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Daily Devotion

  • The Prescription Everyone Needs

    Posted on May 24, 2013 by Lynn Cowell

    Lynn

    "My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye." Proverbs 7:1-2 (NIV)

    Constantly churning and aching, the pain in my daughter's stomach just wouldn't go away. From the time she was small she complained, but her doctor didn't seem to have a permanent solution.

    After years of discomfort and searching for answers, we finally found a doctor who was able to pinpoint the problem: my daughter's body was sensitive to the foods she was eating. Even though her friends could eat anything, she couldn't correctly process common, everyday items. Sadly, what she was taking in and storing in her system was working against her, instead of working for her.

    Based on the doctor's advice, my daughter completely changed the foods she eats. But that wasn't enough to maintain a pain-free body. She also was prescribed supplements to her diet daily. These build up a storehouse of helpful nutrients that keep my daughter's body healthy and whole. She's a new girl!

    Like the daily supplements my daughter takes to build her up on the inside, the Bible tells us to do the same with God's Word. Proverbs 7:1 instructs us to "... keep my words and store up my commands within you."

    One of the meanings for the word "commands" in the original Hebrew language is "prescription." My daughter needed a prescription of supplements; often we need one as well. Our hearts and minds have messages and thoughts coursing through them that have the potential to harm. These untrue messages are working against us, and we need God's Word as the healing prescription.

    Here are just a few of His prescriptions that bring healing to me:

    For low self-worth: Take Psalm 45:11, You are enthralling to Me!

    For rejection: You are Mine, two times a day (Song of Solomon 6:3).

    A messy life: You are perfect to Me, at breakfast, lunch and dinner (Song of Solomon 4:7).

    When we store up God's commands and truths within us, we can access them quickly to take and combat ailments. He encourages us to not simply apply them like a quick ointment to a wound, but to "keep" His words. Cling to them and be secured by them.

    Proverbs 7:2 contains the benefit to keeping God's words and storing up His commands within us. "Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye." God promises that as we cling to and are secured by His Word, we will live. He will make us alive - preserve, refresh and rebuild our soul. I love how one of my study Bibles puts it: "Man gains life from God's words. Life is completely related to the Word of God" (Old Testament Lexical Aid Hebrew-Greek Bible).

    Not only does God's Word heal today, it can prevent future ailments. His truth is our daily supplement, building us up so we can stand strong against those things that come to attack our mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.

    Whether you need healing or preventive measures, be intentional today to take God's Word as your prescription and store it deep within your heart.

    Dear Lord, I am making a choice today to take Your prescription; giving my heart and body exactly what I need for my well-being today. Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Help a teen girl in your life learn to keep and store up God's Word every day with Lynn Cowell's book Devotions for a Revolutionary Year - 365 Days of Jesus' Radical Love for You.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    What ailment is your heart struggling with today?

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 4:20-21, "My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight; keep them within your heart." (NIV)

    Proverbs 2:1, 5, "My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you ... then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

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

  • Comfort in Loss

    Posted on May 23, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “And many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.” John 11:19

    Have you lost someone or something close to your heart—a baby, a spouse, a friend, a job or an opportunity? A great loss requires great grace or the pain is unbearable. Why do some expecting mothers have a stillborn child and others don’t? Can we truly understand these puzzling matters until we get to heaven and  are able to ask, “Why Lord, why?”

     

    Where is God when emotions run raw and a great hole of hurt embeds in the heart? We don’t always understand the ways of God, but we can always count on Christ’s comfort. The Lord lingers long close to those caught in the pain of great loss. What others cannot totally understand, your Heavenly Father fully comprehends. Grace soothes aching hearts. Christ’s comfort nurses like cool cough syrup flowing down a swollen, inflamed throat.

     

    “For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:5). The Lord’s comfort is limitless in its capacity to cure.

     

    Furthermore, Christ comforts us, so we are able to extend His compelling comfort to others. Productive pain pays it forward in a faith-based solution to other sad souls. Giving is therapy in God’s economy, so those of us saved by grace are not stingy with its application. Who do you know that needs a listening ear, a silent prayer or a caring visit?

     

    If comfort is kept closed up in the closet of our busyness, then we miss out on one of life’s great joys. Shame on any servant of Jesus that only has time to hear the heart of the spiritually healthy. Be aware, as tears hover under the surface of a tender heart in your circle of influence. Look around; who is struggling with health, work or relational issues? Comfort them, as your influence ripples like a rock slicing through a still body of water.

     

    Noah was known as the comforter, “He named him Noah and said, “He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the LORD has cursed” (Genesis 5:29).

     

    Say a prayer for someone in despair; send flowers to a young mom who just lost her little one after the first trimester of pregnancy, network for an acquaintance in career transition, pay the rent for a struggling relative, or introduce someone broken to the uplifting love and saving power of Jesus Christ. Comfort is your platform to proclaim God’s grace. You cannot over comfort others, so join the Body of Christ in loving  another hurting heart.

     

    Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

     

    Prayer: Where do I need Christ’s comfort and who do I know that needs His comfort and joy?

     

    Related Readings: Job 42:11; Psalm 86:17, 119:76; John 14:1; 2 Corinthians 7:6-7

     

    Post/Tweet today: Christ’s comfort nurses like cool cough syrup flowing down a swollen, inflamed throat. #comfort

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Sweating in Church

    Posted on May 23, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like the 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." Matthew 6:7-8 (NIV)

    Recently, I was studying what causes people to feel spiritually frustrated. The two top reasons? Bible study and prayer. I get it.

    I clearly remember being a young girl sitting in church sweating. People around me knew what they were doing! They instantly flipped to every verse in the Bible the preacher man referenced. But not me. I was more interested in counting the spit droplets that came flying out with his punctuated words.

    I respected that man. But boy, could he get fired up and entertain this lost girl.

    Others seemed all wrapped up and excited in what this preacher man and the Bible had to say. They'd shout loud, "Uh-huhs" and "Amens!" What was I missing?

    And then there was my prayer life. Or the lack thereof. It's not that I didn't want to pray, but the whole concept of talking to God felt strange. I tried to copy the prayers of those who seemed to know they were doing more than talking to the air.

    But then my quirky self would sneak in and leave me feeling foolish for what I'd just said to God. "Dear Lord, take this food to the nourishment of my body. (Good so far.) And if you could change the molecular structure of these cheesy fries to be like carrot sticks that sure would be the bomb-diggity." (Huh?)

    Yes, I've come a long way since those days, but trust me when I say I'm still a work in progress. You could still trip me up in finding certain passages in the Bible. And I'm pretty sure you might still hear me say "bomb-diggity" in my prayers. But according to what Jesus taught in our key verse, Matthew 6:7-8, I think He's okay with that.

    "And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like the 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."

    For me, there are two keys to unlocking spiritual frustration with both my Bible study and my prayers:

    Sincerity — coming to God without an agenda and honestly wanting Him to teach me.

    Simplicity — talking to God as the loving Father He is.

    Why do we make it all so complicated?

    I think honest moments spent with God reading His Word, sharing our hearts, and listening for His instruction are quite perfect. No "just right" words or having to know exactly where every book in the Bible is. Just a pure heart simply and sincerely longing to know her God. Jesus might even say that's the bomb-diggity.

    Dear Lord, thank You for hearing what is on my heart in the midst of both happiness and frustration. I don't want to make my relationship with You complicated, God, so please help me to come to You with honest thoughts and prayers. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Did this devotion speak to you right where you are? If so, check out Lysa TerKeurst's book Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl for more encouragement as you deepen your relationship with God.

    Click here to follow us on our Facebook page.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you been feeling spiritually frustrated lately?

    Take some time today to have an honest conversation with the Lord. It may even help you to first write down what you want to pray about, reflect on it, and then lift your prayers up to Him.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 4:1, "Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer." (NIV)

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

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Rejection to Restoration

    Posted on May 22, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’. Mark 12:11

     

    What is rejected for God can be restored by God. People can reject a good person, even a godly person, only to see themselves discredited and their object of contempt reinstated. The majority may miss the right conclusion, because the facts were withheld by a jealous few. Thus, beware of someone or a group with persuasive powers, but shady motives. Make sure all the facts have been flushed out, before sides are chosen. Those whose power is threatened, threaten their foes.

     

    Jesus was rejected by the religious elite, only to be resurrected as Lord by His Heavenly Father. A few green with envy branded Jesus and His followers as power hungry political fanatics. However, heaven did not sit still in the face of these false accusations. The One whose character was assassinated and whose body was crucified became the payment for His critics' sin. We can reject Jesus as our Savior, but belief in Him is still required for a right relationship with God.

     

    So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic. Isaiah 28:16

    When we accept Christ, He brings us back to God. Our arrogant intellect rejected the existence of a personal God, but since He restored us to Himself we crave His company. Our self reliant spirit dismissed dependency on the Almighty, but now we are strengthened in Him. Our drive to accomplish ignored grace, but now having tasted God’s grace, we hunger for more. Our pride looked down on spiritual people, but now our humility compels us to look up to heaven for help!

    Therefore, be a restorer of relationships, not a rejector. Who needs your intentional investment of time so they can be brought back into your good graces? You are the Lord’s minister of reconciliation. Because Christ is the capstone of your character, you have the honor to lay His cornerstone of convictions in the life of your children and grandchildren. Invite those who have rejected Jesus to accept Him. Like a refurbished piece of furniture His restoration is beautiful!

    If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored. Job 22:3

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for receiving me into Your family of faith.

     

    Related Readings: Job 42:10; Psalm 51:12; Ephesians 2:20;  1 Peter 2:7

     

    Post/Tweet today: Make sure all the facts have been flushed out, before sides are chosen. #facts

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Dented and Damaged

    Posted on May 22, 2013 by Carol Davis

    Carol

    "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

    I walked down the aisle of the discount grocery looking for a bargain. It's always hit and miss in this store ... and I had missed ... again.

    Before giving up and accepting defeat, I passed by a bin that caught my eye. The sign read: "Damaged Goods." It was filled with dented cans and missing labels ... no real rhyme or reason, just random items that were not shelf worthy. I knew just how that felt.

    Life sometimes delivers the unexpected. Lessons learned in the school of hard knocks bruise us, dent us and remove the label that we believe defines who we are. A miscarriage strips away the title of mother. A divorce takes away the role of wife. A pink slip eliminates our role of employee.

    We can feel as if we have been tossed into a bin, no longer worthy of a place on the shelf. With enough dents and damage, we can believe the lie that we are first-class failures and all hope is gone.

    Shaking myself from my theological musings, I leaned over and intentionally chose a dented can with no label from the bin. I got it home and placed it on the counter with anxious anticipation. The whirr of the can opener finally penetrated the metal lid to reveal ... peaches!!! I let out a schoolgirl squeal! I love peaches!! What a treat to open this can and be greeted by one of my favorite fruits. The can was damaged but the contents were still good ... and sweet.

    God continued the lesson He began in the grocery store.

    I have been damaged. We all have to some degree. I am not living the life that I dreamed about when I was a kid. However, the damage that I have suffered has made the contents of my heart so much sweeter, so much more compassionate, so much more in pursuit of Jesus. I have been looked down upon and judged by many who have seen my labels missing and slapped on their own.

    I've wanted to say, "Don't judge too quickly. My damage has not defined me. It is refining me." I may sometimes be at the bottom of life's bin, but Jesus paid as high a price for those of us at the bottom as He did for those that are proudly displayed on the top shelf. In fact, Psalm 34:18 reassures me that He is near to those who are crushed and broken. What a relief that is!

    Look around. Is there someone in your life, your family or your church that you consider "damaged goods"? Don't miss an opportunity to reach out to them, to love them. You just might find a friendship that is good and sweet. And while reaching out to them, take a good look around at how the Lord is near to you. Wrap yourself up in His presence. That is one label that can't be taken from us!

    Dear Lord, my life hasn't turned out exactly like I thought it would. But, I know You can still use me. Please forgive me for labeling others and judging them by their outside circumstances instead of the work that You are doing in their hearts. Help me realize that we all have dents but that's what keeps us desperate for You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    Write down all the life circumstances that have "dented" your heart. Ask God to use your dents and scratches for your good and His glory.

    Have you been judged unfairly? How did that make you feel?

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 145:18, "The LORD is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth." (NLT)

    Isaiah 61:1, "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners ..." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Carol Davis. All rights reserved.

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

  • Instant Obedience

    Posted on May 21, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. Matthew 21:28-30

     

    Instant obedience is an indicator of a heart that loves God. Someone who first says no to the Lord, but later repents and obeys, enjoys His mercy. However, someone who immediately says yes, but never follows through is a liar who misses God’s mercy. Yes, an oath of obedience to Jesus Christ is a promise requiring swift action. An honest answer of no to the Almighty can be converted to obedience, but a dishonest yes that passively disobeys is absent moral authority.

     

    Do you sometimes catch yourself agreeing just to appease an authority with no intention of follow through? Or do you measure your words and commitments with a genuine goal to get it done? Appeasement to gain harmony in the short term will only compound disappointment in the long term. It is better to be up front and experience some disapproval than to mask your true intentions until they are revealed in a dramatic disclosure. Obedience begins with transparency.

     

    For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:20, NKJV

     

    Those who hide behind religious activity with no intention of authentic obedience to God will miss His blessings, even salvation. The Kingdom of Heaven is not made with hands, but is birthed in hearts that repent and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ. We who brand ourselves Christians have to honestly ask which Kingdom we are building, His or ours? When we turn over control to Christ, we can rest in Him. We trust and obey for this is the gate to God’s will.

     

    Where is your Heavenly Father calling you to obey Him? Perhaps there is a relationship that needs to cease, a job that needs to change or a friend you need to forgive. Christ may be calling you overseas for a season or to a city closer to your family. Whatever and wherever the Holy Spirit is prompting your heart, don’t delay, rather instantly obey the Spirit’s leading. You may have said no, only to realize your mistake. Change your mind, swallow your pride and obey!

     

    Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. Psalm 119:67

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the wisdom to know what to do and the courage to do it.

     

    Related Readings: Jonah 3:3; John 8:52; Romans 6:17; Philippians 2:12; 1 Peter 1:22

     

    Post/Tweet today: We trust and obey for this is the gate to God’s will. #God’swill

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • What Tempts You?

    Posted on May 21, 2013 by Van Walton

    Van

    "... But if you refuse to do what is right, watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master." Genesis 4:7b (NLT)

    My friend Wendy brought her children and their friends to my house for several hours of play in the backyard pool. Wendy and I chatted while the children entertained themselves.

    Young Griffin played for a while, but then his curious mind led him away from the pool. He wasn't interested in the games the other children wanted to play. Following his heart, he crept out of the pool and found purpose strolling around the yard.

    For a few minutes he handed branches to my husband who was doing yard work. Then he picked up a rake. In no time he began to change the landscape to create a little "home" for my dog. First he cleared a path, then he piled leaves creating a soft bed. Finally, he set stones in place creating a protected space for the food dish and water bowl.

    What an industrious boy! He amazed me with his vision, strength, and positive attitude. I wanted him to come live with me - surely his presence would keep the atmosphere in my home lively. I remember thinking, "What a good boy!"

    When he completed his project he asked, "Would you like to see what I did?" In single-file we followed him, listening attentively as he pointed out each accomplished task.

    Then I spotted it. I never expected to find what I stumbled upon while admiring my newly landscaped yard. My delighted heart turned to dread, for there surrounding all of Griffin's hard work ... was poison ivy! My stomach flip-flopped.

    Without suspecting, Griffin had walked through a bed of nasty plants. Never mind that he was involved in good works or that he had done nothing wrong. He hadn't purposefully stepped into a dangerous place. It just so happened that the vine had crawled along the ground, hid under dead leaves and climbed tree trunks, all the while camouflaged by other clingy vegetation.

    I grabbed Wendy and told her to get Griffin into the tub. Mixing a concoction we hoped would bring relief from days of dreadful itching, we doused that innocent boy. We rid him of any residue that might leave its painful mark.

    The encounter with the poison ivy reminded me that we step out each day with a plan to accomplish goals. We may set out to do good things, to change the world, and to serve others. But Scripture warns us we must be on our guard.

    Genesis 4:7b tells us sin crouches outside our door, waiting to trip us up, grab hold of us and spread its poison all over our best-laid plans.

    We need to recognize what potential sin lurks around us. You could bring dinner to a friend who just had a baby and see how her husband dotes on her. Envy pounces on you and takes hold of your heart. Or maybe you invite a co-worker who has been down to lunch. Your innocent conversation turns to gossip about other office members.

    Even a minor brush with sin can leave its poisonous mark. That's why we have to be on guard and control sin before it controls us.

    To get rid of the poison ivy in my yard I took the best approach. I tore it out of the ground by its roots. The same is true for sin. Even with the best intentions, sin hurts us. The good news is, whether we brush up against it accidentally or intentionally step into it, God offers an effective means of healing. We can bring our injured hearts to Him, confess our part in the sin, and ask Him to rid us of the toxins.

    Thankfully, God is the best "gardener" when it comes to keeping our hearts safe. No matter what "poison ivy" lurks, He's ready with a remedy of His wisdom when we ask for it. And His forgiveness for when temptation turns to sin.

    Dear Lord, You have taught me many lessons about sin. I know its seriousness, and how it prowls around seeking to destroy me. I know first-hand how easily we can fall prey to its creepy deception. Please forgive my sins and give me the wisdom to recognize sin ahead of time and flee. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Reading and memorizing Scripture is a great deterrent from sin. The Proverbs 31 Ministries' team has unpacked verses through devotions interspersed throughout the new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Soldiers prepare for the enemy by learning their foe's tactics. Take time to recognize the schemes of the enemy.

    In what areas does Satan tempt you and into what sins do you easily fall?

    Power Verses:
    2 Corinthians 7:1b, "... let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." (NASB)

    Titus 2:14, "He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Van Walton. All rights reserved.

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

  • God is Able

    Posted on May 20, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

     

    God is able. He is able to abundantly bless in all things at all times.  God is able to provide what is needed for every good work. He is able when I am unable. He is able to soften my heart when I am unable to listen.  He is able to illumine my thoughts when I am unable to understand the truth. He is able to love me when I am unable to love myself. God is able. Yes! His Spirit is able to intercede on my behalf when I am unable to pray. My Lord Jesus is ready, willing and able.

     

    God is able to supply the needs of His people through His people. He is able to make us rich in every way so we can be generous on all occasions. Thus, we have emotional, physical, spiritual and financial capacity to give to others. Yes, margin (extra) gives us space in our brain to be creative, room in our heart to be compassionate, and surplus money with which to be generous. Indeed, we have more to give to others when we steward our resources for the sake of service.

     

    Spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. Isaiah 58:10

     

    So, what are we to do when God is able, but unwilling? What if His help seems delayed or unresponsive? First, we are reassured knowing the character of our Heavenly Father is 100% trustworthy. He is good and He desires what’s best for His children. Furthermore, our will does not always align with the Lord’s will. Free will is free to chose badly. Thus, we require the Spirit’s ‘will alignment’ by renewing our mind and purifying our heart. Clarity comes from cleansing and repentance. God is able, but we may not be ready, so we remain steady in prayer.

     

    Whatever you are facing, your Heavenly Father is able to face down. In your fear He will give you faith and courage to meet your challenge with grace and commitment. In your new opportunity He will teach you the skill of listening, so you can learn to go further, faster. In your conflict He will model for you the art of peacemaking, so you can bring harmony to a hurting home. In your success, He will keep you grateful and humble through your generous giving. God is able to bless you beyond measure, so you can be a trusted pass through for His ample supply!

     

    Therefore he [Jesus] is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Hebrews 7:25

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You that You are able to bless me to be a blessing to others.

     

    Related Readings: Daniel 3:17; Psalm 18:48; Jeremiah 1:8; Mark 1:40;  1 Corinthians 4:19

     

    Post/Tweet today: Whatever you are facing, your Heavenly Father is able to face down. In your fear He will give you faith. #faith

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Why Did You ...?

    Posted on May 20, 2013 by ShauntiFeldhahn

    Shaunti

    "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

    Shelly pulled up in her wet driveway after a beach getaway with girlfriends. She smiled, thinking, it's a shame the rain chased us away early, but at least I know the house is still standing.

    She opened the door and tripped over a pile of schoolbooks. What on earth? Speechless, she stared at clutter everywhere. Cans of food and spaghetti sauce were stacked high on the island in the kitchen. Empty packets of Ramen noodles decorated the counter. The tool drawer had been emptied onto the kitchen table.

    An angry cry escaped her lips and a muffled exclamation came from the laundry room. Her husband stuck his head out the door, looking chagrined. "You're home early!"

    "Yes I'm home early!" Shelly waved around at the chaos. "I can't believe this! Why did you let it get this bad? And why were you feeding the kids instant noodles instead of something healthier?"

    Without a word, Marcus pushed the door to the laundry room wide open and stepped aside so she could enter.

    Furious, she stalked past him-and rocked to a stop. The back corner of the laundry room had been turned into a pantry. Fresh-cut wood shelves stacked up to the ceiling. Deep drawers were waiting to be slotted into a rolling rack. Dust sheets covered the washer and dryer, which were piled with food cans and packets, ready to be placed on the shelves of the pantry.

    The pantry she had longed for.

    Shelly closed her eyes. Mortified, all she could say was "I'm so sorry."

    Shelly told me this story a week after it happened. I was speaking at her church's women's conference, sharing my research on the inner thoughts, needs and fears of men. I shared that men want above all to please those who matter most to them-especially a wife or girlfriend-but privately doubt themselves and are deeply sensitive as to whether they are doing a good job. So when women start a sentence with "Why did you. . .?," men hear, "Why did you do that, you dodo?"

    Shelly's story is a perfect example of how easy it is to think, "You dodo." Not think, "There must be a good reason for this-even if I don't see it at this moment." Instead, like many of us, she was quick to assume there wasn't a good reason, that he didn't do a good job. And she verbalized those damaging thoughts.

    Ephesians 4:29 tells us to be careful to only say things that are useful for building others up. While this applies to everyone in our lives, if we are married, it's especially vital to practice with our husbands.

    Most situations with the men in our lives aren't as extreme as Shelly's experience. But versions of this scenario happen often. "Why did you give the kids juice instead of milk?" "Why did you take that road instead of this one?" "Why did you choose that strategy for the business deal?" We may protest that it is a harmless question, but all too often, it is code for "What were you thinking!?" Which itself is code for "You obviously weren't thinking."

    The reality is, the reverse is usually true. Eighty-two percent of men surveyed say they always think things through ... and purposefully consider the reaction of their wife or girlfriend before making a decision.

    The next time you are confounded by your husband, instead of a rash reaction, slow down and remind yourself: his heart is probably in the right place and his choices are likely made with that in mind. And if you need help ... just remember the pantry.

    Dear Jesus, forgive me for being quick to judge and assume the worst about the man in my life. Please teach me to slow down and listen to him, and [if married] to trust in his love. In Your Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Revised and updated For Women Only book and DVD study by Shaunti Feldhahn.

    Family Christian's Facebook page offers encouragement and truth each day. Join our community by clicking here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    If you are married, take time to think through, pray and reflect on the fundamental assumptions and expectations you have in regards to your husband. Choose to honor and respect your husband in your thoughts and words.

    Whenever you think, "Why did you ...?" say instead, "Honey, I'm confused, could you help me understand what your reason was?" You might be surprised at how often he was thinking things through-including honoring you.

    Power Verses:
    Ephesians 5:33, "Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband." (NASB)

    © 2013 by Shaunti Feldhahn. All rights reserved.

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

  • Wedding Celebration

    Posted on May 19, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. John 2:1-2

     

    A wedding is a celebration of two people committed to Christ and committed to each other. This is cause for raucous laughter and tearful gratitude. The solemn vows of the bride and groom are accented by their smiles and kisses. The parents celebrate God’s goodness in all of its facets. It’s good to see your child embrace a spouse who will cherish and respect your “baby.” It’s good to see your child happy and content. And it’s good to see your child make wise choices and dance with joy. It is good to see your child obedient to his or her heavenly Father. Weddings where Jesus is invited are the best!

    A wedding is a preamble to the constitution of marriage. It is a declaration of independence from self-interests. It is interdependence on each other and dependence on God. A wedding is costly, but not nearly as expensive as the marriage. A wedding mirrors a marriage’s need for mentors, prayer support, and planning. A wedding done well is a template for marriage. You keep the fires of romance burning brightly. You plan together and communicate constantly. You spend budgeted money. You involve your family in ways that are appropriate and honoring. You keep God as the centerpiece of your life. A wedding is not a fleeting moment, but rather a memory to be relived over and over again. A wedding is a reminder of God’s beautiful work of grace in a world full of hurt. It reinvigorates stale marriages. It staves off the pending demise of others. It affirms those who, by God’s grace, have grown deeper and deeper in love since their own special day.

    Invite Jesus to your wedding. He is the ultimate wedding planner. He is interested in every detail of your public expression of faith in Him. Indeed, your public display of faith begins with your private devotion. Once you have developed a personal love relationship with Jesus, you can humbly exalt Him before friends, family, and the world. Private dedication precedes public declaration. An engaged couple who lacks their individual engagement of faith, is not ready for a wedding. A wedding requires much more than starry-eyed looks of love. Its prerequisite is a deep and abiding faith in God. Otherwise, the wedding becomes a big, expensive party lacking the teeth of commitment and follow through.

     

    A wedding without Jesus is like an orchestra without a conductor. There is a ton of potential represented by a lot of well-meaning individuals, but there is no defined direction. There is no overall harmony of the musical instruments of husband, wife, family, friends, and faith. Jesus integrates the lives of all these well-meaning players into a beautiful concert called marriage. The wedding is but a prelude of the marriage concert, but what a beautiful beginning it births. Jesus is a gracious guest always looking for ways to intercede on your behalf—as the new couple—and on the behalf of your guests. His role model of servant-hood will mark your marriage for a lifetime. Your faith in Christ is a marriage analogy, for He is the groom and you are the bride. Your wedding is a picture of the joy of your salvation. Your marriage is a lifelong consecration of that commitment.  Keep inviting Jesus, the initiator of your wedding and the sustainer of your marriage.

     

    Post/Tweet: A wedding is a preamble to the constitution of marriage. It is interdependence on each other and dependence on God. #wedding

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

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