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  • Trials and Temptations

    Boyd

    No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

    What is temptation? It is a desire enticing you to make an unwise decision. To be tempted is not to sin, but it does mean a sinful desire is close to conception, awaiting birth. So, we are wise to see temptation coming and prepare not to fall for its power of deceit. Trials are an outward test that can lead to an inward temptation. When weakened by adversity we become a prime target of our adversary--the devil. So how can we be prepared to overcome trials and temptations?

    For example, a job promotion can be a good thing, but what if it requires the test of travel? Time away from home cannot be properly replaced by any amount of money. And what are the agreed upon guidelines (with ourselves and if married, with our spouse) to keep us from falling for temptation? The moral temptation is to not remain faithful. The ethical temptation is to compromise our honesty. Peer temptation is to give into juvenile behavior. Intentional preplanning deals best with temptation. Avoid compromising situations: alone with the opposite sex, nightclubs or inaccurate expense reports.

    “Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their ownevil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin;and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:14-15).

    Moreover, there are those who desire to get rich. It is tempting because of the allure of affluence: freedom, nice homes, new cars, power and prestige. This test of prosperity requires a generous spirit to truly prosper, otherwise money creates idols of its own making. Those blessed materially learn how to leverage their possessions for God’s kingdom and not their own. They recognize the Lord as the owner and themselves as stewards. Generosity trumps the temptation of greediness.

    Lastly, use trials to draw closer to Christ and not be tempted to pull away from Him. Don’t allow hard times to harden your heart, instead invite the Spirit to soften your heart. In His desert aloneness Jesus was tempted by the devil, but He answered his lies with the truth of Scripture. So, seek the Lord when He seems distant and He will draw you unto Himself. Furthermore, be transparent with mentors and friends who can support you in remaining faithful. Confessing your vulnerabilities weakens temptations grip. Christ provides a way of escape for patient endurance.

    “Because he himself [Jesus] suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me away from temptations into the joy of doing Your will.

    Related Readings: Job 1:12; Matthew 4:1, 6:13; 1 Timothy 6:9; Hebrews 4:15; James 1:13

    Post/Tweet today: The test of prosperity requires a generous spirit to truly prosper, otherwise money creates idols of its own making. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • Praying for Your Future Husband from Robin Jones Gunn

    Robin

    An Extraordinary Mystery

    Robin: Sometimes, when an idea just won’t go away, you need to pay attention to how God is nudging you. That’s what happened with this book.

    Tricia and I have been friends for almost two decades, and both of us are writers. But our life stories as well as our love stories are radically different. Beyond writing, we do have one interesting commonality: both of us prayed for our future husbands when we were teens. But how did that add up to our writing a book together? Three incidents convinced us we should…

    The first moment of inspiration fell on me with a weighty sense of urgency one bright November afternoon. I was in Brazil, standing in front of three hundred teen girls in a school cafeteria. My Christy Miller and Sierra Jensen novels for teens have been translated into Portuguese, and the teachers at this school use the books as part of their curriculum. That meant all the girls had read the books. When my husband and I entered the cafeteria, the girls greeted us with a wave of screams as if we were the real Christy and Todd all grown up and visiting them in Brazil.

    To quiet down the screaming girls, I asked the translator to invite them to ask questions. One of the girls raised her hand and popped up from her seat. In Portuguese she asked me what she and her friends should do since the boys in Brazil weren’t reading my books.

    “What do you mean?” I asked.

    She spoke passionately as the translator beside me explained.

    “She says that, after reading your books, she and her friends are making good decisions. They’ve given their lives to Christ and now want to stay pure and save themselves for their future husbands. But, you see, the boys of Brazil are not reading these books. They are not making these same decisions. She wants to know what can be done about that.”

    My heart pounded. Every face in that cafeteria was fixed on me, waiting for an answer. The young woman had just identified a global problem for our present generation of Christian women. I had heard this frustration voiced many times in letters and e-mails I had received from readers over the years. But no one had ever asked me what could be done to change this dilemma of an unbalanced ratio between God-honoring young women and their male contemporaries who were slow to seek God. What could I tell her?

    The words that came out of my heart were, “You can start praying for your future husband now.”

    The translator gave her my answer, and a reverent hush fell over the room. Before me was a troop of willing but untrained young women ready to enter the warzone to fight for the young men. But how?

    I wished then that I had something more to offer those girls. It’s one thing to tell them to pray and another thing to come alongside and show them what that looks like. If only, I thought, a book existed. I wished one of my nonfiction writer friends would hurry up and write it. None of them seemed to have a passion for such a book.

    The second defining moment came two years later. Tricia and I were at a writers’ retreat in California. During the afternoon break, we headed out to the pool. I settled in a lounge chair and wrote notes in my journal for a novel I was working on. Tricia succumbed to the luxurious autumn sunshine and floated off into a deep sleep.

    Suddenly she woke up, turned to me, and said, “What?” as if I’d been talking to her while she slept.

    I looked at her and spoke an unpremeditated thought. “Tricia, we need to write a book together.”

    “Okay.” She didn’t even blink before sinking back into her afternoon lull. A moment later her head rose again. “What are we supposed to write about?”

    “I have no idea.”

    The gentle notion flitted past me as softly as it had fallen on Tricia. We caught the little inspiration the way an artist would reach for a floating feather or a child would bend to pick up a pale blue pebble and tuck it in a pocket.

    Over the next year or so we periodically pulled the small inspiration out of our pockets and talked about what we should write. We had lots of ideas, as all creative people do. But the affirmation and direction wasn’t there. So we waited, and we prayed…

    The third moment of inspiration came with such defining clarity we knew what the book was to be about.

    Tricia and I were in Montana, preparing to speak at a women’s retreat. The night before the retreat we sneaked off to a lodge for some last-minute planning. I entered the lodge first while Tricia parked the car in the snow. A darling little strawberry blond toddler trotted over to me, put up his arms, and allowed me to scoop him up. His surprised young mom told me his name was Toby, he was eighteen months old, and he was usually not that friendly with strangers. Toby patted my face.

    Tricia entered, and Toby’s mother froze. She stared at Tricia and in a shaking voice said, “It’s you! You’re the one who spoke at the luncheon two years ago.”

    Tricia spoke often at events for teenage girls and women in Montana, so I doubted she would remember this particular young woman from a luncheon two years ago. The mom said, “Do you remember that you talked about being a teen mom and that you prayed God would send you a Christian husband?”

    Tricia nodded.

    “I did the same thing. I prayed and…” She leaned in closer. “I don’t know if you remember my telling you this after the luncheon, but I had just found out I was pregnant.” “I remember,” Tricia said.

    “I was scheduled for an abortion just a few days later.” The young woman gazed at Toby cuddled up in my arms. “But after I heard your story and what you said about how God answered your prayers, I cancelled the appointment for the abortion, and I prayed for a husband, just like you did.”

    Her smile widened, and tears formed in her eyes as she told Tricia, “I always wanted to see you again so I could tell you that God answered my prayers. He brought an amazing Christian guy into my life. He loves me, and he loves my son. We’ve been married for almost a year. When I think about what my life would be like right now if I hadn’t heard your story and did what you said…”

    By then we were all hugging and crying and hugging some more. Toby climbed into Tricia’s arms and received her cuddles and kisses. We couldn’t stop crying. It was such a beautiful moment. The room seemed full of light and hope.

    After Toby and his mama went their way, Tricia and I sat together in stunned silence. We both knew this was it—this was the theme of the book we needed to write together: praying for your future husband. We also knew we were the two unlikely novelists being invited to pour our hearts into this project. And so we did.

    As we wrote, what tumbled from our hearts surprised us. We didn’t compose a handbook on techniques or formula for effective prayer. Through the ages many wonderful such books have been written. Instead, what we saw forming, as we met together to pray and write, was a book anchored with true stories about what happens when women pray for their future husbands and the ways God answers those prayers.

    Both of us agreed to tell our own stories on these pages. This took some courage. Dozens of other women gave us permission to tell portions of their stories as well—how they prayed, how God chose to answer, and how their lives changed in the process. This took courage for them as well. We pulled from our Bibles and journals favorite scriptures and excerpts. These quotes worked perfectly to lace the chapters together.

    As the book took shape, we discovered that prayer is an extraordinary mystery.

    This sacred privilege of communicating with our Heavenly Father is more than a cozy, open invitation to come to Him anytime, anywhere. Even though His ears are open to the cries of His children 24/7, prayer is more than that. Prayer is also an act of obedience. We are exhorted to pray for others and to pray without ceasing.

    Neither Tricia nor I pretend to have prayer all figured out. What we do know is that God hears. He sees. He knows us. He cares more than we can ever comprehend. And most important of all, God answers prayer.

    Perhaps you’ve noticed that oftentimes the way God answers prayers isn’t what we expect. We look back years later and see that what God did was oh so much better than what we first envisioned when we sent our heartfelt requests heavenward. He created us, and He desires the best for us. God always gives His best to those who leave the outcomes with Him.

    Another, even more amazing mystery is that when we pray for someone else, we change. All of us were made both to give love and to receive love. When your heart connects through prayer to the One who is the source of true love, you’ll find that praying for your future husband will wondrously result in your heart being changed. And when your heart is changed, your life is transformed.

    What sort of changes will God bring about in the life of your future husband as a result of your praying for him now? We don’t know.

    As you pray for him, what sort of changes will God initiate in your heart? We don’t know that either.

    But we do know there’s only one way to find out…


    Excerpted from Praying for Your Future Husband by Robin Jones Gunn and Tricia Goyer Copyright © 2011 by Robin Jones Gunn and Tricia Goyer. Excerpted by permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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  • Every Doing Starts With a Step

    Shelene

    "When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, 'What are you doing here, Elijah?'" 1 Kings 19:13 (NIV)

    When I was about 13 years old, my family vacationed in the beautiful Hawaiian Islands with friends. We heard about a local waterfall with a smooth slide carved into the rocks. We were up for the adventure, so we went to check it out.

    The water slide looked spectacular. As we made our way to the top of the rocks that formed the slide, I noticed a handful of local kids jumping off of the adjacent towering cliffs into the water. Whew, that looked scary!

    After about an hour of fun on that wonderful natural slide (it's still the best water slide I've ever been on in my life), we started eyeing the cliffs and the local kids who were jumping. We looked at each other to see who would conjure up the guts to be the first mainlander to climb the cliff and jump.

    Seeing how I always wanted to beat the boys, I volunteered.

    I made my way up a path cut into the rock wall. As I stepped up to the edge of the cliff, where the overhang suspended me 30 feet above the water, I began to seriously appreciate how high I was. Basically I started to freak out.

    Tim, one of the younger boys in our group, joined me on the cliff. He said, "If you're not going to jump, move over and I'll jump. Are you chicken?"

    Before I could answer his challenge, a local man, who must have been watching me for five minutes as I contemplated jumping, said, "Just step off."

    "What?" I yelled.

    "Just step off," he repeated.

    "Yeah," Tim echoed. "Just step off."

    Just taking a step seemed easy. I took steps all day long. What was the big deal? It's just a step. With that, I moved to the edge, closed my eyes tight and simply took a small step forward. My body instantly plunged into space and I free fell with a scream of thrill all the way to the water. I came up out of the water feeling like a stunt girl on Hawaii Five-0.

    Are you standing on a "cliff," unable to jump? Are you feeling like God wants you to make a radical change, but you just can't? Some people are born jumpers. Others are more like I was: frozen on the edge of that cliff, unwilling to jump but willing to take a small step.

    Throughout history God has prodded His people with questions and suggestions to help us figure out what we are doing for Him. Kind of like that man's comment to me to step off the cliff.

    An example of this kind of question is asked of one of my favorite Bible characters: A prophet named Elijah. Elijah had a deep love of God. And in 1 Kings 19, God quietly called out to Elijah through a whisper in the midst of a series of riotous distractions.

    God asked a very simple question: "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

    The question was not for God's benefit and certainly not for His information. God already knew the answer before He whispered the question. God designed that question to help Elijah come to grips with what he was going to do.

    Nearly three millennia later, God asks the same question of me: "What are you doing here, Shelene?"

    His question asks me to consider where I am. It challenges me to see where I need to go. And then it prompts me to take my next step.

    I may not be a jumper, but I can take a step.

    Lord, help me recognize Your voice when You call. Help me recognize Your trustworthy character and trust that You have my best interests in mind. Burn into my heart the desire to do the tasks You want me to accomplish for You. Give me the strength and courage to take the first step toward what You want me to do. In His Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond: What insecurities are holding you back from taking a step toward the things God is calling you to?

    What small steps can you start taking this week?

    Power Verse: Psalm 37:23-24, "The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Shelene Bryan. All rights reserved.

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

  • Forgiven People Forgive

    Boyd

    And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32, NKJV

    Forgiven people forgive, because they are eternally grateful for the grace of God’s forgiveness in their heart. They are keenly aware that outside of Christ, they are cursed to a cycle of unforgiveness—lost in their sins. Thus, the Lord raised them up forgiven, so they in turn can forgive. Forgiveness on earth flows from forgiveness in heaven. It is something to be passed on today, not to be stored away for some unique future occasion.

    Unforgiveness encroaches on the health of our relationships. Its cancerous affect eats away at our enjoyment of God, family and friends. Suddenly, without advance notice, we lash out at those we love—because of someone we don’t love. Unforgiveness, like an inactive but rumbling volcano, waits to explode at any moment of disappointment. The embroiled embers smolder like sin and will erupt when pressure shakes its foundation.

    Do you hold a grudge that has a hold of you? Does resentment hang over you like a bad dream, only you never wake up? This level of emotional upheaval is no way to live for the Lord. His will is not for you to be preoccupied with people who have stolen your joy and hindered your fellowship with Jesus. Forgiveness frees you from the bitter taste of bitterness and replaces it with the sweet taste of grace. Thus, forgive like you’re forgiven.

    True forgiveness is sincere and all-inclusive. We are not in the position to judge who deserves forgiveness and who does not.. One test is to ask if you are tender hearted or hard hearted toward another. A hard heart has yet to be broken by heaven’s caring crush, it may take extended adversity to soften your heart to forgive.

    Why wait in anxious resentment when you can be freed today from hatred and relational apathy? Moreover, make your forgiveness specific. Communicate clearly you are forgiving an exact amount of money—they are no longer in debt to you. Did a relative abuse you as a child? Were you fired over office politics? Talk with them—if they have abandoned you or are dead, write a letter expressing Christ’s love and your forgiveness.

    What if you forgive someone and they are unresponsive and unrepentant? You cannot control another’s response, only your own. Trust that the Lord is working and that your humble and sincere example will begin a work of grace in their heart. Love and kindness tear down walls of anger—grace and forgiveness build bridges of hope. Satan’s destructive deception is exposed and destroyed in the face of your forgiveness.

    “And that I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:10b-11).

    Prayer: Who needs my total forgiveness? What is the best method for me to forgive them?

    Related Readings: Micah 7:18; Jeremiah 33:8; Luke 7:47; Hebrews 8:12

    Post/Tweet today: Forgiveness frees us from the acidic taste of bitterness and replaces it with the sweet taste of grace. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • Limitless from Nick Vujicic

    Nick

    Introduction

    Hello and welcome to my first Christian devotional. This book draws on material from two of my previous books, Life Without Limits and Unstoppable. It is intended to provide you with a series of quick inspirational and faith-building stories to be read daily or whenever you feel you need them. There are no rules other than God’s.

    I do want to comment on the title, Limitless, which refers not to my abilities or your abilities but to God’s limitless love and power. As you may already know from my speeches, books, and videos—or you may suspect from photographs— I am technically more limited physically than most people.

    I was born without arms or legs. Though I lacked limbs, I was blessed with a loving and supportive family that includes not just my parents and my brother and sister (both of whom came fully equipped) but also many cousins, aunts, and uncles. Even better, I was given the gift of Christian faith.

    That’s not to say I did not struggle with my faith, especially when I reached those difficult adolescent years when we all try to figure out our place in the world—where we fit in and what we have to contribute. I prayed to God that I would wake up with arms and legs. Those prayers were not answered. I grew angry and then depressed. Thoughts of suicide drove me to make an attempt on my own life, but I stopped short when I realized my death would burden my loved ones with guilt and grief.

    Over time, I came to understand that God had not brought me into the world without limbs to punish me. Instead, He had a plan for me, an incredible plan to serve Him by inspiring and leading others to lives of Christian faith.

    If God can take someone like me, someone without arms and legs, and use me as His hands and feet, He can use anybody. It’s not about ability. The only thing God needs from you is a willing heart.

    What do you need to live in faith on this earth and then to be blessed with eternal life in the kingdom of heaven? You need a relationship with Jesus Christ as your personal savior. Where you are weak, God is strong. When you walk in faith each and every day, your life has no limits.

    You can take that on faith, which I highly recommend, or you can take it from the pages that follow, which offer my life as testimony to the incredible power of the Lord our God. I am a man who is not disabled but enabled. I travel the world on God’s business, reaching out to believers and sinners, rich and poor. I’m allowed to deliver my messages of faith, hope, and love in nations where many Christians fear to tread.

    I have a ridiculously good life, and now since my marriage in 2012, I have the honor and the joy of sharing it with a strong Christian wife who is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. In my days of despair, one of my most depressing thoughts was that no woman could ever love a man without arms or legs. I was so, so wrong. My vision was limited. I forgot that ours is a loving God, wise in ways that we cannot comprehend.

    Like me, you may not be able to see or even imagine what He has in store for you. My goal with this devotional is to help you expand your vision and build your faith by sharing what God has done for me and for the special men, women, and children I’ve met in my travels around the world.

    I hope you enjoy the devotions and you benefit from them. But more important, I hope they help you get on the right track with God so that you are transformed with Him and come to trust that, through Him, all things are possible.


    Excerpted from Limitless by Nick Vujicic Copyright © 2013 by Nick Vujicic. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

  • A Resurrection of Compassion

    Tracie

    "Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)

    As soon as I answered the phone, I heard the panic in her voice.

    My daughter had called to ask if she had possibly left her new iPod in the car that morning. After searching thoroughly to no avail, her worst fears became a reality — the music player was missing.

    I immediately went to the school and met with the principal to file a report about the missing iPod, where I learned there had been a rash of thefts since school had resumed after the holidays. When my daughter joined us, I could see the sadness in her eyes, hear the loss in her voice and sense the overwhelming regret pouring out of her heart.

    As she settled into the chair beside me, I knew she was beating herself up inside. The lost item had been a special gift. Now it was gone.

    Soon the tears she'd been holding back could no longer be restrained, as she expressed how desperately she wished she could go back in time. What if she had left it at home or in the car? Or not left her purse unattended? What if she had been more responsible?

    Hugging her tightly, I sent her off to class. But as she walked away, slumped shoulders carrying the weight of regret and sorrow, maternal emotion overcame me.

    I wanted to sprint down the hall like a mom on a mission, scoop her up into my arms, and whisk her home where we could snuggle up in a blanket, drink hot chocolate and watch silly cartoons. I felt an overwhelming compassion building up inside me.

    Although my daughter's pain was over a material item that could be replaced in time, in that moment, I just wanted to take away her hurt and regret.

    Could it be that my parental compassion is even a hint of what God feels for us?

    Today's verse reminds us that God feels an immense compassion for us, which far exceeds mine. In Lamentations 3, the prophet Jeremiah (believed to be the author) told God's people that although they had been unfaithful for many years, God would still have compassion on them. And because of that compassion, they could have hope.

    Thinking back on that day at school, I thought of the many years I lived with regret, desperately longing to go back in time and get a second chance. But shame and regret held my heart captive.

    I remembered the heaviness that came with shouldering all the "what ifs" and "if onlys," while beating myself up inside, knowing I couldn't change the past.

    But all those regrets lost their grip on me the day I embraced God's promises of unconditional forgiveness and love. When I finally understood His compassion, I realized that just like the iPod, my past mistakes were history too.

    When we struggle with our own set of "what ifs" and "if onlys," God wants to show us His faithfulness and shower us with compassion, even if we have been unfaithful or messed up more times than we want to count. If we accept Him as our Savior, we open the door for Him to erase our regrets and shame once and for all.

    Last week, on Easter Sunday, we came face to face with the depth of God's mercy, as we celebrated the greatest act of compassion ever known — the death and resurrection of Jesus.

    God was a Father on a mission, compelled by overwhelming compassion and a willingness to do whatever it took to scoop us up into His arms and atone for our mistakes, making them nothing more than history. He died to carry our burdens so we wouldn't have to, and so we could be free to live in peace, not regret.

    Jesus was resurrected so we can experience His mercies anew every day. Now that is an act of compassion worth celebrating.

    Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross for me, so that I might be freed from my past and have eternal life with You. I praise You for Your undeserved compassion and mercy. I love You. In Your Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond: Have I been carrying the weight of regret rather than allowing Jesus to carry it for me?

    How can I live my life in such a way that expresses praise and thankfulness for His compassion and daily mercies?

    Power Verses: Psalm 78:38, "Yet He was compassionate; He atoned for their guilt and did not destroy them. He often turned His anger aside and did not unleash all His wrath." (HCSB)

    © 2014 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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

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  • Worldly Wisdom

    Boyd

    Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. 2 Corinthians 1:12

    Worldly wisdom has a way of reducing heaven’s wisdom to an afterthought. Using our worldly wisdom, we pray and seek to discern the Lord’s ways only after our ways do not work. It is tempting to rely on what seems to work instead of asking what the principles to live by are, based on God’s economy. Worldly wisdom is not only inferior but also competes with God’s grace.

    The Lord sees the world’s wisdom as foolishness, and the world sees His wisdom as foolishness. Some who embrace the wisdom of the world say there is no personal God, but God in His wisdom says this thinking flows from a fool. “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1). Sadly, the world’s wisdom has no room for Jesus.

    “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21).

    Worldly wisdom is flashier and sexier in its appeal. It invites pride to perch over those who have not yet achieved a superior standpoint. Ironically, the created dismisses the Creator as antiquated and out of touch. The traditional tenants of an all-knowing and ever-present Sovereign God are silly and irrational to this irreverent system of belief. But what worldly wisdom embraces as the truly enlightened, the Lord defines as educated fools.

    “Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20).

    Therefore, do not try to outsmart your Savior Jesus Christ with intelligence void of humility and the fear of God. Academics, without an infusion of faith in almighty God, lead down a reckless path of disconnection from Deity. However, wise is the man or woman who is full of the grace of God and studies truth long and hard for the glory of God.

    Faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God is not a leap in the dark; rather, it is a step into the light. Christian belief is based on the historical fact of His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. For some, the Lord’s wisdom wins out over their own, and they begin to seek out those people and places that possess His knowledge. “I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness” (Ecclesiastes 2:13).

    Prayer: Am I embracing and believing the wisdom of the world or almighty God’s wisdom?

    Related Readings: Isaiah 29:14; Jeremiah 8:9; James 3:13–18

    Post/Tweet this today: What worldly wisdom embraces as the truly enlightened, the Lord defines as educated fools. #wisdomhunters

    Taken from the April 27th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 2”

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • Suffering Savior

    Boyd

    I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. Isaiah 50:6

    The sufferings of Jesus cannot be totally comprehended. One thing is clear: Jesus experienced voluntary suffering. He offered himself as a sacrifice on behalf of the human race, and it was a volitional act on His part. He willfully submitted to the will of His heavenly Father, which meant suffering. His heartache and mistreatment were the will of His heavenly Father (Mark 8:31-33). This principle is hard to process for those who want to enjoy problem-free living. The way of the cross is not always a smooth road, for it is marked with its own bumps along the way. Jesus suffered for the sake of others, and He calls His followers to be willing to do the same.

    The Bible says, “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him…”(Philippians 1:29).

    Suffering leads you to your Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Jesus offered Himself to His tormentors as His adversaries plotted and schemed to bring Him down. They wanted to put Jesus on display as a madman. If He were truly God, they reasoned, He would not allow this injustice to occur. However, the Creator allowed His creation to beat and bludgeon His only Son. Christ’s back was bruised and beaten for your sake. His ribs were whipped with sharp bits of rock that dug into His flesh indiscriminately. These mob-motivated men inflicted inhumane lashes across His body; facial hair was torn from His flesh. He did not hide his face or scowl back.

    Rather, with a gaze up to heaven, as if to say, “Father this is for your glory,” He displayed a grim face of grace. This face of forgiveness was baptized in the sick spit of sinful man. They desecrated His friendly face with determined drool. The frenzy of the crowd took over with verbal lashes. These ungrateful sinners beat Him down emotionally and mentally, as well as physically. It was a horrific sight, one man’s concentration camp. Jesus submitted to this suffering only because He first submitted to God. Ironically, those committing these hideous crimes were the very ones who could benefit from its results. They could embrace His atonement for sin and receive His resurrected life.

    Jesus carried this burden on your behalf and all mankind's. It was not an exercise in how much pain could be endured by one person. It was love, as Jesus loved you all the way to the cross. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Without the love of God, the events at the cross would not have happened. The dreadful day’s activities would have culminated in the death of just another good man. Death would have been the end. But Jesus conquered death, sin, and Satan so you could do the same. His pain was your gain. He bore the cross so you could bear your cross.

    The way of the cross is the path to redemption. He bought you from the servitude of sin. No longer are you bound up in yourself and others, for He has set you free. You are exonerated by faith because He endured the cross, despised its shame, and is now interceding on your behalf at the right hand of His heavenly Father (Hebrews 12:2). This is cause for celebration. God really does use all things for His good on behalf of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Therefore, allow gratitude to well up and burst forth from your heart. You can because of the great love of God exhibited in the sufferings of Christ Jesus. He suffered for you. Can you do any less?  You serve a suffering Savior. You worship a suffering Savior who rose from the dead so He could save you to the uttermost.

    Post/Tweet this today: Jesus suffered for the sake of others, and He calls His followers to be willing to do the same. #wisdomhunters

    Taken from the April 26th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 1”

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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