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Daily Devotion

  • 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

  • The Best Marriage Advice

    Posted on April 26, 2013 by Van Walton

    Van

    "Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path." Psalm 119:105 (NAS)

    A joyful wedding party celebrated the new couple on an evening wrapped in good cheer and candlelight.

    The bride and her father danced, followed by the groom and his mother. Adoring eyes framed the room.

    Finally, couples young and old hit the dance floor. After a few musical notes, the DJ announced, "All couples married a year or less, step off the dance floor." Then he asked those married five years or less to take their leave. And so the invitation, to make room for couples married 10, 20, 30 years, continued.

    While dancing with my husband, I noticed how few people remained.

    "40 years!" The DJ broadcast to us last three couples dancing.

    When the song ended, our friends, their children - now young adults - and our son, reached out with high-fives, pats on the back, and "Congratulations!"

    Many asked, "How romantic ... what's your secret to staying together?"

    The question came as no surprise and their idealic vision of marriage made me smile.

    Romantic? Not so much. I would describe our years together as lots of tears shed over misunderstandings. Selfishness. Loneliness. Hard and difficult times, pushing through emotions I didn't understand.

    Painful words. Challenging moments. Loads of opportunities to compromise. We were stubborn - both of us! As I look over my shoulder on the past 42 years, I know the real glue that has kept us together has been God and the power of His Word.

    When I wanted to criticize my husband for offenses real and imagined, I read that love keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5).

    When I felt lonely, I read that God was with me (Zephaniah 3:17).

    When I thought I was right and my husband was wrong, I read that I shouldn't think too highly of myself (Romans 12:2-4).

    When the daily grind of work, chores, errands drained me and my wild heart longed for more, I read that when I leaned on the Lord, through Him, I could get through anything (Philippians 4:13)

    Marriage is like a triangle. Want to grow close to your man? Grow closer to God. As both of you reach upward you'll not only come close to God, you'll grow closer to each other. And if you are in a marriage where your husband doesn't want to draw near to the Lord, you keep on anyhow. In Him, you'll find the support, love and hope your heart desires.

    A long time ago I was a young bride, asking older married women for advice. I heard a lot of things like keep the fun and adventure in your marriage. "Life is a gift," my mother taught me. "Don't let the sun go down on your anger," Daddy shared with me. "Know your husband" a friend encouraged me. Understanding my man's personality and love language taught me about conflict and acceptance.

    I wouldn't hesitate to share any of these wise words to newlyweds. But the very BEST advice I learned along the way? The greatest marriage counselor and guide is God and His Word.

    Marriage can be hard, but it's easier when we spend more time focusing on God's encouraging truths and less time concentrating on our husband's faults. Today, let's start a practice of turning to the Bible for answers about our marriage, thanking God for our husband and the Lord for His wisdom.

    Father God, You alone are perfect. Help me to keep my eyes on You. I know that no one is an easy forever-partner. Remind me daily to curb my critical spirit. Teach me to see my husband through Your eyes. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Capture His Heart by Lysa TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are you looking at your husband through Jesus' accepting and grace-filled eyes or do you see him through needs you expect him to meet?

    Before today is over, pick 2 verses to pray for your husband and 2 verses to recall that will give you wisdom for your marriage.

    Power Verses:
    Mark 10:6-9, "But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.' 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Van Walton. All rights reserved.

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

  • Pearl of Great Price

    Posted on April 25, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. Matthew 13:45-46

    What is the Pearl of Great Price? Simply Jesus. He is the only One worth selling all to follow by faith. God made His children spiritual merchants on a quest for what’s most valuable in life. These earnest explorations of religion are empty, until the grace of God in Jesus Christ is uncovered and understood. Vain treasures are those mini pearls that are but a weak reflection of the genuine One. Sincere efforts to search out the most significant asset of God will find Christ.

    There are many fine pearls that draw our attention away from the Pearl of Great Price, Jesus. The pasty pearl of pride draws us away toward our own limited abilities. The flashy pearl of entertainment consumes our energy and dulls our senses. The fake pearl of religious hypocrisy creates an image without any spiritual substance. And the black pearl of unbelief keeps us from experiencing God. But, as we enjoy the Great Pearl in an intimate relationship, we need no more.

    It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 1 Corinthians 1:30

    How do you steward well this, your greatest asset from Almighty God? What disciplines are you developing to not take for granted this your most valued resource? One way to value your most valuable belonging is to share it with others. It can’t be weakened by too much use. It can’t be ignored while on display in your life. You are truly wealthy when you are graced by the riches of God. But you are  utterly poor and spiritually bankrupt without engaging the Great Pearl of Christ.

    Lastly, sell and give away whatever is necessary to enjoy your riches in Christ. Your cluttered life can easily leave out the Lord. The complexity of stuff can cause you to miss the simplicity in Christ. Streamline your schedule, so you can go deep in your intimacy with your Heavenly Father, and    your relational engagement with those you love. Jesus Christ is your Pearl of Great Price. So, value Him greatly, by giving Him your full love and devotion!

    For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father I am grateful for the riches I have in your son Jesus Christ.

    Related Readings: Proverbs 22:2; Matthew 7:6; Romans 2:4; Ephesians 1:7; Revelation 3:17

     

    Post/Tweet today: Sincere efforts to search out the most significant asset of God will find Christ. He is most valued. #valuable

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Are You Ready to Go?

    Posted on April 25, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming." 1 Peter 1:13 (NIV)

    The Whitwer house has two beloved dogs - Kona and Sammie. First thing in the morning, or after being gone, the sight of them makes me smile. But although they both delight me, they are very different.

    Kona is a husky with a quirky personality. She pulls like she's in front of a sled, plays catch with herself and "talks back" when corrected. Sammie is a German shepherd who patrols the backyard perimeter, embraces her role as protector and has a serious personality.

    And while I adore both dogs, only one of them gets to go in car with me each morning when I take the kids to school. Perhaps I should try and describe typical mornings as we gather backpacks, purses and lunch bags:

    • Sammie sits and watches, head tilted, aware of patterns of preparation. Kona is asleep under the bed.

    • Sammie's ears perk up when I grab the car keys. Kona is sprawled on her back, head hanging off the edge of the couch.

    • Sammie watches my face, waiting for the "let's go" nod. Kona is in the backyard watching birds.

    So every morning, Sammie goes on an adventure with me. We pass bikers and women jogging. We see other doggies driving with their masters. If dogs could smile, mine would be grinning from ear-to-ear! She is thrilled with our outings and looks forward to the next one. And so do I.

    As I consider my two canine companions, I wonder if this same dynamic doesn't happen between God and us.

    We each have our own quirks, idiosyncrasies and tendencies. And yet we are equally loved and treasured because our Creator uniquely designed us just as we are.

    However, there are differences when God is looking to call someone into a place of service. The one who is alert and ready ... the one who is listening for the Master's voice ... the one who is watching for the Master's movement ... that is the one who is invited to go on an adventure.

    I've been both at times. I've been consumed with my own comfort at time. Hesitant and (when I'm honest) uninterested in being used. At other times I've mismanaged my time and energy so that I'm overwhelmed and exhausted, and miss God's invitation to join Him.

    Yet when my eyes are open, and my heart is saying "pick me, pick me," it's amazing how I see God move.

    For so many years I wondered does God really see me, can He use me, does He even want to? Now I realize the answer was "yes" all along. He was waiting for me to be watching for His "let's go" nod.

    Ready to go? Or ready to relax? Loved equally. But used differently. Which one are you?

    Dear Lord, thank You for inviting me to join You in Your work in the world. You have designed me in a unique way, specifically for Your pleasure and purpose. Help me to be alert and ready, watching for the signs that You are on the move. I want to join You wherever You go. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Do you want to be used by God but feel overwhelmed with life? You might enjoy I Used to Be So Organized by Glynnis Whitwer.

    What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you ever been certain that God asked you to do something? How did you respond?

    How would you describe yourself when it comes to being aware of God's movement in your life – alert or unaware? What can you do to be more aware of what God might be doing?

    Power Verses:
    Isaiah 6:8, "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'" (NIV)

    Luke 12:35-36, "Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Change Agent

    Posted on April 24, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough. Luke 13:20-21

    The word of Christ is a change agent for the Kingdom of God. Like small batches of yeast, truth leavens the Lord’s influence in a heart and soul. A little bit of Scripture goes a long way toward growing a moistened heart for the Lord. The firm, but loving fingers of our Heavenly Father work into our doughy soul the yeast of His love. Patience sees faith rise up and cause a life to smell appetizing, like the aroma of fresh baked bread. Truth is a change agent for the soul.

    Furthermore, it takes work to kneed the yeast of Yahweh into a life The Holy Spirit is like the diligent cook who works the dough with beauty and persistence. The dough of our soul is tossed and turned, pounded and made smooth, so the yeast of God’s love works its influence into our inner being. We feel unstable at times, but this trusting posture invites us to receive faith’s full affects. Yes, faith’s fermenting process grows a bold and robust belief. A little leaven transforms.

    A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough. Galatians 5:9

    Therefore, keep your heart moist with humility and pliable with prayer. A hard piece of dough is unable to grow, but a heart full of grace submits to the Holy Spirit’s control. Each day is an opportunity for Christ to bake fresh bread from our available life. Moldy and crusty bread is thrown out, fit for the trash, but fresh bread is the dinner table centerpiece for all to anticipate. Is your life an anticipation for Almighty God? The Bread of Life changes you into His bread of life.

    Lastly, be aware of unseemly influences that subtly change your heart’s desires. There is bad yeast, so beware! The yeast of greed quits growing generosity. The yeast of cynicism quits growing faith. The yeast of selfishness quits growing service. Thus, the best remedy for bad yeast is to replace it with the good yeast of God. Invite Christ to be your change agent for Him. Daily, kneel before your Heavenly Father, so He can knead His character into your doughy heart!

    Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?1 Corinthians 5:6

    Prayer: Heavenly Father keep my heart moistened by humility, so you can knead into my life what I need from You.

    Related Readings: Exodus 13:3; Matthew 16:6; Luke 12:1; 1 Corinthians 5:7

     

    Post/Tweet today: Like small batches of yeast, Scripture leavens the Lord influence in a heart and soul. #scripture

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • A Light in the Darkness

    Posted on April 24, 2013 by Amy Carroll

    Amy

    "In the tent of meeting, outside the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law, Aaron and his sons are to keep the lamps burning before the LORD from evening till morning. This is to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites for the generations to come." Exodus 27:21 (NIV)

    The memories that burn brightest from my childhood are of our family's camping trips to the beach. All the hard work of packing the tent, suitcases, sleeping bags and food into the car was worth it when camp was set up and family time began.

    My favorite time of the day came as darkness settled, the shouts of children quieted and grills were lit. Often, as we cleaned up from dinner, my mother would take our lantern into the tent to repack our supplies, and I would bask in the glow from the tent and the warm safety of my parents' presence.

    Those memories flooded back as I read Exodus 27 from my daily reading plan. In a meticulous design revealed in the preceding chapters, God laid out the blueprint for the Tent of Meeting, also called the Tabernacle, where He would be worshipped by the Israelites as they traveled from Egypt to Canaan. Sentence after sentence details the fabric, the measurements, and the structure.

    When the plan for God's Tent of Meeting was complete, He began to describe the furnishings. They included a beautiful set of lamps on a lampstand that was to burn continuously inside. This intricate lampstand described in detail in Exodus 25:31-40 was a pure-gold work of art made by the artisans God appointed, and it burned clear olive oil.

    Pieces of a greater puzzle began to click into place as I pondered other scriptures and truths explaining the rich symbolism of the Tent of Meeting's lampstand. I began to see God revealing His plans for us thousands of years ago:

    We are the tent. (2 Cor. 5:4)

    Jesus is the light. (John 1:4)

    The Holy Spirit is the oil. (Zech. 4:1-6)

    Fueled by the Holy Spirit, we are called to let Jesus' light shine through us into the darkness. (Matt. 5:14-16)

    Just as the Israelites moved the Tabernacle through the desert sands ...
    Just as my parents pitched a tent in beach sands ...
    Just as I move through this darkened world ...

    God provides a Light that shines in the darkness, and He creates a tent (us) to shine through.

    For Jesus' light to pierce the darkness, shining brighter and brighter, we need to become more and more transparent.

    For His light to shine continuously, we need to constantly be refueled by the Holy Spirit through prayer, studying and memorizing Scripture, and abiding in Him.

    For His light to shatter the inky blackness of this world, we need to fearlessly move our tents into places of darkness where no other light shines.

    There is a world of people who long for the safety and presence of Jesus–but they need a beacon to guide them. May we humble tents, who carry the Light, glow brightly everywhere as we travel through this world!

    Dear Lord, thank You for allowing me to be a simple dwelling for Your Light. I pray that even as the priests were charged with maintaining the light, I would be faithful to let Your Light shine. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Use the NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women to have your own journey through God's Word.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you experienced Jesus as the Light in your darkness? If you haven't, you can today. Click here to read more.

    If you carry the Light, make sure you're fueled up. In what ways can you spend time in a quiet place with God today?

    Power Verses:
    John 1:4-5, "In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." (NAS)

    2 Corinthians 5:1-2a, "For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven - God-made, not handmade - and we'll never have to relocate our ‘tents' again." (MSG)

    © 2013 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

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

  • Better to Bigger

    Posted on April 23, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:10-11

    A wise and patient process is required to build a quality life or organization. Everything begins on the foundation of Jesus Christ. His glory, His salvation, His teaching and His example are all foundational for a better life and a better company, church or ministry. Values that flow from the Lord focus on excellence,  work done as unto the Lord. The customers of a company will demand they become bigger, if the business focuses on becoming better. Bigger follows better.

    Are you proud of your work and your workplace? Is there a culture of excellence over expedience where you are employed? If so, you are blessed to have the opportunity to be the best in your industry or  field of expertise. Be patient because good things come to those who wait on God, not compromising quality over the pressure to produce. Quantity follows quality.

    So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic. Isaiah 28:16

    The same can be said for our relationships. Relational equity takes time, trust and intentionality to build up between each other. It is much better for us to have fewer, but more in depth relationships, than a larger group of acquaintances, who we only relate to superficially. Why settle for shallow conversations when we can go deep around our commitment to Christ. We can share how we really feel and not fear rejection from those who authentically love and care for us.

    Furthermore, with your family and friends focus on knowing and being known. Seek to comprehend what makes them click: their needs, their fears and their dreams. Your influence grows with those who feel like you really know them. Yes, keep Christ the cornerstone of your conversations and He will steer you into genuinely caring interactions. Remain committed to better serving and understanding your spouse and/or parent. Better love grows into Bigger love!

    Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. Ephesians 3:20

    Prayer: Heavenly Father keep me focused on loving better, so You grow a bigger love in me.

    Related Readings: Ruth 4:15; 1 Samuel 15:22; 1 Peter 2:4-25

     

    Post/Tweet today: Our influence grows with those who feel like we really know them. #knowing

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Her Hands

    Posted on April 23, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie

    "Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions." 1 John 3:18 (NLT)

    She held out the soft white blanket scalloped in pink ribbon. "I'm not sure I want to give it to her," my mom said. The stitches were a bit looser than my mother's past handiwork, but I could see love in every crocheted inch.

    I held her hands in my own. Her once slender fingers were bent and swollen at the joints. I imagined her holding the crochet needles and weaving the yarn in and out for hours and days, until the blanket was complete. It is an heirloom for her first great-grandchild, one created with pain and love.

    I think I take my mother's hands for granted. They have caressed my cheek. They have made me wear a coat (even when I protested that I was a mother of three grown children). They have dialed the cell phone she loves, and hates, so she could talk to "her Suzie." Her hands have penned cards that showed up in my mailbox saying "I love you."

    An old 70s song says, "Time keeps on slipping, slipping, into the future." There is truth in those lyrics. I see the passage of time in my mother's hands. I also see it as moments pass into hours and then into days in a whirl.

    Life is always busy, like this month when the white board on the refrigerator lists church events, dentist visits, showers and weddings and graduations, as well as other details like pay the bills, mow the lawn, clean the house.

    Recently I realized that my mother was moving further down on that list. A week passed. A month flew by. The phone calls came. "Hey, Suz, just calling to say I miss you."

    One day I received an email from a friend. Her mom was sick. For the next few weeks I prayed, reading every update. One night I read the email from my beautiful friend that expressed her love for her ailing mom, and prayer for strength to say goodbye.

    Suddenly it hit me how little time I actually devoted to my mother. I looked at the email and wept. The next day I made a date with my mom. She was like a girl; she laughed on the phone as we made plans.

    My mom and I had the best time at lunch and I was inspired to make a point to love on her more frequently. So I came up with "Love Points" which include a few things I try to do each week.

    Write. Leave a note in an unexpected place.

    Give. Spend time with no strings attached (help work in the garden, go to lunch, sit and chat).

    Touch. Especially if your loved one is older or widowed and they are not touched in positive ways any more. (Massage their hands. Hold their hand. Touch their face or hair.)

    Affirm. Tell them one encouraging thing that you believe about them.

    I pray I stay committed to showing my mom love. And that I have many more opportunities to hang out with her. But more than that I pray I don't take her for granted.

    Life most likely won't slow down. But as I devote time to worthwhile endeavors, I don't want to forget that in the grand scheme of things, holding my mother's hands is one of the most priceless investments I'll ever make.

    Dear Lord, thank You for my loved ones. Life gets so hectic, and sometimes it's hard to slow down long enough to show them how much I care. Please help me to slow down and recognize what is of little value so that I can invest in people with immense value. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Homespun Memories for the Heart by Karen Ehman

    Reflect and Respond:
    Is there someone you need to spend more time with? Make plans today to do so.

    Share this devotion with your siblings or friends as a reminder to them to spend time with their parents too.

    Power Verses:
    John 15:12b, "Love each other in the same way I have loved you." (NLT)

    Matthew 6:21, "Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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

  • Wants or Wishes

    Posted on April 22, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian? Acts 26:28

    Wishes come from a naive delight to become something one day. I wish to be a movie star, astronaut, teacher, fireman, engineer or preacher. “I wish” originates from a romanticism that makes me feel good about going there; but a nice desire without a committed will is wishful thinking. However, my wants have a way of bending my will towards a clearly defined outcome. My will follows my wants until the goal is accomplished. Agrippa may have wished to be a Christian one day, but clearly he did not want to be converted in the moment. Wants work to engage the will.

    So, how can we move our wishes to wants? It is the motivation of our heart that makes mere wishes freely submit to the reality of wants. Moreover, it is more than just learning a principle;  we can understand a truth and still have our will unmoved. But when we encounter the Truth, the Lord Jesus Christ, He compels us to want what He wants. A close encounter with Christ moves a wishful feeling to a prayerful plan which then blends our will with God’s will.

    If anyone is willing to do His will. John 7:17, NASB

    When your heart wills to do the will of your Heavenly Father, He works with you at your place of faith. Indeed, as you worship and praise Him in the splendor of His glory, you see Him high and lifted up. Worship takes your wandering heart and brings it back home to do His bidding. The more the Lord increases in stature and the less you are concerned with your cares, Christ takes your wants and molds them into His desires. Your desires and God’s desires become one.

    So delight in the One who is the most delightful. Rest in the reassurance that your righteous God has got it, whatever “it” may mean for you. Be wise to not wish away this season of life with self pity or regret, rather see this parenthesis in time as a prayerful process, in which the Lord converts your creative ideas into His action plan. Look into the eyes of Jesus with your eyes of faith and say yes to Him. God gives you what you want, when it's what He wants for you!

    You have given him his heart’s desire, And You have not withheld the request of his lips.

    Psalm 21:2

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father make my wants and desires, Your wants and desires for me.

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 14:26;  Psalm 37:4; Matthew 16:24; Romans 10:1

     

    Post/Tweet today: Worship takes our wandering heart and brings it back home to do His bidding. #worship

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • The Only Thing That Counts

    Posted on April 22, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." Galatians 5:6b (NIV)

    My daughter Hope is one of those people who knows how to dress.

    She'll put on a blue and white striped shirt, throw on an army jacket and black pants, finish the look with brown ankle boots and look like a fashionista.

    Me on the other hand, I get all stuck in a "Garanimals" state of mind. Did you ever wear Garanimals, the pants and shirts that match perfectly? It made me resistant to the delight of the unexpected.

    Matchy-matchy became the curse of my closet.

    Until Hope set me straight one day. "Mom, your outfits need a little pop!"

    Pop?

    She started whipping my outfits together in a way I'd never dreamed.

    An orange necklace with an outfit that had not a stitch of orange.

    Huh?

    Leopard flats with a dark blue shirt, teal necklace, and black skinny jeans.

    Are you sure?

    She was more than sure. With great confidence she introduced me to the world of adding a pop-a little something unexpected. A new way of expressing myself. And it has been delightful.

    So, I started thinking, what if I did this with other areas of my life? Other places where I've slipped into the "same old, same old" ruts.

    Might the delight of the unexpected make other aspects of my life more fun?

    Our key verse Galatians 5:6b says, "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."

    Might this be an invitation to discover another new way to express myself? Express my faith? Through acts of love?

    Yes. I think so.

    So, I did a little experiment. I started reading Bible verses by adding on a little question/challenge to myself at the end: "... so that I can love who?"

    For example, Romans 12:2a, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (NIV) ... so that I can love who?

    There is someone in my life who needs my love but I'll only be able to do it if I let God change my mindset. I need to add this little pop - a new expression of my faith through love.

    Philippians 4:19, "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus" (NIV) ... so that I can love who?

    There is someone in my life who needs something that I don't think I can give. My time. An emotional investment. A financial gift. Things I sometimes feel are in limited supply. But I can freely give those things when I realize God supplies all of my needs. I just have to open my hand and send some of my blessing in this person's direction. I need to add this little pop - a new expression of my faith through love.

    Why not try this yourself? No, not the leopard flats and teal necklace ... although that is quite the charming combination. But rather adding the question, "... so that I can love who?" to the end of the verses you read today.

    It will certainly give you a new way to express your faith. A way that God says is the only thing that counts.

    Dear Lord, thank You for showing me how to express my faith in a fresh way. Help me to love others with the same love and compassion You so freely lavish upon me. You are my rock and my redeemer. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Is there a young woman in your life who could use a fresh way to look at her faith? Check out Lysa TerKeurst's new book What Happens When Young Women Say Yes to God, co-written with her teenage daughter Hope. Filled with interactive sections and ways to get into God's Word, this book will leave any young woman feeling encouraged and equipped for her walk with the Lord. Click here to purchase your copy!

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    Who can you love today?

    Choose someone to really bless. Commit to pray for and reach out to that person often. Do things that will make them feel loved. For example, surprise a friend with her favorite coffee drink one morning.

    Power Verses:
    Ephesians 5:1-2, "Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (NIV)

    1 John 4:7-8, "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

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