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Daily Devotion

  • Risk and Reward

    Posted on February 24, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    And Caleb said, “I will give my daughter Acsah in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher.” Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it; so Caleb gave his daughter Acsah to him in marriage. ​Judges 1:12-13

    Risk, many times, precedes reward, and reward may follow risk. War is risky because you endanger life and limb. The stakes are high. However, the rewards of war are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The victor enjoys the spoils of war, while those humiliated in defeat suffer loss. Marriage is risky because it entails the co-mingling of money, time, trust, and loyalty. What’s yours becomes hers and what’s hers becomes yours. You become one flesh, for it is a relationship of oneness (Genesis 2:24). But the rewards of marriage are love, joy, peace, companionship, sex, children, and spiritual/emotional maturity to name but a few. The many risks of marriage are overshadowed by the mammoth rewards it hands out to the husband and to the wife.

    ​Business and ministry are risky undertakings. You have prayed about an idea, and now you are on the precipice of launching your start-up enterprise. You have invested a tremendous amount of sweat equity and financial resources. Your spouse has been extremely patient, but now you are at the point of no return. The stakes are high; you may lose a ton, or you may gain a lot. There is a risk of failure, which means your confidence may crater and your reputation may reel from your inability to deliver. But the rewards are the sense of accomplishment and the ability to build an enterprise defined by a Christ-centered culture.

    Like David, your model of risk-taking may inspire others to greater vision (1 Chronicles 11:19). You have the reward of positioning yourself to invest in and influence Kingdom endeavors. Keep this your goal, regardless of whether you fail or succeed. Success will always be accompanied by mini failures. So stay focused on God and obedient to His calling. Risk and reward are kept in the right perspective through prayer. God will lead you by His Holy Spirit because these initiatives come from a divine directive. Therefore, there is no need to take unnecessary risks. Be patient, and God will lead you to just the right opportunities at just the right time.

    ​Over a lifetime, there are limited God-ordained opportunities that require risk. Therefore, allow the Almighty to guide you through the risky terrain of life. Avoid shortcuts and, instead, wait on Him.  Pay the price of patience and seize the moment only when your faith, His Word, and godly counsel validate your direction. Persevere in the process because God may ask you to do things that seem larger than life. He has prepared your way with people and resources, so follow hard after Him. And what may seem risky to others will be peaceful to you. When you draft off the wake of Holy Spirit directives, you are positioned for rewards. However, for some, the rewards remain dormant until death. Your risk may be living an obscure and obedient life to Christ, with the joy of remaining faithful as your only earthly reward. But the reward of knowing and obeying Him is eternal, and it is enough. The risk is rejection from people, but the reward is acceptance from Him.

    ​What a privilege to honor, serve, love, and worship Jesus. And then your greatest reward is when you see Him face to face and hear, “Well done” (Matthew 25:23).

    Post/Tweet: When we draft off the wake of Holy Spirit directives, we are positioned for rewards. #rewards

    © 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 Judges, Risk

  • Time to Go

    Posted on February 23, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8).

    It is time to go when God says so, even though you are not sure where you are going. Abraham was a “friend of God” (James 2:23 nasb) who trusted the heart of God. He was secure in his faith, knowing his heavenly Father would not lead him astray. Are you okay with only the call of Christ as your next step? Is He calling you out of your comfort zone to a new level of faith and obedience? It is here that you hear Him quite clearly.

    Maybe He wants you to move with your company so your career can become the means of funding your passion for missions. Locals in foreign countries are keenly interested in teachers, housewives, doctors, bankers, and businessmen visiting their world. The marketplace is your ministry. It validates your value and confirms your character. The Lord will use your obedience to encourage the faith of others and especially the faith of your family.

    The faith of parents often procures the blessing of obedience on their posterity. When your teenage son sees you say yes to Christ’s challenge, he is more likely to say yes to wisdom when faced with issues of trust. Your daughter will not soon forget your family’s earnest prayers as you sought to see God’s best and to obey. Parents who obey God’s call create the same expectation for their children; so follow the Lord for them.

    Lastly, the call of Christ leads to His blessing on earth and in heaven. It may mean prosperity. It may mean poverty. Or it may mean something in between. The most important reward is that of your eternal inheritance. Leave a legacy of loving the Lord, and you will have loved your children. Follow Him faithfully; there is a much higher probability they will as well. Is it time to go? Then go with your best friend Jesus.

    The Bible says, “God’s intimate friendship blessed my house” (Job 29:4).

    Prayer: Where is Christ calling me to a higher level of faith and obedience?

    Related Readings: Nehemiah 9:7–8; Psalm 105:6–11; Acts 7:2–4; Galatians 3:6

    Post/Tweet: The Lord will use your obedience to encourage the faith of others and especially the faith of your family. #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 Hebrews, Faith

  • Love Loves Truth

    Posted on February 22, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Love rejoices in truth. 1 Corinthians 13:6

    Truth reveals hidden realities. Hence, the lover of truth daily discovers new opportunities to walk wisely in the ways of Christ. Because He is the Truth, a love relationship with Jesus illuminates truth by His Spirit and illustrates truth by His life. The fruit of truth grows in a life of educated faith. Those who romance truth in God's Word grow to know Him in deeper intimacy. Just as a loving husband pursues his wife, so loving followers of Jesus seek out His truth and His life.

    Is the foundation of your marriage based on honest truth or dishonest deception? If as a couple you commit to open agendas, pure motives and transparent communication, you value truth. Indeed, truth is a tool for loving correction, not a club for angry retaliation. You speak the truth in love to one another and so bear one another's burdens. You rejoice, as you truly do life together. Truth talking facilitates freedom to trust, as fear of a secret life fades away and is forgotten.

    Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 2 Corinthians 4:2 Love loves truth because it knows truth sharing is caring. When we love someone enough to not leave them in their ignorance we show we care. Love takes the time to explain and instruct, not complain and erupt. Yes, you patiently instruct your child in the teachings of Christ, so they will come to know Him and grow in His grace. Perhaps, you create a culture of apprenticeship at work so everyone has a mentor who models and teaches true best practices that develop leaders.

    Lastly, season your passion of truth with the spices of humility and grace. Truth is volatile in the hands of pride, but embedded in a heart of humble grace it experiences transforming results. Also, use humor to illustrate hard facts that seem harsh when spoken directly. Also, levity can lighten the mood when the seriousness of a situation begins to become real. Above all love Jesus, Truth personified. His Spirit will direct you in all truth, so you can live truth in a spirit of love.

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

    Prayer: Heavenly Father my heart is to know You and Your truth to help others be set free.

    Related Readings: Psalm 26:2-3; Romans 12:9; Ephesians 5:9; 2 John 1:1-3

    Post/Tweet today: A love relationship with Jesus illuminates truth by His Spirit and illustrates truth by His life. #lovetruth

    © 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 1 Corinthians, Love, Truth

  • Wait Training 101

    Posted on February 22, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "... but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31 (ESV)

    Ever feel like God signed you up for an intense "wait training" class?

    You pray. You ask. You anticipate God's answer, but like an Internet page taking a long time to load, you must wait.

    And wait.

    And wait some more.

    I had to wait years before I became pregnant. During that time I attended baby showers while choking back tears.

    I had to wait nearly three years for our too-expensive-for-our-new-financial-situation home to sell. During that time, I pinched pennies and lost sleep.

    And I'm still waiting on many prayer requests: for a spiritually lost loved one, a family friend in ICU, a plan for my high school son's future. Waiting, waiting, waiting ...

    But just as physical weight training builds strength, so does spiritual "wait training." We are promised this in Isaiah 40:31:

    "... but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."

    How can waiting renew our strength? After all, doesn't waiting seem to sap our strength as we worry and fret and drum our fingers impatiently? It's exhausting playing the "What if?" game in our minds:

    What if this doesn't work out?
    What if God's answer is "No"?
    What if the thing I fear the most actually happens ... what then?

    All of this worry-laden waiting drains rather than strengthens. How can we turn this around and actually find ourselves renewed?

    I have found that to shift my perspective in the waiting times replenishes my strength. I try not to think of those times of seemingly silence from God as waiting in the sense of sitting and anxiously anticipating a response. But as in waiting like a butler, maid or restaurant server.

    Those who "wait on the Lord"—as in serve Him, cater to Him, help Him accomplish His work; those who take His order and bring Him what He wants—they are the ones who renew their strength.

    They mount up with wings as eagles.

    They walk and do not faint.

    As we serve, we become more aware of what the One we are waiting on desires. We become alert, attentive, and in tune with His wishes. We begin to take our eyes off of our problems and fix them on the Lord instead. As we do, we get a glimpse into His heart.

    Then, instead of the wait sapping our spiritual strength, it is renewed as we seek to do the Lord's will ... to make Him famous ... to give Him glory. Even in those long, hard times of waiting for an answer, we continue to serve Him.

    Will you sign up with me for Wait Training 101?

    You'll grow stronger spiritual muscles if you do. But we must commit to this perspective: we won't just "wait on the Lord," we'll wait on Him. Trust me, the tips He leaves are out of this world!

    Dear Lord, teach me to shift my perspective during those times of waiting and doubt. May I stop fretting and worrying, and busy myself serving You instead. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    If you want to learn to stop trying to make things happen and trust God instead, check out Karen Ehman's new book and DVD curriculum LET. IT. GO. How to Stop Running the Show & Start Walking in Faith.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Name a time in your life when you had to wait on God for an answer. Rate yourself from 1 to 10 on how you did in the waiting (10 is patiently worshipping and 1 is freaking out).

    Now, think of something you are currently waiting on God for an answer. Write down two or three new actions you will take to "wait" on the Lord.

    Memorize either today's key verse, Isaiah 40:31, or one of the power verses below. During the times you are tempted to fuss and fret, quote the verses to yourself.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 40:1, "I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry." (ESV)

    Psalm 100:1-3, "Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Karen Ehman. 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 Isaiah

  • Sin Saddens Love

    Posted on February 21, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Love does not delight in evil. 1 Corinthians 13:6

    It breaks the heart of love to see sin break the heart of God. Love may warn a loved one of sin’s snare, but if their choice is to continue in unseemly behavior, the evil effects are vexing. Love for the Lord feeds fear of the Lord. A heart of holiness flows from a faith that fears God. There is a respectful and reverent attitude that accompanies disciples of Jesus who are deeply in love with Him. The righteous disdain evil like a cancer to the soul. There is no delight in doing wrong.

    Have you cracked the door of your life to sin that’s crouching outside ready to slither in? If so, slam it shut, because your love and loyalty is to the Lord. Do not succumb to unfaithfulness to your Savior Jesus, your jealous groom. Yes, God’s grace will allow you back into His good graces, but do not stray in the first place. Show Him your sincerity by not being captivated by sin’s sirens. Because you love God, you are able to love what He loves and hate what He hates.

    If you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it. Genesis 4:7

    A husband and wife who embrace loving accountability enjoy delighting in the Lord and delighting in each other. As married couples we are committed to a covenant love relationship that only flirts with each other and not another. The mutual fidelity in our relationship contributes to a loving simplicity and avoids the drama filled complexities of infidelity. Sin complicates.

    Lastly, make sure your love for the Lord motivates your other relationships. The deeper you fall in love with Jesus the further away you will run from temptations and sin’s allure. Every day with Jesus does become sweeter than the day before. The evidence that you love Christ is you obey Christ. Wisdom is knowing the right thing to do and then doing the right thing. Therefore, run from wrong and walk with the Lord in a loving relationship. Love delights in doing right.

    If you love me [Jesus], keep my commands. John 14:15

    Prayer: Heavenly Father thank you for loving me so I am able to love and obey You.

    Related Readings: Psalm 103:17-18; Proverbs 14:9, 24:17; Jeremiah 13:17; 2 Timothy 2:19

    Post/Tweet today: The righteous disdain evil like a cancer to the soul. There is no delight in doing wrong. #wrong

    © 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 1 Corinthians, Love, Sin

  • Sitting at Home, Alone

    Posted on February 21, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority." Colossians 2:9-10 (NIV 1984)

    They were laughing in their matching neon pink t-shirts with the words "Bethany's Birthday Girls" printed on the front. They were going bowling after school. Then to get pizza. Then a sleep over.

    When Bethany passed out the shirts that morning I pretended to be too busy to notice. I stayed hyper focused on unpacking my book bag into my locker. And then I hurried off to my first class.

    It was clear. Bethany had made a list of her friends and I hadn't been included.

    I thought I would be. We'd gotten together before. I'd invited her to my pool party.

    "No big deal," I tried to tell myself all day. I had plans that night too.

    To sit at home. Alone. And wonder why I hadn't been chosen.

    It's been years since I watched those neon pink shirts all pile into a station wagon after school and drive away.

    But it hasn't been years since I've heard the negative inside chatter that ensued afterwards.

    "You're not liked."

    "You weren't invited."

    "You weren't chosen."

    Here's what I wish I could have told my little non-wearing pink t-shirt self back then ... and what I need to remember when those same feelings creep in today ...

    Don't put the whole of your identity into the smallness of this situation.

    Not getting a pink t-shirt that day felt like a defining moment. And maybe it was for that day. I wasn't invited to Bethany's party. And that stunk.

    But it wasn't a defining moment of my identity.

    It was a moment. And moments shift. People are fickle. People shift.

    In the moment Bethany made the list of who to invite to her party, I wasn't on the top of her mind. Not because she didn't like me, but simply because she hadn't thought about it.

    It was a small situation.

    And I can't put the whole of my identity into the smallness of this situation. Or any other for that matter.

    My pastor used a verse in his sermon recently that echoes these same thoughts, "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ" (Colossians 2:9-10).

    I have been given fullness. I am filled up by Christ. With acceptance. With love. With all the fullness of an identity that can't be shaken.

    I can place the wholeness of my identity in that reality ... and see everything else as small in comparison.

    Dear Lord, I praise You for Your faithfulness to me in every situation. I don't want to get hung up on the small things of this world. Please help me to place the wholeness of my identity in who You are and the everlasting acceptance that You provide. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    If you have a daughter or know another young woman who might need encouragement for her walk with the Lord, Lysa TerKeurst's book What Happens When Young Women Say Yes to God would be a perfect gift. Click here to pre-order your copy.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What past hurt are you still processing that seemed like a defining moment in your life?

    Reflect on our key verse and power verses. Write them down in a place where you'll see them every day. This will help you remember what God says we are to Him – His beloved children who have been saved through His grace.

    Power Verses:
    Ephesians 2:4-5, "But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved." (NIV)

    John 1:12-13, Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." (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 Colossians

  • Forgiven By Love

    Posted on February 20, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Love keeps no records of wrong. 1 Corinthians 13:5

    Record keeping of wrongs is taboo for those who love lavishly. Love funnels all its focus toward forgiveness and relational restoration. It refrains from retaining resentment which leads to wasted emotional energy. Yes, unforgiveness maintains a mental checklist of grievances that offers the enemy an entrance to encroach into a soul’s spiritual stability. Love is not an account ledger that credits rights and debits wrongs. Love is a white board that regularly erases infractions and hurts.

    Do you bear the burden of accounting for all injustices committed against you? Are you weary of wishing you had not been wronged? If so, look into the keyboard of your heart and by God’s grace press the delete button of forgiveness and erase external irritations. Start with a clean slate and your spirit will be set free to rest and enjoy God and people. Let go of harmful words that broke your heart and let the Lord mend it with love. A mind at peace is the fruit of forgiven love.

    Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them. Romans 4:8

    Since the Lord’s love doesn’t keep records of wrongs against us, we are wise to forgive ourselves of past guilt. The command to love ourselves includes not having a standard higher than God’s toward our transgressions. We are either forgiven of all or not forgiven at all. Jesus Christ’s redemption is not partial, but whole. He does not pick and choose cleansing based on the degree of our offense. Hallelujah we are categorically and fully forgiven of past, present and future sins!

    Therefore, since Christ doesn’t count your sins against you, you can’t count your offender’s sins against them. Your forgiving love chooses to wipe away hurtful infractions. Indeed, ask the Holy Spirit to repair relationships broken by another’s bad behavior: broken trust, broken promises, broken romance, broken cars, homes and bank accounts. Offer up your broken and contrite heart to God, receive His healing love and forgiveness and then extend His forgiven love to others.

    Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Psalm 32:1

    Prayer: Heavenly Father thank you for Your forgiven love, give me grace to lovingly forgive.

    Related Readings: Psalm 32:2, 103:12; Romans 4:6-11; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Colossians 3:13

    Post/Tweet today: Jesus has either forgiven us of all our sin or not forgiven us at all. #forgive

    © 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 1 Corinthians, Forgiveness, Love

  • What's Your Message?

    Posted on February 20, 2013 by Lynn Cowell

    Lynn Cowell

    "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them." Deuteronomy 4:9 (NIV)

    My heart breaks as I watch my girls struggle. Navigating the waters of school, I watch as the storms of rejection slam against their hearts.

    Often, I feel like I'm in the hurricane with them. Why do I feel vulnerable when I see the tears in their eyes?

    I guess it's because memories of my own turbulent teen years are not far gone. The painful remembrances of growing up come to the surface: confusion, a boy's brush-off, constant over-analyzing myself.

    Yet my girls' struggles also bring thankfulness to my heart. Thanksgiving that God sent amazing friends into my life when I was a young woman. I remember the ones who helped me discover that no man, be it a dad, boyfriend or even a husband one day, could fill the love-gap in my heart. Only Jesus can fill what He created.

    I am also thankful God has placed me here, in my daughters' lives, to share with them this same truth. You see, when Jesus showed me He was the only one who can fill the emptiness of my heart, He didn't just give that truth for me! Jesus gave me this truth so I can pass His radical love on to my kids and hopefully my grandkids one day.

    What is one truth God has revealed to you which you can pass on to your children, your children's children or young people in your world? God has given revelations to you, treasures from His Word, glimpses into His heart. He has entrusted those to you not just for your benefit, but also for the benefit of your family and those in your sphere of influence.

    Has the Lord given you a clear understanding of forgiveness? Teach your child the process of working through a grudge. Have you experienced the Lord's healing? Come alongside those in your life as they mend. Do you cling to hope because God has lifted your spirits? Share that with another who's in the middle of grim circumstances.

    As our key verse tells us, "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them." (Deut. 4:9)

    We have opportunity and influence in the lives of our children and others. Let's not take for granted all the Lord has done in our lives. Instead, let's be intentional to pass on the good things the Lord has accomplished so our children will be encouraged to trust Him for the things to come in their lives.

    Dear Lord, help me be intentional today to share with my children and those in my life all of the truth You have set to work in my life. Let me take advantage of the message You have given me and pass Your Word on to the next generation. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

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

    You can intentionally share God's truth with a young woman each day when you give her a copy of Devotions for a Revolutionary Year.

    Reflect and Respond:
    In the next 24 hours, look for an opportunity to share with your child, or someone you love, one truth the Lord has made real in your life. When you connect a teaching to a story, it helps stick in the heart of your listener!

    When is your child most open to hearing testimonies from your life? Think of these times in advance so when the time comes, you are ready to share.

    Power Verses:
    Deuteronomy 6:6-9, "These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lynn Cowell. 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 Deuteronomy

  • Love Avoids Anger

    Posted on February 19, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Love is not easily angered. 1 Corinthians 13:5

    Anger dismisses love in the moment, as hurtful emotional outbursts overwhelm any evidence of love’s presence. However, anger’s most feared enemy is love and forgiveness. Love can handle anger’s influence. It sees anger coming and prepares for its onslaught with a prayer for patience and forgiveness. Tempers are tempered when a culture of love surrounds relationships. Love does not allow anger to make itself at home in a heart that’s been hurt. It avoids anger.

    Has the someone who knows you the best hurt you most? Is it hard to love them because your pain screams for retaliation? If so, seek the Lord for an infusion of His fresh fire of love and forgiveness. Your unconditional love is needed most during times when your spirit has been crushed by an unlovely person. Let go of the need to inflict pain on the one who was insensitive to you. Grace and forgiveness are your tools of love that rebuild broken relationships. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

    “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. Luke 6:31-33

    Your love is a gift you give in exchange for an angry interaction. Rise above petty arguments and model for your mate a mature faith that doesn’t fight back in raw irritation. Because you have been loved supremely by your Savior you lavish the same unrestricted love on those who let you down. You replace an angry attack  on your adversary with patient restraint backed by heaven’s unlimited resources. You love much because you have been forgiven much by God.

    Let the Lord’s love lead you away from a focus that demands to be right and instead give room for flexibility and restoration. Dismiss the need to get your own way and own the need to love your loved one at their point of need. Like miraculous modern medicine apply the ancient ointment of love to disjointed, even diseased relationships. Remove the cancer of anger with the sharp scalpel of selfless love. The Lord’s love frees your heart to be a fierce lover for Him!

    Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little. Luke 7:47

    Prayer: Heavenly Father I receive Your limitless love, so I can aggressively love for You!

    Related Readings:Numbers 20:10-12; Psalm 106:32-33; Proverbs 14:17; Matt. 5:22; James 1:19

    Post/Tweet today: The Lord’s love frees our heart to be a fierce lover for Him. #love

    © 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 1 Corinthians, Anger, Love

  • When an Apology Never Comes

    Posted on February 19, 2013 by Stephanie Clayton

    Stephanie Clayton

    "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1 (ESV)

    Numb to the pain, I sat in my counselor's office to talk about the rape that occurred 10 years prior. I wanted to share what happened but the words would not come. Even if they did, would I feel better? I hoped so, but doubted the process. This part of my life had been hidden for 10 years; surely another 10 wouldn't hurt, right?

    Although I wanted desperately to run, I desired freedom more than escape.

    Freedom from nightmares, uncontrollable mood swings, panic attacks, and the feeling of gasping for air. Freedom from unforgiveness. Hiding any longer from my pain would never help me move forward. So I stayed in counseling.

    Uneasy, I described what happened. The sounds, sights, and smells returned as if it were yesterday. I was left wanting one thing.

    An apology.

    Couldn't someone say they were sorry for what happened? Not a shallow apology, but one that would restore meaning to my life. One that would somehow return my loss of innocence. Surely an apology from the man who raped me would make a difference, right?

    After 10 years, I knew I wanted freedom from the unforgiveness that seemed to enslave me. But how was I supposed to forgive when he never said, "I'm sorry"? I spent a lot of time praying and studying how to move forward when bitter and angry. How to forgive when an apology never comes. Along that journey, I learned a few things.

    First of all, for forgiveness to bring freedom, I had to offer it freely, with no strings attached. Not because the person who hurt me earned it, but because it's Christ's gift. If you are a Christian, no one's sin, not even your own, has the right to hold you captive. That means you are free to forgive.

    You may not feel like forgiving, but that is where you ask for God's strength. Ask Him daily for help until you are able to offer forgiveness freely to yourself and others.

    Second, I had to release my shame. Often when someone hurts us, we blame ourselves. If we had been a better person, done something differently, or spoken more assertively we could have avoided what happened. Right? Wrong! Pressing shame and blame upon ourselves is not conducive to freedom and healing. Galatians 5:1 says, "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."

    Shame is a yoke of slavery. Instead of accepting shame, choose to stand firm in Jesus' love. Stand firm in His freedom that releases you from shame. Because of His sacrifice on the cross you are free!

    Third, I had to keep walking forward. To move past your past you must walk through it to move beyond it. This might involve time and professional help ... but here's the freeing part: your past does not define you, Christ does!

    I never received an apology from the man who raped me. But I've come to realize that even if he were to apologize it would not make up for the hurt he caused. His apology could not and would not set me free.

    Freedom is not contingent upon receiving an apology from those who have hurt us. Instead, forgiveness leads to freedom and is possible because Christ's death on the cross set us free.

    Dear Lord, thank You that Your death on the cross gives us all the strength we need to forgive those who have hurt us. Where there is unforgiveness, uproot it with grace. Allow Your mercy to fall on the burdened places of our hearts and minds and show us the areas we need to be set free. Thank You that Your grace, always has been, and will always be, enough. In Jesus' Name I Pray, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    In what ways are you living with unforgiveness that anchors you in a victim stance?

    What is the first step you can take to forgive? If your heart is unwilling, ask Christ for the strength it will take to set you free.

    Power Verse:
    John 8:36, "So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Stephanie Clayton. 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 Forgiveness, Galatians

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