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Daily Devotion

  • Gift of Evangelism

    Posted on October 19, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” Ephesians 4:11-12

     

    Every follower of Jesus can and should be a witness of His amazing grace. But, there are some specifically gifted to share the gospel. The good news of salvation from sin in Christ somehow makes its way into the conversations of an evangelist. These bold believers are compelled by the love of God to share the love of God. This gift of evangelism cannot be silent about the need for a Savior. Because their conversion to Christ was transformational, they pray for all to come to know Him.

    Many of us became believers because of the message we heeded from an evangelistic messenger. Maybe we heard on the radio, “You must be born again.” Perhaps a visiting preacher at church proclaimed Christ’s death on the cross as the payment for our sin, and His resurrection as the power to live the Christian life. A friend may have asked us about our assurance of going to heaven when we die. Or, in reading the Bible the fiery faith of the Apostles may have ignited our faith.

    “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38

    Do you actively share the good news of Jesus Christ? Is your gift of evangelism vigorous and alive? Any gift that is unused becomes ineffective. Like a piece of idle, rusty machinery your gift can lock up for lack of use. If this is the case, ask the Holy Spirit to fall fresh on your faith. Let the Lord lubricate your life with courage—to loosen your lips as Christ’s witness. Yes, you share the gospel with humble passion, not in proud judgment. But don’t stay silent—be bold for Jesus!

    You talk about what you love. If you love cars, you read about, discuss and drive cars. If you love your family, you spend time with them and you tell others how they are doing. If you love Jesus, you are loved by Jesus, so that you can love others to Jesus. Love compels you to grow closer to Christ and out of your intimacy with Him, engage your lost world with soul saving truth. You can’t be quiet, because you have the cure for the curse of sin—faith in Jesus. Love speaks up.

    Furthermore, use your gift of evangelism to equip the saints of God to do the work of God. Your experience, passion and theological understanding are a bridge to help other believers share Jesus. You teach others who in turn teach others to turn to God. Don’t be shy in multiplying your influence by training up faithful evangelists for Kingdom advancement. Yes, stay in the reality of reasoning with others about Christ—but also, be wise to mobilize an army of witnesses for Jesus!

    “They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:4-5

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for those who shared the gospel with me Now use me to love others to Jesus with my words and deeds.

    Related Readings: John 3:14-15; Acts 13:46; Romans 1:2,16; Galatians 3:8; 2 Timothy 1:8

    Post/Tweet: Bold believers are compelled by the love of God to share the love of God. #bold

    Know your gift? Get a free “Spiritual Gifts Assessment” http://bit.ly/P4FYlw


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Acts, Ephesians, 2 Timothy, Evangelism

  • Why Should I Care?

    Posted on October 19, 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matthew 9:36 (NIV)

    Our van drove snake-like, around tight corners and up steep mountain grades to reach a neighborhood in the hills above Quito, Ecuador. No fresh mountain air greeted us as we stepped carefully on to the streets. Instead the thick smells of garbage, outdoor cooking and animal droppings blanketed us.

    Walking through the tin shacks I understood helplessness as I never had before. There was no government support, no food bank down the street. Unless someone stepped into these people's lives with a helping hand, they would stay trapped in poverty.

    Something shifted in my heart that day. I had always been committed to missions and evangelism in an academic way. Sadly, however, there was always this secret part of me that thought people could ... no they should ... help themselves.

    This experience changed my motivation to reach out. Rather than simple obedience, urgency gripped me. I was starting to understand Jesus' compassion. Was this what He felt like? The disciple Matthew captured Jesus' heart with these words: "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36 NIV).

    Jesus saw the helplessness of those He loved. Standing on a dirt street just south of the equator I got it. The helpless cannot help themselves. Just as the lost cannot find their way back on their own. They need someone to step in to their despair, into their darkness, and bring hope and help.

    My heart burned with a new understanding. It's not just those broken under the weight of poverty and injustice that Jesus cares about - although He loves them desperately. He cares about all who feel helpless. Like the divorced woman who wonders if anyone will ever love her again. Or the man who can't find a job. And the teenager looking for approval and acceptance in all the wrong places.

    These are the lost and helpless living on my street. And they need to hear about the hope that only Jesus can bring.

    Jesus gave His disciples an important command before He returned to heaven. He said, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV)

    If I close my eyes I can see myself on another dirt road filled with the smell of animals and cooking, and I see Jesus' eyes of compassion staring at me. "Glynnis," He says. "Listen carefully. I'm going back to My Father, and I need you to go to those who are helpless. They don't all look the same, so don't make any assumptions. And you don't have to go everywhere, because I'm going to tell your sisters and brothers the same thing. But I want you to go where I send you."

    This command isn't just another Bible verse now. It doesn't go on my to-do list. It's been engraved on my heart. Now I get it.

    Dear Lord, forgive me for my lack of mercy. Help me to see the helpless, lost and hurting all around me. I want to have Your heart of compassion, and be willing to go where You send me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Read Matthew 28:18-20. This passage is called "The Great Commission." Does this command from Jesus have a high priority in most Christians' lives? Why or why not?

    Many Christians read this passage and think about traveling abroad to fulfill it. However, this command starts in our own homes, work places and churches. What changes can you make in your own life to start fulfilling the command of Jesus?

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 91:1-2, "Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'" (NIV)

    Luke 19:10, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer. 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 Matthew, Glynnis Whitwer

  • Gift of Leadership

    Posted on October 18, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “If it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:8

     

    Gifted leaders are first and foremost good followers of God. They recognize the Gift Giver as their authority, so they do not lord over others—rather they submit themselves to the Lord. Because the leader respects Christ, he or she respects those they lead. Because they love the Lord, they love their team. Because they serve Jesus, they serve those who serve with them. Yes, a gifted leader is able to influence and educate a group toward an agreed upon goal. Leaders have followers.

    Are you called to lead but feel inferior? If so, seek your confidence in Christ. Go to the Resourceful One for reassurance. Resistance does not mean you are a bad leader; on the contrary it may be a validation that you are moving in the right direction. Indeed, some struggle in getting on the bandwagon of change—it threatens their security. So stay the course and lead prayerfully, patiently and lovingly. Trust the Spirit’s small voice that affirms your actions—God is with you.

    “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:9-12

    You know you have the gift of leadership if you can see the big picture and inspire others toward that God-given vision. You understand the sequence of steps required to reach the objectives. You perceive potential problems and are courageous and wise to make adjustments. You motivate the team to embrace transitions as necessary to stay relevant. You create a culture of accountability with real-time updates. No one wants to let anyone down in the execution process.

    Your gift of leadership is a weighty responsibility, but you are not alone. Almighty God is your “go to” for humility, holiness and wisdom. God gives you what you need to accomplish what He wants. Furthermore, use your leadership role to invest in other emerging leaders. It is harder to grow leaders than it is to lead. Therefore, be intentional and prayerful to train up faithful men and women who will train others. You steward your leadership best by birthing other leaders!

    “And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.” Psalm 78:72

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me, so that in humility I can lead others in Your ways.

    Related Readings: Exodus 32:21; 1 Samuel 18:16; Isaiah 48:21; 1 Timothy 6:11-12; 1 Corinthians 1:10

    Post/Tweet: God gives us what we need to accomplish what He needs. #leadership

    Know your gift? Get a free “Spiritual Gifts Assessment” http://bit.ly/P4FYlw


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Psalm, Romans, Leadership

  • Is My Pain Talking?

    Posted on October 18, 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5b (NIV)

    Have you ever been in a situation where something little felt really big? Maybe a look from someone that suddenly made you feel like they didn't like you. Or when someone doesn't return your phone call and you feel like it's an indication that you're not important.

    Usually these things aren't true.

    The look was just a look with no hidden meaning.

    The missed phone call was just a slip on that person's to-do list.

    But if we're not careful, those misguided feelings can create issues that distract us, discourage us, and trigger past pain that starts taunting us. They can fill our minds with thoughts that are not accurate.

    It happened to me on a certain Friday. My sister Angee and I got up at 3:00 a.m. and were in line at a store thirty minutes later. I know. I agree. That's crazy.

    But like a hunter stalking prey, I was after something. In this case, the buy-one-get-one-free washer and dryer. Angee was after a half-priced computer. When the store doors opened at 5:00 a.m., we both scored. Happiness abounded. Then we left to get some breakfast. This is the part of the story where the happiness faded.

    In the drive-thru, my credit card was "not approved."

    Let me get this straight. It was approved at the store just five minutes ago when I made a major purchase. But now for a little two-dollar bundle of egg, cheese, Canadian bacon, and an English muffin, suddenly I'm not approved?

    Not approved.

    Ouch.

    My sister wasn't fazed. She whipped out cash, paid for my breakfast, and headed to the next store on our list. But those words "not approved" hung like a black cloud over my head. It bothered the stink out of me. I knew it was just some technical glitch, but that's not what it felt like.

    When that girl leaned out of the drive-thru window and in a hushed tone said, "I'm sorry, ma'am, but your card keeps showing that you're not approved," it felt personal. Really personal.

    Suddenly, past pain from other times I'd felt rejected and my current embarrassment started running their mouth inside my head. You're nothing but a loser. You are unwanted. Unloved. Disorganized. Poor. Not acceptable. You are not approved.

    I wish I could tie up this story in a nice bow and give you a pretty ending, but I can't. It was anything but pretty. I felt awful. And I went to bed wondering if the Lord Himself might come down and say, "Lysa TerKeurst, I have had enough of your immature reactions. You are no longer approved to be a Bible study teacher. Look at you!"

    But that's not the Lord's voice. Our Lord doesn't whisper shameful condemnations.

    Spiritual convictions, yes. Personal condemnations, no.

    As I stared wide-eyed into the darkness that enveloped the room, I whispered, "Give me Your voice, Jesus. I need to hear You above all these painful thoughts. If I don't hear You, I'm afraid this darkness is going to swallow me alive." Nothing came. I couldn't hear a thing.

    I had a choice. I could lie in the dark replaying the awful events of the day, or I could turn the light on and read God's Word—His truth—which is the best thing to do when lies are swarming and painful thoughts are attacking like a bunch of bloodthirsty mosquitoes.

    Lies flee in the presence of truth. Comfort comes into our pain when we bring it to Jesus. And while reading God's truth that night didn't change the fact that I needed to make things right in my thoughts, it gave me the courage to do so.

    Dear Lord, please drown out the other voices ... please hush them ... and speak. I want to hear You above all the noise. Help me discern Your convictions and the devil's condemnations. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    For more encouragement and practical advice on how to remain self-controlled, check out Lysa TerKeurst's new book, Unglued. Available now!

    The accompanying Unglued Bible Study will help you understand what the Bible says about better ways to react. To order your copy, click here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are there lies you have believed about yourself? Bring them to light. Write 2 lies down on a piece of paper.

    Now get out God's Word and read about who He says you are. Use the power verses below to refute Satan's attacks against you and remember, Jesus doesn't speak in condemning tones but the enemy and our past pain often does.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 139:14, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." NIV

    Ephesians 2:10, "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." NIV

    2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here." NIV

    © 2012 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 2 Corinthians, Lysa TerKeurst

  • Gift of Giving

    Posted on October 17, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “If it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:8

     

    Those with the gift of giving find great joy in contributing to a compelling cause or investing in a called individual. They are on the look out for opportunities where the Lord is at work. Givers can’t wait to give. They may even feel guilty or a little anxious if they cannot connect with a Kingdom need with their time, talent or treasure. Those with the gift of giving believe since God has mightily blessed them, they have the privilege and responsibility to participate in generosity.

    You can be a gifted giver with a lot of money or with little financial resources. It is a heart liberal toward helping others that motivates your acts of giving. You are thrifty and love to save—not to spend on yourself—but to have additional surplus for lost souls and to feed and clothe the poor. You understand that the remedy for greed is generosity. The best medicine for selfishness is becoming big hearted toward other hurting hearts. Mostly, you give because God gives to you!

    “He [Cornelius] and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.” Acts 10:2 

    Your process for giving may be systematic or spontaneous—probably a combination of both. It is wise to invest regularly in your church. Give aggressively where the Word of God is accurately taught and applied. Where Christ is preeminent, the community is served and the world is reached with the gospel. Missionaries are a must for you, because your soul yearns for other souls to come to Christ. Furthermore, you look for family members and friends who need a little bit of financial margin to get them through a rough spot. Gifted givers discern needs.

    Perhaps a couple has not been able to connect because of their overwhelming work or home responsibilities. You may be their answer to prayer by paying for a baby sitter for two nights along with food and lodging for a long weekend get-away. Perhaps you enjoy giving gigantic gratuities to selfless servers of your meal. Moreover, you are free to give, because your Heavenly Father has freely given to you. God’s gift of grace keeps on giving. Indeed, Jesus’ poverty made you rich in what matters most.

    “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, thanks for giving liberally to me, so that I can give generously for You.

    Related Readings: Psalm 68:9; Luke 21:4; 2 Corinthians 8:12, 9:7; Philippians 2:6-8

    Post/Tweet: The remedy for greed is generosity. The best medicine for selfishness is becoming big hearted toward other hurting hearts. #give

    Know your gift? Get a free “Spiritual Gifts Assessment” http://bit.ly/P4FYlw


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

  • Surviving Mommy Stress

    Posted on October 17, 2012 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie Miles

    "Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him." James 1:12 (NIV)

    Parenting and child-rearing are one of the top five stressors of the general population. I understand why.

    There are days when I feel like the stress of being a parent just might push me over the edge. Despite my unfailing love for my sweet children, sometimes the thought of a mini-vacation from parenting (if there were such a thing) sounds mighty enticing. Especially on the days when I am suffering from a severe case of mommy stress.

    When children are little, the demands they place on a parent are physically exhausting, to say the least. But as they grow into adolescents, the physical exhaustion is quickly replaced by emotional exhaustion.

    Instead of our bodies suffering through sleepless nights, lugging piles of laundry, and the constant smell of messy diapers, our hearts suffer with stressful worries. Worries like whether or not our children will make it home safely, if they're making the right friends, and if they are strong enough to stand up for what's right in the face of peer pressure.

    The journey of parenting children, from toddlers to teenagers, is a strenuous one. Each season presents it's own set of stressful challenges. We can easily pour ourselves out completely and end up feeling empty and discouraged. It's possible to even lose our desire to keep giving parenting our all.

    In today's key verse, James addresses the topic of persevering through all the many difficult trials in life - and at times, parenting can seem like a series of ongoing physical and emotional trials.

    "Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him." (James 1:12 NIV)

    I am encouraged by his reminder that even when situations are difficult, those who persevere will be rewarded - including parents who persevere through the hard years of child-rearing.

    I also find it interesting that prior to this verse, James tells us to keep a proper perspective on the situations which require perseverance. For example, James 1:2-5 confirms that everyone will face trials, and we must keep in mind that our perseverance will result in maturity and completion.

    He also says that if we lack wisdom, we should ask God who will generously provide the answers and help needed to get through our most difficult days. I don't know about you, but I need parenting wisdom and guidance on a minute-by-minute basis!

    As we persevere through the stress that comes with parenting, we can have hope knowing that God will provide us with strength and wisdom. He will be pleased that we didn't give up. That we kept seeking Him and trusting Him through each and every trial.

    Parenting is a high calling, and one that requires a lot of leaning on God, unwavering determination and unending perseverance. Don't give up!

    Dear Lord, I have been stressed and overwhelmed in my role as a mom, and often feel guilty about it. I'm physically and spiritually exhausted. Help me remember that these feelings are normal and that I need to depend on You for strength and wisdom. Give me the desire and ability to persevere and find joy in the adventure of motherhood. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Stressed-Less Living: Finding God's Peace In Your Chaotic World by Tracie Miles

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you been feeling completely "poured out" in your parenting journey lately? Have you prayed for strength, wisdom, and joy in the midst of the stress?

    Ask God to give you a new perspective about parenting situations you're facing. Seek His insight into how He is building fruits in your children's hearts through your perseverance and commitment to Him.

    Power Verse:
    Hebrews 10:36, "You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised." (NIV)

    © 2012 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 James, Tracie Miles

  • Forget About It

    Posted on October 16, 2012 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more." Hebrews 8:12 (ESV)

    In the midst of a heated conflict do you ever get historical?

    Not hysterical, as in acting totally out-of-control ... but historical. As in bringing up the past; reliving and rehashing former wrongdoings and offenses.

    "You'll never change!"
    "You're acting just like you did when ..."
    "There you go again. You always ..."

    I do this to others. But mostly I do this to myself.

    At times I have trouble remembering the name of the person I just met or where I put my cell phone. However, I'm keenly adept at remembering my sins from the past. Or the shame and guilt they carry with them as ammunition to target my heart and make me feel defeated. I can recount my sins as easily as I can say the alphabet.

    Oftentimes forgiving myself sometimes feels like it's impossible to do.

    When it comes to God however, we don't have to fear He will bring up our past sins and use them against us, throwing them in our face and refusing to forgive. In today's key verse, God says, "For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more." (Hebrews 8:12 ESV)

    This verse reminds me of a story of a man who claimed to have dreams where God regularly visited him and they talked together. He shared this with his pastor who doubted whether this was actually true. So the pastor issued a challenge to prove whether or not the man's claims were valid.

    "The next time God visits you," he instructed the man, "ask Him to tell you the worst sin I've ever committed." Since this pastor had a wild background he was certain there were a lot of sins lurking there from which God could choose.

    Later when the pastor saw the man again, he asked him, "Well, did God visit with you again?" The man replied, "Yes, He sure did."

    "Okay then, tell me, what did He say was the worst sin I ever committed?"

    The man responded, "I asked and God looked straight at me and simply stated, 'Hmmm ... I don't remember.'"

    In God's Word we are told, "He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west." (Psalm 103:12 NLT) And, as today's verse says, He not only removes sins, He forgets them!

    His ability to forget is His way of giving us a new start. He hits the refresh button on our lives and enables us to start over, no mater what grievous wrongs we've committed. Or how often we've committed them.

    We must simply confess our sins to Him. He is faithful to forgive our wrongdoings and hit the restart button of our heart, giving us a fresh beginning.

    Perhaps it is time we "forget about it" - just like God does. If He chooses not to remember our sins, why do we keep shaming and blaming ourselves for them?

    Let's pray for the ability to forget and live like the holy and forgiven people God says we are when we bring our sins to Him. Instead of remembering our history, let's focus on the history of Jesus' death on the cross and His forgiveness and forgetfulness . . . of our sins.

    Dear Lord, help me grasp the truth that You do not remember my sins. Thank You for not only forgiving my sins, but for forgetting them as well. May I live as a new creation, holy and blameless as I seek to serve You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    If you liked this devotion, check out Karen's new book LET. IT. GO. How to Stop Running the Show & Start Walking in Faith. It will enable you to control what you should and trust God with what you can't.

    Confessions of an Adulterous Christian Woman by Lyndell Hetrick Holtz

    Reflect and Respond:
    What sins in your past or present do you tend to beat yourself up over? Make a list of them on a piece of paper.

    Now, read today's key verse again and then tear up the list and throw it in the trash. Promise yourself that, since God doesn't bring up the sins anymore, you won't either.

    Write out the verse to post in a prominent place for those times when you are tempted to shame yourself again. Memorize it if you must!

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 103:2-4, "My soul, praise the Lord, and do not forget all His benefits. He forgives all your sin; He heals all your diseases. He redeems your life from the Pit; He crowns you with faithful love and compassion." (HCSB)

    © 2012 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Gift of Exhortation

    Posted on October 16, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “Or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” Romans 12:8 NASB

     

    An exhorter encourages others in the ways of God. They have a genuine desire for their brothers and sisters in Christ to grow in Christ-likeness. Therefore, application of Biblical truth is the basis of their motivation toward maturity. For the exhorter, information without application leads to spiritual inoculation. Growing in grace is much more than hearing what’s required of a disciple; it’s doing the right things the right way. The exhortation gift provides a road map for righteous living. 

    Every follower of Jesus needs an exhorter for encouragement and accountability. We need to know that someone really knows and understands us. They know us so well; they can tell when we are not doing well. They ask us questions that are to the point, but delivered with patience. The gift of exhortation gives us courage to continue and warns us when to turn around. They praise our strengths and protect us from our weaknesses. We are wise to invite exhorters into our life.

    “For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit; but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts.” 1 Thessalonians 2:3-4, NASB

    Do you have the gift of exhortation? If so, make sure you are encouraged in the Lord and held accountable by His people. Prayerfully invite a select group of trusted saints to peer into your soul, warts and all. Like those you help—you need a spiritual examination. Just as you submit to a doctor for regular physical check ups, so your submission to trusted advisors for spiritual scrutiny helps preclude problems. Exhorters need exhortation to maintain a sustainable pace.

    Moreover, make sure to schedule for your sweet and supportive time with Jesus. He is your eternal exhorter of love, patience, trust, holiness and help. He gives your soul strength when you are weak. He gives your mind peace when you are worried. He gives your body rest when you are restless. He gives your emotions comfort when you are afraid. One simple, “I love you” from Jesus, lingers in your heart. Thus, be exhorted in the Lord and then exhort others in the Lord.

    “Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1, NASB

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for exhorting me in Your ways, so that I can exhort others.

    Related Readings: Proverbs 1:8; Philippians 4:4; 1 Timothy 5:1; Hebrews 13:1, 22

    Post/Tweet: The gift of exhortation gives us courage to continue and warns when to turn around. #exhort

    Know your gift? Get a free “Spiritual Gifts Assessment” http://bit.ly/P4FYlw


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

  • Gift of Teaching

    Posted on October 15, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “If it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach.” Romans 12:6

     

    Gifted teachers love examining, interpreting and explaining the Holy Scriptures. They can instruct in their area of expertise, but they especially enjoy bringing out the meaning of the Bible. Context is critical for teachers, because the integrity of rightly dividing the word of truth is fundamental. Teachers love to ask, what was the reader thinking and experiencing? Why did the Holy Spirit inspire the exact Hebrew or Greek word? Teachers thrive at knowing the “why” behind the word.

    If you are a Spirit-filled teacher you embrace the need for dependency on God in understanding His intended message. The same Holy Spirit that originally inspired the penning of the Bible’s profound writings is the same Holy Spirit that illuminates its meaning to modern day teachers. Your teaching gift positions you to perceive God’s heart through your humble heart. Beyond an academic exercise is a divine encounter. The best teachers are students of the Spirit’s teachings.

    “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26

    Are you using your gift of teaching for God’s glory? Is it time for you to take a step of faith and teach for the first time or to step back into the role of teaching? Yes, teachers have a higher standard to live by because they know the truth and are accountable to apply the truth personally. The enemy will not sit still when you take a stand to affirm the claims of Christ. He will assault you with shame so you don’t feel worthy to teach the Word, but in Christ you are creditable.

    Moreover, your teaching gift is a gift for students hungry for Scripture. Like infants desire milk and adults enjoy meat, you are Christ’s chef to serve up a variety of menu items that educate in His principles for living. So, set your teaching table with a heart prepared in prayer and a mind equipped in study. Be concise, clear and compelling, and you will never lack an audience. Teach out of your weakness and whatever the Lord’s teaching you, and you will never need content. Be humble, be bold, be honest, admit mistakes and never stop learning. Teach, to make God smile. 

    “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” James 3:1

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, teach me, so I can humbly teach Your children.

    Related Readings: Ephesians 4:11; Romans 2:21; 2 Timothy 4:3; Hebrews 5:12

    Post/Tweet: The best teachers of Scripture are students of the Spirit’s teachings. #teaching

    Know your gift? Get a free “Spiritual Gifts Assessment” http://bit.ly/P4FYlw


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with John, Romans, James, Teaching

  • Hide and Seek

    Posted on October 15, 2012 by Micca Campbell

    Micca Campbell

    "But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul." Deuteronomy 4:29 (NIV)

    During my childhood, one of my most memorable times was during the long, hot days of summer. Each evening, the neighborhood kids and I went outside after dinner for one last game. At dusk, we would meet at the dead-end street to play "Hide and Seek."

    This was a very serious game. The goal was to hide from your seeker until it was safe to run for home base without being seen and tagged out. That is why we played under the cover of twilight. The darkness kept you concealed as you dashed from object to object until you finally made it to home base - unseen and untagged by the pursuer.

    I especially loved the memories of when I was young enough to still enjoy the game, but old enough to know how to keep from being found.

    It was my dad who first introduced me to Hide and Seek. Although, my father and I played the game with different rules.

    When Dad hid, he would leave clues on purpose so I could find him. Sometimes, I would spy his wiggling toes sticking out from under the living room curtains. Others times, I noticed a lampshade sitting atop a very large stand in the shape of his body. Or I'd hear noises coming from behind the couch.

    For my dad and me, the game was not about staying hidden. It was about developing our relationship.

    Our reunion brought joy and laughter. Mostly, it taught me that whenever I needed my dad, he could always be found.

    The same is true with our heavenly Father. He is not playing a game of chance - that we may or may not find Him. No. God wants to be found, and He leaves clues about His presence everywhere we look.

    Today's key verse assures us that we will find God if we seek Him with our heart and soul. "But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul." (Deut. 4:29)

    When do we seek Him? God's Word tells us to seek Him while He can be found. We should seek God immediately.

    How do we seek Him? With diligence, through prayer, in His Word, and with our whole hearts.

    He will be found in the beauty of creation and within the pages of His Word. As we seek God, we will discover His will, His plans, and His blessings in new found strength as we face adversity, and in the comfort of His presence as we communicate with Him in prayer.

    God isn't playing Hide and Seek with us. He longs to be found by those who earnestly seek Him. The Lord is ready and waiting to reveal Himself to you in such wonderful ways that it will leave you longing for more. It's an adventure you don't want to miss. Ready, set, seek!

    Dear Lord, I long to see You in my daily life. Reveal Yourself to me as I seek in times of sorrow and in times of joy. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Discover a faith stronger than all your fears in Micca's book, An Untroubled Heart.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you lost sight of God?

    Seek Him today in His Word and through prayer. Look for Him all around you. Ask God to open your eyes and reveal Himself to you in a fresh and tender way.

    Power Verses:
    1 Chronicles 16:11, "Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always." (NIV)

    Psalms 9:10, "Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Micca Campbell. 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 Deuteronomy, Micca Campbell

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