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Daily Devotion

  • Rich Toward God

    Posted on April 2, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God. Luke 12:21

    It is easy to justify larger savings accounts for the sake of security. However, for the heart hungry for God, security is in Christ, not a bank balance. Future uncertainties are submissive to faith, not finances. Yes, to be rich toward God is to be rich in faith that exhibits generosity. True riches are trust in Jesus that leads to charity in Jesus' name. To build excessively  bigger bank accounts builds on ego and fear, but a life rich toward the Lord wisely gives away as the world wonders.

    Fools lose what they only prepare for themselves, but those who give away their extra gain more.  How is your degree of richness toward God? Are you overly cautious or aggressively generous? Perhaps you defer a major expenditure, so you can give away some of your excess to those who hunger to hear the gospel. Professionals and poor alike need regular reminders of the love, forgiveness and justice of Jesus. Your intentional investment in the Kingdom bears big fruit.

    Though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them. Psalm 62:10

     

    It’s our inheritance in heaven, not on earth, that captures the heart of focused followers of Christ. Fortunes fade away, but treasures sent ahead to heaven are never lost, only compounding in value. Yes, the development and deployment of spiritual resources are the most strategic use of wealth. Human accolades over our earthly accomplishments are hollow compared to our Heavenly Father’s smile and affirmation over our richness toward Him. We can’t out give God!

    Perhaps you draft a manifesto of generosity before you experience abundance, so you predetermine aggressive giving. Preplanning protects you from the temptation to trust in stuff over  your Savior Jesus. The best remedy for greed is radical generosity. Hoarding feeds a life of ease, but significant eternal investments enhance a life engaged in the Almighty’s agenda. Be rich toward your Heavenly Father, since He has already given you His riches in Christ Jesus!

    He [Moses] regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. Hebrews 11:26

    Prayer: Heavenly Father thank You for Your riches that qualify me to be rich toward You.

     

    Related Readings: Job 20:20, 31:24; Jeremiah 17:11; Psalm 39:6, 49:10; Luke 12:33

     

    Post/Tweet today: To build excessively bigger bank accounts builds on ego and fear, but a life rich toward God aggressively gives away. #generous

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • A New Pattern of Thought

    Posted on April 2, 2013 by Renee Swope

    Renee

    "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2 (NIV)

    It's usually very subtle. I'll think about something I want to do or sense God calling me to, and a feeling of uncertainty comes over me. Doubt whispers You can't do that. You're not good enough. Out of the blue, I'll get that awful, insecure feeling.

    Too many times in the past I've gone along. Without realizing it, I agreed with my insecurities.

    For years, I didn't tell anyone about my doubts. I figured if they knew the reasons I doubted myself, they'd notice flaws I had worked hard to hide. Honestly, I thought I was the only one who struggled with doubt.

    However, I didn't call it doubt. Maybe you don't either. Sometimes I called it worry—worry that I was going to disappoint someone, worry that I might make a mistake and get criticized for it, worry that I might start something but not be able to finish.

    Other times I'd call it fear—fear of not measuring up, fear of rejection, fear of looking prideful by thinking I could do something special for God.

    What I've realized over the years is that these feelings may end up as fear or worry, but their source is self-doubt. Looking back, I see there was a pattern in my thinking that led to the pattern of my doubting.

    As a child I thought I wasn't worth keeping. My insecurity kept me from riding the carousel at an amusement park because I doubted my dad would wait for me. In school, I thought I wasn't smart enough. I avoided great opportunities because they came with the risk of failure.

    Even as a young bride, I doubted my worth in my husband's eyes. Although he gave me no reason to fear, our newlywed memories include many arguments about trust.

    The apostle Paul challenges us in Romans 12:2 to not let our minds be conformed by the patterns of this world. This means we need to take our patterns of thought into consideration because they affect what we believe about ourselves and what we believe about God's view of us and others.

    The world's patterns of thought tell us our worth is measured by our weight or bank account, our job or spouse, by the number of our friends, or if we are able to have children. And if we do have children, the world tells us we're only good parents if our children behave 'just so.'

    Have any of these thoughts ever convinced you you're not enough or don't have what it takes to do all God's calling you to do?

    Just this week, doubt tried to convince me I couldn't handle my life. I had a sick teenager, a huge deadline to meet, several therapy appointments for my daughter and very concerning health problems with my mom.

    Remembering the wisdom in today's key verse, I paused to consider the pattern of my thoughts and knew they didn't line up with God's thoughts. For instance, in Philippians 4:13 God tells me, "... I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength" (NLT).

    I claimed God's promise by weaving it into my thoughts, knowing I could do it all if I depended on the strength God promises to give. And when I did, God transformed my heart by renewing my mind with His peace and confidence.

    It takes time to replace our patterns of thought with God's thoughts. The ways of the world—fear and worry—are powerful forces. But God's Word trumps them, always. Today, let's be intentional to lay down self-doubts and replace them with truth, remembering "... he who began a good work in [us] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Phil. 1:16 ESV).

    Lord, I want to have a confident heart in Christ and persevere in Your truth so that when I have done Your will, I will receive what You have promised. When doubt tells me I can't do something, I'll remember all things are possible to her who believes. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    In her life-changing book, A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises, Renee Swope will empower and equip you with new patterns of thought to help you overcome doubt, fear, and worry so you can move forward in confident assurance of all God has for your life!

    Reflect and Respond:
    What motivates you the most to be free from self-doubt?

    What would you do differently if you were free from worry and fear, and fully trusted God? Let go of unforgiveness? Volunteer more? Travel? Start a new hobby or look for a new job? Ask the Lord to help you replace self-doubt with His confidence and what your first step of freedom should be.

    Power Verse:
    Isaiah 26:3, "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!" (NLT)

    © 2013 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

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

  • Pursue Righteousness

    Posted on April 1, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    The Lord detests the way of the wicked but he loves those who pursue righteousness. Proverbs 15:9

    What does it mean to pursue righteousness? We pursue happiness. We pursue financial security. We pursue a husband or wife for marriage, but what is the pursuit of righteousness? It is a standard of behavior that is morally right or justifiable as God defines right. We pursue righteousness when we determine to understand what the Scripture outlines as right, integrating it into our behavior. It is intentional living.

    The pursuit of righteousness begins with the pursuit of God, for He is the Righteous One. He detests the way of the wicked but loves those who pursue righteousness. He loves those who pursue Him for righteousness sake. So we seek Him because we need Him to transform us into the likeness of His Son Jesus. We become what we pursue.

    “The Righteous One takes note of the house of the wicked and brings the wicked to ruin” (Proverbs 21:12).

    It is the path of the righteous He makes smooth, not without bumps along the way, but with clear direction for living. Perhaps you ask, “How do I know God’s will for school, marriage, or work?” Pursue righteousness, and He will direct your steps. Do not worry and fret over step fourteen; instead, by faith focus on the next step. “The path of the righteous is level; O upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth” (Isaiah 26:7).

    Without your Lord and Savior Jesus, your “righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Indeed, it is not what you do for Jesus, but the work of His Spirit in and through you, to produce the fruit of righteousness. Remain in Him, and He will make you righteous—not holier-than-thou, but humble and loving. Your pursuits are what you become; thus, wise are you and loved by the Lord when you pursue righteousness.

    “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4 nkjv).

    Prayer: Am I pursuing righteousness by abiding in Christ?

    Related Readings: 1 Chronicles 29:17; Psalm 1:6; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22

    Post/Tweet today: Our pursuits are what we become; thus, wise are we when we pursue righteousness. #pursuits

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

  • Mama Don't Play That Game

    Posted on April 1, 2013 by Micca Campbell

    Micca

    "For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice." James 3:16 (NIV)

    The evening started off great. The breeze coming off the ocean felt soothing against my sunburned skin. After dinner, we promised the kids dessert at our favorite spot along the coast. That's when the night took a turn for the worst.

    When we arrived at the popular ice cream shop, the line was long. Anticipation caused my two younger children to squirm in line. They stepped to the right to look ahead as far as they could see. They stepped to the left to make sure the distance was the same as the other side. All their movement irritated my eldest son who is a great deal older than his sister and brother.

    Eventually he had enough and tapped each of them strongly on the shoulder. "BE STILL!" he demanded.

    I quickly reminded him there was a parent present, and I had asked him not to correct his brother and sister in that manner before. It was not his job to control his siblings, but mine.

    "Then do your job," he grunted.

    So I did.

    Right there in the crowded ice cream shop I put my finger in his face, which let him know I meant business. With my other hand on my hip, I looked up at my teenage son, making my message clear. I was still the parent and it was my job to take care of my kids. He was still the child and his job was to respectfully obey.

    It would have been so easy to ignore my older son's behavior, especially on vacation. But if there's one game I don't play with my kids, it's disobedience. God doesn't put up with it either, because our heavenly Father is looking out for our best interest. He longs for us to live in peace and goodness. Disobedience brings the opposite result. As our key verse states: "For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice."

    King Saul is an example of selfish ambition leading to disobedience. In 1 Samuel chapter 15, we learn that the Amalekites had committed a terrible sin against Israel. God's instructions to Saul were clear: "Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them..." (1 Samuel 15:3a NIV).

    Saul was a great leader, able to organize a large army. However, he struggled with complete obedience. Instead of destroying all as God had commanded, he and his soldiers got rid of what they didn't want and kept the best for themselves. But partial obedience is still disobedience.

    In not fully obeying God, they dishonored Him. God, longs for us to follow His ways, and won't play games when we don't. His heart is for the good of His children and with disobedience comes consequences. God rejected Saul as king of Israel, which separated him from the peace and goodness of the Lord.

    You see, God doesn't take an odd delight in disciplining us when we sin, but does so for our good. Like that day in the ice cream shop, I wasn't willing to play games either. As hard as it was, I had to refuse my son a treat so he would learn to obey even when his way seemed right. My prayer is that he will learn to trust and obey God even when he doesn't understand.

    Yes, God's correction is for our protection. We are wise to accept His discipline, learn from it and obey. It was hard in the moment to deny my son ice cream, but the end result is life changing ... a life of peace and goodness.

    Dear Lord, search my heart and see if there is any wicked way in me, and then, lead me on paths of righteousness. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    One of the best ways to know God's heart and desires for us is by reading His Word. Proverbs 31 Ministries is so excited to introduce to you the new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women, containing 366 of our devotions that unpack Scripture with you.

    Reflect and Respond:
    How do your actions affect the heart of God?

    What will it take to fully obey God in all areas of your life?

    Power Verses:
    Lamentations 3:40, "Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD." (NIV)

    1 Samuel 15:22a, "But Samuel replied: 'Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice ...'" (NIV)

    © 2013 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.

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

  • He Is Alive

    Posted on March 31, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again”’ Then they remembered his words” (Luke 24:5–8).

     

    He is alive and I am forgiven and my soul has been set free. He is alive and I am forgiven and my joy I cannot contain. He is alive and I am forgiven and my faith is here to stay. He is alive and I am forgiven and my love flows deep and wide. He is alive and I am forgiven because He did what He promised—He arose after three days. He is alive! He is alive! He is alive!

     

    What emotions did the friends and disciples of Jesus feel when they realized He was real? Certainly they were surprised by the joy of knowing Jesus was back, even larger than in life. Even though they had watched Him raise Lazarus after four days of death, their faith had forgotten. But now they were glad again because God raised His Son to life.

     

    If you look for Jesus among the dead you will not find Him. He has left the cold cemetery and risen to be with the warm love of His Father. Dead churches cannot claim the calming presence of Christ because they have forsaken the faith required to recognize Him. Look for the Lord among the living, those who live out their faith with bold grace.

     

    Remember the words of Jesus, and your faith will resound with reassurance. “I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades” (Revelation 1:18). You serve a risen Savior who lives in your life by faith. Take Him at His Word, and joy will fill your innermost being as you celebrate His appearance almost two thousand years ago. Enjoy Jesus, anticipating your Lord’s second return.

     

    “So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:28).

     

    Prayer: How can I reassure my faith with the reality of a risen Savior? Where are the places I can find Christ among the living? What words of Jesus do I need to constantly remember?

     

    Related Readings: Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 1 Peter 3:18

     

    Post/Tweet: Look for the Lord among the living, those who live out their faith with grace and transforming truth. #amongtheliving

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

     

  • Alive and Well

    Posted on March 30, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen” (Mark 16:14).

     

    Jesus Christ is alive and well. His earlier followers, taken aback by His death, initially denied His resurrection. They rejected reliable testimonies and refused to receive the truth of Christ rising from the dead. However, when they encountered the risen Lord, He rebuked them and then loved them. Unbelievers can loathe the Lord. Deists can deny Christ’s deity. Agnostics can be apathetic over His resurrection, but He is alive and well.

     

    Contemporary Christ-less cultures could care less about Christ’s resurrection, but it does not lessen His lordship over them. Everyone will one day confront Christ. “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:10–11). Easter is an excuse for Jesus followers to celebrate His resurrection and His relevance.

     

    The Lord is alive and well in your heart. His resurrection resulted in Christ taking residence in your soul and transforming your life. By faith you believed, and God gave you grace upon grace. Because He has risen from the grave, He has given all who confess Him as Lord abundant grace on earth and the promise of heaven with Him.

     

    “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17). He is all you need.

     

    Lastly, you can live large for the Lord because He has triumphed over sin, sorrow, death, and hell. Easter is your eternal encouragement that He is alive and well. There will always be doubters, but do not dwell there. Focus on the undeniable force of faith that has captured you and millions before you. Because He has risen, you can rise above your circumstances, your hurt, and your fears.

     

    “With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:33).

     

    Prayer: Am I a disciple who ignores His power or one who proclaims His power?

     

    Related Readings: Numbers 14:11; Matthew 28:17; Acts 10:41; 1 Corinthians 15:1–58

     

    Post/Tweet: Because Christ has risen, we can rise above our circumstances, our hurt, and our fears. #resurrectionpower

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Good Friday

    Posted on March 29, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him…” John 19:16b-18a

    Good Friday is really good for those who have come to the foot of the cross of Jesus, in repentance and faith. It is a commemoration for Christians of the ultimate and final sacrifice for the sins of the world. Through a cruel and grueling death, Christ gave His life—His body wreathed in pain, so the sick could be healed. He felt abandonment, so the rejected could be accepted. He knew no sin, but became sin, so sinners could be forgiven.

    “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

    Oh what salvation and love—the Lord’s life consummated on Calvary. Oh what forgiveness—His raspy voice reiterated. Oh what compassion—His swollen face communicated. Oh what grace—His nail pierced hands activated. Oh what good news—His nail pierced feet initiated. Oh what humility—His crown of thorns demonstrated.

    It is Good Friday, because the good news of Jesus Christ’s love and forgiveness has been proclaimed around the world for almost two millennium. Taste and see that the Lord is good. He is good on Friday, but He is great on Sunday—because on the first day of the week He rose from the dead. Friday is good—but three days later is better—for He lives! Indeed, some who killed Him instantly recognized Him for who He was—they believed.

    “And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, Surely this man was the son of God” (Mark 15:39)!

    Good Friday’s come and Good Friday’s go, but how is it with your soul? Does the cross of Christ move you to emotion—are you a grateful and engaged follower of Jesus? If not, embrace and celebrate the Cross. Ask your heavenly Father to restore the joy of your salvation, or maybe, you are coming to Him for the first time in faith and trust. Surely, this man must be the Son of God—who came to save you and the world from their sins.

    Make today a meaningful memory of what your master Jesus did for you. Linger long in reflection of the love that flowed down, and mingled with His precious blood. See His hands, see His feet; oh what love that makes your joy complete. You serve a risen Savior, who’s in the world today—He walks with you—He talks with you—He gave His life just for you. Good Friday is good—because Jesus is good—and His cross is God’s loving gift.

    “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

    Prayer: How can I celebrate Good Friday as a sacrifice of praise and gratitude to God?

    Related Readings: 1 Corinthians 1:18; Colossians 1:19-20; Galatians 6:14; Hebrews 12:2

    Post/Tweet today: Good Friday is good—because Jesus is good—and His cross is God’s loving gift of forgivness. thecross

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Suffer with Me Awhile

    Posted on March 29, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "Then he said to them, 'My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.'" Matthew 26:38 (NIV)

    I dipped my piece of torn bread in the cup of dark purple juice and placed it in my mouth. I tasted the ripeness of the fruit and savored the texture of the bread. "I will remember, Lord." I spoke the words in my head, silently thanking Jesus for the sacrifice He made for me on the cross.

    Within a minute, the aftertaste of the juice distracted my communion meditation. It was more bitter than usual and I thought about taking a sip of something else to remove the flavor from my mouth. Should I grab my coffee, or some water?

    Immediately, the Lord spoke to my heart: "Suffer with Me awhile."

    Sadness filled my heart as I realized how quickly I wanted to remove the unpleasant taste ... how fast my thoughts drifted from the suffering of Christ to my own comfort. And I wondered how many times my self-focus had led me away from obedience in the hard places of life.

    The Bible tells of three disciples who also chose comfort over obedience. On the night of His betrayal, Jesus asked Peter, James and John to watch and wait for Him while He prayed. During the time when our Lord was "overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," His closest friends couldn't keep awake. Three times Jesus returned to find them sleeping.

    For those disciples, it was sleep that drew them from Christ's request to keep watch with Him. What is it for me? What keeps me from obeying Jesus' requests? Oh, the easy ones I have no problem with. It's the ones that infringe on my comfort that I wrestle with.

    Someday, we'll get to enjoy heaven and all its perfection. But for now, the work God calls us to do here on earth is often uncomfortable, physically tiring and emotionally draining. Some days it's downright dirty and difficult.

    While my flesh would prefer a cushy assignment, I don't want to shake the nail-scarred hands of Jesus—the hands that touched lepers, the hands that stroked the head of a broken sinful woman—with hands that have never gotten dirty with life.

    During this time before Easter, consider what sacrifices the Lord might be asking of you. Perhaps it's serving in an area at church that's difficult, reaching out to an unfriendly neighbor, or mending a damaged relationship. Or maybe it's getting less sleep in order to wake up and spend time with Him through prayer and reading Scripture.

    Moving from serving in comfort, to serving in sacrifice, builds spiritual character and maturity. But more than that, our hearts unite with Christ as a suffering servant.

    Jesus asked us to carry our cross daily. Before we can truly appreciate what happened on the cross 2000 years ago, or the resurrection that happened on Easter, we need to deny ourselves and follow Jesus wherever He leads. And stay awake while we do.

    Heavenly Father, You are faithful and awesome. Forgive me when I disobey Your requests to sacrifice my own comfort. I ask for a heart like Yours that sees beyond the surface of this life, a heart that sees the work that needs to be done from an eternal perspective. Please give me courage and boldness to become a steadfast servant, pleasing in Your sight. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Find new boldness in serving Christ by getting to know Him through Scripture. Proverbs 31 Ministries' team included 366 devotions to study the Word with you in our new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women. Pick up your copy here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Why would Jesus have asked Peter, James and John to watch with Him while He prayed?

    Is there something that Jesus has asked you to do that you haven't done? Define what that is and take a first step toward it today.

    Power Verses:
    Luke 9:23-24, "Then He said to them all: 'If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it.'" (NIV)

    Phillipians 1:29, "For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Shameless Audacious Prayers

    Posted on March 28, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. Luke 11:8

    Sometimes our prayers are too pretty and too pious. They become a work of art instead of a work that conforms our heart to Christ. We can pretend things are better than they are and we can lack a sense of urgency with matters that mean the most to our Heavenly Father. He wants our prayers to persistently punctate heaven for help, for wisdom, for the least, the lost and for those who need His healing. Indeed, our big God wants us to offer up big bold prayers with shameless audacity.

    Men and women tire of our requests, but not the Lord. He is ever vigilant to take our weary requests and revitalize them with His robust resources. Jesus is the Master of the Universe in meeting needs that seem to be a nuisance to the naked eye. He longs for His children to linger long in importunity for other needy friends. When prayer flows from an unfeigned faith, what man says is annoyance the Spirit commends as shameless audacity. Bold prayers breakthrough!

    So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer. Ezra 8:23

     

    Moreover, you can be an aggressive advocate for others, because you have a generous advocate in Jesus Christ. Your advocacy for those stuck in adversity grabs God’s heart. Perhaps a portion of your prayer time is to lift the downtrodden to the Lord. Your heart will follow, as it seeks provision for your petitions. Also, pray for creative ways for your house to become a haven for those who need a safe place to stay. Your warm home will warm hearts to Christ’s heart.

    Shameless audacious prayers are the product of a broken and contrite heart. The more the Lord has of you, the more you will want of Him. The world brands foolish what God calls wise. Thus, don’t let go of dreams and visions that raise the stakes of your commitment to your Savior Jesus. He gave His all for you, so that you can give your all for Him! Lastly, pray bold prayers with other shameless servants of Christ. He answers prayers produced during intimate encounters.

    After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. Acts 4:31

    Prayer: Heavenly Father,  I will pray shameless, audacious prayers on behalf of others.

    Related Readings: Job 42:10; Psalm 34:6; Isaiah 62:6-7; 2 Corinthians 1:11; Philemon 1:22

    Post/Tweet today: The more the Lord has of you, the more you will want of Him. #surrender

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Escaping the Rut of Want

    Posted on March 28, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans." Proverbs 16:3 (NIV)

    Fourteen years ago I was stuck in a rut of want. There was an opportunity that looked so promising. A publisher expressed genuine interest in my writing. It seemed to be right. It felt right. I wanted it to be right. It must be right!

    But it never came to pass.

    In my most mature moments I reasoned, "It wasn't meant to be. I trust God and believe in His perfect plans."

    In my not-so-mature moments I wondered, "God, this isn't fair. Why do You keep saying no?"

    And in my immature moments I whined, "God, do You care this hurts me?"

    Have you ever been there?

    Ruts of want are tough places to be stuck.

    When God says no, we are sometimes tempted to wonder if He loves us. In reality, it's because He loves us, He sometimes says no.

    Read that last sentence again and rub it into your heart. The hurting part. The part that throbs and aches when you see others getting the exact opportunity you want. You fake a smile to hide the pain.

    God brought this change of perspective to me through a baking disaster that happened to my youngest daughter Brooke. She came to me at 9 o'clock one night and asked if she and her friend could bake a cake.

    Hope, Brooke's older sister, had offered to help and I was too tired to argue the incessant pleas of a nine-year-old.

    So, the girls began to bake.

    Brooke measured and poured, whipped and stirred, and carefully placed a batter-filled cake pan into the oven. Then she turned on the oven light and watched the cake bake. Her cake became her whole focus. She couldn't stop looking at the cake and grew increasingly impatient with the slow-passing minutes on the timer.

    Nothing kills patience like solely focusing on the object of your desire. And tragically, impatience becomes the breeding ground for compromise.

    About 30 minutes into the 45-minute baking time, the cake looked done. It smelled done. Brooke and her friend wanted it to be done. She reasoned it must be done!

    Hope helped retrieve the cake and placed it on the counter to cool.

    And it wasn't long until the cake imploded.

    The cake couldn't withstand the pressure of an undone center ... and neither can we.

    If we obsess over the cake and make it our whole focus, character atrophies. If we make growing in godliness our obsession and keep our focus on God, our character matures. And a mature character makes for a solid and well-done center.

    I thank God every day for every "no" He has graciously allowed and continues to allow in my life. Our key verse Proverbs 16:3 teaches, "Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans." Through placing my focus on God, I have embraced His plans for me, and I trust that a "no" from Him is really a blessing.

    I used to pray, "God, let me, let me, let me!"

    I now pray, "God, please never let my success outgrow the character necessary to handle it."

    Indeed, it's because God loves us, He sometimes says no.

    Dear Lord, although I don't always understand, thank You for saying "no." I know that You do so as a measure of protection for me. Help me to embrace Your best for my life, Father. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Is there a young woman in your life who is striving for God to be the center of her focus? Lysa TerKeurst's new book What Happens When Young Women Say Yes to God, co-written with her teenage daughter Hope, would make a wonderful gift! Click here to purchase your copy.

    Sometimes a "no" from God can make us feel like we'll unravel. For help in navigating these emotions, check out Lysa's book Unglued by clicking here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What "no" have you thanked God for lately?

    Soak in the truths of our key verse and power verses. Then, think about instances in the past where a "no" from God has really been a blessing in disguise. Use these tools in an area of your life that needs reminding of His faithfulness now.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 31:14-15a, "But I trust in you, LORD; I say, 'You are my God.' My times are in your hands." (NIV)

    Proverbs 16:9, "In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps." (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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