• Personalize Your Bible

Daily Devotion

  • When Fear Paralyzes Your Faith

    Posted on June 5, 2013 by Renee Swope

    "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

    Renee

    When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:1-2 (NIV)

    As I crawled in bed, fear came over me. My husband was out of town for work and I was afraid to go to sleep. Fear had become a constant companion during his nights away.

    I needed to trust God, but I didn't. I went through the motions of what I knew I should do: pray, read scriptures, and tape verses to my bedside table and bathroom mirror. But there was also a phone on my pillow, and a neighborhood directory and Bible next to the bed.

    One night I took it a step further. I put toys on the stairs to trip possible burglars, brought my children into my room to sleep with me, and moved the dresser in front of the bedroom door.

    Still fear kept me awake. I thought I was controlling my circumstances, but instead fear had taken control of me. Frustrated I still couldn't sleep, I opened the Bible and read these familiar words:

    "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze" (Isaiah 43:1-2).

    That night God showed me something I'd never seen: my fears were like flames and my efforts to protect myself were like gasoline. Every feeble attempt to ease my fears was like pouring fuel on the fire, and now fear was consuming me. Gently, the Holy Spirit reminded me that God had not given me a spirit of fear but a spirit of power and love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

    The only way I would overcome fear was by walking through it.

    I had to put away the props in which I'd placed my faith and go to bed trusting God, realizing that even if my fears came true He would be with me. Crawling out of bed, I started putting everything away. The dresser went back in place. My kids went back to their rooms and I went to sleep without my phone on the pillow.

    For me, it was like walking through the flames of fear, doing what God was calling me to do–to fear not. And you know what? I slept better than I had in weeks.

    Fear lost its power when I actively put trust in God's promises.

    To be free from fear so we can walk in faith, we have to hold on to God's truths, replacing our natural ways with the steps He offers to guide us.

    Let's ask God to show us fears that paralyze our faith and keep us from living confidently in His peace and freedom. And then let's give God a chance to come though for us as we courageously walk through our fears, holding God's hand and trusting His heart to lead, protect, and preserve us each step of the way.

    Dear Jesus, help me walk through my fears by facing them instead of being paralyzed by them. I want to take Your hand and trust Your heart with all that is within me. Give me courage today to take the first step. In Jesus' Name, amen.

    Related Resources:
    Could you use the encouragement of a friend to help you overcome your fears? In her life-changing book, A Confident Heart, Renee Swope will walk you through a powerful process of identifying and overcoming any fears and insecurities so that you can live with confidence and courage!

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are there fears that paralyze your faith or hinder your everyday life? Ask God to show you one step to take today to walk through a fear that keeps you from trusting God completely.

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 34:4, "I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

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

  • Trained for Service

    Posted on June 4, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service. Daniel 1:5

    Thorough training precedes effective service. Even the most gifted need their skills developed under the watchful eye of a wise mentor. As a virgin blade of steel is honed down to its sharpest condition, so a novice to a new field of study or work needs time to gain understanding, acquire wisdom, grow accustomed to the culture and increase in physical, emotional and spiritual maturity. Wise are those who take the time to prepare, before rushing off unequipped to serve.

    Daniel and his friends made sure not to compromise their conviction in God, as they trained under a hostile authority. The Lord also continued His hand of favor on their faith. He worked through a sympathetic supervisor to carry out His purposes. Perhaps you face a college professor who dismisses your beliefs in Jesus, or you have a boss who blames God for a tragic event he experienced. Regardless, use your training time to learn and grow into a skilled leader for Christ.

    I [Paul] studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. Acts 22:3

    Your training may seem laborious and long, but in the Lord’s big picture it is a small dot on His eternal thread. Stay mentally engaged where you are and do not become distracted by overly anticipating the future. Maybe you engage a mentor outside of your formal training, so you have a trusted advisor to help you process what you are feeling and learning. A seasoned sage can help you clarify your calling, coach you in your commitment to Christ and your wobbly convictions.

    Above all, stay in the training process, so you become a better ambassador for the Almighty. If you give up, you are giving up on God. He is faithful! He will see you through! He will not put on you more than you can bear! If you stay true to the process, you will use a similar process the rest of your life to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ. The Lord is using this defining season to place His faithful fingerprints on your life. He is preparing you for His purposes!

    Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

    Prayer: Heavenly Father keep me in Your training process, so I can represent You better.

    Related Readings: 1 Chronicles 25:7; Luke 6:40; Hebrews 5:14, 12:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:24

    Post/Tweet today: Stay mentally engaged where you are and do not become distracted by overly anticipating the future. #focus

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Feeding Your Family a Feast

    Posted on June 4, 2013 by Zoe Elmore

    Zoe

    "Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children." Titus 2:3-4 (NIV)

    Mothers-in-law are often the source of unflattering jokes. But my mother-in-law, Catherine, was the furthest thing from a punch line.

    Catherine was a spiritual giant wrapped up in a tiny 4-foot-10-inch bundle of sunshine. Down-to-earth, kind, and unpretentious. She modeled the woman we are urged to be in Titus 2.

    When you entered her home you were greeted with warm hugs and the aroma of her latest creation wafting from her tiny kitchen. She was one of the best cooks I ever met. Preparing food never seemed arduous or tedious for Catherine.

    She took great pleasure in feeding her family, spending days preparing a sumptuous dinner just to have it consumed in moments. Empty plates and platters were her delight. Sending home leftovers were her bliss. Before the meal we all would bow our heads to hear her words of blessing and gratitude.

    Catherine's spiritual life was a lot like those meals. It was satisfying and full of nourishment. She poured the Word of God into our lives as easily as she filled our glasses with sweet tea.

    Toward the end of her life, she broke her wrist and needed personal care. It was my privilege to assist her with bathing and dressing each morning. After I feed her breakfast, I'd sit on the floor at her feet while she fed me from Scripture. My mother-in-law recited her favorite verses from memory and read to me from her daily devotion book. Her prayers were like honey, sweet with remembrances of God's goodness and faithfulness to her. Those prayers were infused with gratitude for His enduring strength and perfumed with her love for Jesus.

    The angels surely paused long enough to add an amen!

    I used to wonder how she managed to turn out delectable meals from her small kitchen and how she became a professional at serving up God's Word to her family.

    She told me, "Honey, it all begins on your knees. If you spend enough time with my Jesus, He will teach you everything you need to know about feeding your family."

    Not long after Catherine went to be with Jesus, I found this "recipe for life" in her belongings.

    Begin with a case of Joy
    Add a heaping spoonful of Gratitude
    Fold in a large dollop of Kindness
    Stir in a handful of Forgiveness
    Sprinkle liberally with Love and cover with Peace
    Always serve with a large side of Faith
    (Author unknown)

    Warm angel biscuits and sweet tea aren't the only things I miss about my mother-in-law. I miss the fresh servings of prayer she whispered while feeding her family and the filling scriptures she served in our conversations around her table.

    Yes, her kitchen now sits quiet and dark, but her family is feasting on her spiritual legacy of love for God and His Word.

    Dear Lord, help me to be a wife and mom who feeds her family from the kitchen and from Your Word. May I leave a legacy for those You've entrusted in my care. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Taste and see the Lord is good by reading His Word! Sit down with Proverbs 31 Ministries' devotion writing team as they serve up devotions that teach from the new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women.

    Introduce your family to Bible stories with the fun-to-play Bible Brainstorm Game.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Try the "saltshaker encouragement" over dinner tonight. Each member of the family takes a turn at holding the saltshaker. Every other person at the table should share one thing they will pray for the person holding the saltshaker.

    Power Verses:
    1 Peter 2:2-3, "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Zoe Elmore. All rights reserved.

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

  • Hearing and Listening

    Posted on June 3, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Then they asked him, “What did he [Jesus] do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too? John 9:26-27

    Hearing does not guarantee listening. Eye contact and engaged body language can still lead to no heart comprehension. Someone can act like they are listening without really understanding. People who lack humility and empathy lack the ability to really listen well. Pride and ego run over another’s sentences before they finish. An unbridled intellect interrupts with solutions and new ideas before they truly listen to the heart of the one making conversation. Hubris is deaf.

    So, there is skill involved in learning to listen with understanding. Good listeners lean into the one speaking and seek to know what the one speaking knows. They take in the spoken words, but simultaneously they process the emotional meaning behind the speech. Listeners hear without any preconceived notions or preemptive conclusions. We hear and listen well when we enter into the emotional world of the speaker. We learn to listen by asking clarifying questions.

    After three days they found him [Jesus] in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Luke 2:46

    The Holy Spirit is also involved in illuminating true meaning and providing discernment to humble and wise hearts. So, we prayerfully listen beyond the logic of the spoken language to the unspoken promptings of God’s Spirit. A person’s words may say they want one thing, but in their heart of hearts, they know they need something different. The Lord’s Spirit working through your spirit will give you insight into what they need to consider. Listen for the Spirit’s quiet leading.

    Most of all, be a hearer, listener, and a doer of God’s word. Scripture is like fertilizer for your faith. If the Bible is only revered on a bookshelf it is useless, but if it is spread over your life it makes things grow. Therefore, hear, listen and apply God’s Holy Word to your life. Once you listen and learn then allow His truth to transform your being. Wise listeners of Christ’s words integrate His principles into their behavior. They pray, “Speak Lord for I am listening for You.”

    Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. 1 Samuel 3:9

    Prayer: Heavenly Father speak to my heart and I will truly listen to You and obey.

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 34:9; Job 38:1-3; 1 Corinthians 14:21; Hebrews 4:12; 1 John 4:6

    Post/Tweet today: Prayer listens beyond the logic of spoken language to the unspoken promptings of God’s Spirit. #listeningprayer

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Who Do You Want to Be?

    Posted on June 3, 2013 by Lynn Cowell

    Lynn

    "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)

    Remember when you were younger, family and friends would ask, "What do you want to do when you grow up?"

    My answer would change each school year.

    In 3rd grade, I wanted to do puppeteering. My mom was my hero when she signed me up for the puppet class at the library! Fourth grade brought change. Sketch pads were filled with my amateur drawings of figures doing life together. As I grew, so did my aspirations of what I wanted to do as an adult.

    While I enjoyed the attention the "growing up" question gave, I really wish someone had asked me a different question. Instead of emphasizing what I wanted to do, how powerful it would have been if grown ups had asked, "Who do you want to be?"

    The great thing is, it's not too late to ask myself this question. And I'm old enough to know where to find the perfect answer.

    Galatians 5:22-23 describes many characteristics of a godly woman: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The Bible describes these as the "fruit of the Spirit." They start in seed form when God's Spirit enters our heart, and they grow and develop with care and attention to the things of the Lord.

    They're cultivated by reading the Bible, praying and listening to the Lord, and living them out. The more I practice them, the more I become them—and the woman God wants me to be.

    Now, I am no longer the one being asked, "What do you want to do when you grow up?" Instead, I have the opportunity to be the one asking. My daughters, ages 18 and 16, are just around the corner from living out their own adult lives. Posing the question to them, "Who do you want to be?" is so much more important than "What do you want to do?"

    Do you want to be one who loves the least and the lost? What fruit of the Spirit do you want to be known for ... the girl with joy even in the struggles? The faithful friend who was loyal no matter what the cost?

    By asking our kids these types of questions, we're teaching them to care more about their character than their career. When we do, we empower them that no matter what they do, they have developed a character they feel confident about.

    Today, I'm going to ask my children: "Who do you want to be when you grow up?" If they can't come up with words on their own, I'll offer some help. The fruit of the Spirit is the perfect place to start: loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, full of kindness and goodness, faithful, gentle and self-controlled.

    Dear Lord, help me care more about my character than my career and to be more intentional about who I am rather than what I do. Give me words to teach Your wisdom on how to live a life that honors You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    His Revolutionary Love: Jesus' Radical Pursuit of You and Devotions for a Revolutionary Year by Lynn is for girls ages 13 to 18. These two resources will help the girl in your life make wise choices. It is a great study for moms and daughters to bond over too!

    Reflect and Respond:
    In the next 24 hours, look for an opportunity to ask your child, or someone you love, "Who do you want to be when you grow up?"

    Before you ask, think of who you want to be (based on the fruit of the Spirit) so you can have a sharing time together.

    Power Verse:
    Colossians 3:12, "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

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

  • Contentment’s Concern

    Posted on June 2, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    My heart is not proud, O LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.  But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore.”  (Psalm 131:1-3)

     

    Contentment is not concerned with matters out of its control. Anytime you try to manage circumstances out of your purview, you grow discontented. The world of discontentment is a dangerous place to live because it may lead you to make a hasty or unwise decision. Decisions made under the duress of discontentment are not always the best. Contentment, on the other hand, is patient and prayerful in decision-making. Most things do not have to be decided right away. You can wait and watch God unfold His will. It may be time to make a bold move, but execute your transition smoothly, not in a jagged fashion. Contentment does not try to change people. That’s God’s job. Contentment accepts the fact that some people are best left to themselves. God will deal with them in His way and in His timing.

     

    Contented people do not have to be "in the know" about everything around them. Too much information can get you into trouble for you are responsible for what you know. It may be that you are not ready for that level of authority. Be content and trust God with those issues that exceed your capacity to understand or implement. There will come a day when you are prepared for that role of confidant, but for now, be content with where you are. Do the best in your current position and let opportunities come your way. The world of contentment is a great place to live in peace and quiet.

     

    Contentment is found by placing your hope in God. Hope in the Lord can never be taken from you. All hell can break loose, but He is there. Hope in God is a perk for today. If you can trust Him with your soul for eternity, you can trust Him during this incredibly brief time on earth. Hope feeds contentment the way an appetizing meal feeds a hungry body. When you lose hope you grow discontented. Hope can be found in Jesus Christ, so don’t make it hard. He is not illusive or hiding; He is available for you. Contentment’s hope is in God.

     

    If you place your hope in anything other than God, you set yourself up for major disappointment. Everything else in life is capable of letting you down, but not your heavenly Father. He is there for you, and His desire is contentment. He desires contentment because He knows that pure joy and happiness are nurtured and able to grow there. Sad are the discontented; glad are the content. Driven are the discontented; called are the content. Restless are the discontented; peaceful are the content. Addicted are the discontented; satisfied are the content. Pessimistic are the discontented; hopeful are the content. Be content and enjoy the outcome. Contentment’s concerns are few.

     

    Post/Tweet: Decisions made under the duress of discontentment are not always the best. #becontent

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

     

  • Truth or Lies

    Posted on May 31, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” John 14:6a; “When he lies [the devil], he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44b

     

    Truth flows from the “Truth”—Jesus. Lies flow from the “father” of lies—the devil. So, truth tellers side with the Lord and liars side with Satan. With whom do we align? We are quick to say Jesus, but in everyday life,if not careful,we drift into representing the dark side when tempted to speak untruth out of fear, instead of truth out of trust.

     

    Lying is so short-term focused. We are afraid we will lose something if we don’t lie. We may lose someone’s respect, but when we are found out to be a liar, it is compounded into humiliation. We may lose money, but when indiscretions are exposed over time, we lose more in compromised creditability. Better to lose a little with honesty than a lot with lies.

     

    The devil is an expert in luring us away from the Lord’s desires by offering a short-term solution,lying, which leads to long-term destructive consequences. Liars are unable to remember their inconsistencies, so when confronted they sheepishly say, “I don’t remember or I can’t recall what I said”. Children who chronically lie seem oblivious;they continue to fib until the pain of not telling the truth causes them to change.

     

    If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth” (1 John 1:6).

     

    In paradise the first lie was presented by the serpent as he led Eve to believe she could be like God.Some things never change. Everyday we are tempted to promote ourselves as someone better than our real self. But instead, Spirit-led living looks to exalt Christ and others,  not self. To be honest is to take responsibility for our actions and  not to blame.

     

    The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12-13).

    Are you honest with yourself about constant exposure to a compromising situation? Are you loose with the truth, or do you speak directly and include all the information? Take responsibility for wrong decisions and going forward seek sound advice fromfriends who will tell you the truth. Be totally honest with them so they can offer the best advice. Begin by coming clean with Christ.He already knows,then be totally open and real with others.

    “Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning” (Jeremiah 9:5).

    Prayer: What do I need to be honest about with God and myself? Who needs my complete honesty?

     

    Related Readings: Proverbs 12:17, Jeremiah 9:3; Romans 1:25; 1 John 2:21

     

    Post/Tweet today: Liars are unable to remember their inconsistencies until the pain of lying causes them to change.. #tellthetruth

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • God, Are You Enough?

    Posted on May 31, 2013 by Melissa Taylor

    Melissa

    "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19 (NIV 1984)

    God, are You enough? It's a question my circumstances bring me to quite often.

    Over a lifetime I've concluded not only is God enough, but He has to be enough.

    It takes effort on my part to make sure my heart is staying in this truth.

    As a young child, I didn't realize my need for God, but I did realize I had a need that was not fulfilled. I was sexually abused when I was seven years old. My dad left our family when I was eleven. Both circumstances left me devastated, and I didn't understand then how God could ever heal my broken heart. So I spent many years trying to heal myself and make myself feel better.

    Nothing was enough to meet my needs. Nothing worked.

    As I grew older, I moved from being a Christian who simply believed, to becoming a Christian actively seeking and following Jesus. That was when my life began to change.

    Because I was having direct conversations with God through prayer and consistently reading His Word, my faith grew. I learned that when the hard knocks came, and they would, I needed to ask one question: "God, are You enough?"

    When a friend betrays me, "God, are You enough?"

    When I need to forgive what seems unforgivable, "God, are You enough?"

    When my child has issues out of my control, "God, are You enough?"

    When my marriage is on the brink of destruction, "God, are You enough?"

    When my mom is dying of cancer, "God, are You enough?"

    When others don't recognize my value, "God, are You enough?"

    When I struggle professionally, "God, are You enough?"

    When someone I love uses words to hurt me, "God, are You enough?"

    When I am in debt and don't know how I'll pay my bills, "God, are You enough?"

    When my past haunts me, "God, are You enough?"

    When my health declines, "God, are You enough?"

    When I am let down and disappointed in my life, "God, are You enough?"

    Every time I asked "God, are You enough?" I opened my Bible and began reading, verse by verse. Though my doubts were strong in the beginning, God's Word started to silence the thoughts paralyzing me.

    Through promises fulfilled and promises given in Scripture, I discovered the answer was always the same when I asked: "God, are You enough?"

    Yes, He is.

    Nothing here on earth is guaranteed, except for one thing: Jesus is with us always. And when we understand who He is, our doubts begin to disappear.

    The Bible tells us Jesus is sufficient; He's enough. Philippians 4:19 says, "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (NIV 1984). I discovered this to be true. Every need, every doubt, every inadequacy, every fear was met, answered and removed by Jesus.

    If I lost everything, I'd be okay because no one can take away my Jesus. Whether I live in a mansion on a hill or in a tent on the side of a swamp, I have my Jesus. Whether the world is for me or against me, I have my Jesus. When I am knocked down, I get on my knees and find my Jesus.

    When life becomes more than you think you can handle, don't quit. And certainly don't believe the lie God is not enough. Instead, ask yourself, "God, are You enough for me?" Then plant His Word deep in your heart so you'll always have the ready answer, that yes He is. He is enough for me, for you. Ours is the God who "... will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19).

    Dear Lord, help me to realize and remember the secret to being content in all circumstances is You. Help me to be aware of Your presence in my life at all times. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Follow us on Pinterest today.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Honestly assess if God is enough in your life. Do you find yourself needing or wanting more? Remind yourself that God knows you inside and out. He loves you no matter what and He always will.

    Is there a situation in your life you need to turn over to the Lord?

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 33:4, " For the word of the LORD is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness." (ESV)

    Isaiah 46:3b-4, "You whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Melissa Taylor. All rights reserved.

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

  • Love Does

    Posted on May 30, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

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

     

    Actions born out of love speak like a megaphone of compassion to those in need. Words of concern are empty unless they are backed by involved behavior. A need does not necessitate a call, but Christ's love  compels us to engage in another’s messy situation. Love does what is necessary to bring hope and healing to those who feel hopeless and hurt. Those moved from within by the Spirit initiate intimacy. They are a solution looking for a problem.

     

    How is your capacity to love? Is it limited to your immediate family or does it overflow into acquaintances, even strangers? Ask the Lord to endow you with extravagant love from heaven for those on earth. Yes, you are a conduit for the enormous love of your Heavenly Father. After you sit at the feet of Jesus in prayer, you can’t wait to wash the feet of those who are soiled by sin. Serve in a way the world cannot explain. Hallelujah, love’s outcomes are outrageous!

     

    My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Ezekiel 33:31

    I have to check my motivation to make sure I am not giving to someone expecting a favor in return. If my love is conditional then it is tainted by my personal agenda. However, pure love does not discriminate, it is determined to meet needs as they arise. Everyday encounters are seen as divine appointments to engage the Lord’s limitless resources with those in need. My attention to another is not a bother, but  an opportunity to be Jesus to one distant from Jesus.

    Lastly, look to the Lord Jesus as your example of "love does". Love those who are rejected by religious snobs by going into their homes and having dinner together.  Rich or poor may  feel isolated from the church because they don’t believe they measure up to right standards of conduct. Love those deeply hurt by sin by looking into their lost hearts with genuine compassion and mercy. Weep for the wounded and do good for those who do bad. Love does!

    The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 1 Timothy 1:5

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me to love unrestrained and unconditional for Your glory!

     

    Related Readings: Levitucus 19:18; John 13:34; 2 Corinthians 6:6; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:17

     

    Post/Tweet today: We are a conduit for the enormous love of our Heavenly Father. #lovedoes

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Comparisons Stink

    Posted on May 30, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load." Galatians 6:3-5 (NIV)

    Comparisons stink. They do.

    Just when I think I've gotten to a good place in some area of my life, along comes someone or something that seems better in comparison. And my confidence shrinks back, takes the hand of doubt, and starts ransacking the peace right out of my heart and mind.

    I know deep down that God can and will use everything for good in my life, even my areas of vulnerability. But honest to goodness, it's hard on a girl's heart.

    Not too long ago, I was in a situation where something I'm very self-conscious about was magnified when compared to others' near-perfection. I was at the beach with several friends who have dancer's legs. And by dancer, I mean like twenty-year-old, ballerina-perfection legs.

    I guess you could say I have dancer legs too if you are referring to the dancing hippo from Madagascar.

    Apparently, long, lean legs just aren't in my genetic makeup, even though I can eat healthy and exercise every bit as much as my ballerina-like friends.

    So there I was on the beach. Comparing my vulnerable place to their perceived strength.

    And in the private space of my most inner thoughts, I cried. I found myself feeling defeated and convinced that this area will always be a struggle for me.

    Oh, I can make progress, for sure. Heaven knows, I do work on it. And most days, I see how God is using this all for good. But when comparison sneaks in, it can be hard. Worse than hard. It can just quite simply make me forget all the strengths I do have.

    And when I forget, my heart shifts. I stop being thankful and instead become consumed by that thing I don't have.

    Satan will always try to point out what's "wrong" to block out all that is right. And his whispers sound pretty convincing sometimes.

    But that's a dangerous place to park your mind.

    It's moments like these I find myself needing to soak in the truths of our key verses, Galatians 6:3-5, "If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load."

    As I thought more about that day on the beach, I realized I wasn't prayed up. Knowing I might have some comparison issues, I should have asked God to help keep my focus on Him. Instead, I just found myself wallowing—and wallowing isn't of the Lord. Amen? Amen!

    I share this because you need to know that we all struggle. I'm on a journey of learning. Just like you.

    And I desperately need God's truth to bump into my weaknesses every single day. Only then can I get out of the shadow of doubt and into the life-giving reality of who God has made me to be. And see it as good. Not perfect. Not even close. But good. And good is good.

    Dear Lord, forgive me for all of the times I've compared myself to others. I know that You have hand-picked all of my qualities. Help me to see these things as beautiful reminders of Your great love in creating me as Your daughter. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    If this devotion resonated with you, Lysa TerKeurst's Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress is just for you! Click here to purchase your copy.

    For more daily encouragement, visit our Facebook page.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Reflect on our key verse and power verse today. Then, think of an encouraging truth you can use to remind yourself of your own God-given talents and character traits. The next time you catch your mind swarming with comparisons, you'll have a plan to cling to!

    Power Verses:
    Romans 12:6-8, "We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

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