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  • Christians Acting Ugly

    Posted on November 20, 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa Terkeurst

    "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)

    Recently I was skimming some comments left on a social media outlet. Most were encouraging and kind. Some people had a different opinion but stayed civil in their expressions.

    Then there was a third group. A much smaller but a very loud group.

    Their opinions dripped with judgment, harshness, and condemnation. And the saddest thing of all? These were Christians attacking another Christian.

    Honestly, I don't get it.

    I just don't. As I read their comments it seemed as if they felt compelled to rip this person to shreds in order to prove their view. To show how knowledgeable they were and how off-base this other Christian was. Most disturbing of all, they felt it their duty to "protect God."

    But God doesn't call man to protect Him. He calls us to love Him. And love others. Christians acting ugly and justifying it under the guise of holding another person in check isn't loving.

    Matthew 22:36 says, "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"

    "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.'" (Matt. 22:37-39 NIV)

    Yes, there is a place to make sure others aren't misaligning Truth. But we must do this carefully and first make sure we aren't misaligning the Truth in our approach.

    Our response must contain these three things: justice, mercy, and humility. "The LORD has told you, human, what is good; he has told you what he wants from you: to do what is right to other people, love being kind to others, and live humbly, obeying your God." (Micah 6:8 NCV)

    I read this quote recently that reminded me of this powerful verse in Micah. "It is right to see justice prevail. But it is wrong when my ego gets in the way — when I retaliate to prove that I am strong, that I am superior to the other person, that I am the almighty righteous cop for God." (Bible commentary writer Michael J. Wilkins)

    I guess I can feel a little sensitive about this subject because I've had some personal ministry friends attacked and accused in the most vicious of ways. And a little of this yuck has slipped into my world as well.

    Maybe this third group sees these growing ministries and assumes their words won't affect their leaders. Or worse yet, because these ministries are growing maybe they hope their words will affect them. Either way, it hurts.

    I know this isn't just an experience exclusive to leaders in ministry though. This can happen to any of us—in any walk of life. Whether you are hyper-critical of those around you, or you have experienced this hurtful criticism from a friend, family member, or co-worker, these words hurt everyone involved.

    There isn't an easy solution to this problem. But if this devotion makes a few people stop and think before blasting someone, whether a ministry leader, a family leader, or friend — then it's good. And most of all, if it reminds me to do what is right to other people ... to love being kind to others ... and to live a little more humbly — it's really good.

    Dear Lord, thank You for Your grace and patience everyday. Help me recognize when I become critical of those around me. I want to show Your love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    For more on learning to tame your words with grace and honesty, check out Lysa TerKeurst's new book, Unglued.

    We can be examples of Christians coming together to act kindly. One way is by doing a small group Bible Study of Unglued with the accompanying DVD and Participant's Guide together.

    Reflect and Respond:
    This week, when you are tempted to speak harsh or critical words to or about someone in your sphere of influence, or about a leader in your life, think about the 'greatest commandment.'

    Are you loving your neighbor as you would like to be loved? If your answer is no, or contains a 'but,' try holding your tongue and remember, only the Lord can judge the heart of another man. And thank goodness, for He is just and loving.

    Power Verses:
    Jeremiah 17:10, "I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve." (NIV)

    Ephesians 4:29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (NIV)

    James 1:26, "Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Micah, Matthew, Lysa TerKeurst, Michael J. Wilkins

  • Gratitude Shows Up

    Posted on November 19, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him.” Acts 8:2

     

    When a life has been well spent and invested in the Kingdom of God, admirers show up to pay honor at their home-going to heaven. The godly show up to honor the death of the godly. It is gratitude to God that compels Christ followers to attend the funeral of another faithful brother or sister in the faith. Mourning comforts the one suffering loss and shows appreciation for the loved one’s life. Gratitude shows up to empathize with a shaky soul. 

    If we are grateful for someone we show up for the important milestones in their lives. Graduations, school plays, art lessons, surgery, sonograms, athletic events, dance recitals, grandparent’s day, an open house, retirement, or a friend’s big birthday are all events to attend and express support and gratitude. Attendance communicates appreciation. Our body may be weary, but our spirit compels us to be there for those who need us to care.

    “So we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.” 1 Thessalonians

    Gratitude honors your parents. What makes them feel appreciated? Perhaps a handwritten note or a typed letter reflecting how they have blessed you over the years with their love and support— especially during the trying times in your teen years. You can celebrate their wedding anniversary with a surprise destination event they wouldn’t plan for themselves. So, be creative in communicating gratitude to your dad and mom.

    Furthermore, show up in gratitude for those activities that are near and dear to the heart of your heavenly Father. Church, praise and worship, bible study, missions, community service, loving a dying neighbor and giving hilariously towards heaven’s heart. You are motivated by appreciation because of the Lord’s great love toward you. You can’t out give Christ, but you can express your gratitude to Him by showing up on His behalf!

    “She is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.” 1 Timothy 5:10

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me gratitude and gumption to show up for You.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 30:18; Luke 18:1; 2 Corinthians 12:15; 1 John 3:16

    Post/Tweet this today: Gratitude for someone shows up for the important milestones in their lives. Attendance shows appreciation. #appreciate

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Acts, 1 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, Gratitude

  • God Wants His Job Back

    Posted on November 19, 2012 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people." Colossians 3:23 (NLT)

    I have a confession to make: I crave control. You know—as in I like to be in charge; the shot-caller; the boss.

    I'm pretty sure I was born ready to be in charge. As a toddler, I lined my frilly dolls and any willing playmates or siblings up in a way that suited my preferences. In elementary school, I couldn't wait to be selected for special duties, like heading up a game or putting on a play.

    Yes, from birth I instinctively ordered and organized anything within my reach—objects, circumstances, and later in life, even living, breathing human beings. I didn't need a boardroom to prove that I was a natural born boss.

    In my defense (and the defense of my fellow control-craving friends), this is often a much-needed skill. Being able to multi-task, identify duties and delegate is beneficial on many fronts. Just glance at my partial to-do list for the week:

    Prepare meals and snacks for the week
    Make appointments for the eye doctor
    Do a few loads of laundry
    Haul kids back and forth to sports practice
    Help kids with homework

    Whew, I'm worn out just writing that!

    But, it helps to see that we need to be able to juggle a lot: home, school, family, careers, and church duties. The problem lies with our failure to know where to draw the line; to differentiate between leading and bossing; to know the difference between taking charge and taking over.

    Competency carried to an extreme can morph into control.

    I've struggled to find a balance between taking charge and ultimately taking over for most of my life. Colossians 3:23 helps me remember that managing my life and to-do list is ultimately an act of worship and service to the Lord. In it we're told, "Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people." (NLT)

    When I work willingly as though I'm working for the Lord, I set about my tasks and navigate my relationships with a humble heart and open hands. I willingly let go of my preferences and desire to be the one in control.

    When I work willingly as though I'm working for the Lord, I focus more on caring about others' feelings than controlling their opinions and resulting actions.

    When I work willingly as though I'm working for the Lord, I want to please Him, not myself.

    I've discovered there exists a minuscule line between being conscientious and being controlling. What I have to constantly keep in mind is the difference between being conscientious (my part) and being in control (God's part).

    I'll probably always have long to-do lists and lots of activities. It's just the nature of my personality. But I'm trying to remember each day that it is God who is ultimately in charge, not me.

    It's not easy for this control-craving woman to let go and let God run the show. It takes emotional effort and intentional change of my ingrained habits. But I am learning to work diligently without being controlling.

    This week as we set about our tasks, lets remember just who the boss is: God. We are on His time clock. May our thoughts, actions and reactions make our Boss proud and accurately reflect His character.

    Dear Lord, may I purpose to learn the difference between being conscientious and being controlling. Help me remember You are God and I am not. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    If you crave control but want to learn how to let go and trust God more with the everyday details and decisions in your life, check out Karen Ehman's new book LET. IT. GO. How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith. It will empower and equip you to control what you should and trust God with what you can't.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Think about your week ahead. What tasks must you perform? How can you go about tackling these in a way that is conscientious but not controlling?

    Power Verse:
    Colossians 1:10 "... walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God." (ESV)

    © 2012 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Colossians, Karen Ehman

  • Honor God

    Posted on November 18, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God. Psalm 50:23

     

    Honor of God is our obligation as Jesus-followers. It is not an option but an opportunity to afford praise and thanksgiving to the Almighty. The honor of God places the focus of our appreciation on the object of our affection, Jesus. It is way beyond just the mere morsels of language from our lips (Mark 7:6). The honor of God is meant to be a habit of our living. Our life overflows in honor when our attitude of gratitude sets the tone for our actions. It is honorable to God when we are grateful for our jobs and the people with whom we work. We take the time to celebrate birthdays and verbally affirm the character traits of the one being honored. This small scenario of gratitude honors our Savior. It is a celebration of salvation in the life of one of His children. Gratitude honors God.

    Our worship honors God when our behavior matches our beliefs. This is why we come before Christ in confession and repentance. It is an honoring of the standards He has set with His life and word. It is dishonoring to our Lord to receive Jesus at salvation and then ignore Him until we get to heaven. Our enemies get more attention than this lowly form of ingratitude. We go to God because we need it and He deserves and expects it. The simple act of submission and surrender to Jesus honors Him in heaven and on earth. If the angels bow before Him, how much more should we (Psalm 103:20)? Holy living submits its whole way to divine direction. We honor heaven when we ask God for guidance.

    It is out of our honoring of God and others that He shows us the way. Honor is a highway to heaven (Philippians 3:20). It is in our acts of honor that we hear the voice of the one we are honoring. Honoring improves our hearing. Honoring brings clarity. It is when we honor God and people above ourselves that we gain perspective (Romans 12:9-10). A self-honoring person sucks the life out of a situation, while someone who offers honor gives life. It honors others when we serve them. It honors others when we are kind. It honors others when we involve them in the decision-making process. It honors others when we invite them to special occasions like showers, weddings, funerals, and anniversary parties. It honors others when we celebrate what is important to them. Honor helps others understand.

    Furthermore, honor God with your body (I Corinthians 6:20). Our body is a reflection of God. It is His and He expects it to be in its best condition. When we care for our body we care for Christ. It honors Him. It is also unacceptable to the Almighty when we abuse our body. When we abuse our body we abuse Christ. Therefore, honor Him in your body. Dress so you draw attention to your inner beauty. This honors Him.

    Lastly, God honors those who honor Him (1 Samuel 2:30). What an honor it is to be honored by God. He honors us with His intimacy. He honors us with responsibilities and success. He honors us with wisdom. He honors us with blessings undeserved. He honors us with friends and family. He honors us with health and healing. He honors us by calling us His own. Our honor invites His honor. By God’s grace, do the honorable thing. Honor prepares His way.

    Taken from Reading #36 in the 90-day devotional book, “Seeking God in the Psalms”…  http://bit.ly/InvUdR

    Post/Tweet this today: Holy living submits its whole way to divine direction. We honor God when we ask for guidance. #honor 

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Psalm, 1 Corinthians, Romans, 1 Samuel, Honor

  • Gods Payment Plan

    Posted on November 17, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:30-31

     

    Someone may be in debt to you. They may owe you money, a reputation, an apology, a job, or a childhood. But God is asking you to let go and let Him. Let Him handle this. He has a payment plan for those who are in debt to his children. It may mean He wipes their slate clean with minimal repercussions. It may mean their stiff neck forces God to bring them to the end of themselves through trials and tribulations. Or, it may mean that what awaits them is an eternity of reaping in hell what has been sown on earth. But God’s position is one of judge and jury. You do not have to carry this burden or responsibility. Your role is to forgive and to trust God with the proper judgment and consequence.

    Life gets complicated and draining when we take on the responsibility of making sure a person gets what he deserves. This is arrogant and unwise on our part. How can we know what others deserve for their injustices, neglect, and self-absorption? Our role is not to play God, but to serve God. Playing God is a never-ending disappointment. We were not made for that role. Only the Almighty can fill these shoes. And He does have it under control. There is no indiscretion or blatant injustice that is off His radar screen of sensitivity. He picks up on every “little” sin.

    So, rest in the assurance of knowing God will pay back in His good timing and in His good way. Give this person or issue over to God. Do not bear the responsibility of executing payback time. Your role is to forgive and let go. God’s role is to establish a payment plan of justice and judgment. Yes, your parents may have blown it through their own selfish tirades. Their immature choices may have built up over time and led to divorce. Because of their indiscretions and unwise decisions, you grew up in a less than favorable home environment. But look at their faces. The hurt and the consequences are etched in their countenances. The results of their wrongs have caught up with them. They need your grace and forgiveness. Be a good son or daughter, and by this you may facilitate healing for your parents’ soul. Sin has its own harvest of heartache, not to mention breaking the heart of the heavenly Father. Trust God with your parents. Let Him worry about what they deserve.

    You can bring reconciliation to a fractured family relationship by forgiving. Once you have forgiven, trust God to administer whatever punishment He sees as fitting. He may see a broken and contrite heart in your offender that leads to their salvation and freedom in Christ. Your forgiveness and unconditional love may be the very thing God uses to illustrate what they can experience up close and personal. Forgive and give. Forgive them of their hurt, insensitivity, and selfishness; then give them over to God. Trust Him with His repayment plan. He owns the payback process. His vengeance may be swift, it may be delayed, or it may be dissolved. Regardless, you do the right thing, and trust God to do the same. Vengeance is His, not ours. Payback time is up to God. We have enough in our own lives to consider. Pray for yourself and others to avoid falling into the hands of the living God, for it is a dreadful thing.

    Taken from the November 18th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God”… http://bit.ly/InvUdR

    Post/Tweet: Our role is not to play God, but to serve God. His judgment is best. #judgment
     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Hebrews

  • Dollar-Cost Averaging

    Posted on November 16, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow” (Proverbs 13:11).

     

    Is there a method to your money management? Do you have a process in place to steadily save over time? If not, it is never too late to set up a system for saving. Some of us struggle with this because we bet on big returns, only to suffer loss. Steadily saving is not sexy but secure. Finances can be an elusive enemy or a friend who has our back.

    Get-rich-quick schemes only feed greed. In God’s economy, it is those who diligently deposit smaller amounts in a secure place who reap rewards. It is wise wealth that makes the first ten percent of their income a gift offering in the form of a tithe to their heavenly Father and the second ten percent an investment in their future. Money obtained by vanity is spent on vanity, but money gained by hard work and honesty is retained for growth.

    “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves” (Psalm 127:1–2).

    It does take discipline not to spend all our earnings in an instant. Commercials and our obligation as consumers exploit our emotions. Culture sucks us in to spend not all we have, but more than we have; so be on guard with a simple system for savings. For example, set up an automatic draft from each paycheck that goes straight into a savings account. Preserve this cash; one day your financial fruit tree will become an orchard.

    Lastly, look to the Lord as your provider, seeing yourself as a steward of His stuff. The management of your Master’s money requires saving. God’s desire is growth in your financial security so you are free to give more and serve others. So we ask ourselves, “Am I frivolously spending just for today, or am I disciplined each day to deposit a dollar toward tomorrow?”

    “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5).

    Prayer: Lord, how would you have me manage Your money today in preparation for tomorrow?

    Related Readings: Psalm 128:2; Jeremiah 17:11; Ephesians 4:28; James 5:1–5 

    Post/Tweet this today: Wise stewards are disciplined to save dollars for tomorrow. #save

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Psalm, Proverbs

  • If I Love God, Do I Have to Love People Too?

    Posted on November 16, 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "'Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?' 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 22:36-39 (NIV)

    Have you ever thought it would be easier to serve God if weren't for people? I mean, people can be so annoying at times.

    I wonder if Jesus knew we'd get frustrated with each other. Perhaps that's why He answered the Pharisees' question the way He did.

    In Matthew chapter 22:37-40 the Pharisees, religious leaders of that day, asked Jesus about the greatest commandment. 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.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

    Jesus answered a question the Pharisees didn't ask. They only asked for the greatest commandment, not the second. But Jesus knew one couldn't be done without the other. Obviously He wanted His listeners to consider loving God and loving people as inseparable. But why? Perhaps Jesus knew we would tend toward one or the other.

    The truth is, we can love God and neglect loving people. Of course, none of us would admit to that. But I've been guilty of serving God through my commitments at church and then getting annoyed with people, and not showing compassion or kindness towards them.

    When I was the director of the children's ministry 20 years ago, I loved the kids, but the volunteers sometimes got on my nerves. Especially when they decided to not show up based on what seemed like a flimsy excuse to me. After all, I was there in spite of being tired, having a headache, etc.

    Judgment and a critical spirit crowded out love.

    I've also been so busy serving God that I haven't shown sacrificial love towards my family. One of the first signs of being too busy is my diminished capacity to be kind and loving toward them. It happened a lot when my three boys were little and I was trying to keep the same pre-children schedule. I was constantly frustrated and my children did not always experience a patient and loving mother.

    On the other hand, we can also love people and neglect our love for God.

    We can lower God's standards, minimize His commands, and twist Scripture so as not to offend others. We can ignore how Jesus is the only way to God, because that would exclude so many "good" people from heaven. Yes, it's possible to love people more than we love God.

    So what is Jesus saying here? I believe He's saying we must figure out how to do both. First, we must love God through trusting Him, believing in the goodness of His character and obeying His Word-even when we don't understand things.

    In doing so, we must be honest about the condition of our hearts and ask God to help us love others well.

    I'll be honest, this is hard for me. It is only through daily prayer, dependence on God, and Him working in my heart that I can even attempt to live out what Jesus called the two most important commandments. Even then, on my best day, I feel inadequate.

    Thankfully, God never asks me to do anything without offering to help.

    His Word sustains and encourages me. The Holy Spirit guides me. And God's love and mercy for me, a most unlovable girl at times, helps keep me mindful of why I love Him so much, and why I should let Him show others that same love through me.

    Dear Lord, thank You for loving me. You have shown me more love than I deserve. Help me to love You more and love those You've placed in my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst will help you choose a more loving response to others.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Why is it important to love God with all our hearts, souls and minds? Does this make a difference in how we love people?

    Do you find yourself leaning towards loving God more than people? Or people more than God? If so, what changes might you need to make in your life?

    Power Verse:
    Romans 13:8, "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Matthew, Glynnis Whitwer

  • Remember God

    Posted on November 15, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you. That is why I give you this command today.” Deuteronomy 15:15

     

    God gives good memories to His children. The foundation of what He did has freed them by His great grace and love. Sin shackles the soul with insensitive servitude. Its memories are filled with fear, false hopes and fleeting pleasures. But redemption from Jesus buys back those who step onto the auction block of belief. Sin brings heartache, but Christ brings comfort and joy. God memories make a heart smile in gratitude and obedience.

    Remember we were lost, but now we are found. Remember we lived for ourselves, but now we live for others. Remember we were guilty, but now we are forgiven. Remember we were selfish, but now we are unselfish. Remember we were proud, but now we are humble. Remember God was distant, but now He is our heavenly Father. Remember Jesus was a good teacher, but now He is our Savior. Remember the Holy Spirit was strange, but now He is our personal guide. We remember God and our faith flourishes.

    “They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer.” Psalm 78:35

    Do you suffer from spiritual amnesia? Do you regularly recall the radical love of Christ? He loves you as a beautiful image of His creation. He loves you to the point of laying down His life on your behalf, so by faith you can die to sin and live His resurrected life The Lord’s ransomed love for you is a special memory of sacrifice. He died for you.

    Yes, remember how He brought you out of citizenship in this world to become a citizen of His kingdom. You serve a risen Savior, not a lying serpent. Your allegiance is to Almighty God, not the almighty dollar. You walk in the light, not in the darkness. Your soul is prayerful, not self-reliant. Your body is a temple of the Spirit, not an object of abuse. Your mind is renewed by truth. Thus, remember who you are: a child of God!

    “Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:11-13

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, bring to my memory Your generous salvation and love.

    Related Readings: Psalm 42:4; Isaiah 17:10, 46:9; Luke 22:19; 2 Timothy 1:3

    Post/Tweet this today: God memories cause us to forget sin’s nightmares. #memories

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry

    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Psalm, Deuteronomy

  • The Place Where Disappointment Grows

    Posted on November 15, 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa Terkeurst

    "They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed." Psalm 22:5 (NIV 1984)

    The space between our expectations and our reality is a fertile field. And often it's a place where disappointment grows.

    When I was in high school, I had a friend whose sister had the coolest hairdo. It was cropped short with straight bangs that fell messy over one eye. She was that older sister who just seemed to have a handle on how to do everything with style.

    I somehow decided all of her coolness traced back to her hairdo. Like that was the budding spot from which the life I wanted could sprout.

    Yes, that hairdo.

    Never mind the fact her hair was thin and obedient. And mine was thick and rebellious.

    Never mind that her hair was sleek and straight. And mine was curly at best and frizzy at worst.

    Never mind that her bangs fell nicely over her forehead. And mine had a crazy cowlick causing them to grow up, not down.

    Yes, never mind reality.

    I set my expectation on the highest bar and willed my hair to fall in line.

    The hair dresser chopped. And chopped. And chopped. And tried to assure me I now looked JUST like the picture of the older sister.

    But that was a lie. I knew it. She knew it.

    And oh how the space between my expectation and my new reality grew some serious disappointment. I still have nightmares of that disastrous hairdo where I wake up desperately grabbing at my head to make sure my hair is still there.

    But hair grows back. Bad cuts can be fixed in time. That disappointment can be remedied.

    Other situations aren't so easy. Maybe you have some space between a current reality and an unfulfilled expectation. If so, I imagine disappointment can be found growing there.

    Psalm 23:1 says, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." (ESV) The Hebrew word for "want" is chacer meaning, "to lack, be without, become empty." So, if the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not become empty. I shall not live in a constant state of disappointment where circumstances leak me dry.

    But ... I still do sometimes. And not just with my hair. It's other stuff as well. Important stuff.

    So, how do I let the Lord shepherd me so that the gap between my expectations and reality closes? I ask myself these questions when faced with disappointment:

    What do I need to learn? Maybe God has an appointment for me in the midst of this disappointment. If God wants me to see, learn, know, or grow in some way while I work through this unmet expectation, I have to be open to hear this from Him.

    Many times God shows me a flaw of mine that needs to be addressed. When I am willing to listen to Him, I can more easily adjust my expectations.

    Could it be that I'm so concerned with what I don't have, I've forgotten to be thankful for what I do have? Sometimes, it's not that my reality is bad. It's that I created too much space for disappointment to grow by placing my expectations too high.

    Is there something I can do to change this situation? If so, I need to ask God for the courage to make changes. If I keep hoping things will get better but don't make any adjustments, that's foolish. The space between my reality and my expectations will only change if I do.

    Now back to my high school hair situation. If I ever start flashing pictures of cute pixie hair cuts I'm considering getting, somebody remind me of my high school hair debacle. Please. Pretty please. With a dollop of hair gel on top.

    Dear Lord, thank You for turning my disappointments into opportunities for growth and learning. I know that only You can close the gap between my expectations and reality. Guide me in trusting You through every situation, even if I can't understand why it's happening at the time. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Is there fertile ground for disappointment between your reality and expectations? If you're not quite sure how to tighten the gap, Lysa TerKeurst's book Unglued will help.

    Take it a step further by having a few friends hold you accountable through a small group study of Unglued! Pick up a copy of the DVD and accompanying Participant's Guide.

    Reflect and Respond:
    How do you typically handle disappointment?

    Reflect on the three questions above and write down your answers. This will give you the opportunity to get a better perspective on your own particular situation and the way you handle disappointments.

    Power Verses:
    Romans 5:2b-5, "... and we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Psalm, Lysa TerKeurst, Disappointment

  • Imperfect Perfection

    Posted on November 14, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48

     

    Does God expect His children to set a goal that is unattainable? Yes, when the motivation is to grow in grace and in the likeness of His son Jesus. The Holy Spirit instructs Christians in heavenly ideals, so their life has earthly appeal. Imperfection seeks perfection, so there can be continual progress in Christ's character development of His fallible followers. The goal of perfection grows us in His divine attributes that are refined over time.

    So we seek a humble discipline and in the process obtain the greater graces of God. Like a world-class athlete sets a standard of perfection in their personal training, so we press toward the holiness of God as our ultimate outcome. When we fall off the balance beam of life, we get up and get back on. In our zeal for God we can be guilty of false starts, but we line back up and refocus on the real race. We keep our eyes on the prize: Jesus Christ the author and finisher of our faith.

    "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." Philippians 3:12

    Perfectionism in and of itself is not the goal, for then we invite frustration and a feeling of failure. Perfectionism pushes out faith and works, and replaces it with fearful procrastination. Are you stuck in a need for everything to be perfect before your next step? If so, shed paralysis from analysis and move forward by faith. You can trust the Lord to fill in the imperfect gaps with His perfect grace. Indeed, out of your intimacy with Jesus you can embrace His ideals.

    Furthermore, as you grow in knowing God through His word, prayer, and serving others, you will understand and emulate His heart. You want to be like the one you love and know the best. No, you will not become sinless in this life, but you can become more like the Sinless One—Jesus. In Christ you are perfect in your heavenly Father's eyes!

    "But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow me into the perfect image of Your son Jesus Christ.

    Related Readings: Leviticus 19:2; Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 3:13-14; 1 Peter 1:15-16

    Post/Tweet this today: The Holy Spirit instructs Christians in heavenly ideals, so their life has earthly appeal. #ideals

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry

    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 2 Corinthians, Matthew, Philippians, Perfection

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