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Daily Devotion

  • Share God Stories

    Posted on July 15, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “When they [Paul and Barnabas] came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.” Acts 15:4

    Can a follower of Jesus contain the great works God does in and through them? Or, are they compelled to communicate Christ’s faithfulness, forgiveness, healing, answered prayers and salvation stories? Joy and gratitude to God cannot be contained in a life surrendered to the Lord. God waits for His works to be openly shared for His glory.

    The grace of God causes a man or woman to glow under its influence. Discerning Christians look at a soul captivated by Christ and know they have been with Jesus. So, we humbly tell of how the Lord is meeting our financial needs, delivering a friend from addiction, growing disciples and how He healed a fractured family relationship.

    “Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds” (Psalm 71:17). A soul might explode unless it shares God’s faithfulness.

    We are too sophisticated in our faith when we are shy and silent about God’s great work. We celebrate and communicate earthly accomplishments, why not do the same over highlights from
    heaven? Our earthly eternal endeavors have been bountifully blessed by the Lord. Everything good we experience finds its roots in the righteous acts of the Almighty.

    Therefore,give your friends and when appropriate, acquaintances and strangers, the gift of a God story, but be careful to keep Christ the central character. After all, it’s all about Him, not you. Godly people celebrate His work in your life and seekers are curious to hear what Christ can do for them. God stories fill hearts with faith and thankful praise.

    Lastly, do not limit the atonement of Christ to a select people group. God’s grace transcends all tribes, nations and cultures. Shortsighted is the soul that only sees people like themselves come to know the Lord. We share God stories globally because our Lord longs for all nations to hear of His faithfulness. His story brings glory and honor to Him.

    “Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods” (1 Chronicles 16:23-25).

    Prayer: What story of the Lord’s faithfulness can I share today for His glory?

    Related Readings: Job 37:5; Psalm 86:10; Matthew 21:42; Acts 15:12

    Post/Tweet today: Joy and gratitude to God cannot be contained in a life surrendered to the Lord. #Godstories

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

  • Pause and Breathe

    Posted on July 15, 2013 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie

    "So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea." Psalm 46:2 (NLT)

    Recently as I was waiting to board a plane, I felt a little twinge of anxiety.

    I looked tentatively at the other passengers at the gate, wondering if any posed a threat. I found myself reading their faces, looking at their carry-on bags and speculating if anything dangerous might have slipped through.

    You see, the horrific events of previous months were heavy on my heart. My mind had been filled with school shootings, the Boston Marathon bombing, massive floods in the Southwest, the plant explosion in Texas, tornados, and tragedies overseas. As the news broadcasts so many calamities, innocent lives lost and people injured, it's easy to harbor fear and wonder: What's happening to our world? Why are people so evil? Can we ever feel safe?

    In that airport terminal, my mind was on the verge of drifting to a thousand what-ifs and whys when I remembered God's promise in Psalm 46. As I allowed His truth to sink in, I paused to take comfort in the fact that there was no need to fear, because no matter what, God is with us.

    Verses 1-3 assure us that "God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!" Interlude

    God is our Protector. He is where we find strength to get through tough times when we are afraid. When the earth crumbles, floods abound, avalanches roar, tornados threaten—He is our refuge.

    Yet, sometimes in the face of tragedy and heartache, we question God, doubting His promise of protection. Although God does have the authority and ability to protect us from every trouble, sometimes He uses the trials we go through to teach us, purify us and draw us closer to Him. Although at times it may seem that God has not protected us in the way we need or desire, we can rest in knowing that He is protecting us in the way He knows is best for us to learn to fully depend on God.

    Psalm 46:4-7 says, "A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High. God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it. The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble! God's voice thunders, and the earth melts! The Lord of Heaven's Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress." Interlude

    While I love the ocean, I don't long to dig my toes in the shorelines when there's a storm. But I wouldn't mind sitting on the banks of a peaceful river, even during a rainstorm. Just like the calm, flowing waters of a river, God weaves His peace and provision throughout our lives even in chaos.

    Psalm 46:8-11 says, "Come, see the glorious works of the LORD: See how he brings destruction upon the world. He causes wars to end throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and snaps the spear; he burns the shields with fire. Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world. The Lord of Heaven's Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress." Interlude

    Although the world is in disarray, God is still God. He is still on the throne. Still mighty. Still faithful. Still sovereign.

    In all three sections in this passage, each one ends with the word Interlude. The definition of interlude is to pause, break, breathing space, or rest.

    When we pause to focus on the truth that God is God, we find rest.

    If fear has been creeping into your heart lately, pause and remember that God is your protector; His presence is with you, and He is in the highest position of authority over this broken world. Ask Him to settle the anxiousness in your heart. Then, just breathe.

    Dear Lord, thank You for being a safe place to flee, for always providing peace in the face of anxieties. Fill us with joy. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    An Untroubled Heart by Micca Campbell

    Reflect and Respond:
    Consider what fears, whether valid or imagined, have been burdening your heart lately. Search God's Word for a verse that specifically addresses that fear(s).

    Power Verse:
    John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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

  • Rest from Work

    Posted on July 14, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. Hebrews 4:9-11

    It is hard for some people to rest from their work. They love their work, enjoy their work, and may even worship their work. Hard, smart, and productive work is good, but worshiping work is bad. It is reckless and leads to ruin. It may be relational ruin, physical ruin, or even financial ruin. But work that is worshipped gets out of hand quickly. God is the only one who deserves worship. It is good to be proud of your work with pure motivation and to produce quality, but do not allow work to become an end in itself. Your true identity does not come from work; if it does you are positioned for a roller coaster ride of emotion. One day you will feel secure and another day you will be swept away by insecurity.

    As a follower of Christ, your identity is found in Him. This is one reason why rest from work is vital. When you work all the time you tend to drift from your moorings of faith in Christ to faith in yourself. It becomes a trust issue. “Can God be trusted enough for me to rest from my work?” Of course He can handle the work that remains. He divinely redeems the time of your limited work and produces more lasting results; results that will last longer than if you had worked all the time. After all, you are His workmanship in Christ Jesus. When you take the time to cease working, God is allowed to accelerate His work in you. Some of God’s best work takes place when you don’t work. He works better when you don’t. His work is a work of grace, and it is a beautiful sight to behold. So, enjoy your Sabbath rest as He works on your heart. Allow Him to draw you to Himself so when you go back to work you are refreshed and revitalized.

    There is a trap to avoid as you take a break from work and enter into God’s Sabbath rest. You can physically be away from work and still be at work mentally, so free your mind from this split-focused activity. Do not make your mind jealous over your body’s freedom from work. Rest your thoughts from work, and you will discover your thinking is more robust and innovative when you reengage in your work. During your Sabbath rest, shift your thinking to the bigger thoughts of God and His plan. Superimpose simple faith in Him over the complex issues that are assaulting your rest.

    Your mind, body, and emotions are all part of your Sabbath rest. If your Sabbath rest from work involves people, then relate to them with relevance and relationship. Let them see the sincerity of your involved presence. Do not act as if you wish you were somewhere else. Your rest is a time for you to relate the ways of God to others. Your life is a testament to God’s faithfulness. Let others read it up close and personal. Your Sabbath rest can be a catalyst for others to reengage with God. Set the example and watch others follow. Your Sabbath rest gives others permission to do the same. It’s not always easy to get to God’s rest, but once you arrive it is well worth the effort. His rest ignites your obedience and trust. So, rest from work and rest in Him. Then watch your work become better.

    Post/Tweet: Rest from work, rest in Him and watch your work become better. #restfromwork

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

     

  • Written Affirmation

    Posted on July 13, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Hiram king of Tyre replied by letter to Solomon: ‘Because the Lord loves his people, he has made you their king’” (2 Chronicles 2:11).

    The written word is a life-changing medium of communication that never goes out of style. For example, Holy Scripture has been passed down throughout history. It relates God’s heart and encourages people. Verbal communication can get lost over time, but the written word has the opportunity to persevere. So why not reach out and affirm with personal notes?

    Yes, it takes time to arrange thoughts and piece sentences together, but what a fantastic way to show others you love and care about them. You say that you care when you take the time to write how you feel about someone. Maybe it is just a ten-minute handwritten note or a one-hour handwritten letter; either way, love on paper lasts. It is a gift that keeps giving.

    God has written His love letter to you through the medium of the Bible. He has modeled the way. Indeed, people desperately need affirmation and care. Every day life has the tendency to suck energy and hope from people, but we have the noble task of infusing courage and life through the written word. You do not have to be a gifted writer to write.

    You simply need the heart; God will lead your hand. If your penmanship is unintelligible, use a keyboard. You have no excuse. The occasion may be someone’s birthday (spiritual or physical), a job promotion, a school graduation, a thank you, a sickness, a death, a wedding anniversary, or for no special reason but to say, “I am thinking about you.”

    How does it make you feel when you receive an unexpected note of encouragement? Someone writes to affirm you as a mom, father, husband, wife, grandparent, Bible teacher, homemaker, friend, or a mentor. You probably feel undeserving; yet you are filled with gratitude. When you receive written affirmation, pay it forward to someone else.

    Perhaps each time you receive an e-mail, note, or letter of affirmation, send one on to another needy soul. This is a gift that keeps on giving. Truth is stored in our hearts and minds with the ability to flush out lies of unworthiness and discouragement. It is not unusual for someone to physically file away written affirmation, only to taste its meaty morsels in future days of loneliness. Encouraging words transfer courage for living.

    Written encouragement is a balm for the wounded heart and food for the hungry soul. It never loses its luster and effectiveness. It is always there to draw on. Especially reach out to those who are snared by sin. Instead of ignoring or judging the fallen as they wallow in the consequences of their bad choices, affirm them. Take the time to write out who they are in Christ and what God thinks about them—children of God, chosen by Him, His workmanship in Christ, and joint-heirs with Jesus!

    Written affirmation is not a test where you are graded for grammar, spelling, and style. Rather, it is a tool in the hand of God that offers hope, peace, love, and encouragement to His children. Share your heart with pen and paper, and the Lord will love through you.

    I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).

    Prayer: What types of written words from others affirm me? On what occasion can I write to encourage friends and family?

    Related Readings: Psalm 102:18; John 20:31; Hebrews 13:22; 1 John 1:4

    Post/Tweet: Written encouragement is a balm for the wounded heart and food for the hungry soul. #wrritenaffirmation

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Excel in Education

    Posted on July 12, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. Daniel 1:20

     

    Education is an excuse to influence others for the things of God. It is creditability for Christ. Learning is leveraged to point people to the Lord. Yes, followers of Jesus are wise to be inspired and instructed in faith based living. The Holy Spirit enlightens eager minds to mine out and discover wisdom and understanding in Holy Scripture. Ignorance takes no effort, but a reputable education requires diligence and humility. Christians should strive to be at the top of their class.

     

    Informal education may be your only option; if so, stay in a structured process of learning. Harness the internet by accessing resources and classes that compel you to grow and become better in your walk with Christ, your vocation and your roles in life. Organize your reading around your passion and gifts. Learn from writers like Andrew Murray, A.W. Tozer, Alexander Maclaren, Teresa of Avila, Matthew Henry and historian Paul Johnson. Read publications like the Wall Street Journal, Christian History, Relevant, The Economist, Christianity Today and HBR.

     

    Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning. Proverbs 9:9

     

    Furthermore, take advantage of formal education opportunities. Steward well the time and money necessary to advance your knowledge in an institutional setting. Learn how to ask insightful questions. College and graduate school are opportunities to create disciplines in reading and study that carry you throughout your career. When you slow down in your senior years, speed up your mental exercise. A mind that stays fresh and alive keeps the body alive.

     

    Lastly, learn to love the Lord with your mind by focused attention on comprehension and application, not just on the acquisition of information. Apply what you already know, so the Holy Spirit has liberty to reveal what you don’t know. Prayer and meditation is an incubator for the Spirit to warm you up to the ways of God. Stay mindful, humility is your protection from taking pride in your knowledge. You are the smartest when you give all credit to your Savior Jesus!

     

    I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw. Proverbs 24:32

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, teach me in Your ways and show me ways to be a lifetime learner.

    Related Readings: Psalms 119:71-73; ; Isaiah 26:9; Matthew 11:29; John 6:45; Acts 18:24

    Post/Tweet today: Apply what you already know, so the Holy Spirit has liberty to reveal what you don’t know. #HolySpirit

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Healing Your Marriage

    Posted on July 12, 2013 by Stephanie Clayton

    Stephanie

    "Jesus answered her, 'If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.'" John 4:10 (NIV)

    I try so hard, and for what? I get nothing in return.

    Things will never change. I have been praying for years. I'm ready to give up.

    Maybe I just married the wrong person. Why do I have to stay in a marriage when I am miserable?

    I just want him to notice me ...

    These are the cries of a burned out, emotionally drained wife. How do I know? Because I have been there.

    The first eight years of my marriage were rough. My husband and I were young and had a difficult time making decisions and just doing life together. He wanted one thing and I wanted another. Would we ever see eye-to-eye? Would he be able to meet my needs? Desperately desiring happiness, I began to resent him rather than dealing with the actual root of my sadness and lack of fulfillment ... which was my past.

    I entered our marriage with a great deal of hurt from my past that I refused to deal with. Unrealistically, I expected when I got married, this hurt would disappear. But it didn't. It hung on. And I became bitter toward my husband for not being enough to right the wrongs in my life.

    But the truth is, it wasn't my husband's responsibility to be my cure-all. Even if he had tried, no one and no thing on earth could have fixed the hurt or filled my emptiness. No, I had to find my healing and hope in something else. The answer to my dissatisfaction was found in John 4 in the story of another unhappy woman.

    One day this woman, who had been married five times and was now living with another man, went to draw water from a well. There she met Jesus. Seeing clear through her hurt and pain, and recognizing her heart's desire to be loved, Jesus shared this life-changing truth with her:

    "'If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. ... Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst'" (vs. 10, 14a).

    Jesus invited her into a relationship with Him. Not because He wanted to take the place of any husband or man in her life, but because He wanted to take a higher position within her heart. He offered to be her all-satisfying Savior.

    Jesus invited this heart-parched woman to drink from Him and be refreshed, cheered, revived, comforted, and so much more. He assured her that in Him, she would never thirst again.

    So often we look to our husbands (or other people, positions, or possessions) with unrealistic expectations, wanting them to offer what only Christ can: perfect healing, unending love, and sufficient validation.

    But every marriage has its seasons. There will be times when you feel deeply fulfilled, and there will be times you may feel stark, barren and empty. That is why it is important to look to Christ alone for your value and fulfillment. He is your only Savior.

    How do you do this? Get to know Him, just like you did your husband when you were dating! Study the Bible, pray and spend time alone with God daily. Replace thoughts of unworthiness, doubt or belittling with truth you find in Scripture.

    With time, God healed our marriage. It took me going to counseling to deal with my past and a godly man to mentor my husband. As we began to find personal satisfaction in our individual relationships with Christ, we simultaneously began to grow closer to each other. The first step to restoring our marriage, though, was accepting the Lord's exclusive invitation to drink the water only He provides.

    Will you accept it today too? He's offering you living water. Let's drink deep and allow the healing to begin.

    Father, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to have a relationship with me. Help me seek Him and find my satisfaction in Him alone. As that happens, please heal me and my marriage. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    A Confident Heart by Renee Swope will help you find the soul-satisfying love and assurance your heart longs for!

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    Take an honest assessment: do you expect your husband to make the pain from your past better, to fulfill you and to be your source of happiness?

    Take time today to get to know Jesus by studying Scripture and praying.

    Power Verse:
    Isaiah 55:1, "Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Stephanie Clayton. All rights reserved.

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

  • Wise Beyond Youth

    Posted on July 11, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. Daniel 1:17

     

    Youth is not just a passive pass through into adulthood. It is an opportunity to be a world changer and not a world gamer. God gives the young He can trust His knowledge and understanding to impact the culture for Christ. Like Daniel and his friends, the eternal energy and enthusiasm of those with less experience is an opportunity to experience God! A tidal wave of spiritual transformation is ready to be unleashed by the Spirit in the tender hearts of young trusting souls.

     

    What has the Lord laid on your heart that is outrageous to the status quo? What is your big idea that requires the humility of teachability, the grace of prayer, the discipline of focus and patient persistence? Wherever God has for you, be your best and always think big for His glory. It is an insult to our Lord to limp through life, as if we had no support from our Savior. Ask Jesus for wisdom beyond your youth. Use technology and your relational equity to connect others to God.

     

    For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you.We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives. Colossians 1:9

    Furthermore, let’s release those who have yet to grace the age of thirty to engage the grace of God in a gigantic way. Help their dreams and visions come true by investing prayer and money in their ideas. Mentor them to be servants of the Most High and lovers of the most lowly. Encourage their hearts, challenge their minds, starve their egos and feed their faith. If we hold back those hungry for God, we may hinder holy outcomes. Yes, lift up the youth to believe big!

     

    Above all, train and encourage your children in the ways of the Lord. As they get older keep pouring prayers and God’s principles into their lives. When they are married invest in their marriage by sponsoring them to attend a marriage retreat or intensive. Give them the tools, resources and relationships to be wise beyond their years. When God blesses them with children invest time and God’s word in your grand babies. Ask the Lord to make them wise in their youth!

     

    Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:30-31

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, use me to empower youth to be everything You’ve called them to be.

    Related Readings: Esther 2:8; Psalm 89:19; Ecclesiastes 4:13; 2 Corinthians 4:1; Hebrews 12:1-3

    Post/Tweet today: Youth: encourage their hearts, challenge their minds, starve their egos and feed their faith. #youth

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Saying Yes to God

    Posted on July 11, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel ..." Ephesians 6:19 (NIV)

    Have you ever had one of those amazing thoughts of something you want to do? Your heart beats wildly for a few minutes—or even a few days—and you think to yourself, I'm going to do this!

    But then the reasons you can't start coming. They suit up, start marching, and aim their weapons of discouragement right at your heart. In the end, that amazing thought becomes a fleeting thought.

    And you think to yourself, yeah, it was a dumb idea. Then, as quickly as the stir of passion started, it fades. Too many of us live in the depressing, washed-out shades of a thousand faded passions that might have been.

    Because we're afraid.

    We'd rather stay safe and under the radar than go big and possibly flop.

    But every now and then someone rare comes along. They would rather die than say, "I wish I would have ..." Instead, they grit their teeth, lift their raw souls to God, and scream above all the naysayers, "I will! With God, I will!"

    That's my pastor.

    I have never seen someone so willing to FEARLESSLY make known the mystery of the gospel. He walks, talks, eats, sleeps, and breathes Ephesians 6:19, "Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel ..."

    My pastor had a crazy thought fly into his brain to do an old-school revival for 12 nights in a row. A revival that wouldn't be about one church and one preacher, but would be about THE CHURCH with many preachers. One that would be all about getting the hope of Jesus to the masses.

    It was a good idea. But it was a crazy idea. What about the expense? What if it burned out the staff? Would people really show up for all 12 nights? So many questions begged the idea to just fade away.

    But my pastor didn't let it fade. He didn't let it die. He ignited it. Not because he didn't feel the pull of fear, but rather because he pressed into God and chose to be unafraid.

    This crazy thought turned into an amazing reality—a full-blown revival. Twelve straight nights. Twelve amazing messages. Twelve passionate preachers. One awe-inspiring purpose—to fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.

    My husband and I had the privilege to attend much of this revival in person. And though I'm a woman of many words, I can't possibly begin to describe what God did.

    There was an igniting of souls that happened and extended all across the globe. People came to know Jesus. People got baptized. People found hope again. And people saw what can happen when one person dares to say, "I'm going to say yes to God's wild invitation. I'm going to do this!"

    You may be thinking, my yes can't affect others like this. I don't have that kind of influence. But we cannot even begin to understand the plans God has for us. There is always a far-reaching ripple effect when a woman says yes to God. We don't have to see the spread of the influence to know it's there. The power of saying yes to God is beyond anything we could ever imagine.

    Dear Lord, thank You for the examples of great men and women You have placed in our lives. May we humble ourselves as we learn from their courage to say yes to Your call. Give me the strength and courage necessary to take that next step in Your will for me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    For more encouragement on your journey of walking in obedience check out Lysa TerKeurst's new book, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God Devotional, releasing August 1! Click here to pre-order your copy.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Think of an example of someone who has chosen to say yes to God no matter what the cost.

    What can you learn from their example of faith and radical obedience?

    Power Verses:
    2 Corinthians 1:20-22, "Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God's Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident. God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting his Yes within us. By his Spirit he has stamped us with his eternal pledge—a sure beginning of what he is destined to complete." (MSG)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Trial Period

    Posted on July 10, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Daniel 1:12

     

    People can be skeptical about the sincerity of some Christians. They still simmer over a bad church experience perhaps being put on the spot, even embarrassed by well meaning worshipers. Perhaps they were wounded by the unintended consequences of Christ followers who were insensitive to the insecurities of the guest to their church. Needless to say, they are cautious about making any kind commitment related to faith. They want to try before they buy.

     

    Therefore, we are wise as followers of Jesus to build bridges to unbelievers. We can create environments for them to experience our acceptance and the truth from God’s word. Dinner in our home, an exploratory Bible study at church or a fun event with other friends gives seekers a glimpse of God’s grace. Yes, those who have yet to taste the grace and forgiveness of Jesus are testing us to see if we will live out what we believe. Love gives us high marks from the marginal.

     

    Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8

     

    Furthermore, you can prayerfully invite non-Christians to taste and see that the Lord is good. Give them an appetizer of encouragement in Holy Scripture before you ask them to digest a doctrine or two. Be careful not to choke a friend who is hungry for God with too much truth. Indeed, the Lord works with everyone at their own tempo. We may have a wonderful plan for their life, but Jesus has the best plan for them. Give your friends and family space to experience faith at their pace.

     

    Lastly, have you experienced the Lord in a personal relationship with Christ? If not, seriously consider embarking on this journey with Jesus. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead your heart in the way of wisdom. Your spiritual growth is a process of tests and trials. Don’t give up on God, rather use  trial periods to live out the truth of your convictions. Trial periods are for the lost and saved. Yes, God works through trial periods to prove Himself worthy of utter abandonment to Himself!

     

    I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. Proverbs 4:11

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me grace to enter into a trial period and go deeper with You.

    Related Readings: Hebrews 6:5; James 1:2-3; 1 Peter 2:3; Revelation 2:10

    Post/Tweet today: Don’t give up on God, rather use trial periods to live out the truth of your convictions. #tests

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • When You're Angry at God

    Posted on July 10, 2013 by Micca Campbell

    Micca

    "LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me." Psalms 30:2 (NIV)

    As I waited for my husband to return from surgery, I began to worry. It was taking longer than the doctor had said it would. Since over 80% of my husband's body had been burned during the house fire, I feared the surgery would be too much for him.

    My worst fears were confirmed when the doctor walked into the waiting room, still in his surgical clothes, and knelt down beside my chair. My heart began to pound as he explained that my husband had gone into cardiac arrest and though they were trying everything they could to resuscitate, they feared they had lost him. Immediately, I cried out for God to save him.

    I still remember my desperate plea: God, I realize if my husband lives he most likely won't keep his arms. I understand what that means. He'll never hold me again or play ball with our son. But I don't care, God. Please let him live!

    As the clock ticked down, there was no response. After some time, it finally hit me: he had already left me.

    After the funeral was over and the people were gone, I realized I was alone, a new mother, and a 21-year-old widow. I was very angry God had allowed for things to turn out this way.

    One desperate night, when the pain was more than I could stand, I cried out, Why, God? Why did You take him away from me? Oh, God. I need to know, why!

    Have you ever been angry with God?

    We've all made requests to God that didn't turn out like we had hoped. When that happens, it's easy to become confused about Him. We start to wonder if He heard us or just said "No" to our prayer. What we are certain of is the anger we feel toward the Lord's ways.

    It's important to express our upset emotions to the Lord. But we have to view our circumstances through the lens of God's grace: everything He does is without fault and is always right. Look at Psalm 30:2, "LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me." Rather than ignoring our pain or not sharing our anger with God (which is silly because He already knows), we should confess our anger and seek His healing.

    When I was completely honest with God that night, what happened next took me by surprise: God showed up!

    I can only explain it like this. Just as a mother runs to her screaming child, God, the Father, ran to me—His child. I didn't see Him with my eyes or touch Him with my hands, but I knew He was with me. It comforted me. This encounter with God became a turning point in my healing. I realized God understood my frailties and feelings ... and He was big enough to handle them.

    If you're angry with God, tell Him. Lay your heart open before God. Acknowledge that even while you don't understand what's happened, you trust He can make everything work out.

    It took me a while to see how my circumstances could be used for God's glory and my good. I didn't get my husband back, but I did get a closer relationship with God. A few years later, I re-married, had two more beautiful children, and began a ministry of comfort. God also healed my heart from the pain of loss and the scars anger left.

    I'm glad I was honest with God when I cried out in anger to Him. You will be too.

    Dear Lord, there is so much hurt and anger inside of me. I'm tired of living this way. I'm giving it to You to heal my hurt. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    This devotion was taken from Micca Campbell's book, An Untroubled Heart; Finding a Faith That is Stronger than All My Fears.

    Find refreshing hope and healing in the new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women, filled with God's truth and 366 devotions by the Proverbs 31 Ministries team.

    Reflect and Respond:
    How do you feel when God doesn't respond the way you hope? Are you ready to share those feelings with God? Why or why not?

    Power Verse:
    Psalms 46:1, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.

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

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