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Tag Archives: 2 Corinthians

  • Agreed Expectations

    Posted on December 29, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?”
    (Amos 3:3).

     

    Sometimes it is difficult to agree upon expectations, and in reality, we deal daily with expectation management. We are expected to do certain things at work, at home, and in friendships. We also project expectations on others. We know God expects faithfulness from us, and we have our expectations of Him, but expectations can get us into trouble.

    We can expect the wrong things Our expectations can be unclear or unrealistic or unrighteous. The same can be said of what others expect of us. At work you thought one outcome was expected while your supervisor expected something different. Even after the goals were put into writing, there were still different interpretations of the facts.

    Indeed, it is easy to corral expectations of simple tasks. I can expect or even require my children to complete their homework. This is not unreasonable. I would be an unfit parent if I did not provide some framework of expectations for my children. However, I would be an equally ineffective parent if I had expectations of my children but did not communicate them with grace and understanding. Clarifying expectations takes time.

    “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

    Furthermore, the more your trust grows in a relationship, the fewer the expectations Trust precludes the need for expectations. Trust causes many expectations to expire. When you place your total trust in God, you default to character expectations. You expect His love to be unconditional. You expect His forgiveness to be infinite. You expect to avail yourself of  His wisdom. Your expectations are character driven rather than cynically driven.

    It becomes about God’s will, not our wants. Healthy expectations revolve around God and His desires. The focus is off me but on God and others. He orchestrates the concert of life; so the goal is to discover His role for me and follow His lead. Then the motive with people becomes one of serving them in order to carry out God’s plan for their lives.

    How can you facilitate understanding God’s will for your spouse, child, or work associate? This is not always easy to discern but character-driven expectations can get to the point of their true need, and you can help meet that need. Focus on building trust in the relationship, and communication will flow more clearly and compassionately.

    Focus on fewer expectations and more on trust. Allow your expectations to begin and end with the character of God. Expect less, you will receive more. You can expect His faithfulness. Agree to expect what God expects, and allow your expectant desires to birth God’s will. “And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us” (2 Corinthians 8:5).

    Prayer: What does the Lord expect of me in the life roles He has assigned to me?

    Related Readings: Job 29:21; Psalm 5:3; Matthew 20:1–16; Philippians 1:20 

    Post/Tweet: Focus on fewer expectations and more  trust. Expect less,  you will receive more. #expectations© 2012 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 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Amos

  • From Overpowered to Empowered

    Posted on December 20, 2012 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)

    It was one of those days. I was driving to the airport in the pouring rain. The skies were grey. The day felt a bit gloomy. And honestly, so did I.

    There were just a lot of little things swarming my thoughts. Feelings of inadequacy stinging. There are so many things I'm responsible for and never enough hours in the day. I do enough to keep things from sinking. But I just wonder if I'm doing anything well. I don't think I am – doing anything well.

    The more I focused on these thoughts, the more overpowered I became. The more overpowered I became, the more withdrawn I felt.

    I pulled into the parking space and started the fight with my luggage. My suitcase has two wheels missing. And of course I keep intending to do something about this. But I don't have time. So I make do with a crazy suitcase and a crazy life and a crazy sense I should pack my family up and move out West. Live on a ranch where we grow our own food and I cook beans in a black pot over an open flame.

    Surely that would fix everything.

    Except that I know it wouldn't.

    Because the chaos isn't from my circumstances. It's inside me.

    I boarded the plane. I stared out the window. I watched the grey clouds envelop us.

    And then the grey broke.

    Suddenly, we rose above the clouds and the sun was shining crazy bright and far wide and fabulously clear.

    The clouds were just a temporary covering. They didn't stop the sun from shining. They just prevented my eyes from seeing the sun. And it wasn't just the sky that appeared a little brighter. My mood did as well.

    I started to shift from feeling overpowered to empowered as I realized three things:

    Just because I feel it doesn't make it real.

    Just like I felt the sun was gone but it was very much still there, I might feel like I'm not doing anything well, but it doesn't make it true. The fact that I have weaknesses doesn't make everything about me weak. I have plenty of strengths.

    All I have to do is ask a couple of my friends or my family members to help me see what I do well. I can celebrate those, and then get a plan for bettering things that need improvement. I can start by identifying one thing to improve on this month. And do a little toward making that one thing better.

    There are a lot of people who would trade their best day for my worst day.

    Yes, I have a lot to manage. And yes, sometimes things get foggy. But that doesn't mean I have to stay swallowed up in the grey. That means I need to get my head above the clouds and see all the places where the sun is shining brightly in my life. I can make a list of things for which I need to be thankful.

    My mind needs some space to think.

    If I always run at a breakneck pace, I'm eventually going to break. My mind is a powerful tool, capable of seeing things that can be done more efficiently and effectively if I give myself time to think. When is the last time I just sat quietly with a pen and paper and asked the Lord to help me think?

    As 2 Corinthians 12:9 teaches, God's power is made perfect in weakness. Just when I think I'm sinking in thoughts of inadequacy and plans to relocate out West, I remember that my ability is not based on what I can do. My ability and strength come from the One who can do all things. With the Lord working in me and through my weaknesses, I can feel the transformation from being overpowered to empowered taking place.

    If the clouds have been looming close lately, maybe it's time to stop. Pause. Lift your eyes to an altitude that can rearrange your attitude.

    Dear Lord, only You can provide all I need to stay the course. Please replenish me with a new attitude as I try to see above my grey clouds today. Help me to refocus my attention to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    God gave us feelings to experience life, not destroy it! If you're feeling overpowered by your emotions during this holiday season, add Lysa TerKeurst's Unglued to your wish list.

    The accompanying Unglued Bible Study will also help you understand what the Bible says about better ways to react. To order your copy click here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    1. Identify one thing to improve on this month.
    2. Make a list of 5 things you are thankful for.
    3. Commit 5-10 minutes a day to sit quietly with a pen and paper and ask the Lord to help you think.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 34:17-18, "The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


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

  • Walk By Faith

    Posted on December 3, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    "For we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV

     

    Eyes of faith are for this world, while eyes of sight are for eternity, where we see Jesus face to face—there faith is not necessary. Ironically, if we attempt to walk by sight we are blind to the things of God, but if we walk by faith we can fully see the ways of the Lord. On earth blindness to God breeds confusion, but eyes of faith receive vision and clarity. Thus, walk by faith and watch Him work. 

    For example: forgiving an offender (who has no remorse) seems irresponsible now, but ultimately brings peace through God's forgiveness of us. Or, if the Lord guides you to walk away from a deal, a relationship or a job, do so even if you don't completely understand why. Say no to what you see and yes to what you don't see. Your Savior Jesus has given you spiritual sight to see and act with conviction.

    "For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:12

    Indeed, your view or understanding is not the perception of your heavenly Father's. Like a student observing the master sculptor whose statue is only half hewn out of marble, the gifted artist has the completed masterpiece in his mind's eye, but only reveals the work as it progresses. In the same way, God knows the intricate details of your destination and He makes known to you His plan as is proper. You are a wonderful work of His sculptured grace.

    Your physical eyes grow tired and dim as time rushes by, however your spiritual eyes grow more keenly robust with age. Put on the faith colored glasses of God's grace and you will see things as He wants them to become: a faithful and fun marriage, a job with joy and fulfillment, a clear calling, children who love Jesus and good habits that replace bad. Walk by faith and experience the abundance of Christ's capacity. Let the Lord heal your lame legs of unbelief, then once again walk robustly with Him!

    “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.” Hebrews 11:7

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me daily in a faith walk with Your son Jesus.

    Related Readings: Mark 10:52; 2 Corinthians 4:18; Hebrews 11:1; 1 John 3:2

    Post/Tweet today: Eyes of faith are for this world, while eyes of sight are for eternity where we see Jesus face to face. #faith

    © 2012 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 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Hebrews

  • When You're Wrong, Even Though You're Right

    Posted on December 3, 2012 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy Blight

    "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

     

    My stomach churned in a mix of grief and anger. I was shocked with disbelief. A Bible study leader I knew had blatantly disobeyed God's truths. I was frustrated, and honestly I was angry, too.

    Righteous anger. Have you ever experienced it? That justifiable anger that rises up within you when you know someone is acting in a way that dishonors God. That anger Jesus expressed when He walked into the Temple and found the moneychangers doing business in God's house, defiling Holy ground.

    Righteous anger is a good thing. However, what we do with it is another matter.

    I shared my feelings about this leader's behavior with my husband and another couple during dinner one night. Was I gossiping? In the moment, I didn't think so. In fact, I felt okay talking about this leader since they'd engaged in behavior I thought was "unchristian."

    Everyone at dinner agreed with me and disapproved, which validated my feelings. I took comfort in how good it felt that I wasn't alone.

    However, the next day as I sat in church, God spoke in a powerful way through the sermon. Our pastor taught about idle gossip and character assassination, and how our words matter. Each word penetrated my heart like a double-edged sword.

    I too was a spiritual leader. And I had disobeyed God's Word as I judged another believer in the presence of others. Had I talked out of righteous anger? No. Idle gossip? Yes. Character assassination? Definitely.

    In the quietness of that moment in church, I felt conviction.

    Not guilt. Not shame. But conviction.

    The difference between these emotions is that guilt and shame are about us, and they are unproductive. They leave us stagnant, in a bad place with God and others.

    Conviction, on the other hand, is about God. It's a productive emotion from the Holy Spirit to let us know that we have not pleased Him. With conviction, God speaks truth into our hearts and empowers us to change so we live in a way that's pleasing to Him.

    That day, the Holy Spirit gave me a truth that I committed to memory.

    "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (Ephesians 4:29 NIV)

    I promised the Lord that morning, I will hold my tongue. I will only speak words that will build others up and benefit those listening. Or, at least, I will try.

    Paul gives a great tip on how to accomplish this in 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)

    Next time, I commit to take my words captive BEFORE they come out of my mouth. I pray that I will not speak words that tear down, but only words that build up. Will you join me in this resolve?

    Dear Lord, help me to be a woman after Your own heart, one who speaks only what is helpful for building others up. And when I am tempted to speak unwholesome or critical words, help me to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Thank You that in Your strength I will be successful because I can do all things through You Who strengthens me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The Transforming Power of God's Story by Wendy Blight.

    Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    How can you take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ? List some practical examples from your own experiences.

    Ephesians 5:1 calls us to live a life of love. Spend some time thinking about how this call to live a life of love intersects the call to speak only words that build others up rather than tear them down.

    Power Verse:
    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)

    © 2012 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


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

  • What Makes a Family?

    Posted on November 21, 2012 by Leann Rice

    Leann Rice

    "But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus." 2 Corinthians 7:6 (NIV)

    Fifteen years ago I watched an empty hospital bed roll into my living room. What an unlikely place for a bed. What an even more unlikely place for my husband, Ron, to be dying-in our living room.

    How could this be? Ron was young, athletic, my best friend, the love of my life and the absolute joy of our three-year-old son, Nick.

    Soon, fragile days filled with Ron's raspy breathing became what I called my "in between." During that in-between time — the space separating life and death — I wanted to savor the richness of last conversations, last kisses, and last memories.

    But Ron's condition deteriorated quickly. He slipped away much too soon. In an instant, I became both a widow and a single parent. I felt completely alone.

    Most people have a close support network, a soft place to land. Not me. Physical distance separated me from my mother and in-laws, and differences in viewpoints created emotional distances with other family members.

    As a result, my "soft" landing place often felt like shards of glass slashing at my heart. Everything cut deeply. Everything hurt.

    It was my love for our son, Nick, which helped me survive the painful emptiness and move on.

    But I grieved when thinking about spending our future holidays alone. No boisterous birthday celebrations for Nick. No traditional Thanksgiving dinner. We needed a bigger family to do life with.

    When you experience a tragic loss due to death or betrayal, it's hard to trust anyone again. At least it was for me.

    Yet, a little brown-haired boy needed godly male influences, and a loving family with whom to celebrate. I also needed to stop being filled with conflicting emotions about being afraid to trust.

    In 2 Corinthians 7:6, Paul didn't have any extended family present during a time of conflicting emotions and fear either. Yet, God saw Paul's need for a family-like companionship so He sent Titus to encourage and take care of the apostle. Titus was a problem-solver who had a heart for God and a heart for God's people in Corinth.

    God also saw our need for a new, bigger family. With ample love, He sent Nick and me some "Titus" people who have a heart for God and a heart for His people. They helped to transform our downcast souls with His all-encompassing comfort.

    Slowly, I cracked open my heart's door just an inch or two allowing these amazing people into our lives. Over time, God knit all of us together creating a "Titus family" related by our hearts, not our heritage.

    My "Titus family" consists of people who love each other unconditionally, support and encourage each other, sit beside one another's hospital beds, hold each other accountable and share in every achievement, failure and pain.

    Do we look alike? Not so much. But do we share the same heart and many happy holiday celebrations? Definitely!

    The most valuable lesson I've learned since my husband died is that marriage certificates and blood relationships are not the only way to make a family.

    God makes a family.

    Dear Lord, You promised to be a father to the fatherless and to even bring joy to widows during festivals. The holidays are often a hard time for people in a season of suffering. Please open my eyes to see anyone who needs a soft place to land or a safe place to share. And then, give me the resolve I need to respond with the same incredible love You've shown me — no matter how busy I am. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Words of Comfort for Times of Loss by Cecil Murphy and Liz Allison

    Reflect and Respond:
    How do you most often close your heart to shield yourself from being hurt again? Withdrawing? Being angry? Holding on to bitterness?

    Who might you turn to to help you move past your pain, trusting that God can redirect it into a new purpose in your life?

    Take time today to contact someone who needs companionship.

    Power Verses:
    Lamentations 3:32, "Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love." (NIV)

    1 Thessalonians 4:9-10, "Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all of God's family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more." (NIV)

    © 2012 by LeAnn Rice. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


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

  • Imperfect Perfection

    Posted on November 14, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48

     

    Does God expect His children to set a goal that is unattainable? Yes, when the motivation is to grow in grace and in the likeness of His son Jesus. The Holy Spirit instructs Christians in heavenly ideals, so their life has earthly appeal. Imperfection seeks perfection, so there can be continual progress in Christ's character development of His fallible followers. The goal of perfection grows us in His divine attributes that are refined over time.

    So we seek a humble discipline and in the process obtain the greater graces of God. Like a world-class athlete sets a standard of perfection in their personal training, so we press toward the holiness of God as our ultimate outcome. When we fall off the balance beam of life, we get up and get back on. In our zeal for God we can be guilty of false starts, but we line back up and refocus on the real race. We keep our eyes on the prize: Jesus Christ the author and finisher of our faith.

    "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." Philippians 3:12

    Perfectionism in and of itself is not the goal, for then we invite frustration and a feeling of failure. Perfectionism pushes out faith and works, and replaces it with fearful procrastination. Are you stuck in a need for everything to be perfect before your next step? If so, shed paralysis from analysis and move forward by faith. You can trust the Lord to fill in the imperfect gaps with His perfect grace. Indeed, out of your intimacy with Jesus you can embrace His ideals.

    Furthermore, as you grow in knowing God through His word, prayer, and serving others, you will understand and emulate His heart. You want to be like the one you love and know the best. No, you will not become sinless in this life, but you can become more like the Sinless One—Jesus. In Christ you are perfect in your heavenly Father's eyes!

    "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

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow me into the perfect image of Your son Jesus Christ.

    Related Readings: Leviticus 19:2; Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 3:13-14; 1 Peter 1:15-16

    Post/Tweet this today: The Holy Spirit instructs Christians in heavenly ideals, so their life has earthly appeal. #ideals

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry

    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 2 Corinthians, Matthew, Philippians, Perfection

  • Relational Repair

    Posted on November 9, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

     

    Relationships are in regular need of repair. Like a well-driven car they require scheduled maintenance and tender care. Indeed, relationships fall into disrepair if neglected, taken for granted or misunderstood. Healthy relational repair requires humility and seeking to understand another’s needs. It is a prayerful process that is never finished this side of heaven. Past relational deposits are not adequate for current emotional connections.

    It is our real time relational repair that contributes to building trust and intimacy. Wise are we to keep short accounts by forgiving insensitive actions, angry outbursts and not harboring hurt. Yes, we can forgive without being reconciled, but by God’s grace there can be a return to good graces. We seek to move beyond forgiveness to reconciliation because Jesus has reconciled us to Himself. His grace reconnects severed relationships.

    “Blessed is the one? whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” Romans 4:8

    Have you forgiven a friend, but still feel disconnected by distrust? What will it take to mend your mistrust? Perhaps time will heal your wounds and grow your confidence in their character. Furthermore for your faith to be reinstated in a broken trust there needs to be intentionality. Pray for your friend or spouse to be reconciled to God and daily re-calibrated by His truth. Reconciliation with people begins with reconciliation to God.

    Jesus calls you to the ministry of reconciliation. This is not an option but an obligation. Like Christ, you do not count another’s sin against them. You show mercy because the Lord has shown you mercy. By faith lift the anchor on your ship of reconciliation and sail from the harbor of hurt. Jesus draws you to Himself, so you can draw others to yourself. The world takes notice when you repair relationships—bringing glory to the Reconciler!

    “For from Him [Christ] and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen” Romans 11:36 

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me a heart to reconcile with those whom I distrust.

    Related Readings: Psalm 32:1-2; Romans 11:15; Colossians 1:20-22; Ephesians 5:21

    Post/Tweet this today: We can forgive without being reconciled, but by God’s grace there can be a return to good graces. #trust

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry

    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 2 Corinthians, Romans

  • Rely On God

    Posted on October 25, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:9

     

    Children of God have the privilege to rely on the only One who raises the dead. He raised His son Jesus from the dead and today He still brings life from death. Indeed, even a dead relationship He can bring back to life. A dead deal He can resurrect. A dead end job He can breathe life into with opportunities and new ideas. A dead marriage He can call forth like Lazarus, and by His grace remove the grave clothes of bitterness and unforgiveness. God gives life—He is reliable! 

    Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is reliable because His track record is 100% trustworthy. It is when we rely on ourselves that our faith becomes stale and irrelevant. However, when we choose to chase after the comfort of Christ, we are comforted. When we wait and seek out His wisdom before we react, we are protected. When we bow in humble worship of the Almighty, we avoid worshipping at the altar of our ego or economics. We rely on God, because He is totally reliable!

    “This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh?and whose heart turns away from the Lord.” Jeremiah 17:5

    Self-reliance is subtle in its servitude. We can say we depend on God, but if we scramble around in a panic we act like He is out of control. Your teenager needs to see you—not just hear you—accountable to God. If you want them to be accountable in their conversations, then you must model words and behaviors that don’t flirt with sin. Perhaps you come off the road and reengage with your family, so your relational equity is built back up. God can fill in the financial gaps.

    Furthermore, make sure not to place too much trust in those who cannot bring the dead to life. Mere human beings have no capacity compared to their Creator’s capacity. Excessive reliance on people leads to unhealthy expectations. Yes, you need the support of friends, but not to the same degree you need your Savior’s support. Your Heavenly Father neither sleeps nor slumbers, so seek out His intimacy in your moments of insomnia. The Spirit is your Guide to lead you into His will!

    “Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem?” Isaiah 2:22

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I am grateful for Your reliability; make me Your reliable representative.

    Related Readings: Jeremiah 17:7; Psalm 108:12; John 5:21; Romans 4:17

    Post/Tweet: When we bow in humble worship of the Almighty, we avoid worshiping at the altar of our ego or economics. #worship

    Download the free Wisdom Hunters app… http://bit.ly/OVrYb9

     

    © 2012 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 2 Corinthians

  • Is My Pain Talking?

    Posted on October 18, 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5b (NIV)

    Have you ever been in a situation where something little felt really big? Maybe a look from someone that suddenly made you feel like they didn't like you. Or when someone doesn't return your phone call and you feel like it's an indication that you're not important.

    Usually these things aren't true.

    The look was just a look with no hidden meaning.

    The missed phone call was just a slip on that person's to-do list.

    But if we're not careful, those misguided feelings can create issues that distract us, discourage us, and trigger past pain that starts taunting us. They can fill our minds with thoughts that are not accurate.

    It happened to me on a certain Friday. My sister Angee and I got up at 3:00 a.m. and were in line at a store thirty minutes later. I know. I agree. That's crazy.

    But like a hunter stalking prey, I was after something. In this case, the buy-one-get-one-free washer and dryer. Angee was after a half-priced computer. When the store doors opened at 5:00 a.m., we both scored. Happiness abounded. Then we left to get some breakfast. This is the part of the story where the happiness faded.

    In the drive-thru, my credit card was "not approved."

    Let me get this straight. It was approved at the store just five minutes ago when I made a major purchase. But now for a little two-dollar bundle of egg, cheese, Canadian bacon, and an English muffin, suddenly I'm not approved?

    Not approved.

    Ouch.

    My sister wasn't fazed. She whipped out cash, paid for my breakfast, and headed to the next store on our list. But those words "not approved" hung like a black cloud over my head. It bothered the stink out of me. I knew it was just some technical glitch, but that's not what it felt like.

    When that girl leaned out of the drive-thru window and in a hushed tone said, "I'm sorry, ma'am, but your card keeps showing that you're not approved," it felt personal. Really personal.

    Suddenly, past pain from other times I'd felt rejected and my current embarrassment started running their mouth inside my head. You're nothing but a loser. You are unwanted. Unloved. Disorganized. Poor. Not acceptable. You are not approved.

    I wish I could tie up this story in a nice bow and give you a pretty ending, but I can't. It was anything but pretty. I felt awful. And I went to bed wondering if the Lord Himself might come down and say, "Lysa TerKeurst, I have had enough of your immature reactions. You are no longer approved to be a Bible study teacher. Look at you!"

    But that's not the Lord's voice. Our Lord doesn't whisper shameful condemnations.

    Spiritual convictions, yes. Personal condemnations, no.

    As I stared wide-eyed into the darkness that enveloped the room, I whispered, "Give me Your voice, Jesus. I need to hear You above all these painful thoughts. If I don't hear You, I'm afraid this darkness is going to swallow me alive." Nothing came. I couldn't hear a thing.

    I had a choice. I could lie in the dark replaying the awful events of the day, or I could turn the light on and read God's Word—His truth—which is the best thing to do when lies are swarming and painful thoughts are attacking like a bunch of bloodthirsty mosquitoes.

    Lies flee in the presence of truth. Comfort comes into our pain when we bring it to Jesus. And while reading God's truth that night didn't change the fact that I needed to make things right in my thoughts, it gave me the courage to do so.

    Dear Lord, please drown out the other voices ... please hush them ... and speak. I want to hear You above all the noise. Help me discern Your convictions and the devil's condemnations. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    For more encouragement and practical advice on how to remain self-controlled, check out Lysa TerKeurst's new book, Unglued. Available now!

    The accompanying Unglued Bible Study will help you understand what the Bible says about better ways to react. To order your copy, click here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are there lies you have believed about yourself? Bring them to light. Write 2 lies down on a piece of paper.

    Now get out God's Word and read about who He says you are. Use the power verses below to refute Satan's attacks against you and remember, Jesus doesn't speak in condemning tones but the enemy and our past pain often does.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 139:14, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." NIV

    Ephesians 2:10, "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." NIV

    2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here." NIV

    © 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


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

  • Getting Unstuck from My Thinking Rut

    Posted on October 11, 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2 (NIV)

    Have you ever had the thought, "What's the use? I'm just a stuffer." Or, "What's the use? I'm a just a yeller."

    That may be partially true, but I believe there is more to it than just claiming because we act a certain way, that's the way it will always be.

    Brain research shows that every conscious thought we have is recorded on our internal hard drive known as the cerebral cortex. Each thought scratches the surface much like an Etch A Sketch.

    When we have the same thought again, the line of the original thought is deepened, causing what's called a memory trace. With each repetition the trace goes deeper and deeper, forming and embedding a pattern of thought. When an emotion is tied to this thought pattern, the memory trace grows exponentially stronger.

    We forget most of our random thoughts that are not tied to an emotion. However, we retain the ones we think often that have an emotion tied to them. For example, if we've had the thought over and over that we are "unglued," and that thought is tied to a strong emotion, we deepen the memory trace when we repeatedly access that thought. The same is true if we decide to stuff a thought—we'll perpetuate that stuffing. Or if we yell, we'll keep yelling.

    We won't develop new responses until we develop new thoughts. That's why renewing our minds with new thoughts is crucial. New thoughts come from new perspectives. The Bible encourages this process, which only makes sense because God created the human mind and understands better than anyone how it functions.

    A foundational teaching of Scripture is that it is possible to be completely changed through transformed thought patterns. That's exactly the point of today's key verse, Romans 12:2.

    Scripture also teaches that we can accept or refuse thoughts. Instead of being held hostage by old thought patterns, we can actually capture our thoughts and allow the power of Christ's truth to change them:

    "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." (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV)

    I don't know about you, but understanding how my brain is designed makes these verses come alive in a whole new way. Taking thoughts captive and being transformed by thinking in new ways isn't some New Age form of mind control. It's biblical, and it's fitting with how God wired our brains.

    I can't control the things that happen to me each day, but I can control how I think about them. I can say to myself, "I have a choice to have destructive thoughts or constructive thoughts right now. I can wallow in what's wrong and make things worse, or I can ask God for a better perspective to help me see good even when I don't feel good."

    Indeed, when we gain new perspectives, we can see new ways of thinking. And if we change the way we think, we'll change the ways we act and react.

    Dear Lord, teach me to trust You and to believe that even though my situation is overwhelming, You always have the best for me in mind. Give me Your perspective today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    For more encouragement and practical advice on taking our thoughts and actions captive, check out Lysa's new book, Unglued. Available now!

    The accompanying Unglued Bible Study will help you understand what the Bible says about better ways to react. To order your copy, click here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What is one area of your life where destructive thoughts seem to take control? Ask God to show you how to see the good in this area even though you don't necessarily feel good about the situation.

    Start right now, and continue each morning for the next 5 days to pray the verses below over the area of your life you described above. Sometimes changing our perspective requires an initial act of obedience.

    Power Verses:
    2 Corinthians 4:8, "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair." (NIV)

    Isaiah 41:13, "For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." (NIV 1984)

    John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


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

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