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Daily Devotion

  • How to Leave a Legacy

    Posted on April 10, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also." 2 Timothy 1:5 (NIV)

    Tod's family went to church faithfully. That's what they had always done. But once inside the brick walls of their home, the story was different. There the masks came off, and Tod and his little brother lived with the painful reality of their parents' bad choices. Living a double life became the norm for Tod, and he learned early that Christianity was something you put on with your church clothes.

    Summer, however, brought more than relief from school, homework, and the daily routine of life. Summer brought with it a short break from living in the craziness of his family, because summer meant time at his grandparent's home.

    Grandma and Grandpa Whitwer were humble people. They served alongside each other as ministers, sacrificially laying down their lives to travel from church to church in many different states. They served well into their retirement years, and never gave up ministering to others.

    Throughout the years they saw the pain of their son's choices, choices that drastically affected the lives of their grandchildren. But there was little they could do to intervene. At least it was little in the eyes of the world.

    What they were able to do had a lasting impact on Tod. Quietly and consistently, they showed their grandson love. Their never-wavering faith was an anchor. Their unconditional love was like water to a thirsty child. Their integrity was a light on a hill to a lost boy. Amel and Elise Whitwer gave hope to a young boy; hope that there was more to God and to this life than what he knew. Moreover, Tod learned that Christianity was something you lived out every day, not just on Sundays.

    Through the faith of two humble people, my husband and I learned that God's most effective influence often comes in quiet ways. God can change a life, and a generation of lives, using gentle, consistent, sincere people who love and serve Him.

    The faith of a godly woman ... the faith of a God-fearing man .... it changed my husband's life. It changed my life. And it is changing our children's lives. Never underestimate the power of faith, and a godly legacy, to make an impact over generations.

    Note from Author: Before Tod's parents passed away, we were blessed to see both of them receive healing and restoration, to God and to their families.

    Dear Lord, thank You for the model of faith You have given me through the lives of previous generations. Help me to honor those people who love and honor You. Like them, I long to be a woman who creates a legacy of faith to those who will follow in my footsteps. Help me be the woman You want me to be. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    The most impactful life-changer is the Bible! That's why we're excited about our brand new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women, full of God's truth and our devotions throughout.

    Reflect and Respond:
    If your grandparents are still alive, take the time to write them a letter, or call them. If you are a grandparent, write your grandchildren a letter.

    Think of an older woman who has been a model of Christian faith. What are some of her most memorable characteristics?

    What can you do now to become a woman of faith who will leave a legacy?

    Power Verses:
    Isaiah 55:11, "... so is my word that goes out from my mouth; It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." (NIV)

    Daniel 4:34b, "His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation." (NIV)

    Deuteronomy 7:9, "Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Serve By Leading

    Posted on April 9, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. Acts 15:37-38

    Sometimes a critical circumstance requires the leader to assert influence for the good of the whole. There is no time for collaboration, since what’s best for the mission can’t be jeopardized. Good people can disagree, but the leader is responsible to do what he or she thinks is right. The risk of a failed project takes precedent over the risk of relational rejection. Hopefully there is eventual relational restoration when a leader wisely serves by saying no and clarifying the course.

    Yes, leaders lead. It is a disservice for the one in charge to not give direction when a situation is sticky. God places us in positions of authority to serve others by leading them down prayerful and productive paths. Followers look to leaders to instruct with integrity and intentionality. So, even if our ill timed decision meets the disapproval of someone we respect, we still move forward by faith. We serve by leading in doing the next right thing and trusting the Lord for His results.

    And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them. Psalm 78:72

     

    You serve by leading when you reassess a person's past failure in light of lessons they’ve learned and their current faithfulness to the task at hand. Grace gives you permission to extend a second chance, working to restore someone’s youthful indiscretion that tarnished their integrity. Perhaps you take this occasion to bring a coworker back into good standing, so they have an opportunity to prove their trustworthiness. You serve by leading when you lead a friend back into faith’s fold.

     

    Lastly, you serve by leading when you lead others into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. You lead well when the goodness of God wells up within you like the iconic geyser Old Faithful, intermittently boiling forth the refreshing fruit of the Spirit. The human heart is waiting for another human to lead them into an understanding of the Lord’s great grace. Indeed, the Spirit is interceding on behalf of unbelievers,  God will use you to introduce others to His Son Jesus.

    The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. Acts 8:34-35

    Prayer: Heavenly Father give me courage to serve by leading others to know the good news of Jesus Christ.

    Related Readings: Genesis 17:1; 1 Samuel 18:16; Isaiah 53:7; 2; Hosea 11:4; Timothy 4:11

    Post/Tweet today: Followers look to leaders to instruct them with integrity and intentionality. #leaders

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Entertaining 'Those' Thoughts

    Posted on April 9, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie

    "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

    Elle's tiny hands hold tight as we fly high on the swing. Every time I visit, she runs into my arms, glad to see her grandmother but more excited about the possibility of walking to the playground.

    There's another playground I used to visit, one where I spent countless hours. It was the playground of my thoughts.

    When someone made me angry or when conflict arose and it hurt my heart, that's where I ran to entertain 'those' thoughts. I escaped there to think about all the things I should have said. Swinging high and then low, I reminded myself of how right I was and how wrong they were. Words or situations replayed, just like a child going in circles on a merry go round.

    In this playground I didn't have to deal with conflict in a healthy way, or speak the truth when it was needed. I didn't have to admit my own errors, because there I was always the hero.

    One day I sensed God asking me to leave the playground. Like Elle, I wasn't ready to go. But He took me by the hand and led me away to a place of grace for those who hurt me with their words, reminding me that we all stumble.

    God brought me to a place of well-being where I recognized that conflict takes place even in the healthiest of relationships.

    And He guided me to a place of letting go of those things I could not change, so that I could fully embrace those that I could.

    There were days I wanted to go back to my playground, but each time I saw a closed sign on the gate.

    Not for you, My daughter.

    Instead of hanging out in an imaginary place where I could avoid conflict and hurt, I embraced real life, with real people and real struggles. Although it took work to process hard situations, with each one I grew. It involved loving the people around me, enjoying each new day, and releasing hurtful events and people from the past.

    Our Heavenly Father knows when we struggle with our thoughts. They can be a place where we work through issues with wisdom and care, or a playground where bitterness sprouts and anger is fed.

    Is He taking you by the hand, like He did me so many years ago? If so, I celebrate with you. For He's leading you into growth.

    My prayer is that you'll swing high in day-to-day joys of real life as a strong woman of faith.

    Dear Jesus, I can spend hours in my angry thoughts, or thinking I'm the hero. Sometimes in my mind I put others in their place. That's a trap of the enemy. Today I shut the gate to the playground of unhealthy thoughts, with Your help. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness by Suzie Eller

    Reflect and Respond:
    What thoughts are you struggling with today?

    Commit to leaving the playground of your mind. Choose a verse to meditate on, instead of negative thoughts.

    Power Verses:
    1 Corinthians 13:11, "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me." (NIV)

    Ephesians 4:26, "Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger," (ESV)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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

  • Lead By Serving

    Posted on April 8, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God... After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. John 13:3,5

    A servant of the Lord is secure in  his service to others. Thus, those with the power share the power when they serve. Jesus showed the way. He knew He was the most powerful person in the room, but He leveraged His position for those around Him. He modeled humble service, so His followers would be inspired to follow His example. Jockeying over power is jettisoned when humility supersedes pride, gratitude overwhelms getting, and the glory of God is preeminent.

    Are you caught up in power plays and politicking for a position at work, in your church or any other organization? If so, let go of the drive to win and win over your competition with your heart to serve. Be reluctant to seek a role with greater responsibility, let it come to you. You are effectively equipped to handle power when it doesn’t have control over you. You lead best in a position of authority when you first bow to the authority of Almighty God. Lead by serving.

    The greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. Luke 22:26

    Are you weighed down by the weight of leadership? Perhaps you pray about a partner or successor who can share the burden of being the person in charge. Trust the Lord to send you someone with a complimentary skill set who can earn the respect of the team. One plus one equals ten when two willing leaders join forces for the benefit of the whole. Yes, share the power with another servant of Jesus and enjoy the wise stewardship of spreading the responsibilities.

    Moreover, you may need to step away completely, so the team will take ownership and lead the movement or organization beyond your capability. Leaders who let go gain the most, but leaders who hang on too long hang themselves. Your greatest service of all may be your exit strategy. Trust God to lead you to your next assignment and bring behind you His next humble leader full of energy and ideas. The legacy of your leadership will linger long, even after the memories of how you served!

    Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Matthew 20:28

    Prayer: Heavenly Father give me a heart of service like Jesus. I desire to give away power and rest in Your power.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 42:1; Luke 12:37, 22:27; John 13:13-16; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Philippians 2:7

    Post/Tweet today: You lead best in a position of authority when you first bow to the authority of Almighty God. #humbleleader

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • The Right Words

    Posted on April 8, 2013 by Amy Carroll

    Amy

    "Like apples of gold in settings of silver Is a word spoken in right circumstances." Proverbs 25:11 (NASB)

    Church receptionists are powerful people. Just think about it. If your church's receptionist is a godly woman, the congregation, visitors and callers benefit from her kindness, wisdom and patience.

    But if she gossips ... gracious! Think how a lack of discernment, wicked words and malicious intent can spread. One person in a powerful position can poison the entire church.

    Mona, the receptionist at my church, always used her position for good. Situated at a desk at the entrance of the main office, she greeted every person walking through the door and answered each phone call personally. Mona was known not only as a wonderful receptionist, but as a godly woman.

    When I was a young woman in a leadership position, I was advised to seek out Mona as a mentor. It wasn't long until the tapestried bench in front of her desk became one of my favorite spots. I poured out my heart for the women of our church, and Mona joined me both to pray and to recruit the older women. I approached her with problems, and she helped me find wise solutions. I cried when my feelings were hurt and she urged me, "Beloved, run to Jesus!"

    I learned so many important lessons sitting on the bench in our church's office, but the most important one was modeled rather than taught aloud.

    I've always lamented that if we were given the life verse most fitting our untransformed self, mine would be Proverbs 10:19a, "Too much talk leads to sin" ... tattooed on my forehead. Mona taught me (a woman who struggles with an abundance of words) to be wise and discerning with words.

    Mona modeled discretion when my careless words abounded.

    I talked and talked, but watched as Mona listened carefully to everyone.

    Mona prayerfully paused before speaking, while I spoke without thinking.

    I voiced my own thoughts but responded in awe as Mona often spoke directly from God's Word.

    As time went by, I prayed and worked to emulate my mentor. Although I still wrestled with overusing words, I became much more sensitive to their power. I tried to follow Mona's godly example by using words carefully, stopping the constant flow of chatter and re-directing potentially negative conversation to be God-honoring.

    Several years passed, and I thought about Mona's life-changing influence as I packed for a move. Before I left for our new town, I wanted to find a gift to thank her for all the hours she had poured into me. I looked and looked for the perfect memento, until suddenly my eyes lit on a metallic, silver and gold apple pendant.

    Immediately, I thought of the verse which often came to mind when thinking of Mona, "Like apples of gold in settings of silver Is a word spoken in right circumstances" (Proverbs 25:11 NASB). Wise words are valuable and precious, lovely and uncommon. I purchased the pendant, wrapped it carefully and took it to the church.

    As I gave Mona her gift, my eyes welled while thanking her. Without even knowing, she had taught me the priceless lesson of the beauty of well-chosen words. I pray I am doing the same for others in my life.

    Dear Lord, refine my words until they become lovely, pleasing to You, and uplifting to the people around me. Please help me stop words in mid-breath that dishonor You and tear down others. This transformation isn't easy, so I plead for Your power at work in me to change me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Unglued Devotional by Lysa TerKeurst

    NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women includes devotions by Proverbs 31 Ministries authors who are learning, alongside you, how to make our words lovely and God-honoring!

    Reflect and Respond:
    How are you doing with words? Make a point to listen to yourself today.

    Thank a friend who is wise with her words and start to take note and learn from her.

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 10:19-20, "Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value." (NIV)

    James 3:2, "We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

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

  • Leadership and Friendship

    Posted on April 7, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Proverbs 27:6 (KJV)

     

    Lead first and be a friend second, for an effective and efficient enterprise understands that leadership trumps friendship. As the old saying goes, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” Wise and intentional leadership is necessary for the health of the organization;leadership is watered down when friendships dictate strategic direction. Friendships should forge the team but not unduly dilute excellent outcomes based on courageous leadership decisions. If a leader is preoccupied with what a friend may think or do, then he risks diminishing his decision for the sake of sparing someone’s feelings. Politics are not the plumb line. The values and principles of the organization are the standards by which leadership decisions are made.

     

    Friendship can become a fruit of wise leadership but it is not meant to drive wise leadership. Indeed, loyalty to friends is an important and valued attribute of an effective leader. But do not allow loyalty to cloud your rationale of what’s best for the team. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for the team and your friend is to either fire him or reassign him. Be sure your leadership is grounded in principle so your friendships will not get in the way of doing what’s right. Let a friend know up front how much you value him, but not to the detriment of what’s best for the business or ministry.

     

    Friends can be the hardest or the easiest to lead. It all depends on your and their expectations. Does your friend perceive you as a partner or a boss? Is your perception of your friend one of high value or just one of expedience that gets results? Lead first in humility, courage, and clarity. Let your friends know up front what you value as a leader and how they fit into the big picture of organizational success. Constantly ask, “What’s best for the team?” instead of “What does my friend want?” You lead first by defining the role of friendship on the team, and you keep leadership a priority by not playing favorites. This promotes teamwork and defuses jealousy.

     

    Lastly, wise leaders make hard decisions, even when it adversely affects a friend. This protects the integrity of the organization. Paul felt this tension when he decided that his friend, John Mark was not mature enough for the responsibility of a mission trip: “Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work” (Acts 15:37-38). Balancing leadership and friendship isn’t always easy.

     

    Post/Tweet: Be sure your leadership is grounded in principle so your friendships will not get in the way of doing what’s right. #leadingfriends

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Attractive Evangelism

    Posted on April 6, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34–35).

    Love is irresistible for those in search of a Savior. Everyone whose heart aches for authentic relationship will take notice when seeing Christians love one another. Parents who encourage and build up their sons and daughters are a magnet to their children’s friends who live lonely lives in discouraging and disruptive home environments.

    Have you thought of your home as a sanctuary for seeking souls? Every time a neighbor drops by, a friend stays overnight, or you host a party for your child’s team, you have an opportunity to model the love of Jesus toward those you know and to those whom you meet for the first time. Leverage love for the Lord, and He will draw people to Himself.

    “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13).

    Being a disciple of Jesus does have its benefits, and being loved is close to the top. When you placed your faith in Christ, you became a giver and receiver of Christian love. So do not resist the righteous care that Christ followers extend on your behalf. Be glad you model the love of God’s children that can melt the hearts of outside observers. “Why,” they ask, “do people give so much, expecting nothing in return?”

    How do you intentionally love your brothers and sisters in Christ? Do you share relationships, money, your vacation home, your primary residence, or your car? It may be showing up during a health issue, praying for a job interview, babysitting their little one, or mowing their grass. Unbelievers take notice when believers lavishly love each other.

    “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love” (Galatians 5:13).

    Our capacity to love is limited only by the Lord’s capacity to love us, to love in us, and to love through us. His love removes our insensitive heart and replaces it with sensitivity. The Almighty’s agape love arranges our priorities around the needs of others first and ours second. His love first comforts pain in people waiting for the appropriate time to administer truth. This level of unconditional love is a conduit for the lost to know Christ.

    “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us” (1 John 4:11–12).

    Prayer: Am I receiving God’s love? Whom do I know who needs my unselfish love and attention?

    Related Readings: 2 Corinthians 13:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 3 John 1:7-8

     

    Post/Tweet: Our love first comforts pain in people,waiting for the appropriate time to administer truth. lovingevangelism

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Forgive Yourself

    Posted on April 5, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

    Have you forgiven yourself? Have you really forgiven yourself? We know we have forgiven ourselves if we are free from guilt and self-condemnation. Otherwise we are stuck in the crazy cycle of re-living bad decisions that are done and cannot be changed. It is impossible to continually guilt our conscience in order to make up for past mistakes.

    When we do not release ourselves from previous indiscretions we try to make up for them by overcompensating in the present. Perhaps you neglected your child in their early years, and now as an older teenager you’ve tried to make up for your absence by enabling their poor decisions. Instead, they need to experience the consequences of bad behavior while they are with you, so they can learn and grow into responsible adults and citizens.

    Jesus tells the story of a loving father who allowed his son to hit bottom, and as a consequence the son came to realize and take  responsibility for his reality: “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you (Luke 15:17-18).

    Forgiving yourself begins by embracing the truth that your heavenly Father has forgiven you. The grace of God is in abundant supply; no one is beyond its reach. The Lord loves you unconditionally, and He forgives the objects of His love. Has the grace of God seeped deep into your soul, so you know in your heart and mind that you are set free from the guilt and shame of sin? If not, forgive yourself and trust the Lord to make up for lost time.

    “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

    When you forgive yourself, you are able to forgive others. Self-forgiveness is a key to unlocking real relationships. Authentic community with Christ and Christians comes from forgiveness from your heavenly Father, forgiveness from others, and forgiveness from yourself. What have you not released yourself from in forgiveness? Lay it at the altar of God’s grace and He will extinguish it with His eternal fire of forgiveness and love.

    “This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:38-39). When you love yourself—you forgive yourself!

    Prayer: How can I grow in my love and forgiveness of myself? How does God forgive me?

    Related Readings: Psalm 130:3-5; 2 Corinthians 6:1; Colossians 1:14; 1 John 4:7-12

    Post/Tweet today: Forgiving yourself begins by embracing the truth that your heavenly Father has forgiven you. #forgiveyourself

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Junk Closet Heart

    Posted on April 5, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen

    "Who perceives his unintentional sins? Cleanse me from my hidden faults." Psalm 19:12 (HCSB)

    Our basement furnace room is not a pretty sight right now. This out-of-the-way space is a catch-all place for off-season items and assorted memorabilia. To combat clutter and keep objects organized, we've purchased shelves and large plastic totes over the years to neatly house our family's stuff.

    In my perfect plan, bins are labeled, shelves are stocked tidily with homemade canned goods, and holiday decorations nestle themselves neatly in our oh-so-organized furnace storage room. And truthfully, this is how it usually goes. Well, 82% percent of the time.

    However, when we are not intentional to actually walk into the room and place items in the proper bin or situate them on their assigned shelf, we tend to revert to the open, drop, and shut method of organization: open the door, drop the item just inside the room, and shut the door tightly so that the accumulating pile of clutter is not visible from the adjacent family rec room.

    The result is an unattractive pile of stuff that slowly grows and messes with my plan of an orderly storage room. When this occurs, I have to stop what I'm doing and carve out time to sort and situate the items back to their proper place.

    At times my heart can become a catch-all for clutter and junk too. It is not my intent to have a messed-up heart that harbors incorrect attitudes or contaminated thoughts that eventually might lead to wrong actions or even unconfessed sin. However, when I am not intentional to put those thoughts and feelings in their proper place—under the authority of Christ—they can soon breed a bunch of unwanted and sinful "stuff" in my spirit that messes with God's plan for me to behave like His Son. And although the outside world may not see it, behind the door of my heart I know the junk pile is there.

    For believers to keep this spiritual clutter at bay, we must make a regular habit of asking God to show us if we are collecting such unwanted attitudes, thoughts and issues.

    Are we harboring anger, bitterness, envy or ill-will? Have we accumulated spiritual laziness or a love for something that is greater than our love for God?

    Without putting these away soon by confessing them to God, we might end up with an unintentional pile of spiritual junk that often can lead to sins we never set out to commit. Hidden anger in our heart toward another becomes harshly hurled words. Secret envy morphs into gossip. Behind-the-scenes bitterness begets public bad behavior.

    Let's make today's key verse our heart-cleaning plea, "Who perceives his unintentional sins? Cleanse me from my hidden faults." God is the Master de-clutterer who alone can help us deal with the messes we might make.

    Let's allow Him to clean out the clutter of our hearts and make our spirits whole again. This is spiritual pile-busting at its very best.

    Dear Lord, teach me to bring any unconfessed sins to You early so they do not pile up making a mess of my heart. I want to daily be more like Your Son. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized by Karen Ehman

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    Name a time in your life when you allowed unhealthy thoughts and attitudes to pile up in your heart. What happened? How did it affect not only you but also others?

    Spend some time alone with God asking Him to show you if you have any unintentional sins or hidden faults that need to be surrendered to Him. Write out what He shows you. Then, one by one, confess them to Him asking Him to clean them away and make your heart new.

    Power Verses:
    1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (HCSB)

    Psalm 66:17-19 "I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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

  • Free To Be

    Posted on April 4, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    New wine must be poured into new wineskins. Luke 5:38

    The new wine of grace grows in a life made new by Christ. The old life of self absorption cannot contain the new life of selfless service. The Spirit’s fullness leaks out of a vessel that is still suspicious to full surrender to its Savior Jesus Christ. A genuine follower of Jesus replaces old thinking with new and renewed mental categories. Heaven replaces hell. Humility replaces pride. Faith replaces fear. Truth replaces lies. Generosity replaces greed. Salvation replaces shame.

    Yes, the fermentation of faith expands  influence over our character. We cannot hold onto bad habits and augment them with good habits. The good totally takes the place of the bad. Christ’s covenant of grace has no peers. Indeed, the past covenant of the law cannot refrain our liberation in the Lord Jesus. This is why the joy of new believers is infectious, as they are spiritually swayed by the Spirit’s influence. In Christ we are free to be His beautiful creation of goodness.

    He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:6

     

    You are free to be who you are in Christ. You can be yourself, because He has saved your self! In Christ you are good. In Christ you are accepted. In Christ you are a new creation. In Christ you are a child of God. In Christ you are gentle. In Christ you are secure. In Christ you are loved. In Christ you are patient. In Christ you are peaceful. In Christ you are gracious. In Christ you glorify God. In Christ you are free from sin and Satan’s control. In Christ you are free to be you!

     

    Therefore, live your resurrected life in Christ and do not attempt to resuscitate your old man of the flesh. Your new wine of grace beautifully fills your new wineskin of salvation in Christ alone, but it bursts the old wineskin of the law. The old wine of legalism may be tasty to lazy thinkers with immature habits, but it is bitter to those who have tasted the sweet grace of God. You are a new creation in Christ, the old has passed and the new has come. You are free indeed!

     

    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

    Prayer: Heavenly Father I am grateful for being freed by Your new wineskin of grace.

     

    Related Readings: Isaiah 65:17; John 1:13; Romans 6:4; Galatians 6:15; Revelation 21:4

    Post/Tweet today: Christ’s covenant of grace has no peers. Yes, legalism tastes bitter to the sweet taste of grace! #freedomingrace

    © 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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