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Family Christian

  • Thanksgiving to God

    Posted on November 24, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God… Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!  2 Corinthians 9:11, 15

    Gratitude to God is a natural overflow of generosity. For example, the gift of salvation in Christ is indescribable. He gave when we did not deserve. He still gives, even though we are undeserving. His gift of liberty is freeing; His gift of health is healing; His gift of relationships is rich; His gift of peace is calming; His gift of wisdom is confidence; His gift of the Holy Spirit is comforting; His gift of finances is security; His gift of Himself is reassuring and humbling. Gratitude explodes from our hearts when we are reminded of His generous gifts. They are incomparable and incomprehensible. Thanksgiving to God is a tremendous opportunity to unleash joy. This is one of the fruits of gratitude. Joy, joy, joy, joy down in our hearts, because He came down to earth and into our heart. This is an occasion for a raucous but righteous celebration.
    Gratitude to God can be a moment-by-moment expression. Even in the middle of the worst of circumstances, your thanksgiving to God is appropriate and needed. Look beyond your current condition to your heavenly hope. He has prepared a place for you, and His preparations are not lacking. They are just what you need and desire. So, your thanksgiving is for what He has done in the past, His current provision, and what He has prepared for you in the future. God’s generosity is without competition. You can be very, very grateful for this. Let thanksgiving escape from your lips often. Use it to put out the fires of fear and worry before they spread too far. Thanks be to God for you are made rich.

    Yes, in Christ you are made rich. You have everything needed for this life in Christ. As a upshot of your management of His riches, you can be ridiculously generous. This is the natural result of thanksgiving. Because of your deep gratitude to God, you are called and compelled to give. Gratitude invites you to generosity. You cannot experience authentic thanksgiving and not see it birth giving. It is a beautiful process: because God has given to you, you give to others. At the moment you receive the gift of God, generosity is conceived in your heart.
    This is why your heart feels pregnant with thanksgiving. It will explode without the regular birthing of generosity to others. This expression of gratitude results in action. It is tangibly and regularly giving to people for whom Christ died. The poor need food, a job, and Jesus; orphans need parents, a home, and Jesus; divorcees need acceptance, healing, and Jesus; the angry ones need gentleness and Jesus; the confused need clarity and Jesus; the bankrupt need financial wholeness and Jesus. Opportunities abound that invite your generous expression of gratitude. Gratitude is one of God’s prescriptions for discontentment. The two cannot comfortably coexist. Thanksgiving gives the credit for your accomplishments to God and others. Without either, you would not be in your current position of influence and success. Gratitude is generous. Gratitude is content. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift. The Bible says, “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever” (1 Chronicles 16:34).

    Post/Tweet today: Gratitude to God follows receiving the extravagant generosity of God. #thanksgivingtoGod

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Remember Thank You

    Posted on November 23, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan” (Luke 17:15-16).

    A culture of entitlement is slow to say thank you, but the grateful are honored to express appreciation. Ungrateful people expect, even demand, good things with no gratitude in return. But grateful men and women are humbled and give God the glory for His blessings. The most gratefulness comes from those who least expect the Lord’s lavish love. It is the mercy of God that heals our heart and causes us to exclaim, “Praise the Lord!”

    Is it your regular routine to sincerely thank God for His healing power? Do you bow at the feet of Jesus when the body of a friend or family member was cured by God’s work through the miracle of modern medicine? Have you celebrated Christ’s blessing of keeping your body whole from a debilitating disease? Humility is a thank you waiting to happen.

    Listen to David’s prayer for healing, “Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are in agony” (Psalm 6:2). You can pray boldly for your physical healing. Pray depending on God, and with great faith ask the Great Physician to bring His healing power on your body. Your Creator understands how to bring wholeness to His creation. It is not a question of if He can, but if He will.

    However, whether He heals in this life or in the life to come, give Him thanks. “Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:17–18). Furthermore, gratitude to God expresses gratitude to people. Make it a goal to write a thank you note before you cash the check. Look a friend in the eye and express your thankfulness for his or her friendship. Show your gratitude to your server with a generous gratuity. Appreciate others and you invite appreciation into your life and work.

    Mostly, thank the Lord Jesus Christ for His death on the cross for your sin and salvation. Jesus came from living with sinners to die for sinners. “The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me’” (1 Corinthians 11:23–24).

    Do I thank God often for His incredible gift of grace and forgiveness? Do I thank Him during the bad times as well as the good times? Am I quick to appreciate others?

    Post/Tweet today: A culture of entitlement is slow to say thank you, but the grateful are quick to express appreciation. #rememberthankyou

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Ask Forgiveness Fast

    Posted on November 22, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24

    Jesus describes a worshipper who has come to offer a gift to God, but has breached a relationship with a brother or a sister. This gift is unacceptable to the Lord until the one presenting the gift is reconciled to the one more valuable to God than the offering. It is inconsistent to seek reconciliation with God without first seeking reconciliation with those the Lord has placed in our life. We ask forgiveness from the one we offended on earth, before we ask forgiveness from God in heaven.

    In prayer or worship, who clouds your mind with concern over a disconnected relationship? Who does the Holy Spirit lay on your heart, who has something against you? Maybe you made an insensitive remark that hurt a friend’s heart. Or, you forgot to invite an individual to a special occasion and they felt ignored and rejected. Perhaps a business relationship went awry and you need to ask forgiveness for being greedy. Go quickly, humble yourself and ask forgiveness. The amount of time it takes to seek reconciliation is an indicator of how closely you walk with Christ.

    We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 1 John 4:19-21

    Forgiveness cannot sit still until hearts are healed. Initiative accompanies love. Sometimes it is helpful to write out what you are feeling and how you want to express your contrite heart. You may or may not send the written correspondence, but at the very least it becomes a guide for your conversation. Moreover, make sure to own your offense by not saying, “If I have offended you.” Instead, say, “Please forgive me for hurting you. I was mad, my tone was wrong. I apologize.” Godly sorrow goes a long way toward facilitating forgiveness from the one offended.

    Yes, your efforts to reconcile may be rebuffed, but you can only give up on someone when your Savior Jesus has given up on them. Also, your restitution may be required before reconciliation will take place. Pray about ways for you to replace what your friend lost, since they felt they were being used. Like Zacchaeus (see Luke 19:8), be extremely generous in your pay back. Most of all, you honor Christ when you take the time to be His minister of reconciliation.

    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:17-19

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the courage and conviction to seek out those I offend and ask for their forgiveness.

    Related Readings: Proverbs 21:24; Matthew 6:14-15; Luke 23:34; 2 Corinthians 7:11; 1 John 2:9

    Post/Tweet today: The amount of time it takes to seek reconciliation is an indicator of how closely we walk with Christ. #askforgivenessfast

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Am I a Mean Girl?

    Posted on November 22, 2013 by Dannah Gresh

    Dannah

    "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves." Philippians 2:3 (ESV)

    Sitting in the hair salon, I asked the stylist if she could get me a refill of my make-up. The sweet woman helping me returned with bad news.

    "We don't have the refills, but we have a new compact. Would you like that?" she asked, apologetically.

    Knowing how busy my schedule was, I answered matter-of-factly, "I'll have to get it somewhere else." I was annoyed and it showed.

    That's when I realized something: I have the potential to be a mean girl.

    How I wish I could have exchanged my bad attitude in the salon with the humble one I witnessed just one hour later at the grocery store.

    Standing in the checkout line, I watched as a white-haired lady began to put her groceries on the conveyor belt. She caught my attention because her sweater was funky and full of life.

    She'd already put a few items on the counter when the cashier said, "I'm sorry, ma'am. I'm closing."

    "Oh, sweetheart," that dear woman replied, as she placed her red cabbage back in her cart. "I bet you're just about to have a nice lunch. Or get off for the day. Oh, I hope it's that! Enjoy!" And off she went in her eccentric sweater and spunky spirit.

    She changed the entire atmosphere with her kindness to the cashier that had shooed her away.

    I want to be like that. But too often I'm not.

    When I got home, I turned to my Bible—the one thing that could help me change. I flipped it open to read the mean girl story of Sarai and Hagar found in Genesis 16.

    Sarai wasn't able to have children. Knowing this was important to her husband, Abram, Sarai told him to marry and have a child with her maid, Hagar. Sure enough, Hagar conceived.

    The Bible says, "When [Hagar] knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress" (Genesis 16:4 NIV). The Hebrew word for despise means "to be of little account." In other words, Hagar thought Sarai was unimportant. It didn't take long for Sarai to pick up on her maid's haughty attitude, and Sarai began to disdain Hagar and treat her poorly.

    Instead of caring about the hurt the other was feeling or talking through the burdens each woman was carrying, Sarai and Hagar allowed bitterness and envy to infiltrate their relationship. Their feud ultimately affected both their families, causing division.

    Many of us have experienced discord in our family because of two mean girls. A small misunderstanding and lack of clear communication can turn a simple conversation into a lifetime argument. This may result in families not talking to each other, spending holidays apart, or not helping one another in times of need. When women allow their inner mean girl to come out, it can divide entire families.

    The way we treat others impacts everyone, especially our children. If they see a mean girl in us, they very likely will copy our behavior. However, if they find us loving others, they hopefully will copy our example.

    When we allow the mean girl in us to come out, it's usually because we see ourselves as more important than someone else. And that kind of vision is the opposite of God's instruction for us: to see others as more important than ourselves.

    Today, let's put into practice Philippians 2:3, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves" (ESV). It might not be easy at first. But seeing others as more important than ourselves will help keep our inner mean girl at bay and hopefully maintain peace in our families.

    Lord, I tend to see myself as if I'm in one of those mirrors that make images appear larger than they really are. Help me see the value in everyone I meet—from my own children to the cashier at the grocery store. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What encounters did you have in the last 24 hours that may prove there is an inner mean girl in you?

    Next time you feel your inner mean girl coming out, make an effort to be kind: ask the other person how they are, offer to help them with a task, or text them a quick note of encouragement.

    Power Verse:
    Ephesians 4:32, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Dannah Gresh. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Harvest House Publishers 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

  • Acts of God

    Posted on November 21, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. Acts 1:1-2

    The Acts of the Apostles is more accurately described as the Acts of God. The recorded history is really His story of working through His servants to accomplish His purposes. In each instance of healing, preaching or miraculous work, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Lord or God are central to the story. Like a canal, we are to be a pass through for vessels of God’s blessings transported to trusting hearts. The deeper our canal for Christ the larger the ships of His love can traverse.

    How do you keep Christ central to your life and work? Certainly conversations are opportunities to explain your experiences with the Lord to others with an open heart. His answered prayers, His healing, His opened doors, His closed doors, His gifts of work, health, children and grandchildren are all evidence of His actions in and through your life. Give detailed reports of God’s acts around you so believers are encouraged to discover the Lord’s work around them.

    Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. Acts 21:19

    Furthermore, to stay fresh in your perspective of the Holy Spirit’s work in the present, recall what He has accomplished through surrendered saints in the past. Read biographies of men and women like: D.L. Moody, Henrietta Mears,George Whitefield, Corrie Ten Boom, George Muller, Ann Judson, John Bunyan and Fanny Crosby. Ordinary followers of Christ become extraordinary when consumed with love for God and people. Jesus works in and through you!

    Perhaps, like Luke, the Lord is leading you to pen short detailed accounts of how you see the Spirit sharing His blessings in your life. Journal for Jesus and you will create a timeless resource for your children and your children’s children. Write about what Christ has done and taught as outlined in the Bible and record what He is doing and teaching you today. The Acts of God did not cease after the first century. His Holy Spirit fills your broken spirit to be His ambassador.

    She [Lydia] was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” Acts 16:14-15

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I celebrate your acts of goodness that bless others and give You glory.

    Related Readings: 2 Kings 8:4; Daniel 4:2; Nehemiah 2:18; Acts 15:12, 19:11; Romans 15:4

    Post/Tweet today: Like a canal, we are to be a pass through for vessels of God’s blessings transported to trusting hearts. #actsofGod

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

  • The Treasure of Thrown-Away Food

    Posted on November 21, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "But thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:57 (NIV)

    My son Jackson wrote a paper about the corruption and greed that caused the civil war in his native land. But Jackson wasn't just explaining a historical event – he lived in the midst of the horrific conditions of this war. You see, for the first 13 years of his life, Jackson lived in a forgotten orphanage in the third world country of Liberia, Africa.

    During one part of the paper, he described what it felt like to be naked digging through the trash looking for the treasure of thrown-away food.

    The treasure of thrown-away food.

    I can hardly type those words without crying. This is my son.

    And yet, despite the horrific conditions of his childhood, there was an unexplainable thread of peace woven through his recollection of the story. A powerful peace centered in the awareness of God's presence.

    The truly thankful person is a truly peaceful person. They have made a habit no matter what, to notice, pause, and choose.

    Noticing something for which to be thankful no matter their circumstance.

    Pausing to acknowledge this something as a reminder of God's presence.

    Choosing to focus on God's presence until His powerful peace is unleashed.

    Will we be a noticer? A pauser? A chooser? A person of thanksgiving no matter what circumstance we're facing?

    I find this truth about the power of thanksgiving over and over in Scripture. What was the prayer Daniel prayed right before being thrown in the lion's den and witnessing God miraculously shutting the lion's mouths? Thanksgiving.

    After three days in the belly of a fish, what was the cry of Jonah's heart right before he was finally delivered onto dry land? Thanksgiving.

    How are we instructed to pray in Philippians 4:6 when we feel anxious? With thanksgiving.

    And what is the outcome of each of these situations where thanksgiving is proclaimed? Peace.

    Powerful, unexplainable, uncontainable peace.

    "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7 NIV).

    One of Webster's official definitions of thanksgiving is: "a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness."

    I wonder how we might celebrate God's divine goodness today.

    I wonder what might happen if we decide in the midst of our circumstances today to notice, pause, and choose something for which we can truly be thankful.

    Dear Lord, will You help me notice things for which I can be thankful in each circumstance I face today? Will You help me remember to pause and acknowledge this as evidence of Your presence? And will You help me remember to choose to focus on Your presence until Your powerful peace rushes into my heart and helps me see everything more clearly? Thank You for the reality that being thankful changes everything. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Start a thankfulness journal where you daily list five things for which you are thankful. Do this for the next 30 days and see how much more peaceful your mindset about life becomes.

    Think of someone who is really thankful. Despite the circumstances they face, are they more peaceful? How does this inspire you?

    Power Verses:
    1 Chronicles 16:34, "Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever." (NKJ)

    1 Chronicles 23:30, "They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD. They were to do the same in the evening." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Spirit Empowered Witness

    Posted on November 20, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth... They all joined together constantly in prayer. Acts 1:8, 14

    The very last words Jesus spoke to His followers before He ascended to Heaven focused on the Spirit’s power, not man’s power. Human power builds kingdoms on earth, while the Spirit’s power builds God’s kingdom in surrendered hearts. Issues out of our control defer to trust in God’s timing and do not distract us from being a witness for Jesus Christ. The Lord will come back to establish His kingdom on earth, in the meantime we are to be His Spirit-filled witnesses.

    A witness for Jesus can strive in their own strength or thrive in the Spirit’s strength. So, how do we know if we are witnesses empowered by the Holy Spirit? Prayer precedes power. Prayer positions us in humble expectation to receive the Spirit’s fullness. By faith, we confess and repent of sin and embrace our Heavenly Father’s love and forgiveness. The Holy Spirit fills our hearts once we have emptied ourselves of dependence on our gifts, abilities and experiences.

    After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God  boldly. Acts 4:31

    Once we experience the Spirit’s fullness, we are compelled to speak God’s word with boldness.  Indeed, witnessing is a supernatural exchange with the Trinity: the Father loves the lost to Himself, the Spirit convicts a heart of sin and the Son freely forgives a soul in salvation. Our part is surrender and submission, the Holy Spirit’s part is fullness and power. Yes, it is necessary to both live the gospel and speak the gospel. Faith comes by hearing the spoken word of God.

    Furthermore, look for ways in your church to champion evangelistic training and teaching. Witnesses of Jesus need to know what they believe and why they believe what they believe. Perhaps you enroll in an apologetics class and be prepared to equip others. Just be wise not to substitute the Holy Spirit’s power with superior arguments. Most of all, moment by moment pray for opportunities to speak boldly about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As a Spirit empowered witness of Christ, you can’t help but help others understand the good news of Jesus!

    For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes. Romans 1:16

    Prayer: Heavenly Father fill me with Your Spirit, so I can be a bold witness for Jesus.

    Related Readings: Luke 1:35, 3:16; Acts 2:1-4, 8:14-17; Romans 10:17, 15:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:5

    Post/Tweet today: A witness for Jesus can strive in their own strength or thrive in the Spirit’s strength. #spiritempoweredwitness

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Adjusting Our Holiday Focus

    Posted on November 20, 2013 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie

    "But the Lord said to her, 'My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.'" Luke 10:41-42 (NLT)

    As I stared at the hard wood floor covered in shattered ornaments and tangled lights, tears welled up in my eyes.

    The frustration over my fallen Christmas tree had pushed me to the breaking point. This was not the first time my decorated tree had crashed to the floor that week. It was the fourth.

    After a fun day of picking out a tree, my family brought it home and secured the tree in a stand. When the last ornament was hung, we turned on the sparkling lights and stepped back to gaze at our accomplishment.

    We cherished that moment . . . and cherished it again after the second round of decorating. But when the tree fell a third time and the surviving ornaments were sparse, the task of decorating became a chore. So when I heard the tree crash in the middle of the night, for the fourth time, I loudly vowed to never have a Christmas tree again.

    My Christmas joy had been replaced with frustration and a small dose of anger. I'd become consumed with winning the battle with this tree and decorating my house for upcoming guests. Before I knew it, my focus was no longer on what was really important.

    In Luke 10:41-42, Jesus told Martha that she'd lost her focus on what matters most: spending time with the Lord. Martha was so bent on planning the perfect dinner party and completing her tasks, she was too distracted to take time to enjoy the company of Jesus.

    Her pursuit of perfection left her frustrated with her sister Mary's lack of help to make things "just so."

    When Martha voiced her irritation to Jesus, He gently reminded her that she was worried about aspects that didn't matter. "But the Lord said to her, 'My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about'" (vs. 41). Jesus wasn't bothered with how fancy dinner was, or how clean her kitchen was, or if she had a perfectly decorated home. What really mattered to Jesus was Martha seeking Him.

    This season—when our focus should be gratitude and on the birth of Jesus—we can get easily distracted by other details. Gifts to buy and how much they will cost. Social outings and what to wear. Decorating our homes (inside and outdoors). Cooking and cleaning to prepare for guests or parties.

    It's easy to get swept up in many things and forget to stay connected with, and focused on, the one thing that really matters.

    Just as busyness, cooking, and cleaning pulled Martha's focus away from Jesus, the same can happen to us in the fast pace of the holidays. Whether basting the perfect turkey or re-decorating an unstable Christmas tree, if we allow it, there is plenty to distract us and lure us away from the one thing that matters most.

    Might we make a commitment to adjust our focus this holiday season? Let's slow down, pare down, and sit down with the Lord each day as we set our thoughts on being thankful. And remind our hearts to be blessed by the birth of our Savior, instead of being stressed over the season.

    Dear Lord, I tend to get stressed during the holidays. Help me stay focused on You, and not get distracted or frustrated this season. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:

    Have you allowed a particular frustration or disappointment to pull your focus away from Jesus?

    What holiday plans or activities might you need to adjust to stay focused on Jesus, and not seasonal busyness?

    Power Verse:
    Colossians 3:2, "Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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

  • God Keeps His Promises

    Posted on November 19, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you. Mark 16:6-7

    Sorrow skews our sense of security in God causing us to doubt God. Even though Jesus promised His disciples He would come back to life after three days, they forgot. In the heat of the emotional fall out from Christ’s gruesome death on the cross, His followers were filled with fear and sadness. He told them the truth of His resurrection, but the disciples’ heart belief had not caught up with their mental assent. Convincingly, their immediate unbelief gave creditability to their final faith.

    Like the disciples, I struggle with spiritual amnesia. I forget my Heavenly Father has promised to heal my broken heart. I stew in sadness instead of receiving God’s gladness. I let my emotions get the better of me when I feel alone and afraid, forgetful of His precious words that He will never leave me or forsake me. I grow weary wondering if my physical needs will be met and my financial obligations covered. Yet I can rest, for my Savior does what He says He will do. He brings back to life what was dead for His good purposes.

    Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. John 2:19-21

    Has sorrow over a loss led you to lose faith? Has worry captured your emotions to wallow around in ‘what ifs’? You can take Christ at His word for He is 100% trustworthy in what He says and what He does. Life may not make sense in the moment, but give God time and cloudy circumstances will give way to blue skies of hope. His promise of grace and mercy is 24/7 in heaven. Your Heavenly Father longs to love you through trials, so your trust grows even sweeter.

    Furthermore, as you experience the resurrected Christ in your life not everyone will believe you. Some will scoff at you, some will ignore you and a few will rejoice with you. Regardless of someone’s disbelief that Jesus rose from the grave, by God’s grace you can still rise above your circumstances as a testament to His wonder working power in your life. Jesus rose from the grave, so all who believe can rise from their grave of sin, sorrow and death. Yes, God says so!

    We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Romans 6:4

    Prayer: Heavenly Father I rest in Your promises and trust You to carry out Your purposes.

    Related Readings: Acts 13:32-34; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8; 2 Corinthians 1:20; James 2:5

    Post/Tweet today: Sorrow skews our sense of security in God causing us to doubt God, but He is still trustworthy. GodkeepsHispromises

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Slippery Friendships

    Posted on November 19, 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer

    Samantha

    "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV)

    The white snow clouds shadowed the faces peering down on me as I lay flat on the freezing ground. Squinting up at the group, my thoughts whirled: How did this happen? Are my bones broken? Did I take anyone down with me?

    Four winters in the mountains, coupled with countless sightings of others falling down, had taught me to watch where I stepped. I had gingerly led my Freshman Orientation group across campus as we picked our way through snowy sidewalks. But the brick steps outside the English building got the better of me.

    After carefully standing up, and gathering my book bag and pride, I spotted the culprit. A small patch of ice—that I thought was melted snow—winked up at me.

    Losing our footing happens, even when using caution. Stepping lightly isn't always a sufficient safeguard when walking into a potentially slick situation, especially one that involves our heart. Jeremiah 17:9 warns, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" (NIV) My friend Mia learned this truth at her first job.

    In her new position, Mia often collaborated with people in other departments. She enjoyed getting out of her office and breaking up the day-to-day routine. There was one thing she most looked forward to though: meetings with her co-worker, Paul.

    Though their jobs were serious in nature, meetings with him were light-hearted. An hour of shuffling paperwork disappeared in laughter and conversation.

    Weekly meetings soon seemed like an eternity apart. To fill in the gaps, Paul and Mia emailed each other funny anecdotes. They'd catch a few minutes on the phone to tell about a snippet in their day. Eventually Mia and Paul shared lunches, inside jokes, and personal stories. When in a crowd, they'd gravitate to each other and sit together at staff meetings.

    I'd heard so much about Paul I wasn't surprised when Mia brought him up one morning over coffee.

    "I think I have a problem," she said. "I have a crush on Paul."

    Honestly, I wasn't surprised after all she'd told me about him—everything but one incredibly important fact: "He's married."

    In that moment, we both saw how little conversations and small confidences shared led her to fall for Paul. She'd stopped looking carefully where she was stepping and convinced herself they were "just friends."

    But Jeremiah 17:9 tells us our hearts are deceitful and sly. The word "deceitful" in the original Hebrew language is 'aqob, meaning slippery and insidious. In other words, our own hearts can cause us to lose our footing before we're even aware it's happening.

    When we fail to keep our guard up, we're at risk to fall down. And after the realization that we've gone too far, we may find ourselves asking: How did this happen? Are any marriages broken? Did I take anyone down with me?

    Looking back, if I had re-routed my tour around campus, I could have avoided the fall. And that's just what Mia did. She asked God for forgiveness and wisdom. Then she determined to change her pattern at work. Mia stopped spending time alone with Paul and limited their non-work interactions. It took time for her feelings for him to go away, and she admitted it was a bit awkward at first. But after a while they settled in to a professional relationship—nothing more, nothing less.

    Sometimes we don't recognize slippery spots on our own. But God does and if we ask, He will reveal these to us. Let's pause before taking another step in our friendships to ask the Lord for guidance. We might just spare our heart and avoid a damaging fall!

    Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of friendship … Yours and others. I want to point others—and myself—to You by my actions, words, and deeds. Help me do this by testing my heart and removing anything that could put me at risk of slipping. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    If you have a friendship with someone of the opposite sex, does their spouse—and your spouse if you're married—know about the depth of your friendship? If not, why?

    Ask the Lord—and a trusted, Christian friend—if you are on a slippery slope. What safety measures can you put in place if you have to work with this person regularly?

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 4:23, "Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life." (HCSB)

    Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer. All rights reserved.

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

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