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Tag Archives: 1 Corinthians

  • But God ... He's Not Very Lovable Right Now

    Posted on June 17, 2014 by Jill Savage

    Jill Savage

    "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)

    My emotions swirled in frustration during a particularly difficult season of my marriage. My husband's disillusionment with life, God and our marriage had taken him to a place of rock-bottom depression. It was one of the darkest seasons I'd ever experienced.

    "God, show me what you want me to do," I whispered in desperation.

    "I want you to love him." I heard deep in my soul.

    Immediately I responded, "But God ... he's not very lovable right now."

    "I know, Jill. Sometimes you aren't either," God whispered back.

    "Okay, Lord. I get that. You love me when I'm not very lovable. Show me how to do the same."

    That conversation with God launched a much-needed lesson about what real love looks like in everyday life as a wife and a mom.

    Love is a blend of affection, devotion and loyalty. It is part emotion and part commitment. Real love — unconditional love — is hope blended into the reality of life.

    Two years after that hard season of marriage, I found myself in a difficult season of parenting. As a mother of five, we'd faced plenty of parenting trials, but none quite as challenging or long-suffering as this season with one of our children. I knew God needed me to respond in love to my child who was anything but lovable in this hard time.

    Our imperfect family members need to know that our love is never in doubt. It always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres.

    When God is the leader of our lives, He asks us to deny ourselves and follow Him. That means resisting the way we want to react and instead choosing to respond the way God wants us to respond.

    There's a battle that happens inside of us between doing things our way and doing things God's way. When we let God win that battle, we take a step of maturity in our faith. We also get to experience a sense of joy when we experience the victory of handling things God's way instead of our way.

    I opened my Bible to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and began to perform a parenting love audit as it related to my child:

    Love is patient. Am I patient with my child who is so different than I am?

    Love is kind. Am I kind when it takes my child twice the amount of time to do something than I think it should?

    Love does not envy. Do I wish my child were more like someone else's child?

    Love does not boast. Am I quick to share what my child does well or hide areas when my child doesn't seem to measure up?

    Love is not proud. Am I hesitant to share how I'm really doing or how my child is really doing out of a fear of what people will think?

    Love does not dishonor others. Do I ever dishonor my child, demanding that he be someone other than the unique person God has made him to be?

    Love is not self-seeking. Am I ever selfish in my interactions with my child?

    Love is not easily angered. How much energy do I waste being angry at my child?

    Love keeps no record of wrongs. Do I have an ongoing list in my head about everything my child has done wrong?

    Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. Do I keep my mind focused on God's truth about my child?

    Love protects. Do I protect this unique human being God entrusted to me even when he challenges my authority?

    Love trusts. Do I trust that God has a bigger picture in mind for this child's life?

    Love hopes. Do I hope and believe the best for this child, or do I dread what tomorrow might bring?

    Love perseveres. Do I keep my mind on the future possibilities rather than focusing on the difficulties and challenges I'm dealing with today?

    Thank You, God, for loving me with all my faults. And thank You for the imperfect people I live with. I know You use their imperfections to help me mature and mold me to be more like You. I also know You use my imperfections in that process, too. Help me to keep Your Truth embedded in my heart, so I can love without stopping, even when they don't feel so loveable. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    1 Corinthians 16:13-14, "Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you've got, be resolute, and love without stopping." (MSG)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Which family member most needs your unconditional love right now?

    How could applying 1 Corinthians 13, the "Love Chapter," to your challenge equip you to respond God's way rather than react your way?

    © 2014 by Jill Savage. All rights reserved.

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

    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 1 Corinthians

  • Temptation and Accountability

    Posted on May 1, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it. 1 Corinthians 10:13  The Message

    Temptation loses its teeth in the face of accountability. Just as a home security system alerts us when an intruder invades the premises, so loving accountability warns us of pending danger. Yes, temptation has its greatest influence when operating in isolation, but when exposed to a caring community, its illusions are dismissed. People who love us want what’s best for us. They are more objective and expose our unwise inclinations. Accountability keeps us honest.

    Everyone’s battle is everyone’s battle. Thus, we are wise not to fight alone. There is a very practical reason foxholes are not manned by one individual. We cover each other’s backs when in close proximity to one another; we engage the enemy. Victory comes to a band of brothers or sisters who seeks the best interest of the group. Prayers for purity push back the taunts of lustful thoughts from the tempter. We do better when we know our friends closely observe our lifestyle.

    “So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God” (Romans 7:4).

    Pornography is a rampant problem that grips our culture. It destroys relationships, corrupts the moral infrastructure of society, and steals the respect of its victims. We’re all one mouse click away from unseemly images on the worldwide web. How can we guard our hearts and minds from pornographic pain? An effective plan is to give 24/7 access to our computers and mobile devices to our spouse and accountability partners. Invite them to inspect what’s expected of us.

    Until we get real about our real issues of temptation, we will not experience lasting change. In our independent pride we will fall, but out of our interdependent humility we will stand. We all struggle with similar sins, why not name them and confess to friends our need to come clean. Our heavenly Father shows us favor when we are not ashamed of sharing our struggles. It’s much better to be humbled before a small group that loves us than humiliated before a large group who doesn’t know us. Temptation suffered alone succumbs, but together we overcome!

    “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the courage to confess my temptations to a small group who care about me.

    Related Readings: Job 31:33; 2 Samuel 12:13; 1 Corinthians 12:27; 2 Corinthians 13:11; 1 Timothy 3:7

    Post/Tweet today: Temptation suffered alone succumbs, but together we overcome! #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 1 Corinthians

  • Trials and Temptations

    Posted on April 29, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

    What is temptation? It is a desire enticing you to make an unwise decision. To be tempted is not to sin, but it does mean a sinful desire is close to conception, awaiting birth. So, we are wise to see temptation coming and prepare not to fall for its power of deceit. Trials are an outward test that can lead to an inward temptation. When weakened by adversity we become a prime target of our adversary--the devil. So how can we be prepared to overcome trials and temptations?

    For example, a job promotion can be a good thing, but what if it requires the test of travel? Time away from home cannot be properly replaced by any amount of money. And what are the agreed upon guidelines (with ourselves and if married, with our spouse) to keep us from falling for temptation? The moral temptation is to not remain faithful. The ethical temptation is to compromise our honesty. Peer temptation is to give into juvenile behavior. Intentional preplanning deals best with temptation. Avoid compromising situations: alone with the opposite sex, nightclubs or inaccurate expense reports.

    “Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their ownevil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin;and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:14-15).

    Moreover, there are those who desire to get rich. It is tempting because of the allure of affluence: freedom, nice homes, new cars, power and prestige. This test of prosperity requires a generous spirit to truly prosper, otherwise money creates idols of its own making. Those blessed materially learn how to leverage their possessions for God’s kingdom and not their own. They recognize the Lord as the owner and themselves as stewards. Generosity trumps the temptation of greediness.

    Lastly, use trials to draw closer to Christ and not be tempted to pull away from Him. Don’t allow hard times to harden your heart, instead invite the Spirit to soften your heart. In His desert aloneness Jesus was tempted by the devil, but He answered his lies with the truth of Scripture. So, seek the Lord when He seems distant and He will draw you unto Himself. Furthermore, be transparent with mentors and friends who can support you in remaining faithful. Confessing your vulnerabilities weakens temptations grip. Christ provides a way of escape for patient endurance.

    “Because he himself [Jesus] suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me away from temptations into the joy of doing Your will.

    Related Readings: Job 1:12; Matthew 4:1, 6:13; 1 Timothy 6:9; Hebrews 4:15; James 1:13

    Post/Tweet today: The test of prosperity requires a generous spirit to truly prosper, otherwise money creates idols of its own making. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 1 Corinthians

  • The Sticker Book

    Posted on April 25, 2014 by Micca Campbell

    Micca Campbell

    "Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." 1 Corinthians 7:5 (NIV 1984)

    It took creative measures to potty train our daughter. No sweet treat was good enough to get her ready for big-girl pants. It was going to take something she really loved to lure her into this next phase of life.

    Suddenly, it came to me. My daughter loves stickers. This gave me a great idea. I hung a large poster board on the bathroom wall. With colorful markers, I divided the poster into weekly sections. In a basket on the floor, I placed an assortment of sparkly stickers.

    Peyton's eyes widened with excitement when I showed her the newly decorated bathroom. "Each time you go to the potty, I will give you a sticker to place on the poster board," I explained. "When you get a certain amount of stickers, I'll take you to the store where you can pick out a prize."

    I've never seen a diaper come off so quickly before in my life. The stickers were working!

    My husband also noticed how well the training was going. One day, he came in from work and tossed a sticker book on the kitchen counter where I was preparing dinner. "What's that?" I questioned.

    "I noticed how the stickers were working for Peyton, and I thought maybe they'd work for you too," he answered. I narrowed my eyes at him and thought, What is he up to?

    "Every time you and I have a romantic night, I'll give you a sticker to put in your sticker book. When you fill it up, I'll take you anywhere in the world you want to go," he continued with a huge grin on his face.

    It's not that I didn't want to have romantic evenings with my husband, but most of the time tiredness trumped romance. You know what I mean?

    As women, we wear a lot of hats that require much responsibility. We constantly pour ourselves out for others. At the end of the day, all I want is a soothing bath and a warm bed. I suppose my husband could interpret that the wrong way. He probably feels like he gets my leftovers. This is not God's plan and it's why He gave married couples this passage:

    "The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control" (I Corinthians 7:4-5).

    God knew both women and men would struggle in this area. Whatever the reason, withholding should be mutual, short-lived and discussed openly and privately between husband and wife. This helps both of you avoid temptation. Communication also helps your spouse hold on to his confidence when he knows the reason behind the struggle.

    After I shared with my husband the cause for my tiredness, he started pitching in around the house. Nothing is more appealing than a man running the vacuum!

    Working together can bring about great results. On the other hand, buying your spouse a sticker book might also move things in the right direction. The best reward, however, isn't a big vacation. The best reward is sticking it out with my husband as we learn to communicate, work together and trust each other through the struggles of everyday life.

    Dear Lord, my spouse is a gift from You. Give me the courage to talk honestly and openly with him. Use communication to deepen and strengthen our relationship in all areas. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Is intimacy difficult for you? Sometimes talking to your spouse is all you need. Other times, seeking medical care is the answer. Start by being open about the issue. You'll be glad you did.

    Practice being open with your spouse and ask God for courage to discuss any topic that is difficult for you.

    Power Verses:
    Ephesians 5:21, "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." (NIV)

    Hebrews 13:4, "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure ..." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Micca Campbell. 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 1 Corinthians

  • Freedom In Christ

    Posted on March 11, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. 1 Corinthians 7:22

    The desire for freedom is a longing of the human heart. It is the heartbeat of God. Liberty for all is foundational to free nations. Let freedom ring is the battle cry of republics who have sacrificed lives, so future generations can live free. It opens door of opportunities, like freedom to worship and work. We are free to be sad or glad, free to pursue God or money, and free to experience good or evil. Freedom in Christ is fundamental to the faith. By faith in Jesus, we are free indeed.

    However, we have an enemy to freedom: slavery. Slavery to sin, self, and Satan. A soul’s bondage brings despair and dread. We are not free to make wise choices, until our minds have been freed from the confusing claims of lies. But, truth clarifies. Moreover, there is a hideous slavery to sinister human beings. Human slavery treats people like property, not as precious people created by almighty God. Those imprisoned by evil need the righteous to rise up. Yes, freedom in Christ bears the responsibility to rescue those trafficked by greedy perverts. We must help the captives!

    “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life” (Romans 6:22).

    Furthermore, freedom in Christ comes from being a slave to Christ. Before Christ, our master was evil, after Christ our master was good. Before Christ our master was selfish, after Christ our master was generous. Before Christ our master was mean, after Christ our master was merciful. In Christ, we cannot serve two masters, only one: God Almighty. Thus, our glad servitude to the Lord frees us to serve for the Lord. Grace binds us to God’s love, so we are free to love for God.

    Human slavery is against the will. Spiritual slavery is free to choose. Human slavery is bondage. Spiritual slavery is freedom. Human slavery is hurtful. Spiritual slavery is healing. Human slavery is exploitation of helpless humans. Spiritual slavery is glorification of holy God. Thus, we ask ourselves, “Does anything other than Jesus Christ master any part of my life?” “Who in my life needs to be set free by faith in Jesus?” “How can I bring awareness to the atrocities of human trafficking?” Freedom in Christ comes from being a slave to Christ. So, live free for Him!

    “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, break my heart for what breaks Yours, especially the hideous sin of human trafficking.

    Related Readings: Genesis 2:16; Galatians 5:1; Hebrews 13:5; 1 Peter 2:16

    Post/Tweet today: Human slavery treats people like property, not as precious people created by Almighty God. #freedominChrist

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 1 Corinthians

  • Love Always Perseveres

    Posted on February 22, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Love always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:7

    Love always perseveres. It does not give up. This is why the love commitment of husbands and wives is “till death do us part.” This is the assurance that accompanies love, for it is loyal in the face of hard times. “I don’t love you anymore” is not an option for couples committed to Christ. Love always perseveres. It perseveres through problems; it perseveres through misunderstandings; it perseveres though uncertainty; it perseveres through knock down, drag out arguments; it perseveres through persecution, divorce, and abandonment; it perseveres through a lawsuit or being fired.

    Love becomes better instead of bitter when experiencing a raw deal. God’s grace and love provide you the lasting ability for extraordinary love. Indeed, if your heavenly Father didn’t personally love you, your love would be lethargic. It would be sluggish in its application to others if you were not daily loved by the Lord. You can’t be an unconditional lover if you don’t receive the unconditional love of Jesus. Therefore, love always perseveres in the process of being loved and extending love.

    This is why a parent perseveres in his or her love for their child. They can only give up on loving their loved one when their heavenly Father gives up on loving them. Parents persevere with their children because they love their children. Even through the hurt, rejection, selfishness, financial irresponsibility, and anger, love still stands. Love will not stand down to the devil’s strongholds in a young person’s mind and heart.

    Moreover, love perseveres in reminding them of the truth. Remind your children that their identity is in Christ . Your child is forgiven by you and by God; remind them of this. God has uniquely gifted your child; remind them of this. Love perseveres in reminding and revealing truth to those it loves. Pray the eyes of your child’s heart will see and understand the truth of who they are from God’s perspective. They are longing for love, so be the lead lover in their life.

    Lastly, persevere in your love for your parents. Parents can be distant and disinterested, but still love them. To some degree, they may still be licking the wounds of past hurts and disappointments. They need love as much as or more than anyone else. Love your mom and dad while they are still alive. One day they will not be around to love, so express all your love for your parents in this life. You plan for no regrets when you aggressively love them now.

    They may have chronically hurt you, but still love them. They may not love back, but still love them. They may be caught up in their own cares, but still love them. Love knows better, so it perseveres beyond bitterness and betrayal. You lose when the flames of love are extinguished by sheer exhaustion. You may need to rest in, receive, and be rejuvenated by the loving relationship of your friend, Jesus. Slow down and be loved. Persevere in your love, and one day you will be grateful you did. It is an invaluable investment because love leaves no regrets. It always perseveres.

    Taken from the February 22nd reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 1”

    Post/Tweet today:Wecan only give up on loving a loved one when our heavenly Father gives up on loving them. #loveperseveres

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 1 Corinthians

  • Marks of a Spiritual Father

    Posted on February 17, 2014 by John van der Veen

    John van der Veen

    A few years ago, I was teaching a Sunday School class through the book of 1 Corinthians.  In it we learn of both Paul's love for this motley crew and his passion for their pursuit of Christ.

     

     

    In chapter four he encourages them to think about the various marks of a spiritual father.  At this point in time I think it would be good for us to consider these.  Keep in mind that the list that Paul uses is defiantly not exhaustive, nor is it just for "spiritual" fathers.  Us "regular" dads would be good to take to Paul's words of encouragement here.

    Admonishes
    Paul writes in verse 14, "I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as a my beloved children."  He is urging them to move beyond the sin that they have become so comfortable with.  How often do you seek a father who would be willing to speak truth into your life?  Telling you to leave the sin behind?  How often as a father do you do the same to the ones that you love?

    Loves
    As stated above, Paul calls this group of people his "beloved children."  There is a genuine care here.  There are times in my past where I would find it much easier to shun someone that has disappointed me.  Paul's approach to discipline is to love them greatly.  I am reminded that because we have been loved greatly, so we are called to love greatly.

    Teaches
    Paul continues in verse 15, "though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers."  Paul knows that there are a lot of people that are more than willing to give advise.  Good advise doesn't do much for us, does it.  We need a good teacher.  A father can certainly be that for us.

    Lives by Example
    "I urge you, then, be imitators of me."  What a verse.  How bold of Paul to state something like this verse.  At first glance it may look intimidating for us.  We think that we would never be able to say something like that to someone else.  Listen here to what Paul is saying; he is not saying that he is perfect and that we need to be perfect like him.  That is the furthest thing from the truth.  What Paul is saying is that he is a sinner, but regardless of his sin, he continues to find his life hidden with Christ.  That statement is true for you and I, dear friend.  When we know that, we can boldly say, "be imitators of me."  Because we know that our lives are hidden in Christ - and that is where we have all the confidence we need.

    Disciplines
    In verse 21, Paul writes, "What do you wish?  Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in spirit of gentleness?"  Proverbs 13:24 says, "Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him."  Paul was not afraid of using a "rod" to bring discipline to his children in the church of Corinth.  They needed it.  To some extent, if Paul did not use it, he would showing them that he hates them.  Often times in our lives, as fathers, it may be easier to not bring the "rod" to our children, but in doing so we are communicating hate.  God disciplines those He loves and as fathers (spiritual or regular) we need to bring discipline.  In some cases, it's a matter of love or hate.


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion and was tagged with 1 Corinthians, Fathers

  • Love Forgives

    Posted on February 16, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    It keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:5

    Love forgives continually and it forgives comprehensively. Forgiveness wipes clean the slate of offense, hence it is freeing for everyone. Indeed, forgiveness was the heartbeat of Jesus. Some of His last words requested forgiveness from God for the ignorant acts of His offenders (Luke 23:34). Christ’s greatest act of love was the forgiveness He extended by His voluntary death on the cross (Colossians 2:13-15). Jesus described His own act of love when He said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus was the epitome of love and forgiveness; He owns the trademark.

    Forgiveness is the fuel for living a life free from the clutter of cutting words or unjust acts. A life without forgiveness is a lonely life locked up in the solitary confinement of sin. Forgiveness flows when you have been authentically and thoroughly forgiven. Half-hearted forgiveness is the destiny of those who have not tasted the tender touch of forgiveness from their heavenly Father. Unless the forgiveness of God has graced your heart and soul, your capacity for forgiveness will be foreign and futile.

    It is the grace of God and faith in Him that fuels forgiveness in followers of Christ. The job description of Christians is to love with forgiveness because we have been forgiven (Colossians 3:13). Think about the depth and breadth of your forgiveness. Ignorant acts, they are forgiven; drunkenness, it’s forgiven; lust, it’s forgiven; immorality, it’s forgiven; hate, it’s forgiven; ignoring God, it’s forgiven; unbelief, it’s forgiven. Love forgives because it has been forgiven.

    Remember where you were BC (before Christ), and reflect on where you would be today without His love and forgiveness. Recall what it was like to be lost and bound up in your sin, and celebrate how far God has brought you. Love is extremely grateful for God’s goodness and redeeming power. Forgiveness is second nature and somewhat automatic for followers of Jesus who are consumed with Christ’s love. They are enamored with God’s love for them and others. When you have been forgiven much, you love much (Luke 7:47).

    Your capacity to love is directly tied to your willingness to receive Christ’s forgiveness. Accept the Almighty’s forgiveness so you can extend forgiveness. Let go of unforgiveness and replace it with His unconditional love. Love looks for excuses to eliminate hard feelings, as it replaces resentment and bitterness with love and forgiveness. Love by forgiving your family member who may not even know they hurt your heart. Love by forgiving your friend who volitionally violated your confidence. Love by forgiving your father and mother who are preoccupied parents.

    Love by forgiving your child who is ungrateful and selfish. Love by forgiving yourself for your stupid decisions. Forgiveness forgets the past, engages in the present, and hopes in the future. Extend forgiveness indiscriminately and receive it graciously. Delete any record of wrongs from the hard drive of your heart. Call, write, or initiate a freeing conversation of forgiveness. Reject the temptation for indignation and humbly receive God’s grace instead. Love liberally by regularly relying on forgiveness. Love forgives.

    Taken from the February 16th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 1”

    Post/Tweet today:Unless God’s forgiveness has graced a soul, its capacity for forgiveness is fleeting. #loveforgives

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 1 Corinthians

  • Finding Your Sweet Spot

    Posted on February 12, 2014 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    “There are different kinds of gifts. But it is the same Holy Spirit Who gives them. There are different kinds of work to be done for Him. But the work is for the same Lord." 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (NLV)

    This past year I fell into the Pinterest frenzy. My Christmas gifts were wrapped in burlap, tied with twine and adorned with decorative pinecones and silver snowflakes.

    I repurposed a hutch, painting it creamy white with grey edging.

    I happily pinned new recipes, remedies and decorating ideas to my boards in hopes of one day seeing them come to life.

    Well, that is, until my daughter surveyed my work on the hutch. She walked around it, one time, then again, shaking her head. And in her honest way she said, "Mom, sometimes you just have to know what your sweet spot is ... and what it isn't."

    The hutch was a Pinterest fail. The paint was streaky. There were brown spots shining through, and not in the cool, distressed way like in the picture. My burlap presents were a hit, but the amount of time it took ... did it really make me happy? I love cooking, but lettuce wraps with hoisin sauce? They were so bad I wondered if I'd picked up "poison" sauce instead.

    There's nothing wrong with learning something new, and if your sweet spot is repurposing furniture and making your home beautiful, I love that about you. But we often spend a lot of time trying to be something we aren't.

    In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul describes the church (you and me) as multi-faceted and uniquely gifted. We were designed differently on purpose so that we can come together to make a whole.

    What is your sweet spot? How has God gifted you for His purposes?

    Apparently I'm not the next decorating diva, but I am still gifted. Here are a few of my sweet spots:

    • Sitting in my living room and writing words to encourage others.
    • Teaching the Bible and seeing it come to life in the heart of a woman.
    • Making a hearty meal and having people around my table.
    • Dancing in the living room with my grandbabies.

    God can use these sweet spots for His purposes. In a devotion like this. Or opening my home to study the Bible with friends. God uses my unique design when I invite a neighbor or friend for dinner and board games after.

    And my dancing with my grandbabies? I love to think this sweet spot matters as I plant the joy of the Lord in their tender little hearts.

    How has God formed and fashioned you? If it's hospitality and making a home beautiful, then there are people who will be touched by that gift. If it's humor and laughter, then someone needs to find that joy, too. If it's teaching, teach. If it's dancing in the living room with your babies, then dance away.

    And then, together, let's use those sweet spots to draw people to a God who loves them and is waiting to reveal their gifting, too.

    Dear Lord, I've often compared myself to others, or underestimate what You can do through me. Today I offer up those things I love the best, and ask that You show me creative ways that I can use them to impact others for You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Brainstorm! Write down your sweet spots (those things you love or areas where you are naturally gifted), even if it seems insignificant.

    Then pray this prayer: God, I love You and I love {fill in the blank}. How can I use these two things to bring glory to You?

    Power Verses:
    Romans 12:6-8, "In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly." (NLT)

    © 2014 by Suzie Eller. 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 1 Corinthians

  • Build Unity Into Your Marriage

    Posted on February 10, 2014 by Lauren Dungy

    Lauren Dungy

    " ... Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless." 1 Corinthians 15:58b (NLT)

    For years my husband and I have looked for ways to build unity in our marriage. Amazingly, one of the best things we've ever done hasn't been fancy vacations or expensive dinners. It's been serving God together and allowing Him to use our life experiences to reach children.

    When my husband, Tony, served as a head coach in the NFL, we often visited classrooms in inner-city schools together. As a former sixth grade teacher, I loved encouraging students to develop a love for reading. Yet we soon noticed there were few motivational, values-driven books with characters and story lines these kids could relate to. That's when Tony and I began writing children's books.

    Every Tuesday for the past four years, we have read one of our books to third grade students in schools where there are a high percentage of children from impoverished and single parent homes.

    In our years serving together, my husband and I have seen God use our offering of time and storytelling ability to show His love to children. Even though it may seem like a small thing, 1 Corinthians tells us everything we do matters: "Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless" (1 Corinthians 15:58b).

    Often our best opportunities to share about God come from the questions we receive. Since many of our characters are based on our nine kids, students often ask, "Is this story true?" We explain that we turn real-life experiences into stories with a message — usually about problem solving with guidance from parents and from God.

    Another question students often ask is, "Are you two married? To each other?" We enjoy sharing that we've been married for over 31 years. "Wow, you're kidding me!" is a common response.

    Some of these children know very few married couples, and we are pleased to model for them — if only briefly — how a husband and wife interact with each other. We understand, even if these kids don't, that God designed marriage as a reflection of Christ's relationship with His church. In some small way, when we serve others, we are giving them a glimpse of God's lavish love.

    Once after we had discussed our story and talked about marriage, children and making wise decisions, a boy eagerly raised his hand. "Are you guys Christians?" he asked. I felt such joy that a third grader recognized our love for God and desire to follow His plan.

    When you and your husband use your gifts and resources to benefit others, you will experience that same delight. But in a world filled with desperate people, how do you know where to serve? The chaplain of the Minnesota Vikings once gave Tony some great advice: "Ask yourself: What can I do that no one else can do? What gifts, connections, and resources do I have to help those who might be overlooked by everyone else?"

    Volunteering has strengthened our marriage in interesting ways. Tony received many accolades as an NFL coach, but I believe his best moments have been interacting with young boys with no father figures at home. In addition, with six kids still living under our roof, we enjoy these few hours to ourselves every Tuesday.

    Our classroom visits often spark discussions as Tony and I explore better ways to answer students' questions and make God's ideas clearer to young people. How blessed we are to be able to impact our community while having fun together!

    What about you and your spouse? If you enjoy entertaining, why not invite those new neighbors over for dinner? If you like working together on your home, could you ask your church to refer you to an elderly couple whose home is in urgent need of repair? The opportunities are as rich as the gifts God has given you.

    As you and your husband seek God's direction, I don't know whether your prayer will lead you to a classroom like the ones Tony and I visit. But I do know this: the Lord is just waiting to show you something that only the two of you can do.

    Heavenly Father, sometimes I forget that marriage is not simply about me and my spouse, but was designed by You as a visible representation of Your endless love. Would You begin to show us how we might extend Your grace to others? In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    When it comes to helping others, where do you and your spouse's passions intersect?

    Set aside 15 minutes this week to talk with your spouse about the gifts and resources God has given you. Begin brainstorming a few ways you might reach out to someone in your community. If you already serve together, discuss your satisfaction level.

    Power Verses:
    Acts 20:35b, "... remember the words of the Lord Jesus: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" (NLT)

    Philippians 2:4, "Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too." (NLT)

    © 2014 by Lauren Dungy. 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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 1 Corinthians

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