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Daily Devotion

  • Clashing with Others

    Posted on June 17, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen

    "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found..." Proverbs 10:12-13a (ESV)

    My husband and I often joke about what would have happened in our college-courting days if we had sent our profiles to an online match-making website. We are pretty sure that instead of pairing us, the computer screen would have blinked DO NOT DATE!! TOTALLY NOT COMPATIBLE!

    We're a lot like the two candlestick holders on the dresser in our bedroom. While both are crafted from solid brass with similar round bases, the rest of each holder couldn't be more different.

    One is straight and streamlined, more functional than fancy. That candlestick holder has tall, strong lines. The second is designed with a touch of flair. It has two strands of brass that whirl and swirl from top to bottom in a "look at me" manner.

    I found the candlesticks at different yard sales. While their styles aren't the same, somehow this eclectic pair is an interesting match. And more importantly, they're a visual reminder to my husband and me of our marriage.

    My husband is the first candlestick. No frills. Straight-forward. Only about function. I am the second one. Crazy. All over the map. All about fun. While we both are "forged from brass" in that we are followers of Christ with the same spiritual foundation, pair our opposite-ends-of-the-spectrum personalities together and disaster could ensue.

    Beyond the normal male/female differences, we have a lot in our personalities that cause friction and sometimes (mostly from me) snapping and harsh words.

    Mismatched personalities in marriage, parenting or in work or friendship situations, can cause frustration, anger and at times, wounded feelings.

    Someone who is not wired as we are, does not think like we do and who makes decisions and carries out actions we would never dream of, can rub us the wrong way. It causes our feathers to ruffle and not-so-nice thoughts enter our brains.

    Usually, if dealing with a non-family member, we manage to keep our composure and tame our tongues to avoid saying anything we might regret. With our children or spouses however, sometimes we open the floodgates and spew cutting comments, nasty words, criticisms and awful accusations. My husband and I call it "throwing flesh balls." At that point, we no longer "walk by the Spirit" but "gratify the desires of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16 NIV).

    If I allow it, my flesh likes to be satisfied and nothing satisfies it more than a good ol' verbal assault on my thinks-and-acts-so-differently-from-me husband.

    There's a different way God calls me to respond though. Proverbs 10:12-13a provides direction for how we should handle conflicts that arise from trying to mesh two differing personality types. "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found ..." (ESV).

    Love is key to wise responses in a relationship. Because we love God, and others, we should seek to understand when we clash. And ask God for wisdom when we don't understand. We should love intentionally. Not necessarily in an "ushy-gushy, touchy-feely" way, but in an "I am going to choose to react gently and behave kindly because that is what God is asking me to do" sort of way.

    Cementing this thinking in our minds will help us to respond with God's love and biblical truth. Especially when faced with someone who thinks and acts differently than us.

    Will you join me in purposing to stop stirring up strife when it comes to someone in your life? And to choose to love and understand them? Especially when they are oil while you are water. Yes, even your spouse.

    Dear Lord, grant me the ability to speak kindly, respond gently and at times, to hold my tongue. I want my actions and reactions to please and reflect You and Your love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    The NIV Real Life Devotional Bible for Women with devotions by the Proverbs 31 team.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What is the driving force behind your words when you spew anger? Wanting to be right or to be heard? Anger, selfishness, or pride? Take time to formulate a loving, understanding, and godly reaction for the next time you clash with someone.

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 15:1, "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (ESV)

    John 13:34-35, "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." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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

  • Affectionate Father

    Posted on June 16, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.” 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12

    Am I an affectionate father? Like the geyser “Old Faithful,” do I spontaneously spew out love and affection on my children? Am I faithful to fill my daughter or son’s emotional tank with a warm embrace or a kiss on the head? Or am I so caught up in my own career and needs that I have no emotional capacity to give affection? Affection must be displayed.

    A father with affection reflects his heavenly Father’s affection for him. It is out of an overflow of being comforted and loved by Christ that redeemed fathers show affection to their children. When the Holy Spirit gives us a warm and secure hug, we can’t help but hug our children and grandchildren. Eternal affection translates into earthly affection.

    “Yet the LORD set his affection on your forefathers and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today” (Deuteronomy 10:15).

    Perhaps you have a routine of kissing and hugging your children each time you leave home and when you arrive home. There is no rushing out the door until you have made emotional deposits in your most valued relational account. Your child is your lockbox of love, waiting with a tender heart to be touched by their daddy. Initiate hugs and kisses.

    When a child’s heart hurts from fear, rejection, or physical harm, move closer with care and compassion. Listen with empathetic ears and outstretched arms. Affectionate fathers are up close and personal, distant fathers are unsympathetic and impersonal. Your seeds of affection reap a harvest of healthy adult children who want to come back home.

    "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20b).

    Since He sets His affections on you, you set your affections on Almighty God. A father who is first loved by his heavenly Father  has the capacity to love his children appropriately and fully. Adult children who have experienced their father’s affection more easily show affection. So seek affection above and then apply it below.

    “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul” (Psalm 143:8).

    Prayer: Do I regularly receive affection from my heavenly Father? How can I intentionally be the most affectionate with my children?
    Related Readings: 2 Kings 17:41; Psalm 103:13; Malachi 4:6; Luke 11:13

    Post/Tweet today: When the Holy Spirit gives us a warm and secure hug, we can’t help but hug our children and grandchildren. #hugs

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

  • Thoughts on Father's Day

    Posted on June 15, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    You see it in every Father’s Day commercial or Hallmark card, images of dad playing catch with his son, embracing his daughter, scenes of a blissful and carefree love of a father. However, that is not everyone’s reality.  For years, I lived the reality of a distant dad, and by God’s grace have gleaned wisdom through this process.

    Dad's distance began with divorce

    Dad divorced mom soon after I turned five years old. I remember a stern man who expected me to be thorough in my chores. As a young lad raking the leaves at our humble home was one of my assignments. Dad was quick to point out any missed leaves and slow to affirm the vast majority that found themselves wrapped warmly in mom’s old tattered blanket.

    My brother Mitch and I did spend summers with Dad and his new wife Pat. He met Pat at a bar in Grand Rapids, MI. She was a pretty and patient lady from England, who was able to stand up to my father with grace, and sometimes not so much grace. Pat accepted us, and always made sure we were fed and cared for during our brief time together.

    Dad took us fishing from a pier in Pensacola, FL. and to Six Flags in Dallas, TX. We always engaged in activities, but never engaged much in discussions. Busyness competed with our conversations. Dad seemed comfortable not showing much affection and buying us gifts to somewhat sooth his growing guilt.

    Dad's distance never changed until I did

    When Jesus Christ became a reality in my life at age 19, I learned that I was to forgive my dad as God, for Christ's sake, had forgiven him. It was freeing for me to release anger, resentment and self-pity. Now I was energized by God’s grace to love my dad to Jesus. Rita, Rebekah and I moved to Ft. Worth, Texas in 1982 to attend seminary, but with a bigger mission to know my earthly father with the leadership of my heavenly father. I decided it was time I pursued my distant dad.

    I learned to love dad in God’s strength, not my own. As a result he relaxed and bean to open up about his fears, dreams, work and upbringing. Though he was an accomplished technical writer of operational manuals in the Aerospace industry, he would lament that he was only a hillbilly from Kentucky. Amazingly, he even attended church with us one Easter where I pastored a small congregation outside of Comanche, TX.

    Dad's distance transformed to pursuit

    Fifteen years after I graduated from Seminary Dad had his third heart attack. It was in his horizontal state of sickness that he looked vertically to the Lord. He called and invited me to visit him! The next three years I traveled once a month to Dallas for work and stayed in Garland, TX. with my Dad and Pat for a day. It was rich as we went deeper in our respect and understanding of each other. We discussed the Bible and prayed together.

    Dad attended the Pastor’s Wednesday Bible study at the local church. He told me in the hospital that he believed in Jesus Christ as the Savior for his sins! In 2000 my father went to heaven. I wept tears of grief and tears of joy, because my distant dad was close to Christ and close to me. Here is just a sampling of the wisdom I learned from my Heavenly Father through this time:

    1. Pray, pray, pray and get others to pray for you and your relationship with your father.

    2. Pursue your father with grace and patience.

    3. Do not take his remarks personally, because unbelievers act like unbelievers.

    4. Find common ground like a grandchild, sports, investing, food, golf or chess.

    5. See your father as your Heavenly Father sees him: with compassion, forgiveness, love.

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

  • A Godly Legacy

    Posted on June 14, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “When Jacob had finished giving instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.” Genesis 49:33

    Jacob gave his dying instructions to his sons as they waited at his beside. They lingered there out of love and respect. They had observed his life. And though not perfect by far, it was a life of overall faithfulness to God. The sons of the father wanted to receive his blessing and they were proud of the legacy left to them, a legacy of faithfulness to God.

    What legacy will you leave? If you died today, how would you be remembered? These are important questions for your children’s sake. Maybe your parents did not leave you a godly heritage. Nevertheless, you have a wonderful opportunity to start a new tradition, one based on the principles of Scripture. Lord willing, your legacy will start a godly lineage that will reach across the future for generations to come. Yes, your name will probably be forgotten, but what you stand for will be held in high esteem for all to remember.

    Perhaps you can start by documenting your family vision and mission. Write down outcomes you are praying for related to your family. Pray that your parental example of character compels your children to walk with Christ. Hold the Bible in such high regard that its commands and principles are lived out in love and obedience. Love your children with acceptance, discipline, training, and kindness. Follow the ways of God, and your children will see and secure a clear path of purpose to pursue.

    Moreover, consider a family credo that defines what you value as a family. Character traits like humility, hard work, community, forgiveness, communication, and relationship. Weave these beliefs throughout the language and behavior of your family. Challenge each child to be intoxicated by Scripture, so much so that God’s word is on their breath and seen through their behavior. Slow down and be intentional in legacy building. Then your children and your children's children are more apt to love Christ.

    “But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children” (Psalm 103:17).

    Prayer: Do I live life with legacy in mind, and do I uniquely and fully bless each child?

    Related Readings: Daniel 10:19; Joshua 24:27-29; Luke 2:29; Hebrews 11:13-22

    Post/Tweet today: Follow the ways of God, and your children will see and secure a clear path of purpose to pursue. #modeltheway

    Taken from Reading #3 in Wisdom for Fathers, click here: http://www.wisdomhunters.com/bookstore_category/books/

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

  • When You're a Run-Away Bride

    Posted on June 14, 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer

    Samantha

    "I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people." Psalm 116:14 (NIV)

    As soon as the opening prayer ended, I knew I had to leave my wedding. Whispering a quick apology, I turned and ran.

    My patent leather shoes burned rubber, leaving my soon-to-be groom in a cloud of confusion at the altar. Fast down the aisle where my father and I had just walked. Past the curious wedding guests. Straight to the powder room where my purse and coat were waiting.

    I breathed a sigh of relief. There they were, my written vows, forgotten in the excitement of preparations.

    I hurried back to Joshua waiting patiently for me at the altar. Facing the man I loved, we exchanged our vows.

    It's not every day that a girl makes a lifelong commitment like that. But it is every day I get to carry one out. Not just to my husband, but to my God.

    Sadly, although I made a vow to follow God years ago, there've been times when I've left my vows behind. I've been a run-away bride, leaving Jesus and my commitment to Him in the dust as I took off for what I thought were greener pastures.

    The whole time, He waited patiently. Waited for me to return and say, "I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people" (Psalm 116:14).

    We can run all our lives, but we're never truly settled until we make and keep a lifelong pledge to the One to whom our heart truly belongs. In Him, we have all good things, including the gift of love—God's love.

    As I read my marriage vows out loud at my wedding, I realized they were vows my heart needed to make to Christ as well. So I took the promises I made to my earthly husband, and re-addressed them to Jesus, as a covenant with my Savior, to record my heart's vows to Him:

    There really is no place like home. I've come to know this with great certainty as my love for You, Jesus, has grown. You're my favorite place to be. That's because You are where I am most at home ... You are where my heart is settled, comforted and loved.

    I vow to always keep You as my home base. To never stray emotionally, physically, or in my thoughts.

    I vow to keep You as the center of my home. To seek You every day with all my heart, mind and soul, and to serve You with all that's within me.

    I vow to keep my home clean from doubt, strife and unnecessary cares, and will fill it with believing the best about You, humility, and prayerfulness.

    I vow to willingly submit to You as head of my life, to lean on You, and not be stubborn. And to allow You to serve me.

    I vow to stay healthy and keep active, inviting You into my everyday activities.

    I vow to dream and plan and pray for my future with You.

    I vow to love mercy, act justly, and to walk humbly with You.

    I vow to let You know every day just how very much I love and honor You. And to thank You for all the wonderful things about You that make You ... YOU!

    If home is where the heart is, then my heart will always be with You.

    I don't know where you stand with God right now ... how near or far you are. But I know from experience, the further away you are, the more lost you will feel. Today, let's run to Christ—and make or renew our vows to Him.

    Lord, You alone are worthy of all my heart, soul, mind. Please help me keep my vows to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Scripture is the best thing to read to reignite your relationship with God. The new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women is a great way to start.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Consider your relationship with God. Do you take it as seriously as a marriage covenant? Write your vows to Him today.

    Power Verses:
    Joel 2:12-13, "'Yet even now,' declares the LORD, 'Return to Me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping and mourning; And rend your heart and not your garments.' Now return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness And relenting of evil." (NAS)

    Ephesian 5:25-27, "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Sibling Rivalry

    Posted on June 13, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.” Exodus 37:3-4.

    Do you outwardly favor one of your children over another? Have you used a phrase like, “I wish you were more like your sister, she always gets an A on her tests?” If so, you are in danger of creating an environment that fosters rivalry between your children. Sad is a child who thinks they have to live up to a sister or brother’s unreachable standard.

    Jealousy jabs at the heart and causes a child to react angrily toward the  object of their parent’s affection. Since they don’t feel like they measure up, they try to discredit the favored sibling or they create chaos to draw attention to themselves. It is disheartening to see even grown children remain in a state of fierce competition. Cruelty needs to be replaced with calmness—and anger with forgiveness, patience and love.

    “Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy? Better is open rebuke than hidden love” (Proverbs 27:4-5).

    Is there chronic conflict between your children? Is it to the point that they are becoming a poor testimony to the model of Christ’s caring approach to relationships? If so, consider creating boundaries in the home that help prevent disrespectful—even mean behavior. Start early on and instill disciplinary actions for disrespect, dishonesty and disobedience.

    Perhaps you are one of the few Christians in your family and other family members treat you as suspect or strange. If so, prayerfully use your position of integrity to invest unconditional love and acceptance into their lives. Serve them unselfishly and forgive their insults expressed by their insecure attitudes and actions. You know better and they don’t.

    “Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace” (Acts 7:9-10).

    Eventually you may be in a position to crush or care for your siblings—it is of course God’s will that you extend compassion and forgiveness toward them. When those who should love you the most treat you unfairly—forgive them—and model the gracious way or our Lord Jesus Christ. God chose your family for you to influence them for Him.

    “But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them” (Genesis 50:19-21).

    Prayer: How can I embrace and celebrate the accomplishments of my siblings?

    Related Readings: Job 42:11; Luke 14:26; Acts 13:45; 2 Corinthians 12:20

    Post/Tweet today: Sad is a child who thinks they have to live up to a sibling’s unattainable standard. #rivalary

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

  • A Restless, Unsettled Heart

    Posted on June 13, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land." Psalm 143:6 (NIV)

    A few years ago, I sat with a beautiful young woman as tears streamed down her face. Six months before our meeting, her world was full. A loving husband, a healthy toddler, fun friends, and a new home.

    But part of her heart felt restless, unsettled, a little empty. She couldn't put her finger on it. She tried talking to friends, but they laughed it off as something that would pass.

    Only the feeling didn't pass.

    She felt detached from her husband and disappointed that his love didn't fulfill her. Why couldn't he make her feel loved? She'd always thought of marriage as the ultimate love. He was going to be the one to right her wrongs and fill up her insecurities, or so she thought.

    Questions bombarded her ... What is wrong with him? Why doesn't he say what he's supposed to say? Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm not pretty enough, witty enough, good enough?

    Then one day she met a man who said things she'd longed to hear her husband say. He made her feel pretty and witty. Soon, she rationalized that she'd never really loved her husband. She convinced herself she'd made a mistake marrying so young. That this new man was her true love.

    She fell into his arms. A web of lies was spun. The thrill of new romance clouded every decision.

    She had not wanted to come to the women's retreat. She knew it might make her feel guilty, and she was past guilty feelings. She was just waiting for the right time to leave her husband and start over with the real love of her life.

    But her friends had started to grow suspicious of her pulling away. So, to appease them, she went.

    Over the course of the weekend, the walls she'd so carefully constructed to keep everyone at a distance and her secret hidden started to crumble. By Saturday night, she sat down with me and confessed it all.

    She desperately wanted to know how I felt so full of God's love. She'd never known that kind of relationship with Him. She now recognized it wasn't the love of another man her heart craved; it was the love of God.

    I think this is true for many of us. We spend years chasing things we think will make us feel loved. But everything this world offers is temporary. Everything. And will leave our souls dry, crying out to God, "I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land" (Psalm 143:6).

    The kind of love our souls crave is lasting, eternal. And only God can fill up our hearts with that kind of love.

    Chasing love outside the will of God invites so much into our lives that is the exact opposite of love. First Corinthians 13:4-8 is a picture of God's perfect love. It is patient and kind. It does not envy ... it is not self-seeking ... it does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth ... it always protects and perseveres. Love never fails.

    This is not a description of what is inherently ours when we fall in love with a person. It's a description of God's love.

    Because our souls were designed for God's fulfilling love, if we aren't staying closely connected to Him, our hearts will start to feel empty. Restless. Unfulfilled. Parched.

    Let us never think we are beyond being tempted. If we're honest, we're only a few bad decisions away from the same mess my friend is untangling herself from.

    The kind of love our souls crave will never be found in the things of this world. Lasting, satisfying love will only be found when we stop chasing others or possessions, and thirst for the things of God.

    Dear Lord, please help me see my marriage for the sacred gift that it is. Help me to remain faithful in a way that honors You and brings joy to our home. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    If you're looking to strengthen the connection and communication in your relationship, don't miss Lysa TerKeurst's marriage books, Capture Her Heart for husbands and Capture His Heart for wives.

    Reflect and Respond:
    If someone seems appealing enough to draw your heart away from the truth of God, will you pray about asking another godly woman for help?

    What step do you need to take to remove that temptation from your heart, mind, and soul?

    Power Verse:
    Ephesians 1:4, "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Friendly Makes Friends

    Posted on June 12, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24, NKJV

    A friendly person is fun to be around. They are upbeat and look for the best in those they meet. Yes, friendly can come on too strong, but those with relational understanding are sensitive to not go too far too fast. Indeed, a friendly person makes you feel at ease and gives you unspoken permission to be yourself. You feel safe to share your feelings with those who feel what you feel. Friendliness adds emotional energy to the conversation and encouragement to the heart.

    Furthermore, your friendly spirit qualifies you to make friends. Friends want to be around friends who have the capacity to listen and love. Are you the giver or taker in your friendships? How can you be intentional to invest in those the Lord has put in your life? Perhaps you pray by name for the children of your friends or keep their children, so the parents can enjoy a 24 hour respite. Friendly takes the risk to make friends and follows with steps to retain friends. Friends care!

    An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends. Proverbs 18:1

    A bond of trust and loyalty grows between two friends who try to out serve each other. However, if giving only goes one way,  over time the giver may grow weary in their solo service. Perhaps your Heavenly Father is calling you to fewer, more fulfilling friendships. He wants you to ratchet back your relationships to a manageable number. Who needs you to go deeper in this season of friendship? Pray for your friend and be emotionally available to enter into their world.

    Most importantly, lock arms with the Lord Jesus in your growing friendship with Him. Your maturing friendship with Christ will develop your capacity to love and care for your friends. Friendship with deity brings reality to relationships on earth. Ask your friend to bow and pray with you to your mutual friend Jesus. Friends who pray together replace conflict with resolution and anger with joy. Confidants can be closer than blood relatives through the blood of Jesus!

    A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:7

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray Your Spirit will grow a spirit of friendliness in my heart.

    Related Readings: Exodus 33:11; Psalm 109:4; Proverbs 12:26; Acts 19:31, 24:23; 3 John 1:1

    Post/Tweet today: We feel safe to share our feelings with those who feel what we feel. #feelings

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

  • A Better Way Than My Own

    Posted on June 12, 2013 by Van Walton

    Van

    "The LORD will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don't abandon me, for you made me." Psalm 138:8 (NLT)

    When I was five years old, my mother took me to kindergarten in the middle of the school year. She prepared me for my new adventure by promising fun and many new friends. Fighting tug-of-war emotions, anticipation pulling against apprehension, I entered the room full of children.

    While acclimating to my new environment, I decided to speed up the making-a-lot-of-friends process. Eager to be accepted, I couldn't wait to be noticed and included. I devised an interesting plan that would have every kindergartener eating out of my hand, literally.

    Each morning before recess, students lined up in front of the school store to buy mid-morning snacks. Noticing that donuts were the treat of choice, my mind whirred.

    That afternoon, alone in the back seat with my mother's purse, my plan began to hatch. My little hand slipped into her wallet and pulled out a dollar. Surely that was enough to buy everyone a donut.

    The next day, exploding with eagerness, I pushed my way to the front of the line. Handing my dollar up to an open hand I said, "A bag of donuts, please."

    "Are you sure little girl? A bag full? That's a lot. No one ever buys that many donuts!"

    I nodded my head. "Yes, one for everyone in my class and one for Teacher."

    Slowly the treasured bag of donuts slipped over the side of the counter.

    Yes!

    Stepping aside, I announced, "My treat!"

    Mouths dropped. Eyes flew open. Little hands extended. Classmates surrounded me, the instant celebrity.

    I felt good! Just as planned. Now, I had friends.

    After school, when my mom walked into class to pick me up, my teacher asked everyone to thank her. The look of surprise on my mother's face exposed me. My secret was out.

    I was a criminal. A thief. I had stolen money from my mother!

    How had a perfectly well-planned strategy gone so wrong?

    The Bible is full of stories of people who devised seemingly good plans. In too many circumstances strategies were flawed—like mine. In other situations people wisely relied on God.

    Psalm 138:8 says that God will work out His plans for my life. I don't have to manipulate, plot and devise.

    Regardless of my desperate circumstances, anxiety, or longing, there is a better way than my own. One popular Bible story encourages me to pray and then wait on the Lord.

    Moses' mother and his sister, Miriam, expected that God would protect baby Moses when they put him in a basket and sent it down the Nile River, hoping to hide him from a murderous ruler.

    Miriam watched the baby float away, all the while waiting for God to take control of the desperate situation. His sister's faith was rewarded by an amazing turn of events and his mother's trust in God paved the way for a Hebrew slave to become an Egyptian ruler (Exodus 2:1-10). This would not have happened without Moses' mother's and sister's patience and dependence on God.

    It's easy to rush to fix our own circumstances—contriving for the outcome we desire. But too often, in so doing, we tangle ourselves into ever-growing webs and create trouble or chaos. Let's learn from Moses' wise family by following their pattern:

    Expecting God to act.
    Waiting for God to deliver.
    Trusting that God's timing is best.

    I don't know what spurs you on to contrive, manipulate or plot. If you are like me, any circumstance where you find yourself out of control, desperate or confused will tempt you to scheme.

    Let's determine today to believe this truth, "The LORD will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don't abandon me, for you made me" (Psalm 138:8). And rest in His promises, committing to trusting God whenever tempted to influence our uncomfortable conditions.

    Lord God, I know You will work out Your plans for my life, but I need help to believe in the midst of desperate circumstances. In Jesus' Name, I ask You to give me strength to accept Your timing and Your ways during this unsettling time in my life. Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Let.It.Go. - How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking by Faith by Karen Ehman

    Reflect and Respond:
    What circumstances have brought on emotions that drive you to devise your own plans? How did that work for you?

    Next time you are tempted to fix a problem, stop. Ask God for wisdom and seek counsel from a trusted friend.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 94:11, "The LORD knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile." (NIV)

    Proverbs 19:21, "Many plans are in a man's heart, but the counsel of the LORD will stand." (NASB)

    © 2013 by Van Walton. All rights reserved.

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

  • The Lord’s Requirements

    Posted on June 11, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

     

    God has expectations for His children: justice, mercy and humility are three of His requirements. These are not electives for the student of God’s Word, but three virtuous attributes that are required. Furthermore, the Lord does not ask His followers to behave in any fashion that He has not already modeled before them.

     

    He acts justly, He loves mercy and He walks humbly. He does not expect any behavior from His followers that He has not already exhibited. His justice is sure, right, and fair. His mercy is fresh, deep, and everlasting. His humility is authentic, tranquil, and service oriented. Jesus came to earth from heaven to give us a picture of God’s glory.

     

    We worship an awesome God who has shown us the way. Look at the life of Jesus and He exemplifies this trinity of character traits. He was a man who despised injustice and He confronted unfairness with passion. Jesus was a man on a mission of mercy. He could not wait to extend His grace to some unsuspecting and undeserving soul.

     

    He served humanity's worst with humility. He did not condone sin, nor was He condescending towards those caught in their sin. He spoke with conviction laced with glory to God,in real life application. He was a man of humility. “Gentle and humble” (Matthew 11:29) are the only two recorded words in scripture that Jesus used to describe Himself. God has modeled the way for us. He does not require what He does not do.

     

    For Christ followers, He is your life. As you walk with Him that realization becomes more apparent. You cannot walk with God and not change, as you become like the one you walk with. When you walk with the Lord you begin to grow in justice, mercy and humility. When you walk with God you are transformed into the image of His son Jesus.

     

    “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Romans 8:29).

     

    So what does it mean to walk with God? First, you quit striving in your own strength. Slow down and prayerfully channel that same energy heavenward. By faith trust God to work out the people and circumstances beyond your control. This is a walk of faith.

    Secondly, as you walk with Him listen to His voice and enjoy His presence.

     

    His voice is reassuring and His presence is calming. Justice, mercy and humility will come as you walk with your heavenly father. Walking with God meets His requirements, as He provides what He requires. Isn’t this just like our gracious God? Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. His requirements are rewarding and good!

     

    Prayer: Do I have a humble walk with the Lord that exhibits mercy, love and justice?

     

    Related Readings: Genesis 5:22-24; Joshua 22:5; Luke 24:1-35; 1 John 1:7

     

    Post/Tweet today: We cannot walk with God and not change, as we become like the one we walk with. #walkwithGod

    © 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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