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Daily Devotion

  • SELFishness

    Posted on May 2, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:4 (ESV)

    I am a magnet for strange.

    Seriously.

    A few years ago I was outside with my three dogs soaking up the sunshine. We had gotten a new puppy named "Willow" for Christmas. Well, our other dogs, Champ and Chelsea, weren't sure what to think of precious, little three-pound, Willow.

    She annoyed them. In every way.

    I thought it would be a good investment for the dog relations in our home if I spent time with them outside, to help them all feel the love. So, I sat on the ground and loved on each dog.

    They enveloped me in a flurry of wet kisses, fur, and stinky dog breath. I was having a ball. And they were all getting along. Bliss.

    Until ... Willow came and sat on my lap. Claiming the prized location of closeness with me, I don't think she realized the signal she was sending. Champ suddenly backed up and growled. His tail stopped wagging. And he was not happy.

    "Oh Champ," I reassured him, "Willow is a baby. Be nice."

    More growling.

    "No sir! Champ, be nice. Come here. I can love on you while Willow sits in my lap," I reassured him once more, while rubbing behind his ears.

    He seemed to be happy again, and licked my cheek.

    More bliss.

    But then, out of the blue, he walked beside me, looked straight at Willow, lifted his leg, and drenched me in tee-tee!

    What in the world!? I couldn't believe what was happening.

    After recovering from my shock and changing my clothes, I Googled it.

    Some articles I read said Champ was marking his territory. "That's MY mama!"

    His strong expression of "MINE" was a vivid reminder of just how disgusting a heart bent on self can be. Champ couldn't enjoy all he was experiencing in the moment, because he was so laser-focused on the one way he felt slighted.

    SELFishness! ME! MINE! MINE! MINE!

    Sadly, I recognize this behavior because I've demonstrated this behavior.

    Several years ago, God challenged me to recognize my selfishness by seeing—really seeing—all that I've been given. And never looking at a blessing as something just for me. Now, I make myself think two things ...

    1. Thank You God for entrusting this blessing to me. I know it is a gift from You.

    2. How can I use this as an opportunity to bless someone else? The blessing will be more rewarding if it's not all about me.

    Do these things come naturally? Not at first. Not in a "Me First, Mine!, Mine!, Tee-Tee on Others" kind of world.

    But we aren't called to live according to the norm, just doing what comes naturally.

    We are called to rise above. Be set apart. Be different. Be pure in every way. "All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure" (1 John 3:3 NIV).

    What blessing do you have that might need to be shared today? What blessing do I have that might need to be shared today?

    Right in the midst of what we're doing, how can we graciously and purely represent Christ as we RE-present Him everywhere we go?

    Good stuff to ponder as I washed my smelly outfit that day.

    Dear Lord, thank You for every good and perfect gift You have given me. Help me to put others before me and to have a heart to see them as You do. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    If this devotion resonated with you, you'll enjoy Lysa's book, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God. For more information, click here.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    What opportunity has been given to you recently that you can pass on to others?

    Will you take the initiative to do that today?

    Power Verses:
    Philippians 2:3, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves." (NIV)

    Romans 12:3, "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you." (NIV)

    Psalm 133:1, "How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity!" (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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


  • Hidden Treasure

    Posted on May 1, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Matthew 13:44

    Followers of Jesus have the joy and privilege of treasuring the treasure of God. Like an archeologist for the Almighty, they dig in the dirt of His love and are surprised by His generosity with the precious metals of grace and truth. Jesus is the preeminent jewel. When excavated from this field of faith, he invites us to a lifetime of discovery and renewal. Indeed, search for spiritual treasure requires trust and persistence. So, enjoy the process that produces character in sincere seekers.

    Are you motivated to make Kingdom priorities  your number one goal? Are you intentional in seeking intimacy with Jesus? To be sure, it feels laborious at times, but your labor is not in vain. Once you are converted to Christ, resolve to hide the truth of God in your heart and in the process position your life to be leveraged for the Lord. Your sold out life reflects a beautiful orchard for all to admire its Creator...Christ. Work in fields of faith that yield massive, good fruit.

    In whom [Jesus Christ] are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:3

    We have the unique opportunity and stewardship to seek out the wisdom and knowledge of God in Christ. A good process is to process our findings in prayer and meditation. Like a California gold miner we pan for God’s gold nuggets with our wire filter of Scripture that separates fool’s gold from wisdom’s gold. In what can be a monotonous discipline we will find a variety of gold treasures: dusts of discernment, slivers of hope, nuggets of wisdom and rocks of faith.

    When you decide to sell out for Jesus, He may very well require you to sell off some or all of your stuff for Kingdom investments. Complexity is the enemy retaining an eternal perspective, while simplicity is a friend who facilitates Kingdom outcomes. Thus, pray about how to use your worldly assets to send ahead for your heavenly reward. Surround yourself with seasoned mentors who model investing in spiritual treasures. Yes, create Kingdom wealth, lasting now and forever!

    If you look for it [wisdom] as for silver and search for it as hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:4-5

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I commit to seek  intimacy with my Savior Jesus to hideYour truth in my heart.

     

    Related Readings: Isaiah 12:3; Psalm 105:3; Luke 12:34; John 5:39; 1 Timothy 6:19

     

    Post/Tweet today: When we decide to sell out for Jesus, He may very well require us to sell off some or all of our stuff for Kingdom investments. #soldout

     

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Parenting Can be Exhausting

    Posted on May 1, 2013 by Sharon Glasgow

    Sharon

    "No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it's painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way." Hebrews 12:11 (NLT)

    We were already late for church when the fight began. One daughter was upset the other had told a lie. I sighed. Not right before it's time to leave, please!

    It'd been a long week and I was tired. But lies are not allowed in the Glasgow home and this was something I had to take care of now. I called both girls to The Pink Couch, the place set aside to talk to our children.

    They both sat down and gave their side of the story. It was clear who was telling the truth and who wasn't. I dismissed the one that wasn't lying and asked the one who did to admit she had and to say sorry. She wouldn't. After 15 minutes she still hadn't confessed. She was only four, but don't let a four year old fool you, she knew I needed to get out the door. I was her Sunday School teacher.

    It would have been so easy to put her lie on the back burner, but I made an executive decision. "Dale would you teach my class today? I can't leave until this is resolved." As the rest of our family headed out the door, I told my daughter that until she told the truth she would sit on The Pink Couch. An hour passed, then two, then three. How could my child who normally couldn't sit still for thirty minutes bide her time without any entertainment for hours? Though we were sitting quietly, waiting it out drained me.

    Finally, she admitted her lie with a sincere heart and said, "I'm sorry." We hugged and to this day I've never heard her say another lie.

    I've got five almost-grown daughters now. Whew! The discipline part was a lot of work and one thing remained constant whether they were four or 14—discipline always took time, wisdom, discernment and love.

    It would have been easier and saved energy to just let the lie slide. But, the Bible tells us "No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it's painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way" (Hebrews 12:11).

    Discipline is not fun for those receiving it OR for those administering it. Let's be honest, parenting can be exhausting! But consistency comes with a great reward. Investing time and ensuring the same consequences yields good fruit in our children's lives.

    My husband and I have pear trees on our land. Some can take years to bear fruit, but with regular watering, pruning and fertilizing, our trees eventually show the results of our labor.

    Most parents would say they desire for their kids to grow up and live in peace with the Lord. That's exactly the outcome Hebrews 12:11 promises us if we don't give up when our children are young. Rather than making a quick decision that only modifies their behavior for the moment, we have to aim at changing our children's hearts for the long term.

    As my then four-year-old daughter and I sat for hours that Sunday morning, I knew I had to nip this in the bud or the consequences would negatively impact her future. She's an adult now and will gladly tell you what a strong impact the discipline of sitting on The Pink Couch had on her.

    Unimaginable energy goes into raising godly children. You may want to do what I did: stay on your knees in prayer and mediate on the Word day and night so that you can be encouraged and have wisdom on rearing your kids. It can be exhausting, but the work is worth the great reward!

    Dear Lord, give me the wisdom, discernment, time and love I need to discipline my children to be the godly people You desire. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    I Used to be So Organized by Glynnis Whitwer will help you manage your time, so you can have more to invest in your children.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Do you follow through in disciplining your children in consistent ways? If you told them not to do something one day and they do it the next, what are the consequences?

    In order to discipline in love we need a relationship with Jesus, who is love. Spend some time today focusing on His Word, praying or worshipping Him.

    Power Verses:
    Ephesians 6:4, "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." (NIV)

    Proverbs 29:17, "Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Sharon Glasgow. All rights reserved.

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


  • Quality of Mercy

    Posted on April 30, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5

    The quality of God’s mercy is not obstructed. Like the gentle and ceaseless flow of a bubbling brook, it refreshes all who come to drink. Those refreshed can fill their spiritual buckets and bless others who in their parched suffering have yet to taste heaven’s liquid love. Yes, the mineral rights of Almighty God’s mercy are inexhaustible and its riches are more than can ever be spent. His mercy shows compassion, nullifies judgment, covers pain and withholds what is deserved.

    Do you lift up prayers of gratitude for the rich mercy of your Heavenly Father? Is mercy your manner of speech and conduct? Mercy exists like the foyer of your home to welcome  the undeserving and those who feel shame, but not hope. Like a critical care unit in a hospital, make your home a ward of mercy for those who need healing, love and acceptance. Adult children show up where they will be accepted, not judged...cared for, not condemned. Mercy is tender.

    To give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God. Luke 1:77-78

     

    Our pride is unmoved by mercy; neither extending or receiving. With a granite like face, grace is absent. Our pride’s philosophy is an “eye for an eye,” with no eye on God’s eternal perspective of   mercy. We desperately need to daily approach His throne of grace and mercy with our needy hearts. Humility looks in the mirror first ata candidate for Christ’s mercy.

    Moreover, mercy is a perquisite step toward forgiveness. As we cry out, “God be merciful to me a sinner,” we are positioned to be forgiven and to forgive. Thus, cling to the mercy of Christ who graciously gives to you in abundance. Be a man or woman of mercy, as you experience from others their: insecurities, fears, struggles, rejection, arrogance and accusations. Lean into mercy, take responsibility where another won’t. Often, give and take this rich quality of mercy unobstructed!

    Prayer: Heavenly Father thank You for Your rich mercy; make me a person of rich mercy.

     

    Related Readings: Psalm 4:1, 6:2; Proverbs 28:13; Luke 1:50-58; Romans 9:23; 2 Corinthians 4:1; 1 Timothy 1:13

     

    Post/Tweet today: Like a critical care unit in a hospital make your home a ward of mercy for those who need healing. #mercy

     

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Torched

    Posted on April 30, 2013 by Luann Prater

    Luann

    "In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body." James 3:5-6a (NLT)

     

    I recently saw a plaque that read, "Lord, put an arm around my shoulder and a hand across my mouth." I smiled at the saying, but God snagged my heart to understand the power of my words during an early morning phone call.

    When I saw the caller ID, I cheerfully sang, "Good morning, good morning, hey it's great to stay up late!" (Envision Debbie Reynolds in the Singing in The Rain movie.)

    "We've got to talk. I'm upset," my friend replied.

    This wasn't how I wanted to start my day. My heart sunk into my shoes when my friend told me why she was upset. I realized the root of the problem was a miscommunication and my first thought was to defend myself.

    But that morning I had been in the book of James, and at this critical moment of conversation this scripture pushed its way to the top of my mind.

    "And the tongue is a flame of fire" (James 3:6a).

    This verse always reminds me of my 9th grade shop class where I learned welding and the truth that whoever controls the flame, controls the outcome. The power of the small concentrated fire from the welder's torch was lethal. I held in my hands the ability to rip metal in two and burn through tightly soldered seams like a hot knife through butter.

    Yet through this tiny flame that burned bright blue and hot yellow, I also had a different power, one that mended. I could repair what was broken and bring together what had been divided.

    You and I carry around a similar little flame; it rests inside our mouths. It's our tongue. We can fire up and encourage a broken heart or torch it with a careless word.

    So how do we control our tongue? For starters, it's helpful to keep our words to ourselves until we can sort through any raw emotions behind them. In James 1:26 we find that, "Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless" (NIV).

    That Hebrew word for "rein" means to restrain and pull back our first reaction. In other words, when you feel like spewing it, zip it. Our lips should be water tight, not allowing unnecessary words to leak out. Like Tupperware secure. In this way, we'll truly live out our Christianity by being examples of Christ's character: kind, loving, self-controlled.

    Next, we can choose our words wisely. James 3:3, says, "When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal" (NIV).

    Once we've reined in what we say, we choose words that steer the conversation along an encouraging, uplifting path, building up instead of tearing down.

    Last, we praise, not curse. In James 3:9 we discover that, "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness" (NIV).

    In Biblical times cursing was the opposite of blessing, and today we should view our words as carrying the same responsibility. Deep scars from hurtful words may never heal.

    When my friend lashed out on the phone, God helped me to rein in my first thought and wait until the right moment to respond. I felt led to choose three words, that when said sincerely, turn a conversation around:

    "I'm so sorry."

    It was true, the last thing I wanted or expected was for my friend to be hurt by an unintentional misunderstanding. I've made a decision to not react with torch-splitting, heated words, but to mend with encouraging conversation from my heart and lips. Would you like to join me? Remember, whoever controls the flame, controls the outcome.

    Dear Lord, remind us each day to use our tongues to glorify You and encourage others. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    30 Days to Taming Your Tongue and the 30 Days to Taming Your Tongue (Workbook) by Deborah Smith Pegues

    Reflect and Respond:
    Identify the triggers that turn your tongue into a weapon.

    Today, choose to seek a mending moment with someone who needs a gentle answer.

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 12:18, "The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." (NIV)

    Proverbs 15:4, "The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Luann Prater. All rights reserved.

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


  • Worldly Wisdom

    Posted on April 29, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace” 2 Corinthians 1:12.

     

    Worldly wisdom has a way of reducing heaven’s wisdom to an afterthought. After  our worldly wisdom doesn't work, we pray and seek to discern the Lord’s ways.. It’s tempting to rely on what seems to work instead of seeking  the principles to live by based on  God’s economy. Worldly wisdom is not only inferior,  it is also a competitor with God’s grace.

     

    The Lord sees the world’s wisdom as foolishness and the world sees His wisdom as foolishness. Some who embrace the wisdom of the world say there is no personal God, but God says in His wisdom that this thinking flows from  a fool. The fool says in his heart, “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1). Sadly, the world’s wisdom has no room for Jesus.

     

    “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.” (1 Corinthians 1:21)

     

    Worldly wisdom is flashier and sexier in its appeal—it invites pride to perch over those who have not yet achieved a superior standpoint. Ironically, the created dismisses the Creator as antiquated and out of touch. The traditional tenants of an all knowing and ever present sovereign God are silly and irrational to this irreverent system of belief. But what worldly wisdom embraces as  truly enlightened, the Lord defines as educated fools.

     

    “Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20)

     

    Therefore, do not try to outsmart your Savior Jesus Christ with intelligence void of humility and the fear of God. Academics, without an infusion of faith in Almighty God, leads down a reckless path of disconnection from Deity. However, wise is the man or woman who is full of the grace of God, and who studies truth long and hard for the glory of God.

     

    Faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God is not a leap into the dark; rather it is a step into the light. Christian belief is based on the historical fact of His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. For some the Lord’s wisdom wins out over their own and  they begin to seek out  people and places that possess His knowledge. “I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness” (Ecclesiastes 2:13).

     

    Prayer: Am I embracing and believing the wisdom of the world or Almighty God’s?

     

    Related Readings: Isaiah 29:14; Jeremiah 8:9; James 3:13-18

     

    Post/Tweet today: What worldly wisdom embraces as truly enlightened, the Lord defines as educated fools. #worldlywisdom

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Whatever Happens, Here's What You Should Do

    Posted on April 29, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ." Philippians 1:27a (NIV)

    I felt completely justified to blow it.

    Look up inconvenienced, worried, nervous, annoyed and rushed in the dictionary and that's where you would have found me a few weeks ago. So when one more issue got added to my day, I lost it. And the worst part was I thought I'd earned the right to let off steam.

    It started with my husband asking for a favor. He had bought two trucks for his company and needed me to drive across town with him and drive one of them back. Since we live in a large metropolitan area, that meant a one-hour drive each way.

    However, the only available window of time that afternoon was sandwiched between four different things I had to do. In two and a half hours we had one son getting out of high school (who had to go with us) and another one needing to be picked up from college (which is also across town), our youngest daughter having to be picked up after that (which is near home), then the high schooler had a practice.

    Since I live this crazy chauffeur-life every day, it was up to me to schedule this cross-town trip and get everyone—and two trucks—picked up on time.

    Of course everything takes longer than you think it will. Not only were we initially running late, but then the man with the trucks was late. This meant I was going to be late getting everyone picked up. Watching the clock, I felt the passing minutes squeeze like a vice grip.

    Realizing there was no way I could do it all, I changed plans and sent the high school boy to pick up the college boy and then head back and get himself to practice. I would wait for the truck and then get our daughter.

    Now, this may have your head spinning, but it sounded easy in my mind.

    However, those two teenage boys got very confused with the change of plans. They weren't sure what they were supposed to do, despite what I thought were pretty simple instructions.

    Thirty minutes later they called me frustrated and annoyed. Unfortunately, I was also frustrated and annoyed trying to drive a HUGE diesel truck across town. With a right side mirror that I couldn't adjust. On a busy freeway. In the middle of rush hour traffic. Realizing I would be late picking up my daughter.

    College son: "Mom! What is going on?!? Why is Robbie picking me up and not you? Are we supposed to go get some trucks? Robbie doesn't know what's going on!!" the college boy snapped.

    And in that moment, the stress of the afternoon had built, and I let it explode, feeling very justified.

    Me: "Seriously? Seriously?!? You are frustrated? Well, let me tell you about being frustrated! ... (I'm sure you can imagine the rest).

    I hung up the phone angry.

    And then I remembered a verse I'd read that morning. Right there on the freeway, God made Philippians 1:27 very relevant:

    Whatever happens ... (like an errand taking longer, rush hour, annoyed teenagers, a side mirror that doesn't work, three kids to usher around town)

    Conduct yourself ... (You mean, control myself God? Keep things in perspective?)

    In a manner worthy ... (in such a way that shows who I really am, what I believe, what I value ...)

    of the gospel of Christ (and Whom I represent).

    Before I had a chance to call my son, he called me. I rushed to apologize. So did he. Thanks to God's Word in my heart leading me to ask for forgiveness, we ended our disagreement on the side that is worthy of the Word and the God Whom we serve, rather than the angry resentful side.

    Philippians 1:27. What a powerful Scripture this has been to me. Just thinking "whatever happens" keeps me in check. Because the interesting thing about that word "whatever" is it means "whatever."

    I'm not sure what you're facing right now ... whatever pressures, deadlines, carpools, boss, spouse or bills surround you. But I do know we each have a choice how we will respond. So take a deep breath and remember to walk in a manner worthy of Whom you represent.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for your patience towards me when I blow it. Your grace and kindness make me want to show that to others. Help me remember that I represent You in all I do and say. In Jesus Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst will help you deal with those moments when you want to lose it.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Under what circumstances are you most likely to react badly?

    What can you do to prepare for those moments so your reaction represents the Gospel of Christ?

    Power Verses:
    Ephesians 4:1-2, "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Abundant Forgiveness

    Posted on April 28, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.”    Matthew 18:21-22

     

    Sin’s offense hurts. There’s no doubt about it. It wounds indiscriminately, and it is no respecter of persons. Sin builds walls, as it separates and ravishes relationships. Just the sound of the word elicits negative emotion. It is deceptive, carnal, Christless, unfair, sad, and sometimes sadistic. Sin follows a process of desire, conception, birth, maturity, and death. James describes its diabolical development. “Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:15). So sin is not to be taken lightly. Certainly its infliction of pain cannot be ignored for long.

     

    Sin invites a response from the one it offends. One option is to fight sin with sin. This is messy and can be long and drawn out. No one (except Satan) really wins when sin battles sin. Sin is rampant, and no one is immune from its consequences. It divides, belittles, and brings on relational suicide. Nonetheless, when you are sinned against, you are to forgive. When someone’s sin assaults your attitude, you are to forgive him. When someone’s sin berates your work, you are to forgive him. When someone’s sin violates your trust or steals your joy or crushes your dreams or steals from you, you are to forgive him. This level of forgiveness is counter-intuitive and countercultural, but it is the way of Christ. Forgiveness is God’s game plan. You will lose if you don’t forgive, for unforgiveness is tortuous to the soul. It is unhealthy to the body and the emotions. Unforgiveness leaves hollow lives in its wake. However, forgiveness is able to let go and let God be the judge.

     

    Forgiveness cuts through the varying degrees of guilt and erases the entire debt. True forgiveness comes from the heart of the one offended (Matthew 18:35b). Forgiveness is not a flippant acknowledgement. It is a sincere removal of anything that is owed. When the offended one forgives, he wipes out the expectation of an apology, the payback, or the change. It is forgiveness, clear and simple. Forgiveness is letting go. It is letting go of the hurt, anger, and shame. When you forgive, you are free. You are free from the shackles of sin. When you forgive, you trust. You trust God to judge others in His time. His judgment is fair and just. God can be trusted with the consequences of sin’s offense.

     

    Continue to forgive others because your heavenly Father continues to forgive you. The Scripture teaches, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). Without Christ’s forgiveness, you are lost and undone. Jesus does not deal in forgiveness quotas. The forgiveness of the cross was swift, full, final, and forever. Unlock your relational restraints with the key of forgiveness. Write a letter with tear-soaked ink that documents your forgiveness. Call or e-mail someone today and let them know that because you are forgiven, you forgive them. Set others free with forgiveness, and you will be free. There is freedom in Christ. Forgive fast and forgive often. The forgiveness of Christ is forever.

     

    Post/Tweet: Unforgiveness is tortuous to our soul. It is unhealthy to our body and our emotions. #forgiveness

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

     

  • Worldly Wisdom

    Posted on April 27, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace” (2 Corinthians 1:12).

    Worldly wisdom has a way of reducing Heaven’s wisdom to an afterthought. Using our worldly wisdom, we pray and seek to discern the Lord’s ways only after our ways do not work. It is tempting to rely on what seems to work instead of asking what the principles to live by are, based on God’s economy. Worldly wisdom is not only inferior but also competes with God’s grace.

    The Lord sees the world’s wisdom as foolishness, and the world sees His wisdom as foolishness. Some who embrace the wisdom of the world say there is no personal God, but God says in His wisdom, this thinking flows from a fool. “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1). Sadly, the world’s wisdom has no room for Jesus.

    “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21).

    Worldly wisdom is flashier and sexier in its appeal. It invites pride to perch over those who have not yet achieved a superior standpoint. Ironically, the created dismisses the Creator as antiquated and out of touch. The traditional tenants of an all-knowing and ever-present Sovereign God are silly and irrational to this irreverent system of belief. But whomworldly wisdom embraces as the truly enlightened, the Lord defines as educated fools.

    “Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20).

    Therefore, do not try to outsmart your Savior Jesus Christ with intelligence void of humility and the fear of God. Academics, without an infusion of faith in almighty God, lead down a reckless path of disconnection from Deity. However, wise is the man or woman who is full of the grace of God and studies truth long and hard for the glory of God.

    Faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God is not a leap into the dark; rather, it is a step into the light. Christian belief is based on the historical fact of His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. For some, the Lord’s wisdom wins out over their own, and they begin to seek out those people and places that possess His knowledge. “I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness” (Ecclesiastes 2:13).

    Prayer: Am I embracing and believing the wisdom of the world or almighty God’s wisdom?

    Related Readings: Isaiah 29:14; Jeremiah 8:9; James 3:13–18

     

    Post/Tweet: Whom worldly wisdom embraces as the truly enlightened, the Lord defines as educated fools. #truewisdom

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Hypocrites Exposed

    Posted on April 26, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:49-50

    There are posers who profess to know God, but He will one day say to them, “I never knew you.” It is scary to think an individual can believe they are ok with the Lord when they are not. Maybe they heard the truth of the Cross, but they did not receive the truth by faith into their heart. There has not been an exchange of trust in themselves to a total dependence on Christ. Fools may have good religious feelings, but they have not surrendered to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit.

    Have you truly trusted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Is your love and affection captured by the love of your Heavenly Father? If not, it is wise to be circumspect about your commitment to Christ. As Jesus stated, mingling with the good fish does not make you a good fish. A bad fish smells like a fish, looks like a fish and tastes like a fish, but it remains in its original state until it's drawn to heaven by God. Make sure the scales of sin are removed from your spiritual eyes.

    Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized. Acts 9:18

     

    It is uncomfortable to picture a loving God having a system of judgment that includes hell. However, would He really be loving if He did not punish sin and expose religious hypocrites for pretending to be something they're not--true followers of Jesus? We water down the Word of God when we feel like we have to apologize for the Lord’s consequences that accompany improper beliefs. Oh how He loves us, because on Judgment Day, wrongs will be made right in His sight.

     

    Therefore, in the meantime, pray for those who genuinely believe they are right with God but have yet to be born again. Teach those who are religious but lost about a desperate desire for the Lord that follows submission to the Lord. Help fellow church members move from a head full of knowledge to a heart full of passion to pray. Information about Jesus becomes alive, when you experience Jesus in a personal, loving and intimate relationship. Ask the Holy Spirit to flush out impostors today, before it is too late to change. Better  a hypocrite’s exposure now, than then.

     

    If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

    Prayer: Heavenly Father lead me into a genuine relationship with You through Your son Jesus.

    Related Readings: Matthew 7:21, 25:32; Romans 14:11; 1 Corinthians 14:21; Revelation 20:15

     

    Post/Tweet today: There are posers who profess to know God, but are not His possessions. #hypocrites

    © 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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