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Daily Devotion

  • Time to Get Up

    Posted on March 4, 2014 by Kyle Idleman

    Kyle Idleman

    "So he got up and went to his father ..." Luke 15:20a (NIV)

    After high school graduation, I joined my senior class for a trip to Dallas, Texas. While there, for the first time ever I saw someone bungee jump. At several hundred feet off the ground, this was one of the tallest jumps in the country.

    We watched as a guy got ready to make the leap with nothing but a chord strapped to his ankles. He dove headfirst, and it was clear my fellow students were impressed.

    Trying to sound cool enough to bungee jump but too cool to actually spend the money, in that moment, here's what came out of my mouth: "I'd do that, but I'm not going to spend 40 bucks on it."

    Suddenly there was a little commotion behind me. One of the girls in my class pulled out a $20 bill and asked, "Would this help?"

    At that point, my back was against the wall. A girl had called my bluff — in front of everyone. I could've said, "Well, I'm not going to spend 20 bucks on it either," but that wouldn't have gone over well. So without stopping to consider the fact that I don't like heights, I took the $20 bill and got in line.

    As the crane lowered, I told myself: It's not that high. But once the platform was at ground level and I stepped onboard, my nerves began. The platform rose higher and higher until the crane finally lurched to a halt. I stepped to the edge and made a horrible choice: I looked down.

    Overcome with paralyzing fear, I turned to the crane operator and said, "I can't do it. I just can't do it!" But then a thought struck me, and I asked, "Would you just give me a shove?"

    Apparently I wasn't the first guy too scared to jump, but too embarrassed to ride the platform back down. The worker replied, "Well, we're not legally allowed to push someone off."

    Frustrated with his answer, I replied, "Do you have any other ideas for me?"

    "Well, sometimes it works if you just close your eyes and fall," he said, adding, "Anybody can do that."

    So I stepped to the edge, closed my eyes and I'm proud to say that ... well, I didn't so much as bungee jump, I bungee fell.

    It's one thing to say what you are going to do, but it's another thing to do it. Action is where a lot of us get stuck. We know what needs to be done, but when we step out onto the platform, we just can't move.

    This is an opportunity for an "AHA" moment. In Luke 15, the story of the Prodigal Son tells of one of these experiences. The younger son asked his father for his inheritance early, but then wasted it. After losing everything, he came to his sense and experienced an AHA moment. Moments like this always include:

    1. A Sudden Awakening
    2. Brutal Honesty
    3. Immediate Action

    In Luke 15:20 we read a simple phrase that changed the personal story of the Prodigal Son. Jesus simply said, "So he got up ..."

    He took immediate action. He recognized that it was time to get up. And unless our personal stories read, "So she got up," or "So he got up," then nothing really changes in our lives.

    I want you to see a connection between these two phrases in Luke 15:

    "He came to his senses ..." (verse 17)

    "So he got up ..." (verse 20)

    Without verse 20, verse 17 doesn't really matter.

    My question for you is: When are you going to get up?

    When are you going to join a Bible study group?

    When are you going to talk to one of your coworkers about your faith?

    When is verse 20 going to be a part of your story?

    It's time to get up.

    Dear Lord, please show me where I need to take action in my life and give me the courage and strength to move forward. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Remember, awakening happens to us, honesty happens in us, but nothing really changes unless action comes out of us.

    In what areas of life are you finding yourself stuck? Identify what's holding you back and make a plan to take action and overcome your obstacles.

    Power Verse:
    Luke 19:8, "But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, 'Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.'" (NIV)

    © 2014 by Kyle Idleman. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks David C. Cook for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

    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 Luke

  • Affirmation Before Instruction

    Posted on March 3, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction. Proverbs 16:21

    A heart that yearns to learn listens best to instruction preceded by affirmation. Genuine encouragement lets another know we care about comforting their heart as well as teaching their mind. Yes, children especially need to be continually corrected, but not without a hug, a kiss on the head, or a compassionate look into their eyes. Language laced in grace gets the best results. Patience is wise to wait and pray before it says what it’s pondering. Affirm, then instruct.

    Are you gifted with discernment? Do you have the ability to see and understand an individual or situation before the average person is able to comprehend? If so, be wise not to rush in with a remedy without preparing the person. Better to prayerfully wait another day, week or month, so your friend has time to discover for themselves what needs to be done. To offer advice without earning the right can create an apathetic reaction. Relational investments open ears to hear truth.

    “The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent,and their lips promote instruction”

    (Proverbs 16:23).

    On the job we probably have co-workers who need to know we care before they will care about what we know. It’s not enough for us to leverage our supervisory position without building relationships. Our respect and reassurance open the door for some insecure individuals to be instructed. When someone feels understood, they seek to understand. Compassionate managers make themselves known and seek to know their team. Our gracious words promote instruction.

    Almighty God affirms, but also instructs. His Holy Spirit comforts, but also convicts. So, be grateful for the discipline of the Lord. He corrects, because He cares. If we despise God’s discipline we distance ourselves from His love. The Lord’s loving discipline affirms us. He corrects His children, so He can instruct His children. God’s precepts are received by a heart prepared by the Spirit, so learn from Him.

    “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to Him” (Ezra 8:22).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me to affirm others, before I seek to instruct others.

    Related Readings: Psalm 25:8; Ecclesiastes 10:12; Luke 4:22; 2 Timothy 2:24

    Post/Tweet today: A heart that yearns to learn listens best to instruction preceded by affirmation. #affirmationbeforeinstruction

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Reviving an Abandoned Dream

    Posted on March 3, 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think." Ephesians 3:20 (NLT)

    I sat on the couch during small group, dabbed the tears dripping down my face, and hoped the others wouldn't notice my emotional response to the message.

    While watching a DVD teaching about God-given dreams, a tender, hidden spot in my heart was coming to life. It was uncomfortable. Scary, in fact. I wanted to move toward it and away at the same time.

    The teaching wasn't on nighttime dreams, but rather those dreams that often start in childhood when anything seemed possible. And we were unhindered by the realities of genetics or abilities. We were sure to be ballerinas or fashion models, ignoring the fact that we couldn't do the splits, or that our height/weight ratio might be less than desirable for the runway.

    Personally, I imagined the day my favorite band would invite me on stage. Hairbrush in hand, I practiced my moves and vocal range preparing for my big break.

    That day at small group, the dream fueling my simmering emotions wasn't the desire to sing. For years another dream had been stirring in my heart, a dream that had been dampened by doubts and the logistics of adulthood. My dream was to write.

    Pain and excitement mixed as I allowed the dream to come to life, much like a foot that's fallen asleep when the blood flow returns. Doubt whispered around every thought. Was this dream from God or me? Did I have anything worth saying?

    My heart felt vulnerable every time I pondered the idea. If I told someone my dream, would they give voice to the litany of taunts in my head? I wondered. And yet the more I prayed, the more convinced I became that God was asking me to write for Him. When I finally accepted that truth, my attitude changed. Writing wasn't just an interesting idea, it was an assignment.

    I wish I could say I immediately started writing. But I didn't.

    Tucking the dream in my heart, I procrastinated. For months. Which turned into years. Thinking about my dream was much easier than acting on it, because it was going to take a lot of work and sacrifice. And there was always a handy excuse.

    Until one Sunday, my pastor opened prayer time with these words: "God has asked some of you to do something and you haven't done it yet."

    The Holy Spirit was playing the drums on my heart as I shifted from foot to foot. There was no question; God was calling my name. A flood of people headed to the front alongside me to address their own abandoned assignments.

    My pastor's challenge was what I needed to shift from a passive to an active approach in my writing. To move from disobedience to obedience. To step into an unfamiliar world believing that if God had called me to it, He wouldn't abandon me.

    God often gives directions through dreams. Yet, those can be the hardest to embrace because they seem too big for us to accomplish on our own. And sometimes they seem downright selfish. So we let them drift away.

    But dreams are also how God increases our faith. When we step into active obedience of an audacious assignment, we see God move and do things only He can do. Our key verse shows that God has the power to accomplish any dream He gives us: "Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20, NLT).

    It was 10 years ago when I embraced my dream as an assignment, and God has shown His power time and time again. There are still doubts and barriers to overcome, but my faith has grown each time God proves Himself faithful.

    Did God put a dream in your heart years ago? Maybe your dream was to adopt a child or go on a mission trip. Maybe it was to open your home to neighbors or lead teens at church. At the time your dream seemed too big or came with too many barriers. Now it's a hazy memory.

    May I offer the same challenge my pastor gave years ago? God has asked some of you to do something and you haven't done it yet. Will today be your day to accept your assignment?

    Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me a dream to serve You and others through my gifts and talents. Help me see this dream as an assignment from You, and I ask for Your power to help me take the next step. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What dream has God put in your heart that you know is an assignment?

    What next step can you take to obey God's calling on your life?

    Power Verse:
    Mark 9:23, "'"If you can"?' said Jesus. 'Everything is possible for one who believes.'" (NIV)

    © 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer. 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 Ephesians

  • Freely Give

    Posted on March 1, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Freely you have received, freely give. Matthew 10:8

    What is your motivation for giving? Is it to freely give or to give expecting something in return? This is an ongoing tension for the generous giver. We give our time, our expertise, our money, our friendship, our commitment; we give our very life, with what expectation in mind? Disappointment follows gifts with strings attached, but gifts given freely lead to fulfillment. Can we be hilariously generous and still trust Christ?

    You may ask, “What about my stewardship in giving gifts responsibly?” Wise givers give prayerfully and responsibly, but not to the exclusion of the Spirit’s leading. If the Lord is leading you to invest time and money in a person, ministry, or church, then obey and trust Him with the outcome. Everything we have is His; so He is ultimately responsible for the fruit of generosity. He blesses His work, done His way.

    Because Christ’s gifts are not conditional, our gifts are not conditional. For example, at your conversion God freely gave you His Spirit for comfort, conviction, and direction. The Bible says, “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us” (1 Corinthians 2:12).

    So, even when we grieve the Spirit with our disobedience, He still remains. The gift of the Holy Spirit does not come and go from our life; He is here to stay. His resolve to reside in our soul is reassurance that we are not alone. In the same way, when people you trust are in turmoil, stay with them through the rough ride until things smooth out. Anyone can give in the good times; so be there to give when they need you the most.

    Faithfulness freely gives, not to gain, but to do good deeds. The Lord’s freedom to extend goodness to you compels you to freely give back goodness. Grace is a gift to be received gratefully and given liberally. Give freely, and observe how much more is freely given to you. Your heavenly Father gave you His Son because He loves and forgives you freely.

    “He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will—to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:5–7).

    Prayer: What are the Lord’s expectations for His gifts to me? Am I freed up to give freely?

    Related Readings: 1 Chronicles 29:9; Proverbs 11:24; Romans 3:24; 1 Corinthians 2:12

    Taken from the March 1st reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 1”

    Post/Tweet today: Disappointment may follow gifts with strings attached, but gifts given freely lead to fulfillment. #freelygive

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Full of Grace

    Posted on February 28, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. John 1:16

    The ups and downs of life tend to drain us. Physical challenges deplete our energy. Conflict can consume our emotions. Financial stress sucks the life out of our sense of security. The loss of a loved one leaves a hole in our heart. An empty nest is quiet; so quiet that it's loud with loneliness. Like a well-traveled car risks running out of gas, so we can run ourselves into spiritual, physical, and emotional emptiness. But God has provided the fullness of Christ to fill us up!

    Imagine our heart like the soil of a well-watered potted plant. A smart gardener regularly and precisely waters the dirt until it is moistened--but not flooded. In a similar way God applies His grace to our thirsty hearts, ones even bordering on dehydration. He gives us grace upon grace--not too much to drown us with spiritual pride, and not too little for us to labor in our own power. The grace of our Lord is a regular stream of strength for us to appropriate by faith.

    “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness” (Colossians 2:9-10).

    How do you receive the grace of God? You take hold of it by faith. You reach out to receive His ongoing gift of grace initially at salvation and continually as a maturing follower of Jesus. Imagine your faith as an unused rubber balloon with small capacity; once it expands by multiple breaths of air, its capacity grows. Similarly, the Holy Spirit desires to breathe in grace upon grace into your expanded faith. Your grace filled life protects you from the pain of burnout.

    The more your grace capacity enlarges, the more you are able to live graciously and serve others. A grace filled life does not want; since its needs are met it is able to meet the needs of others. It's a lifetime of continually taking hold of and receiving the Lord’s grace by faith. To bear fruit for Jesus is worth the test of perseverance. Why are some you know so free to give of themselves for God? Most likely they are fresh from experiencing the fullness of His grace in Jesus Christ. Your Lord is the fullness of grace, so you can be full by faith. Empty self and fill up with your Savior.

    “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord,continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught,and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6-7).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow my capacity for Your grace by growing my faith in Christ.

    Related Readings: Romans 3:24; Colossians 1:19; Ephesians 1:23; 1 Timothy 6:19

    Post/Tweet today: A grace filled life does not want, since its needs are met it is able to meet the needs of others. #fullofgrace

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Was It A Morning Like This?

    Posted on February 28, 2014 by John van der Veen

    John van der Veen

    This past Sunday morning I woke up, and went to start the coffee pot. It's part of the ritual that either my wife or myself do. It's what the beginning of a typical Sunday morning is all about. It is (sort-of) the calm before the storm of getting everyone in our home ready for church.

    I sat down on the couch with my Bible in hand and decided to have a bit of a quiet time. I can honestly say that I love having my quiet time. Time in the Word is time with God. It's the unexplainable phenomenon of the God of this universe, speaking with me.

    I began to read from Matthew chapter 5:

    3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    4 Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
    5 Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
    6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
    7 Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
    8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
    9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
    10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

    These verses are of course the famous "Sermon on the Mount." Jesus didn't name it that, He was just speaking. We named it that to help us identify better with what He was saying and when He said it.

    Regardless, I keep thinking about His words. I keep thinking about the moment that He said them the first time. How did people respond to them? Was He contemplating His future a few years from now? I thought that really, this sermon is about Him. For on the cross, He was the one poor, for He emptied himself of His glory of Heaven. He mourned. It grieved Him when He looked at the depravity of mankind. He was meek, for He had no home to call His own. He surely knew hunger and what it was like to be physically thirsty.

    He showed mercy. He was pure. He showed peace. AND He was persecuted. He was insulted and falsely accused. Jesus knows the words He is saying, because He came to a broken world.

    As my family went through the day, I felt like God's Word was the stool that kept me propped up. It was the Word of sanity that I needed to face the day. He knew me then and He knows me now. There is great comfort in that.

    What are you facing today? Whatever it is, hold it up side by side with Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. When we hold our lives up to the lens of Scripture we get a new perspective. For it helps us see better.

    What is your morning ritual? What Scriptures has God used to speak to you lately?


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion and was tagged with Matthew

  • Scurrying or Seated?

    Posted on February 28, 2014 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations." Luke 10:39-40 (NASB)

    I glanced at the clock on the wall. How was it 11:45 already? Where had the time gone? It was nearly noon and I wasn't even halfway through my to-do list for the morning.

    My day had started hours earlier when I had bounded out of bed with a goal of knocking off a bevy of tasks around the house, on the computer and in my little hometown. Scrawled out on a baby-blue legal pad, my plan included things to cook, calls to make and errands to run.

    I'd started whittling down my list as soon as my family left for school and work. Now at mid-day, I still had four or five items left undone and no way to accomplish them before my 1 p.m. dentist appointment to get a crown on my tooth.

    My spirit sank. What's my problem? I wondered. Did I underestimate how long each task would take? Or did I overestimate my ability to execute them quickly? Or, perhaps, it was a little bit of both.

    I also hadn't factored in the interruptions. A text from my daughter needing help on a tax form. An email from a friend wanting a recipe for company coming over later that day. A neighbor whose computer was on the blink and needed to borrow ours to make an order online. More distractions and delays.

    A little nervous about my dentist appointment, I called my friend Mary to ask for prayer. As we visited, I shared the details of my frustrating morning, and asked how her day was going. She replied that she hadn't completed what she'd hoped to either, concluding, "But I had a good long time alone with God this morning praying and reading my Bible which is what I needed most, so it's okay."

    My heart sank as I realized my problem: I hadn't taken time for the most important detail of the day. Spending time with God wasn't even on my radar. Maybe if I had spent time with the Lord I wouldn't have felt so much frustration at my lack of productivity.

    Our key verse today tells of another woman who put chores ahead of spending time with Jesus. The story in Luke 10 tells of two sisters and how they spent their time when Jesus came to visit. Martha was busy scurrying to get to the end of her "to-do list," but Mary chose a different path. She settled herself at Jesus' feet, soaking in His words and His presence.

    Later on we read that when Martha complained to the Lord that Mary wasn't helping her, He replied, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:41-42, NASB).

    There's no doubt Martha's sister Mary also had things to do. So did my friend Mary. But in the case of each Mary, they chose to do the best thing first: position themselves where they could clearly hear from the Lord.

    Perhaps today we can set aside our to-do lists until we've mimicked the Marys. Let's vow to meet with God before we attempt to meet the challenges of the day. Yes, maybe that's the key. Let's stop scurrying and be seated instead.

    There is always plenty of room at His feet.

    Dear Lord, help me to take time today to meet with You before I try to tackle the tasks of the day. Give me the perspective that You are more important than my never-ending list of tasks. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Can you remember a time when you didn't get to the end of your to-do list? Now, think back. Did you have a time alone with God that day? How, if so, how did it make a difference?

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 27:8, "You have said, 'Seek my face.' My heart says to you, 'Your face, LORD, do I seek.'" (ESV)

    © 2014 by Karen Ehman. 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 Luke

  • God With Us

    Posted on February 27, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth. John 1:14, Amplified Bible

    Just as the Lord dwelt with His people in the tabernacle of worship, so He also came to earth and tabernacled with us in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. He gave us the gift of His presence. It is soothing to our souls and brings security to our hearts when Jesus is present. In the same way the presence of a parent calms a fearful child, so Christ encouraged those around Him with the grace of His healing and truth of His teaching. God is with us for us to be with Him.

    Furthermore, the tabernacle was where the Lord revealed the fullness of His glory. Jesus was and is the totality of God’s glory. He came to earth as our Savior to show us the character of Almighty God. He displayed love to society’s outcasts. He extended mercy and hope to the downtrodden. He rebuked the greedy rich and praised the generous poor. He comforted the dying, healed the sick, and raised the dead back to life. God is with us to reveal Himself to us.

    “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him” (Colossians 2:9-10, NKJV).

    Moreover, the tabernacle was a place of sacrifice. Jesus came to earth as the final sacrifice for our sins. The perfect Lamb of God, without spot or blemish, wiped clean our blemished soul by His precious blood. What an unparalleled sacrifice from the One without sin on behalf of sinners. Thus, we follow our Lord’s example by offering ourselves as a living and spiritual sacrifice by praising and servicing Him. God is with us to convict our sin, and He is our strength not to sin.

    Lastly, the tabernacle was the place to meet with God. After the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, we’ve become privileged to continually dwell with Christ, today in real-time. Indeed, His presence is not confined to buildings made by human hands, but His Spirit lives within us by faith. Do you meet with your Maker in prayer so you are better prepared to meet your Maker in death? Just a little talk with Jesus goes a long way towards walking in His will. God is with us to draw our hearts to Him in loving obedience.

    “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God” (1 John 4:2).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thanks for living among us, so we can learn how to live for You.

    Related Readings: Galatians 4:4; Philippians 2:7-8; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 1:1

    Post/Tweet today: We meet with our Maker in prayer, so we are better prepared to meet our Maker in death. #Godwithus

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • I'm Scared to Pray Boldly

    Posted on February 27, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." James 5:16b (NIV)

    I have to admit I'm sometimes scared to pray boldly.

    It's not at all that I don't believe God can do anything. I absolutely do. I'm a wild-about-Jesus girl. Wild in my willingness. Wild in my obedience. Wild in my adventures with God.

    After all, I think Jesus would rather rein in a wild stallion than kick a dead mule any day of the week.

    So, my hesitation isn't rooted in any kind of doubt about God. It's more rooted in doubts about myself and my ability to absolutely discern the will of God. The reality is sometimes God chooses not to do things. And if His will is no, while I am boldly praying for a yes, it makes me feel out of step with God.

    Can you relate?

    I so desperately want to stay in the will of God that I find myself praying with clauses sometimes, like: God please heal my friend, but if it's Your will to take her, I will trust You.

    I wonder why I don't just boldly pray: God, please heal my friend. And then stand confidently knowing my prayers were not in vain no matter what the outcome.

    The reality is, my prayers don't change God. But I am convinced prayer changes me. Praying boldly boots me out of that stale place of religious habit into authentic connection with God Himself.

    Prayer opens my spiritual eyes to see things I can't see on my own. And I'm convinced prayer matters. Prayers are powerful and effective if prayed from the position of a righteous heart (James 5:16).

    So, prayer does make a difference — a life-changing, mind-blowing, earth-rattling difference. We don't need to know how. We don't need to know when. We just need to kneel confidently and know the tremors of a simple Jesus girl's prayers extend far wide and far high and far deep.

    Letting that absolute truth slosh over into my soul snuffs out the flickers of hesitation. It bends my stiff knees. And it ignites a fresh, bold and even more wild fire within. Not bold as in bossy and demanding. But bold as in I love my Jesus with all my heart, so why would I offer anything less than an ignited prayer life?

    Jesus speaks specifically about igniting our prayer lives in Matthew 6, verses 6-8, "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him" (NIV).

    So let's ask. And ask again. Not so that we can cause God to move, rather so that we can position our souls to be able to see our sweet Jesus move in any which way He pleases.

    Dear Lord, I'm so grateful for the opportunity to bring all of my worries and cares to You. Thank You for providing me with exactly what I need. I trust that You have my best interest in mind today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    How have you been praying lately? In boldness or in timidity? Why?

    Write down three bold prayers you would like to pray today. Pray them again tomorrow. And again the next day. Pray them for the next month even. And know with full assurance that the tremors of your prayers will extend far wide and far high and far deep. Pray and wait for God to respond.

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 145:18, "The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth." (NIV)

    © 2014 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 James

  • Life Giving Light

    Posted on February 26, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    In Him [Jesus] was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness,and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:4-5

    Light gives life. It makes things grow. Plants and flowers bend toward the sun to gain needed nourishment. Photosynthesis is the process of converting light energy into chemical energy that can be released later for the organism’s growth. A green house becomes a brown house if moved into the darkness of a cave. It needs light for its budding vegetation to thrive. Yes, darkness cannot extinguish light and Jesus is ever present by faith to shine into a soul’s dark night.

    In a manner similar to photosynthesis, the light of the Lord’s love shines on a lost soul and converts it by grace through faith, providing spiritual nourishment. Just as vitamin D is absorbed by the body when exposed to the sun of God, so the spiritual vitamin F (faith), is soaked up by the soul when exposed to the Son of God. We are wise when we pray in the Spirit for the eyes of our heart to be enlightened, as we meditate on Scripture. Biblical truths are an eternal flame of faith.

    “They grope in darkness with no light” (Job 12:25).

    Just as John the Baptist was not the light, but was sent to reveal the light, so we are like proud Olympic torch bearers for the Almighty. We who have the light of God living in our life, shine beacons of light to those groping in darkness. Even shining a single ray of light may give another courage needed to take the next step of faith. A smile, a kind word or a Bible verse can shed light. A gentle spirit, a humble heart or self control can all reveal Christ’s life.

    Does the light of your heart glow by grace, does it flicker with doubt or is it turned off by fear and unbelief? Regardless, stay engaged with the Lord as your source of power, so you burn brightly for Him. Your consistent time with Christ and His followers charges your soul and sets you ablaze for Him. Faith on fire burns away the dross of doubt, so you glow for God. Avoid those whose spiritual apathy quenches your flame, instead seek out the true light found in Christ.

    “For with You is the fountain of life;in Your light we see light” (Psalm 36:9).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, may the light of Your love burn brightly in my life.

    Related Readings: Job 29:3; Psalm 18:28; John 8:12, 12:46; Acts 3:15; Revelation 1:18

    Post/Tweet today: Faith on fire burns away the dross of doubt, so we glow for God. #lifegivinglight

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


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

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