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Daily Devotion

  • God’s Silence

    Posted on January 26, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

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

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

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

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

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Love Disciplines

    Posted on January 25, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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


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

  • Don't Yield Your Mind Turf

    Posted on January 25, 2013 by Julie Gilles

    Julie Gillies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    What specific thoughts and mindsets do you need help changing?

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

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

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

    © 2013 by Julie Gillies. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Be Yourself

    Posted on January 24, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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


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

  • Where Faith Gets Awfully Messy

    Posted on January 24, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

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

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

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

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

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

    Faith.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And what are those verses about?

    Rain. The sound of a heavy rain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Walking Wisely

    Posted on January 23, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

    #wisdom

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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


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

  • Learning to Live Stressed-Less

    Posted on January 23, 2013 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie Miles

    "Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you." 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NIV)

     

    Does Jesus really understand what it means to be stressed?

    I used to wonder ... until I got desperate enough to ask Him.

    For years, I was under the impression the Bible was not a resource for handling stress, much less a place to look for stress management tips.

    However, although the word "stress" is not a commonly used biblical term, Jesus referred to stress consistently by using words such as anxiety, worry, trouble, fear, burdens, anguish, dismay, trials, and adversity, just to name a few.

    He spoke of the heartache of worries, frustrations and betrayals; the sadness of deceit, the pull of temptation, and the devastation of sin. He addressed difficult circumstances taking place in politics, churches, marriages, families, parenthood, communities and the world as a whole.

    Despite the differences between biblical times and the 21st century, the presence of stress and our need for Jesus is the same. He understood what we would face and promised the peace we would need in our busy and chaotic world.

    Throughout the Bible we're shown how to celebrate and enjoy life, despite stressful situations. How to find joy, despite circumstances. How to overcome stress, despite constant balancing acts. How to not only survive the storms of life, but stay afloat in the midst of them. From Genesis to Revelation, we can discover infinite suggestions for biblical stress relief.

    2 Thessalonians 3:16 encourages us that Jesus Himself provided a solution to stress. Peace is only available in and through Him.

    Stress is not a sign of the times; it's a sign of living. Always has been, and always will be. Our stressors may be different today than when Jesus walked the earth, but the overwhelming power stress holds over our hearts is the same.

    Maybe you have tried massages, vacations, relaxation techniques, shopping, and soft music or bubble baths to help you manage stress. Or maybe you've coped with stress through drugs or alcohol. Perhaps you've tried every stress relief tactic known, to no avail.

    All the stress management tactics in the world cannot hold a candle to the very real stress relief Jesus offers. His methods have withstood the test of time, used by generation after generation for thousands of years.

    If you have been searching for a peace and serenity that seems completely out of reach, might I encourage you try a few other things? Sneak away for a few minutes and simply rest in His presence. Invite the Lord into your stressful situation and seek His perspective in Scripture. Before we turn to anything the world has to offer, let's turn to Jesus. Our number one stress solution.

    Dear Lord, I am drowning in stress and I have tried everything to relieve it — except for You. Forgive me not trusting You enough to believe that You offer the peace I am searching for. Today, I invite You into my circumstances, and into my life, and ask You to open my eyes to see the real truth and stress relief that my heart is aching for. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Tracie's new book Stressed Less Living: Finding God's Peace In Your Chaotic World can help you have a less stressed year in 2013.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are you trying every stress relief tactic available, except for Jesus?

    Have you asked Jesus to help alleviate your stress, and fill you with His peace?

    Commit to turn your stress and doubts over to Jesus today, moment-by-moment.

    Power Verse:
    Romans 5:1, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 2 Thessalonians, Stress

  • Rewards From Results

    Posted on January 22, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Do you see how this man [Goliath] keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his family from taxes in Israel.” 1 Samuel 17:25

    Rewards come to those who are in tune with God’s right results. This is why it is wise to define what the Lord wants and then stay focused on implementing His action plan. Because David was under the King’s authority he was committed to executing his priorities. The expectations can seem overwhelming, but this is where by faith, God fills in the gaps. It may require twenty years of preparation for twenty minutes of engagement. Rewards come to those who prepare and succeed.

    Moreover, there is an overarching satisfaction in knowing we follow Christ’s calling. We are slaying by faith the giants of disbelief, fear and inaction in the name of the Lord. Intimidating voices try to shout us down, but we hear the Spirit’s still, small voice of assurance and we stand firm. Our resources may seem inadequate to our critics, but we know the Lord will multiply His provision in a way that exceeds expectations. Our abilities blessed by God get rewarding results!

    “The LORD rewards every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness.” 1 Samuel 26:23

    Are you overwhelmed by what is expected of you at work? Has a health issue struck fear into your soul? If so, take your mustard seed of faith and ask your Master Jesus to move the mountains of fear for His sake. Giant obstacles are His opportunity to overcome with His creative solutions. Look outside the box of conventional options and be open to unconventional means. Your intimacy with your heavenly Father grows your influence--even with your enemies.

    The reward of peace comes from not exchanging it for an unsustainable pace. The reward of hope comes from waiting on the Lord’s provision. The reward of joy comes from your generosity. The reward of rest comes from trusting God with situations out of your control. The reward of relational health comes from investing in others and forgiving their indiscretions. Above all, the reward of your heavenly Father’s favor comes by remaining faithful to His call!

    “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

    Prayer: Master Jesus, take my mustard seed of faith and move my mountains of fear for Your sake.

    Related Readings: Jeremiah 29:12-14; Matthew 10:39-41; Luke 19:17; Acts 11:23

     

    Post/Tweet today: Intimidating voices try to shout us down, but we hear the Spirit’s still, small voice of assurance and we stand firm. #assurance

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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


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

  • A Fresh Start

    Posted on January 22, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    "So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view." 2 Corinthians 5:16a (NLT)

    She worries when I don't wear a coat.

    She washes her dishes before she puts them in the dishwasher.

    I never know what she's going to say, and her honesty can make me blush, laugh until I cry, or just cry.

    She's my mom, and I love her.

    Growing up, things were very different. My mom was beautiful on the outside, but broken on the inside. That brokenness made our home life chaotic and unstable with out of control rages and suicidal threats. As a child I felt unsafe. As a teen I struggled between loving her and hating her.

    When I became a believer I understood love for the first time, but it was easier to accept than to give.

    By the time I was an adult my mom had made significant changes, but the effects of a childhood laced with instability and chaos still marked my heart. I asked God for a fresh start, not just for her sake, but for my own.

    As I pored over the Scriptures, the word forgive continually leapt off the pages. God was speaking to me through His Word and giving me direction. I wasn't sure I could do it, but somehow knew freedom was on the other side.

    The word forgive has different meanings in Scripture, and one of them is kaphar. That's a Greek word meaning to purge or pitch. It originates from the Hebrew word for atonement, which means to cleanse or cover.

    Why is this meaning so important?

    By beginning the process of forgiving, I was purging or pitching the entanglements of the past in order to begin anew. This could happen regardless of whether my mom completely changed or not.

    This also allowed me to begin to see myself as a woman, rather than the child I once was. That changed my perspective from a limited view to one that included the chapters that God had always seen.

    I saw the chapters in my mom's life. She was a girl who had a baby too young, married to a man who abused her. She had always desired to be a good mom, but no one had shown her how.

    My new perspective allowed me to see the changes she was trying to make, and those already in place. This allowed me to accept the things that might never change.

    It also created new chapters in our relationship as we began to connect without the filter of the past.

    Kaphar forgiveness is a gift. It allows you to pitch the past and its entanglements, and it covers the new relationship with God's grace.

    It also helps me to appreciate the small things, like the fact that my mom will always tell me to wear a coat. She will continue to wash the dishes before she places them in the dishwasher.

    And we will continue to grow as mother and daughter.

    The kaphar gift of forgiveness offers the opportunity for new chapters in a relationship . . . and a fresh slate upon which the words can be penned.

    Dear Lord, will you help me begin the journey of forgiveness, pitching out the past to accept all that You have for me. . . and perhaps, even us, as we start fresh? In Jesus' Name, Amen.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    "In the shadow of my hurt, forgiveness feels like a decision to reward my enemy. But in the shadow of the cross, forgiveness is merely a gift from one undeserving soul to another." Andy Stanley, Enemies of the Heart

    Do you need to forgive someone? Here are two tips to help you reframe your relationship:

    Practice the pause. Sometimes we offer a knee-jerk reaction based on the hurts of the past. Pausing allows you to think before you speak, to pray, and see the real issue instead of filtering the moment through old feelings.

    Give it time. Transformation is a process, one that unfolds layers of hurt to reveal new skin underneath. It won't always be easy, and working through that pain just might be an answer to prayer.

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 103:12, "He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 2 Corinthians, Forgiveness

  • Anger Managed Productively

    Posted on January 21, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: “I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was angry, and he cried out to the Lord all that night.” 1 Samuel 15:10-11

    On earth, anger is always an issue. The godly are angered by ungodly actions and the ungodly are angered by godly actions. Samuel became angry over Saul’s disobedience and he grieves in prayer all night, because he knows this grieves God. It deeply disappoints a mentor when their mentee does not thoroughly follow the commands of Christ. Partial obedience is disobedience. Thus, anger is an indicator that the truth needs to be shared with the one who dismissed truth.

    We are wise not to stuff our anger, but ask our heavenly Father to heal our heart by giving us the courage to lovingly go to the one who has offended us. Stuffed anger incubates ugly stuff, but properly expressed anger invites attractive interaction. We cannot control an offender's reaction to our kind but clear words, but we can control how we communicate. We manage anger productively by not attacking another’s character, but by sharing the facts of how we hurt feel.

    “A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.” Proverbs 15:1, The Message

    Moreover, make sure you have all the facts before you confront someone about their indiscretions. It is wise to listen to their side of the story, before you draw your conclusions. You do not want to make things worse by assuming inaccurate information. A person feels respected when they are able to give a response to your concerns. Ask reasonable questions that allow them to explain what seems to be inappropriate action. Love listens, learns, expresses and forgives.

     

    Most of all prepare your heart in prayer before you confront someone who has hurt you. Spirit-led confrontation gets the best results. Your offender's accountability is ultimately to the Lord. Jesus is their judge, not you, so trust Him to plant the seeds of your sensitive speech into the soil of their soul. They may not own up immediately to their actions, but that is between them and God. Manage your anger productively with caring confrontation and courageous conversation.

     

    “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” Proverbs 18:17, ESV

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the courage to confront with care when I have been hurt.

    Related Readings: Proverbs 27:17, 29:11; Mark 3:5; Luke 23:34; Ephesians 4:15, 29-31

     

    Post/Tweet today: Stuffed anger incubates ugly stuff, but properly expressed anger invites attractive interaction. #anger

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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


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

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