• Graduation GIfts

Daily Devotion

  • 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

  • Beautiful Baptism

    Posted on July 9, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Romans 6:4

     

    Baptism is beautiful to behold because it is an example of God’s great love pictured in the death and resurrection of His son Jesus. The Lord Jesus walked courageously in the shadow of death’s valley. He died, was buried and all hope seemed to die with Him. His death darkened His disciples’ faith. However, by the glory of the Father, Christ was raised from the dead, never to die again. Hope was alive, because Jesus was alive. Baptism celebrates Jesus Christ’s triumph over death!

     

    All who are spiritually dead in sin, walk in the shadow of a scary death. The valley of despair is lonely without the Lord. However, we can die to our self without having to die in our sin. When we choose by faith to crucify ourselves with Christ, we die to our old way of living and thinking. Death to self brings life from our Savior Jesus. The great exchange of our old life with Christ’s new life makes death a pass through to paradise. His resurrected life empowers our new life.

     

    I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

    Has baptism followed your spiritual comprehension and true belief in God? Yes, baptism before belief is a counterfeit claim. Thus, make sure the order of your baptismal ordinance follows your genuine faith. A baby’s baptism can be a dedication by parents to raise their child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, but it is not an illustration of the infant’s conversion. Believer’s baptism is a public and bold declaration of death to self and raised to walk in newness of life.

    Lastly, the Lord Jesus modeled for us the way of baptism. He humbled Himself in the presence of the public to pronounce His allegiance to His Heavenly Father. As He prayed, He was affirmed by Almighty God. Therefore, your baptism is a spiritual act of service that causes your Heavenly Father to smile. He is well pleased with your public profession of faith. An obedient faith that leads to baptism is an authentic faith. When immersed, God’s love immerses your soul!

    When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased. Luke 3:21-22

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for my beautiful baptism that pictures Your great grace.

    Related Readings: Matthew 28:19; Acts 8:36-38; Romans 7:6; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21

    Post/Tweet today: An obedient faith that leads to baptism is an authentic faith. #baptism

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Dancing with Daddy

    Posted on July 9, 2013 by Sheila Mangum

    Sheila

    "You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever." Psalm 30:11-12 (NIV)

    My father was an alcoholic. Sadly, the disease consumed him and when he couldn't find a way out, he committed suicide. His death affected my life in so many ways, and I missed his presence regularly. But one of the hardest times was at my wedding.

    My wedding day was not what I had dreamed of. I glanced over to where my father should have been and saw an empty chair. The beauty of the father-daughter dance and him giving me away was a moment I would have treasured and framed.

    But there was no photograph of our dance or of him handing me to my husband. Those pictures and memories were stolen from me. My wedding dress hid my vulnerable heart and my flowing veil covered my sad eyes.

    In my brokenness, it felt like my father, by his suicide, abandoned me. I thought I was different because of the shame and loss and never really had a sense of belonging. In many ways, I felt like an orphan. Thankfully, I still had my mother who encouraged me that our faithful God would send someone into my life at the times when I needed a father figure.

    My mom was right. God did send a father to take my dad's place. He arranged for someone to care for my needs, to nurture my wounded heart and be the solid foundation that a girl needs in a father. He sweetly sent someone who would not abandon me.

    God didn't hand-select a pastor, uncle, in-law or godly man whom He trusted to show me love the way I needed. No, God sent Himself as a Father to me and my crippled heart. He fulfilled what He promises in Psalm 68:5, "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling" (NIV).

    The Fatherhood of God has created a healthy, trustworthy relationship with me that would never have happened if He hadn't helped me overcome the sadness of the loss of my earthly father. He saved me from my doubts and insecurities.

    God has been so very faithful to give to me what the years my childhood of insecurity and immaturity stole from me: wisdom and discernment. He's promised to restore back to me everything that's been stolen, even the memory of a father-daughter dance.

    The Bible describes in vivid detail the beauty that is to come for those of us who have chosen to follow Jesus. Revelation 19:7 says, "Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready" (NIV).

    There is a wedding where my Father will be. His presence will be known. His seat will be filled. His love will surround the place where there will be no tears or pain. At the wedding of the Lamb, I will finally have a dance with my Daddy.

    I will take the hand that created me (Colossians 1:16). I will hold the palm that has my name written on it (Isaiah 49:16). He will lead me to all righteousness, just as He has taught me through life (Psalm 23:3). I will look into the eyes that are watching me now (Psalm 145:20). I will be held in the arms that I have run to so many times (Proverbs 18:10). I will be face-to-face with the One whose love has never failed me (Psalm 31:16). I will dance with my Father on that day.

    Do you need a Father who never will leave you? Do you need security, love and devotion? Your Heavenly Father is the One who holds your heart safely in His capable hands. You are His most treasured possession. He wants to nurture you. Ask God today to heal your heart with His Fatherly love and set your hopes on eternity and a future dance.

    Can He have this dance?

    Father, You are trustworthy, true to Your Word and truly extravagant in Your love. You will never leave nor forsake me. Thank You for Your care for me. Amen.

    Related Resources:

    A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself and Live in the Security of God's Promises by Renee Swope

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

    Reflect and Respond:
    Write this on a note card and place it where you can see it:

    You are MY daughter and I adore you. I watch your every move and direct your every step. I have a future planned and purposed for your good. Your heart is safe with Me. I promise. May I have this dance?

    Love,
    God

    Power Verse:
    Ephesians 1:5, "He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Sheila Mangum. All rights reserved.

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

  • Holy Communion

    Posted on July 8, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

     

    Christ calls His children into holy communion by remembering His sacrificial death on the cross.  The night He was betrayed, He explained the significance of what was about to happen. His body would be broken, so broken humanity could be healed by His sinless sacrifice. His blood would be poured out as a pure offering, sin’s final payment for all who breathe God’s free air. Yes, holy communion is a holy encounter with Christ. Sincere saints take seriously this grand gift of grace.

     

    We are privileged as followers of Jesus to experience Jesus in the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. We do not enter into this holy moment as a passive ritual, rather we are intentional to engage in intimacy with the Almighty. In prayer we see the mingled blood of our Lord flow from His side, thus, by faith in Him we enjoy His forgiveness. We remember His remarkable pain, His legs disjointed by Roman soldiers, so our pain and suffering could be laid on His bruised body.

     

    But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5, NKJV

     

    Oh what gratitude and joy flood our hearts when recount the wonderful cross of Christ! What seemed like just another crucifixion among thousands, turned into God’s megaphone to mankind announcing His love. So, in solemn thanksgiving we taste that the Lord is good when we partake of the bread of brokenness. We humbly drink the new covenant cup of grace and remember that the death of our Lord Jesus gives life. The cross proclaims the pardon of sin for all who believe.

     

    Lastly, are you prayerful in your preparation and participation with the Holy Eucharist? Do you search your heart to see what sin may be active in your actions or passive in your motivations? The Holy Spirit reveals what’s right with Jesus and what’s wrong with us when we remember His righteous act of redemption. Never get over what God has done for you in allowing the sacrificial death of His son. Remember Him and remember how far He has brought you by grace.

     

    Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. 1 Peter 2:24, NKJV

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, remind me of Your great love when I take Holy communion with You.

    Related Readings: Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 10:16; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Hebrews 10:29

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Take the Plunge

    Posted on July 8, 2013 by Lynn Cowell

    Lynn

    "I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure." Psalm 119:162 (NLT)

    My husband and I had saved for a year to go snorkeling. With all the sacrifices we had made, I couldn't believe we were finally on the white sandy shore. Confidently, I grabbed my gear and prepared to jump into the clear blue water.

    But it wasn't like I had imagined. The mask felt funny once I got it on; how was I supposed to breathe like that? My heart fluttered as anxiety grew.

    My head screamed at me, dive in! Get out there. This is an opportunity of a lifetime! But my feet stayed planted on dry ground. Though Greg pleaded with me, even came and took my hand to lead me out to the deep water, I never got past the rocky shore that day.

    Twenty years later, my chance came again. Starting a few months before the trip, I gave myself a talking-to every day. Go for it, Lynn! It will be worth it. Just dive in and don't look back! I recited this pep talk as I waded in the ocean.

    My heart began pounding again, but I kept going. Encouraging voices beckoned me to come farther out where the schools of rainbow-colored fish swam. Holding my breath, I peeked under the water, shocked to see the cobalt blue and golden yellow creations. I even swam with a sea turtle! Before I knew it, an hour had passed.

    Did I want to quit? Some moments I did, but I reminded myself of all I was gaining by staying out away from the shore.

    There was a time when I avoided "diving" deeper into Scripture. My schedule was always short on time. Not to mention I felt intimidated by stories I didn't understand and challenges that made me feel "less than."

    I relieved any guilt I felt about not studying the Bible by reading a verse or two here and there. Yet, like that young woman on the rocky shore so many years ago, I knew I was missing out by not going deeper.

    When I became part of a leadership team at my church, I had to take the plunge. The group's accountability helped me be consistent in reading and studying the Bible. The daily homework navigated me as I learned to go below the surface. I found I loved it!

    Years later, I can't wait to hang out with Jesus and learn what He has to say to me each day. I still participate in a group Bible study now and then, but what I enjoy most is going through my Bible on my own.

    When we study God's Word, He reveals who He is and His plans and heart for us. As we explore different verses, their original Greek and Hebrew meanings, the culture the text was written in, and how verses tie in together, it's like coming upon a gold mine. See how the psalmist put it: "I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure" (Psalm 119:162).

    It was one thing to hear my husband's experience of snorkeling 20 years ago when I waited on the shore. But, his stories came to life when I dipped my head under water and discovered for myself the beautiful coral, shimmering fish and vibrant colors.

    In the same way, it's wonderful to hear what others have to say about Scriptures they have studied, to listen to sermons or to read books. But it's really amazing to dive in ourselves. Studying God's Word opens our eyes, heart and mind to learn from Him about His ways, His will and His direction for us. So go ahead, take the plunge. What are you waiting for?

    Lord, the only thing holding me back from discovering the depths in Your Word is me. Empower me to be disciplined and help me to hear Your voice as I study Your Word. Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Devotions for a Revolutionary Year: 365 Days of Jesus' Radical Love by Lynn Cowell is a book to help your daughter get her feet wet and take the plunge for the deep water of God's Word.

    Looking for a way you can connect to your daughter and learn God's Word together? His Revolutionary Love: Jesus' Radical Pursuit of You by Lynn Cowell is for girls ages 13-18. It's a great study for moms and girls to bond over!

    Dive deep into Scripture with the new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women, filled with 366 devotions written by the Proverbs 31 Ministries team. Take the plunge by clicking here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What hinders you from spending time alone with Jesus?

    In the next 24 hours, carve out a time for just you and God. You may need to set your alarm clock earlier. You may need to stay up later. Be intentional.

    Power Verse:
    Jeremiah 15:16, "When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, LORD God Almighty." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

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

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