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Daily Devotion

  • When My Wild Heart Pushes the Boundary

    Posted on January 29, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeursts

    "LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places..." Psalm 16:5-6a (NIV)

    "Mrs. TerKeurst, your dog ran away to our house ... AGAIN."

    "Mrs. TerKeurst, I think I might have just seen your dog running down the street."

    "Mrs. TerKeurst, this is one of your neighbors. Just letting you know we're about to drop off your dog—we saw him running around our neighborhood."

    "Mrs. TerKeurst, this is the animal clinic. I believe we have your dog."

    "Mrs. TerKeurst, do you own two dogs?"

    I own three dogs. But my two outside dogs, Champ and Chelsea, are sometimes delinquent. I love them. They love me. But they love running away more. Even though we didn't have a fence, we had other systems in place to keep them safely at home!

    I can't tell you the number of sleepless nights I've had fretting over my dogs. Several times we've enlisted our friends to pray for Champ and Chelsea. But this sort of backfired on us once.

    One of our friends knew Champ had gone missing and miraculously found him in a yard miles from our home. He was amazed Champ had run so far. He pulled into the driveway, coaxed Champ into his car, and called me with breathless excitement to announce he'd found my beloved dog.

    But five minutes before my friend got to my house, Champ came home. When my friend pulled into my driveway carrying a Champ lookalike, we both about fell over. My friend had kidnapped someone else's dog—right from their front yard!

    Oh my glory be.

    It was time to do something.

    I used to think invisible fences were cruel. I couldn't stand the thought of my dog getting a shock. So, I looked into getting a regular fence. But we live in the country and installing a regular fence was simply out of the question.

    An invisible fence it would have to be. After all, a shock to keep them inside the safe boundary is a lot better than what might happen outside the boundary.

    Boundaries aren't cruel barriers meant to keep my dogs from freedom. They are protective restrictions meant to define where safe freedom can be found.

    And my dogs aren't the only ones who need to remember this lesson. I need to remember this, and apply it to the protective restrictions God has for me.

    Why? Because there's usually some sort of boundary my wild heart tries to push against.

    Have you ever found yourself rationalizing some situation in your life where you know you aren't doing what God said we should do?

    Does God really want us to love our enemies? Is it really important to not let the sun go down on my anger? Do I really need to pray and read my Bible every day? Oh, grumbling isn't so bad ... I mean everyone finds something to complain about.

    I push against the boundaries. Sometimes I even break through them. But what's waiting on the other side isn't freedom.

    Oh Lord, let my wild heart always remember ...

    Your instructions, Your boundaries, aren't cruel barriers to keep me from freedom. They are protective restrictions meant to define where safe freedom can be found.

    And Lord, if You can teach this same lesson to my dogs, my neighbors, friends and I would be ever so grateful.

    Dear Lord, thank You for the protective hand that You have placed over me. Cultivate in me an obedient heart that seeks to live in the safe freedom of Your boundaries. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Lysa TerKeurst's New York Times bestselling book, Unglued, gives a fresh perspective on how to be obedient to the Lord with your emotions, reactions, and decisions.

    Start the New Year with a dose of daily encouragement. The Unglued Devotional is an amazing resource to use as you strengthen your relationship with the Lord.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What is one thing that God has been asking you to surrender to Him?

    Any need we try to meet outside of God's perfect will is a step into a danger zone. Spend some time today reflecting on the power verses below as you surrender an issue to God that you have been rationalizing.

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 119:66-67, "Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust Your commands. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey Your word." (NIV)

    Job 36:11, "If they obey and serve Him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Psalm

  • Overconfident Bully

    Posted on January 28, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “He [Goliath] said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!” 1 Samuel 17:43-44

    Bullies abound. They make their shameless appearance on middle school yards, they taunt insecure teenagers and they show up to scare and intimidate coworkers. Bullies think they can strike fear and submission into victims by their sometimes imposing presence. The giant Goliath railed at David, jealous of his youth, good looks and health; he threatened and despised him. Bullies use mind games to melt their enemies. They curse with shameless arrogance and pride.

    Are you being bullied to do something, and so lack peace? Do you feel manipulated and shamed by an authority figure? If so, by God’s grace stand up to their idle threats. Call their bluff by saying no and trusting Christ with the consequences. You can expose a bullies blindside by challenging them with truth and killing them with kindness. Let the Lord fight your battle, as your actions will prove themselves right by your integrity. Bullies fall in the face of faith in God.

    “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

     

    Moreover, look out for innocent people you know who are recipients of another’s angry intimidation. Stand up for them and stand with them. Yes, pray passionately for their security to be in Christ, but also become an advocate for their cause. Bullies are threatened when their coercion is challenged by caring friends. Your courage needs to choose a side so injustice does not steal your friend’s peace and security. Protect those exposed to the enemy's idle threats.

     

    Lastly, stand up to a bully in the name of the Lord. It is not your clever words that ultimately prevail, but the power of the Holy Spirit in your spirit, speech and deeds that prevails. Christ can change another man or women’s heart in an instant. Therefore, look to the Lord to fight your battles; He has never lost! Lay your finely crafted arguments at the feet of Jesus and ask Him to persuade your foe to do what’s right. Humble courage depends on God to bring down a bully.

     

    “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father give me humble courage to stand up to those who stand against You.

     

    Related Readings: 1 Corinthians 1:8; 2 Corinthians 1:21; Galatians 5:1; Ephesians 6:10

     

    Post/Tweet today: Stand up for and stand with those threatened by a bully. #protect

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 1 Corinthians, 1 Samuel, Joshua

  • Open Her Heart ... and Mine

    Posted on January 28, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    "One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart and she accepted what Paul was saying." Acts 16:14 (NLT)

     

    She stood in front of me. "I wanted to go down," she said. "I just couldn't."

    Her grandmother stood nearby, silent. Hope etched her features.

    I took her hands. "It's scary sometimes to take an unfamiliar step," I said. "But we're here now. Can we pray together?"

    This woman grew up in church, but she'd taken some wrong turns in life. After years of living apart from her family, she had arrived on her grandmother's doorstep out of desperation. She came to the women's conference because someone had given her grandmother free tickets.

    Admittedly, she came for a free meal and to make her grandmother happy. She was fully prepared to leave with her stomach full and her heart empty.

    Except God saw her walk through the door.

    The words from Scripture reached past her tough exterior to land right in the tender spot of her desperate heart. While walking to an altar seemed impossible for this vulnerable woman, she hoped someone would pray with her before she left the church. Which is how she ended up in front of me.

    In return for my prayers, I received a kiss on my cheek. Wrapping her arms tightly around me, she said "I love you," with joy on her face.

    She didn't see the tears running down mine, as she turned away.

    Just as that grandmother had stood with hope for her granddaughter, I've been praying for years for a loved one. There are days hope recedes, and I find myself on my knees again, asking for a refill.

    In Acts 16, Paul met a woman named Lydia. In many ways she was different from the woman who stood in front of me that day in the church. Lydia was a seller of purple cloth, so she was financially well off. And she was a worshiper of God, likely a devout Jewish woman.

    But she was also similar to the woman at the conference, in that she hadn't yet met Jesus Christ. Two thousand years ago the Lord opened Lydia's heart. She was so changed by her new relationship with Jesus that she became one of His most devoted followers.

    God still opens hearts.

    He opened Lydia's heart to receive the truth.

    He opened my new friend's heart to receive relationship and restoration.

    He opens my heart to hope.

    Maybe, like me, you have been praying for a loved one for a long time. Perhaps there are days when it feels as if the prayers aren't working. But like carefully planted seeds, those prayers are received one by one by our Heavenly Father, until one day they poke through the ground of our loved one's heart to receive the Light.

    I will continue to pray that God opens the heart of those I love. As I wait, I will also pray that God opens my heart to receive the hope He so generously offers.

    Dear God, open my loved one's heart to receive and accept Your grace, mercy, and transforming love. But also open my heart. Today I stand on Your promises and delight in what only You can do. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    Hope: [noun] to cherish a desire with anticipation.

    When we pray for a long time without seeing an answer, do we focus on the problem or person, rather than the promise? Let's begin to cherish our desire for our loved ones as we anticipate what God is doing, unseen. How He is planting those prayers like seeds in the heart of our loved ones. Let's cherish the day those seeds will poke through hardened ground to receive nourishment and Light.

    Power Verses:
    Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (NIV)

    Romans 8:24-25, "We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don't need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don't yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)" (NLT)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Acts

  • Come to Me

    Posted on January 27, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

     

    Sometimes, your soul needs to catch up with your body. There is a disconnect created by distractions and busyness. You are weary of life and work. This soul fatigue will follow you until it finds rest. It is relentless in reminding you what is important and necessary. The warning lights of weariness flash in the face of your faith. You are tired and troubled with nowhere to turn. This is when you can turn your eyes upon Jesus. He offers a constant invitation to come to Him. Burdens bear down on your back of responsibility like a ton of bricks, but Jesus is there to ease the pressure. Health issues assault your body like unceasing fire from the enemy, but Jesus is there to soothe the pain through prayer.

     

    Marriage confusion has the best of you and you are ready to give up, but Jesus has the answers as the supreme counselor. Work expectations have overwhelmed your ability to execute the right results, but Jesus is there to impart His wisdom and discernment. Do not let failure talk you into giving up. You can carry on with Christ. Submit to His restful invitation. Take Him at His word and yoke up with His humility and gentleness. His invitation to rest is received by faith. The yoke of Jesus gives hope and encouragement to the soul.

     

    Start by aligning your calendar with Jesus time. A partnership with Christ requires time and attention. You cannot maintain a relationship with Him without investing in Him. Jesus went to the mountain to commune with His heavenly Father, and when He came down, large crowds followed Him. Why? People follow leaders they know they can trust. When you spend time with Jesus, you build trustworthiness. You go to the mountains alone to pray, and you come back surrounded by followers. They know you have been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).

     

    When others know you have been with Jesus, they are reassured that you are depending on Him for wisdom and direction. They can trust that your motives are pure and that this business or ministry is not your deal but His. You gain instruction from Him on how to execute His plan. Followers take great comfort when their leader pauses to pray and takes time to receive the Holy Spirit’s discernment over issues of vision and strategy.

     

    Therefore, slow down each day and listen to the voice of the One who created the world with a word. His words are powerful and freeing. They are comforting and convicting. The Word of God will save you from unwise decisions and free you to make wise ones (Proverbs 30:5). Organize your priorities around the priorities of Christ. Get away, and get with Him. Give your soul a break when it is strained under the barrage of activity.  Take a step back and reevaluate. This requires faith. Let others into your confidence and trust that they are agents of the Almighty. His angels surround those who fear Him. Be accountable to be alone with Almighty God. This sensitive soul-care reaps temporal and eternal rewards. A well-kept soul results in robust living. Go to Jesus for He is asking you to come. Come quickly to Christ. Your soul deserves to catch up.

     

    Post/Tweet: Sometimes, our soul needs to catch up with our body. Prayer slows us down. #prayer

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • God’s Silence

    Posted on January 26, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him” (1 Samuel 28:5–6).

    Sometimes God is silent. He is silent in our prayers. He is silent in our circumstances. He is silent in our relationships, and He is silent in His Word. His silence can be deafening because it seems that His silence is ill timed. In most cases, His silence revolves around a real need you are experiencing. You may feel that God is disinterested or that He does not care. The silence of God can be an overwhelming place to occupy and still trust Him.

     

    Your predicament could be like a heavy bar bell on your chest with no spotter available to assist you. You feel all alone and unable to fix the problem or correct the issue. You do not even know where to start. You are in despair, at the tipping point of depression. Anger has clouded your reason, and heaven seems indifferent to your hurt.

     

    Or, on the other hand, you are “suffering” from success and prosperity; yet God feels distant and disconnected. You have honored Him in the process, but He has not seemed to honor you with His warm and affirming presence. What is going on?  What is God up to? What does He want you to do next for the good of His kingdom?

     

    Indeed, God’s silence is your opportunity to remain faithful, even when you are unsure of His intentions for your life. He is God and we are not; therefore, we do not have to pressure ourselves to figure out everything that is going on. Managing the big picture is in His job description, not yours; so rest in His silence. Refuse to become restless, resentful, or rebellious. But still you ask, “Why the silence?”

     

    There may be two possible reasons for God’s silence—sin or sanctification; or it may be a combination of both. When God withholds His blessing and direction for your life, it may be the direct consequence of the sin in your life. This is why regular confession and repentance of sin are critical for the follower of Christ. This is like breathing for your soul. Sin is like cotton in the ears of our heart; thus, God’s voice becomes muffled, unclear, and eventually silent. Your removal of sin clears the wax from the ears of your heart.

     

    God’s silence may be used for your sanctification. He is in the process of making you more and more like His Son Jesus Christ. This is not always fun, though it is needed to learn God’s ways and His purpose for your life. Even if He is silent, do what you know is right today, and trust Him with the next step for tomorrow. Do not let silence overwhelm you; rather, use it as a springboard to trust God’s faithfulness.

     

    “O God, whom I praise, do not remain silent” (Psalm 109:1).

     

    Prayer: What do I need to learn during my silent times with the Lord? Will I still trust Him?

    Related Readings: Psalm 83:1; Isaiah 62:1; John 12:29; 2 Peter 1:18

    Post/Tweet: God’s silence is our opportunity to remain faithful, as He is still faithful even in His silence. #faithful

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Psalm, 1 Samuel

  • Love Disciplines

    Posted on January 25, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him. Proverbs 13:24

     

    Love carefully disciplines; apathy silently ignores. Love looks for ways to instruct and improve, while busyness has no time for a tender touch of truth. Do you take the time to discipline your children? Do your offspring encounter your rebuke along with your encouragement? Because we love them, we correct their attitudes and challenge them to better behavior. Rules restrain them from reacting foolishly or in the flesh.

     

    How can our children learn to make wise decisions if we do not discipline them to love and obey God? Like a skilled artist with a warm lump of clay, our children are mold-able, and their character is pliable in Christ’s hands. We seek consistency in our own character so we have the moral authority and respect to lead them. Your children’s first impression of the Lord is their father and mother; so be an authority who reveals His love.

     

    “The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today; parents tell their children about your faithfulness” (Isaiah 38:19).

     

    The branch of a tree is easily bent when it is tender; so start when they are young with yielding to Christ’s lordship. “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Foolishness flees from faith and the prayerful punishment of loving parents. “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15). Discipline leads to freedom.

     

    You may lament the need for respect from your son or daughter. It is your consistent concern for your children’s character growth that invites their respect. “Fathers … disciplined us and we respected them for it” (Hebrews 12:9). Moreover, loving parents honestly inquire, “How do I respond to the Lord’s discipline?” My example of growth from my heavenly Father’s discipline makes me an earthly father worth following.

     

    “For whom the Lord loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:12 nasb).

     

    Prayer: What area of my child’s growth requires me to be more consistent in discipline?

     

    Related Readings: Proverbs 23:13–14; 29:15–17; Hebrews 12:6–8; Ephesians 6:4

     

    Post/Tweet today: Like a warm lump of clay, our children are moldable, and their character is pliable in Christ’s hands. #children

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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


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

  • Don't Yield Your Mind Turf

    Posted on January 25, 2013 by Julie Gilles

    Julie Gillies

    "Hear, my son, and be wise, and direct your mind in the way." Proverbs 23:19 (ESV)

    For years, I walked around with a destructive and negative mindset without recognizing it. Raised in a tumultuous home that simmered with anger, resentment, and critical words, I picked up these deadly thought processes early on. Sadly, it's how my family operated, and I considered it completely normal. Critical thoughts spread like weeds throughout my mind and threatened to choke out every positive thought.

    Years later, enduring a miserable marriage, I regularly cried myself to sleep. I was still unaware that negative mindsets poisoned my thoughts. Thinking the best of others was foreign to me. Each morning I'd wake up and rehash my husband's harsh words of the night before. I'd tell myself that things were never going to change, and meditate on my critical thoughts and feelings. I was extremely unhappy.

    My unhealthy mindset made it hard to forgive, because I replayed hurtful words and situations in my mind over and over. It's very difficult, (if not impossible!) to forgive what you regularly focus on. This set up a destructive cycle in my marriage. Instead of forgiving and letting go, I rehearsed the hurt and held on. And I always felt it was warranted because I felt my husband's words and actions toward me were wrong.

    It wasn't until a women's retreat that I suddenly became aware of my dangerous mindset. During a time of reflective prayer, God helped me to see that my consistently critical thoughts toward my husband were destroying our relationship. I began to understand that even though my husband's actions toward me might be wrong, my response as a Christian was just as wrong.

    Over time my mindset slowly changed, but it remained a real effort not to give in to the negative thoughts I had regularly entertained most of my life. It took time and concerted effort, but as I prayed and spent time reading my Bible, wrong mindsets were replaced with healthy, godly thoughts.

    You may not battle with a negative or critical attitude like I did. Maybe worry, fear, or insecurity bombard your mind regularly. That's the enemy's plan: to consistently assault our minds until we surrender.

    We must fight every step of the way. As busy women, we don't have one brain cell to spare. And as godly women, we cannot yield any mind-turf to the enemy. The first goal when praying for our minds is the ability to recognize when we're under attack. God's Word tells us, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7 NIV)

    The number one way to resist the enemy is through prayer. Though the attacks against our mind can be subtle, God gives us wisdom when we ask Him. He will reveal to us what we are not always capable of discerning apart from His help: flawed, potentially destructive thoughts and mindsets. Whether the intrusions in our minds are remnants from the distant past or yesterday's hurts and disappointments, we can face every day with clear minds and godly mindsets.

    Dear Lord, equip my mind with Your helmet of salvation. Protect my mind from every evil influence. I submit my thoughts to You and thank You for granting me ever-increasing discernment, wisdom, and an understanding mind. Thank You that I have the mind of Christ, and I hold the thoughts, feelings and purposes of His heart. Renew my mind and grant me a fresh mental and spiritual attitude and a godly mindset. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    This lesson is adapted from Julie Gillies' new book Prayers for a Woman's Soul, an invitation for busy, overwhelmed women with long prayer lists to pray for themselves.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Do you recognize the enemy's assault on your mind this week?

    What specific thoughts and mindsets do you need help changing?

    Apply the truths you've learned today and determine to spend this week praying for your mind.

    Power Verses:
    1 Corinthians 14:20, "Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults." (NIV)

    Romans 12:2, "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Julie Gillies. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Proverbs, James

  • Be Yourself

    Posted on January 24, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off.” 1 Samuel 17:38-39

    Those who are comfortable in their own skin are content in how the Lord has made them. However, those who strive to be someone they’re not end up frustrated, failing to enjoy authentic living. Saul desired to honor David by giving him his armor that worked well in past battles, but what Saul found effective was not the best plan for David. Yes, wise followers of Christ focus on what aligns with them uniquely. Therefore, those who know themselves can be themselves.

    Are you at peace in how the Lord has prepared you for the challenges you face? Do your words and mannerisms represent the true you, or are you a masquerade of another man or woman? It is ok to learn from others with a track record of integrity, but ask the Spirit to filter their ideas and actions through the grid of how God has made you. The Lord has placed you in this time and place, so be proud of who you are and where you’re from. Be who God made you.

    “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” Acts 17:26-27

    Be yourself at home and your family will feel free to be themselves. Parents and children who laugh and cry together grow closer together. Be yourself at work and pretense will feel uncomfortable in your workplace. Office politics are precluded where people are at peace in their roles and responsibilities. It is in an environment of authenticity that we feel free to be how God has made us. So you can be content in a career that is the best fit for you.

    Most of all be yourself in the company of Christ. He will not love you any more than He already does, regardless of what you accomplish or don’t accomplish. You don’t have to prove yourself to God who has already thoroughly accepted you in His son Jesus. Be yourself with your Creator and He will give you insight to be creative for His causes. Clothe yourself in the unique apparel of grace that Almighty God has just for you. He is conforming you into the image of His Son.

    “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” Romans 8:29

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the faith and courage to be who You want me to be.

     

    Related Readings: Genesis 1:27; Psalm 106:20; 1 Corinthians 15:29; 1 John 3:2

     

    Post/Tweet today: Those who are comfortable in their own skin are content in how the Lord has made them. #content

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Acts, Romans, 1 Samuel

  • Where Faith Gets Awfully Messy

    Posted on January 24, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

    Last year I had emergency surgery on my ears. And while the pain went away, there is still a really loud, constant ringing in my left ear.

    Because of this ringing, I've had many sleepless nights. But one night in particular proved to be more than I thought I could handle. The screeching in my ear reached an all time high and not even medication helped. My throat tightened as frustration of this situation threatened to spill out in a million tears. I could feel myself slipping over a terrifying edge ... that edge where hopelessness steps into the moment and you feel too weak to resist it.

    I whispered, "I'm slipping God. I can't stand this another minute. Much less five more minutes. Or five more hours. Seriously God. I can't. I'm trying to be brave. I've begged for Your healing. And I truly believe You are healing me. But I'm freaking out. And I'm so sorry if 'freaking' is a bad word — I'm still on the fence about that one. But God, I feel myself falling and I can't figure out what to grab onto."

    This is where faith gets awfully messy, isn't it?

    Faith.

    Most days, I'm like a little kid on the swing going higher and higher without fear. I know the swing will hold me. I know the chains are secure. I'm bold. Assured. Confident.

    That night though, I was terrified of the swing. The chains felt more like unraveling threads with a screaming me dangling at the end. My faith felt small.

    But my faith was right in front of me. And when one falls, out of instinct they grab onto whatever is right in front of them.

    And I just want you to know that even small faith is completely able to hold you. It held me that night. Through the minutes and hours I didn't think I could press on.

    I started recounting all the ways God made sure my faith was front and center for this slip. I thought about the ways I'd seen His hand even in the previous days.

    Recounting His faithfulness secured the chains. Showed me I wasn't dangling by a thread out on my own.

    One of those ways was discovering my husband's sound machine is a gift. That crazy sound machine has aggravated the stink out of me for years. But when put on the rain setting, it helps soothe the screeching in my ear.

    Without having told my pastor about my ear, he sent me a text saying he was praying for me and God had put 1 Kings 18:41-46 on his heart.

    And what are those verses about?

    Rain. The sound of a heavy rain.

    A rain that happens in between two vastly different displays of faith in Elijah's life. One minute he's swinging with great faith so bold and secure he calls fire down from heaven.

    Then only a few verses later he's dangling by a thread as he runs and hides in a cave.

    The Lord comes to Elijah in a gentle whisper and shows him what to do at the end of that thread. "Go back the way you came." (1 Kings 19:15a NIV)

    God was saying, "Backtrack and remember all the places I've been faithful in your life. And know with assurance. And boldness. And confidence. I AM. I AM the same faithful God."

    So, I let these words slip into my soul. I turn up the sound of rain. I grab onto my faith right in front of me. And discover, I am held by the great I AM. I guess I just wanted to be that friend today who reminds you, no matter what you're going through — the same is true for you.

    Dear Lord, thank You for being so faithful, even when it feels like things are slipping away. Help me today as I let Your promises and truth sink deep into my heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    If you feel like things are slipping and you are out of control, Unglued, by Lysa TerKeurst, was written just for you.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What past trials has the Lord helped you through?

    It is so important that we remember God's faithfulness. It can carry us through those dark times in our lives. Write down three specific situations when the Lord has proven faithful even when you felt hopeless.

    Power Verse:
    1 Samuel 12:24, "But be sure to fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Hebrews, 1 Kings, Faith

  • Walking Wisely

    Posted on January 23, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm. Proverbs 13:20

     

    Do you have a wise woman or man in whom you confide? Is there someone—your dad, mom, a business associate, or teacher—to whom you can go for objective, biblical advice? It is in humility we learn to harvest good sense and wisdom. Gaining God’s perspective is not a one-time event but a lifetime of leaning on others to grow in our understanding. Wisdom comes from walking with the wise, not flirting with fools.

     

    Good people engage with good company. There is no separation of being influenced by skilled people with seedy morals during the week and hearing a sermon on Sunday. “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character’” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Instead, be intentional toward integrity. Seek out a wise peer, or ask a wise mom if you may call her for counsel. Wisdom walks with willing participants who obey.

     

    “For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people” (1 Peter 2:15).

     

    Beware of fools who talk fast but do not follow through. They may be aware of what is right and talk the talk, but they fail to walk the walk. They ignore integrity. Fools eventually damage relationships. Foolish behavior will come back to bite you; so avoid its influence. What seems like innocent fun eventually inflicts suffering and harms hearts. Fools practice anti-wisdom. “Fools despise wisdom and discipline” (Proverbs 1:7).

     

    So where can you find wise companions? Look for them in church or in respected leadership roles in the community. Vet their resume of wise living by observing the countenance of their spouse, watching how they love their children, and studying their financial management. Jettison foolish friends so you have the capacity to walk with the wise. Ask, “Am I growing in wisdom or floundering with fools?”

     

    A wise ruler once said, “It is better to heed a wise man’s rebuke than to listen to the song of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:5).

     

    Prayer: With whom can I walk in wisdom to become more Christlike in my life?

     

    Related Readings: Genesis 13:12–13; Ruth 2:23; Acts 2:42; 2 Thessalonians 3:14

     

    Post/Tweet today: Wisdom comes from walking with the wise, not flirting with fools.

    #wisdom

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 1 Corinthians, Proverbs, 1 Peter, Ecclesiastes, Wisdom

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