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  • Mastering the Waves of Adversity

    Posted on October 4, 2012 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie Miles

    "God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!" Psalm 46:1-3 (NLT)

    My son and his friend made an excited dash toward the ocean with their brand new inflated boat. They were determined to ride in it, despite the unusually gusty winds. I watched as the raft flapped wildly in the air, nearly lifting the boys off the ground.

    The boys tried to get in the boat for quite a while, but the strong winds made the water more like tidal waves than a gentle tide. The few times they made it in the raft, the rolling surf spit them out like limp seaweed.

    After being sucked under the rough waters multiple times, they finally admitted defeat. The waves had taken a toll on their spirits and the raft, rendering the boys and their boat deflated and helpless.

    Watching their frustration and defenselessness against the whitecaps, I was reminded of a season when I felt powerless to master the waves of adversity that had come crashing against me, one after another.

    It wasn't just one thing that was causing stress and worry, but a toxic mixture of problems. The economy was going downhill and severely affecting our family. My mother lost her job. My sister's chronic illness had gotten worse. Cancer tormented a loved one. One of my children faced a serious health issue, coupled with the normal daily challenges of raising three kids. The washing machine broke, the transmission in my car died, and a hailstorm seriously damaged our roof.

    Each day it seemed a new swell of problems engulfed me, adding to the accumulation of my concerns and stress.

    It was a long season in which I felt sucked under by a raging current, barely able to hold my head above water. I was completely deflated and helpless, just like that little raft.

    During that time, I clung to Psalm 46:1-3, "God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!" (NLT)

    These verses offer wisdom about persevering through our difficult times. They serve as a reminder to stay aware of our need for God, and that none of us are equipped to handle life on our own.

    You see, no matter how strong we think we are, there will come a time when stress gets overwhelming and we desperately wish we had somewhere to hide. Somewhere to take refuge from the storms, with Someone who understands what we're going through.

    I understood the frustration of two little boys who wanted to ride in their raft boat. After they rested and the wind lessened, I encouraged them to go back in the water. They tried again and finally found themselves floating in the boat, instead of hanging from it.

    God understands what we're going through. His Word promises He will help us in times of trouble. When adversity strikes, God offers the refuge and strength we need to weather life's storms.

    No matter the problems tossing us about today, we don't have to feel like we are simply hanging on. Instead, we can put our trust in the One who offers peace and strength to carry us through until we get to calmer shores.

    Dear Lord, I feel beaten down by storms of life, drowning in a sea of adversity and stress. I commit today to depend on You as my refuge. I place my hope and trust in You and commit to hanging on to You at all times. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Today's devotion is based on Stressed-Less Living: Finding God's Peace in Your Chaotic World by Tracie Miles which releases today!

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you felt tossed around by life, getting damaged in the process? Have you asked God to be your refuge, strength, and help?

    Have you been trying to master the waves of adversity in my life, or have you been putting your hope and trust in God?

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 107:29, "He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves." (NIV)

    Psalm 9:9-10, "The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, A stronghold in times of trouble; And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You." (NASB)

    © 2012 by Tracie Miles. 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, Tracie Miles, Adversity

  • Called to Wait

    Posted on October 4, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David… “David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul liked him very much, and David became one of his armor-bearers.” 1 Samuel 16:13, 21

     

    The calling of God includes seasons of waiting in faithful service. David was anointed and experienced the power of God, but it was over twenty years before he became King. Public responsibilities require private experience and success. The Lord’s calling starts with a thorny crown of commitment and grows into a shiny crown of respect. The flesh wants to influence the masses prematurely, but the Spirit is patient to pay the price of wise waiting, before proceeding.

    We have the opportunity to be faithful where the Lord has us. His power is prevalent through our humble prayers and our quiet acts of random kindness. Jesus doesn’t discount small deeds done in His name. Thus, whatever we do, we do all for the glory of God. We visit the elderly, we care for the dying, we rescue the unrighteous, we carry one another’s burdens and we shepherd the flock of God—all for Him. We win while we wait, because Christ is positioning us for influence.

    “David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” 1 Samuel 17:45

    Do you face a giant obstacle that threatens to derail you from God’s best? Have you forgotten why the Lord has taken you through this trial? His call for you to wait is an opportunity to understand where to go next. In this parenthesis of time, He has prepared or repaired your integrity, so you can engage intense encounters with the enemy, without compromise. Jesus works out His will while you wait. He grows you to grow bold in your belief in Him.

    Furthermore, heed His call to wait, so you can create a sustainable schedule of activity. Jesus has not called you to be everyone’s friend. Everyone’s friend is nobody’s friend. Relationships that are an inch deep and a mile wide die a shallow and slow death. But when you go deep with a few, you grow loyal and lifetime friendships. Create significant space in your calendar, so you can respond to Christ’s call. Budget your time, as you budget your money. God’s call to wait is your opportunity to become humble and wiser. Work faithfully while you wait and watch Him work!

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

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow me in humility and wisdom as I wait on Your next step.

    Related Readings: Psalm 130:5-6; Proverbs 20:22; Isaiah 26:8; Lamentations 3:24-26; Jude 1:21 

    Post/Tweet: God works out His will while we wait. #wait

    Get free eBook “Infusion” by inviting 5 friends to Wisdom Hunters http://bit.ly/PEbaBJ


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

  • The Root of My Rot

    Posted on October 3, 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2 (NIV)

    Recently, a friend of mine really hurt my feelings and I got all bent out of shape. And, honey, everyone in my house knew Mama wasn't happy. I tried everything to usher gentleness back into my tone and my temper.

    I quoted verses.

    I rebuked Satan.

    I bossed my feelings around with truth.

    I even tried to take a nap.

    But none of these activities soothed me.

    What really sent me over the edge though was when one of my people introduced a smell into my home that not even three strongly scented candles could mask. And I am super hyper-sensitive to smells.

    Unfortunately, as the mysterious, awful smell continued to waft through my home, I couldn't for the life of me figure out what it was or where it was coming from.

    Finally, I realized my daughter had placed a bathroom trashcan in the middle of my bedroom floor so she could toss scraps of paper as she worked on a school project. Something had obviously been thrown away in that forgotten trashcan that had surpassed gross and moved into the final stages of rot.

    Or something had crawled up into that can and died.

    I didn't have the heart to find out what the rot was; I just knew the trash can had to go. Immediately.

    The smell was an outside indication of an internal situation. And the trashcan wasn't the only thing that stunk that night. So did my attitude.

    My reaction was an outside indication of an internal situation.

    The reason I couldn't be soothed by quoting scriptures, bossing my feelings, rebuking Satan, or even taking a nap is because God wanted me to be aware of my stink ... something inside of me that was gross ... a place starting to rot.

    I'd been hurt by a friend and didn't want to confront the issue or forgive the person who had hurt me. I'd stuffed bitterness in my heart and tried to pretend it wasn't there. But the rot was there and the stink from deep within my heart kept spilling out.

    God didn't want me to temporarily mask the situation by feeling better in the moment. He wanted me to address the root of my rot—to see it, admit it, expose it, let Him clean it up, and shut it down. Immediately.

    A little rot can spread fast and furiously if not dealt with swiftly and seriously.

    That's why it's so crucial to pay attention to our reactions today.

    How we react is a crucial gauge of what's really going on inside us.

    When people or issues or situations bump into our happy, it's not wrong to feel annoyed. But if that annoyance leads to a reaction out of proportion to the issue at hand, we can bank on the fact that this eruption has a root of rot.

    Here are some telltale signs of roots of rot:

    • I throw out statements like, You always ... You never ... Why can't we ever ...

    • I start gathering ammunition from past situations to build my case.

    • I use words and a tone outside my normal character.

    • I justify my reaction by pointing out how hard my life is right now.

    • I demand an apology, all the while knowing I should be giving one.

    These are not fun to admit, but here's the beauty of the situation: The quicker we see a root of rot, the quicker we can get rid of the stink and move forward.

    Dear Lord, thank You for bringing to light the rotting areas of my life. Help me to address these areas with Your grace and truth. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

    Related Resources:
    For more encouragement and practical advice on how to deal with difficult situations, check out Lysa's new book, Unglued. Available now!

    The accompanying Unglued Bible Study will help you understand what the Bible says about better ways to react. To order your copy, click here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Is there a situation in your life that you have stuffed down to keep the peace?

    Pray God will show you how to address this situation.

    Power Verse:
    Mark 11:25, "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." (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 Romans, Lysa TerKeurst

  • Righteous Hatred

    Posted on October 3, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “The righteous hate what is false, but the wicked bring shame and disgrace” (Proverbs 13:5).

     

    There is a righteous hatred that rejects what is false. It might be false words, bogus behavior, a counterfeit countenance, a phony friendship, or deceptive dealings. The discernment of the spirit-filled believer rises up to defend integrity. You can’t sit still to shenanigans when you know an agreed-upon code of ethics has been violated.

    So, how are we to respond to lies and liars? We first look in the mirror, making sure we are honest in our dealings and accurate with our words. Jesus said, “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:4). I am required to remove all self-deception before I can clearly see sin in my brother. Self-evaluation precedes confronting false conduct.

    Furthermore, our heavenly Father expresses holy hatred over what is false. “There are six things the LORD hates…haughty eyes, a lying tongue…a heart that devises wicked schemes” (Proverbs 6:16-18). Because the Almighty abhors artificial acts, we must ask ourselves, “Do I take sin seriously, or do I casually flirt with it?” Loose lips lead to lies and deceit that bring shame and embarrassment. Avoid lies and liars, and you will live in peaceful content.

    “But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people” (1 Corinthians 5:11).

    Lastly, in your business, ministry, and testimony remove all appearance of fraud and falsehood. Free yourself from image management with full disclosure and transparency. Create a culture that exposes any hint of conflict of interest. Lies examined under light melt away. Hate dishonesty; reward honesty. Honesty is the only policy for the people of God.

    “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body” (Ephesians 4:25).

    Prayer: Dear Lord, what areas of my life and work need to grow in honesty and forthrightness?

    Related Readings: Judges 16:11; Psalm 119:163; Colossians 3:9; Revelation 21:8

    Post/Tweet: Self-evaluation precedes confronting false conduct in others. #confrontation

    Get free eBook “Infusion” by inviting 5 friends to Wisdom Hunters http://bit.ly/PEbaBJ


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 1 Corinthians, Proverbs, Ephesians, Matthew, Hatred

  • A Prescription For Peace

    Posted on October 2, 2012 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie Miles

    "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

    Despite attempts for more than a year to figure out what was wrong with me, doctors could not identify a serious medical condition. It's not that I wanted something to be wrong. I certainly didn't need anything else to stress about.

    I was desperately seeking a prescription for peace.

    Looking back I can see the main culprit for my stress was my job. Overwhelming expectations and the impossible perfectionism my supervisor demanded took their toll on me physically, emotionally and spiritually.

    His harsh criticisms and comments made me feel inadequate, and my self-esteem plunged to an all-time low. Chaos swirled around me, stress raged within me, and my health continued to decline. But I didn't recognize the cause.

    When a medical diagnosis continued to elude doctors, I believed the lie that excessive stress was normal and I needed to learn how to live with it.

    Eventually my stress reached a dangerously high level, and I began to wonder if this was the way God intended life to be. I wasn't even sure if the Bible talked about stress, but I was desperate, so I searched God's Word for answers. Something had to end, and I didn't want it to be my life.

    I came across Philippians 4:6-7. "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." (NLT)

    Although I had read these verses before, it was as if a light bulb came on. I was tired of worrying. I was yearning for my heart and mind to be protected and healed. I was longing to control my stress, instead of it controlling me. And I was desperate for peace.

    As the words of these verses washed through my soul, I realized I'd been depending on people to diagnose my problems instead of seeking a remedy from God. Going from doctor to doctor, I had overlooked the only One who had a prescription that could heal — Jesus Christ.

    As I prayed for the ability to stop worrying and spent more time processing my stress with God, I thanked Him for His provision of my job. And I asked if it was time for me to leave. I needed to be rescued and admitted He was the only One with the power to do so. I committed to trusting His ways, even if I didn't understand them.

    Peace didn't come overnight, but it did come. Not because my circumstances changed, but because I tapped into His peace each day in the midst of less-than-peaceful circumstances. Gradually I felt God mend my heart and replace my stress with His truth and love. And when He made it clear after a few months that I was to resign, I was equipped to handle the new stressors that came with that decision.

    If you need a prescription for peace, I encourage you to let your thoughts dwell on God's promises and rest in His presence as you pray.

    Ask Him to help you release your worry. Praise Him for the good things He's done, and talk to Him about the problems you're struggling with. Seek God's will for every area of your life and commit to trust Him enough to make changes as He nudges you.

    True peace comes when we trust God and seek rest in Him, not when life is conflict-free. A daily dose of God's presence and promises is the best prescription for peace.

    Dear Lord, I am stressed. I know I need a change in my life, and I am ready for the prescription for peace that only You can offer. Fill me today with a dose of serenity that I cannot find anywhere else but in You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Today's devotion is based on Stressed-Less Living: Finding God's Peace in Your Chaotic World by Tracie Miles which releases today!

    Reflect and Respond:
    How can you trust God in your circumstances and receive His prescription for peace instead of handling problems in your own strength?

    Ask God if you need to make changes in your life. If so, pray about the next steps.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 107:19, "'Lord, help!' they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress." (NLT)

    John 14:27, "I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." (NLT)

    © 2012 by Tracie Miles. 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 Philippians, Tracie Miles, Peace

  • Diligence Rules

    Posted on October 2, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor” (Proverbs 12:24).

     

    How hard do you work, or do you hardly work? God said to Adam, “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food” (Genesis 3:17, 19). And He explained to Moses, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work” (Exodus 20:9–10).

    Has our culture become accustomed to receiving good things without great effort? Who is entitled to influence without being industrious? Perhaps there is a dearth of diligence that has depressed people and economies. Laziness leads to the control of others, while honest labor is given opportunities and advancement. Do not despair in your diligence for you are set for success. Mind your business meticulously, and you will enjoy the business.

    “Now the man Jeroboam was a valiant warrior, and when Solomon saw that the young man was industrious, he appointed him over all the forced labor of the house of Joseph” (1 Kings 11:28 NASB).

    Indeed, intense industry leads to preferment. Your faithfulness to your work is not going unnoticed. Your diligence is a distinctive that separates you from the average or lazy laborer. Security comes with this level of service. Promotion follows performance that produces the right results the right way. Be an industrious example others seek to emulate.

    Lastly, the Lord blesses hands that are hard at work. He smiles when He sees your service exceeds expectations. You go the extra mile to make sure others are cared for as you would like to be treated. God knows, because of your thoroughness on the job and your integrity in its execution, you can be trusted with more.

    “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17).

    Prayer: Lord, what task do You desire that I diligently complete before beginning another?

    Related Readings: 1 Kings 12:20; Proverbs 10:4; Romans 12:8; 1 Timothy 4:15

    Post/Tweet: Promotion follows performance that produces the right results the right way. #diligence

    Get free eBook “Infusion” by inviting 5 friends to Wisdom Hunters http://bit.ly/PEbaBJ


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Proverbs, Genesis, 1 Timothy, Exodus, 1 Kings

  • A Place of Forgiveness

    Posted on October 1, 2012 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    " ... Keep your eyes open to this Temple night and day, this place of which you said, 'My name will be honored there,' and listen to the prayers that I pray at this place. Listen from your home in heaven and when you hear, forgive." 1 Kings 8:28-30 (MSG)

    Claire sat on the floor with a wad of tissues in her hand. Her husband had left her three days earlier for someone else.

    Sitting there crying, in her brokenness she sensed God whisper, "Pray for him."

    Fists clinched, she shook them at the ceiling. "It's too soon, God. If You love me, You won't ask this of me. You are focusing on the wrong person. He's the one who should be kneeling and asking for forgiveness."

    In 1 Kings 8, we find the story of God's temple being built, a temple where God's presence would dwell. It took seven years, a labor force of over 130,000 and King Solomon's leadership to complete the temple. It was built with cypress, olive wood and cedar, and inside the doors were overlaid in gold. When the temple was completed, Solomon stood in awe as God's presence filled it (verse 10), and he began to pray.

    He could have asked God for many things. That the temple be a place of power where his kingdom would shine. That his enemies, and those of his father, King David, would be slain. That the sinful man would walk through the doors and be condemned for his sins.

    Instead he asked that God's Name be honored in the temple, and the magnificent structure would be a place of forgiveness.

    Scripture declares that we are His temple. Three days after discovering her husband's secrets Claire hadn't eaten. She hadn't slept. Her temple was crumbling.

    By asking her to forgive so soon, God wasn't showing a lack of compassion over her pain or her husband's abandonment, but a sign that He knew her well. By asking her to forgive, God was asking for a place to move into the demolished areas of her life.

    Forgiving would allow Him to fill her with His presence, putting His Name there forever, no matter what her situation.

    Daily, Claire walked intentionally in her relationship with God, reading the Bible, talking honestly with Him, listening to worship music. This became her sanctuary as she went through the most challenging parts of an unwanted divorce. The more she nurtured her heart and His presence inside of her, the less room there was for sadness, grief, anger, and loss.

    And then the day came. She knelt on the carpet and she told God, "I forgive him," and she meant it.

    A deeper meaning to the word forgive is "to abide" or "to set free." Claire experienced both of these as she made room within her heart, mind and soul for God's presence and forgiveness to dwell.

    It's been nearly a year. She is still beginning each day with God and inviting Him to fill her up with Himself. Moments of joy now surprise her just as grief once did.

    Dear Lord, I knew instinctively that one day You would ask me to forgive, but today I understand why. You want to move in to the demolished areas of my life and let Your presence shine. Help me to begin to forgive with Your help. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    A Confident Heart by Renee Swope dives deep into the affects unforgiveness, heart-break and rejection that keep us from living fully in Christ. If you want to know how to let God's redeeming love heal your heart and usher you into a place of security and hope, click here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    How are you currently filling the empty places left by unfaithfulness or hurt?

    What do you feel God nudging you to do differently? List one way you can begin to intentionally walk into a deeper relationship with Christ, regardless of your situation.

    Power Verses:
    1 Corinthians 6:19-20a, "Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price." (NLT)

    © 2012 by Suzie Eller. 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 Forgiveness, Suzie Eller, 1 Kings

  • God Reliant

    Posted on October 1, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    "Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does." John 5:19

     

    The ultimate expression of humility is reliance on Almighty God. He is the source of significance and He provides strength for life's journey. Jesus Himself confessed that He depended on His Heavenly Father as a model of what to do. Just as Jesus looked to His Father, so His followers look to their Heavenly Father. Obedience does not act alone. Activity for the Lord is best achieved when accompanied by a blueprint from God.

    Our self-reliance gets in the way of our God reliance. Anger, will power and intellect are the fruit of self-reliance, while patience, trust and humility are the fruit of God reliance. We honor our Heavenly Father when we first ask Him how to solve a problem or how to love the unlovely. Our imitation of Christ's actions are an indicator of humble reliance. Thus, we forgive ignorant offenders and we challenge religious hypocrisy, as He did.

    "For I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness." Psalm 26:3

    People let you down, but the Lord is 100% reliable. He is never late, but seldom early in His timely explanations. For example, you may want to transition now, but He wants you to go deeper in your understanding and application of wise stewardship. Learn to make finances a friend and not a foe. When you take matters into your own hands, He matters less. Rely on God's economy and trust He will provide in unconventional ways.

    You rely on God when you wait on His best, before you make a relational commitment. You rely on God when you take a stand for what's right and entrust your reputation with Him. You rely on God when you release a grudge and extend forgiveness. You rely on God when you share the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit and trust the results with Him. Pray as if everything depends on God, and work passionately as unto the Lord.

    "By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me." John 5:30

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you that You are 100% reliable, keep relying on You!

    Related Readings: 1 Kings 2:4; Psalm 86:11; Proverbs 25:19; Matthew 26:39;

    Post/Tweet: When we take matters into our own hands, He matters less. Thus, rely on God's wisdom and wait on His timing.

    Get free eBook “Infusion” by inviting 5 friends to Wisdom Hunters http://bit.ly/PEbaBJ


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

  • Passionate Prayer

    Posted on September 30, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    They repay me evil for good and leave my soul forlorn. Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting. When my prayers returned to me unanswered, I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother. I bowed my head in grief as though weeping for my mother. Psalm 35:12-14

     

    There is a passionate prayer for our enemies. It rests in the recesses of our righteous soul. It is counter intuitive in our aggressive age of revenge and resentment. But it is intuitive for those who intercede indiscriminately to the Almighty on behalf of all people. As followers of Jesus, we do not have the right to only pray for those who love and support us. We are also called to crash the gates of heaven on behalf of those who bother us. People who do not pursue Christ, but who pursue us with malicious intent are intended to be on our prayer list. Our natural man wants to ignore those who ignore us, writing them off, but Christ commands us to inscribe their names on our hearts for prayer. And it is not an obligatory prayer that we get out of the way once and then move on. It is a persistent and passionate prayer for our enemies that Christ expects. 

    Jesus described well our attitude toward our enemies, “You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (Matthew 5:43-44). Your enemy can be anyone who is against you and/or against God. You feel a persistent push back from their personality. You have felt hostility towards each other and even malicious intent. They may have harmed you financially. Regardless of the degree of enmity, there is a relational disconnect and distrust. An enemy is not a favorite person of yours, and you do not enjoy their company. It may be your parent who seems to have zero interest in your affairs. They only contact you when they need something. It may be a spouse who has stacked layers of hurt into your relationship over the years and you can hardly stand to look at them. It may be a friend who has betrayed you. It may be a plaintiff in a lawsuit.

    Regardless of whom we envision as our enemies, we are to pray for them and love them. Our prayers are to be full of passion and pleading on their behalf. We bombard the throne of grace asking God to pour out His mercy on their behalf. They may be blinded by unbelief and groping around life in graceless confusion. Our enemies need enlightenment from our eternal Savior, Jesus. We were once enemies of the cross outside of Christ’s care. We acted like we had it all together, when in reality we were poor and wretched souls lost in our sins. It is as through our fasting and prayers for those who are in the bondage of unbelief that God may choose to set them free. Passionate prayer persists.

    Prayer is never in vain. If the one being prayed for is not blessed, certainly it blesses the one who intercedes on their behalf. Our prayer for our enemies changes us. It softens our hearts and speech with sympathy. It allows us to model our prayers after our master, Jesus, when He prayed, ”Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Passionate prayer for our enemies is as much about us, as them. It changes us both.

    Taken from Reading #24 in the 90-day devotional book, “Seeking God in the Psalms”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today: We are called to pray for those who support us and for those who bother us. #prayer

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

  • Patient Forgiveness

    Posted on September 28, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult” (Proverbs 12:16).

     

    Fools are forever flailing away at an offense, while a prudent man or woman is patient to forgive. A fool is easily provoked to anger, always looking for an argument to win. He or she is combative without compassionate concern. However, prudence is careful in its response, not willing to be reckless, but to be right. Wisdom employs forethought and prayer; it answers with an attitude of respect. Prudence invokes patience.

    Do you buckle under pressure saying things you later regret? It is better to keep quiet and cool down than to vent venomous words in the flesh. Make this a goal when disciplining your children. Avoid anger as the instructor of your punishment. We tend to speak harshly and to act unreasonably when driven by anger. Wait prayerfully for twenty-four hours; then revisit the infraction with your child. Use cool correction.

    “This is what you are to say to Joseph: ‘I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly. Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.’ When their message came to him, Joseph wept” (Genesis 50:17).

    Bridle your tongue by God’s grace. The Bible says, “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). Your words can grieve another or give hope. They can hurt or heal. Therefore, submit to the Holy Spirit’s control of your conversations.

    Lastly, you are blessed if you are insulted for Christ’s sake. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me” (Matthew 5:11). Reward awaits those rejected for righteousness’ sake. Have you died to the right to be right? Do you hold a grudge or have to get even? In Christ we are dead to sin, and the dead are not insulted.

    “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11).

    Prayer: Whom do I need to patiently forgive for Christ’s sake?

    Related Readings: 1 Samuel 20:30–34; Esther 3:5; Matthew 27:39–40; James 1:19

    Post/Tweet: Our words can grieve or give hope. They can hurt or heal. #patient #forgive

    Get free eBook “Infusion” by inviting 5 friends to Wisdom Hunters http://bit.ly/PEbaBJ


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Proverbs, Forgiveness, Matthew, Romans, Genesis, James

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