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Daily Devotion

  • Spiritual Struggle

    Posted on March 7, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

    Spiritual struggle is a normal process in the life of a saint. There is pressure from unholy, unseen forces that force their agenda of doubt, lies and temptation onto God fearers. Unrighteous influences do not rest until they make believers in Jesus restless in their faith. Evil authorities of darkness look for ways to create fear in the face of uncertainty. Demons laugh when they can pit good people against one another. They try to confuse Christians stuck in their spiritual struggle.

    Our spiritual struggle is meant to move us closer to Christ. He sympathizes with our challenges, because He was tempted as we are, yet without sin. The Lord is our holy advocate who defeats unholy spiritual forces for His namesake. Yes, Jesus has broken the devil’s power over life and death. Like a roaring lion, Satan still tries to intimidate and manipulate us into a fearful panic, but Christ is King. He has tamed the toothless tyrant. Thus, our Savior is with us as we struggle.

    Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:31

    In your search for spiritual reality and stability avoid false teachers and spiritists who call up the dead, for they are dead wrong. The occult, astrology and horoscopes are a spiritual sham that only feed fanciful living. Your heart hungers for help, but you are wise to protect it from spiritual junk food. Satisfy your soul’s appetite with healthy routines. Engage in a Bible believing church, daily meditate on Scripture in prayer and meet regularly in a small caring community of Christians.

    If you struggle alone in your spiritual quest you will miss God’s best. However, when you have a safe environment to share with other struggling saints, you will see Jesus in them. The Holy Spirit works through other submitted followers of God to give you comfort when you are hurting and wisdom when you are unsure. Like an army’s squad of twelve, surround yourself with loyal comrades who watch your back. Prayers of righteous friends frustrate the devil and his demons. Your struggles subside as you feel peace from prayer support and when your hope is in Christ!

    I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Romans 15:30

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father I need You to stabilize my faith as I struggle with doubt and confusion.

    Related Readings: Leviticus 20:6; Isaiah 8:19; Luke 4:34; Mark 5:9; Romans 8:37-39

    Post/Tweet today: Unrighteous influences do not rest until they make believers in Jesus restless in their faith. #temptation

    © 2012 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 Ephesians

  • Secrets of Success Found in Small Places

    Posted on March 7, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work." Exodus 36:2 (NIV)

    The International Christian Retail Show is a big book convention where publishers, authors, agents, media, and bookstore owners all gather to talk shop. Books are pitched. Books are sold. Books are talked about a lot!

    I went to this conference years ago when I was a wanna-be writer with a book proposal and a dream. Last year, as I signed pre-release copies of my 16th book Unglued, two thoughts went through my mind.

    First ... thank You Jesus that people actually came to my book signing. Seriously, there's nothing quite like standing there with a big stack of free promotion books, a permanent marker, and not a soul interested.

    So when people actually came, I just wanted to hug every single one of them. Seriously. And if I had lots of money I would've bought them all a steak dinner. I'm not kidding.

    The second thought was ... look for those desperate for your encouragement. Many who came through my book signing line were interested in writing a book. I remember being there. I know what it feels like to walk around with a tote bag full of book proposals and a heart full of nervous hope.

    I felt the weight of responsibility to give them the encouragement I so desperately needed when I was in their shoes.

    Maybe you are there right now. Maybe you're looking to actively pursue your dreams in this New Year. Whether it's the hope of being an author or another dream you have bumping around in your heart, here's what I've learned:

    Always remember, rejection from man doesn't mean rejection from God.
    If God has gifted you to write, write! You don't need a book deal to have an impact with your writing. The same is true with other dreams ... sing, create, teach, paint, develop — use your gifts right where you are to bless others.

    Most overnight success stories are years in the making.
    Value the daily discipline of small steps, hard work, honing your craft, and putting in time learning and developing. Take classes. Be mentored. Push through those moments you want to slack off. And do it over and over, year after year.

    Be a blessing to others.
    Don't keep your work to yourself. Find people who could be blessed with your work. I love to write. But what I love more than writing is seeing my writing help other people. That's where I find the encouragement to push through the hard times.

    Expect opposition.
    The challenges and disappointments and set backs are all part of it. And honestly, these hard times serve a great purpose. I've learned much more from my failures in writing than my successes. Use these lessons ... don't waste them by giving up too soon. And remember to glorify Him whether it's a struggle or a success. God uses all things for good.

    Look for the small open doors right in front of you.
    I always scratch my head when I meet people who tell me they want to write and speak but aren't willing to teach a small Bible study first. If God is calling you to do something — He'll have a door open in front of you. But it might be a small door. Look for the small door and walk through it.

    Actually, dance through it with great joy because He will always do great things with people willing to be faithful in the small.

    Dear Lord, I praise You for giving me the opportunity to pursue my dreams. I am so humbled that You would call me to serve You. Please help me persevere as I come up against opposition and frustration in the process of saying "yes" to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What goal are you looking to reach?

    What small step toward that goal can you take today? Remember, we can't go directly from A-Z. There are many stepping stones along the way.

    Surround yourself with a positive support network. Having a strong group of friends/family who will stand with you and be honest with you on your journey is crucial.

    Power Verse:
    Philippians 2:13, "For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Father of Lies

    Posted on March 6, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:11

    Satan is the original liar. Jesus branded him the “father of lies.” Yes, he is ever planning and scheming  how he can bring down devoted followers of Christ. Apathetic believers do not concern hell, but those with a fiery faith become targets of the tempter. Like an illusionist the devil and his demons play mind games on their prey. They paint pictures with an allure of reality, but when played out become foolish ploys. Only fools chase the false promises of evil spirits.

    Moreover, the father of lies leads us to live in confusion and doubt. His goal is for us to reject  God’s existence. The pinnacle of pride is to think we are the center of the universe and we have no need to acknowledge a Creator. But, if we do believe in God, then “Lucifer the liar” wants us to think we become equal to God. If we believe this absurdity, we become an idol and fall into temptation in the process. Like a camouflaged snake he waits to subtly strike with a lie.

    You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44

     

    Another weapon in Satan’s arsenal of lies is to educate fools into believing he is a myth. He is like a stealth bomber, sneaking up  and destroying unsuspecting victims. A modern culture that rejects the reality of evil personified by the devil and his demons is an unprotected target of hell’s fury. Yes, lying is the native tongue of your enemy, but truth is the language of your Lord Jesus. So, be teachable to the Father of Truth, and He will set you free from the deceptions of the devil.

    Lastly, be careful to not exchange the truth for a lie. The truth is, because you are loved and forgiven by your heavenly Father, you can love and forgive. The truth is you are beautifully and uniquely created in the image of God. The truth is Christ died and rose from the dead to forgive your sins and give you abundant life. The truth is humility qualifies you to grow in grace. The truth is greatness comes by becoming a servant. The truth is Jesus has defeated the devil...period!

    Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

    Prayer: Heavenly Father by Your Spirit give me a discerning heart that resists the devil with truth.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 14:12-15; Romans 1:21-23; 1 Corinthians 15:23-25; 1 Peter 5:8-9

    Post/Tweet today: Lying is the native tongue of our enemy, but truth is the language of our Lord Jesus. #truth

     

    © 2012 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 Ephesians

  • How to Change a Life

    Posted on March 6, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    "Love is patient. Love is kind." 1 Corinthians 13:4a (NIV)

    I knew what it was like to sit on a curb and weep, wanting to run away. I knew how it felt to be locked in a closet by an older sibling. I knew what it meant to feel fear as a parent grabbed a gun and threatened suicide.

    But when I became a Christian at 15, I didn't know anything about what it meant to live a Christian life.

    I didn't understand Jesus or His love. Although far from mature in my faith, the Christian adults in my small church began to show me what His love looked like. Without knowing my story, they still reached out and touched my life.

    I was drawn in to my faith by the presence of God and His spirit, but grew in faith because of caring and well-meaning people. They taught Sunday school and youth group. They shushed us when we talked too loud during service. They herded teens onto the bus every Sunday afternoon so we could go to the nursing homes and sing, letting wrinkled hands rest on our smooth ones.

    Looking back, I know I was trying at times. Like the time I kissed the boy on the youth group hayride. Or when I shared my testimony for the first time and uttered a curse word in the middle. I ran out of the room in embarrassment, but a woman found me outside. "Maybe you could say it a different way next time," she said with a smile. Her hug made me feel safe and accepted.

    Maybe there's a behaviorally challenged teen in your world. They act on impulse. They say things that make you cringe. They run hard after God, but fall just as hard in the process.

    And yet you keep loving them, teaching them about God, and showing them their life matters to God. Maybe their home life is a secret, like mine was. Lots of teens need spiritual moms and dads because the only way they'll see Jesus is through you.

    A few years ago I visited my old church. When I thanked a couple, now in their golden years, for all that they had done, the response was, "We didn't do that much. We just loved you kids."

    What they didn't realize is their love helped that sometimes annoying teen with a very hard home life grow up to be a good mom, a loving wife, and a grandma whose life is wrapped in Jesus. I want them to know that every word I write, every message I speak, every time I kneel and pray with someone to know Christ, it is linked back to that group of faithful adults who loved me right where I was. Their patient example showed me Jesus. It inspired me to work with teens for years and to open our home to teens in crisis.

    One day in eternity I know they'll understand. But for now I want them to know they transformed my life.

    I'll always be grateful. Maybe you're grateful to someone too.

    Dear Lord, help me to be faithful to show Your love to a teen or a child who needs it. Help me to be patient and serve as an example. We don't know every story but You do. Thank You that small acts of faithfulness can be multiplied in Your hands. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    To impact a teen, you can:

    • Open your home to your children's friends for a fun night.
    • Pay a teen's way to youth camp or a mission trip (if parents aren't involved, they normally don't get to go)
    • Ask your youth pastor if there is an at-risk teen in the church. Commit to pray for them daily.

    Power Verses:
    1 Timothy 2:1, "I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them." (NLT)

    1 Corinthians 13:13, "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 1 Corinthians

  • God’s Full Armor

    Posted on March 5, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:11

    God’s armor is required for followers of Jesus to defeat the enemies of Jesus. Spiritual surprise attacks increase for those serious students of Scripture who decrease their status for the sake of the gospel. The devil is determined to deter disciples of Christ who wage spiritual warfare on their knees in prayer. However, the armor issued by heaven has never lost a battle. Like wooden arrows striking titanium, Satan’s schemes are no match for God’s defensive gear. He’s a loser.

    Have you, by faith, put on the full armor of God? Or are you exposed to suffering wounds by wearing half the world’s armor and half heaven’s protection? Indeed, the armor of the world: financial security, status and autonomy all seek placement in your spiritual protection. However, these are pseudo protectors of your mind, body, soul and spirit. Temporal trusts facilitate a false sense of security, but only trust in the Lord’s protection provides eternal security. You stand firm in Him.

    But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder. Luke 11:22

    Spiritual battles require spiritual resources. Furthermore there are evils forces behind our fractured relationships and the conflicting desires within our heart. Beyond the surface of our struggles are demonic spirits with evil intent. Therefore, we intentionally and prayerfully put on the full armor of God, so we are equipped to engage the enemy. We speak the name of Jesus and fluster Satan’s foray to get us to doubt. “In Jesus'name,” fuels our faith and frustrates the devil.

    Lastly, God’s defense for you is an armor of light. Yes, His protection exposes and expunges the devil’s deeds done in darkness. The light of the Lord’s armor shines on your path, so you are able to confidently take your next steps in His will. You are a child of the light, thus, walk in the light as He is in the light. Awaken to Almighty God’s ability to resource you with His weapons of righteousness. Disrobe any worldly armor and cover your whole being in the full armor of God.

    So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Romans 13:12

    Prayer: Heavenly Father by faith I put on Your full armor so I can stand firm in You.

    Related Readings: Psalm 35:1-3; Jeremiah 46:3-5; Ephesians 4:24; 1 Thessalonians 5:8

    Post/Tweet today: When we speak and act in Jesus' name, it fuels our faith and frustrates the devil. #jesusname

     

    © 2012 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 Ephesians

  • Either He Planned It or He Permitted It

    Posted on March 5, 2013 by Van Walton

    Van Walton

    "He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross, ... refining them like gold and silver..." Malachi 3:3 (NLT)

    I wasn't happy with the turn of events in my life. In fact "not happy" didn't begin to describe my emotional free fall.

    Devastated. Petrified. Paralyzed. Lost. Angry. Disbelief. Even somewhat crazed. Now those adjectives described me.

    "Not me!" I continually repeated. Never in my wildest imagination would I have dreamed that my life could end up here.

    During this time of near inconsolable anguish, my cousin sent wise and comforting words: "Remember, either God sent it or He has allowed it."

    Her words helped me understand God was in control and there had to be a reason behind this circumstance.

    Either God sent it or He allowed it.

    I found myself contemplating this phrase. It made total sense. Slowly, peace replaced anguish. Acceptance replaced anger. Submission replaced unbelief. Could God be allowing these circumstances to change something in me? Was God granting permission for me to go through this fire for a specific reason?

    Malachi 3:3 is a picture of a silversmith purifying the precious metal. God shares this word picture to let us know that He is the silversmith refining us; He's who burns away the dross, which is something that is base, trivial, or inferior. In other words, not necessary or helpful.

    Most of us would agree that life's trials can feel like a punishment. Major disruptions seem like they're meant to make us miserable. The truth is, God transforms us with each trial we experience. He is removing the "dross" or imperfections from us. Each time we survive a major ordeal we grow stronger, wiser, more prepared for the next challenge. We are conquerors and overcomers with God's help.

    Ordeals, hardships, distresses are permitted by God for our perfection. Either He permits them or He plans them. If God has intentionally laid out a troublesome path for us, He has a purpose.

    But it's not always about us. God might place pain, suffering or distraction on our path to teach others about His love, steadfastness, and mercies. The way we react to stress reflects what we believe about God, and allows others to see His faithfulness.

    Few of us are immune to desperate circumstances. But sometimes they are the best way for God to perfect us. He wants to display us as His showpiece to give the world hope. We don't always feel good about God's higher ways. They hurt. They stretch. I know. I have felt the pain, the pull, the piercing agony.

    However, if God plans my circumstances, then I have to trust He has a purpose. I believe He sends "assignments" so we can show the world that He is worthy to trust and has good plans. If I model confidence in Him, I'm announcing to the world, with my actions and attitude, our great God knows exactly what He is doing with my life.

    Nothing compares to knowing and trusting the Lord is in control ... especially when everything around me feels unstable. He won't permit or plan something difficult for us to walk through without having a greater purpose behind it. One that will make us holier, more like Him, and shine His glory. Our experience is not in vain!

    Holy Father, the anguish I feel when life slams me seems to be more than I can handle. Give me strength to push on. Remind me of Your peace and keep me focused on the truth that You have a greater plan and purpose. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Our hope is found in the truth of Scripture. Connect with God in the NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible, featuring devotions from all our Proverbs 31 Ministries writers.

    An Untroubled Heart by Micca Campbell

    Reflect and Respond:
    Think back to a time you faced a difficult hurdle. What was it? How did it affect you? What did you learn from the experience? Can you say today that God brought you through it and you learned deep spiritual lessons as a result?

    Consider the lives of great men and women of God. Be reminded that the majority of them grew to greatness through trials and tribulations.

    Power Verses:
    Matthew 5:14,16, "You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. ...let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." (NLT)

    Romans 12:2b, "...let God transform you into a new person." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Van Walton. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Strong And Mighty

    Posted on March 4, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Ephesians 6:10

    A body fails for lack of strength, but the human spirit is sustained by strength in God. Yes, God our Savior takes us from strength to strength. His strength gives spiritual discernment to dismiss temporal taunts of discouragement and provides insight to embrace eternal encouragement. Yes, the world offers weakness. Guilt and shame from sinful activity is exhausting, but prayer and perseverance in righteousness are rejuvenating. God’s strength gives focus to walk in wise ways.
    Have the wiles of the devil worn you down? Has uncertainty rattled your faith? If so, lean into the Lord and tap into His everlasting strength. Belief in Him will get you through another day and He will arm you with courage to face future temptations. Jesus gives you enough strength for today and you can still trust Him with the cares of tomorrow. Hope in the Lord will renew your strength. Like an IV tube channels liquid nutrients to the body, so hope gives stamina to the soul.
    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 40:31

    Those in power succeed well when they depend on Divine power for their success. His mighty power gives us wisdom to know the best decisions to make. His mighty power delivers us from disease and gives us determination to overcome injustice. His mighty power empowers us with inner energy to toil on when we are tired and say no to sin when we are tempted. Indeed, God’s tower of power suffers no outages, it's live 100% of the time! He gives us power to share Jesus.

    Therefore, as a child of God you are not powerless, but you are empowered by your heavenly Father to be strong in Him. Satan shudders when he sees you in quiet contemplation with Jesus. The enemy knows his deceit and lies are exposed under the powerful light of the Lord. Wise are you to let your weakness become the Lord’s strength. Smart are you to submit your strengths to your Savior, so they are powered by His Holy Spirit. Yes, strong and mighty are you in Christ!

    I [Paul] pray you will know his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead. Ephesians 1:19-20
    Prayer: Heavenly Father you are my strength and shield. Thanks for empowering me for You.
    Related Readings: Psalm 27:14; Haggai 2:4; Acts 2:24; 1 Corinthians 16:13; Colossians 1:29

    Post/Tweet today: Jesus gives you enough strength for today and you can still trust Him with the cares of tomorrow. #strength

     

    © 2012 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 Ephesians

  • There Is Purpose in The Wait

    Posted on March 4, 2013 by Wendy Pope

    Wendy Pope

    "Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." Psalm 27:14 (NLT)

     

    Efficiency is my middle name. I like to get things done and get them done fast. Waiting for my computer to re-load a web page, or my kids to find their shoes, or even for God to come through on a prayer request isn't something I always do with patience.

    In our hurry up, need it, gotta-have-it-now culture, it's easy to think we shouldn't have to wait. Think about it: within seconds we can know the weather in southern Mongolia, order a cute blouse from a trendy store, or move dinner from the freezer to the table in five minutes thanks to microwaves. We can instant message our mom or send a tweet to thousands in the blink of an eye. No wonder waiting is hard!

    King David, the author of Psalm 27:14 was no stranger to waiting and knew full well of its difficulties. So when David wrote, "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD," it was with experience honed through years of waiting to fulfill God's destiny for him. That destiny started in the humble home of his father Jesse, and in the pasture herding sheep.

    It started when the prophet Samuel showed up at Jesse's home to anoint the next king of Israel who was to be chosen from his family. Only one of Jesse's sons would be anointed. That son was David.

    Scripture tells us the Spirit of God rushed over David and was with him the remainder of his days (1 Samuel 16:13 ESV). With such an anointing one would expect David to run to take his seat on the throne. But the only running David did was back to the pasture and his sheep.

    Thus his wait began.

    In the wait, God prepared David to be king. However, the only vocation David had known was shepherding. He did not know the ins and outs of kingly protocol or the rules of royal deity. David did not have the support of the people or armies to defend him as king. He was only a lowly shepherd boy. Instead of taking the position he was promised, David waited for God to move him from the pasture to the palace.

    In the wait, God readied David by teaching many lessons about waiting. By examining and applying these truths we can find hope in the difficulty of waiting, and see how waiting now can be beneficial to our future.

    Even though we are anointed and appointed we may still have to wait. David waited 15 years to be king of Judah and even longer to be king of all Israel.

    If we allow it, our waiting will bring us to an intimate knowledge of God that we would not otherwise have. Most of David's beautiful and poetic psalms were written while in caves, caverns, and the wilderness, waiting on God.

    God does not ignore the cries of His children. David cried and begged God for help, intervention, and defense. God never let David down.

    Our waiting has a purpose for someone other that ourselves. It's not all about us. Just think of how rich our lives are today because of the wait David endured. We have the comfort, compassion, hope, and healing of the Psalms.

    What awesome instructions David's life gives for waiting! Waiting is less difficult and the future is brighter when we let God do His work in our waiting season. When we let our guard and defenses down, we're open to seeing how faithful He is to bring His plans for our lives to fullness.

    Dear Lord, help me wait well. I want be patient as You bring Your plan in my life to its fullness. I can't do this without You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Read more about David's life starting in 1 Samuel 16.

    What is your first response to waiting?

    Do you grow closer to or further from God when waiting? Why?

    What has God taught you in today's devotion about waiting?

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 27:4, "One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple" (NIV 1984)

    Isaiah 40:31, "... 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." (NIV 1984)

    Lamentations 3:24, "I say to myself, 'The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.'" (NIV)

    © 2013 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Seductive Shortcuts

    Posted on March 3, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle.   Exodus 13:17-18

     

    Shortcuts are seductive because they are appealing and inviting. Shortcuts caress our pride, stroke our ego, and garner immediate gratification. We sometimes seek shortcuts while driving, preparing for school exams, career advancement, marriage maturity, parenting skills, financial success, and spiritual development. Shortcuts are attractive to your clever side because you think that, with enough ingenuity and smarts, you can bypass the normal rite of passage. However, the downside of shortcuts is that their promise of a faster way may be short-circuiting God’s best. Just because it is easier does not qualify it as the will of God. In fact, ease of execution may be evidence against God’s will. Instead, a season of suffering may be His plan (1 Peter 4:19).

     

    So, do not depend on circumstances alone as the compass of where God is leading you. You may feel pressure from people, pride, politics, or finances to take the most expedient route. But be careful because expedience can be an excuse for the impatient and the distrusting. If you miss this opportunity there will be others, for God is much bigger than this one deal. Do not underestimate His wisdom in taking you through this laborious and sometimes painful process. It will be worth the wait because it is the process that is preparing you for His next steps. If you rush through the process you may miss God’s best.

    Many times, He is unconventional in His approach. This is the nature of God, for He will not be hemmed in or backed into a corner. Cut God some slack by giving Him the latitude to lead you however and wherever He desires. Just because a friend of yours went down a similar road does not mean you should follow. God’s will for you may be just the opposite. One thing is for sure: He will get the glory when you are patient to follow Him in trust and obedience. God’s glory is your goal (1 Corinthians 10:31).

    Since the glory of God is your objective, keep God’s glory as your litmus test, and your other initiatives will take care of themselves. The shortcut is tempting, but it may be more complicated than you can comprehend for now. Its complexity will certainly compound if you have to backtrack from the shortcut and start all over again. It is much better to wait and do this once and for all. There will certainly be adjustments along the way, but have faith in God that He is facilitating His will even if some of your questions remain unanswered. He’s got your back even though the enemy may be breathing down your neck and whispering words of doubt. God is in control. It is much better to take the longer route with God than the shorter one without Him.

    Travel instead, on the proven path of Providence. Faith in Christ rejects seductive shortcuts.

     

    Post/Tweet: Have faith in God that He is facilitating His will even if some of your questions remain unanswered. #faith

    © 2012 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 Exodus

  • Unpretentious Living

    Posted on March 2, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant than pretend to be somebody and have no food” (Proverbs 12:9).

     

    Unpretentious living is an invitation to down-to-earth interaction with others. Rest and relaxation attend to those who are true to themselves without acting like someone they are not. However, pretentious speech and behavior require extra energy to engage with their environment. Contentment is illusive and intimacy is an illusion. I become the most stressful when I feel I have to live up to something or be someone I am not.

     

    Moreover, when you are real, not fake, your friends feel the freedom to be the same. You give off energy instead of forever sucking it from others. In honesty I often ask myself, “Am I being myself, or am I trying to dress, talk, drive a certain car, or live in a high-status neighborhood that is motivated by a need to be somebody I am not?” Pretense is birthed out of pride, but humility is the fruit of unpretentious living.

     

    Jesus is clear, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11 nasb).  In Christ you are somebody. High or low net worth, small or large home, new or used car, prestigious university or common college, in Him you are somebody. You are somebody to your Savior Jesus.

     

    The Bible says, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Out of your simple faith and modesty, the Lord takes center stage of your life. Humility positions you to point people to heaven. Therefore, keep your life unencumbered so people can see your Savior shine forth. Ask yourself, “Whom am I trying to impress, people I really do not know or the Lover of my soul, Jesus?”

     

    The Bible says, “Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ” (Galatians 6:12).

     

    Prayer: How can I be more authentic and open with my spouse, children, and work associates?

     

    Related Readings: 1 Samuel 16:7; Proverbs 13:7; Romans 2:28; 1 Peter 3:3

     

    Post/Tweet: Pretense is birthed out of pride, but unpretentious living is the fruit of humility. #humility

     

    © 2012 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 Proverbs

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