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  • When You Need Help

    Posted on June 28, 2013 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie Miles

    "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." John 14:26 (ESV)

    Perhaps I was over-confident in my abilities. I thought all I'd need was a little help with the basics. But before the day was over I realized how wrong that thought process was. Especially when the day ended in frustrated tears.

    It was my first time snow skiing, so my friend assured me that when the time came, he would help teach me how to make it down the slopes.

    Somehow that instruction never happened, and before I knew it, my friend was quickly gliding down the freshly fallen snow while I stood gripping my poles and planting my skis deeply into the snow. As I watched him get smaller in the distance, I realized my helper was gone. Suddenly I was faced with a choice: turn back and take off my skis or get down the mountain alone.

    It didn't take long for me to realize I made the wrong choice. Every time I managed to dig myself out of a mound of wet snow, I'd find myself face-first again in a jumble of skis and snowflakes. I was exasperated by my lack of coordination and vowed to never ski again. No matter how many times I tried to do it on my own, I still desperately needed someone to teach me and guide the way.

    My challenging experience on that mountain reminds me of the conversation Jesus had with His disciples before His crucifixion recorded in John chapter 14. Jesus explained that although He had to leave, God would send a Helper, the Holy Spirit, to be with them always. Unlike my ski instructor who bailed on me, the Holy Spirit would never leave them alone.

    Jesus knew the disciples might soon forget all the lessons He'd taught them. That's why He promised the Holy Spirit would remain with them to help them recall all that He had taught. Jesus understood that life would get messy, challenges would arise, persecution would come, and temptation would cross their paths.

    Jesus knew they would need a Helper to make it through the trials of everyday life, and He promised that the Holy Spirit would always be with them to help.

    The Holy Spirit is always ready to help us too, if only we remember to ask. The problem is, it's easy to forget to seek His help, not only in difficult decisions or circumstances, but also in small trials and decisions we face every day.

    In the same way learning to ski requires the help of someone who has already mastered the skill, learning to walk in faith requires the help of the Holy Spirit who equips us to traverse through life by teaching us what we need to know and helping us recall what we have learned.

    After taking a few lessons from a great instructor I finally learned to ski. Now I can make my poles and skis work together to get down the steep hills. I'm thankful for my ski teacher's help.

    But as thankful as I am for those skiing lessons, I'm eternally grateful for the Holy Spirit who helps me navigate my way through life.

    God knew we would need a Helper. And whether we are on the top of a mountain, or in the deepest pit, the Holy Spirit will never leave us alone. We can count on Him to guide us every step of the way.

    Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending us the Holy Spirit to be our Helper. Thank You for always being there for me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Check out our Jesus Calling Twitter feed by clicking here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What is one thing you have been trying to learn or master on your own without seeking God's help?

    Ask the Holy Spirit to be your Helper today in that circumstance. Seek His instruction, guidance and wisdom.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 54:4, "Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul." (NAS)

    Psalm 30:10, "Hear, O LORD, and be gracious to me; O LORD, be my helper." (NAS)

    © 2013 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with John

  • Favor With Man

    Posted on June 27, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel. Daniel 1:9

     

    Sometimes the Lord lays on the heart of an unconverted heart the desire to help one of His children. Yes, God can use those unfamiliar with His purposes to carry out His purposes. An automobile soiled by road film can still transport good people safely to their final destination. The Spirit is indiscriminate in who may come under His influence for godly outcomes. He is not limited by the capacity of the righteous and can use the unrighteous to carry out righteous results.

     

    Daniel was surrounded by authorities unsure of Yahweh, but he never lost assurance from Almighty God. Do you find yourself in challenging circumstances? Do you feel like you are alone in your stand for what’s right? If so, look around you and pray for a man or woman who may not embrace your beliefs, but whom God may use to give you support and encouragement. At times, non Christians can be more supportive of God’s work than the fearful religious crowd.

     

    His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. John 9:22

    God may have given you far more favor with man than you realize. Even while you cease from work, His Holy Spirit is at work in the hearts of those in your circle of influence. When you choose to do the right thing, you give courage to others to do the right thing. Your rising tide of trust in Jesus raises the boats of belief with those around you. Expect favor even from enemies. You can trust the Lord with those out of His favor to be moved by the Spirit to show you favor.

    Therefore, look for the Lord to cause your manager to show you favor and compassion. Pray for the Holy Spirit to move over the heart of a person with whom you have differences, so they become reasonable and open to your standard of integrity. Trust God with your unsaved parents who in the past dismissed your devotion to Christ. However, in the future through your loving pursuit, forgiveness and gracious attitude your Heavenly Father can turn your father and mother to Him!

    When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them. Proverbs 16:7

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I trust You will cause those out of Your favor to show me favor.

     

    Related Readings: 1 Samuel 2:26; Proverbs 3:4; Nehemiah 1:11; Luke 2:52; 2 Corinthians 1:11

     

    Post/Tweet today: You can trust the Lord with those out of His favor to be moved by the Spirit to show you favor. #mansfavor

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Daniel

  • As Weak as Our Strongest Link

    Posted on June 27, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

    One day I tweeted, "We are only as weak as our strongest link." It wasn't a typo. It's something I've been thinking about for a while now.

    Often the Bible talks in counter-intuitive statements. Different than the normal flow. An unexpected rub against the grain.

    To gain, you must give up.

    If someone takes your jacket, give them your shoes too.

    When we are weak, then we are strong.

    Tough stuff. Good stuff. Heart-protecting stuff.

    The minute I start feeling absolutely confident in my own strength is the minute I am desperately weak ... and I don't even realize it.

    The Lord reminded me of this right before I stepped on stage to speak to 4,500 women at a large conference. One minute I was walking backstage to get my microphone on and the next minute I was on the ground with my face pressed into the cement floor.

    My heel had gotten caught in a crack in the floor and that's all it took to bring me down.

    My first thoughts were not spiritual.

    Have mercy, I've probably split my pants wide open and there is no time to change!

    I quickly picked myself up, put on the over-ear microphone, and went on stage. I felt so vulnerable.

    Inside my head I whispered, Lord, I'm not ready. I don't want to speak right now. I want to go crawl in a hole with a mirror so I can check my pants! I tried as discretely as possible to make sure the seams in my pants were in tact.

    My heart drummed wildly in my chest as I prayed, Jesus, I am completely desperate for You.

    And I imagine the Lord thought, Good. She's ready. Now, this is going to be powerful.

    I'd left my strength, confidence and self-sufficiency back on that concrete floor. Next to the crack that tripped me up. And my weakness made room for God's strength to take over.

    My weakness wasn't what could have messed me up that day. It was my strength.

    We are only as weak as our strongest link. Sometimes it's not our weaknesses that leave us vulnerable to attack. It's our strengths. Those places where we feel especially confident, invincible, and quite able. But, as a friend reminded me recently, "Our strengths can become strongholds if we're not careful."

    When Paul pleaded with the Lord to remove the thorn in his flesh—the thing that made Paul feel weak—the Lord did not. Instead, the Lord reminded Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9a NIV).

    Paul took hold of this truth and went on to conclude in verse 10, "For when I am weak, then I am strong" (12:10b NIV). Which leads me to wonder if the opposite is also true ... where I am strong, then I am weak.

    I'm making a conscious effort to stay in tune with what strengths might easily trip me up. Really doing some soul-searching. Praying. Listening for direction and correction. Then, walking in complete faith. Because if we're going to call ourselves people of faith, we must live lives that require faith. For me this means accepting my weaknesses rather than boasting in my strengths.

    Faith is like walking over a bridge, where we cross over from relying on our strength to God's strength. It's a powerful walk to take.

    However, I really wouldn't recommend wearing high-heeled shoes.

    Dear Lord, reveal to me the places where I'm relying on my own power instead of Yours. Show me what strengths could be my biggest weaknesses, God, so that I can learn to serve You better. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    In her book, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, Lysa TerKeurst shares inspiring stories from her own life along with biblical insights as she describes how to discern when God is speaking to you. Click here to purchase your copy!

    Reflect and Respond:
    What strength could easily trip you up today? Ask God to give you spiritual ears to hear any direction or correction He whispers.

    What would it look like to exchange your weakness for God's strength?

    Power Verse:
    Ephesians 6:10, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 2 Corinthians

  • Ask Permission

    Posted on June 26, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.” Daniel 1:8

     

    Some do what they want now and later ask for forgiveness. Those who work the system to their advantage miss seeing God work out His will in time. Daniel resolved to do the right thing, but he submitted to the lines of authority in his life. A wise reminder: we show respect to a boss, parent, teacher or civic official by seeking permission and not dismissing. Our submissive attitude is an opportunity for the Lord to work in the hearts of those who may not know Jesus.

     

    Whose blessing do you need before you move forward with your idea or decision? How will they feel knowing you took the time to include them in the process? Faith is a function of being comfortable in circumstances that are out of your control. By letting go of having to get something now, you are able to watch the Lord provide something even better later. Moreover, your quiet and compliant spirit is a channel for the Holy Spirit to draw others to Himself.

     

    Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Psalm 37:7

     

    Perhaps your parents have not given you permission to marry at this time, if so, be patient and trust the Lord will change their heart or yours in His timing. Maybe you have a much better way to move forward with a project at work, but your boss is not convinced it is legitimate. Pray and submit to the conventional, but trust God will use your creative solutions as a seed that grows into future changes. The Holy Spirit can convert people and circumstances as you wait on Him!

     

    Above all, make sure your Heavenly Father has signed off on your actions, before you barrel ahead with premature initiatives. Better to receive peace through patient prayer, instead of pain from impatient prayerlessness. Ask the Holy Spirit for permission before you proceed. Silence means wait, not now; no means I have something better in store for you and yes means move forward by faith. Thus, ask for permission now, so you won’t have to ask for forgiveness later.

     

    Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. Romans 13:5

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me courage to ask permission and faith to trust You with the answer.

     

    Related Readings: Nehemiah 2:1-6; Proverbs 3:6; Colossians 1:6; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 2:13

     

    Post/Tweet today: Ask for permission now, so you won’t have to ask for forgiveness later. #respectauthority

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Daniel

  • We As Human's Debut Explodes!

    Posted on June 26, 2013 by Family Christian

    Rock Phenomenon WE AS HUMAN Shatters Expectations for
    Debut Album Release 

    Critics declare WE AS HUMAN “perfect” and “the epitome of what rock
    music is missing these days”

    The bar has been set very high for new rock band WE AS HUMAN. As the flagship artist on the Hear It Loud imprint label (via Atlantic/Word Records) and the touted prodigy band of Skillet's John Cooper, expectations could not have been higher for WE AS HUMAN and their debut, self-titled release that hits stores this week. Fortunately for fans, WE AS HUMAN has delivered.

    In addition to feature articles in the Houston Chronicle, HM Magazine, CCM Magazine, Rock Edition and an exclusive album premiere on Revolver Magazine, their lead single “Strike Back” recently broke into the Top 5 of the Christian Rock radio chart. Critically, media outlets have showered unprecedented acclaim on the new band, going as far as declaring WE AS HUMAN “perfect,” “almost completely flawless” and “the epitome of what rock music is missing these days.”

    Here is a full sampling of the buzz that WE AS HUMAN is claiming:

    "The We As Human album is a no-brainer! It's a combination of great hooks and rock-n-roll. It feels good to be a fan of rock music again."
    - Dan H., Family Christian

    “We As Human steps up to own their identity with a confidence and intensity rarely found even in long-established bands. Their self titled release is a perfect storm of searing riffs, dynamic vocals, and aggression channeled into lyrics fueling the struggle of death to self and rebirth to life.””
    - New Release Tuesday

    “This album is perfect. The lyrics, the melody, the instrumentals and, of course, the choice in guest vocalists make this album flawless.”
    - New-Transcendence

    “This is the epitome of what rock music is missing these days. This entire record doesn’t have one dull moment and will make those who give it a chance rushing to the next We As Human show.”
    - The Front Row Report

    “This album has the potential to blow everyone away.”
    - HM Magazine

    “Overall this is one of my favorite debut albums I have heard in a long time. The album was produced very well with just the right amount of mellow songs, digital sound effects, and heavy sound.”
    - Christian Music Review

    “While most bands seem to be steering towards an easy, accessible sound, We As Human is doing just the opposite. Their self-titled album is full of face-melting rockers that will have you pumping your rawkfist gleefully in the air.”
    - Christian Music Zine

    “This album is almost completely flawless.”
    - The Core of Brutality

    “We As Human’s debut album is jammed packed with intense songs that will nip at the ears of the listener. It stays true to their core values while adding levels of energy and intensity that will appeal to fans who are looking for something more in rock music.”
    - EMURG

    For a recent Q&A with Justin Cordle from the band, click here.


    This post was posted in Music and was tagged with Featured, Skillet, We As Human

  • Do You Remember Lex Luger?

    Posted on June 26, 2013 by Family Christian

    Lex Luger, wrestling megasensation and three-time world heavyweight champion, ruled the ring for years as “The Total Package.” Whether he was making a dramatic entrance from a helicopter, defeating champ Hulk Hogan, or sculpting a near-perfect physique, Lex was on top of his game. Yet backstage, he was wrestling with addictions to sex, drugs, and alcohol—things he clung to even when his mistress died suddenly of a drug overdose and Lex went to jail. There, Lex faced the truth: he was losing the fight for his life. And still awaiting him was his most brutal opponent yet, when the wrestling champ found himself helplessly paralyzed from the neck down. In Wrestling with the Devil, Lex Luger reveals never-before-told stories from his career, his struggle with personal demons, and how, through unexpected faith, grace, and redemption, he overcame all odds to fight the only battle that really matters.


    This post was posted in Books and was tagged with Featured, Lex Luger

  • Fans and Critics Agree - New Skillet Album, Rise, Rocks!

    Posted on June 26, 2013 by Family Christian

    Everyone agrees – RISE was worth the wait. Nearly four years since their last album, two-time GRAMMY®-nominated and platinum selling rock band Skillet aren't showing signs of slowing down. The new release, out today, comes as the highly anticipated follow-up to Skillet's mega-selling project AWAKE. The praises for RISE are pouring in with the project being called one of the "Best Rock Albums of the Year."

    USA Today featured the release offering a 3 out of 4 star review and toting the headline "Skillet's 'Rise' above rock boundaries." Adding to the momentum comes Billboard's praise of the record for "mixing new sonic flavors into the group's hard-rock bombast." The flood of applause has just begun, with more reviewers chiming in agreement at diverse outlets in both the mainstream and Christian world.

    "From beginning to end, Rise captured me and didn’t let go. I love the passion and heart of Skillet."

    - Dan H., Family Christian

    “Skillet is excelling at its craft.”

    - HM Magazine

    “Every note feels like it is there to convey an emotion and there is a laudable sense of in-the-moment intensity.”

    – HitFix.com

    "Bottom line: Skillet really did rise above the norm and their previous projects with RISE. Each and every song is a masterpiece in its own right...RISE is THE album of 2013."

    - About.com

    “Skillet hopes to strike gold, well platinum, once again…with RISE, band clearly refuses to rest on their laurels.”

    - CCM Magazine

    "The songwriting has more depth, there’s added diversity, the concept and lyrics are interesting and uplifting...there are plenty of potential hit singles like ‘Sick Of It.’ Current Skillet fans will find plenty to like, and new fans will be attracted to the album as well."

    - Loudwire.com

    “This has all of the band’s best elements in one record. It looks like Skillet has another platinum record on their hands.”

    - Midwest Music Scene

    “Skillet's RISE is an achievement well worth the wait...might also be their most musically complex and diverse offering.”

    - New Release Tuesday

    “RISE is Skillet’s strongest album yet and is one of the best rock albums that will be released this year.”

    - Front Row Report

    "...it's hard to root against RISE, as its commercial aspirations are matched by its certainty that, despite the endless smackdowns delivered by the daily grind, goodness will ultimately prevail."

    - AllMusic.com

    The band has been building momentum around the album's arrival with radio promotion, a social media blitz and festival show performances. The past two weeks Skillet hosted their first ever VIP fan events titled "Road to Rise" in Nashville and Chicago. The Chicago Sun-Times heralded the event stating that it "redefines the VIP experience." In the digital world, the band did an exclusive album stream and podcast premiere with Billboard, video premieres with Revolver and Guitar World and a song premiere with USA Today, to name a few. The high media profiles lead up to the band's late night debut on CONAN on July 11.

    Their continual radio success can be seen on both the Active Rock and Christian charts with "Sick Of It" currently at No. 12 on the Active Rock chart with a bullet and the No. 1 slot at Christian Rock for six consecutive weeks. Also at Christian radio, critic favorite "American Noise" continues to receive airplay at AC radio while quickly climbing the Hot AC/CHR chart at No. 5 with a bullet.

    To read our exclusive interview with John Cooper from Skillet, click here.


    This post was posted in Music and was tagged with Featured, Skillet

  • Decyfer Down Set to Release New Album, Scarecrow

    Posted on June 26, 2013 by Family Christian

    "Fight To Win" is the first single off the record
    and is available today

    It’s been a five-year wait for new music from North Carolina hard rockers Decyfer Down, but it was time well spent. The follow-up to the successful 2008 release CRASH, will floor their long-time fans boasting a tantalizing mix of moody anthems, driving guitars and a heavy sound that is matched by weighty spiritual lyrics. Scarecrow, which releases on August 27, 2013 proves the old adage, “good things come to those who wait."  Leading the pack to release date is "Fight To Win," the band's first single off the record.

    Scarecrow will be the first full studio project since front-man TJ Harris joined the group, just after CRASH was written. It’s clear that Harris, guitarists Brandon Mills and Chris Clonts and drummer Josh Oliver have created an album that hearkens back to Decyfer Down’s 2006 groundbreaking debut, End of Grey. “The way we write songs is based on the things that have inspired our lives the most,” says Josh. Scarecrow proves experience has strengthened the band, as artists and writers.

    Helmed by producer Paul Ebersold (Seventh Day Slumber, 3 Doors Down, Third Day), Scarecrow is accessible without being predictable and edgy without being off-putting — a rare album that feels familiar immediately while continuing to surprise with each new listen.

    Track Listing for Scarecrow:
    1. Memory
    2. Westboro
    3. Worst Enemy
    4. Say Hello
    5. Bleeding Lines
    6. Fight To Win
    7. Scarecrow
    8. The River
    9. Some Things Never Change
    10. So In Love


    This post was posted in Music and was tagged with Featured, Third Day, Decyfer Down, Seventh Day Slumber

  • There's Power in His Words

    Posted on June 26, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "'Let the prophet who has a dream recount the dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?' declares the LORD. 'Is not my word like fire,' declares the LORD, 'and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?'" Jeremiah 23:28-29 (NIV)

    "Glynnis, what do you think I should do?"

    Wrapping my hands around my coffee cup, I leaned back in my chair, took a sip and struck what I believed was a wise pose.

    On the outside, I was composed ... I crossed my legs and rocked back, looking at my friend intently.

    But on the inside ... oh that was a different story. On the inside, I was giddy. Someone wanted my opinion! Oh what joy that brought to the heart of this always-wanting-to-be-right girl. Gathering my thoughts, I took a deep breath and proceeded to unload what surely were words that would change her life!

    Her response was under-whelming.

    I expected to hear something like, "Wow! I hadn't thought of that. Thank you so much. I'm definitely going to take your advice."

    All I got back, "Hmmm ... okay."

    Insecurity bothered me for days. I second-guessed everything I'd said, wondering if somehow I'd offended her or came across as bossy or judgmental. I'd so carefully crafted each sentence, that I couldn't imagine where I'd gone wrong.

    I spent many years wanting to be the one people came to for questions. To be acknowledged. To have all the answers. And yet time and time again, my advice fell on deaf ears. Unless someone else gave the exact same advice I did a few days later. Then everyone thought it was brilliant. Awesome.

    Receiving this type of response bugged me for years. Until I realized God was using it to teach me a lesson. God needed to uncover a heart attitude behind my actions. Rather than pointing people to God's Word, I consistently pointed them to my words. And my words don't have the power to change lives like God's.

    As a young Christian, I knew God's Word was important. Reading the Bible became a central part of my life. But there were many years where it was more routine than life-changing. I read it because that's what "good" Christians did.

    My faith took a drastic leap forward when I realized God's Word had power when I believed it and acted on it. It had power because it was truth. It had power because it had the weight of heaven behind it.

    One of the first lessons God taught me was from James 1:5-6, where James tells of the importance of not doubting when we ask for wisdom: "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 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" (NIV).

    I realized I doubted all the time. One day I decided to take God at His Word and stop doubting He would answer my prayers for wisdom. When I asked for direction, I trusted that my gut instinct was from God ... so long as it wasn't against His Word. The more I addressed doubt, the more my confidence grew that I was hearing from God. And the more I saw God move in my life.

    The power of God's Word changed my life drastically when I chose to believe and act on it. And while I still like to be asked for advice, now I point people in the direction of God's Words more than mine. The response is always life-changing.

    Heavenly Father, You are the source of true power and wisdom. Forgive me for all the times I've looked to myself for strength. I want to be a woman whose life is testimony to the power of Your Word to transform and renew. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    To read God's life-changing Word for yourself, purchase the new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible, which is on sale for 20% off now through July 5! Reading the Word is the best investment you'll ever make in your spiritual growth.

    Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    Why do you think God made sure His words and the story of His people were written down?

    Power Verses:
    Isaiah 55:11, "... so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." (NIV)

    Matthew 7:24-25, "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had it's foundation on the rock." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Jeremiah

  • Prone to Wander

    Posted on June 25, 2013 by Amy Carroll

    Amy Carroll

    "Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits..." Psalm 103:2 (NIV)

    For years, we owned a dog named BC who was the bane of my existence. He definitely earned his nickname—Houdini. He was a long hound with short legs and truly an escape artist of the highest degree.

    There was no fence high enough and no enclosure secure enough to keep him contained. BC scaled or dug or jumped or schemed his way to freedom outside our yard on a regular basis.

    I think about those days and have to laugh. Because our whole family adored him—despite his wandering heart—we worked and worked to keep him home. We built a fence we believed would protect him from the outside world. My boys played and snuggled with him. BC was fed healthy dog food and yummy snacks. He had balls, toys and a soft dog bed.

    And yet he wandered.

    BC roamed our neighborhood, and sometimes we got reports of him on streets miles away. He always came home eventually (sometimes pursued by the dog catcher), but our family worried about him when he left the safe haven of home.

    How I identify with BC's wandering ways.

    These words from my favorite hymn, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, pierce my heart each time I hear them:

    O to grace how great a debtor
    Daily I'm constrained to be!
    Let Thy goodness, like a fetter
    Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
    Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.
    Prone to leave the God I love.
    Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
    Seal it for Thy courts above. ~Robert Robinson

    God has created a place of safety for me within His Word. His commandments are designed to protect me, not restrict me. God gives me the good gifts of His mercy, grace and forgiveness to remind me to stay near. He pours His love on me and draws me deep into His family, and yet ...

    Sometimes my heart still wanders.

    I ignore His truth and make decisions that launch me outside the safety of His guidelines. I harbor wrong thoughts. I use words that minimize others. These choices and others can take me away from God's heart. And yet He longs to draw me home again.

    The opening verses of Psalm 103 provide a key to keep my wandering heart close to God: "Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits ..." (Psalm 103:1-2 NIV).

    By praising God and rehearsing His benefits, I train my heart to find contentment close to God rather than far from Him.

    When I want to wander, the verses that follow Psalm 103:1-2 list even more reasons to praise and thank God:

    "...who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's" (vv. 3-5 NIV).

    I spent 14 long years chasing BC around our neighborhood. My love for him kept me pursuing him and finding ways to keep him safe in our yard. God's love is the same toward us. Let's join with the Lord in staying in the protective boundary lines He's given us by praising and rehearsing His faithful ways. Doing so will bind our wandering hearts to God and keep us safe in the nurturing places He's created for you and me.

    Lord God, I thank You that You have given us such a long list of benefits for which to praise You. Settle my heart in the safety of Your home with a faithful and content heart. In Jesus' precious Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Scripture is the perfect place to search for the benefits of God. The NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women is also filled with 366 of our devotions. Pick up your copy, now 20% off, by clicking here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Do you fill your heart and mind with the benefits of God that keep you close to His heart, or do you constantly allow your heart to wander from God's safety and care?

    Read Psalm 103 in its entirety and make a list of the benefits of God you find and rehearse them in your mind today.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 16:5-6, "LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Psalm

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