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Matthew

  • Conflict Resolution

    Boyd

    "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over." Matthew 18:15

    Christians tend to skirt conflict. Some perceive it as unspiritual, however Jesus teaches it is spiritual.  Healthy conflict is necessary for relational and spiritual growth. It is required to keep clean accounts with others and stay focused on Kingdom priorities. Conflict resolution can be uncomfortable, but if ignored, it can become ugly, even explosive.

    There are two roles in the beginning stages of conflict resolution. One role is the confronter—the other is the receiver. If you are the confronter, it is critical to communicate the facts of the situation. If you are loose with the truth and cavalier in your confrontation, the situation will worsen—so have the details documented and verified.

    The second critical aspect of the confronter is the spirit of the conversation. Do not inflict an accusatory tone in your voice. You are there in a spirit of reconciliation and healing. Avoid a condescending attitude, as you are a potential candidate for the same concerns you are bringing to your friend. It is with a spirit of humility and grace that you confront.

    “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).

    You speak the truth in love. The receiver on the other hand needs to beware of defensiveness, denial and defiance. When confronted, the receiver needs to listen carefully and not interrupt with petty excuses. After hearing out the accuser, the receiver can correct any misconceptions and inaccuracies with a mature and level headed spirit.

    In most cases, the receiver of correction needs to apologize. Nine out of ten times a sincere apology from the one receiving the rebuke remedies the situation. On the other hand, a combative environment will just escalate the debate into a stalemate. It is better to lose an argument and win a relationship. Treat each other as God does and everyone wins.

    If there is not a private resolution, then there is the option of mediation. Mediation can involve one or two additional people. If two more are invited, it is an effective practice for each party to select one person each who is respected by all.  Everyone one should agree that the conclusion of the mediator(s) is the final word.

    To engage with another is to care. To ignore and even gossip about another is betrayal. The mature follower of Christ seeks to lovingly warn others of the consequences of unwise decisions. When you take the time to confront another you could save them from embarrassment and humiliation. Grace gives an opportunity for change. Praise God for those who have done the same for us. We need each other. Confronting now, precludes confrontation later. Diffuse the conflict bomb now and avoid an explosion of egos later.

    “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses” (Proverbs 27:6).

    Prayer: Whom do I need to lovingly confront over a concern, because I care for them?

    Related Readings: Genesis 21:25; Job 6:24; Mark 8:33; Galatians 2:11-13

    Post/Tweet today: It is better to lose an argument and win a relationship. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • The Unsaved Christian

    Lysa

    "'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.'" Matthew 15:8-9 (NIV)

    God wants us to have a relationship with Him. But what does this really mean?

    A few years ago, I met a woman at a conference where I was speaking. I didn't know many details about her life, but I did learn she'd been going to church for a long time.

    And she'd been serving, giving and doing all the right church stuff.

    But something was missing.

    "I never could quite put my finger on it until I heard your message," she whispered. "I never knew what it really meant to have a relationship with Jesus. But hearing you explain it, something clicked. I walked forward today. I gave my heart to Jesus."

    I wondered, What part of that day caused the profound click in her soul?

    Of course, it was the Holy Spirit moving ... somehow in the midst of my sharing the broken places of my life, things came together in hers.

    It got me thinking about us doing life together here through this daily devotion. Each day, we spend a few minutes together over the Internet learning how to navigate life as Jesus' girls. But all that talk is for nothing if our hearts stay far away from Jesus.

    It's not about momentary motivation to make it through today.

    It's not about spiffy quotes to ponder and put into practice.

    It's not about relationship tactics and turnkey solutions.

    It's not about bite-size pieces of peace to make life a little more manageable.

    It's not about making our lives look and feel a little better.

    It has to be about Jesus. And drawing our hearts into His reality. His grace. His love. His hope. His forgiveness. And most of all, the free gift of salvation because of Him.

    Have you ever felt like you couldn't put your finger on what was missing? Maybe you bounce from one religious activity to the next, but your heart feels far from God? Oh, sweet sister, can we chat?

    God doesn't want us to have a religion. A religion is where we follow rules hoping to do life right, and serve God out of duty because we think we have to.

    God wants us to have a relationship. A relationship where we follow Him. A relationship where we serve God not out of duty, but out of delight because we've realized who we are in Him. A relationship where our obedience is born out of love.

    For years, I went to church to get a little "God goodness" in my life. But it was like putting fresh paint on rotting wood. I was living just like those talked about in Matthew 15:8-9, "'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.'"

    I realized I didn't need to be just following the rules ... I needed to be following Jesus. God Himself.

    I didn't need a little "God goodness" to rub off on me ... I needed God to invade the deepest parts in me.

    So, I knelt down in the midst of my messy, chaotic, confused life and started a relationship with Him by simply saying, "Yes."

    Yes, I am a sinner in need of a Savior.

    Yes, I acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Son of God, sent to die on a cross and resurrected on the third day to save me from my sins.

    Yes, I want Jesus to be the Lord and Master of my life.

    Yes, I am now and forever will be a forgiven and saved child of the Almighty God.

    Yes, I will follow Jesus today, tomorrow and every other day I'm blessed with life on this earth.

    Let me quiet the voice of Satan screaming to resist this process. He wants to trip us up by whispering how we won't be able to live this out perfectly. Jesus has never ever asked us to be perfect. He simply wants us perfectly surrendered. I often pray, "Oh Jesus, I am such a mess, but I am Yours. Show me ... help me ... forgive me ... reassure me ... and pour Your tender mercy upon me."

    And He does.

    And He always will.

    My imperfections are safely resting in the reality of His perfection.

    And I simply press on by continuing to say yes moment by imperfect moment ... day by imperfect day.

    Dear Lord, I am such a mess, but I am Yours. Show me ... help me ... forgive me ... reassure me ... and pour Your tender mercy upon me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond: In this devotion, Lysa said, "So, I knelt down in the midst of my messy, chaotic, confused life and started a relationship with Him by simply saying, 'Yes.'"

    Think of simple ways you can say yes to God today. How would that look? What would change in how you live your life?

    Power Verse: Psalm 53:2, "God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Emotionally Love God

    Boyd

    “Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart.'” Matthew 22:37a

    Emotionally love God for faith has feelings: feelings of gratitude for God’s grace, feelings of joy for friendship with Jesus, and feelings of hope for a heavenly home. Emotions are meant to engage eternity, not be wed to the world. Worry can wreck a life if a heart is consumed with what it can’t control—so trust Jesus with your feelings.

    Because the heart is the seat of emotions, we are wise to guard our hearts. Wisdom appoints the sentinels of grace and truth to protect feelings by grounding them in faith. Pride makes promises to your heart it cannot keep. For example, it may capture your emotions with selfish-ambition, only to ruin relationships. Humility on the other hand, handles your heart with tender care. It leads it into unselfish service and true fulfillment.

    “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).

    We can trust our feelings with the object of our love - Jesus. Our heavenly Father wants to hear our heart - when it breaks under the weight of worry - or when it explodes in joy.

    Love for the Lord is more than a mental exchange of information and learning - it is a heart engagement that feels affection for Almighty God. Faith feels what God feels.

    Truth transforms how we feel: what breaks the heart of God breaks our heart. Lost sinners break our heart - injustice breaks our heart - murdering the innocent breaks our heart - starvation and disease breaks our heart. Also, what brings Jesus joy brings us joy: love, faith, forgiveness, hope, trust, service and generosity all bring a smile to His face.

    “The Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God” (John 16:27).

    Indeed, a heart moved by God is moved to action. You are faithful to the Lord and His priorities when your emotions feel His pain and celebrate His pleasures. It is not enough to just feel good, sense empathy or experience guilt - true love expresses itself in action. Your heart-felt love for your heavenly Father moves you to write a generous check, roll up your sleeves to serve, intentionally forgive and earnestly pray for others.

    Release your emotions to Christ and He will channel your energy into productive activity. Emotionally love the Lord and He will empower you for eternity’s agenda. Lovers of God are known by God and are able to radically receive His love and give it liberally.

    “Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God” (1 Corinthians 8:2-3).

    Prayer: How can I love the Lord, so I am able to express my positive and negative feelings?

    Related Readings: Joshua 22:5; Proverbs 24:12; 2 Corinthians 9:7; Philippians 4:7

    Post/Tweet today: A heart moved by God is moved to action. #wisdomunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Servant Leadership

    Boyd

    Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many. Matthew 20:26b-28

    Servant leadership is service to others. It is not jockeying for position, nor is it politicking for power. Instead, it is posturing for the opportunity to serve. This does not bode well for the insecure soul in need of abundant attention. Servant leaders avoid the limelight and serve in ways that many times go unnoticed. It is the little things that make a servant leader. It may be taking out the trash at home, or making the coffee at work.

    No task is too menial for the servant leader, but there is something bigger than behavior that distinguishes a servant leader. It is attitude—an attitude of how to make others successful. He or she knows if those around them are successful then there is a good chance they will experience success. They are wise to want what’s best for others.

    Self-service on the other hand builds a culture of mediocrity. It is all about taking care of my little world, not giving any thought to the needs of other team members. It is every man for himself - survival of the fittest. This self-service contributes to a scarcity mentality. If I serve you then you may look better than me—you may get all the credit.  This fear of not being noticed facilitates competition instead of cooperation.

    Servant leadership on the other hand is not caught up with getting the credit. The servant leader has put to death the need for self-recognition. The attention and credit can easily flow to others. This is the place where it belongs, as our humility cannot handle the attention. Like a lily-white body in a tanning booth, our humility burns up. Servant leadership resists this temptation to linger in the limelight. Instead, the servant leader may give away opportunities that come his or her way. Seek to serve and let status find you.

    Jesus served quietly on most occasions and boldly as needed.  No sincere seeker was neglected. His motive was to serve for the glory of God. His ultimate service was laying down his life for the human race. Consequently, followers of Christ can become a better servant leader because Jesus seeks to serve through you. You can’t, but He can.

    Submit to Him and watch Him use you to serve. Die to getting attention and credit while celebrating the success of others. Quietly volunteer for the next lowly task. Set up others to succeed. Give away your life and you will find it. This is the way of Christ. This is the way to serve and lead. Submit to God, serve people—and others will follow!

    “If your first concern is to look after yourself, you'll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you'll find both yourself and me” (Matthew 10:39, The Message).

    Prayer: Whom do I need to serve for Christ’s sake that does not deserve my service?

    Related Readings: Exodus 18:26; Zephaniah 3:9; Ephesians 6:9; 1 Peter 4:10

    Post/Tweet today: Servant leadership does not politick for power, but postures to serve. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Careless Words

    Boyd

    But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. Matthew 12:36–37

    My words are a reflection of my heart. When Christ captures my heart, my words are measured and meaningful. A heart pregnant with the Lord’s purpose produces good fruit for its recipients. When my heart avoids the Almighty’s instruction, my words become careless. They wound and bring harm to hearers who receive my insensitivity.

    We communicate better when we understand the gravity of undisciplined speech. There is an accountability to God that will one day gauge what we have said. No idle word will miss the microscope of our Master’s judgment. “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless” (James 1:26). The Holy Spirit bridles our tongues with words of great worth.

    So does your speech represent your Savior well? Do your words incubate in a heart of intimacy with God and accountability to man? Like a thoughtful and creative artist, use your words to paint a picture that provides understanding and instruction. Prepare your heart in prayer before you speak in a meeting or prior to a performance review. At home, resolve to be respectful in all matters of conversation and others will reciprocate.

    Careless words are best corralled by Christ’s calming presence. When He seasons our speech with grace, there is a gravitas that gains the attention of the most unsuspecting souls. It is when the Lord speaks through us that we experience the best communication. Indeed, a humble heart full of Christ’s courage carries the right words at the right time. Speak with bold clarity, and trust God with the results. Convert careless words to kind ones.

    “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6 nkjv).

    Prayer: Are my words measured in prayer? Do I speak with accountability to God in mind?

    Related Readings: Psalm 139:4; Proverbs 18:21; Job 15:3; Ephesians 5:4

    Post/Tweet today: A humble heart full of Christ’s courage carries the right words at the right time. #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?

    Chrystal

    "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

  • Practical Provision

    Boyd

    “At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them” (Matthew 12:1).

    The Lord’s provision does not lack in practicality. What need do you have? Are you stressed out by striving or have you looked around for a simple solution? It may take some creativity and risk, but if Christ has what you need in close proximity, do not be shy. Forgo ego and appropriate faith. Access His provision and let Him manage your image.

    Is your struggle over lack of work? Are you willing to work with your hands outside of your interests to provide for your family? Labor is labor; it can be toilsome and tiring at times. So even if your job is temporarily tedious, look at it as a gift from God. Be proud of your work, even when it is more transactional than relational. Our perspective becomes more grateful and realistic when work becomes a necessity, not an option.

    Productive work keeps us focused on provision for those who depend on us, keeping us away from unproductive activities. Paul states it well, “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat.’ We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies’” (2 Thessalonians 3:10–11). Provision follows preparation; so prepare your heart in humility, your head in integrity, and your hands in diligence. God helps those who prepare, work hard, and trust Him.

    It is bad theology to blame God, the church, and others for our needy situation. It is good theology to be resourceful and seek solutions that require humility and focus. Whom have you invested in over the years who would be honored to give back to you? When you are transparent about your needs, you give other souls an opportunity to be blessed by blessing you. Honesty is a pure platform to invite God’s provision through friends.

    Lastly, do not allow religious restraints to rob you of receiving mercy and being served on the Christian Sabbath. Is there a better time for the body of Christ to care for one another than on our day of corporate worship and biblical teaching?  Indeed, engage with believers when you are in need, each part of the body needs the other. If you remain silent you deny others a blessing; when you speak up God practically provides.

    “But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1 Corinthians 12:24-26).

    Prayer: Have I recognized and received God’s provision? Who needs my provision?

    Related Readings: Joshua 9:14; Proverbs 6:8; Romans 5:17; 1 Timothy 6:17

    Taken from the March 22nd reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 2”

    Post/Tweet today: Provision follows preparation; so we prepare our heart with humility and our head with integrity. #practicalprovision

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Willing to Accept

    Boyd

    And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. Matthew 11:14

    Hard words, hard people, and hard situations are hard to accept. Do you or someone you know feel like you are between a rock and a hard place? Do your options seem like they have dried up? Is your energy to press forward depleted? Perhaps it is time to accept the cold, hard facts of where you find yourself. Reality has a way of catching up with our denial.

    It is okay to be optimistic, but not to the peril of ignoring your predicament. Are emotional reactions driving your decisions, or do you prayerfully process the facts clearly and objectively with wise input from others you trust? Do you need to give up something—your house, your car, your career, your travel, or your expectations? What is the Lord asking you to give up so that you can gain Him and His peace? Acceptance requires action.

    Furthermore, there are people who require additional patience and grace to accept. Have others wronged you to the point that your resentment is blocking your acceptance of them? You may justify your rejection of them because of their rejection of you. For example, children and parents can let us down and even devastate us, but Christians do not have the option of not accepting them for who they are. Love accepts even unworthy recipients.

    Do you find yourself in a situation where you do not feel accepted—a new job, in-laws, a new school, a new city, a new relationship? You can stew in self-pity, or you can take the initiative to reach out to your rejecters. Kindness reaches out and rejects rejection. “A man who has friends must himself be friendly” (Proverbs 18:24 nkjv).

    Above all, are you willing to accept God’s call on your life? When His will is uncomfortable and uncertain, will you still go there in trust? Start by accepting Christ by faith as your Savior and Lord, and then continue to accept His commands as evidence that you are His disciple. Acceptance of the Lord allows you to love Him and other people. Acceptance cannot continue alone but is accelerated and accompanied by the Almighty’s grace and love.

    Prayer: Do I wholeheartedly accept God’s plan for my life? Whom do I need to accept in love?

    Related Readings: Genesis 4:7; Ecclesiastics 5:19; Romans 11:15; 1 Timothy 1:15

    Taken from the March 15th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 2”

    Post/Tweet today: Kindness reaches out and rejects rejection. #willingtoaccept

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • The Right Order of Love

    Lynn

    "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 (NIV)

    "I just want a boy to like me," she said with a sigh.

    My heart understands her desire. As I sat around my kitchen table with my small group of high school girls, I realized again how some things never change.

    We all want to be wanted. Whether you're a girl wanting a date with the guy in math class or a woman hoping for an invitation to lunch with a friend, each one of us wants to be wanted. To know we matter. To be chosen.

    Wanting to be wanted is a good thing. It doesn't mean we're incredibly needy. It means we're normal. In fact, God created us with this desire. Here are two reasons:

    1) So we would want a relationship with Him.

    God created us for the sake of love. He has so much love to share and He wants a relationship with us. He chose us; now we choose Him.

    2) So we would want relationships with others.

    God also created us with the desire to share our lives with others, for friendships and family too.

    Things get tricky and difficult when we reverse the order of these desires, which we easily do.

    Whether we want to be loved by a boyfriend, a friend or a husband, when we go looking to "the one" to meet our needs before we fall in love with The One, we can get ourselves in a world of trouble.

    Today's key verse from Matthew confirms the importance of this order. In this passage, an expert in the law asked Jesus the most important commandment. Jesus answered: "'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).

    Jesus is clear on the order. The first command is to love the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind. Then we are to love others.

    God didn't intend for people to fill our hearts with love. In fact, they couldn't even if they tried! We aren't equipped to do a job that big, as God never wants another to take His proper place.

    When we love God with all we have first, our love expands, multiplies even, and we have more love to give to others. And that love is healthy because our hearts' needs are met by Him first.

    However, when we reverse God's order and seek the love of others before God, our love source and its purity diminishes. Then love can become self-focused and unhealthy because our own God-designed needs aren't met.

    God created a love gap in us only He can fill. When we try to love others out of our human love, we can run out of love. We begin looking to others instead of overflowing on others.

    God's order is best. Get filled by Him first. Spill over to others after that.

    Lord, it can be so much easier to look for love from those around me, those I can touch and see. Help me to keep love in order by first loving You with everything in me, and then allowing Your love to spill over on those around me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond: What negative effects can occur in our lives when our need to be wanted drives our actions?

    What positive effects occur when we love God first and others second?

    Power Verse: Deuteronomy 10:12, "And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, ..." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

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

  • When in Doubt

    Boyd

    When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Matthew 11:2–3).

    Doubt seeks to destroy our faith. It is in our discouragement—even despair—that we begin to question God. “What did I do wrong?” “Lord, did you call me to this place of confusion?” “Where is my joy and hope?” “Are you even real or just a figment of my imagination?” Left to its natural conclusion, doubt crushes our faith in Christ.

    Fortunately, faith does not have to take a furlough when we are frustrated and fatigued. It is in your confinement that Christ wants to remind you of His great power. So cry out to Him in your confused circumstances, and He will earnestly listen in love. “In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came to His ears” (2 Samuel 22:7). He does not leave His loved ones alone and in doubt.

    It is okay to be in doubt, but it is not okay to remain in doubt. What doubt challenges your faith in God? Is it His provision, His promises, His presence, His character, or His care? When these questions assault your confidence in Christ, take a step back and review His track record. The reality of your salvation sets you on the productive path of peace and forgiveness. Answered prayer over the years is proof enough of His love and concern.

    Furthermore, use this temporary time of distrust to go deeper with Jesus. The pressure you feel on all sides is your Savior’s way of soliciting your attention. When in doubt, seek out the Lord, learn to love Him completely, and discern more fully His profound promises. Use doubt to dig deeper into the truth of Scripture; marinate your mind. “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8).

    When in doubt, stay steadfast in seeking out your Savior. Wait on Him, especially when you wonder what is next. Where there is true faith there may be a mixture of unbelief; so remain faithful, even when questions manipulate your faith. Perseverance will one day free you as a stronger and more-committed follower of Christ. See Jesus for who He is. Doubt dissolves in His reassuring presence. Doubt starves to death when it is not fed.

    “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—the Lord, who remains faithful forever” (Psalm 146:5–6).

    Prayer: What doubts do I need to acknowledge and release to God? Is Christ trustworthy?

    Related Readings: 2 Chronicles 33:12; Job 36:16–19; John 20:27; Jude 1:22

    Taken from the March 8th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 2”

    Post/Tweet today: Faith does not have to take a furlough when we are frustrated and fatigued. #Whenindoubt

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

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