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Daily Devotion

  • Her Hands

    Posted on April 23, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    "Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions." 1 John 3:18 (NLT)

    She held out the soft white blanket scalloped in pink ribbon. "I'm not sure I want to give it to her," my mom said. The stitches were a bit looser than my mother's past handiwork, but I could see love in every crocheted inch.

    I held her hands in my own. Her once slender fingers were bent and swollen at the joints. I imagined her holding the crochet needles and weaving the yarn in and out for hours and days, until the blanket was complete. It is an heirloom for her first great-grandchild, one created with pain and love.

    I think I take my mother's hands for granted. They have caressed my cheek. They have made me wear a coat (even when I protested that I was a mother of three grown children). They have dialed the cell phone she loves, and hates, so she could talk to "her Suzie." Her hands have penned cards that showed up in my mailbox saying "I love you."

    An old 70s song says, "Time keeps on slipping, slipping, into the future." There is truth in those lyrics. I see the passage of time in my mother's hands. I also see it as moments pass into hours and then into days in a whirl.

    Life is always busy, like this month when the white board on the refrigerator lists church events, dentist visits, showers and weddings and graduations, as well as other details like pay the bills, mow the lawn, clean the house.

    Recently I realized that my mother was moving further down on that list. A week passed. A month flew by. The phone calls came. "Hey, Suz, just calling to say I miss you."

    One day I received an email from a friend. Her mom was sick. For the next few weeks I prayed, reading every update. One night I read the email from my beautiful friend that expressed her love for her ailing mom, and prayer for strength to say goodbye.

    Suddenly it hit me how little time I actually devoted to my mother. I looked at the email and wept. The next day I made a date with my mom. She was like a girl; she laughed on the phone as we made plans.

    My mom and I had the best time at lunch and I was inspired to make a point to love on her more frequently. So I came up with "Love Points" which include a few things I try to do each week.

    Write. Leave a note in an unexpected place.

    Give. Spend time with no strings attached (help work in the garden, go to lunch, sit and chat).

    Touch. Especially if your loved one is older or widowed and they are not touched in positive ways any more. (Massage their hands. Hold their hand. Touch their face or hair.)

    Affirm. Tell them one encouraging thing that you believe about them.

    I pray I stay committed to showing my mom love. And that I have many more opportunities to hang out with her. But more than that I pray I don't take her for granted.

    Life most likely won't slow down. But as I devote time to worthwhile endeavors, I don't want to forget that in the grand scheme of things, holding my mother's hands is one of the most priceless investments I'll ever make.

    Dear Lord, thank You for my loved ones. Life gets so hectic, and sometimes it's hard to slow down long enough to show them how much I care. Please help me to slow down and recognize what is of little value so that I can invest in people with immense value. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Homespun Memories for the Heart by Karen Ehman

    Reflect and Respond:
    Is there someone you need to spend more time with? Make plans today to do so.

    Share this devotion with your siblings or friends as a reminder to them to spend time with their parents too.

    Power Verses:
    John 15:12b, "Love each other in the same way I have loved you." (NLT)

    Matthew 6:21, "Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be." (NLT)

    © 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 1 John

  • Wants or Wishes

    Posted on April 22, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian? Acts 26:28

    Wishes come from a naive delight to become something one day. I wish to be a movie star, astronaut, teacher, fireman, engineer or preacher. “I wish” originates from a romanticism that makes me feel good about going there; but a nice desire without a committed will is wishful thinking. However, my wants have a way of bending my will towards a clearly defined outcome. My will follows my wants until the goal is accomplished. Agrippa may have wished to be a Christian one day, but clearly he did not want to be converted in the moment. Wants work to engage the will.

    So, how can we move our wishes to wants? It is the motivation of our heart that makes mere wishes freely submit to the reality of wants. Moreover, it is more than just learning a principle;  we can understand a truth and still have our will unmoved. But when we encounter the Truth, the Lord Jesus Christ, He compels us to want what He wants. A close encounter with Christ moves a wishful feeling to a prayerful plan which then blends our will with God’s will.

    If anyone is willing to do His will. John 7:17, NASB

    When your heart wills to do the will of your Heavenly Father, He works with you at your place of faith. Indeed, as you worship and praise Him in the splendor of His glory, you see Him high and lifted up. Worship takes your wandering heart and brings it back home to do His bidding. The more the Lord increases in stature and the less you are concerned with your cares, Christ takes your wants and molds them into His desires. Your desires and God’s desires become one.

    So delight in the One who is the most delightful. Rest in the reassurance that your righteous God has got it, whatever “it” may mean for you. Be wise to not wish away this season of life with self pity or regret, rather see this parenthesis in time as a prayerful process, in which the Lord converts your creative ideas into His action plan. Look into the eyes of Jesus with your eyes of faith and say yes to Him. God gives you what you want, when it's what He wants for you!

    You have given him his heart’s desire, And You have not withheld the request of his lips.

    Psalm 21:2

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father make my wants and desires, Your wants and desires for me.

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 14:26;  Psalm 37:4; Matthew 16:24; Romans 10:1

     

    Post/Tweet today: Worship takes our wandering heart and brings it back home to do His bidding. #worship

    © 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

  • The Only Thing That Counts

    Posted on April 22, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." Galatians 5:6b (NIV)

    My daughter Hope is one of those people who knows how to dress.

    She'll put on a blue and white striped shirt, throw on an army jacket and black pants, finish the look with brown ankle boots and look like a fashionista.

    Me on the other hand, I get all stuck in a "Garanimals" state of mind. Did you ever wear Garanimals, the pants and shirts that match perfectly? It made me resistant to the delight of the unexpected.

    Matchy-matchy became the curse of my closet.

    Until Hope set me straight one day. "Mom, your outfits need a little pop!"

    Pop?

    She started whipping my outfits together in a way I'd never dreamed.

    An orange necklace with an outfit that had not a stitch of orange.

    Huh?

    Leopard flats with a dark blue shirt, teal necklace, and black skinny jeans.

    Are you sure?

    She was more than sure. With great confidence she introduced me to the world of adding a pop-a little something unexpected. A new way of expressing myself. And it has been delightful.

    So, I started thinking, what if I did this with other areas of my life? Other places where I've slipped into the "same old, same old" ruts.

    Might the delight of the unexpected make other aspects of my life more fun?

    Our key verse Galatians 5:6b says, "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."

    Might this be an invitation to discover another new way to express myself? Express my faith? Through acts of love?

    Yes. I think so.

    So, I did a little experiment. I started reading Bible verses by adding on a little question/challenge to myself at the end: "... so that I can love who?"

    For example, Romans 12:2a, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (NIV) ... so that I can love who?

    There is someone in my life who needs my love but I'll only be able to do it if I let God change my mindset. I need to add this little pop - a new expression of my faith through love.

    Philippians 4:19, "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus" (NIV) ... so that I can love who?

    There is someone in my life who needs something that I don't think I can give. My time. An emotional investment. A financial gift. Things I sometimes feel are in limited supply. But I can freely give those things when I realize God supplies all of my needs. I just have to open my hand and send some of my blessing in this person's direction. I need to add this little pop - a new expression of my faith through love.

    Why not try this yourself? No, not the leopard flats and teal necklace ... although that is quite the charming combination. But rather adding the question, "... so that I can love who?" to the end of the verses you read today.

    It will certainly give you a new way to express your faith. A way that God says is the only thing that counts.

    Dear Lord, thank You for showing me how to express my faith in a fresh way. Help me to love others with the same love and compassion You so freely lavish upon me. You are my rock and my redeemer. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Is there a young woman in your life who could use a fresh way to look at her faith? Check out Lysa TerKeurst's new book What Happens When Young Women Say Yes to God, co-written with her teenage daughter Hope. Filled with interactive sections and ways to get into God's Word, this book will leave any young woman feeling encouraged and equipped for her walk with the Lord. Click here to purchase your copy!

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    Who can you love today?

    Choose someone to really bless. Commit to pray for and reach out to that person often. Do things that will make them feel loved. For example, surprise a friend with her favorite coffee drink one morning.

    Power Verses:
    Ephesians 5:1-2, "Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (NIV)

    1 John 4:7-8, "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." (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

  • Parental Faith

    Posted on April 21, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

    2 Timothy 1:5

     

    Your parents’ faith is a gift from God and is not to be taken for granted. What a rock of reassurance you have in a legacy of love for the Lord. They stand for the truth of God and they live it with humility and grace. It is because of their faith that you have faith. They instilled the fear and love of God in you early on. Their awe and respect of God inspired your soul to do the same. Your parents’ faith has been a flame of passion lighting the path of your own walk with Christ. You watched them pray, so you pray; you watched them trust God, so you trust God; you watched them love people, so you love people; you watched them forgive, so you forgive; you watched them do the right things, so you do the right things; you witnessed their generosity, so you are generous. Your parents are models of faithfulness in the ways of God. What a gift! What a reason for joy, thanksgiving, and celebration.

     

    Have you loved your parents and thanked them lately for their gift of sincere faith? Take the time to tell them how grateful you are for your upbringing in the faith. Thank them and God for your training and teaching in the great truths of the Bible all those years. Their faithful teaching and modeling of truth made it easy for you to embrace truth. Now you have the opportunity to do the same for your children. The Bible says, “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting, and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into His kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12). Model for your children what has been modeled for you: service, selflessness, confession and repentance of sin, faithfulness, and forgiveness. Keep the faith alive by putting to death the devil’s attempts to derail your legacy of love for the Lord. Be a legacy builder not a legacy killer.

     

    If you have failed in your role as a parent of faith, now is the time to return to your roots. It is never too late to pick up your parental baton of faith. In your heart, you know it’s the right thing to do. You have explored the other road most traveled. That faithless road is full of sin and deception, hurt and harm. It is a passageway of pride and ego. This unrighteous road is so crowded that you learn quickly that it is filled with peril and life accidents. Now you are back on a search for your father’s faith. Your mother’s prayers have wooed you back and encouraged you to pray for your own children.

     

    It is time to put away foolish and immature ways. Your deep desire is to imitate the sincere faith of your parents. They were smarter than you realized, so unleash the faith of your childhood that was endowed by your parents. Appreciate and accept their indoctrination of God’s wisdom and allow it to serve you well in your adult responsibilities. However, do not lament your lot in life if your parents lacked faith. Instead, apply the faith of surrogate spiritual parents. You are positioned on a faith walk for your kids, so walk wisely. Keep giving the gift of faith to your family. Sincere faith can be passed on from one generation to another. So, by God’s grace, be relentless, passionate, and disciplined to keep the faith alive.

     

    Post/Tweet: Thank your parents whose faith is a flame of passion lighting the path of your walk with Christ. #parents

    © 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 2 Timothy

  • Capacity Building

    Posted on April 20, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability” (Matthew 25:15).

     

    Capacity is the ability Christ gives me to carry out His commands. And capacity varies from person to person. Some people can get by on five to six hours of sleep while I require seven to eight. Where I get out of balance is when I compare my capacity with someone of greater capacity. Indeed, capacity is meant to provide guardrails, not guilt.

     

    So how can we use capacity to our advantage instead of our disadvantage? How can we understand our limitations and trust the Lord with the results? It starts by being honest about how God has made us. If we can only execute one project with excellence, then we limit ourselves to one. If we only have the time, money, and love for two children, then we accept this as the responsible decision. Honesty about capacity is freeing for parents.

     

    But isn’t there a way to build capacity at work, at home, and in relationships? Yes, indeed! As you remain faithful with small responsibilities, the Lord and others can trust you with additional tasks. When you manage a small amount of money on a budget, you can be trusted with more resources to steward well. When you treat one individual with a full complement of grace and truth, you build relational capacity for more quality friendships.

     

    Furthermore, you are over capacity when cash in your bank account is overdrawn or when you have written a relational check your emotions cannot cash. Therefore, monitor your capacity in prayer before Jesus. Ask Him for courage to say no to something new so you can say yes to current obligations. As in weight lifting, you can increase your mental, emotional, financial, and relational capacity, but it takes time, focus, and discipline.

     

    The Lord has unlimited capacity for empathy, wisdom, and character. So go to Him for your character-capacity building. Make sure your character capacity keeps up with your success, and you will be able to handle success. Does your heart have the same capacity for humility as your mind does for truth?  Build capacity around Christ’s gifts to you.

     

    “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the field God has assigned to us, a field that reaches even to you” (2 Corinthians 10:12–13).

     

    Prayer: What capacities do I have that Christ wants to grow? To whom do I need to say no?

     

    Related Readings: Job 15:18; Psalm 147:5; John 3:34; 1 Corinthians 10:23

     

    Post/Tweet: Our character capacity needs to keep up with our success for us to handle success. #charactercapacity

    © 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 Matthew

  • Little To Big

    Posted on April 19, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches. Luke 13:18-19

    The Lord loves to take a little and make it big for His Kingdom’s purposes. He takes a little faith in His provision and produces an ongoing supply, possibly even surplus. He takes a little love of family and grows a lasting legacy for the Lord. He takes little, but consistent financial investments and compounds them into recurring support for those who steward wisely. He takes a little obedience and multiples His influence globally. He takes a little vision and grows it into a God-size idea.

    However, to grow something for God takes disciplined faith and obedience on our part. We can’t quit in the middle of the maturation process, otherwise we miss out on the Lord’s lasting outcome. Like a beautiful baby takes nine months to come full term, so the blessings of God gestate by grace, mature by prayerful obedience and are birthed by trust in His timing. Thus, we stay in the process with Jesus. In His good time, He grows our big vision that brings Him glory!

    You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:36

     

    Will you run away when things get rough? Or will you stay in the game by God’s grace? Anyone can quit, few are the faithful. The process is as important as the progress and the end product. Therefore, stay engaged with Jesus and enjoy Him as you journey though stages of life. Your consistent acts of obedience, as little as they might seem, lead to the Lord’s bigger opportunities.

     

    Most of all, take a little time each day to spend with your Heavenly Father. The tap root of your trust in God deepens and expands, so the trunk of your life becomes like a broad and bold Sequoia. The sturdy branches of your beliefs are a safe place to sit and rest for those who need the sanctuary of your encouragement. Yes, you may have just started with an acorn of salvation, but God will grow you into His bigger oak tree of blessing. Grace keeps you growing in Him!

     

    But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. 2 Peter 3:18

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father grow me into Your big blessing for those I meet day to day.

    Related Readings: Daniel 4:21; Zechariah 4:10; Luke 17:6; 2 Corinthians 2:14; Colossians 1:6

     

    Post/Tweet today: Consistent acts of obedience, as little as they might seem, lead to the Lord’s bigger opportunities. #obey

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Luke

  • For When You Feel Alone

    Posted on April 19, 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer

    Samantha Evilsizer

    "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love." John 15:9-10 (ESV)

    Miss Emma's wrinkled hands cupped my chin—her palm a reservoir for my tears. I walked down the hallways saying tearless goodbyes to 119 other residents, and yet my farewell with her released a levy of emotions.

    The scattered pieces of my heart felt like they were blown about by the scurrying of nurses' footsteps and doctors' orders resounding off the walls of the nursing home.

    It felt wrong to leave her alone, forsaken in this dark place.

    Her family, or lack thereof, had rendered her anchorless; adrift in the lonely sea of a 120 bed facility. A drab place where my Activities Department team and I were brought in to dispel the dreariness. My job at "The Brick" would have been more bleak if not for Miss Emma and a few others.

    I didn't allow many details of this place to sink in further than the surface of my heart. Stories repeated ten times each day rolled off my back. Routines of medicine and meals and the wandering of hallways became mundane tasks. Yet one name, one person, chiseled deep into my heart: Miss Emma.

    I perched on the edge of our goodbye, on the edge of her bed, hesitant to leave her. "Who'll sit in the sunshine with you? Who'll listen? Who'll sing hymns with you?"

    Worry wrung my heart. Visions of Miss Emma, alone ... lonely ... made my jaw tense and ache with pain for her. A square punch by sadness will do that to a girl.

    But not her. Beautiful brown saucers brimmed with confidence. I waded in the refreshing waters of her eyes, rich pools of wisdom.

    "I'll be fine sugar ... I'm never alone. Don't you realize the One who created the sun sits with me? He listens always, hearing my prayers and needs. His presence is in the very praises we sing to Him. Child, we're never alone."

    Tucked away from the world, Miss Emma changed mine. She lived tightly knit to the Vine. Abided in Jesus' love through His Word and worship and prayer. Miss Emma dwelled in this truth:

    Christ beside me, Christ before me,
    Christ behind me, Christ within me,
    Christ beneath me, Christ above me. ~St. Patrick

    Though abandoned by her earthly family, she rested in the knowledge that her Heavenly Father never would leave her. Indeed, He made a home in her so she could nestle in Him.

    Her solid assurance lifted my chin, calmed my heart. The strength she found in the truth that Christ never leaves us left a lasting impression on me. I began looking for ways He was with me: by giving me the wisdom to hold my tongue, or helping me sleep at night, or steadying me when anxious.

    Might we find hope in Him today as well? Curl up in His love by writing a Scripture verse on our heart. Lean into God's sure presence through lifting our voice in praise. Abide in His peace with a time of prayer ... sharing and listening.

    Christ is within us, before us, behind us. And as Miss Emma so confidently knew, He will never leave or forsake us. We're never alone.

    Dear Lord, thank You for calling us Your children. And for making a home within us, so we may rest secure in You. Because You are our dwelling place, we are never alone. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    We’d love to be a "Miss Emma" for you! Our team’s daily devotions are sprinkled throughout our brand new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women, explaining passages a bit more and relating them to your real life.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Spend time today in our dwelling place, Jesus, through studying of the Bible, worship and prayer.

    Power Verses:
    Deuteronomy 31:6, "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you." (ESV)

    Matthew 28:20b, "...and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (NAS)

    © 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer. 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 John

  • Fruitful Faith

    Posted on April 18, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Then he [Jesus] told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. Luke 13:6

    The expectation of the Lord is for His children to bear fruit. Indeed, a life without fruit takes up space, instead of being an expression of God’s grace. Our Heavenly Father is patient, however He does draw a line in the sand of time and says to individuals, institutions and nations, repent or lose My favor. A soul or society that is barren of fruitful faith will eventually see God move on to those governed by His principles. The fruit of faith flourishes in a heart cultivated by Christ.

    What fruit is your faith producing? The fruit of peace comes as you plant the seeds of trust in Jesus. Patience’s fruit appears as you prayerfully water the seeds of God’s grace. The fruit of perseverance is produced when you fertilize with faith in the goodness of God. Humility’s fruit blossoms when your Heavenly Father sows His loving kindness into your soul. Furthermore, a harvest of good deeds (enough to fill a barn) occurs when death to self brings to life your love!

    I [Jesus] am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. John 15:1-2

    The mercy of the Lord does include a pruning process. Instead of immediately removing a fruitless faith He gives it time to grow by the shears of suffering. Yes, pain is meant to purge us from unhealthy habits and remind us of our undeniable dependence on Christ. Our Heavenly Husband cuts back our branches diseased by sin. Jesus, our Vine of spiritual nutrients, feeds our faith. Then the Holy Spirit creates blossoms in our life by bearing the fruit of the Spirit.

    Otherwise, if the compassionate and thorough work of the Trinity is ignored we are in danger of being cut off from the life-giving grace of the Father, Son and Spirit. Furthermore, we are commanded by Christ to spread the manure of His mercy around the base of the unhealthy lives we influence. Yes, our service may smell repulsive to sinful souls, but our relentless love and forgiveness may facilitate fruit with the sweet aroma of salvation. Fruitful faith enjoys God’s favor.

    The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:8-9

    Prayer: Heavenly Father prune back my unhealthy attitudes and actions, so I can serve others.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 5:2; Jeremiah 8:13; John 15:5-8; Hebrews 6:7

    Post/Tweet today: A soul or society that is barren of fruitful faith will eventually see God move on to those governed by His principles. #faithfulness

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Luke, Faith

  • The Friendship Challenge

    Posted on April 18, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?" Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 (NIV)

    What makes a woman tender also reveals her vulnerabilities.

    What makes a woman transparent also exposes her wounds.

    What makes a woman authentic also uncovers her insecurities.

    And there aren't many women who enjoy being revealed, exposed, and uncovered. But establishing real intimacy with another person requires pushing past the resistance—past the fear.

    Friendship is risky.

    To be known is to risk being hurt. But friendship can be beautiful, and worth the risk.

    We can look to the Bible for examples of monumental friendships. In 1 Samuel 18 we learn about the special friendship between David and Jonathan, an example of a true bond. When Jonathan's father, King Saul, threatened David with death, Jonathan risked his position in his father's household and warned his friend.

    Jonathan and David's friendship lasted their lifetime, and because of Jonathan's loyalty to David, the Lord blessed them both. David eventually became king, but by then Jonathan had died. David inquired, "'Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake?'" (2 Samuel 9:1b NIV).

    Don't miss this beauty: it was customary for the present king to put to death any of the former king's family. However, because of his and Jonathan's strong friendship, King David tenderly provided for Jonathan's son. "I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table" (2 Samuel 9:7b NIV). "So Mephibosheth ate at David's table like one of the king's sons" (2 Samuel 9:11b NIV).

    Awesome. Inspiring. Friendship.

    Yes, friendship is beautiful. The Lord gave it to us. He knew we would need each other to get through this life.

    Think about a friend you can make an investment in.

    Not the friend with whom you feel most comfortable. But rather one who might benefit from seeing a little more of your tenderness, transparency, and authenticity. Someone who might be worth a risk.

    Someone in your sphere of influence is desperate to know someone else understands.

    Might we take three steps and give ourselves a friendship challenge? Here are three things you can do to invest in a friend:

    1) Have a conversation with her in which you honestly admit one of your vulnerabilities. Chances are she'll reveal something to you as well. Then really commit to pray for her. Maybe wear a watch or bracelet and every time you're distracted by it, use this as a prompt to carry her burden in your prayers.

    2) Buy or make this friend a gift. Just because. It doesn't have to cost much. But make an investment of time to think of something that would personally delight her.

    3) Write your friend a note to attach to the gift. In the letter, tell her at least three things you admire about her and some way she's made a difference in your life.

    Then deliver this little "just because" gift and note to your friend. This friend who sometimes feels a little vulnerable. Wounded. Exposed in some way.

    Your honesty and thoughtfulness will be such a sweet investment.

    For her.

    For you.

    For your friendship.

    Are you up for taking the friendship challenge?

    Dear Lord, thank You for all of the friendships and beautiful blessings You have placed in my life. Help me to see this challenge as a sweet reminder to show Your love to those around me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    For more on how to maintain strong, healthy friendships through clear and honest communication, check out Lysa TerKeurst's new book, Unglued: Making Wise Choices In the Midst of Raw Emotions.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Write down the name of the friend or friends you chose for the friendship challenge. Don't wait until later. Your friend will thank you!

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 17:17, "A friend loves at all times ..." (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 Ecclesiastes, Friendship

  • Good Among Bad

    Posted on April 17, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. Matthew 13:24-25

    God sows good seed in the world. We see the Lord’s good seed all around us: churches, ministries, hospitals, orphanages, families and individuals that love and obey Christ. Law abiding citizens, honest taxpayers, hard workers, generous givers and studious students all sprout from the good seed of our Savior Jesus Christ. Moreover, the sowing of God’s good seed never ceases. He will grow up preachers, missionaries, church planters, diplomats and executives for His glory.

    However, while God is sowing good seed around you, Satan is sowing bad seed. He is creating evil influences that seek to thwart the plans for good. Evil will mingle with the righteous until Christ comes to separate the wheat from the tares. Thus, psychotic and/or demon possessed people rampage among innocent children with rapid and murderous gun fire. The sons and daughters of disobedience look for ways to steal, kill and destroy. Bad seed grows among good.

    In which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience. Ephesians 2:2, NKJV

     

    Furthermore the bad seed resembles the good seed, its real nature is not revealed until it bears the fruit of its true intent. This is how two people can both attend church together, while one is going through the motions and the other is a dedicated disciple. You can be a church member, but not be a child of God. The good seed of salvation is sown along with the bad seed of hypocrisy. But we wait for Christ’s judgment and pray God’s grace has His transforming affect on the lost tares.

     

    We are not the judge of someone’s soul, He is, but we can model what it means to be an authentic follower of Jesus. For example, as we encounter conflict at church we can remain calm and express our concerns with a voice of reason and grace. Our role is to represent Christ in our conduct and conversion. It’s the Holy Spirit’s role is to examine motives and expose evil intent. So, celebrate God’s sowing of good seed and prayerfully trust in Christ’s judgment of the bad.

     

    This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ. Romans 2:16

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father thank You for Your good seed that grows and bears great fruit.

    Related Readings: Matthew 3:12; Ephesians 5:6; 2 Timothy 4:1; Revelation 20:4

     

    Post/Tweet today: Bad will mingle with the good until Christ comes to separate the wheat from the tares. #judgment

    © 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 Matthew

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