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  • Double Minded

    Boyd

    But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. James 1:6-8

    Double mindedness comes from doubt. Doubt about being in the right career. Doubt related to investing in the right relationships. Doubt in the Almighty’s ability to handle the circumstances or the people. Chronic doubt is a detriment to faith and hope, because it causes instability and insecurity. Has doubt and double mindedness frozen your faith?

    Do you feel torn between two people? Have your divided loyalties at work created conflict and confusion? Does your lack of conviction cause you to react like a whipsaw to the latest advice? Like a ship without a rudder or sail, you are tossed back and forth by the winds of change and conflict. Without confidence from Christ there is confusion.

    “I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty” (Galatians 5:10).

    Wavering faith is made stable by reassurance from the Lord’s faithfulness. There is nothing distrustful about wisdom from above. You can count on Christ to lead you through the valley of uncertainty, along the upward path of prayer to the mountaintop of trust. Challenges allow you to grow in grace—and live out the advice you give to others.

    So, determine by God’s grace to be single-minded, not double-minded. Your single-minded devotion to Jesus is simple, but powerful. Like the tip of a razor sharp spear, it cuts through the noise of competing voices and allows you to hear from heaven. This humble posture of believing prayer unlocks the Lord’s wisdom and discernment.

    Whatever Jesus says to be—be, and whatever Jesus says to do—do. Do not complicate your conversation with Christ with contingency plans. Rather, simply trust and obey the truth. Do what He says to do today and trust Him with tomorrow. The Lord will handle the little details and the big outcomes—your part is to remain faithful. Wisdom is what He wants you to follow by faith. Single-mindedness is stable and secure in all its ways.

    “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:8-9).

    Prayer: How can I grow in single-minded faith in the Lord? Who needs my focused attention?

    Related Readings: Isaiah 41:29; 50:7; Matthew 6:22-23; 1 Peter 1:13

    Post/Tweet today: Challenges are an opportunity to grow in grace and live out the advice we give others. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

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  • What if I Don't Get Any More Tomorrows?

    Tracie

    "How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog — it's here a little while, then it's gone." James 4:14 (NLT)

    Before the plane backed away from the gate, the flight attendant warned us: "It's been a rough day in the air. Prepare yourself for tremendous turbulence." Although I wanted to make a mad dash for the door, I simply tightened my seat belt and prayed for safety. Soon, her verbal warning became a reality.

    The plane rocked back and forth, as if it were slamming into walls instead of fluffy clouds. It was a short, but difficult, flight and after several attempts at landing, we were diverted to another airport, adding hours to the trip.

    During this extra time in the air, I did a lot of thinking about what was most important in my life. I didn't really believe we would crash, but I couldn't keep from wondering ... What if the worst happens? What if I don't get any more tomorrows?

    I thought about my loved ones. What were my last words to them? Were they kind or harsh? Were they filled with love, or merely instructions to carry out during my absence? Did I hug everyone and tell them how much they meant to me? If I didn't make it home, had I prepared my children spiritually and emotionally to handle life, trust God and walk in faith? Had I told my husband how much I appreciated him?

    Was there anyone I needed to forgive? Were there people I had been meaning to call or visit but never took the time? Had my priorities and plans been in line with God's will? Had I sought God's insight about everything on my to-do list? Had I done all I could to bring glory to God? Would I be ready to meet Jesus face to face?

    Although my heart knew God was in control, my mind and emotions ran wild as I peered out the oval window at the dark clouds hovering all around us.

    In an effort to ignore the panicked voice over the intercom, I began searching my Bible for scriptures about how God knows the number of our days. The first verse I found was today's key verse.

    In the rest of chapter 4, James reprimands the people for their self-centered living. Their self-indulgent, judgmental and prideful ways caused arguments and quarrels. They were consumed with business profits and neglected to seek God's insight.

    They focused on their personal agendas instead of what actually mattered. They acted as if God didn't exist, or didn't matter, and pursued their own plans. They disregarded God's control over their lives and the number of their days.

    James then wrote these words that spoke truth into my heart, "How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog — it's here a little while, then it's gone" (James 4:14).

    That passage could have been written to me. Sometimes I focus on my own plans, ignoring that only God knows how long He will allow me to carry them out. Other times, I make plans without seeking God's will and get distracted by lesser things, instead of what really matters.

    James wanted his readers to remember God directs us to live with a holy perspective, knowing every breath we take is one more gift from God. We aren't promised any tomorrows, so we need to live today with an eternal perspective.

    I remained calm in the midst of the airborne chaos, but that time of reflection in the bumpy skies served as a great reminder not to take time for granted. I don't want to assume I'll always have another tomorrow, or another chance to love on those I love the most. From now on, I want to include God in my plans and serve Him as best I can.

    Lord, forgive me for focusing on my own plans or neglecting to seek Your insight. Help me to never put off until tomorrow what You want me to do today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond: What might I need to do today that I've been putting off until tomorrow?

    Have I sought God's insight about my future plans, or wise counsel from a trusted friend?

    Power Verses: Psalm 90:12, "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (NIV)

    Proverbs 16:9, "In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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

  • More Than Enough

    Boyd

    When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. John 6:12-13

    God normally provides more than enough for His children. More than enough grace to get through a tough time. More than enough time to do His will. More than enough wisdom to make the best decision. More than enough work support to be successful. More than enough provision to care for our family. More than enough friends to stay accountable. More than enough truth to protect us from lies. More than enough forgiveness to forgive others. Jesus is more than enough!

    How do you thank God for the extra He has given you? One way is to manage it well with a grateful heart. You can imagine the massive leftovers from feeding thousands of people. So, Jesus clearly instructed His disciples to gather up the valuable morsels for future meals--twelve baskets full. Nothing goes to waste when you steward well the extra God has entrusted to you. It is easier to neglect and be wasteful, but trustworthy people prayerfully manage their abundance.

    “Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty” (Proverbs 28:19).

    The Lord is prone to bless those who manage His blessings well. But, those who exhibit sloppy stewardship tend to be lazy in caring for the left overs from God’s provision. Yes, the Holy Spirit looks for faithful partners who will share His abundant blessings with others. Our life does not consist of what we can hold on to for ourselves, but what can gather, then deploy for God’s Kingdom. We are charged by Christ to make available His abundant provision to needy people.

    Therefore, we feed on Jesus, the Bread of Life, so we can fill our baskets of belief with His extra grace. Similar to a niece or nephew who inherits riches from a wealthy aunt, we have received the riches of our heavenly Father. Like the prodigal son we can squander our stuff or we can leverage it for our Lord. We are sons and daughters of the King who have access to a baker that always serves up fresh bread for us to enjoy. Yes, we feast on hot, moist bread out of the oven of Christ’s heart, so it can warm our soul. He gives us more than enough new grace to grace others.

    “Those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:11)!

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me more than enough to carry out Your plan for my life and work.

    Related Readings: Psalm 31:19, 145:7; Jeremiah 33:6; Luke 12:13-21; 2 Corinthians 9:8

    Post/Tweet today: We feast on hot, moist bread out of the oven of Christ’s heart, so it can warm our soul. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

  • The Day I Lost My Smile

    Lysa

    "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." Proverbs 31:25 (NIV)

    I looked at my schedule and an overwhelming sense of dread started creeping into my heart. "What's wrong with me? Why am I always running late, running behind, and running after my people who all seem to compound this issue?"

    Because time refused to stand still while I pondered, it was necessary to jump right into task mode. There were lunches to pack, permission forms to sign, and tangles that needed gathering up into ponytails. I put one foot in front of the other and kicked into automatic, mentally crossing off one thing after another on my morning routine checklist.

    I gathered up backpacks and lunchboxes and started announcing from the front door that we had to leave right this minute. And then I said it again. And then I yelled it in a tone that finally got my kids to appear. I quickly checked to make sure we didn't repeat yesterday's mistake of letting one leave with no shoes on. Then I marched out of the house while tossing out a stern reminder to please shut the door quickly so the dog didn't get out.

    But the dog did get out.

    As I slipped the car in drive, the dog darted right out in front of me causing me to simultaneously slam on the brakes and spill both cups of orange juice I had gingerly perched between my purse and the little stacks of toast.

    I jumped out to usher the dog back into the house and let hot tears just have their way. The green numbers of the dashboard clock seemed to simultaneously mock and remind me I had no time to sit and cry it all out.

    I handed my kids their soggy toast and in a rare moment of silence, they took it without protest.

    We pulled into the carpool line at school and I stared at the long line of cars ahead of me. I imagined all the wonderful smiling mothers who were doing this better than me. They probably had organized systems for packing lunches the night before and making sure their kids kept up with their shoes. They probably did family devotions each morning, ate breakfast at the table, and sang songs all the way to school.

    I compared all that to the realities of my morning and came to one heart-sinking conclusion: "I stink at this."

    Almost at that exact moment my phone buzzed with a text message from a friend: "I had a really hard morning with my kids today. I'd love to have coffee some time and learn how you do it all so well."

    I couldn't believe it. I half sighed and half chuckled at the irony.

    I turned around to my kids in the back and said, "Hey guys, I'm really sorry Mommy was such a grump this morning. I think I misplaced my smile. So I just want you to know while you're at school today I'm going to do everything I can to find it."

    After I dropped them off, I called that friend and told her what a gift it was to get her text.

    I shared with her. She shared with me.

    Together, we brainstormed better ways to prepare for these morning pitfalls we both kept finding ourselves in.

    Together, we gave ourselves the permission to admit how hard motherhood can sometimes be and that it's okay to feel caught off guard by the endless demands.

    Together, we listed reasons to be so very thankful.

    Together, we found strength.

    Together, we regained our sense of dignity.

    And it wasn't too long until we both found ourselves laughing together.

    It reminds me of our key verse, Proverbs 31:25, "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." But sometimes it takes a friend to bring us back to the place where we can live this verse.

    We need each other. The key word that day I processed life with my friend and gained a better perspective was, "together." It's such a powerful word and the exact reason I wrote this devotion today.

    You are not alone.

    Oh, how easy it is to lose our smiles and forget to laugh at the craziness of our lives. I need reminders. Just recently, I bought a necklace with a gold pendant that reads, "She laughs." (See below in related resources for more information.) When I see the reflection of this necklace in the mirror I remember laughing is one of the best ways to show those I love that I enjoy them and I like doing life with them. What a gift for them to have memories of me laughing.

    I imagine, though the circumstances might be different for you, you know that place where I was. And maybe you need a reminder to laugh too. We all have times where we feel like failures. We feel like others are doing life so much better. We feel so very alone in our struggles and issues and chaotic emotions. And we look up one day and feel like it was a lifetime ago since we laughed.

    So, I slip this little devotion into your life and whisper, you're not alone. You're doing this so much better than you think you are. God has entrusted you with your life, your loved ones, your unique challenges because you are perfectly equipped for it all.

    Just don't lose your smile. And if you run into me today looking a little worn out, might you remind me of this as well?

    Dear Lord, help me not to lose my smile today. I want to find my joy in You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond: What friend can you share your struggles with today?

    Choose someone you can be honest with, and determine to encourage each other through meeting for coffee, praying for each other, and sending text messages throughout the week.

    Power Verse: Ecclesiastes 4:12, "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Audacious Faith

    Boyd

    Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks,and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. John 6:10-11

    It takes audacious faith to believe Jesus could take five paltry loaves and two measly fish and feed five thousand men, plus women and children. What seemed like a cruel joke (one loaf per thousand men), became a lesson in the Lord’s resourcefulness. He sometimes tests our hearts to see if we will obey and wait on His provision. We are quick to obsess over our limitations, while God has already applied His limitless assets. Audacious faith acts like God has already provided.

    We are wise to confess the crumbs of our creativity, but in the hands of Jesus our meager ideas can birth radical ingenuity. What do you have that the Lord can multiply a thousand times over? Influence; give it over to God to educate people of the need for foster care and orphan adoption. Money; invest in indigenous leaders who are effective in planting churches and who serve human suffering. Audacious faith believes Christ’s best; it even waits on those with imperfect obedience.

    “But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them” (1 John 2:5).

    Audacious faith is not afraid to engage the ugliness of hunger and poverty. Is the Lord calling you to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty? It's messy to mingle with the disadvantaged and the disabled, but they starve for the love of Christ. You are the hands and feet of Jesus to those shunned by the world--left to beg, borrow and plea for help. Some elderly lie in loneliness for someone to read them the Bible or to sing about God’s love. Yes, your small efforts are enlarged by the Spirit’s influence. Your audacious faith is a catalyst to draw others to serve.

    Above all, feed on the Lord--the Bread of Life, and give His bread to other hungry souls. Audacious faith is fueled by belief in Christ’s spiritual food. Just as the human body gains energy with proper nutrition, so the saved soul gains strength by spiritual sustenance from its Savior Jesus. Faith comes alive and grows exponentially when energized by the Holy Spirit. Thus, we take our small or large trust and entrust it to the Lord. Our heavenly Father takes what we have, and grows it into what we need. Audacious faith flows from a humble and obedient heart.

    “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, take my inadequate resources and make them more than sufficient by the power of Your Spirit.

    Related Readings: Jeremiah 7:23; Matthew 21:21; 1 Corinthians 13:2; Ephesians 6:6

    Post/Tweet today: Our heavenly Father takes what we have and grows it into what we need. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Will I Ever Accomplish Something Great?

    Leah

    "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

    Have you ever thought to yourself, "God could never use me"? I have ... many times.

    I spent years watching from the sidelines as some of my closest friends accomplished great things. Rewarding careers. Successful families. Thriving ministries.

    If only I were smarter. If I could just meet the right people. If I had a little more courage. Then surely God would use me.

    What did others have that I didn't? I loved God. He loved me. So why wasn't I on the approved-to-be-used-by-God list? What was the problem? Would my big moment to shine ever come?

    I was under the false impression that if God chose me to accomplish great things for Him, it would include an elaborate theme with plenty of fanfare. Boy, was I wrong.

    Sure, God certainly knows how to manifest grand and elaborate: A snow capped mountain range. A sunrise bursting with color. A field of wildflowers in full bloom. He even gives people tremendous platforms to fulfill His wondrous plans. People whose names we all know by heart.

    God also chooses people like you and me to do great things for His glory. But sometimes our assignments look very different than we think they should. Although the world tends to focus on famous people, high positions and big platforms, God looks at the intent of the heart.

    While admiring the successful journeys of others and wondering why God wasn't choosing me, I overlooked something important. He was using me — as His masterpiece — to accomplish good things that were already planned for me years ago (Ephesians 2:10).

    While I was dreaming up grand ideas, God was waiting for a grateful heart.

    While I was longing for elaborate platforms, God was looking for a humble spirit.

    While I was dreaming of success, God was watching for a willingness of obedience.

    A grateful heart when diapers needed changing and toys were left all over the floor. A humble spirit when dirty clothes sat in piles waiting to be washed and dinner needed to be prepared. A willingness of obedience when God whispered to my heart "Apologize first and say you're sorry."

    Looking back over the years I can now see that some of my greatest accomplishments happened within the simple walls of my own home. Serving my family in messy ways and being stretched beyond what I thought was my breaking point.

    Saying "yes" when I wanted to say "no." Helping with last-minute homework assignments. Holding little hands during bedtime prayers.

    There was no sea of spectators. No cheers from the crowd. No standing ovations. Only a simple family, living life one day at a time, trying to do what was right in God's eyes.

    What great things has God chosen for you to do? Remember, you are His masterpiece, a one-of-a-kind creation, created to fulfill important plans no one else can do.

    Are your God-given assignments wrapped in baseball caps and sneakers?

    Are your grand moments filled with princess tiaras and bedtime stories?

    As you tirelessly serve your family and sometimes wonder if anyone notices, be assured that God does. He sees you as His greatest asset! Your willingness to serve your family brings Him great joy.

    And when will our big moment come? When we get to shine?

    I imagine it will be one glorious day when we humbly kneel before our Heavenly Father and He lovingly speaks our names saying, "Well done my faithful daughter. You have accomplished great things in My Name."

    Lord, help me to accomplish all the plans You've chosen for me. Give me wisdom and discernment to know what path You've laid out for me to follow. Thank you for creating me as Your masterpiece and may I delight in You as I serve my family well. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond: Are you living out God's plan for your life? If not, what is holding you back from accomplishing great things for Him?

    What are some ways you enjoy serving your family? Plan something special for your family to do together. Take pictures and create a memory board to hang up in your home.

    Power Verses: Proverbs 16:3, "Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed." (NLT)

    1 Samuel 16:7, "God does not view things the way men do. People look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (NET)

    © 2014 by Leah DiPascal. All rights reserved.

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

  • We Are Brave - Shawn McDonald

    Pop-singer/songwriter Shawn McDonald, long regarded as one of Christian music’s most respected and soulful troubadours releases his highly anticipated brand new studio album Brave on April 15th. Three years after releasing the critically acclaimed Closer, McDonald rewards patient and loyal fans with what is possibly the best album of his career.

    Starting with first single, “We Are Brave”, there is a pop energy on the new album that instantly has the listener tapping their feet and singing along. The 11 song Brave is full of infectious melodies and deep, encouraging lyrics McDonald is known for delivering.

    Watch his new video below. What do you think?

  • You Won't Let Go - Michael W. Smith

    Michael W. Smith, one of the industry’s most enduring and well-loved artists, returns with Sovereign, his first album since 2008’s A New Hallelujah. In a career that boasts album sales of over 15 million, Smith is deliberately entering a new creative chapter on Sovereign, crafting a vibrant collection of vertically-focused songs with a fresh sense of musical innovation. Smith enlisted the talents of several songwriters and producers he hasn’t collaborated with previously for the album, which includes the hit single "You Won't Let Go."

    Check out his new LIVE video here. What do you think of the song?

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