and healing to those who feel hopeless and hurt. Those moved from within by the Spirit initiate intimacy. They are a solution looking for a problem.

     

    How is your capacity to love? Is it limited to your immediate family or does it overflow into acquaintances, even strangers? Ask the Lord to endow you with extravagant love from heaven for those on earth. Yes, you are a conduit for the enormous love of your Heavenly Father. After you sit at the feet of Jesus in prayer, you can’t wait to wash the feet of those who are soiled by sin. Serve in a way the world cannot explain. Hallelujah, love’s outcomes are outrageous!

     

    My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Ezekiel 33:31

    I have to check my motivation to make sure I am not giving to someone expecting a favor in return. If my love is conditional then it is tainted by my personal agenda. However, pure love does not discriminate, it is determined to meet needs as they arise. Everyday encounters are seen as divine appointments to engage the Lord’s limitless resources with those in need. My attention to another is not a bother, but  an opportunity to be Jesus to one distant from Jesus.

    Lastly, look to the Lord Jesus as your example of "love does". Love those who are rejected by religious snobs by going into their homes and having dinner together.  Rich or poor may  feel isolated from the church because they don’t believe they measure up to right standards of conduct. Love those deeply hurt by sin by looking into their lost hearts with genuine compassion and mercy. Weep for the wounded and do good for those who do bad. Love does!

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

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me to love unrestrained and unconditional for Your glory!

     

    Related Readings: Levitucus 19:18; John 13:34; 2 Corinthians 6:6; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:17

     

    Post/Tweet today: We are a conduit for the enormous love of our Heavenly Father. #lovedoes

    © 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 John

  • Comparisons Stink

    Posted on May 30, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load." Galatians 6:3-5 (NIV)

    Comparisons stink. They do.

    Just when I think I've gotten to a good place in some area of my life, along comes someone or something that seems better in comparison. And my confidence shrinks back, takes the hand of doubt, and starts ransacking the peace right out of my heart and mind.

    I know deep down that God can and will use everything for good in my life, even my areas of vulnerability. But honest to goodness, it's hard on a girl's heart.

    Not too long ago, I was in a situation where something I'm very self-conscious about was magnified when compared to others' near-perfection. I was at the beach with several friends who have dancer's legs. And by dancer, I mean like twenty-year-old, ballerina-perfection legs.

    I guess you could say I have dancer legs too if you are referring to the dancing hippo from Madagascar.

    Apparently, long, lean legs just aren't in my genetic makeup, even though I can eat healthy and exercise every bit as much as my ballerina-like friends.

    So there I was on the beach. Comparing my vulnerable place to their perceived strength.

    And in the private space of my most inner thoughts, I cried. I found myself feeling defeated and convinced that this area will always be a struggle for me.

    Oh, I can make progress, for sure. Heaven knows, I do work on it. And most days, I see how God is using this all for good. But when comparison sneaks in, it can be hard. Worse than hard. It can just quite simply make me forget all the strengths I do have.

    And when I forget, my heart shifts. I stop being thankful and instead become consumed by that thing I don't have.

    Satan will always try to point out what's "wrong" to block out all that is right. And his whispers sound pretty convincing sometimes.

    But that's a dangerous place to park your mind.

    It's moments like these I find myself needing to soak in the truths of our key verses, Galatians 6:3-5, "If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load."

    As I thought more about that day on the beach, I realized I wasn't prayed up. Knowing I might have some comparison issues, I should have asked God to help keep my focus on Him. Instead, I just found myself wallowing—and wallowing isn't of the Lord. Amen? Amen!

    I share this because you need to know that we all struggle. I'm on a journey of learning. Just like you.

    And I desperately need God's truth to bump into my weaknesses every single day. Only then can I get out of the shadow of doubt and into the life-giving reality of who God has made me to be. And see it as good. Not perfect. Not even close. But good. And good is good.

    Dear Lord, forgive me for all of the times I've compared myself to others. I know that You have hand-picked all of my qualities. Help me to see these things as beautiful reminders of Your great love in creating me as Your daughter. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    If this devotion resonated with you, Lysa TerKeurst's Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress is just for you! Click here to purchase your copy.

    For more daily encouragement, visit our Facebook page.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Reflect on our key verse and power verse today. Then, think of an encouraging truth you can use to remind yourself of your own God-given talents and character traits. The next time you catch your mind swarming with comparisons, you'll have a plan to cling to!

    Power Verses:
    Romans 12:6-8, "We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. (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 Galatians

  • Concerns of God

    Posted on May 29, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns. Mark 8:33

     

    What concerns God? What does the Almighty deem as the most important? The Lord is concerned that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. He accepts those who submit their will to His, but He rejects those who impose their will onto His. God is concerned with building His kingdom, not man’s kingdom. The Kingdom of Heaven begins in our hearts with love and obedience to King Jesus. A citizen of Christ’s country is concerned about promoting His fame.

     

    Moreover, our Heavenly Father is concerned with keeping His promises to His people. For example, He shows up in answered prayer to assure us that we are not alone. He is concerned for us when we fear giving a public speech. Not only does He give us insight and clarity in our preparation, He prepares the hearts of the people who hear our talk. He blesses our words of instruction and inspiration. He wants us to feel His peace, as we present His timeless principles.

     

    God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them. Exodus 2:24-25

    Your Heavenly Father is also concerned about your suffering. His heart goes out to you when your heart has been broken. The Lord longs for wholeness in your body, soul and spirit. If you are detached from your true feelings, He wants to reengage you with your emotions. He wants you in touch with your feelings, so you can feel the needs of others. Your Savior Jesus meets you in your place of suffering with His sensitive comfort. He empathizes with your cry for His care.

    Furthermore, you partner with the Holy Spirit when you keep  the concerns of God in the forefront of your mind. Yes, keep Christ’s concerns your priority and your human concerns will not keep you from Christ. Jesus bluntly brands self seeking distractors as agents of the enemy. Beware of people who talk spiritual talk, but are more concerned about their own agenda, than God’s. Concern yourself with His concerns and your human concerns will fade away. Be concerned where He’s concerned!

    The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. Exodus 3:7

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, keep my concerns in line with Your concerns.

     

    Related Readings: Exodus 4:31; Luke 1:25; Acts 7:31; 1 Corinthians 7:32; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3

     

    Post/Tweet today: God’s heart goes out to you when your heart has been broken. #heartbroken

    © 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 Mark

  • He Cares About You

    Posted on May 29, 2013 by Renee Swope

    Renee Swope

    "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)

    When life gets overwhelming, do you ever wonder if God notices all you have going on? Does He see how hard you're working and trying to take care of everyone and everything? Staying up late to pay the bills, and feeling stretched between relationships at home and in church while caring for aging parents, commuting to work and carpooling kids?

    Several years ago, I came to a point where it felt like I was suffocating under the weight of my many responsibilities. Slowly, worry started to weave its way into my thoughts, making me wonder how I was going to do it all.

    I was exhausted and ready to resign from just about everything. I didn't have enough energy to handle it all. My faith was drained too, which led me to a place of self-doubt. I questioned my ability to manage my life and doubted my ability to hear God clearly or fulfill all the roles I assumed He wanted me to do.

    And all those worries made me weary, and they also made me wonder. I wondered if God noticed and cared about the burdens I carried. I also questioned why He wasn't doing something to make life easier. After all, my days were consumed with doing things for Him and others.

    One day I was reading my Bible and noticed how Martha's worries were making her wonder if Jesus cared about her. Martha's sister Mary had left her in the kitchen to do all the work while Mary sat in another room listening to Jesus. The Bible tells us, "She came to him and asked, 'Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!'" (Luke 10:40b NIV)

    Listen to how Jesus responded: "'Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her'" (v. 41-42 NIV).

    In that moment, Jesus showed Martha just how much He cared. Not just about how hard she was working, but about the rest He knew she needed. Instead of giving her what she demanded, Jesus showed Martha what she needed and the choice she could make to receive it.

    Jesus helped Martha see that Mary hadn't abandoned her to do the work by herself. Instead, Mary chose to walk away from distractions and preparations so she could take hold of something that couldn't be taken away from her.

    It was the one thing that would last even after Jesus was gone: time with Him resting in His presence, soaking in His perspective, and listening to His promises.

    1 Peter 5:7 says to "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you."

    As I read this verse and Martha's story, I saw the difference between what God offers and what I had been doing. I was carrying the heavy weight of my concerns but Jesus had invited me to come to Him and cast my cares upon Him, so that He could care for me.

    When I do all the talking and instructing, God doesn't have a chance. Instead of telling Him what I needed, He showed me how to say, "Lord, this is what's on my mind. This is what I'm worried about." And then stop and ask, "But Lord, what is going on in my heart? What are Your thoughts about this situation? What do I need and what should I do?"

    As I'm learning to give my concerns to God, my heart is growing more confident in knowing just how much He cares about me. With this new approach, my burdens are lighter and my heart is too.

    Jesus, help me seek You as much as I serve You and others. I want to balance my life and my workload with You, knowing with confidence that You care about me and are good at taking care of me! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    When you purchase A Confident Heart through from Family Christian, the proceeds go to help rescue widows and orphans.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Some time today, even if it's as you are putting your head on your pillow, talk to the Lord. "Lord, this is what's on my mind. This is what I'm worried about."

    Then ask, "Lord, what is going on in my heart? What are Your thoughts about this situation? What do I need and what should I do?"

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 55:22, "Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Renee Swope. 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 Peter

  • Trust or Suspicion

    Posted on May 28, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place. Revelation 22:6

     

    When expectations are unmet, a gap of concern  is created. It could be a promise that was made, but lacked follow through. Or a person uncharacteristically acted in an incompetent manner, but took responsibility for their actions afterward. Perhaps a spouse was inconsistent in their behavior, but when all the facts were factored in, all made sense. When facing these life disconnects we can chose to bridge the gap with trust or suspicion. Trust is relational lubricant that assumes the best.

     

    Can our Heavenly Father be trusted when there seems to be a chasm between what He has said, and our reality? Of course, we are finite in our understanding, but He is infinite. We never need to hold our Savior suspect over something that doesn’t make sense. On the contrary, we rest knowing Christ has already connected the dots and He can be trusted with the outcome. The Lord’s track record of trustworthiness is unblemished. Trust Him to inspire your next steps.

     

    Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. 2 Samuel 7:28

     

    What happens when someone breaks your trust? It takes time for a broken trust to be repaired. Chronic offenders can be forgiven, but they lose their status of trustworthiness. Indeed, to be trustworthy is to be worthy of trust.  Relational equity builds  over time and is not overdrawn due to broken promises. Trustworthiness is a gift you give to those you love. Yes, your consistency to do what you said you would do is a gift of security to those who love you.

     

    Therefore, by God’s grace, make it your emotional default to trust, not suspect. Take the high road of valuing the relationship over an outcome. However, make sure there is clarity regarding expectations. Discuss and then write out expectations, so all parties are aligned. Most of all, fill in the gap of uncertainty with faith in your Heavenly Father. He is true to His word and will not leave you in a state of insecurity. He is true to what He told you He will do. He is worthy of your trust!

     

    The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy. Proverbs 12:22

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow me in my trustworthiness and mature me to trust You and others.

     

    Related Readings: Exodus 18:21; Psalm 19:7, 111:7; Job 15:31; Acts 12:20; 2 Timohty 4:11

     

    Post/Tweet today: God is true to what He told you He will do. He is worthy of your trust. #trustworthy

    © 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 Revelation

  • I Can't Forgive Myself

    Posted on May 28, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9 (NIV)

    The workshop had ended. Most of the moms had left the room while she fidgeted with her bag. I could see she wanted to flee, but willpower and a great desire for freedom kept her feet rooted to the floor.

    We sat down and she blurted out: "I've been told for years that when I forgive myself I'll be free. But I can't do it. I've tried."

    I reached for her hands. "I've searched in Scripture. It's not there."

    She looked up in surprise. "What do you mean?"

    Forgiving ourselves. It's not there.

    There are a multitude of scriptures that show us how to offer forgiveness to others, as well as how to receive it. But none that asks us to remove the burdens from our own hearts.

    Thankfully 1 John 1:9 offers a promise. When we hold up our sin before God, He is faithful and just to forgive all our sins.

    Faithful to us? Yes, to us. But also faithful to who He is, and His plan for our forgiveness through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross as He bore our sin.

    But it doesn't end there. You see, when we are forgiven, our sin is reframed. Yes it still happened. But God removes it from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). We are seen as covered in mercy, spared from the punishment that was ours to take.

    My new friend had been trying for years to do a job that wasn't hers. By trying and failing, she saw herself as shameful. That shame affected every aspect of her life: her relationships, her role as mom, and her faith as she tried to please God through service or acts, all the while seeing herself as "less than."

    I asked her if she was willing to allow Christ to do what she had been unable to do for nearly a decade. Rather than forgive herself, would she accept the gift of forgiveness Christ so willingly offers?

    Later that week I received an email from her. She shared that when she walked through the front door that night, her husband said, "Something's different about you."

    It's been nearly three months since this young mom stopped trying to forgive herself, and scooped up the generous gift of God's grace instead. She is still surprised by the transformation. But more so, her family believes she found a miracle.

    One that had been waiting for her all along.

    Perhaps you carry shame. You've been trying to forgive yourself, but realize you can't undo the past. You've said you're sorry. You have changed. But the guilt or burden remains.

    Hand that shame to your Savior today, and allow Him to hurl it as far as the east is from the west.

    It's not your burden to carry any longer.

    Dear Jesus, You paid a heavy price for my sin, and yet I am still carrying it as if it is mine to absolve. I have said I am sorry. I am changing. But this burden isn't mine to carry. Today I joyfully receive Your gift of mercy and grace, and see myself as washed clean because of You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

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

    Reflect and Respond:
    Imagine a child carrying a large boulder on his back. There's a sign on the side of the road that says, "Place all boulders here," but he passes it day after day, the burden weighing heavier and heavier. What would you say to that child?

    Today, speak to your own heart as a child of God through these scriptures.

    • God desires to carry my burden (Psalm 55:22)
    • My Savior paid a dear price for my shame (Colossians 1:13-14)
    • God set me free, so today I will be free (Galatians 5:1)
    • My God sees me through His love, so I will see myself that way, too (Psalm 103:12)

    Power Verses:
    Psalm103:12, "As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us." (NAS)

    Galatians 5:1, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." (NIV)

    © 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 Forgiveness, 1 John

  • A Grateful Nation

    Posted on May 27, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    In that day you will say: "Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.” Isaiah 12:4

    A nation born out of the womb of religious liberty has much to thank Almighty God for. We can thank Him that man's tyranny lives oceans away and we are free to worship, vote and treat our fellowman with civility and respect. “With your hand you drove out the nations and planted our fathers; you crushed the peoples and made our fathers flourish” (Psalm 44:2). He is the initiator and sustainer of our nation’s freedom; without the Lord we lose.

     

    A large lump fills our throats with the memory of men and women whose blood saturated the soil of foreign fields to preserve our freedoms. A nation like ours that encourages free enterprise, free speech, free press and free worship comes with a severe sacrifice. When was the last time you thanked the Lord for those on the front lines who risk their lives for your liberty? His blessing remains where gratitude is retained, so thank Him often.

     

    Indeed it is a country with character that positions itself for God’s blessing.  Therefore, don’t just ask God to bless America, but in addition thank Him for already blessing America. “With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD : "He is good; his love to Israel endures forever” (Ezra 3:11a). A grateful nation gives God the glory for His goodness. Out of our national appreciation the world wonders what God can do for them.

     

    So when the United States of America appreciates Almighty God we become a shining light from shore to shore, as men and women around the globe take notice of our humble dependence on Him. Jesus described the collective role of God-fearing people, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14).

     

    If we extinguish our light by abandoning the faith from which we came, He will raise up other nations to take our place. However, He smiles when He sees a nation acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior; it sets a standard for those who admire our freedoms to see where they originate. Memorial Day is an opportunity to privately and publicly give God the glory and gratitude for His incredible favor and blessing on our nation.

     

    “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance” (Psalm 33:12).”

     

    Prayer: How can I lead our extended family in a sincere prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord? What are some specific freedoms I can thank God for in blessing my country?

     

    Related Readings: Psalm 102:15; Malachi 1:14; Acts 10:34-36; Revelation 15:4

    Post/Tweet today: God’s blessing remains where gratitude is retained, so thank Him often. #gratitude

    © 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 Isaiah

  • Birth, Behavior or Bloodline

    Posted on May 27, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called 'uncircumcised' by those who call themselves 'the circumcision' (which is done in the body by human hands)—remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ." Ephesians 2:11-13 (NIV)

    Some days I'm pleased with who I am. Some days I've really got it together. I start the day with some quiet time with just me and God. Normal morning hassles getting three kids ready don't bother me. Throughout the day I'm confident in my decisions and abilities.

    Other days I exhaust and frustrate myself, especially when I'm not quite so pleasant. Annoyance starts with the first step out of bed if I've overslept, or woken up too early thinking about all I have to do. Graciousness evaporates as I allow life's demands to dictate my mood. Insecurities prompt defensiveness. Doubt overshadows faith.

    One day I'm smiling and kind; the next day I'm scowling and grouchy. So which is the real me?

    We can all struggle with wondering who we really are, especially when we fall short of who we really want to be. And when the answer seems to be different day-by-day, it's easy to give up even trying to change ... to be a better person.

    To settle this question, I've had to dig deep. For I believe God wants me to know the answer. Knowing who I really am in God's eyes is a game changer. It changes my motivations, which changes my goals and inspires me to be consistent in who I am and how I act. God's truth about my identity serves as a filter for the world's lies and the judgment of others. It protects my heart from damage.

    So where do we find this definition?

    Are we defined by our birth? Are we who our parents are? Do their professional and personal successes or failures define us? Does it matter where we are born or to whom? Two of my children were born in an African war zone. Is that who they are?

    Or are we defined by our behavior? For years I defined myself by achieving success and accomplishing tasks. The more checks to the left of the items on my to-do list, the better I felt.

    There's a problem with both of these definitions. The first is out of my control. I have no say about where I was born or to whom. And it can give me a false sense of entitlement or discouragement. The second is undependable at best. Sometimes circumstances are out of control too. And even when my behavior is in my control, I can react from my human yuck-filled side.

    Thankfully, there is another way to define ourselves. It's found in our bloodline as a child of God. A lineage that was bought for us through the death of Jesus as Ephesians 2 tells us. "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ."

    His sacrifice defines who we really are: Loved. Chosen. Treasured. Ransomed. Forgiven. Worth it. When I accept and believe these definitions for myself, I'm inspired to change. I believe it's possible.

    Thankfully, we didn't have to be born in the "right" place, or behave "just so" to get this new identity. It's not based on our checkbook, scale or what our friends think of us. We receive it when we accept Christ as our Savior.

    Birth, behavior or bloodline? I know which one truly defines me. Do you?

    Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to die for me, so that our relationship could be reconciled. Help me to remember that it's in Your bloodline that I find my true identify. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Follow us on Pinterest for inspiring images. Click here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    How would you act differently if your identity were found in Jesus' bloodline? If you truly knew you are loved, chosen, accepted?

    Power Verses:
    1 Timothy 2:5-6a, "For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people." (NIV)

    Romans 3:23-25a, "... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. 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 Ephesians

  • Remain True

    Posted on May 26, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    When he [Barnabas] arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.    Acts 11:23

     

    Remain true to the Lord, for He has remained true to you. Remain true because the grace of God compels you to. Remain true, for He knows what is best for you; remain true because you know it is the right thing to do; remain true while others encourage you; remain true because your obedience encourages others; remain true with all your heart so that the Kingdom of God advances aggressively for His glory. It is easy to sign up as a Jesus follower, but follow through requires faithfulness, so remain true to your commitment to Christ. It does matter that you follow through for Him. It matters to Him, to you, to your family, and to your credibility. It matters to those you have encouraged, those you are encouraging, and those you will encourage. It matters that you remain true.

     

    Satan will try to suppress your commitment by his limited power of disease, discouragement, and discontentment. He wants you to forget God’s faithfulness and fall into his trap of temptation. He wants you to walk away from your family and follow your own selfish desires. He wants you to think you are an exception to the rule of law and accountability. He will feed your pride until you starve humility into non-existence. Jesus said, “I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me…” (Revelation 2:13a). The hand of the Lord is on those who remain true with all their hearts. However, He moves on from those who drift into hypocritical behaviors of pretending one thing and doing another. Begin by exposing any unauthentic living, and seek to reconnect with Christ and others.

     

    The grace of God creates an environment of encouragement. You can encourage others to remain true because God’s grace has been extended to you. Grace encourages faithfulness. Grace realizes there is room for mistakes but still offers opportunities to remain true. Failure and faith can coexist. Encouragers engage others on a heartfelt level. You have the opportunity to come alongside husbands and wives, friends and relatives, new and mature Christians. You can encourage them to remain true to the Lord and to each other. Encouragement extends hope rooted in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Your eternally based encouragement is not sentimental or shallow. It is a heavenly hope evidenced by answered prayer.

     

    You encourage others exponentially when you petition Christ on their behalf. Cry out to your heavenly Father and ask that He keep your teenagers true to Him. Pray for your friend’s body to be healed by the hand of God; pray for married couples to learn how to love and respect each other under the influence of the Holy Spirit; pray for your Pastor to remain true to his calling and to the One who extended his call; pray for opportunities to pray with those you are encouraging. Prayer is without exhaustion in its encouragement. Above all else, receive encouragement from the Lord and others to remain true. Then simultaneously and spontaneously extend encouragement to others to remain true with all their hearts. Remain true because there is no limit to what the Lord can do. Giving up is not for you.

     

    Post/Tweet: The hand of the Lord is on those who remain true with all their hearts. #remaintrue

    © 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 Acts

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