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  • Trust Overcomes Fear

    Posted on July 22, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

     

    Fear engages an ongoing assault on our heart and mind. If left unchecked, fear can whip our imagination into a frenzy of anxiety. Though only an ounce of what we fear may ever come to pass, we tend to give it a ton of attention. It is madness when we are overcome by fear. It may be the fear of death that dilutes our faith. It may be the fear of failure that drives us to control. It may be the fear of rejection that keeps us from speaking up. It may be the fear of financial ruin that refrains us from taking risks. It may be the fear of divorce that shatters our dreams of a fulfilling family. It may be the fear of losing a job that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Whatever fear preoccupies our thinking, we are not alone.

    Jesus walks with us through our valleys. He may not deliver us out of the valley, but He mostly certainly does not abandon us in the valley. He walks with us through the valley of doubt. He walks with us through the valley of shame. He walks with us through the valley of transition. He walks with us through the valley of disease. He walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death. Our fear, many times, is but a shadow of Satan. It is not real. It seems like reality but it is not. It is but a reflection of the evil one. So we have no need to fear because our heavenly Father casts His bright light of love. A shadow assumes a light. Therefore, the light of Christ is there to guide us through the shadows of our soul. Death stands next to our path of life and attempts to cast a shadow, but the light of heaven guides our way. We trust Jesus. Trust overcomes fear.

    We trust the Lord with the known and the unknown. There may be consequences from relational baggage that we still unpack from our past. This is fruit from foolish choices that we have to take responsibility for and trust God with. Good can still come out of unwise actions, but good is gained as we regain our trust in Christ. In our valleys we can forget our faith and be consumed by our fears, or we can slow down and let the Lord love us through this time of loss. No amount of pain can separate you from the love of God. Pain may be smothering your soul, but do not give up on God. Immerse yourself in the Psalms where David sometimes drowns in doubt, but, by faith, wisely lifts an arm to the Lord. No one suffers alone well . It is with the Almighty and the prayers of others that we make it through.

    So go to Christ for comfort. His tools of trust invite us. He repairs our broken spirit with His rod and His staff. He comforts our crushed heart with His caring touch. When we stray as curious or lost sheep, He doesn’t give up on us. Rather He goes after us. Indeed, love is not passive. It initiates contact, comfort, and connection. Love helps you make sense out of a senseless situation. At the very least, the Lord will bring clarity to your confusion. Saturate your soul with truth, and you will flush out your fears. Trust the ones you value most with your Heavenly Father. He values them more than you do, and will make sure their needs are met. Trust Him as you face your fears, whether of death or life. Trust in Christ is a bridge to His comfort. Above all else, trust in the Lord overcomes fear.

    Taken from Reading #14 in the 90-day devotional book, “Seeking God in the Psalms”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today: Trust in God, even when you distrust others. #trust #distrust 

    Click on our Wisdom Video blog… http://bit.ly/JCjzJB


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

  • Covenant Eyes

    Posted on July 21, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.” Job 31:1

     

    Pure eyes are a priority for a disciple of Jesus Christ. Eyes are highly regarded because they can be an evangelist for good or bad. When locked onto lust, they are relentless in their pursuit of sin. Like a heat-seeking missile, they will accelerate their course until they reach their destination of destruction. Eyes are like missiles, which need guidance from God, not from a hot heart. Misguided eyes can easily choose the path of pornography and become married to their emotional impulses. Misguided eyes can lead a person to be so preoccupied with destructive behavior that he or she becomes an embarrassment to themselves and a disgrace to others.

    God takes seriously the stewardship of sight, but like any of His great blessings, eyes are meant for good. It is good to gaze at God’s creation in all of its splendor and glory. How beautiful is the rush of a crystal clear waterfall as it intensely tumbles over moss-covered rocks into a quiet reflecting pool at the bottom of its crashing course. This is a magnificent expression for our eyesight. Eyes are meant to enjoy beauty, not exploit it. If you have an eye for art and interior design, you are blessed indeed. God has given you perspective and creativity that most lack. Do not expose your eyes to everything. Of course, they cannot be sheltered from all sin. Eyes are not designed to be reclusive, purposefully blind to the outside world. However, eyes are meant to be respectful of their Creator. 

    Eyes are avenues for good or bad. Jesus said, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light” (Matthew 6:22).

    When you commit to not covet with your eyes, your covenant is with your Creator. Your Creator, God, longs to guide your eyes, so trust as you follow God with your eyes. He is a guide who leads with caution and adventure. He will guide you toward love instead of lust. He will guide you into contentment instead of discontentment. When you see the material stuff of others, you will thank God on their behalf and not covet with your eyes. He will guide you into generosity instead of greed. The more you have, the more you will give. When you see the needs of others, you will respond generously, whether you have God-blessed abundance or modest means. You are sometimes totally blind to bad choices that lurk ahead. But because you have made a covenant with your eyes, your Creator will see you through vulnerable times.

    Moreover, He takes your contractual agreement with your eyes to heart. Your responsibility in this binding contract is to make wise choices. Avoid exposing your eyes to enticing and erotic images. Your covenant requires you to inform others of your propensities for temptation. Do not traffic alone in your vulnerable places. God’s covenants have restrictions and requirements, but all for your good. Having a covenant with your eyes liberates you from lust and any other addictive eye candy. Make a contract with your eyes, and then trust God to guide you away from gullibility into goodness, so that you are not blind to the ways of the Lord. Understand and apply the terms of your eyes’ covenant. God’s terms provide boundaries with radical freedom.  Keep eye contact with God and you will be free indeed.

    Taken from July 19th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today: A covenant with our eyes means we keep eye contact with Christ.

    Click on our Wisdom Video blog… http://bit.ly/JCjzJB


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

  • Promise to God

    Posted on July 20, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “As they were walking along the road, a man said to him [Jesus], “I will follow you wherever you go.” Luke 9:57

     

    Christ takes seriously the commitments of His children. Indeed, faith is not a flippant force that fluctuates based on feelings. Rather it is a righteous resolve that is the result of a devoted disciple of Jesus. A promise made to God is an exclamation mark of a sold out life. It is at this crossroad of commitment that disciples are exposed as authentic or imposters. This lofty vow of loyalty to the Lord believes in the Cross and takes up a cross.

    Will we really follow Jesus wherever He goes? What if He asks us to go with Him into vocational ministry, will we follow Him there? What if He asks us to go with Him to forgive a friend or family member, will we follow Him there? What if He asks us to go with Him and die to our dreams, will we follow Him there? What if He asks us to go with Him to use our relationships, our finances and our resources for His Kingdom purposes, will we follow Him there? Our “yes” to our new life in Him, means “no” to our old life.

    “Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Matthew 8:20 

    There were creature comforts Christ knew not of, for His was an uncomfortable walk of faith. He had no guarantee of protection from the elements, but He could trust in His heavenly Father to bring the necessary provisions across His path . Just like a solider who enlists in the military (there is a high cost associated with patriotism), we serve selflessly in the Almighty’s army. Glamor goes away when we go after God in persistent pursuit.

    Are you a convenient or inconvenient follower of Jesus? He will ask you to go places with Him that are not easy or fun. But the beauty of fulfilling your promise to Jesus is He is always with you, regardless of the circumstance. Your salvation is a promise from the God of life and a promise from you of death. You committed to Christ a funeral of your former life and fidelity to your new resurrected life. It’s not how you start with Jesus, but how you finish with Jesus that counts. You promised to faithfully follow Jesus wherever He goes.

    “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34

    Prayer: Lord Jesus, by Your grace, I will follow you wherever You go.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 42:1; 48:16; 50:7; Luke 14:27; Romans 8:36

    Post/Tweet this today: Glamour goes away when we go after God in persistent pursuit.

    Click on our Wisdom Video blog… http://bit.ly/JCjzJB


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Luke, Matthew, Mark

  • Dead Heroes

    Posted on July 19, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2a

     

    Dead heroes are the most dependable, because they are in a position where they cannot mess up. Their legacy had been sealed in death and now they speak from the influence they left behind. Dead heroes inspire with their memory of love, wisdom and perseverance. They have stood the test of time having stood with courage in the face of adverse conditions, even to the point of death. Dead heroes bring love and faith to life.

    We think about Abraham and our faith is energized. We mull on Moses and humility grips our heart. We read about David and come away with courage and the conviction to be accountable. Solomon soaks our minds with wisdom and Hannah moves our hearts to pray. Naomi inspires encouragement and Ruth instills obedience. These heroes of the faith facilitate faithfulness to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Heroes arouse hope.

    “By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.” Hebrews 11:4

    Who are your heroes of the faith? Who do you look to as an example of love and obedience to God? Your heroes shape your soul—they inspire your spirit—and they mold your mind. What about Paul who gave up religious snobbery and elitism in exchange for becoming a bond-servant of Jesus Christ? His intelligence and Holy Spirit inspired insight into Scripture and the human psyche requires a lifetime of study. He is a hero worth understanding and emulating. Raise your bar of admiration for the saints of old.

    Certainly we are wise to avoid hero worship, this is worse than following the wrong example—it is idolatry. Jesus Christ alone is your object of affection, adoration and praise. He is your hero of heroes. Ultimately, all roads of respect merge back to the throne of our trusted savior, King Jesus. His example inspires you to endure in doing what’s right and His Spirit empowers you in service for Him. Jesus is your hero who was momentarily dead, but is now alive in you. Look to heroes who give you life in Christ!

    “Who is this King of glory?? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory?? The Lord Almighty—he is the King of glory.” Psalm 24:8-10

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray my heroes are a reflection of You and Your priorities.

    Related Readings: Genesis 31:53; 2 Kings 14:3; Psalm 25:15; John 13:15; 1 Corinthians 9:24

    Post/Tweet this today: Heavenly heroes arouse hope. #heroes #hope

    Click on our Wisdom Video blog… http://bit.ly/JCjzJB


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

  • Ahh, Summer.

    Posted on July 19, 2012 by Family Christian

    Just be.

    Summer. A time for vacations, going to the beach and firing up the grill. What a great season for family. Wouldn’t it be ideal if everything slowed down so we could just focus on being together? For most of us though, summer still means errands, working in the office (and now the yard), and a hundred other things we should get done while there’s still sunlight left in the sky.

    Ephesians 5:15 reminds us to “Be very careful then how you live… making the most of every opportunity…” These sunny months are full of delicious moments just waiting to be savored, moments we don’t want to miss because we’re too busy staring at our smartphone or a pile of weeds. This summer focus on finding the balance in it all. Be engaged, be intentional and be fully present with your family; celebrating togetherness and the gift God has given you in each other. Those are the things you’ll savor for a lifetime.


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion and was tagged with Summer, Ephesians

  • Matthew West - New single. New album.

    Posted on July 18, 2012 by Family Christian

    >Matthew West returns with his new album, Into the Light on September 25th. Continuing his journey of drawing inspiration from true stories of people’s lives, he’s written an album of all-new songs including the first single “Forgiveness,” which tells the story of a mother forgiving the drunk driver that took her daughter’s life.

    Into the Light encourages people to embrace the hope and restoration in Christ, in the middle of life’s toughest challenges.

     

    Here is the first single from Matthew, Forgiveness, done acoustically.

    Also, here is Forgiveness again, but the lyric video.

    For more on Matthew West, click here.
    To purchase his new single, click here.


    This post was posted in Music and was tagged with Featured, Music, Forgiveness, Matthew West

  • God-Size Goals

    Posted on July 18, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with men is possible with God”. Luke 18:27

     

    God-sized goals are meant to challenge our thinking and further our faith. These Holy Spirit inspired ‘big ideas’ are crafted by our Creator to spur us on to good works and transformational living. God-sized goals make us uncomfortable at times. They are not guaranteed to happen, but they position us to pray more and believe in God better. 

    It is through prayerful planning and implementation that gigantic goals move from a mere possibility to a surer probability. Huge objectives are a hedge against mediocrity, and a prod toward perfection. God-sized goals are given to govern your thinking and determine your time, so that you are intentional and focused on His big picture. Otherwise, you can drift around without a rudder of reality, destined for disappointment.

    Best of all God-sized goals get you to God. It is prayer and planning with significant progress that moves you from the realm of possibility to the place of probability. In most cases it is one man or woman’s passion and focus that proves catalytic in the creation and execution of the goal. The leader looks failure in the eye and extinguishes it by faith, wisdom, and hard work, all wrapped around a skilled and unified team.

    Christ-centered possibilities, far outweigh man-centered probabilities. Perhaps you need to get away in solitude for several days, asking your Savior to sear your soul with His goals. Think outside the box of small belief, for the Lord is unlimited in His abilities and resources. God-sized goals arrest your attention, adjust your attitude, and accelerate your actions.

    So, prayerfully set great goals, and He will grow your character in the process, while influencing others for His glory. Trust Him to teach you the way and to show you, with eyes of faith, way beyond the bounds of your experience, for His plan will prevail. The Bible says, “I know You can do all things; no plan of Yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).

    Prayer: What goal is God giving me that needs to be accepted in faith, requiring hard work towards its accomplishment?

    Related Readings: Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:17; Matthew 19:26; Ephesians 1:19-20

    Post/Tweet this today: God-sized goals get us to God. #goals #wisdomhunters

    Click on our Wisdom Video blog… http://bit.ly/JCjzJB


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

  • Giant Opportunities

    Posted on July 17, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “The LORD said to Moses, "Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites… Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it." But the men who had gone up with him said, "We can't attack those people; they are stronger than we are." Numbers 13:1a, 30-31

     

    As we face life, we can be overwhelmed by its giant obstacles or be inspired by its giant opportunities. Challenges and uncertainties tend to corrode our confidence. It is in the face of the unknown that we can move forward by faith, or backward in disbelief. What giant obstacles are you facing? How can your obstacles be converted into opportunities? Obstacles are stepping stones for obedient feet to follow. 

    Therefore, stay focused with aggressive patience and you will eventually see some obstacles dissolve while others are transformed into treasures. Possibly a financial opportunity is looming large but it seems like an intimidating obstacle. If so, stay true to your integrity by not selectively suspending your core values for much needed results. Instead, remain faithful to wise stewardship and honesty. The right results will follow at the right time. Trust God to use scary giants for His glory.

    God orchestrates giant opportunities for His greater good. He told Moses that He was giving His children the promised land; all they had to do was show up and receive His gift. Giant opportunities often require faith, planning, perseverance, and hard work, buy sometimes the reward of obedience and trust in the Lord is enough. So how are you facing the giants in your life; as obstacles or opportunities?

    Leaders look and pray for opportunities, exploring them with energy and enthusiasm. Your relentless leadership inspires your family, friends, and work associates to remain faithful and not freak out. Therefore, take the opportunity the Lord has given you. Difficult days and economic challenges are great opportunities for God to get the glory. So be aggressive, increase your efforts, actively pursue heaven with prayer, and by faith receive what your Savior Jesus has already given you. Go after the giant opportunities with gusto and with grace.

    The Bible says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, NASB).

    Prayer: With what giant obstacle, can I trust God to turn it into an opportunity?

    Related Readings: Joshua 14:6-8; Isaiah 41:10-16; Romans 8:31-37; Hebrews 11:33

    Post/Tweet this today: Obstacles are stepping-stones for obedient feet to follow. #obedience #wisdomhunters

    Click on our Wisdom Video blog… http://bit.ly/JCjzJB


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

  • Gods Already Provided

    Posted on July 16, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “He [Jesus] replied, “You give them something to eat.” They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” Luke 9:13

     

    God is not passive in His provision. He aggressively applies His resources directly to the felt need of His children. But His works are outside the small box of unbelief. The Lord's faithfulness flourishes where the soul fluently speaks the language of faith. The Holy Spirit traffics freely on the highway of a trusting heart. Man’s natural eye limits the Lord's supernatural supply, but an eternal gaze engages His possibilities.

    Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where it seems like we lack the Lord's provision. The resources right in front us look like they are limited, without suitable capacity. Can Christ be creative with what He has already given us? Yes, of course, if we are obedient to follow His directives. Faith says yes to God's "what", even when His "how" is unclear. Many times God has already provided for His children. The provision may seem disguised in its unconventional appearance, but nonetheless it is still very near.

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

    Like an explorer on the verge of discovering a valuable treasure, so you may be one step of obedience away from discovering Christ's treasure trove of blessings. What are you facing that requires Jesus to provide? Is it wisdom? He is wisdom. Is it peace? He is the Prince of Peace. Is it comfort? He weeps with compassion. Is it direction? He is the Bright and Morning Star. Is it forgiveness? He forgives. His provision precedes the need.

    The possibilities of God's provision begin to be defined by numbering the grains of sand in the sea. Jesus is asking you to take the step of faith where you are, so He can take you to where you need to be. Christ wants to change you, before He changes your circumstances. He is building your trust to make you trustworthy with His blessings. Like mighty vessels that only cross deep channels of water, so you are the Lord's valued vessel to deliver His unfathomable blessings to others. Perhaps His provision is you!

    "Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I trust you to provide in Your timing, show me the next step.

    Related Readings: Psalm 62:10; Ephesians 6:10; 1 Timothy 6:17; 1 Peter 4:11

    Post/Tweet this today: The Lord's faithfulness flourishes where the soul speaks fluently the language of faith. #faith #wisdomhunters

    Click on our Wisdom Video blog… http://bit.ly/JCjzJB


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 2 Corinthians, Luke, Mark

  • Trust Required

    Posted on July 15, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Yet you brought me out of the womb, you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast. Psalm 22:9

     

    God requires us to trust Him from our birth. In the beginning, we are totally dependent on others. God uses doctors, nurses, and midwives to navigate us through the birth canal. There is nothing we could do to gain access into this life other than wait on the warm embrace of others. Ultimately, it was God’s work that brought us into the world. He conceived us in our mother’s womb and He brought us out of our mother’s womb. There has never been a time we have not been required to trust the Lord. He knew we needed this requirement from the outset. Trust is who we are. It is part of our DNA. Our Savior stamped on our infant soul, “Trust in Me is required.” From our first breath to our last, we are required to trust in God. There is no getting around His requirement. He made us trust in the beginning, so we would learn to continue a life of trust in Him.
     
    We were born desperately needy. The milk from our mother’s breast sustained our life. She was our lifeline. She was the nurturer we trusted without reservation. In the same way, we depend on the milk of God’s word. We are babies in our belief, in need of the elementary principles of the faith. The writer of Hebrews 5:12-13 says, “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” But then he goes on to say that we need more than milk for a mature faith. “Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.” At the genesis of our faith, we were infants who sucked life from our Savior Jesus. Like air to a scuba diver exploring the vast unknown of the underwater world, He was what kept our souls going. We trusted Him totally as our redeemer and refuge. Trust was required then. Trust is required now.
     
    In this life, we never graduate from our Savior’s school of trust. We are in Christ’s classroom of trust until we graduate to heaven. It is a required course for Christ- followers. He loved us when we were infants, and He does not cast us off in our latter years. He was our God when we left our mother, and He will be our God when we return to mother earth. Be glad that God requires trust in Him. Trust connects us to Christ. It keeps us close to Him. There is no better place to be than near the heart of God. Trust Him to love you in spite of those you distrust. Do not project your distrust of others on the Divine.
     
    Moreover, trust in others is required for robust relationships. Do not replace trust with skepticism because of the few who have fractured your faith in people. Yes, in the beginning, because of relational inexperience, you may have been naïve in your trust of others. But do not allow these few bruising relationships to keep you from trusting. If you trust God, you can trust others. Little faith in God leads to little faith in people. A big faith in God thinks the best of others. He can control your feelings of being controlled. Don’t be defensive with your spouse or co-workers. Trust that they are in this with you. You want them to trust you, so trust them. Trust is required for growing relationships.

    Taken from Reading #13 in the 90-day devotional book, “Seeking God in the Psalms”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE
     
    Post/Tweetthis today: Trust in God, even when you distrust others. #trust #distrust

    Click on our Wisdom Video blog… http://bit.ly/JCjzJB


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters

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