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Family Christian

  • Follow Good Examples

    Boyd

    Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself;he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does." John 5:19

    Jesus followed the example of His heavenly Father. He only did what His Father did. So in the same way, we who love Christ seek to follow His example. In the power of the Holy Spirit we can do what He does. We can do nothing of eternal significance in our own strength, but in His strength we can do His works. Thus, we start with Jesus when we initiate new activities. We ask Him to validate our direction, before we move forward. We want to follow His wise example.

    For instance, Jesus put individual needs before the needs of institutions. He did not allow the control of religious leaders to keep Him from doing good for those who suffered under bad circumstances. The Sabbath was holy to God, but it was also an opportunity to glorify God by curing those in physical pain. The mercy and compassion of Christ trumps the unnecessary sacrifice required by some religious leaders’ strict rules. Relationships take priority over rules.

    “Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath” (John 7:23)?

    Furthermore, follow the examples of those who follow Christ well. A good example is their humility in pointing people back to Jesus. They are quick to say that anything worth emulating in their lives comes from the life of Christ in them. Their goal is for others to fall deeper in love with their heavenly Father and to only do what He leads them to do. Validation of human behavior begins with the life of Christ and His word--the Bible. Good examples lead to the Lord.

    Therefore, follow Jesus first, follow those who love Jesus, and be a good example for others to follow. When you hurt a child’s feelings, ask their forgiveness. When you pray, humbly confess your sins before you pray for the needs of others. When you worship God, focus on His glory and goodness. When you give, give discreetly and generously. When you serve, don’t expect to be served. Use your freedom in Christ to do what’s wise, not just what’s permissible. Be a good example who follows the example of Jesus. Many who respect you may model what you do.

    “Set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I desire to be a good example that follows Your example and I want to be a good example for others to follow.

    Related Readings: Hosea 6:6; John 14:24; Titus 2:7; 1 Peter 2:12

    Post/Tweet today: Validation of human behavior begins with the life of Christ and His word--the Bible. #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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  • Everyday, Ordinary Glory

    Lisa-Jo

    "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." Colossians 1:17 (NIV)

    It's late. Only 9 p.m. But so late. The night shift will soon begin, and the day shift with bath times and teeth brushing battles is just winding down. With my husband Peter finally home, I slink away to steal some quiet and maybe a few moments of sleep between shifts.

    But they find me.

    They pad down the hallway, long shadows stretching around the corner and into my room before deep breaths whisper, "Mama, can we stay by you?" Then they sandwich beside me and we begin the losing battle against not speaking.

    One may as well try and hold back the tide. The day, their highs, lows and secret wishes come trickling out. First in whispers and then in bold declarations! When they grow up they will be trash truck drivers, builders, policemen, game rangers, fathers and heroes.

    Their profiles against the hall light are brave and delicate at the same time. I can feel the sand, gritty against my foot where it's escaped socks and sandboxes, now taking up residence at the foot of my bed. Someone farts, someone else burps and my retreat is now a mini-locker room experience with my growing up boys-will-be-boys boys.

    I relive snapshots of the day from their perspective and discover how someone's minuscule boo-boo looms large in their memory and how someone else likes to be the leader during walks around the block.

    Who would have thought boys giggled this much?

    And in the dark and the tired and the small, everydayness of these moments I can feel it. The weight of glory. The glorious ordinary that is God's gift to us.

    Colossians 1:15-17 speaks of the glory of God in everything: "The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."

    And sandwiched between two talkative boys, I know there is no part of our everyday, wash-rinse-repeat routine of kids and laundry and life and fights and worries and play dates and kindergarten orientation and work and marriage and love and new life and bedtime snuggles, that Jesus doesn't look into it deeply and say, "That is Mine."

    In Him all things hold together. All things. This messy house and my fears and chaos and incomplete to-do lists.

    Turns out, I'm not defined by my mothering skills or my name on a business card. I'm not defined by what I accomplished today, or whether or not I lost my temper. I'm not defined by my jeans that I wish were a different size, or by my kids when they won't obey. I'm not defined by my wrinkles or tired eyes.

    I am, however, defined by the God who knows me by name ... by the God who promises that nothing I do or don't do can separate me from His love that is in Christ Jesus.

    Right where we are at the end of long days, long lists and long sleepless nights, Jesus meets us and in Him we are tenderly, patiently, lovingly held together. So we can be ready for tomorrow.

    Dear Jesus, thank You for not seeing anything boring or routine when You look at us. You don't see failure, insignificance or ordinary. But instead, You see one-of-a-kind daughters of the King. Thank You for entering into every part of our days, for delighting in all we cycle through, and for how You celebrate, grieve, counsel and comfort every step of the way. We love how You see wonder in even our most ordinary routines and how You hold us together even when we feel like we're falling apart. We love You, Jesus. Amen.

    Reflect and Respond: Think about your routine today and identify something glorious that is buried in your everyday ordinary.

    What is one way you can start to remind yourself to be looking for wonder in your routine? For example, keeping a gratitude journal, setting an alarm throughout the day to stop and reflect, sharing something that each family member found special at dinnertime?

    Power Verses: Romans 8:38-39, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (NIV)

    Acts 17:28a, "For in him we live and move and have our being." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lisa-Jo Baker. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Tyndale House Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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

  • Instant Obedience

    Boyd

    Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.  John 5:8-9

    Sometimes Jesus asks us to do something that seems impossible at the time. He wants our faith to intersect with His instructions, as far fetched as they may seem. We know from experience; as we exercise our faith--it grows. By faith, we first receive from our Savior forgiveness, grace, and eternal life. His unprecedented gifts are our opportunity to give Him our absolute allegiance. Once we surrender to our King and Lord Jesus, He empowers our will to obey His will.

    A 38 year-old man had waited for years, unable to beat his competition into the healing pool. But then the Healer showed up in person on the Sabbath and turned conventional wisdom upside down. Faith was still necessary, but not like the former process. Yes, Jesus gives us new methods to carry out His old mission. The majority may clamor to traditional places for His power, but the Spirit is available to us for creativity. He wants to use our fresh faith to facilitate His new ways.

    “See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19).

    What innovative outcome is the Lord leading you to accomplish in His strength? What area of your life still needs Christ’s healing power? Don’t be afraid of failure, but embrace instead the liberty you have to launch a new idea. Some with a jealous eye will be critical, however you can rise up and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. Give God the glory and perhaps He will answer your naysayers by giving you success. It's hard to argue with the instant obedience of a humble life.

    Above all, receive Jesus Christ by faith into your life, as Savior and Lord. Furthermore, apply the healing power of His grace onto any hurt or guilt in your heart. Your instant obedience is an indicator of your love for Him. Obeying Christ’s command is not burdensome, but a blessing. Not a hinderance, but a help to knowing God. Not dreadful duty, but joyful service! Your instant obedience leads to intimate encounters with Jesus. Faith frees you to walk obediently with Him.

    “For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed” (Hebrews 4:2).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I want to obey You instantly, as an expression of my true love for You.

    Related Readings:Deuteronomy 11:13; Psalm 119:158; Matthew 9:5-6, 12:1-14; Hebrews 11:8

    Post/Tweet today: Jesus gives us new methods to carry out His old mission. #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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  • I Just Unfriended My Friend

    Nicki

    "My child, don't lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them for they will refresh your soul." Proverbs 3:21-22a (NLT)

    "Women are ridiculous," I said to my husband as I crawled into bed, tears dripping. He gave me an agreeable stare, since he had no words to console my aching heart.

    I'd just learned a friend lied to me. It was about something senseless, which just made it worse. As the hours ticked by, I wrestled through troubling thoughts.

    Why would she lie about THAT?

    Were we ever really friends?

    The combination of hurt and middle-of-the-night thinking was toxic, forming a very self-centered attitude in me. I decided I no longer had room in my life to deal with someone who had lied to me. So in my heart, I just unfriended this friend.

    I have other people I can be friends with, I thought as I drifted off to sleep.

    The next morning I realized how my emotions had distorted my perceptions. It concerned me how quickly I was willing to write off this friend, since we had been through a lot together. And I really did value our relationship.

    So I pondered the emotions swirling in my heart.

    In our cyber culture today, it's easy to sit behind computer screens and smartphones while we reject the reality of many things, including friendships.

    My profile on Facebook says I have 900 "friends." Social media convinces me I have hundreds of people in my corner. But in reality, I don't have 900 friends I could call in the midst of a crisis or even go meet for a cup of coffee.

    And that "unfriend" button is mighty tempting when someone hurts me. But the truth is, ending a relationship is much more complex than the way social media convinces me it can happen — as easily as clicking an icon.

    Social media is a relational tool, but it's not a relational reality.

    More than ever, I need to see my friendships through the lens of reality, and this verse helps me do this: "My child, don't lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them for they will refresh your soul," (Proverbs 3:21-22a).

    God has given us two trustworthy filters to help us see things as what they really are: common sense and discernment.

    In this situation with my friend, common sense, reminded me: You don't really have 900 friends, but you do have one or two people you can really count on. And you need to cultivate those relationships through good times and bad.

    When I wanted to reject our relationship because I was hurt, discernment said: Your friend is human. At the core of her heart she cares about you and didn't mean to hurt you.

    We will always be susceptible to flawed perceptions in our friendships. But when we hang on to the realities God offers us through common sense and discernment I believe we will be much wiser with our perceptions.

    Using God's Word as my filter, rather than my emotions, allowed me to work through the hurtful issue with my friend. That experience made me a more compassionate friend and it strengthened our friendship, so that when I mess up (and I'm sure I will), hopefully she'll forgive me.

    God, we are so grateful for Your gifts of common sense and discernment. Give us the grace to use these filters when things get foggy. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond: Is there a friendship God might want to restore because one or both of you had a flawed perception about what was happening? Maybe today you could reach out to that person and begin the process of healing.

    Friendships thrive when we cultivate them. Invite a friend to meet you for some meaningful connecting time, this week or next.

    Power Verses: 1 Corinthians 13:12, "We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!" (MSG)

    1 John 3:2, "But friends, that's exactly who we are: children of God. And that's only the beginning. Who knows how we'll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we'll see him — and in seeing him, become like him." (MSG)

    © 2014 by Nicki Koziarz. All rights reserved.

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

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  • Attractive Evangelism

    Boyd

    A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34–35

    Love is irresistible for those in search of a Savior. Everyone whose heart aches for authentic relationship will take notice when seeing Christians love one another. Parents who encourage and build up their sons and daughters are a magnet to their children’s friends who live lonely lives in discouraging and disruptive home environments.

    Have you thought of your home as a sanctuary for seeking souls? Every time a neighbor drops by, a friend stays overnight, or you host a party for your child’s team, you have an opportunity to model the love of Jesus toward those you know and to those whom you meet for the first time. Leverage love for the Lord, and He will draw people to Himself.

    “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13).

    Being a disciple of Jesus does have its benefits, and being loved is close to the top. When you placed your faith in Christ, you became a giver and receiver of Christian love. So do not resist the righteous care that Christ followers extend on your behalf. Be glad you model the love of God’s children that can melt the hearts of outside observers. “Why,” they ask, “do people give so much, expecting nothing in return?”

    How do you intentionally love your brothers and sisters in Christ? Do you share relationships, money, your vacation home, your primary residence, or your car? It may be showing up during a health issue, praying for a job interview, babysitting their little one, or mowing their grass. Unbelievers take notice when believers lavishly love each other.

    “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love” (Galatians 5:13).

    Our capacity to love is limited only by the Lord’s capacity to love us, to love in us, and to love through us. His love removes our insensitive heart and replaces it with sensitivity. The Almighty’s agape love arranges our priorities around the needs of others first and ours second. His love first comforts pain in people and then waits for the appropriate time to administer truth. This level of unconditional love is a conduit for the lost to know Christ.

    “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us” (1 John 4:11–12).

    Prayer: Am I receiving God’s love? Whom do I know who needs my unselfish love and attention?

    Related Readings: 2 Corinthians 13:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 3 John 1:7-8

    Taken from the April 6th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 2”

    Post/Tweet today: Unbelievers take notice when believers lavishly love each other. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Fainting Faith

    Boyd

    "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?" Psalm 42:1-2

    A fainting faith is forever in search of its heavenly Father. There is a building intensity for intimacy with the Almighty. Sometimes your faith faints from sheer exhaustion. It passes out for lack of prayer or even during prayer. Do not allow divine duty to drive you for very long. This is not a sustainable pace or prayer-friendly posture. Rest instead in the continual call of Christ. Service to God without communion with Christ, leads to spiritual fatigue. Your soul’s life is sucked out because fainting faith leaves you in a state of spiritual fatigue. The scary thing is that you may be unaware that your faith is on the brink of fainting.

    So keep your life’s pace governed by grace, or you will outrun your soul. Time with your Master requires margin. In fact, any significant relational investments take place in the margin of your life. Margin is like the white space on a page of paper. It makes reading enjoyable, digestible, and inviting to the eye. In the same way, lives with margin are inviting. You are not an interruption to people with margin because they know how to make time for those who matter. That’s how you should look at your time with Jesus. Carve out space on your calendar to be with your Savior. You can do this by faith, trusting that the Lord will make up for any lost time. Christ can get things done without you. “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

    A deer, by instinct, has no other thought than to slow down and drink as often as needed. Your soul cannot stand sustained times without hydration either, but we sometimes fail to take the time. Jeremiah reprimanded the people for ignoring their need for the Lord, “…they have forsaken the LORD, the spring of living water” (Jeremiah 17:13b). Just as water is necessary for your body to function, so drinking from divine resources is required for your soul to sustain itself. Otherwise, your faith faints for lack of the Lord. Your soul’s thirst is a perpetual appetite that can only be quenched by Christ. Drunkards try to replace their soul’s longing with liquor. It doesn’t work, for it makes matters worse by seeking a substitute for their Savior. Drink is a synthetic savior for a thirsty soul.

    You can meet with the Lord immediately. He is always accessible. Get on your knees and pour out your soul in prayer. Drink in the love of the Lord. Guzzle down the grace of God. Sip on the joy of Jesus. Go to church and lift up your soul in worship to your great and mighty God. Drink in the praise and adoration of God’s glory with other sincere believers in Jesus. Your soul is satisfied in environments that engage you with eternity. Worship, Bible study, prayer, and community with Christ-followers quench our thirsty souls.  The world parches your soul, but heaven hydrates your heart. Your faith will flourish and not faint as you take the time to quench your thirsty soul. Drink often with Jesus. “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; He will lead them to springs of living water” (Revelation 7:17). He refreshes.

    Taken from the April 5th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 1”

    Post/Tweet today: Service to God, without communion with Christ, leads to spiritual fatigue. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Fresh Approach to Timeless Truth

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