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Daily Devotion

  • Forgiven By Love

    Posted on February 20, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Love keeps no records of wrong. 1 Corinthians 13:5

    Record keeping of wrongs is taboo for those who love lavishly. Love funnels all its focus toward forgiveness and relational restoration. It refrains from retaining resentment which leads to wasted emotional energy. Yes, unforgiveness maintains a mental checklist of grievances that offers the enemy an entrance to encroach into a soul’s spiritual stability. Love is not an account ledger that credits rights and debits wrongs. Love is a white board that regularly erases infractions and hurts.

    Do you bear the burden of accounting for all injustices committed against you? Are you weary of wishing you had not been wronged? If so, look into the keyboard of your heart and by God’s grace press the delete button of forgiveness and erase external irritations. Start with a clean slate and your spirit will be set free to rest and enjoy God and people. Let go of harmful words that broke your heart and let the Lord mend it with love. A mind at peace is the fruit of forgiven love.

    Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them. Romans 4:8

    Since the Lord’s love doesn’t keep records of wrongs against us, we are wise to forgive ourselves of past guilt. The command to love ourselves includes not having a standard higher than God’s toward our transgressions. We are either forgiven of all or not forgiven at all. Jesus Christ’s redemption is not partial, but whole. He does not pick and choose cleansing based on the degree of our offense. Hallelujah we are categorically and fully forgiven of past, present and future sins!

    Therefore, since Christ doesn’t count your sins against you, you can’t count your offender’s sins against them. Your forgiving love chooses to wipe away hurtful infractions. Indeed, ask the Holy Spirit to repair relationships broken by another’s bad behavior: broken trust, broken promises, broken romance, broken cars, homes and bank accounts. Offer up your broken and contrite heart to God, receive His healing love and forgiveness and then extend His forgiven love to others.

    Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Psalm 32:1

    Prayer: Heavenly Father thank you for Your forgiven love, give me grace to lovingly forgive.

    Related Readings: Psalm 32:2, 103:12; Romans 4:6-11; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Colossians 3:13

    Post/Tweet today: Jesus has either forgiven us of all our sin or not forgiven us at all. #forgive

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • What's Your Message?

    Posted on February 20, 2013 by Lynn Cowell

    Lynn

    "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them." Deuteronomy 4:9 (NIV)

    My heart breaks as I watch my girls struggle. Navigating the waters of school, I watch as the storms of rejection slam against their hearts.

    Often, I feel like I'm in the hurricane with them. Why do I feel vulnerable when I see the tears in their eyes?

    I guess it's because memories of my own turbulent teen years are not far gone. The painful remembrances of growing up come to the surface: confusion, a boy's brush-off, constant over-analyzing myself.

    Yet my girls' struggles also bring thankfulness to my heart. Thanksgiving that God sent amazing friends into my life when I was a young woman. I remember the ones who helped me discover that no man, be it a dad, boyfriend or even a husband one day, could fill the love-gap in my heart. Only Jesus can fill what He created.

    I am also thankful God has placed me here, in my daughters' lives, to share with them this same truth. You see, when Jesus showed me He was the only one who can fill the emptiness of my heart, He didn't just give that truth for me! Jesus gave me this truth so I can pass His radical love on to my kids and hopefully my grandkids one day.

    What is one truth God has revealed to you which you can pass on to your children, your children's children or young people in your world? God has given revelations to you, treasures from His Word, glimpses into His heart. He has entrusted those to you not just for your benefit, but also for the benefit of your family and those in your sphere of influence.

    Has the Lord given you a clear understanding of forgiveness? Teach your child the process of working through a grudge. Have you experienced the Lord's healing? Come alongside those in your life as they mend. Do you cling to hope because God has lifted your spirits? Share that with another who's in the middle of grim circumstances.

    As our key verse tells us, "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them." (Deut. 4:9)

    We have opportunity and influence in the lives of our children and others. Let's not take for granted all the Lord has done in our lives. Instead, let's be intentional to pass on the good things the Lord has accomplished so our children will be encouraged to trust Him for the things to come in their lives.

    Dear Lord, help me be intentional today to share with my children and those in my life all of the truth You have set to work in my life. Let me take advantage of the message You have given me and pass Your Word on to the next generation. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Looking for a way you can connect to your girl and learn about God's radical love together? His Revolutionary Love: Jesus' Radical Pursuit of You by Lynn Cowell is for girls ages 13-18. It is a great study for moms and girls to bond over!

    You can intentionally share God's truth with a young woman each day when you give her a copy of Devotions for a Revolutionary Year.

    Reflect and Respond:
    In the next 24 hours, look for an opportunity to share with your child, or someone you love, one truth the Lord has made real in your life. When you connect a teaching to a story, it helps stick in the heart of your listener!

    When is your child most open to hearing testimonies from your life? Think of these times in advance so when the time comes, you are ready to share.

    Power Verses:
    Deuteronomy 6:6-9, "These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

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

  • Love Avoids Anger

    Posted on February 19, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Love is not easily angered. 1 Corinthians 13:5

    Anger dismisses love in the moment, as hurtful emotional outbursts overwhelm any evidence of love’s presence. However, anger’s most feared enemy is love and forgiveness. Love can handle anger’s influence. It sees anger coming and prepares for its onslaught with a prayer for patience and forgiveness. Tempers are tempered when a culture of love surrounds relationships. Love does not allow anger to make itself at home in a heart that’s been hurt. It avoids anger.

    Has the someone who knows you the best hurt you most? Is it hard to love them because your pain screams for retaliation? If so, seek the Lord for an infusion of His fresh fire of love and forgiveness. Your unconditional love is needed most during times when your spirit has been crushed by an unlovely person. Let go of the need to inflict pain on the one who was insensitive to you. Grace and forgiveness are your tools of love that rebuild broken relationships. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

    “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. Luke 6:31-33

    Your love is a gift you give in exchange for an angry interaction. Rise above petty arguments and model for your mate a mature faith that doesn’t fight back in raw irritation. Because you have been loved supremely by your Savior you lavish the same unrestricted love on those who let you down. You replace an angry attack  on your adversary with patient restraint backed by heaven’s unlimited resources. You love much because you have been forgiven much by God.

    Let the Lord’s love lead you away from a focus that demands to be right and instead give room for flexibility and restoration. Dismiss the need to get your own way and own the need to love your loved one at their point of need. Like miraculous modern medicine apply the ancient ointment of love to disjointed, even diseased relationships. Remove the cancer of anger with the sharp scalpel of selfless love. The Lord’s love frees your heart to be a fierce lover for Him!

    Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little. Luke 7:47

    Prayer: Heavenly Father I receive Your limitless love, so I can aggressively love for You!

    Related Readings:Numbers 20:10-12; Psalm 106:32-33; Proverbs 14:17; Matt. 5:22; James 1:19

    Post/Tweet today: The Lord’s love frees our heart to be a fierce lover for Him. #love

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • When an Apology Never Comes

    Posted on February 19, 2013 by Stephanie Clayton

    Stephanie

    "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1 (ESV)

    Numb to the pain, I sat in my counselor's office to talk about the rape that occurred 10 years prior. I wanted to share what happened but the words would not come. Even if they did, would I feel better? I hoped so, but doubted the process. This part of my life had been hidden for 10 years; surely another 10 wouldn't hurt, right?

    Although I wanted desperately to run, I desired freedom more than escape.

    Freedom from nightmares, uncontrollable mood swings, panic attacks, and the feeling of gasping for air. Freedom from unforgiveness. Hiding any longer from my pain would never help me move forward. So I stayed in counseling.

    Uneasy, I described what happened. The sounds, sights, and smells returned as if it were yesterday. I was left wanting one thing.

    An apology.

    Couldn't someone say they were sorry for what happened? Not a shallow apology, but one that would restore meaning to my life. One that would somehow return my loss of innocence. Surely an apology from the man who raped me would make a difference, right?

    After 10 years, I knew I wanted freedom from the unforgiveness that seemed to enslave me. But how was I supposed to forgive when he never said, "I'm sorry"? I spent a lot of time praying and studying how to move forward when bitter and angry. How to forgive when an apology never comes. Along that journey, I learned a few things.

    First of all, for forgiveness to bring freedom, I had to offer it freely, with no strings attached. Not because the person who hurt me earned it, but because it's Christ's gift. If you are a Christian, no one's sin, not even your own, has the right to hold you captive. That means you are free to forgive.

    You may not feel like forgiving, but that is where you ask for God's strength. Ask Him daily for help until you are able to offer forgiveness freely to yourself and others.

    Second, I had to release my shame. Often when someone hurts us, we blame ourselves. If we had been a better person, done something differently, or spoken more assertively we could have avoided what happened. Right? Wrong! Pressing shame and blame upon ourselves is not conducive to freedom and healing. Galatians 5:1 says, "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."

    Shame is a yoke of slavery. Instead of accepting shame, choose to stand firm in Jesus' love. Stand firm in His freedom that releases you from shame. Because of His sacrifice on the cross you are free!

    Third, I had to keep walking forward. To move past your past you must walk through it to move beyond it. This might involve time and professional help ... but here's the freeing part: your past does not define you, Christ does!

    I never received an apology from the man who raped me. But I've come to realize that even if he were to apologize it would not make up for the hurt he caused. His apology could not and would not set me free.

    Freedom is not contingent upon receiving an apology from those who have hurt us. Instead, forgiveness leads to freedom and is possible because Christ's death on the cross set us free.

    Dear Lord, thank You that Your death on the cross gives us all the strength we need to forgive those who have hurt us. Where there is unforgiveness, uproot it with grace. Allow Your mercy to fall on the burdened places of our hearts and minds and show us the areas we need to be set free. Thank You that Your grace, always has been, and will always be, enough. In Jesus' Name I Pray, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    In what ways are you living with unforgiveness that anchors you in a victim stance?

    What is the first step you can take to forgive? If your heart is unwilling, ask Christ for the strength it will take to set you free.

    Power Verse:
    John 8:36, "So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Stephanie Clayton. All rights reserved.

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

  • Selfless Love

    Posted on February 18, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Love is not self-seeking. 1 Corinthians 13:5

    Selfless love is happy when those they love are happy. They find great joy in seeing others live in harmony. These unselfish lovers are willing to sacrifice the fulfillment of their needs for the good of the whole. Selfless moms lose sleep for their little ones and selfless dads invest intentional play time and prayer time with their children. Time consuming habits like golf are put on pause for a season of selfless love. Love seeks what’s best for those it has incredible influence over.

    Has love of self hijacked your schedule with no time left to serve others? Has your ambition shifted from being godly to leaving  God out? Self-seeking love gives the Lord and others spiritual and emotional leftovers. However, your selfless love learns first how to love your heavenly Father with your heart, soul, mind and strength;  then  go out of your way to love others. You love selflessly when you give instead of spending on yourself. Love is generous.

    Love your neighbor as yourself. Mark 12:31

    Selfless love does not mean we are not to love ourselves. Christ commands us to love ourselves in the same way we love others. We feed, clothe and care for our body, so we are able to care for the physical needs of others. We do not neglect our own nourishment for unsustainable expectations, no we take care of personal needs, so we are capable of communicating the gospel in word and deed. Your love of self qualifies you to quietly and selflessly love and serve others.

    Selfless love is the way of your Savior Jesus. He submitted to His heavenly Father and humbly served humanity though He was the most powerful person in the room. He gave His life to save lives. He took time to teach sinners why they are to worship God in spirit and truth; because He is Spirit and He seeks out those who worship on His terms. Yes, your other centered love is an opportunity to teach your children that God created them for His glory. Selfless love teaches truth.

    We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Romans 15:1

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, whose needs can I lovingly meet in deference to myself?

    Related Readings: John 4:23-24; 1 Corinthians 10:24; 1 Thessalonians 4:11; 1 John 3:17

    Post/Tweet today: Selfless love is happy when those they love are happy. #happylove

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • I Feel Forgotten

    Posted on February 18, 2013 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie

    "Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will he never again be kind to me? Is his unfailing love gone forever? Have his promises permanently failed? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he slammed the door on his compassion?" Psalm 77:7-9 (NLT)

    Several years ago I was drowning in a sea of difficult circumstances. With each gasping breath, God appeared farther and farther away. I prayed, but God was silent. Emotions played tricks on me, causing anxiety and fear to get the better of me. Instead of God's kindness and love, loneliness and abandonment loomed large. In my head I knew that wasn't true, but that's how I felt.

    Apparently the person who wrote Psalm 77:7-9 experienced these same doubts. It seems he was at the end of his rope, pleading for God's deliverance from hardship. He expressed his feelings, and asked why God had rejected him. Did God even care?

    He felt rejected, alone and afraid.

    Maybe you are experiencing a season of life where God seems to be a million miles away. You're wondering "why?" and questioning, like the Psalmist, if God has forgotten you.

    We all experience feelings of rejection and loneliness at times. Whether as a little girl who desperately wishes her daddy would love her, an employee who longs for the approval of her boss, or a woman who would give anything for a husband that pays attention to her. There are countless reasons to feel rejected in this broken world - but feeling forgotten by God really hurts.

    When we find ourselves feeling forgotten, we have two choices. Either turn away from God in anger and frustration. Or we can allow the words of Psalm 77:11-14 to motivate us to recognize God's sovereignty ... and continue to trust and praise Him even in the midst of our difficulties.

    Despite his heartache, the author of this Psalm remembered that God truly was his only help. Psalm 77:11-14 says, "But then I recall all you have done, O LORD; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. O God, your ways are holy. Is there any god as mighty as you? You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations." (NLT)

    He recognized his own weakness, and his need for God. In the midst of his suffering, he chose to willfully and wholeheartedly ponder the Lord's goodness and praise Him.

    The Psalmist changed his attitude completely by focusing on all God has done over the years. Instead of keeping his eyes on his own circumstances and troubles, he meditated on God's ability to overcome them. He gave himself a little praise pep talk, ramping up his faith from the inside out.

    If we feel rejected, it's time to turn our focus upward instead of inward. Rather than rehearsing all the ways God hasn't changed our current circumstances, let's praise Him for the many times He has shown His faithfulness in the past. We can have a little praise pep talk of our own! God is waiting with open ears and outstretched arms, for we are too loved to ever be forgotten.

    Dear Lord, I feel forgotten and alone. Forgive me for my doubts, and reassure my heart of Your love and protection. I commit to put my hope in You, and trust and praise You in the good and the bad. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

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

    The best way to remember God's faithfulness in the past is by reading Scripture that recounts it. Renew your trust by going through The NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women, featuring devotions from Proverbs 31 Ministries writers.

    Reflect and Respond:
    If you feel forgotten or abandoned by God, give yourself a praise pep talk. List three specific instances God has been faithful to you in the past.

    Remind yourself about God's goodness and how His promises are true. Spend time in His Word, looking up and memorizing one Scripture that will motivate you toward a personal revelation of faith.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 83:1, "O God, do not remain silent; do not turn a deaf ear, do not stand aloof, O God." (NIV)

    Jeremiah 29:13-14a, "'If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,' says the LORD. 'I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes.'" (NLT)

    © 2013 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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

  • Love Is Not Rude

    Posted on February 17, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Love is not rude…       1 Corinthians 13:5

     

    Love rejects rudeness because rudeness is reserved for the insensitive and the insecure. Rudeness is impolite and disrespectful. Indeed, a rude reply stands ready on the lips of an unlovely life. Rude people use coarse words that rub their listeners the wrong way. They pride themselves in being without airs, but they are insensitive in the timing and the tone of their conversations. They hurt feelings at the drop of a hat and seem to alienate people on purpose. However, love is the light that leads rudeness out of darkness (Romans 2:19).

     

    A rude person is a rascal to work alongside because you never know when they are going to offend you or someone else. You lose confidence in rude people because of their volatile nature. You don’t want to be embarrassed around one of their outbursts or social indiscretions, so you shun their presence. Rude people become loners by default. Over time, no one can tolerate a barrage of irreverence and sarcasm. Even the most accepting and forgiving saints grow weary of rudeness. Indeed, rudeness has no place in a caring culture.

     

    Love expunges rudeness like a healthy body does a virus. It uses tough love to escort rudeness out the door of relationship. Because you love them and those they influence, you need to be very direct and matter-of-fact in your communication with a rude person. Direct conversation is the only way they begin to “get it.” Love takes the time to be very candid and clear with rude people who run roughshod over others. However, be careful not to be rude in dealing with the rude. Do not lower your standards to theirs. Be prayed up and filled up with the Spirit before you encounter the rude with truth (Romans 9:1).

     

    Without patronizing, love is able to find at least one thing they admire in someone else. Even if a person is full of himself, there lies dormant, within him or her, some redeeming quality. Love is able to pull out the potential for good that lies deep within a selfish soul; the way Barnabas saw possibilities in Saul (Acts 9:27). Love looks beyond the hard, crusty exterior of someone’s character and understands that fear may have locked his or her love into solitary confinement. They feel lost, lonely, and afraid. Nonetheless, love is able to get past this rude roadblock and inject faith. Faith in God, faith in oneself, and faith in others frees one from rudeness.

     

    The Almighty’s rude awakening transforms an impolite heart into one full of kindness and grace. When love has its way, rudeness runs away. Love the rude, and watch what God can do. Their sarcasm is a smoke screen that hides a lonely, loveless, and hurt heart. Rude people are reaching out but they don’t know how. Stay committed to your rude roommate, relative, parent, child, or colleague. Love them to Jesus, and your unconditional love will melt away their iceberg-like insecurities. Pray they will see themselves as Christ sees them, and pray they will love and be loved. Love loves the rude and is not rude. Therefore, be persistent by staying engaged in unconditional love. Watch the rude walls come down as you bombard them with consistent acts of love.

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Wedding Anniversary

    Posted on February 16, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth (Proverbs 5:18).

     

     

    There is something sacred and celebratory about another year of marriage. It is sacred because a covenant to God has been fulfilled. And it is celebratory because a man and woman have grown closer to Christ and to each other. This marriage milestone is meant to mean something. It is not just another day that comes and goes without recognition.

     

    Wise are the husband and wife who make much over their wedding anniversary. It is a testimony to their commitment to Christ and His commitment to them. In a day when some men trade in their wives like a used car, and some women walk away from their husbands and children like a nuisance to her freedom, much needs to be made about marriages that achieve longevity. “Until death do us part” is not a trite saying but a bold declaration of lifelong dedication. So be proud you have persevered and celebrate!

     

    Plan ahead, spend some money, and invest in a long weekend away from home. Make sure you do not over save for retirement and miss enjoying your marriage adventure now. The way to enjoy your spouse as your best friend in the future is to enjoy your spouse as your best friend now. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12). Your wedding anniversary is a big deal; so make it a big deal.

     

    Husbands, lead the way by talking with your wife about the best way to celebrate this year’s anniversary. Perhaps you prearrange your favorite babysitter and work some extra hours so your wife is secure with the children’s caregiver and at peace with the extra expenditures. If it is important, you will make it a priority that might even require a project plan. Give her a day at the spa in preparation for the second best celebration of the year.

     

    The best celebration of the year is your union with Christ. Your relationship with Jesus is meant to be a mirror of your marriage. Both are by grace through faith. They both require focused attention and going deeper with each another; so hilariously celebrate your marriage anniversary. Enjoy the blessings of being together over time.  It is something to be proud of, because God says marriage is meant to last a lifetime.

     

    “Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth” (Malachi 2:15).

     

    Prayer: How can I honor God and my spouse and have fun on our wedding anniversary?

     

    Related Readings: Song of Songs 2:1–17; Romans 7:2; 1 Corinthians 7:2–3; Hebrews 13:4

    Post/Tweet: Make sure you do not over save for retirement and miss enjoying your marriage adventure now. #marriage

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Kind to the Needy

    Posted on February 15, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy. Proverbs 14:21

     

    The needy have unmet needs that cripple their ability to live life to its fullest. It may be the need for food, clothing, or a place to live. They may need a job, a car, or an opportunity to get ahead. The needy may be lost in their sins without Christ, which is the greatest of needs. Wherever their point of need lies is our obligation to kindly care for them. “Give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven” (Matthew 19:21).

     

    Evidence of our following Jesus is shown by our caring concern for the poor. Our kindness may require us to give up something so that another can gain something. Perhaps there is a fun trip you give up so a poor person can enjoy food for a month. What financial expenditure can you put on pause? Do you know someone who could benefit from a car repair or a mortgage payment? Sacrifice solicits most when the need of others is highest.

     

    “Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God” (Proverbs 14:31).

     

    Furthermore, the best motivation for reaching out is kindness of heart, not guilt of mind. It is a kind word that lifts another person’s spirit. It is a generous gratuity to a diligent server. It is a gentle response to a demanding spirit. The needy are all around us, especially during economic downturns. Maybe there is a neighbor who is out of work whom you can invite into your home for dinner and  encouragement. Kindness is a culprit of compassion and care.

     

    Lastly, look out for the needy because of the Lord’s great love toward you. Kindness asks, “Where would I be without God’s grace? Where in my life can I extend His grace, love, and mercy?” Blessings await those who give and receive kindness. We are all needy, some more than others, but our provider is the same—Jesus Christ.

     

    “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail” (Lamentations 3:22).

     

    Prayer: Who in my life is in need whom I can show kindness to in Jesus’ name?

     

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 15:4; Isaiah 58:7–12; Luke 6:30–36; 1 John 3:17–22

    Post/Tweet today: Our kindness may require us to give up something so that another can gain something. #kindness

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Collateral Damage

    Posted on February 15, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie

    "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3 (ESV)

    My house has a crack. Just over the doorframe, creeping to the ceiling. It catches my eye every time I sit on my couch in my living rom. My house isn't that old, so when I asked how this happened, the answer was, "collateral damage."

    Collateral damage is defined as damage to things that are incidental to the intended target. Who knew that the sunny rays outside could fracture the wall of my nicely air conditioned home? But it happened.

    Last year we had one of the hottest summers on record and the parched ground around the foundation strained the frame, which put pressure on the walls, and eventually a crack appeared.

    Collateral damage can also take place within our family when we've been hurt by something or someone else, no matter how long ago.

    Because a parent made you feel unworthy of love, you lash out when your child doesn't eat the meal you lovingly prepared.

    Because your trust was shattered by another, your loyal husband pays the price as his faithfulness is questioned again and again.

    Because of negative words poured over your tender heart, you struggle to believe your value to God.

    Collateral damage. All of it.

    Years ago I struggled with collateral damage. Because of my own past hurts, sometimes I lashed out, or withdrew from a loved one. Sometimes I worked way too hard to be accepted by a God who loved me right where I was.

    Psalm 147:3 promises God can fix these broken parts. As He began to heal my heart, He showed me the cracks weren't the source of the problem. My behavior, my inadequacies, even my struggle to feel grace ... these were superficial issues.

    The foundational issue was there from the time when a little girl tried hard to stay out of trouble, to make peace, and yet nothing I did worked. So I learned how to hide, how to defend myself, and a few other unhealthy behaviors along the way. Do you relate?

    By taking my eyes off the cracks and opening my heart to God, the original source of damage was in plain sight ... where it could be addressed and healed. The more I soaked those wounds in God's truth, the more I began to recognize the cracks and see them in an entirely different Light. The more He healed me.

    The fact that a child didn't eat a meal so lovingly prepared has nothing to do with a woman's value; it's just one of the many mom-things we get to tackle.

    The fact that your trust was shattered by another just makes the gift of a loyal husband that much more sweet.

    The fact that negative words were poured over your tender heart means the thousands of words etched in Scripture are that much more powerful because they redefine you, as seen and loved by your Heavenly Father.

    The crack in my living room is slated to be fixed. And next summer I'll be sure to water my foundation in the fierce heat. But as for me, my heart is bound and secure, and that foundation has become a source of collateral gifts in my marriage, with my children and grandbabies, and in my relationship with my God.

    Dear Jesus, before today I pointed out the cracks, those superficial acts and behaviors that I've tried to patch over. But today I hold up my heart. You see the foundation of my brokenness. Thank You for binding up my wounds, for healing, and for my new journey to wholeness. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    If you take your eyes off the cracks, what do you see?

    Invite God into those broken places. He's been waiting to fix the foundation of your heart for a long time.

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 4:20-22, "My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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

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