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Daily Devotion

  • Give God Guilt

    Boyd

    My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. Psalm 38:4

    When we feel like we have come to nothing, our Lord Jesus is ready to make us into something. Guilt can cause our good deeds to grind to a halt or it can drive us to try to make up for lost time with frantic activity for God. Guilt motivated behavior is not sustainable, because like a scuba diver’s weight belt it weighs us down with sin and shame. We drift deeper into the murky waters of fear until we are unable to see the forgiveness and grace of God. Guilt overwhelms our heart.

    The blood of Jesus Christ is the only remedy for sin’s guilt. Other pseudo solutions like drugs, alcohol, sex, work and play only mess with our emotions and leave us longing for real relief. Guilt is a warning light on the dashboard of our life that flashes when we are close to losing our peace and joy. It is a protector of joy not a killer of joy. Guilt drives us to God for freedom from mental or emotional pain. Confess to Christ, release your guilt and accept His total forgiveness.

    For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. James 2:10

    Beware of those who intentionally or unintentionally attempt to put you on a guilt trip. It could be they are shifting blame to you from their irresponsible behavior. Their own shame feels the need to shame those in their path. Avoid chronic carriers of guilt, they hurt innocent bystanders who stand near their exposed emotional wounds. Guilt is like a grenade whose pin is pulled, its insensitive shrapnel injures everyone in its path. Yes, be a righteous resolver of unresolved guilt.

    Do you hold unrealistic expectations over the head of a loved one? Do you demand of others more than the Lord expects of them? If so, guilt can easily drive a wedge in between your relationships. A friend or family member bound up in their own shame and guilt need God’s grace and your gracious response. Your forgiveness frees the guilty. Once you have been freed from guilt by God’s grace, you can lead others to receive the Lord’s love. He frees the guilty!

    They will be forgiven for any of the things they did that made them guilty. Leviticus 6:7

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, free me from the guilt of my past, so I can free friends from guilt in the present.

    Related Readings: Numbers 11:14, 14:18; Ezra 9:6; Luke 11:46; Hebrews 10:22

    Post/Tweet today: Guilt is a warning light on life’s dashboard that flashes when we are close to losing our peace and joy. #guilt

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

  • Letting Go

    Amy

    "He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands." Psalm 78:5-7 (NIV)

    Each year I take out one memory-soaked treasure after another from the boxes containing our family's Christmas and winter decorations. There's one I anticipate unpacking more than all the others. It's a framed photograph of my two little boys in brightly colored jackets sitting on a sled surrounded by fresh snow. Their heads thrown back with delight and laughter give testament to the joy of speed and a rare North Carolina snowfall.

    It's amazing how that one picture captures the childhood of my sons. Thinking about it makes my heart ache for days gone by. I reminisce about hours of playing with blocks and little arms wrapped around my neck.

    I never wanted those toddler hugs to end, but today, my once-little-boys tower over me, their deep voices filling our home. Gone are childish giggles, Play-Doh and picture books. Those things are replaced with teenaged practical jokes, car keys and college texts. The boys have turned into young men, and they've let go of juvenile ways. Now, if only their mama could let go!

    My oldest, Anson, is getting ready to head back to college for his sophomore year, and God's Word comforts me in this challenging transition. To parents who are watching their children sprout wings of independence, God gives strong direction followed by a powerful promise.

    Strong Direction ... our job as parents is to teach.

    There are several different scriptures that command us to teach:

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

    "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up" (Deut. 11:18-19 NIV).

    Followed by a promise ... as we let go, trust our children will hang on to God.

    "Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it" (Proverbs 22:6 NLT).

    Teach and then trust.

    Parenting is a divine partnership, with God as the controlling partner. Our acts of obedience to teach our kids merge powerfully with His promises to carry them through to the end.

    My husband and I have faithfully and lovingly taught God's Word to our sons. Now we are trusting God to finish the work He has begun in them. The work may not be evident immediately and there will be bumps in the road, but teaching and then trusting helps this mama's heart to let go.

    Dear Lord, help me to faithfully teach Your Word and Your ways to my children and then trust You to set their paths. I let go of control and trust Your work in them. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources: Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond: Are there biblical lessons you feel you haven't yet taught your child? Make a plan to do that before they leave your home.

    Ask your older child today how you're doing in the letting go process. Discuss freedoms he would like to have and how those freedoms can be earned.

    Power Verses: Isaiah 44:3, "For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

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

  • Live by Faith

    Boyd

    And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. Hebrews 10:38-39

    Saving faith is a Christian’s starting point and sustaining faith is what carries them forward. Followers of Jesus are saved by grace through faith and they grow by grace through faith. Faith in Christ is the key that unlocks the human heart to God’s imagination. The Holy Spirit looks for a humble spirit to spread around His spiritual security. He draws those full of faith in the fullness of His Spirit. Faith emboldens believers to begin each day better, because they started with Jesus.

    Has fear or suffering caused you to shrink back? Are you frustrated by the feeling of two steps forward and one step back? Be encouraged since you are moving along the Lord’s path, though maybe not at the speedy pace you desire. Your Master Jesus takes pleasure in your perseverance when you press forward by faith in the face of frustration. Jesus is your biggest cheerleader. Your little bit of faith in Christ creates enough confidence for today. So, live by faith in God’s son!

    I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 Furthermore it is the faith of Jesus that gives our faith spiritual fortitude. Similar to the fishes and loaves, when we surrendered to Jesus He multiplied our faith by His faith. Because Christ is our life, His faith grows our faith exponentially. Our capacity for belief is only limited by the Lord’s capacity for belief. So, by faith we are called to let Jesus loose with our lips and life. Daily we die to our small thinking and engage in God’s big thinking. Yes, we live by the faith of Jesus for Jesus!

    You may start the day on your knees in doubt, but once you leave your concerns at the feet of Christ in prayer, you will stand to your feet to live by faith. You know you live by faith when you’ve cast your cares on your caregiver Jesus Christ. You know you live by faith when your Heavenly Father gives you peace to proceed. You know you live by faith when the Holy Spirit reminds you to give God the glory for your successes. Live by faith in the One who died for you.

    "Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith. Galatians 3:11

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me to love motivated by Your gracious and giving love.

    Related Readings: Habbakuk 2:3-4; Romans 1:17, 8:10; Hebrews 11:13-16; 1 Peter 4:2

    Post/Tweet today: Saving faith is a Christian’s starting point and sustaining faith is what carries them forward. #livebyfaith

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

  • What Did Daniel Pray?

    Lysa

    "Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before." Daniel 6:10b (NIV)

    Have you ever been in a pit? Recently, I was. And you know what pits make me feel besides frustrated and down? Hungry.

    Usually my pit comes when circumstances roll into my life that I can't control.

    Circumstances that affect me, but that are beyond my control, make me want to find comfort in things I can control. And eating sure does feel like an easy way to get comfort.

    But in these situations, what feels comforting going in my mouth doesn't settle well in my heart.

    Overindulging in junk food makes me feel guilty. And once guilty joins me in my pit, it only compounds my issues. So, if we can't eat our way out of a pit with junk food, what can we do?

    If I'm truly hungry, I can grab a healthy option. Then, I intentionally look for something for which to be thankful and get my mouth busy praising God.

    Even though I may not feel like praising God in the midst of my pit, something starts to shift in my heart and in my attitude when I see blessings in the midst of burdens. Each thing for which I verbalize my thankfulness is like a stepping stone out of the pit.

    And this isn't just my idea. It's biblical. Look what happened when Daniel took this approach to the pit he found himself in.

    In Daniel 6:10, Daniel had just learned that if anyone was caught praying to anyone else besides King Darius, they would be thrown into the lion's den. That's a serious pit! But Daniel's reaction is amazing.

    He went home, threw his windows open, and prayed anyway. I'm not thinking he did this because he felt good. I'm imagining he felt like anyone would feel in overwhelming circumstances. But he rose above his feelings to make a choice.

    And do you know what he chose to pray?

    "God, save me!"

    "God, it's not fair!"

    "God, this is too much!"

    "God, smite my enemies and wipe them out!"

    "God, You know I can't handle this without extreme doses of chocolate!"

    No. None of the above.

    What Daniel prayed is a powerful lesson for me.

    Daniel 6:10b tells us that Daniel spoke prayers of gratitude. "Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before."

    Since Daniel's response is so opposite of the way most of us would react, it makes me stop and ponder. Our initial responses are usually a by-product of the rituals we've established in our life. Daniel had made it his habit to be thankful.

    Since Daniel was a thankful man, God's nature and how He provides was front and center in Daniel's heart—even in the midst of uncontrollable circumstances.

    I am challenged and inspired by Daniel's response. It makes me ask questions like: where do I run when life presses in on me? Who or what am I really dependent on? Do I have a habit of inviting guilt to join me in my pit? What might happen if I stopped grabbing for comfort and instead embraced the perspective changer of thanksgiving?

    Life will be full of pits. But, that doesn't mean I have to be a pit dweller. Or a pit eater.

    Dear Lord, I know I will sometimes find myself in a pit. But I don't have to stay there and I don't have to try to eat my way out. Thank You for providing Your timeless Word to point to the way, the truth and the life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources: Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond: Ask yourself these 3 questions:

    Where do I run when life presses in on me? Who or what am I really dependent on? Do I have a habit of inviting guilt to join me in my pit?

    Power Verses: Hebrews 12:28, "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe." (NIV)

    Colossians 3:15, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Motivated By Love

    Boyd

    And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

    Love is the highest and best motivation. Like beauty pageant contestants, faith and hope accompany love as the top three finalists, but love is crowned the winner. It reigns because it brings out the very best in the lover and the one being loved. Similar to an invisible force field, love protects us from ourselves and compels us to give ourselves to others. It generates goodwill and garners trust. Yes, love is the pinnacle of the Lord’s expectations because it points to Christ.

    Love is loyal when most are disloyal. Love steps up when some step away. Love believes the best and doesn’t think to assume the worse. Love looks out for the interests of loved ones above its own needs. Love loves when unloved, love loves when lonely and love loves when loved. Love loves the unlovely, the unconcerned and the underutilized. Love looks for potential where impatience sees disappointment. Love is the Lord’s lubricant causing relations to run smoothly.

    The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Galatians 5:6

    What is your primary reason for relating to people? Is it to be loved or to love? Fortunately, when we are free to love without expecting anything in return, we are fulfilled by love’s fruit. Indeed, the glorious grace of God does not stand still when you run to love one starved of compassion. Hallelujah, your gift of love invites the Holy Spirit to shed His love across the landscape of your heart and soul. Like kudzu the seeds of love grow in places we cannot fathom.

    Furthermore, make sure your motivation for love is inspired out of your intimacy with your Heavenly Father, as you commune with Christ. The more consistent your love relationship with Jesus, the more capacity you have to love. To the extent you are loved well by the Lord, you will love well. The world’s noise drowns out the gentle words of Jesus, “I love you,” but in your daily quiet time you hear and feel His presence. God’s love motivates you to love with intentionality!

    Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me to love motivated by Your gracious and giving love.

    Related Readings: John 15:12; Romans 5:8, 10; 1 Thessalonians 1:3, 3:6; 1 John 4:7-21

    Post/Tweet today: The more consistent our love relationship with Jesus, the more capacity we have to love. #motivatedbylove

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

  • Moments Like These

    Wendy

    "Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name." Hebrews 13:15 (ESV)

    My eyes caught hers as I was leaving the room. The somber look on her face revealed her heavy heart. I gave her a questioning look to which she simply shook her head "no." We'd been praying for her to receive some good news, a "yes" to an opportunity she'd been working hard to get. The call had come; she'd been denied.

    I recognized her pain. Its name: rejection. Like my friend, I waited for a similar call, only to be turned down too.

    Perhaps you have met the unwelcome intruder, rejection, as well.

    You work hard to earn a promotion, only to be over-looked. You aim to be a loving wife, yet your husband still leaves. Well-intended friends assure us with words like, "God's plans and timing are perfect." With great compassion they tell us, "Keep trusting God." But sometimes, when rejection hits hard, we need a boost to our trust. We need something when we're in the pit. Moments like these are made for praise.

    Praise heals brokenness in a way words alone cannot. When we praise through our pain, God supernaturally empowers us to do what seems impossible: rise above our circumstances. Our praise redirects our focus on Him rather than our rejection, and reminds us that God always welcomes us into His presence.

    Praising God is easy when life is full of happiness and success. However, when we're dealing with rejection, praising God can be difficult; it can feel like a sacrifice. It's not necessarily easy to offer a heart of thanks when we feel like we don't have much to be grateful for. However, the writer of Hebrews advises us to "continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips" (Hebrews 13:15b). Just like fruit is sweet and pleasing to our taste, praise is sweet and pleasing to the Lord.

    Praising through the pain (and if we're honest, sometimes through the self-pity) seems to take strength we don't have to give. But the author of Hebrews 13:15 tells us our ability to praise in hard moments comes through Jesus.

    As we tap into His power, our sacrifice of praise will generate more strength to praise, which will generate more praise. It is a beautiful cycle! Praise lifts our eyes from the rejection and sets it on all we have in Jesus: peace, comfort and acceptance.

    Later that week I texted my friend to see how she was doing. She'd taken time alone for praise and the pain of my friend's rejection had begun to ease. Did her troubles disappear? Was her rejection turned into acceptance? No. But her sorrow was turned to joy as she focused on praise, that was sweet and pleasing to her Lord.

    Dear Lord, thank You for supplying all I need all the time. You even give me strength to praise. What an awesome God You are! Help me to remember the truth I learned today when rejection comes. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources: Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond: What is your typical response when dealing with rejection?

    Today, sit alone and praise the LORD. Praise until praise generates more praise.

    Power Verses: Psalm 7:17, "I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High."

    Psalm 21:13, "Be exalted, O LORD, in Your strength! We will sing and praise Your power."

    © 2013 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

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

  • Do God’s Will

    Boyd

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

    The fortitude to press forward in the face of resistance is the mark of a steady saint. God’s will is momentarily celebrated on the mountain top, but most of the time is lived climbing a rocky face or regaining balance along a slippery slope. Traversing up or down requires perseverance. Yes, it’s reassuring to walk with someone who has plodded along a similar path. They know when to go boldly and when to wait patiently. God’s will normally works out in a round about way.

    What is the will of God for you right now? You can’t go wrong doing the next right thing. Don’t be overwhelmed with what needs to happen six months from now, rather focus on living today to its fullest. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with faith and wisdom for today. Daily obedience leads to weekly goals, leading to monthly objectives, leading to quarterly milestones and finally leading to annual accomplishments. Doing God’s will today leads to doing God’s will tomorrow.

    And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. Romans 8:27

    For example, if you are a husband or wife begin each day praying for your spouse to feel loved by their Heavenly Father and loved by you. If you are a parent pray the same for your child. If you are single ask the Lord to give you a singular focus to trust and obey. Stay pure by being washed daily with the cleansing power of prayer and God’s word. If you are a supervisor at work ask those you serve how you can help them. God’s will is fully obeying Christ’s commands.

    Your Heavenly Father sympathizes with your tension over two conflicting options. He wants you to use this test to lean into His heart and mind. Maybe there is a third option He wants you to discover through the wise counsel of a trusted confidant. Make sure your motivation is not to run away from a problem or conflict, but to persevere as the Holy Spirit reveals what to do next. As you wait out an uncomfortable circumstance the reward of God’s promise awaits you. You do God’s will by doing the next right thing. Walk close with Christ and He will lead you in His will!

    Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:13

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me with thanksgiving into the next steps in Your will.

    Related Readings: Proverbs 20:7; Mark 3:35; Romans 1:10; Ephesians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4

    Post/Tweet today: As you wait out an uncomfortable circumstance the reward of God’s promise awaits you. #doGodswill

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

  • My Goodness

    Sheila Mangum

    Sheila

    "Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever." Psalm 23:6 (NIV)

    It was well into the second quarter of the high school basketball game when the senior captain of the home team showed up late.

    Just that morning his mother unexpectedly passed away from a sudden hemorrhage. She'd been in remission after a five-year fight with cervical cancer when she took the fatal turn.

    Some of the team had been at the hospital with their grieving friend. Although they had an important game that night, the guys wanted to cancel it. Brokenhearted, the senior captain encouraged the team to play.

    You can imagine everyone's surprise when this young man came out to root for his team.

    His coach asked him if he wanted to sit on the bench with his teammates.

    "No," he replied. "I want to play."

    Game rules prevented anyone not on the pre-game roster to play unless the opposing team was granted a technical foul that would give them two free throws. It was a tight game, but his coach willingly traded the points to comfort his player.

    But that is not where the compassion stopped.

    The other coach wasn't interested in the free throws. He wanted to let the brokenhearted player just play. With no penalties. This coach and the referees argued over the rules until the referees won with, "Rules will not be broken."

    So, after a brief conversation with his coach, the visiting team's senior captain took his place on the free throw line.

    Giving his coach an understanding nod, he dribbled the ball and threw it two feet. The crowd stared in wonder as the ball rolled off the court. The second free throw landed at his feet. He had purposefully missed guaranteed points.

    This gesture of sportsmanship ignited a standing ovation. Applause roared throughout the gym. The crowd witnessed a rare act of kindness birthed out of the goodness of the visiting coach and captain's hearts.

    We don't often hear about people taking hold of opportunities to demonstrate such graciousness. But every day we can see God's goodness if we simply take the time. Psalm 23:6 tells us that "Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."

    Before the brokenhearted player even arrived at the game, God's goodness followed him, ready to show up when he needed it most. Goodness tapped two coaches on the shoulders. Goodness whispered in the hearts of a group of teenagers.

    God's goodness is here for us as well. We find it in His daily care and love, especially in times of hardship. But we have to "get in the game" to see it. If we're checked out of life, not spending time in prayer, or not actively seeking to recognize God's goodness, we'll miss it. True, His goodness might not always seem as evident as a team opting out of free points in a basketball game, but God's goodness is all around us.

    Could His kindness and love be the encouraging word or hug from a friend? Perhaps it's peace that comes unexpectedly. Or maybe it's the conversation with the grocery store clerk that brought a smile to your face.

    This young man who lost his mother probably had no idea how he was going to ease the pain that surrounded him. You may be wondering that very thing as well. This is why God promises, "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18). God wants to be closer to you than the pain. One way He does this is by following you with His goodness and showing up through the hands and hearts of others.

    I cannot tell you who won the last Super Bowl. I don't know who the Major League's MVP is. There's no way I can spout off the NBA lineup. What I can tell you about is the day God's goodness followed a crushed young man into a gymnasium during a high school basketball game in Milwaukee and made His goodness known. I can tell you he played the rest of the game, scoring ten points that led to his team's victory.

    But most importantly, I can tell you that God's goodness is following you. Will you get in the game and look for it?

    Dear Lord, I praise You for Your goodness. Open my eyes that I will fully see Your marvelous ways. Amen.

    Related Resources: Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond: God's goodness is following you and wants to be closer to you than the pain. Look for His goodness to show up for you.

    Who will you demonstrate God's goodness to today? How?

    Power Verse: Psalm 3:3, "But you are a shield around me, O LORD, you bestow glory on me and lift up my head."

    © 2013 by Sheila Mangum. All rights reserved.

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

  • Hold on to Hope

    Boyd

    Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

    Faith creates hope, so where faith is conceived hope is birthed. Yes, hope is the daughter of faith. Those who profess to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior possess hope. Hard times try to hinder hope’s comforting company, but it is unhindered where faith in God is the focus. Those who hold on to hope are happy. Where faith peers hope makes clear. Where there is a wall, hope finds a door. Where there is darkness, hope looks for a light. Hope expects Christ to come through.

    What is hope? It is confidence in Jesus Christ, period. Confidence He is faithful. Faithful to follow through with His promise to provide us peace in the middle of our turmoil. Faithful to answer our prayers in His most productive process. Faithful to give our children what they need as long as they look to Him. Faithful to facilitate financial resources when we steward well what we already have. He is faithful by His restorative grace to heal relationships severed by sin. Hope bursts forth in possibilities when we embrace the promises fulfilled by the Lord’s faithfulness.

    You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. Job 11:18

    Since your security is in your Savior Jesus who has conquered sin, sorrow and death, hope is your wise weapon. Your Heavenly Father holds you in the palm of His hand, therefore nothing can reach you lest your divine protector gives permission. The Holy Spirit is your guide, thus you have a trusted leader who directs your path. “Your hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.” Your two-handed grasp of God includes His double fisted hold on you!

    When hope is deferred avoid rejecting God and giving up. Wait on the Lord and hope in Him. He helps you when you feel helpless. He empowers you when you feel powerless. He encourages you when you feel discouraged. He gives joy when you feel joyless. Hope never disappoints. It gives life and a reason to live. If you let go of hope, your gracious Lord doesn’t let go of you. Like Mount Everest, your hope is unmovable, so hold unswervingly to your living hope: Jesus!

    We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. Psalm 33:20

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to hope in You when all seems hopeless.

    Related Readings: Psalm 33:22; Proverbs 13:12; Lamentations 3:21-29; Romans 4:18; 1 John 3:3

    Post/Tweet today: Like Mount Everest, your hope is unmovable, so hold unswervingly to your living hope: Jesus! #holdontohope

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

  • When You Have a Choice to Make

    Suzie

    "And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left." Isaiah 30:21 (ESV)

    According to recent statistics, I made 5,000 decisions today. Seriously?

    Well, I made a decision to get out of bed. I made a choice to put on my tennis shoes and run at 6 a.m.

    I chose peanut butter Cheerios™ over oatmeal. I decided which bills to pay. What to make for dinner. Whether to answer a phone call. Which clothes to wear. Whether the plants needed watering or if they could wait another day. I chose to fill up the small car instead of the gas-guzzler.

    I may have made more than 5,000 decisions today!

    Some of our everyday choices are random, others weighty, but many of our decisions are choice points. Choice points are seemingly insignificant decisions yet they lead us in one direction or another.

    I choose whether to react in anger, or respond with understanding to my husband.

    I choose whether or not to create drama with a friend who hurt my feelings.

    I choose time with my Heavenly Father, or push that time to another day ... again.

    I choose whether or not to say those words that cause my child pain.

    Recently I was on a mission trip and the team was exhausted after nearly six days of intense travel. We had missed a train and stood on the platform in the moonlight. It was nearing midnight and cold and wet. Our next ministry event was early in the morning.

    The coordinator walked over. "I'm so sorry," she said. "I didn't mean for it to work out this way."

    There I stood with a choice to make.

    I could share my frustration. I could explain that my sleep tank was on empty. I could say nothing, while sighing with a martyred expression. Or I could choose to override my fatigued irritation and be gracious.

    As she waited for my reply, a gentle voice softly spoke to my heart: "This is the way, walk in it" (Isaiah 30:21).

    I knew it was definitely the leading of the Holy Spirit, just as Scripture promised. Yes, I was exhausted, but I reminded myself what a privilege it was to be there. Ease and comfort were not readily available to Jesus, and losing a little sleep was nothing in comparison to anything He went through. The Holy Spirit nudged me to recognize that everyone around me was just as tired as I was. He led me in the way to respond.

    "I'm fine," I said. "In fact it's been an amazing day and I can't wait to see what God does tomorrow."

    She grabbed me and pulled me in a huge hug. "Thank you, Suz."

    I wish I could say I handle every choice I have to make that way, but sometimes I fail and gripe, nit-pick, am critical and grouchy. It's my prayer that I'll remember how much my choices matter. You see, they don't just affect me; they affect those within the vicinity of my decisions.

    In the 5,000 decisions you make today, take a moment to pause before deciding. Ask the Holy Spirit for His guidance and counsel. And choose to follow as He leads the way.

    Dear Lord, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all my choices, and it makes me cranky. Today as I make my 5000 decisions, walk with me, remind me of how my choices affect others and help me follow Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond: Keep a journal this week of choice points. Note those that lead you in the wrong direction. Are there common themes?

    If you were overtired, how can you implement rest?

    If you were trying to live a packed life with your spiritual tank unfilled, will you stop and fill it up?

    Power Verses: Proverbs 16:9, "The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps." (ESV)

    Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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

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