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Tag Archives: Ephesians

  • Stress Busters

    Posted on July 17, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. Ephesians 1:3-4

    Too blessed to be stressed is the attitude of those who keep God’s goodness top of mind. His blessings in Christ produce peace of mind, a calm heart and a secure soul. The focus of gratitude to the Lord for His favor causes Jesus followers to fall on their knees in thanksgiving and praise. There is no room for stress when the righteous stress the generous gifts of God. The blessing cup of Christ is not just half full, it is overflowing. Yes, praise to God produces indescribable peace.

    How has your Heavenly Father blessed you? Count your many blessings, name them one by one. Salvation in Jesus probably jumps to mind first. Your opportunity to work and provide for your family is a huge benefit of God’s blessing. Citizenship in a country that protects and promotes freedom of religion, speech, business and the ability to bear arms cannot be taken for granted.
    We are blessed with health, prayer support, modern medicine, education, family and friends.

    In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? I am under vows to you, O God; I will present my thank offerings to you. Psalm 56:11-12

    Fear builds stress, while trust in the Lord tears down the trusses of distrust. When we forget God’s record of faithfulness we construct structures of stress. He was faithful yesterday, He is faithful today and He will be faithful tomorrow. The goal is not for us to eliminate stress, but to let it pass through when it intrudes into our heart and mind. Like an uninvited sales person who shows up demanding attention, we may listen for a moment, but politely decline and send them away. Yes, prayerfully and courageously off load the burdensome spirit of stress.

    Glory hallelujah, your Heavenly Father has your back. He does not want you backed into a corner of confusion without hope. Lean into the Lord and let Him deflate your distress. Don’t allow another’s crisis to become your crisis. Dismiss drama and replace it with a reasoned response. Above all, praise and thank God for His spiritual blessings above and for His earthly blessings in Christ. Enjoy Him and enjoy life, liberty and love. Stress rushes to the exits of your life when the fire of your faith focuses on God’s blessings. Yes, you are too blessed to be stressed!

    Though while they live they count themselves blessed. Psalm 49:18

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I celebrate and give You praise for Your goodness and blessings.

    Related Readings: Psalm 84:4-15; 94:12, 106:3, 107:38, 112:1-2; 1 Peter 3:14, 4:14; Revelation 4:13

    Post/Tweet today: Stress rushes to the exits of your life when the fire of your faith focuses on God’s blessings. #stressbusters

    © 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 Ephesians

  • Saying Yes to God

    Posted on July 11, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel ..." Ephesians 6:19 (NIV)

    Have you ever had one of those amazing thoughts of something you want to do? Your heart beats wildly for a few minutes—or even a few days—and you think to yourself, I'm going to do this!

    But then the reasons you can't start coming. They suit up, start marching, and aim their weapons of discouragement right at your heart. In the end, that amazing thought becomes a fleeting thought.

    And you think to yourself, yeah, it was a dumb idea. Then, as quickly as the stir of passion started, it fades. Too many of us live in the depressing, washed-out shades of a thousand faded passions that might have been.

    Because we're afraid.

    We'd rather stay safe and under the radar than go big and possibly flop.

    But every now and then someone rare comes along. They would rather die than say, "I wish I would have ..." Instead, they grit their teeth, lift their raw souls to God, and scream above all the naysayers, "I will! With God, I will!"

    That's my pastor.

    I have never seen someone so willing to FEARLESSLY make known the mystery of the gospel. He walks, talks, eats, sleeps, and breathes Ephesians 6:19, "Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel ..."

    My pastor had a crazy thought fly into his brain to do an old-school revival for 12 nights in a row. A revival that wouldn't be about one church and one preacher, but would be about THE CHURCH with many preachers. One that would be all about getting the hope of Jesus to the masses.

    It was a good idea. But it was a crazy idea. What about the expense? What if it burned out the staff? Would people really show up for all 12 nights? So many questions begged the idea to just fade away.

    But my pastor didn't let it fade. He didn't let it die. He ignited it. Not because he didn't feel the pull of fear, but rather because he pressed into God and chose to be unafraid.

    This crazy thought turned into an amazing reality—a full-blown revival. Twelve straight nights. Twelve amazing messages. Twelve passionate preachers. One awe-inspiring purpose—to fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.

    My husband and I had the privilege to attend much of this revival in person. And though I'm a woman of many words, I can't possibly begin to describe what God did.

    There was an igniting of souls that happened and extended all across the globe. People came to know Jesus. People got baptized. People found hope again. And people saw what can happen when one person dares to say, "I'm going to say yes to God's wild invitation. I'm going to do this!"

    You may be thinking, my yes can't affect others like this. I don't have that kind of influence. But we cannot even begin to understand the plans God has for us. There is always a far-reaching ripple effect when a woman says yes to God. We don't have to see the spread of the influence to know it's there. The power of saying yes to God is beyond anything we could ever imagine.

    Dear Lord, thank You for the examples of great men and women You have placed in our lives. May we humble ourselves as we learn from their courage to say yes to Your call. Give me the strength and courage necessary to take that next step in Your will for me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    For more encouragement on your journey of walking in obedience check out Lysa TerKeurst's new book, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God Devotional, releasing August 1! Click here to pre-order your copy.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Think of an example of someone who has chosen to say yes to God no matter what the cost.

    What can you learn from their example of faith and radical obedience?

    Power Verses:
    2 Corinthians 1:20-22, "Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God's Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident. God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting his Yes within us. By his Spirit he has stamped us with his eternal pledge—a sure beginning of what he is destined to complete." (MSG)

    © 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 Ephesians

  • I Under-Stand

    Posted on June 20, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "... Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word." Ephesians 5:25-26 (NIV)

    "I just feel mean so much of the time," my friend whispers through the leak of tears. Downward, the salty droplets slip and so does her heart, her resolve, and her assurance of being a good mom.

    "I understand," I whisper back.

    And sometimes that's all that needs to be said.

    I don't remind her of gentleness verses. I don't try to fix anything. I don't offer solutions or articles or statistical data.

    I simply under-stand.

    Under ... to dip low and find that same place that lies beneath my outside veneer.

    We all have an under.

    And I admit to her, "I've felt mean so many times too. I've set out to have a super day with my kids only to be red-faced and aggravated minutes later. Buckling under the weight of my imperfections, I've wondered if I'll ever get it right. It sometimes feels like all the other moms are doing it better. But that's not true. All moms struggle."

    Stand ... to come alongside in a position of strength, closeness, and unwavering support.

    We all need those friends we know will stand with us.

    And I reassure, "Somehow, God shows us what to do and fills in the gaps if we ask Him. The fact that you're crying shows a heart tender enough for God's molding and shaping to occur. Don't listen to the world's answers. And don't fall into the trap of trying to be like other moms. Just saturate yourself in God's Truth and trust the gut instincts He gives you."

    Thankfully we don't have to be perfect. God has made a way to free us from the mistakes we make so we can keep going forward without the chains of regret. Ephesians 5:25-26 tells us, "... Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word."

    I love that picture of Christ washing us through the Word. Some versions of Ephesians 5:25-26 actually call this washing sanctifying.

    The Greek meaning of this sanctifying is hagiazo. When we unwrap the package of this word, we find three simple treasures. Hagiazo means:
    1. To cleanse externally.
    2. To free from the guilt of sin.
    3. To purify internally by the renewing of the soul.

    Externally, I wash my tears away with the truth of Lamentations 3:22-23 that God's mercies make all things new. Past minutes are gone. But this minute brings with it a fresh start.

    Relationally, Colossians 1:14 frees me from the guilt. God's Word reminds that I can live in the freedom of repentance and forgiveness.

    Internally, I see my depravity but refuse to wallow in it. I recall the words of Micah 6:8 as a call to action. Another place to receive the Truth as a cleansing agent from fear, doubt, hopelessness.

    Yes, I understand. My need to be sanctified is great. Just like your need is. We're all in that place. We all sometimes feel mean.

    Unable.
    Incapable.
    Insecure.
    Broken down.

    So, let the Word of Christ wash afresh over you, in you, and all about you. And let the whispers of a friend assure you, I under-stand.

    Dear Lord, I praise You today for being such an understanding, loving God. Thank You for carrying me through every storm that I face, and for placing special people in my life to encourage me along the way. Help me to be that voice of encouragement for someone else today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Lysa TerKeurst's New York Times bestselling book, Unglued, gives a fresh perspective on how to be obedient to the Lord with your emotions, reactions, and decisions.

    The accompanying Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress will provide you with daily encouragement as you learn what the Bible says about better ways to react. To order your copy, click here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Reflect on the three meanings of hagiazo as they apply to your personal struggles and emotions right now.

    Power Verses:
    Lamentations 3:22-23, "Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." (NIV)

    Colossians 1:13-14, "For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (NAS)

    Micah 6:8, "Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me." (ESV)

    © 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 Ephesians

  • Birth, Behavior or Bloodline

    Posted on May 27, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called 'uncircumcised' by those who call themselves 'the circumcision' (which is done in the body by human hands)—remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ." Ephesians 2:11-13 (NIV)

    Some days I'm pleased with who I am. Some days I've really got it together. I start the day with some quiet time with just me and God. Normal morning hassles getting three kids ready don't bother me. Throughout the day I'm confident in my decisions and abilities.

    Other days I exhaust and frustrate myself, especially when I'm not quite so pleasant. Annoyance starts with the first step out of bed if I've overslept, or woken up too early thinking about all I have to do. Graciousness evaporates as I allow life's demands to dictate my mood. Insecurities prompt defensiveness. Doubt overshadows faith.

    One day I'm smiling and kind; the next day I'm scowling and grouchy. So which is the real me?

    We can all struggle with wondering who we really are, especially when we fall short of who we really want to be. And when the answer seems to be different day-by-day, it's easy to give up even trying to change ... to be a better person.

    To settle this question, I've had to dig deep. For I believe God wants me to know the answer. Knowing who I really am in God's eyes is a game changer. It changes my motivations, which changes my goals and inspires me to be consistent in who I am and how I act. God's truth about my identity serves as a filter for the world's lies and the judgment of others. It protects my heart from damage.

    So where do we find this definition?

    Are we defined by our birth? Are we who our parents are? Do their professional and personal successes or failures define us? Does it matter where we are born or to whom? Two of my children were born in an African war zone. Is that who they are?

    Or are we defined by our behavior? For years I defined myself by achieving success and accomplishing tasks. The more checks to the left of the items on my to-do list, the better I felt.

    There's a problem with both of these definitions. The first is out of my control. I have no say about where I was born or to whom. And it can give me a false sense of entitlement or discouragement. The second is undependable at best. Sometimes circumstances are out of control too. And even when my behavior is in my control, I can react from my human yuck-filled side.

    Thankfully, there is another way to define ourselves. It's found in our bloodline as a child of God. A lineage that was bought for us through the death of Jesus as Ephesians 2 tells us. "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ."

    His sacrifice defines who we really are: Loved. Chosen. Treasured. Ransomed. Forgiven. Worth it. When I accept and believe these definitions for myself, I'm inspired to change. I believe it's possible.

    Thankfully, we didn't have to be born in the "right" place, or behave "just so" to get this new identity. It's not based on our checkbook, scale or what our friends think of us. We receive it when we accept Christ as our Savior.

    Birth, behavior or bloodline? I know which one truly defines me. Do you?

    Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to die for me, so that our relationship could be reconciled. Help me to remember that it's in Your bloodline that I find my true identify. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Follow us on Pinterest for inspiring images. Click here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    How would you act differently if your identity were found in Jesus' bloodline? If you truly knew you are loved, chosen, accepted?

    Power Verses:
    1 Timothy 2:5-6a, "For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people." (NIV)

    Romans 3:23-25a, "... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith." (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 Ephesians

  • Why Did You ...?

    Posted on May 20, 2013 by ShauntiFeldhahn

    Shaunti Feldhahn

    "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)

    Shelly pulled up in her wet driveway after a beach getaway with girlfriends. She smiled, thinking, it's a shame the rain chased us away early, but at least I know the house is still standing.

    She opened the door and tripped over a pile of schoolbooks. What on earth? Speechless, she stared at clutter everywhere. Cans of food and spaghetti sauce were stacked high on the island in the kitchen. Empty packets of Ramen noodles decorated the counter. The tool drawer had been emptied onto the kitchen table.

    An angry cry escaped her lips and a muffled exclamation came from the laundry room. Her husband stuck his head out the door, looking chagrined. "You're home early!"

    "Yes I'm home early!" Shelly waved around at the chaos. "I can't believe this! Why did you let it get this bad? And why were you feeding the kids instant noodles instead of something healthier?"

    Without a word, Marcus pushed the door to the laundry room wide open and stepped aside so she could enter.

    Furious, she stalked past him-and rocked to a stop. The back corner of the laundry room had been turned into a pantry. Fresh-cut wood shelves stacked up to the ceiling. Deep drawers were waiting to be slotted into a rolling rack. Dust sheets covered the washer and dryer, which were piled with food cans and packets, ready to be placed on the shelves of the pantry.

    The pantry she had longed for.

    Shelly closed her eyes. Mortified, all she could say was "I'm so sorry."

    Shelly told me this story a week after it happened. I was speaking at her church's women's conference, sharing my research on the inner thoughts, needs and fears of men. I shared that men want above all to please those who matter most to them-especially a wife or girlfriend-but privately doubt themselves and are deeply sensitive as to whether they are doing a good job. So when women start a sentence with "Why did you. . .?," men hear, "Why did you do that, you dodo?"

    Shelly's story is a perfect example of how easy it is to think, "You dodo." Not think, "There must be a good reason for this-even if I don't see it at this moment." Instead, like many of us, she was quick to assume there wasn't a good reason, that he didn't do a good job. And she verbalized those damaging thoughts.

    Ephesians 4:29 tells us to be careful to only say things that are useful for building others up. While this applies to everyone in our lives, if we are married, it's especially vital to practice with our husbands.

    Most situations with the men in our lives aren't as extreme as Shelly's experience. But versions of this scenario happen often. "Why did you give the kids juice instead of milk?" "Why did you take that road instead of this one?" "Why did you choose that strategy for the business deal?" We may protest that it is a harmless question, but all too often, it is code for "What were you thinking!?" Which itself is code for "You obviously weren't thinking."

    The reality is, the reverse is usually true. Eighty-two percent of men surveyed say they always think things through ... and purposefully consider the reaction of their wife or girlfriend before making a decision.

    The next time you are confounded by your husband, instead of a rash reaction, slow down and remind yourself: his heart is probably in the right place and his choices are likely made with that in mind. And if you need help ... just remember the pantry.

    Dear Jesus, forgive me for being quick to judge and assume the worst about the man in my life. Please teach me to slow down and listen to him, and [if married] to trust in his love. In Your Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Revised and updated For Women Only book and DVD study by Shaunti Feldhahn.

    Family Christian's Facebook page offers encouragement and truth each day. Join our community by clicking here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    If you are married, take time to think through, pray and reflect on the fundamental assumptions and expectations you have in regards to your husband. Choose to honor and respect your husband in your thoughts and words.

    Whenever you think, "Why did you ...?" say instead, "Honey, I'm confused, could you help me understand what your reason was?" You might be surprised at how often he was thinking things through-including honoring you.

    Power Verses:
    Ephesians 5:33, "Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband." (NASB)

    © 2013 by Shaunti Feldhahn. 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 Ephesians

  • Quality of Mercy

    Posted on April 30, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5

    The quality of God’s mercy is not obstructed. Like the gentle and ceaseless flow of a bubbling brook, it refreshes all who come to drink. Those refreshed can fill their spiritual buckets and bless others who in their parched suffering have yet to taste heaven’s liquid love. Yes, the mineral rights of Almighty God’s mercy are inexhaustible and its riches are more than can ever be spent. His mercy shows compassion, nullifies judgment, covers pain and withholds what is deserved.

    Do you lift up prayers of gratitude for the rich mercy of your Heavenly Father? Is mercy your manner of speech and conduct? Mercy exists like the foyer of your home to welcome  the undeserving and those who feel shame, but not hope. Like a critical care unit in a hospital, make your home a ward of mercy for those who need healing, love and acceptance. Adult children show up where they will be accepted, not judged...cared for, not condemned. Mercy is tender.

    To give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God. Luke 1:77-78

     

    Our pride is unmoved by mercy; neither extending or receiving. With a granite like face, grace is absent. Our pride’s philosophy is an “eye for an eye,” with no eye on God’s eternal perspective of   mercy. We desperately need to daily approach His throne of grace and mercy with our needy hearts. Humility looks in the mirror first ata candidate for Christ’s mercy.

    Moreover, mercy is a perquisite step toward forgiveness. As we cry out, “God be merciful to me a sinner,” we are positioned to be forgiven and to forgive. Thus, cling to the mercy of Christ who graciously gives to you in abundance. Be a man or woman of mercy, as you experience from others their: insecurities, fears, struggles, rejection, arrogance and accusations. Lean into mercy, take responsibility where another won’t. Often, give and take this rich quality of mercy unobstructed!

    Prayer: Heavenly Father thank You for Your rich mercy; make me a person of rich mercy.

     

    Related Readings: Psalm 4:1, 6:2; Proverbs 28:13; Luke 1:50-58; Romans 9:23; 2 Corinthians 4:1; 1 Timothy 1:13

     

    Post/Tweet today: Like a critical care unit in a hospital make your home a ward of mercy for those who need healing. #mercy

     

    © 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 Ephesians, Mercy

  • The Day Forgiveness Set Me Free

    Posted on March 20, 2013 by Renee Swope

    Renee Swope

    "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. ... Forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:2, 32 (NIV)

    I thought I was over the hurt. I was sure I had moved on. But as my thumb slipped under the seal of the invitation to my 10-year college reunion, it hit me: I had not forgiven her.

    During our last semester at school, the harsh tone and accusing anger of a friend had been more than my heart could handle, especially in the middle of my year-long battle with depression. A deep sense of sadness and self-doubt, that I couldn't explain or escape, had left me feeling depleted.

    When she questioned something I had done and expressed deep frustration toward me, I didn't have the mental or emotional strength to process her criticism without being pulled into a pit of condemnation.

    If I attended our class reunion I would likely see her and other friends who had gotten tangled in our mess. With that possibility came a flood of memories and emotions that made me feel the same yuck I felt the day our friendship ended. The day that pretty much ruined the last few weeks of our senior year.

    Holding the envelope in my hand, that hurt took hold of me again. Instead of simply deciding how to RSVP, I stood at the edge of a pit filled with insecurity that threatened to pull me back in.

    After weeks of holding onto the invitation I finally decided I was tired of living as prisoner to my hurt. I wanted freedom. The kind of freedom I'd come to know in the ten years in between. The freedom of forgiveness Jesus died to give me.

    I spent hours praying and reading my Bible over the next month. Listening to worship music and messages on forgiveness, I asked God to drench me with His perspective and give me His assurance so I could walk into my reunion as a secure child of God.

    By the time I arrived, my mind was filled with God's grace and promises. I literally wanted to find my old friend and restore our relationship. The confidence that came as I followed God's command to seek and offer forgiveness came as a surprise.

    Forgiving those who hurt us is hard. Often we are afraid to forgive because it might open us to be hurt again. Or we're afraid if we bring something up it might unearth bitterness we don't want to deal with, so its left buried.

    But any time we bury a hurt alive, it will keep rising from the dead to disturb us.

    God used today's verses to show me how to let forgiveness set me free from the hurt I had buried. "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. ... Forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you." (Eph. 4:2, 32)

    Forgiving in the way this scripture describes has helped me recognize I need God's grace as much as anyone else. Although pardoning an offense is not easy, it is possible when we follow God's plan of being humble and gentle, patient and bearing with those who've hurt us. It's so worth what it takes to be set free.

    Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves when we offer it to others. In doing so, we don't forgive so we can forget. We forgive, as we have been forgiven, so we can find freedom from our past and live with confident hope for our future.

    Lord, I need Your help. Help me process my hurt with You and let go of any bitterness that keeps me from wholeness and hope. Empower me to forgive just as You have forgiven me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Conflict is hard and unhealed hurts can make us doubt ourselves, as well as our ability to have healthy relationships. In her life-changing book: A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises, Renee Swope empowers us to overcome the hurts that hold us back as we move forward in the confident assurance of all God has for our lives!

    Reflect and Respond:
    Is there unresolved conflict or unforgiven hurt that could be holding you back you from living in the freedom Jesus wants for you? Journal thoughts that came to mind while reading today's devotion and commit to take one step towards the freedom of forgiveness God is calling you to today.

    Power Verse:
    Colossians 3:13, "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Renee Swope. 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 Forgiveness, Ephesians

  • Spiritual Prayers

    Posted on March 19, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Ephesians 6:18

    Prayer is not meant to be perfunctory, but powered by the Holy Spirit. When I am preoccupied and attempt to pray, I short-circuit the Spirit’s work. However, when I pray in the Spirit there is full contact with Christ,  my mind engaged,and my heart  fully focused. The flesh seeks a quick fix, but the Spirit desires a deep affection that develops over time. The Spirit is like a key that unlocks the door of my spirit. He searches the rooms of my life for total trust and obedience.

    Spiritual prayers flow from praise and worship to Almighty God. Yes, songs and hymns offered in humility and gratitude ignite intimacy with our Heavenly Father. He receives the prayer aroma of His daughters and sons, as the sweet smell of a holy sacrifice to Him alone. The Holy Spirit is our prayer whisperer. He is able to soothe our heart and translate our cares into the language of our loving Lord Jesus. When our flesh is weak, the Spirit strengthens our spirit to pray in faith.

    In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Romans 8:26

    Therefore, pray on all occasions. With bowed head recognize Jesus as the provider of a delicious meal. Before you partake of the tasty morsels, taste His grace. Pray and prepare your heart prior to a hard conversation, so any anger or harshness is replaced by patience and compassion. Pray as you think about a big decision; ask questions like, “Is my motive to glorify God?” “What counsel would I give to someone else in a similar situation?” Spiritual prayers have the Spirit’s leading.

    Moreover, variety is the spice of an effective prayer life. Yes, employ a plethora of prayers that protect you from familiarity that can breed boredom. Pray for patience, so you are slow to anger. Pray for the sick, so they might be healed. Pray for opportunities to share the gospel, so the seeds of salvation will grow in the hearts of lost souls. Pray for those who suffer, so their comfort comes from Christ. Pray for forgiveness, so your heart is healed and filled with the Holy Spirit!

    I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being. Ephesians 3:16

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray that my prayers are full of praise and thanksgiving to You.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 11:2; Micah 3:8; Mark 14:38; Acts 4:31; Colossians 1:9; Jude 1:20

    Post/Tweet today: With bowed head recognize Jesus as the provider of a delicious meal, before you partake of the tasty morsels, taste His grace. #prayer

     

    © 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 Ephesians

  • Sword of the Spirit

    Posted on March 18, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
    The Word of God is an offensive and defensive weapon wielded against the wiles of the devil. He flees in the face of the wisdom of Christ. A life steeped in Scripture is able to expose the enemy's half truths. For example, the devil lures a Christian to think the Lord will protect him, even if he acts irresponsibly. But, God is not backed into a corner and forced to rescue a fool. To tempt the Lord is to dishonor Him. Power is reserved for the Righteous One who reigns over all!
    Scripture makes us wise into salvation and wise in the ways of the Lord. What Satan means for harm, God grows into good. Yes, the Bible gives us strength for the journey, because walking with Jesus is an everyday exercise. We who are committed to Christ do not coast, but make our boast in the Lord as we busy ourselves with His work. Spiritual shenanigans like playing church are replaced by sincere service. Wisdom from the Word moves us to make a difference.
    For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
    The word of God gives you courage and conviction to engage the enemy. You study the Bible and apply its principles, so you can overcome the spiritual principalities that war against Almighty God as our absolute authority. Educated fools attempt to marginalize the Bible as an out of date history book, full of inconsistencies, but on the contrary, it is the living, breathing, inerrant word of the Lord that reveals Jesus Christ in all His glory. Scripture exposes Satan’s lies.
    Therefore, what is your system for embedding Scripture in your heart, mind and soul? Is your spiritual sword sharpened by success and suffering, or is it dulled by disillusionment? Your daily drip from a facet of faith will feed your soul and revive your spirit. Read a chapter in Proverbs based on the day of the month, or memorize verses in Psalms that speak to your felt needs. Keep your mind engaged in eternal truths, and you’ll successfully attack temporal untruths. The Bible is your baseline for beliefs and behavior. Bring it to mind and you will mind the ways of God!
    Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Proverbs 30:5

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me engage the devil by understanding and applying Your wise words.
    Related Readings: Isaiah 40:8; Jeremiah 23:29; Mark 7:13; 2 Corinthians 4:2; Revelation 1:2
    Post/Tweet today: Commitment to Christ does not coast, but makes its boast in the Lord and is busy about His work.

    © 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 Ephesians

  • Helmet of Salvation

    Posted on March 15, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17

    The helmet of salvation saves from past sin, empowers to overcome present evil and provides a future hope of Jesus coming back for His bride, the church. Salvation is much more than a moment in time conversion when a person is delivered from darkness into light. It is an ongoing experience of the Lord saving us from ourselves, saving us from sin and saving us from the enemy’s influence. The Spirit convicts us, Jesus saves us and the Father keeps us secure in Him.

    Moreover, our mind is a battleground over what we believe. Unscrupulous spiritual forces seek to create confusion and vain speculation. We are wise to take every thought captive for Christ, so none of our ideas are locked up in a prison camp of lies. Like a magician presenting a false appearance of reality, so Satan seeks to play mind games that create fear or false hope. However,  we wisely renew our mind daily by His cleansing word. Jesus saves us from stinking thinking.

    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

     

    Does God’s good plan and future hope fill your head? Indeed, these hopeful thoughts breed healthy thinking that leads to wise living. You can be hopeful, because your provision is from the One who gave you the vision. You can be hopeful, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. You can be hopeful, because there is nothing that can separate you from the love of your Heavenly Father. You can be hopeful, because in Christ you have all you need!

     

    Therefore, put on heaven’s helmet of salvation. It may look unusual to a lost world, but your outward devotion reminds them of their inner need for a Savior. Be ever vigilant to protect your mind, since a blow to the head from trashy thoughts leads to bad behavior. Ask the Lord to deliver you from talking yourself into foolish decisions. Submit to Him and to trusted advisors who provide checks and balances in your decision-making. Fill your mind with Christ’s mind!

     

    Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

    1 Corinthians 2:16

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, save my thoughts from the influence of evil and fill me with righteous thinking.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 59:17; Romans 12:1-2; Philippians 4:8-9; 1 Thessalonians 5:8

    Post/Tweet today: The Spirit convicts us, Jesus saves us and the Father keeps us secure in Him. #salvation

     

    © 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 Ephesians

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