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Daily Devotion

  • Source of Satisfaction


    Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10

    Every soul longs for satisfaction--a feeling of fulfillment. A dissatisfied soul is discontent and distant from God, but once satisfied, it’s content and close to Christ. Dissatisfied emotions look for love in all the wrong places, but once satisfied, receive genuine love from Jesus and His followers. A dissatisfied state of mind is ever learning, but unsatisfied with simple truth. Dissatisfied, we drive ourselves to unhealthy extremes, but we find peace when satisfied with our Savior Jesus.

    This dear woman at the well--whom Jesus loved, lacked fulfilling love from her previous husbands. The yearning and thirst in her heart could only be quenched by the living water of her Lord. Has your heart been broken by a lost love? Are you thirsty for someone you can totally trust? Look to your heavenly Father who loves unconditionally and wholeheartedly. The purified water of God’s love--filtered in heaven, is your gift to be received by faith. Christ’s love satisfies.

    “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jeremiah 2:13).

    We can dig wells in our own strength, but they will eventually run dry. A well of wishful thinking cannot replace Christ’s well of living hope. A well of good works cannot take the place of God’s gift of grace. A well of financial security is no substitute for the eternal security we have by faith in Jesus Christ. The world’s wells are subject to becoming stale, but the well of our Savior Jesus flows with fresh and residual living water. Draw often a cup of joy from the wellspring of life.

    Furthermore, go deeply into the well of God’s grace. The deeper we go, the darker it may seem, but such is the process of Oneness with our heavenly Father. As we patiently draw out the depths of the Lord’s love, we have an abundance to share with others. Living water is meant to flow from heart to heart. It’s not stagnant like the landlocked Dead Sea, rather is it full of life like a cascading waterfall. Faith in Christ is the satisfying source for all souls in search of true life.

    “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:38).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, You are the source of my satisfaction. Lead me to draw from Your well the depths of Your living water.

    Related Readings: Psalm 78:15-16; Isaiah 41:18; Jeremiah 17:13; Revelation 7:17, 21:6

    Post/Tweet today: Dissatisfied we drive ourselves to unhealthy extremes, but we find peace when satisfied with our Savior Jesus. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • No More Guilt-Induced Doubt


    "Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)

    Mom said she'd be gone all day, and she encouraged me to come over and use her place to write. In a quiet house, hopefully, I could finalize my message outlines for our church women's retreat.

    We arranged plans for my mom to be home at 5 p.m. Then my husband, J.J., would come over at 5:30 p.m. with our boys. The children could stay with Grandma while J.J. and I went to a surprise party.

    Mom's quiet house was just what I needed to get into a good studying and writing zone. It was the perfect setting ... until she came home two hours early!

    She brought cement pavers in and set them on the floor. She walked out and returned to plop bags of groceries in the kitchen ... right where I was studying.

    Normally this would have been fine, but I wasn't done and I got the message that my time was up. Panic set in!

    Then, to make matters worse, as I put my notes away I knocked a water bottle over onto my laptop. My chest tightened with anxiety, and my eyes stung with tears. My perfect day was turning into the perfect storm.

    After mopping up the mess, I started getting ready for the party and waited for my husband to arrive. He didn't show up at 5:30, or 5:40. He wasn't answering his cell phone, and I didn't want to ruin the surprise party by being late. So, at 6:00, I decided to take Mom's car and have him meet me there.

    Just as I was leaving, he drove up. Surprisingly, he didn't look a bit hurried. In fact, my then 6-year-old son got out of the car first, walked up to me and said, "Daddy told us you would be mad!"

    That was an understatement! Frustrated and angry, I decided it was still a good idea for me to leave. But when I pulled out of the driveway, my husband waved for me to stop and asked, "Aren't you going to wait for me?"

    "No," I snapped. "Because you're acting like a [beep]."

    My 8-year-old son walked up and said, "Mommy! You just called Daddy a [beep]."

    Suddenly guilt-induced doubt made me start questioning everything, including speaking at the retreat. I'm not cut out for this. I'm not godly enough. I must have heard God wrong. I have no business teaching a message I can't even live.

    My husband and I ended up going to the party together, with our fake "everything is fine" smiles. But the next morning at church, I went straight to my women's ministry director, confessed what happened and told her I needed to step down from being the retreat speaker.

    Her response shocked me: "Renee, if you don't need this message as much as the women attending, then you are not qualified to teach it. But because you need it as much as we do, you are. You've been appointed and you are anointed to do this."

    I had never experienced such a demonstration of God's grace.

    That response showed me what it looks like to "approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).

    It's hard to believe God could use us when we're such a mess, yet the Bible is filled with stories of men and women He used greatly — despite their downfalls.

    I ended up speaking at the retreat and shared what had happened. Although I feared some women might judge me, they loved me, accepting that I'm not perfect.

    Although guilt can make us give up on ourselves, God won't. Instead, He offers to take what feels like destruction and use it for reconstruction in our journey with Him.

    When we confess our wrong thoughts, words, and actions and receive God's forgiveness, our hearts can be set free from guilt-induced doubt and filled with grace-infused confidence.

    Lord, I come to You today to receive Your mercy and find Your grace to help me. Please replace my guilt-induced doubt with Your grace-infused confidence. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond: Has guilt ever made you doubt God could use you for His purposes?

    Jesus lived and died to save us from our sins and downfalls. Receive His forgiveness today and ask Him to replace your guilt-induced doubt with His grace-infused confidence.

    Power Verse: 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (NKJV)

    © 2014 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

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

  • Overcoming Relational Barriers


    When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give me a drink?’... The woman said, ‘I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.’ Then Jesus declared, ‘I, the one speaking to you—I am he’”.  John 4:7, 25-26

    Jesus was thirsty for water, but He was also thirsty for this woman to learn of Him--God’s living water. He dismissed the barriers of cultural bias and went right to her heart. Though women of His day were treated with contempt, Jesus related to her with compassion. In spite of the prevalent racial prejudice of the times, He listened intently to her ideas about God. Yes, overcoming relational barriers starts by being respectful to the person with opposing ideas.

    There are built-in cultural divides when diverse people come together to communicate. Family traditions, religious beliefs, regional pride, racial judgments, social status and preconceived notions are a few. However, the unconditional acceptance and love of Christ cuts through cultural clutter and creates a clear path of communication and understanding. We create trust when we seek to understand the other person’s paradigms and we are humbly bold about our own beliefs.

    “Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin” (Romans 3:9).

    The entire human race began from the same place; all sinners in need of a Savior. No one people group is superior, but all are subject to the one and only King Jesus. So, it’s with caring concern we approach individuals different in origin and opinion. Outside of Christ, we are all sinners in need of a Savior. In Christ, we are all sinners saved by grace. Thus, we prayerfully seek common ground with assorted nationalities. The gospel of Jesus Christ assimilates diverse backgrounds.

    Therefore, where is the Lord calling you to build relational bridges? A neighbor not native to your area or a professional acquaintance who professes not to know God? Humans hunger for answers to life. God has placed in everyone’s heart a thirst for Himself. We who are refreshed by Christ’s living water are called to educate thirsty souls in how they can be satisfied. So, be creative and use every day experiences to engage spiritual conversation. Explain how your once parched heart has been hydrated by the living water of Jesus. Yes, Christ overcomes relational barriers!

    “God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all” (Acts 10:34-36).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me be intentional to understand other cultures with the goal of sharing the good news of Jesus.

    Related Readings: 2 Samuel 22:50; Psalm 18:49; Romans 9:24, 10:12; Ephesians 2:14

    Post/Tweet today: We who are refreshed by Christ’s living water are called to educate thirsty souls in how they can be satisfied. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Am I On Camera?


    "Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them ..." Matthew 6:1a (ESV)

    My eldest son recently turned nine. Like most kids, he was excited to be officially "bigger." He walked around on his special day with his chest pushed out and his head held high.

    After a full day of justifiably being the center of attention, my son told me that because he was nine, he was going to wash the dishes.

    His dishes.

    He proceeded to go to the sink, squeeze the dish detergent and squirt a generous amount of soap on a dirty plate. He then proceeded to rub and scrub with vigor.

    I grabbed a glass of water and rested my hip on the side of the kitchen counter to watch my birthday boy work. He scrubbed on that dish for more than a minute.

    That dish wasn't just clean, it was sterile, sanitized and thoroughly decontaminated.

    Then my sweet boy turned to me, cocked his head slightly to one side, donned a puzzled face and asked, "Aren't you gonna take a picture of me and put it on Instagram?"

    I almost spit my water in his face with laughter, shock and a bit of confusion.

    My son was doing a good thing with the desire to broadcast his good thing to the world. Apparently, being "on camera" was an important part of his good works.

    So I took a few minutes to explain the importance of doing things for the right reasons and not performing for the applause of others.

    And then I was convicted.

    Convicted because sometimes I do the same thing.

    How many times have I served others, not just because it was the right thing to do, but because it also lent claim to a bit of self-righteousness as others watched me do it?

    How many times have I put forth more effort to show kindness or compassion to people inside the walls of my church than to those living within the walls of my home?

    How often do I aim for excellence when someone is watching but forget to aim consistently for excellence simply because my God is always watching?

    And He's always most interested in my heart.

    The Bible is clear. God doesn't want my good deeds to be aimed at gaining the applause of people. He wants me to have a pure heart and motives undergirded by a desire to live a life pleasing to Him.

    Even if no one else is watching.

    When my little boy got busy washing his dish, my heart was overjoyed because I thought he was showing growth and maturity by doing a good thing — simply because it was the right thing to do!

    When his true motives were made clear, I realized there was still mothering work to be done. My precious son still has room to grow and mature. And that's OK.

    In my Christian journey there will be times when I will need work. There will be times where my heart is not quite right or my motives are not necessarily pure. I still have room to grow and mature. And it's OK.

    And that's OK if you do, too.

    The good news I've learned as I grow in Christ is that my heart can change. God is a loving Father who is interested in my heart and willing to take the time to teach me. He's willing to go the distance, guiding me along the path to spiritual maturity.

    The interaction with my son reminded me to do a "heart check."

    Even if no one is watching, when I'm not "on camera," I should always be conscious of the story my actions tell about my heart.

    Dear Lord, I desire to have a pure heart and pure motives, but if I'm honest, sometimes I miss the mark. Help me be aware that You are ever present and to live as though You are watching. Where I have developed the habit of keeping up appearances, teach me what it means to live for an audience of One. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond: When was the last time you joyfully served others when there was no applause?

    How does your treatment of people outside your home compare to the treatment of the people down the hallway?

    How much excellent effort do you put forth if no one is there to see how hard you work at the task at hand?

    Power Verse: Psalm 101:2, "I will be careful to lead a blameless life — when will you come to me? I will conduct the affairs of my house with a blameless heart." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Chrystal Evans Hurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Weary But Strong


    Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well...Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “‘Rabbi, eat something.’ But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you know nothing about.’” John 4:6, 31-32

    Life has a way of wearing us down. Constant digital connection exhausts our emotional energy, saps our attention span, and depletes our physical strength.  There are especially intense cycles of life that require a robust infusion of spiritual strength. Training our children can be overwhelming, starting a new job may require a radical learning curve, and health or relational issues tend to tire us out. Our physical weariness is an opportunity for invigoration by the Spirit.

    Jesus, while hungry and tired--looked outside of Himself to the inner hurt of another human being. His body was exhausted, but His spirit came alive to do the will of His heavenly Father. Indeed, it’s in our weakness that we can engage the strength of doing God’s will. By God’s grace we can convert our physical cravings into spiritual energy. Stamina comes to souls surrendered to God’s will. Faith feasts on food unavailable to unbelief. Yes, we can be strong in our weariness.

    “If you are a man given to appetite. Do not desire his delicacies, For they are deceptive food” (Proverbs 23:2-3, NKJV).

    Physical appetites need not consume us. Hunger, thirst, and sexual appetites are desires meant to drive us to the Lord, not away from the Lord. The soul rules over the body, not the body over the soul. If we are preoccupied by our physical needs, we lose touch with our affection for our heavenly Father. This is why determined soldiers are able to persevere through painfully adverse elements to win the battle. Disciplined athletes keep their bodies in submission, so they can reach their goals. So, in our weariness--we are strong, as we default to the habit of carrying out God’s will.

    Furthermore, like Jesus--we are wise to regularly take time to stop and rest. We sit down so we can refresh our soul, not bloat our body. We pray for those we can engage in conversation about Christ. Spiritual discussion can clarify our thinking and change our behavior for the better. So, we ask God who needs our intentional investment of time: a single mom, a troubled teenager, a successful executive or homemaker? Strength in our weariness comes from doing God’s will.

    “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, use my physical desires to move me toward doing Your will.

    Related Readings: Proverbs 13:4, 16:8; Matthew 21:18; John 6:27; 1 Corinthians 1:25

    Post/Tweet today: Stamina comes to souls surrendered to God’s will. Faith feasts on food unavailable to unbelief. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Trials Come So That...


    "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:2-4, NIV, emphasis added)

    [Editor's Note: Today's devotional might serve as a trigger for some. If that's you, we pray this story encourages you and brings you hope. Please see our note at the end for additional resources.]

    Screams from my living room startled me. Walking into the room, I realized the noises came from the television. On the screen, a man viciously attacked a woman. My instinct normally would have been to grab the remote and change the channel. Instead I stood frozen, my eyes locked onto the scene.

    It took me back 26 years to my little college apartment. To the terrifying moment I found an armed, masked man hiding at the top of my stairs. Without warning, I returned to the feelings and fear I felt that day.

    Something was drawing me back to that moment reminding me of where I once had been and how far I had come.

    Watching the violation on the screen was like watching myself all those years ago.

    My mind snapped back to the present reality of the TV show, where the screen now showed the victim returning home to find a crime scene.

    Another flashback. I, too, had arrived home to find investigators everywhere, dusting for prints, bagging and tagging items, and methodically removing my personal belongings one by one. First, physical, replaceable things ... my bathing suit, sheets, comforter, and towel. And then, personal, seemingly irreplaceable things ... my dignity, security, value and self-worth.

    Following the day I was attacked, fear locked me in a prison and held me captive for nearly 15 years.

    But thankfully that day watching that TV show, fear NEVER took hold!

    In the past when those emotions rushed through me, terror came and I ran wherever I could to avoid being alone with the paralyzing fear. But not that day. After turning the TV off, I boldly and confidently marched up my stairs, jumped in the shower and scrubbed off every one of those emotions.

    Afterward, the Lord impressed these words on my heart: Remember My promise. You have persevered, My child. Perseverance is finishing its work!

    God was speaking His own Word to me from today's key verse, James 1:2-4. Sometimes, God allows trials to test our faith. Our trials, though incredibly confusing and painful, initiate a process that teaches perseverance which deepens and matures our faith in a way nothing else can.

    My life is proof. Not only has God healed me from that horrific day many years ago, but He has turned it into a powerful testimony to bring hope to others and point them to Him.

    If you're in the midst of a trial, be encouraged, sweet friend. Our key verse teaches that God promises to mature and complete you through it. He also promises that you will be more than a conqueror through Christ who loves you. Pay attention to those words. Not a mere conqueror...but more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37).

    As God washed these truths over me, He spoke this message into my heart:

    Not only can this trial not separate you from Me, Wendy, but with Me ... if you continue to look to Me and trust Me ... I will use it to mold you into the woman I created you to be. Wendy, you will be more than a conqueror so that I can mature you and use you to encourage and help others.

    Before you read further, reread the paragraph above and replace my name with yours. Let God's promises seep deep into your heart. Your trial has purpose. It forces dependence on God. It tests you. It molds you, eventually creating you into an overcomer, with a powerful testimony.

    Trials come so that God can work in and through them to transform us and then use us to bring hope and healing to His hurting people.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for having a purpose in my trials. Open my eyes to see Your hand at work and give me the courage to persevere so that You can mold me into the woman You created me to be. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond: Are you facing a trial in your own life? What has been your response?

    Spend time reading Romans 8:37 (below) and James 1:2-4 (key verse). What truths do they speak into your trial?

    Power Verse: Romans 8:37, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

  • Eternal Optimist


    So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18

    Eternal optimists base their optimism on the eternal, not the temporal. The temporal is consumed with current circumstances, while the eternal experiences eternal security. The temporal is anxious about another adverse event, while the eternal is at peace with Providence. The temporal trusts what it can see, while the eternal trusts in the unseen. Do you glance at the temporal and gaze on the eternal? If so, you are an eternal optimist.

    By faith we see the Lord, who is unseen, and this compels us to obey Christ. Moses experienced this during a time of transition. “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27). Your eternal optimism is what gives you the courage to carry on; so do not let temporal pessimists persuade you to lose heart. Stay fixed on your Savior, the author of your faith.

    Eternal optimism exits when fear gets the upper hand. Fear seeks to flush out your faith as irresponsible and irrelevant. However, it is faith that keeps you grounded in God, the definer of reality. The righteous learn to live in the reality of the Lord’s love and leadership. Pain and striving are temporary, but healing and peace are eternal. You can be optimistic, knowing by faith you can be certain of the unseen.

    “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).

    Lastly, are you a temporal pessimist or an eternal optimist? Are you striving to survive or thriving to succeed? Look to the unseen, and you will one day understand. Engage with the Almighty’s agenda, and your focus will be forever and your results eternally significant. Can your family and friends depend on you to be an eternal optimist? Your hopeful attitude in the eternal gives them reason to be optimists.

    Live and exclaim out loud: “There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off” (Proverbs 23:18).

    Prayer: Where is God calling me to see, with eyes of faith, the unseen, eternal optimism of Jesus?

    Related Readings: Psalm 73:26; Isaiah 51:10–11; Matthew 6:21; John 6:27

    Taken from the March 30th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 1”

    Post/Tweet today: The temporal trusts what it can see, while the eternal trusts in the unseen. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Best for Last


    Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.   John 2:10

    Jesus sometimes saves the best for last. He delights in delivering the unexpected to the unsuspecting. He waits until there is opportunity to show up where the needs are rampant but the solutions are few. Then He meets the need unconventionally and boldly. Many times, this is His method because Christ is counter-intuitive. He wants others to ask “Why?”  Why did Jesus save the best for last? One reason the Lord saves the best for last is to honor the recipients. Those who persevere deserve the best. For example, in relationships, the fruit of long-term commitment produces the best experience. Trust, contentment, and fulfillment all earn their right in relationships that resolve to remain true.

    God blesses those who wait: “Wait for the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land.” (Psalm 37:34a). You experience the best God has to offer when you save yourself for marriage. Sex within the bonds of marriage exceeds exponentially the settlement of premarital capitulation to hormonally-driven sex. Otherwise, you risk disease and a lifetime of disrespect and regret. Waiting on the best brings out the best, for trust in God fosters hope that there must be something better to look forward to in the future. It protects you from impatient impulses that can instantly implode.

    Waiting for the best is difficult at times, because it means depending on others to accomplish the goal. The outcome is out of your direct control. You have to trust that others can execute the project better than you can by yourself. Your sphere of influence will remain stunted if you try to do everything yourself. You will be limited by your time, energy, and intellect. Your capacity is a drop in the bucket, compared to the resources of an aligned team; you need each other’s gifts and skills (Romans 12:4-5). It is your best that brings out the best in others. Therefore, be the best at what you do, and expect others to do their very best. Excellence attracts excellence, as mediocrity attracts mediocrity. Be the best that you can be and see to it that others do the same. Best breeds best.

    Lastly, trust Jesus to take people and circumstances under your influence and bring out His best. Let go, and let the Lord run with the opportunity. He may surprise you with joy. The best is yet to come if you look to the Lord for His best outcome. Your humble request of God will result in much more than you thought you were capable of, for Christ has no capacity issues. He is looking for those in whom He can trust with His best. He wants those whose faithfulness to Him far exceeds their earthly ambitions. Do whatever He says, and watch Him carry out His very best because obedience leads to His best. Believe the best is yet to come, and don’t settle for less. Believe the best in others. Trust Him for the very best. Expect the best, and be your best. Pray and ask God for His best. Be patient, wait on Him, and remind yourself often: He saves the best for last.

    Taken from the March 29th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 1”

    Post/Tweet today: Waiting on the best can bring out the best, so it can protect us from impatient impulses. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Love Gives


    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

    Love gives. It gives intentionally and indiscriminately. Love gives. It gives individually and internationally. Love gives. It gives bountifully and without bias. Love gives because generosity is its nature. A soldier who gives for love of country, or a mother who gives for love of her child, reveals their character. A husband who loves his wife gives her emotional attention. A wife who loves her husband gives him physical affection. Love gives as a matter of course. It’s natural.

    God’s love is the gold standard. His banner of love is raised high above the most hideous criminal to the most innocent child. God gave the ultimate gift of His son Jesus, because He loved all of us; each one of us. Just as rays of sunlight warm all of us and each of us, so the love of the Lord is for the world, and each one. We are individually loved by Jesus. Since God is love, His love is effortless. His loving offer of forgiveness comes to us by belief in Jesus.

    “Who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

    How can we intentionally love the Lord, people, and ourselves? Love begins by being loved by the One who is love. Once we receive Christ into our life by faith, His very nature of love resides within us. The deeper we fall in love with the Lover of our souls, the greater our capacity to love. His love gives us peace, so we are able to offer calm in the middle of conflict. His love gives us patience, so we are able to extend a compassionate ear to a fearful foe. His love gives us forgiveness, so we are able to offer total forgiveness to a friend or family member. Love gives.

    Lastly, how can we love ourselves by giving to ourselves? We love when we give ourselves the gift of margin. Margin is time for prayer, exercise, thinking, reading, hobbies and being creative. We can love ourselves by having more or less time with people. Nonetheless, we love ourselves, so we are better prepared to love God and others. An unloved self is a loveless self. Not narcissism of course, but a healthy love of self, like Jesus loves us. Our soul care, emotional fitness, mental refreshment, spiritual nurture and physical rest all contribute to a loving life. Love gives. So, receive God’s love in Christ and from an overflowing heart of love--love generously.

    “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37-39).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, by faith I receive Your love into my life in Christ, so I am able to love like Jesus loves.

    Related Readings: Genesis 22:12; Isaiah 9:6; Romans 5:8, 8:32; Ephesians 2:4; 1 John 4:9

    Post/Tweet today: The deeper we fall in love with the Lover of our soul, the greater our capacity to love. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Living in a World Gone Wrong


    "Why, LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?" Psalm 10:1 (NIV)

    By the time I returned home that night, I was so agitated that sleep was impossible.


    I had travelled six hours by car and made the mistake of listening to news channels rather than my usual Christian music station. Throughout the drive, I became increasingly frustrated and irritated, as I heard one bad news story after another. My mind was spinning with thoughts, and my heart filled with emotions.

    The strongest emotion by far was sadness at the stark reality of our world gone terribly wrong.

    Stories of abuse, death, disaster, political corruption and a general lack of integrity are everywhere. At times it seems the voices and desires of those who are against God's ways shout louder than those who love Him and promote His ways. It frustrates me that things are getting worse instead of better.

    Driving down the interstate with my mind full of mental clutter, my heart felt heavy. I wondered what God's answer might be if I could ask Him, "God, what in the world is going on in this world? And when are You going to take action?"

    In Psalm 10, David expressed this same type of frustration and confusion. He asked the Lord why it appeared He wasn't doing anything about the wickedness of the world, or taking control of the cruelty, violence and injustices that ran rampant through their corrupt society. He questioned why wicked people were allowed to get away with their wrongdoings.

    David wanted to know when God was going to step in and do something. Anything. David prayed with a desperate heart, begging God's intervention.

    Maybe you have felt that way too. Maybe you are struggling with difficult circumstances, and you feel as if God is standing far away, not intervening with help. Maybe you have struggled while walking in God's ways, while others with less-than-godly motives succeed. Or maybe you too are frustrated with the direction our world seems to be headed.

    This is how David felt as well, but in Psalm 10:16-18a, we see his tone change from frustration to hope when he says, "The LORD is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed ..." (NIV). David took comfort in remembering and believing that God was with him, and in due time, He would prevail.

    In prayer, David voiced his deepest fears and honest feelings. He solicited God's wisdom for greater understanding, yet surrendered to trusting that God sees all, knows all and would handle it all when the time was right.

    Our world has gone wrong due to the existence of sin, but we have a choice in how we respond. Instead of letting despair pull us further from God, or cause us to doubt His goodness, we can choose to lean on our faith and draw closer to Him instead, just like David.

    Let's choose to proclaim God's sovereignty today, trust in His ways and be a voice for His truths even when the ways of this world break our hearts.

    Lord, help me remember that You are in control, no matter how out of control this world seems. Give me the desire to stay grounded in You no matter what I see on the news, or what challenges I personally face, and to trust You wholeheartedly. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond: Do I feel forgotten or overlooked by God, or do I doubt His sovereignty over this world?

    Read Psalms 9, 10 and 11. Consider how your life and the world we live in mirrors much of what David describes. Ask God to speak to you through these scriptures and fill you with comfort and hope regarding our world and the situations you face in your personal life.

    Power Verses: Proverbs 21:2, "A person may think their own ways are right, but the LORD weighs the heart." (NIV)

    Ephesians 6:13, "Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet." (MSG)

    © 2014 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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

Items 711 to 720 of 1983 total

…to look after orphans and widows in their distress. James 1:27
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