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Family Christian

  • A Beautiful Mind

    Boyd

    You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3

    A beautiful mind believes God, for there is fidelity of faith that flows from a mind focused on the Lord. It is steadfast on its Savior because it trusts in Him. An ugly mind is contrary, conflicted, and unsure. Its focus fluctuates between fear and faith. In an ugly mind, there is a battle that fatigues faithfulness to the point of giving up. The mind’s eye can become trapped in the temporal and lose its willingness to trust God. This is tragic and terrifying for those whose minds become numbed to the things of God. Depart from this double-mindedness (James 1:8) or you will lose heart and fracture your faith.

    The mind is a beautiful thing if it is focused properly, but it can be disturbing and destructive when it loses perspective. The mind can play tricks on you because Satan plays mind games. He tries to draw you in with his allure, but his thoughts lead to faithless living. Therefore, build up your intellectual stamina and trust in God so you can reject Satan’s lies. Reject his temptation to remain restless, for you can rest in peace because the Prince of Peace reigns over your life. Reject Satan’s leading into lust because you are loved by the everlasting love of your heavenly Father.

    Moreover, fill your mind with good thoughts. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).

    Good thoughts facilitate faith, and God thoughts bring about a beautiful mind. A mind needs to be stretched, as a heart needs to be exercised. An unused mind is a waste; it atrophies and becomes ugly. It is a waste of time to have an unengaged mind. Mindless activity will get you into trouble. Therefore, think. Be a thinker, not just a doer. Engage your mind with large thoughts about the Lord. Reflect on His righteousness and the grandeur of His glory. Get beyond trivial thoughts to thoughts that trust in God. The quality of your life follows the quality of your thoughts. Classical books—along with the Bible—provide fertile soil for great thinking. Great thinkers help you develop disciplined thinking.

    Make it a goal to read, dialogue, and debate with wise thinkers. This will help you think well. A mature mind is a beautiful thing to behold. A messy mind never matures beyond just getting by. Therefore, discipline and stretch your mind. Most importantly, keep trust in the Lord top of mind. Trust in God is your catalyst for wise thinking. Legalism leads to non-thinking and little faith. Without trust in the Lord, your mind becomes fertile ground for deception. Therefore, allow trust to become the scope in which your mind’s eye gazes, and it will see perfect peace. The filter of faith massages your mind with God’s fingers of love, joy, and hope. The mind of Christ is worth a lifetime of study; it beautifies your thinking. A beautiful mind trusts and rests in the Lord.

    Post/Tweet today: Build up your intellectual stamina by trust in God, so you can reject Satan’s lies. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved. www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Trust Trustworthy People

    Boyd

    “‘I will do whatever you say,’ Ruth answered. So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do” (Ruth 3:5–6).

    Sometimes we just do not know what to do, but God puts trustworthy people into our lives to guide us through the decision-making process. He speaks through trustworthy people. It is imperative to seek out trustworthy people so your emotions do not lead you astray. You can talk yourself into just about anything. One day you are convinced you need to move in one distinct direction, and the next day you feel the need to go in the opposite direction.

    If you are not careful, you will fall into a pattern of using “rabbit ears.” You default to the counsel of the last person who offered you advice. Yes, it is important to get input from a variety of people, but promise yourself and God that you will not commit to a decision until your counselors have properly weighed all the facts and you have prayerfully considered the various ideas offered by your trusting friends.

    In some situations you are at a complete loss regarding what to do. You feel you have exhausted your options and your emotional capacity is spent. You are at a crossroads and probably do not have the clarity of mind to make the best decision. This is where it is critical that you listen to trustworthy people. While you are in this funk or fog, look to them for guidance, and do what they say. Trust that God is speaking through them.

    What do you look for in a trustworthy person? They could be your spouse, your pastor, a relative, a doctor, a lawyer, a coach, or a close friend. Pray for someone who has your best interests in mind. This person is not looking to get anything from you; rather, he or she wants to give you outstanding advice and help you through this trying transitional period in your life. A trustworthy person is someone who understands you and your situation, perhaps having experienced a similar situation in the past.

    Traveling to an unfamiliar region of the United States or a foreign country can be disconcerting. Ideally, your preparations will include conversations with those who have been there.  They recommend what to see and what not to see, what foods to enjoy and what to avoid. The best scenario is for the experienced traveler to accompany you on the trip and offer you trusted advice along the way.

    In the same way, surround yourself with people who have been there; trustworthy individuals, a go-to person who will not lead you astray. If you are currently in the middle of an uncertainty, seek out three trusted people, discover the common theme in their counsel, and simply do what they say. God is probably speaking through them.

    “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice” (Proverbs 12:13).

    Prayer: Who are three people I know who can offer trustworthy advice for a pending issue?

    Related Readings: Nehemiah 13:13; Daniel 2:45; Luke 16:11–12; 1 Corinthians 7:25

    Post/Tweet today: We seek out trustworthy people so emotions don’t lead us astray. We can talk ourselves into anything. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved. www.wisdomhunters.com

  • A Nation Exalted

    Boyd

    Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people. Proverbs 14:34

    What makes a nation great? Its goodness is what God blesses. Righteousness is the lever the Lord uses to lift a nation up as an example for other nations to follow. However, like people, a nation can fall from God’s grace. His blessing is removed when a haughty country shows no remorse for their sin, even sanctioning its use. A blessed nation will cease to be great when it forgets where it came from and jettisons Jesus.

    It is when a nation is hurting that it most needs healing. The nation of Israel experienced this, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). Have we drifted as a nation in our need for God? Has our sin found us out? Are we reaping what we have sown?

    The good news is that an exalted nation does not have people sneaking out, but instead, sneaking in. Peoples of the world clamor to come into a country Christ has blessed. The ‘best and the brightest’ are drawn like a ‘moth to a light’ to live somewhere they can chase their dreams. It is out of its goodness that a nation becomes a magnet for mankind. Righteousness reposes in the heart of great nations; it supports virtue and suppresses vice.

    Lastly, a crippled country can come back, but not without consequences. It starts with individuals repenting and taking responsibility for their actions. ‘How can I come clean with Christ?’ ‘Have I been financially irresponsible?’ ‘Has greed governed my giving?’ ‘Has fear frozen my faith?’ ‘Has comfort and ease become my idol?’ ‘What is my part, so God can trust our nation with greatness again?’

    “He has declared that he will set you in praise, fame and honor high above all the nations he has made and that you will be a people holy to the LORD your God, as he promised” (Deuteronomy 26:19).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead our nation away from the temptation of trust in our ingenuity and lead us back into trust in You and Your precious promises.

    Related Readings: Proverbs 11:11; Jeremiah 22:2-25; Matthew 12:21; Romans 16:25-27

    Post/Tweet today: Righteousness reposes in the heart of great nations; it supports virtue and suppresses vice. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved. www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Trading Fears for Freedom

    Leah

    "But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?" Psalm 56:3-4 (NLT)

    {Editor's note & trigger alert: We are mindful today's devotion might stir up emotions for anyone who's survived intense trauma. We pray you are encouraged by Leah's message.}

    As a teenager, I lived a pretty sheltered life. I believed nothing bad would ever happen to me. Then one day, I found myself in the middle of a really bad situation.

    Being in the wrong place at the wrong time resulted in a pistol put to my head. A robbery that was a sudden and terrifying scenario for this naive teenage girl.

    "Don't move or I'll shoot!" The sharp words of my abductor rattled me to my very core. Shaking uncontrollably, I could feel the cold, hard surface of his gun pushing against my pulsating temple.

    As my heart raced, thoughts ran through my mind: I'm going to die. This is it ... my life is over. I wanted to run, but saw no way out.

    By the grace of God, I survived. But although I had no physical wounds, the memories of that experience settled deep within my heart. Like acid, it seeped into the center of my shaken soul and ate away at my once-upon-a-time teenage confidence.

    At night, my mind replayed the awful scenario. And during the day, I was afraid to go anywhere alone. Or even be left alone.

    What if I run into him again? Will he recognize me? What if he followed me home that day and knows where I live? What if he comes looking for me again?

    I didn't feel safe ... anywhere.

    I was afraid ... most all the time.

    I struggled ... the memories haunted me.

    Looking back, I realize my abductor abused me momentarily, but fear held me hostage for what seemed like a lifetime. It kept my thoughts in bondage and dictated my daily decisions.

    My biggest regret during that season of distress was not having God's Word hidden in my heart. If I had taken the time to not only read but memorize His Word, I could have traded my fears for God's truth of freedom found in John 8:32: "And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (NLT).

    On those sleepless nights, I could have claimed this promise instead: "When you lie down, you will not be afraid; you will lie down, and your sleep will be pleasant," Proverbs 3:24 (HCSB).

    When I was alone and scared my abductor might return, I could have replaced my thoughts with today's key verse: "But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?" Psalm 56:3-4.

    Have you ever experienced something tragic that's left you feeling afraid? Are your thoughts sometimes filled with "what-if" worries or scary scenarios that keep you awake at night? Does fear and anxiety hold you hostage today?

    If so, I understand. I've been there. God's Word is the answer to help you move beyond your fears to freedom with a new level of unshakable courage. Here's the key: Real and sustainable freedom from fears can only be found in Jesus Christ and through His powerful Word.

    Here's what I've discovered: What consumes our thoughts overtakes our thought life. We can't change what's happened in our past, but we can change how we respond to those difficult situations in the future.

    As women of faith, we find freedom from fear when we choose to capture those fearful memories, cover them with God's Word and begin building a healthy thought life as we place our trust in Him.

    Let's commit to focusing on thoughts that bring life, hope and freedom. Let's surrender our broken memories to God and allow Him to saturate them with His healing grace.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for being with me so that I'm never alone. Help me to replace my fearful thoughts with Your Word as I begin memorizing Scripture verses today. I believe I can live a life of freedom from fear with Your help. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Isaiah 43:18-19a, "Forget what happened in the past, and do not dwell on events from long ago. I am going to do something new. It is already happening. Don't you recognize it?" (GWT)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: You can start today by memorizing a few of the Scripture verses shared above. Speak them aloud or personalize them into prayers.

    How can you let God's Word change your thinking as it brings healing to painful memories and true freedom to your life?

    © 2014 by Leah DiPascal. All rights reserved.

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

  • Christ and Country

    Boyd

    Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind. Psalm 33:12-13

    God blesses a country that honors Him, but He brings down a country that dishonors Him. It is  honoring to Him for His people to pray in earnest for righteousness to reign in religion, the work place, seats of government and the home. It dishonors the Lord when we behave like His commands are suggestions and marginalize His mandates. Countries founded on Christ are blessed if they continue with Christ.

    Where is our Christ conscientiousness? Do our actions reflect accountability to almighty God and His ultimate judgment? Faith without the fear of God is anemic in the face of moral relativism, academic attacks and the indulgences of affluence. A nation that fears the Lord fears sin and its deadly consequences. Thus, Christians are called by Christ to engage in their communities with compassion and a standard of right and wrong.

    The law of the Lord is the basis of the law of the land in a country that honors Christ. The Bible is clear, “All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous”(Romans 2:12-13). God blesses a nation that obeys His laws.

    Therefore, for our children’s sake, let’s raise our standard of acceptable actions for preachers, politicians and parents. Let’s return to public prayers of dependence on the Lord and private prayers of repentance from sin. Without God’s blessing a country creeps into moral chaos, economic meltdown and institutional irrelevance. But, with God’s blessing a country thrives on trust in Him. We desperately need to stay bless-able before the Lord.

    "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14).

    Prayer: Am I a citizen who unashamedly represents Christ in my community? Do I pray with persistence and humility for repentance among God’s people?

    Related Readings: Exodus 19:5-6; Psalm 144:15; Romans 12:14-15; 1 Peter 2:9

    Post/Tweet today: Countries founded on Christ are blessed if they continue with Christ. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved. www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Encouragement for the Hurting

    Chrystal

    "He has made everything beautiful in its time ..." Ecclesiastes 3:11a (NIV)

    Sometimes life hurts.

    Am I the only one who wants to tuck her tail, give up and stay home forever with a stash of chocolate and great coffee?

    Sometimes I want to straight up hide. I hope I'm not alone.

    However, yesterday I was reminded that while life does hurt at times, life also has days that feel really good.

    Because yesterday, during his swim lesson, my son swam the entire length of the pool. Twice.

    He swam from the deep end to the shallow end and back again.

    Every mother is proud when her child learns to do something new. But not every mother gets to know the joy of seeing her child do something she thought she might never see.

    My son was a shoulder dystocia baby. He got stuck in the birth canal and as a result acquired nerve injury during delivery. That meant for months he had no use of his right arm. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I watched my newborn son throw, wave and extend one arm, while the other arm lay still.

    My heart was like a stone. I felt guilty, grieved and heartbroken for my baby who did not have perfectly moving limbs. I cried every day for months.

    I cried because I wondered how hard his future life would be with only one fully functional arm.

    I wanted to figure out how to avoid the hurt.

    I was angry with God for allowing a bad thing to happen.

    And I was on a mission to fix it. We spent time and money seeing various out-of-town doctors and trying different therapies — none of which changed the bottom line. He was injured. For life.

    But here's what I didn't know then that I want to share with you now: eventually things get better.

    Even when the source of our pain may leave a scar or a memory of deep heartache, time brings a healing like no other.

    Yesterday, my son swam the length of that pool. Twice — with both arms moving — and then he asked if he could try out for the swim team.

    Over time, things have gotten better, thanks to God's power and the gifting He has given many capable medical professionals.

    I'm not going to sugarcoat things. My son still has an injury and his arm will never be perfect. My mother's heart will always want to fix that, but I can't.

    But you need to know that time has brought healing. With the passing of time, I have learned the depths of pain I experienced are matched equally with the heights of joy. God can make all things beautiful with time.

    How is that possible?

    God changes us and our perspective.

    He allows us to see what He sees. He shows us that when things are not always as perfect, easy or as straightforward as we would like them to be, they still can be beautiful.

    This isn't always easy to learn. You or someone you love may have to live with the reality of a mind, body or soul injury. With all your heart, you may always want to fix, change or redo something ... and you can't.

    Some things may never be perfect. But with time, God can take the hard and make you happy. He can take the sorrow and make you smile.

    He can turn the mountain you are climbing of grief or regret into a place where you can view the beautiful landscaping He has created on your behalf.

    Resist the urge to tuck your tail and hide every time you run into the hard, because you will not only be hiding from the bad, you will be exempting yourself from the good that's down the road.

    God makes things beautiful in time. Hang in there. Have the courage to allow time to pass between your place of pain and unveiling of joy.

    Father God, I wish I could fix everything. I wish I could make it all just the way I want it to be. Truth be told ... I get frustrated when I can't. Help me to wait on You and Your timing. Give me courage to trust You and believe that You are good, despite how things may feel. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Psalm 71:16-17, "I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign LORD; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone. Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: What in your life do you wish you could "fix" on your own? Do you think you are trusting God despite what's "broken"?

    Have you ever experienced God making things beautiful with time? Click HERE to leave a comment and share your thoughts today, as it might give others hope as they wait on God's timing.

    © 2014 by Chrystal Evans Hurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Our Providing Father

    Boyd

    Give us today our daily bread. Matthew 6:11

    Our heavenly Father is our provider. He gives us each day what we need. It is in the moment that He gives, so we can be content with His provision. Daily bread may not be as exciting as His future provision toward a big idea. However, each day He supplies one link in His caring chain that binds our hearts to His. If we take for granted His day by day care, we grow discontent or worse, demanding. Humility doesn’t assume daily bread, so it asks God in grateful dependence.

    Daily bread is a daily reminder of Who provides the most basic necessities in our lives. The air we breathe, the rain that moistens the soil and the sun that warms our faces are all life giving blessings from the Lord. We ask for daily bread, because we need the reminder of the source of our provision--the Bread of Life--Jesus. He who created a beautiful world from chaos brings beauty to our chaotic lives. Our daily bread from heaven feeds our body and satisfies our soul.

    "Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread” (Proverbs 30:8).

    Since pride struggles to ask for anything and busyness forgets to ask, how can we remember to ask our heavenly Father for His daily provision? A grateful prayer before a meal is a good beginning. Perhaps we pray with bowed heads, “Heavenly Father, I am extremely grateful for this meal You have provided for the nourishment of my body and soul. You are my generous and loving provider. Thank You in Jesus' name, amen.” Daily bread deserves daily gratitude to God.

    Our heavenly Father’s provisional daily bread may be the slightly soiled ‘hand me down’ clothes from a friend’s older child. It could be a neighbor’s used piece of furniture left on the curbside to be taken away. Or, He may provide a shiny new car or piece of jewelry. However our Father in heaven provides for our needs, even wants--we praise Him for His faithfulness. When we ask for daily bread we learn to trust Him with a little, so we are prepared to trust Him with a lot.

    “Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant” (Jonah 4:6).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I trust You for my daily bread and I am extremely grateful for Your abundant provision.

    Related Readings: Genesis 22:8, 14; 2 Kings 13:5; Psalm 65:9, 68:10; 1 Timothy 6:17; 1 Peter 4:11

    Post/Tweet today:.. When we ask for daily bread we learn to trust God with a little, so we are prepared to trust Him with a lot. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved. www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Not Defined by the Size of Our Jeans

    Emily

    "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NASB)

    The moon was a slice of white in the night sky.

    It looked like the rim of a coffee mug, the mug with a picture of a teddy bear saying "I love you beary, beary much" ... the mug my brother gave me when I was 13 and hospitalized for anorexia.

    Here I was again, in a green hospital gown, only this time, I wasn't hypothermic and 60 pounds.

    This time I was holding a baby doctors had said I'd never be able to have. He was 8 pounds, 2 ounces, his name was Aiden Grey and I couldn't stop crying. Because he couldn't stop hiccupping.

    "Is he okay?" I touched the nurse's elbow as she straightened my sheets.

    She smiled. "Yes," she said. "There's nothing that can be done for hiccupping — it just has to take its course," and I tucked Aiden close to my heart, because I couldn't tuck him back into my womb.

    I have two sons now, and I've had two miscarriages too, and there's nothing harder than watching your body fail your baby. But God — He never fails.

    He is always there. Even in the miscarriage.

    He was there when I was a pastor's kid who began starving herself at age 9; when I was an 18-year-old hippie who ran away from home and traveled the world searching for faith. When I came home to a mother who was dying from brain cancer, who still sang Great is Thy Faithfulness from somewhere deep her in sleep.

    In the midst of our pain, He is there, hanging from a cross, only to rise again.

    When I was young I stopped eating to avoid feeling pain. Now, I'm learning to wait for the resurrection. I'm learning to trust God in the ache.

    This past spring, I looked out my office window, saw snow on the ground, and my 2-year-old jumping on our trampoline.

    Naked.

    His clothes strewn around him, and he was singing.

    I laughed even as I ran to cover him, but secretly, I was envious. I envied the freedom to sing naked, oblivious to the audience of a highway running perpendicular to our house.

    Perhaps this is a picture of what God's Word invites us to do in 1 Peter 5:7, where it says cast "all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you."

    It's not easy to truly cast our anxiety on Jesus in a world that tells us we are defined by the size of our jeans. It's a lot easier to hide, than trust Jesus with our pain, or our questions about who we are and if we matter.

    And I think it's somewhere in there, in that quiet place of being loved — in the mother's embrace of her baby — that we find ourselves.

    The other night in a rare moment of quiet in my house, I felt as if I had stepped straight into love. Like it had been waiting there for me the whole time.

    I saw the real me: a passionate, scatter-brained 33-year-old woman who loves the world deeply and laughs loudly and needs alone time. Who gets paint on the kitchen table when she's making art, who would rather write than do housework, who has tattoos, who cries when her sons refuse to listen to her.

    And suddenly I knew who I was. Right in the middle of that sacred moment surrounded by Legos and train tracks.

    I was loved.

    It's who we all are, friends.

    We're not defined by the size of our jeans. We're not the sum of our Twitter followers or the square feet of our house.

    We are God's daughters, tucked in His arms, where He aches over hiccups, where He longs to carry our worries, and where He would die for us.

    He did die for us. Yes, this, friends.

    We are loved.

    Dear God, help me know You love me. Help me feel Your caring arms around me today, even in the dark. Help me hear Your voice singing over me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Psalm 46:10, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: Have you ever felt your Abba Father's presence in the midst of a difficult time in your life? If so, how?

    Are you clinging to fear, or do you know the kind of love that casts it far, the kind that evokes utter peace and joy?

    © 2014 by Emily T. Wierenga. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Baker Publishing Group for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

    Click here to view our policy on 3rd party links.

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

  • Our Purposeful Father

    Boyd

    Bring about Your kingdom. Manifest Your will here on earth, as it is manifest in heaven. Matthew 6:10, The Voice

    Almighty God is intentional in building His kingdom on earth. Unseen by the naked eye of  natural man, the Lord is at work behind the scenes facilitating spiritual outcomes. Earthly kings build their kingdoms, but ultimately it is the kingdom of heaven that reigns. So, to be on the right side of history (His Story), we align with what God is doing by prayer. We submit to His reign in our hearts, so His Kingdom comes within us before it manifests itself out to the world.

    What are the purposes of our heavenly Father? How can our lives line up with what the Lord wants? We know our heavenly Father’s major purpose is growing our love relationship with Him. He is our King who loves us, His citizens, so we can grow to love and accept His gracious governance of our lives. Our king Jesus died for us, so by His resurrection power, we die for Him. Yes, we pray for His love to rule our hearts and motivate our words and deeds.

    “Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him” (James 2:5)?

    The love of the Lord is an attractive advertisement to a lost and confused world. They see love and they wonder, 'Why?'. Why do we take the time to listen to a person’s story and enter into their life? Why do we give expertise and cash to help alleviate suffering and help create opportunities? Love is God’s greatest command, so we model for others our joyful privilege to love and be loved by the Lord. Yes, the kingdom of God is built on the love of God. God’s will is manifest on earth every time we love in Jesus' name. His kingdom of love defeats the kingdom of hate.

    Therefore, the more complete we become in Christ, the more the Kingdom of Heaven manifests itself in our lives. We usher in His dominion every time we pray for His will to be done down here, like it is up there. For example, oneness of heart with the Lord means we refrain from having to have the last word. Unity of soul with God means we are content to grow in our character above needing the praise of our peers. Alignment with the Almighty’s agenda supports the advancement of His Kingdom and the retreat of our own. We either pray our kingdom come or His Kingdom come, amen!

    “Giving joyful thanks to the Father,who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdomof the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:12-14).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray for Your Kingdom to come into my life, so Your Kingdom can be manifest in the kingdoms of this world.

    Related Readings: Luke 17:21; Acts 26:18; Ephesians 5:20; 2 Peter 1:11

    Post/Tweet today:.. Oneness of heart with the Lord’s heart means refraining from having to have the last word. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved. www.wisdomhunters.com

  • When You Feel a Little Stalled

    Suzie

    "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:2 (NIV)

    I hung on to a vine to climb over one more rock. My heart was beating hard, and I struggled to catch my breath.

    My friend turned in concern. "Are you okay?"

    Well, yes and no.

    When we started the hike I knew it was challenging, but I hiked often and this wasn't my first tough trail to navigate. What I didn't anticipate was the combination of elevation and the steepness of the climb.

    I paused for a few moments until my heart rate settled down and my lungs expanded to catch a breath. While waiting, I soaked in the sight of water splashing down over huge rocks and tree branches bending down as if to pray. Roots from hundred-year-old trees laced up the trail.

    Yes, the path was hard, and it required more of me than I thought, but it was worth it.

    Sometimes our faith can feel the same way. We started this journey because we wanted more of Jesus, but somewhere along the way it got hard.

    Really hard.

    In those hard times you might even feel stalled. And it's at those moments when the enemy can declare you're a failure or you don't measure up. May I share something with you?

    Feeling stalled is different than being stagnant.

    Feeling stalled can be a result of moving forward. There was a time you didn't even know you weren't moving, and now — because of what God has done in your heart — you are aware of those days when old behavior or feelings creep in. You know when you feel further from God.

    Stagnant, on the other hand, is never moving. It's staying away from the hard parts. It's throwing your hands in the air and giving up.

    So, what do you do when you feel stalled?

    Celebrate how far you've come.

    Look back. Where did you begin? How have you grown? Check out the beauty of what God has already done within you.

    Ask for wisdom.

    You don't have to figure out the entire journey. Ask God for the next step, and the next after that. He promises to give us wisdom when we ask for it (James 1:5).

    Allow Him to work in you before you move on.

    On the mountain, my body was signaling that I wasn't getting enough oxygen. I needed to breathe deeply. To allow my heart rate to rest. Perhaps this is the perfect time to allow God to fill you or give you the necessary tools before you move ahead.

    Invite God into that stalled place.

    In Isaiah 43:2, we are promised that God walks with us through hard times. Our key verse says: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."

    When I stopped to rest on the mountain, my friend sat beside me. That harder place turned into a time of conversation and kinship.

    Your stalled place can be a time of intimacy with a God who loves you deeply.

    And what about when you finally arrive?

    When I finished the hike, I lay in the grass and threw my arms out at my sides in exhaustion and joy.

    I had experienced sights that I would have never experienced otherwise. I learned what I could do, and what might help me the next time around.

    If you've been feeling a little stalled, take heart. Feeling stalled is different than being stagnant. With God's help, your stalled place can become a beautiful part of the adventure.

    Dear Lord, I feel a little stalled today, but I praise You because I am not stagnant. Thank You for helping me find You in the hard places of my faith. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Psalm 61:2, "From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety." (NLT)

    Isaiah 30:15b, "... in quietness and trust is your strength ..." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: C. S. Lewis said, "Feelings come and go, and when they come a good use can be made of them, but they cannot be our regular spiritual diet." How does this quote resonate with you?

    Just as Suzie filled her lungs with air when she was feeling stalled, what is one way you can fill up spiritually when you feel a little stalled?

    © 2014 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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

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