• iDisciple

Family Christian

  • I Don't Want to Miss This Moment

    Posted on December 9, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness." Proverbs 14:22 (NIV)

    Do you ever find yourself daydreaming about the wonderful ways you'll celebrate the next special day on the calendar?

    That usually happens for me when I go on Pinterest and see beautiful photos of food, crafts, decorations, and gifts. I imagine myself taking time to create the little extra touches that turn ordinary days into memorable ones. But then I look around me and the reality of an over-crowded life squashes my dreams.

    There have been too many special days that whooshed by me, leaving me with regret and wishing I'd stopped and enjoyed more moments. Too many times I should have paused to do good for someone.

    Increasingly I sense God asking me to be more intentional with my days. Maybe it's because of many years that are a blur now. As I look into the faces of children growing up too quickly, of parents aging, of friends packing to move, I often want time to stop so I can breathe in the holiness of the days God has given.

    Remember this moment, my heart whispers. Remember what this feels like.

    It's too common for me to look back and wish the simple moments had been celebrated more. That there'd been a few more pauses. More times when I'd said "you matter" with my actions.

    Not the big flashy moments. Not the expensive trips. But the humble quiet times that declare what we treasure. Our values. What makes us us. The everyday moments are the ones treasured in the hearts of those we love.

    Some women excel at these special moments. They turn from their computers and whip up an experience that leaves everyone feeling loved. Not me. Although I love special times, I'm not spontaneous.

    How do these moments happen for me? I have to plan for them. Not the moments themselves, but the opportunity for them to happen.

    Proverbs 14:22 shows us the importance of planning: "But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness." This verse inspires me to plan good things for those dear to me. And in doing so, we will experience God's love and faithfulness in greater measure. What a great promise from God's Word.

    Christmas is an ideal time for me to put this into practice. If I'm not careful, December can pass me by without any special notice. I might get something done, but it will be obligatory rather than a celebration of Christ's birth and a time to show His love.

    So this month I'm working on a plan. It's not set in stone, but it is a list of things that are important to my family and me.

    For example, my husband wants to cook a special breakfast treat called scrapple, a Pennsylvania Dutch sausage his father made. I'd like to read Advent devotions as a family to ponder the meaning of Christmas. My plan also includes opportunities to spend time as a family and reach out to others.

    So I'll pencil ideas in my spiral notebook, write out shopping lists, and research dates and times to add events and phone calls with friends. Planning to do good takes time, but I've learned when I plan my priorities, they get done.

    This month I'm taking some time to schedule what matters most ‐ time honoring God and remembering His gift, time with those I love, and time sharing God's blessings with others. And in January, I'll start planning again.

    Heavenly Father, You model intentional love. You planned to send Jesus to earth and You planned a way for me to live with You forever. Help me to plan the same intentional love to those I care about. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What's one thing you want to do this month? Write it on your calendar and to-do list.

    Do you resist planning? Why do you think that is?

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

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Out Serve

    Posted on December 8, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you…”
    John 13:14-15

    Out-serve your spouse. This is not natural to our selfish self, but out-serve your spouse, and you will start to see positive differences in both of you. Service makes them feel cared for and makes you feel fulfilled; service makes them feel loved and makes you feel rewarded; service makes them feel respected and makes you feel significant. Of course, unappreciated service can wear you down over time, but trust God. Allow Him to supply the strength for your service. If the Lord is not empowering your service, you will eventually burn out and possibly become resentful. Bitter service does not last, but joyful service does.
    Serve your spouse out of gratitude to God for giving them to you. Serve them in the routines of life and when they least expect it. Serve them where they want to be served, not just where you want to serve them. It may be unloading the dishwasher, taking out the garbage, mowing the lawn, maintaining the house, or taking care of the cars. Their service may include an organized family, dinner at home, being on time, keeping a calendar, or planning a trip. If you are unsure, ask them how they like to be served. Furthermore, carry this attitude of out-serving into your occupation. Be one who serves in the work place, especially if you are a leader or manager. Quietly and clandestinely clean up the break room, even wipe out the gooey microwave with its burst of flavors matted to the inside. Service from a sincere heart values and respects others.
    Our Savior modeled service. He did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His very own life as the ultimate act of service. When we enlist in the service of God’s Kingdom, we become His full-time servants. Service for our Savior is a thread that runs through the life of everyone who is led by the Lord. If Jesus is your model for leadership and living life, you serve. He served the least and the greatest; He served the sinners and the saints; He served the rich and the poor; He served singles and He served families; He served mad and He served glad; He served when He was tired and He served when He was rested. You could not out-serve Jesus because His service was motivated and fueled by His heavenly Father. Intimacy with the Almighty compels you to serve.
    Ironically, Jesus served others even at the point of His greatest need. When engulfed in His own personal crisis, He chose to serve others instead of being served. The night before facing imminent death, He served by washing feet. Use this same selfless strategy of service, and watch the world run to Jesus. In the middle of your own Last Supper experience, serve. When you are rejected, serve instead of retaliating. When you are forgotten, serve instead of feeling sorry for yourself. When you are hurt, serve instead of allowing your heart to harden. Furthermore, serve for Jesus’ sake and not your own. Make it a lifetime goal to out-serve all you come in contact with, especially those closest to you.
    To out-serve yields an outstanding outcome. An out-serve attitude is other-centered and Christ-focused. You can’t out-serve Christ, but you can be a conduit of service on His behalf. Seek to out-serve others for your Savior.

    Post/Tweet today: When rejected, serve instead of retaliating. When hurt, serve instead of sulking. #outserve

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

  • God Speak

    Posted on December 7, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “They say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says’—when the Lord has not spoken” (Ezekiel 22:28).

    Be careful what you attribute to the Lord; make sure He is speaking and not ego, greed, or pride. Watch out for spiritual sounding souls, as they can be the culprits of Christless advice. They may talk about God and even invoke His will into discussions. Be wary of someone who assigns God’s will arbitrarily on a prayerless whim.

    Make sure what others are suggesting, even commanding, is not self-serving for them. God speaks through generous givers, not tawdry takers. God normally communicates through humility, faith, and accountability. If others have it all figured out for you, this is a flag. They may have a wonderful plan for your life and have missed God’s plan entirely. Avoid people who throw God’s endorsement around aimlessly.

    Pseudospirituality is nauseating to our Lord. How can He speak clearly, consistently, and with creditability through someone infiltrated with compromised character? This type of “God speak” creates a dysfunctional faith. It is faith built on man’s persuasion and persistence rather than God’s will. What starts out as a pure word from the Lord can evolve into a perverted word from man. Listen first to God; then validate it with man.

    God does speak through His Word. Holy Scripture does not need any help as it stands on its own, tall and glistening in the glory of God. While you read and digest His Word, by faith you know He has spoken. He speaks loudly, precisely, and clearly from Scripture. “Jesus answered, ‘It is written: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”’” (Matthew 4:4).

    Use the New Testament as a filter for the Old Testament. This is the Jesus method of Bible interpretation. Seminary can be a good form of learning, but sitting at the feet of Jesus is better! As He speaks to you through His Word, validate it through wise counsel.

    God speaks loudly and precisely every day. He speaks through authorities, He speaks through our spouse, He speaks through our health, He speaks through our calendar, He speaks through friends, He speaks through strangers, and He speaks through circumstances, but most of all He speaks through His Word.

    Obey what you know, and over time what you are unsure of will become clear. Listen intently to the Lord and submit. Do not use or abuse this Christian privilege of hearing, knowing, and understanding God’s voice. He speaks; so humbly listen and obey.

    “The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Then Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening’” (1 Samuel 3:10).

    Prayer: Is the Bible my primary resource for discerning God’s will?

    Related Readings: Exodus 20:1; Psalm 62:11; Acts 11:9; Hebrews 1:1–3

    Post/Tweet today: Holy Scripture does not need any help as it stands on its own, tall and glistening in the glory of God. #Godspeak

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

  • New Normal

    Posted on December 6, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 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 43:18-19

    New normals are a test of our trust in the Lord. They call us to get on our knees in prayer and cry out to our Heavenly Father. They are transitions we go through in life when we move into new seasons: health challenges, a job transfer, a new church or an empty nest. New normals are more difficult because it is the first time we have experienced these realities. Patience, flexibility and trust facilitate adjustment to a new situation. Adapting to change and focus on God is necessary.

    For example, a close friend may move overseas or to another part of the country. Since you are geographically divided, you now keep up by email, calls and visits. Or, if you’ve lived as a single adult for years, but are now married, you focus on the person of your dreams. Hence, friends from your past life don’t receive the same attention as your best friend, your spouse. A new normal in relationships is hard. If you try to be everyone’s friend, you risk becoming no one’s real friend.

    Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets. Luke 6:26

    Make the best of your new normal by seeing God in the middle of your circumstances. Whether adversity or euphoria, either is an opportunity to draw closer to Christ. Accept new normals as your friend not your enemy.  It is a nudge toward the Lord, not a wedge between you and the Lord. Our Savior Jesus Christ specializes in doing new things. He makes a way of hope in our wilderness of worry and streams of faith in our wasteland of fear. See your new normal as God’s new thing.

    What is your new normal? A boss who is more demanding? A child who is pushing the boundaries of their freedom? Life after divorce? Life after a loved one’s death? Financial limitations? Relational stress? Abundant resources? More opportunities than you ever imagined? Steward well what you have, so the Lord can trust you with more of His blessings. Accept your new normal as an opportunity to adopt new ways to know God. Learn how to lean into the Lord. Your new normal is the next step in following Jesus. Perceive it, believe it, receive it, embrace it.

    He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true. Revelation 21:5

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, by grace and through faith, I accept my new normal as Your normal.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 48:6, 65:17; Jeremiah 31:22; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Revelation 21:4

    Post/Tweet this today: New normals are meant to be a nudge toward the Lord not a wedge between you and the Lord. #newnormals

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

  • The Power of Assumptions

    Posted on December 6, 2013 by Wendy Pope

    Wendy

    "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

    The assumption battle is one I have fought most of my life. I've questioned friends' motives, assuming they were against me. To avoid being hurt, I've detached from relationships with no valid reasons.

    Perhaps you've fought the same battle?

    Your friend didn't sit with you in Bible study like she usually does; she must be upset with you, so you avoid her at your weekly meetings. Another friend is invited to several parties you aren't; obviously the two of you are drifting apart, so you don't reach out any more. Your sister hasn't responded to your text and phone messages; she must have found another friend in whom to confide, so you stop calling her.

    It's easy to assume others are upset, have "more important" friends, or are too busy for us when their behavior changes. Anger and hurt can well up in our hearts and we may pull away from friendships in order to protect ourselves. There is a danger in assumptions: they can destroy relationships.

    Before we know it, even without proof, what we assume becomes our truth. Our misguided feelings lead to misguided thoughts, which cause misguided responses. The result: ruined relationships.

    Living under the havoc of assumptions isn't the way God intended it though. Second Timothy 1:7 tells us, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (NKJV). Looking at the last part of this verse, we see God gives us the ability to think, reason, and understand.

    Through Christ, we have a mind that is well balanced and considers things in context. Our sound mind is stronger than our feelings, but we have to give our thoughts time to catch up with our emotions. A good way to do this is to pause and think clearly about the conclusions we've made.

    When an assumption rears its ugly head, simply take a moment to ask if this assumption is consistent with your friend's normal behavior. If it isn't, this would be a good time to ask a few more questions: Is my friend okay? Have I done anything to hurt her? How can I pray for her? Do I believe the best before assuming the worst?

    Repeat the pause until the assumption passes. The result: positive relationships.

    Ruined relationships can be prevented and assumptions can be put to rest when we stop and focus on our thoughts. God has blessed us with a sound mind to surrender to the truth and not allow our imaginations to run wild.

    Before the power of assumptions ruins a relationship in your life, pause. Settle your emotions and consider what you know to be true about your friend. Take a moment to pray for her and plan how to reach out to her. She might just be struggling with her own assumptions that you could help her clear up!

    Dear Lord, thank You for empowering me to overpower assumptions. I commit to believe the best before assuming the worst, and to not allow my emotions to jump to conclusions. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What power have assumptions had on your life?

    Reach out and make an attempt to reconcile with someone with whom you made an assumption.

    Power Verses:
    2 Corinthians 10:5, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (NIV)

    Philippians 2:4, "Don't be concerned only about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others." (GW)

    © 2013 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

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

  • Strength in the Lord

    Posted on December 5, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “I will strengthen them in the Lord and in his name they will walk,’ declares the Lord.” Zechariah 10:12

    The Lord is strength for the journey of life. Fatigue and discouragement can assault us like a bandit on a deserted dirt road. Life is constantly swinging its bruising punches. Before long we can become beat down with no energy to continue. We know in our heads we are a child of the King, but our hearts feel no royal resilience. Fatigue requires faith.

    Weariness is an opportunity for the Lord to strengthen you. He uses His people to energize and encourage one another. We are all needy and it is just a matter of time before we all have to learn how to receive. The Lord wraps His strength around the gift of a prayer warrior—someone who storms heaven on your behalf is a strength giver.

    Do not let divorce, death or disappointment exclude you from the Lord’s strength. Work will get you down. People will let you down. Failure will knock you down. Your greatest fears may cause you to wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. Fight fear with fear. Let the fear of God strengthen you, as it fortifies your faith in Him.

    “Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name” (Psalm 86:11).

    The greatest energy drainer may be serving God in our own strength. This is one of Satan’s most effective schemes. He wants to occupy us in good activity void of eternal energy. Serving God and others in our own strength means we are driven by what we can do for God, rather than what He can do through us. It’s the difference in being energized in our service or being drained by our service. Christ’s strength comes from being still.

    He strengthens your soul daily as you sit quietly before Him. His whisper of affirmation motivates you to walk with Him. It is learning to trust in Him, not striving for Him. This total trust replenishes your soul like an ice-cold sports drink to a cyclist ascending the tallest mountain in the blazing hot Tour de France. His spirit gives life and endurance.

    When you received Christ you received His strength. Strength already resides within you. He is available to you. Your Savior has no fuel crisis to reckon with, as His supernatural resources are infinite. You cannot go for encouragement too many times. Walk in His name and be energized by Him. His Holy Spirit infuses strength so be strong in the Lord!

    “Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers” (Acts 9:31).

    Prayer: Does my strength reside in my righteous Savior or in my own exhausting efforts?

    Related Readings: Psalm 105:4; Isaiah 12:2; Luke 10:27; 1 Thessalonians 3:13

    Post/Tweet this today: Fight fear with fear. Let the fear of God strengthen you, as it fortifies your faith in Him. #strengthintheLord

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

  • Embrace the Magnificent

    Posted on December 5, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all." 1 Chronicles 29:11 (NIV)

    A few years ago on a flight to Michigan, I had the distinct privilege of meeting AJ. He was sitting in the row in front of me and made sure to welcome me the minute I took my seat. It didn't take long for AJ to make everyone around us aware of how excited he was to be on this plane.

    His voice was loud, his exclamations seemed a bit child-like for a man his age, and his stuttered words made it difficult to completely understand him.

    But one thing was unmistakable to me: his passionate embrace of the magnificent.

    As we rose into the sky he clapped and bounced in his seat. His eyes were wide as he turned to the man sitting next to him and exclaimed, "The clouds are huge!"

    That's when the nudging on my heart started. This gentle prodding to ignore the task-oriented part of me that wanted to work and tune out what was going on around me.

    Embrace this moment Lysa. Notice him. Notice Me.

    And that's how it is when God wants to get my attention. He interrupts my self-centered thoughts in such a startling way, it can only be Him. He sends my train of thought off the well-worn tracks and suddenly I find myself bouncing along in a meadow full of unpredictable adventure.

    Because there is something about God everywhere, every place we look. My mind parked itself on 1 Chronicles 29:11, "Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all." (NIV)

    Everyone else on the plane looked tired from their travels that day.

    But not AJ.

    He saw what no one else did. We were in a fast moving tube, taking off from the ground, flying through the clouds, being transported from one place to another many, many miles away in a matter of minutes. Minutes! Not days or weeks or months but minutes ... oh what would people a hundred years ago have thought of this feat?

    And there we all sat, bored. Not even bothering to look out at the clouds and notice. Too focused on the task at hand begging for our attention.

    We'd lost our passionate embrace of the magnificent. Our appreciation for noticing God and His provision had been strangled by what the world begs us to pay attention to.

    But I'm not interested in what the world classifies as important. I'm interested in where God wants to point my focus. I'm interested in humbling myself in childlike awe of all that He is.

    When we landed, AJ's excitement reached a new level. He clapped and whooped and rushed into the aisle of the plane tripping over others. When he spotted his mom waiting for him at the end of the jet way, he got even louder pumping his arms into the air telling everyone that was his mom! That was his mom, right there! There she is!!

    His mom's face reddened but kept the sweetest, gentlest look as she embraced her son. She sweetly pressed her finger to her lips signaling him to quiet down just a bit.

    That's when I reached her. With a lump in my throat and tears cresting my eyes I touched her shoulder, "Your son is amazing. Really, really amazing."

    How might we remember to embrace the magnificent on this ordinary day?

    Dear Lord, I praise You today for Your magnificence in all things. Humble me as Your child and guide me as I follow hard after You instead of the world. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    How might you embrace the magnificent today?

    Take some time to write down five ordinary things that you appreciate. Then, list reasons why these ordinary things are actually special blessings from the Lord.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 145:4-5, "One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—and I will meditate on your wonderful works." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Authentic Fruit

    Posted on December 4, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. John 15:1-2

    There is authentic fruit, fake fruit and the fruit of sin. Followers of Jesus who are engrafted into Him, the true vine, flourish with the fruit of the Spirit. It is beautiful and luscious for all to see and taste that the Lord is good. The Holy Spirit’s fruit is all inclusive or none at all, there is no in between. Where there is love there will be joy, where there is joy there will peace, where there is peace there will be forbearance, etc. Imagine one tree that bears a variety of fruit, so one life that abides in Christ displays an array of character traits. Variety in kind validates authentic fruit.

    Authentic fruit grows in abundance, while fruit forced in the flesh provides a meager return at the harvest. So, beware of fake fruit that is the result of human discipline, natural skills and temperament traits. Like plastic fruit that rests in a bowl on grandmother’s dining room table, it looks good but offers no life giving nutrients. We can force ourselves in the flesh to grit our teeth and practice self control, but this is an unsustainable substitute for the Spirit’s work of grace. Fake fruit mimics the real image for a while, but when tested is exposed as a cheap imitation.

    But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. Because you have depended on your own strength and on your many warriors. Hosea 10:13

    The fruit of sin looks appealing, but tastes bitter. Like the serpent tempted Eve and Adam to partake of sin’s fruit, Satan continues to lure us to feast on his deceitful delicacies. So, wise are we not to plant sin’s seeds or cultivate its influence. If iniquity begins to bloom it must be purged and destroyed by the Spirit’s shears of conviction, accompanied by our confession and repentance. Lives purged of sin make room for authentic fruit to flourish in a harvest of holiness.

    Furthermore, invite your Heavenly Father to do a fruit inspection of your life. Will He discover the fruit of the Spirit, self or sin? Motives need a constant cleansing to ensure you are led by the Spirit and not driven by the flesh. Prayerful persuasion replaces impatient manipulation. Authentic fruit bearing is a lifetime process of replacing the unrighteous with the righteous. You cannot bear fruit, but God the Father the Gardner, God the Son the Vine and God the Spirit all bear fruit that remains. Saved souls and Christlike character are authentic fruits that glorify God.

    Filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:11

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I surrender to Your process of authentic fruit bearing in and through my life.

    Related Readings: Matthew 21:43; Luke 3:8, 22:18; Romans 7:4; Colossians 1:6

    Post/Tweet this today: Motives need a constant cleansing to make sure we are led by the Spirit and not driven by the flesh.

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

  • The Most Important Christmas Choice

    Posted on December 4, 2013 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie

    "Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.'" Luke 2:13-14 (NLT)

    Tis' the season to be merry... and stressed. Although it should be a season of peace, this month can often make us feel more tangled up inside than a messy string of Christmas lights.

    Some people dread the hustle, bustle, and emotional rustle this time of year brings, knowing that irritability, loneliness, or depression will threaten. While there are others who may love the Christmas season, but worry, busyness, family conflicts, and unmet expectations take their toll.

    In either case, we have a decision. We can choose to get bogged down with stress or we can choose to bow down in worship.

    Scripture gives us a beautiful picture of praise in Luke 2:13-14. When Jesus was born, an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds sharing the good news. Then many other angels joined together and praised God.

    "Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.'" (NLT)

    That's not the only place the Bible records angels worshipping the Lord. In Hebrews 1:6 it says, "And when he brought his supreme Son into the world, God said, 'Let all of God's angels worship him.'" (NLT) And Revelation 5:11-12a says, "Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. And they sang in a mighty chorus." (NLT)

    Angels serve as role models of worship. They bow down before Jesus. They shout with incredible joy as they sing songs of praise. Through worship, angels spread the news of God's glory and exhibit holy reverence. Angels intentionally and deliberately spend time praising God.

    Keeping Christ in Christmas is more than just a cliché. It is an intentional act of worship. It requires a heart of adoration, much like the angels had. When Jesus is the focus of our holiday, we're centered on His love, peace, and joy.

    This prompts us to be His hands and feet to others in need. When worship fills our hearts, it leaves little room for aggravation in long lines at the store. We focus on what Christmas is truly about—the amazing gift of a Savior—rather than stressing out over buying the perfect presents. We exhibit grace to someone when we'd rather do otherwise. Worship turns our attention to giving thanks to Jesus for all He has done, rather than letting stress strip His joy from our hearts.

    And it might even mean joining in with the heavenly chorus to sing praises to Him, even if we can't carry a tune!

    The holidays can bring a flurry of heightened emotions and can often result in an unhealthy level of stress which can prevent us from engaging in worship and praising the One we are supposed to be celebrating.

    There will be lots of choices to be made during the month of December: where to serve, what gifts to buy, and how many events to attend. The most important choice we can make is to worship and sing praises to our Lord. For His gift. For His love. For His peace.

    And when our hearts are at peace, our holidays can be too.

    Lord, I choose to intentionally worship and praise You during this Christmas season. Help me stay focused on You and Your goodness. Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Pick a praise song that you will commit to sing to the Lord this Christmas season as a way to intentionally focus on worshipping Him.

    How have you allowed the emotions of the season to distract you from worship?

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 148:2, "Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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

  • Spiritual Buoyancy

    Posted on December 3, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

    Hope keeps us afloat. Sin and sorrow cannot sink a soul that finds spiritual buoyancy from belief in its living hope, Jesus Christ. We have hope because Jesus rose from the dead, therefore death is not final. It is a pass through into the presence of Almighty God. Our bodies were created for decay, but our soul for life eternal. As the body winds down in weakness the soul revs up in strength. The smell of death is like smelling salts to the soul searching for their unseen hope.

    Furthermore, we do not lose heart when we lose our health or any other earthly attachment. We can’t lose what we have already let go of and given over to the Lord. Relationships, reputations and riches lose their control over our peace when they are first given to God. Yes, the Holy Spirit is our Comforter when earthly comforts are threatened or removed. While some count on their savings for security, only what is eternal is truly dependable. Faith facilitates spiritual buoyancy.

    Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. Isaiah 40:31

    Do you feel like you are treading water with only your nose barely breaking the surface? Do you find yourself choking for air because life’s circumstances have sucked all the oxygen from your lungs? If so, the Lord has His lifeboat of love for your rest and renewal. You do not have to flail around unable to swim in the waters of the world, the flesh and the devil. They will drown you if you fight them alone. Help from the Holy Spirit lifts you up, back onto solid ground.

    Parenting teenagers requires mom’s nurturing, dad’s discipline and a mentor’s support. So, seek out a couple ahead in their child’s development, who can share their wisdom. Moreover, it may be harder to raise your parents than your children. If your aging mother or father need your help, be patient and let them discover their new realities in a respectful process. Yes, you receive the Spirit’s buoyancy so you are able to assist those who may be sinking under the weight of anxiety. Spiritual buoyancy from God’s mercy gives you inner energy to not lose heart!

    Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Corinthians 4:1

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, You are my refuge for rest and renewal when I feel alone and anxious.

    Related Readings: Psalm 103:5, 121:1-8; Romans 8:35-39; Colossians 3:10; 1 John 2:14-17

    Post/Tweet this today: Sin and sorrow cannot sink a soul that finds spiritual buoyancy from belief in its living hope, Jesus. #spritualbuoyancy

    © 2013 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 WE'RE ABOUT

“to look after orphans and widows in their distress...” James 1:27 NIV

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