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Tag Archives: Genesis

  • I Didn't Sign up for This

    Posted on July 3, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen

    "You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good ..." Genesis 50:20a (NLT)

    "I didn't sign up for this!" my friend moaned as we reviewed the printed class schedules we'd just picked up in the school office.

    While I had gotten all my desired classes, she had been assigned one she had absolutely no interest in taking. She couldn't imagine spending four months stuck in a classroom studying something she disliked.

    I tried to empathize, but truthfully I felt she was whining about a very minor issue. Her life, in my estimation, was absolutely fantastic. She came from a well-to-do family. Her parents had been happily married for over 25 years. She had a big extended family and fun get-togethers. She had straight teeth and a nearly-new car.

    I, on the other hand, came from a family rocked by divorce and financial struggles. I had only one brother with whom I didn't get along. My car was old and ugly. My teeth needed braces, but the funds had never been available.

    Hearing her complain about her schedule started my descent into self-pity as I compared my circumstances to hers.

    The more I thought about the unfairness of my life, I reached the same conclusion she had when she spied that unwanted class: "I didn't sign up for this!"

    My friend and I both felt stuck. However, our situations weren't life-threatening. They were issues we could work to change. We could learn the lessons God had for us by not always having a perfect life. And if truly unable to change parts of our circumstances, we could still change our attitudes.

    A young man in Scripture, Joseph, also found himself smack dab in a heap of hassles and difficult situations he never signed up for. His jealous brothers sold him into slavery. He was whisked away to live in a foreign land. To top it off, he was falsely accused of raping his master's wife even though he tried his best to stay away from her. He even wound up in prison.

    These unjust circumstances could have had him complaining, "I didn't sign up for this!" He could have retaliated against those who had caused his turmoil. But he didn't.

    Joseph maintained a God-fearing, God-honoring attitude throughout his ordeals, even as a slave with no freedom in sight.

    At the end of his life we get a glimpse into his continual Christ-like behavior. He'd risen from slave to governor of Egypt through his discernment and wisdom. When his brothers came to buy grain during a famine from the Egyptian authorities, they were shocked to see their younger brother—long thought dead—sitting in a position of power. They feared he would retaliate for the cruel things they did to him, but Joseph's response? "You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good ..." (Genesis 50:20a).

    Joseph refused to let life's hard knocks knock him off course, preventing him from living a life that pleased God. He believed in a God Who works all things together for good. By recognizing God's redemption of horrific circumstances, he found true spiritual freedom from self-pity, anger and retaliation. Instead he characterized what God wants of us in Micah 6:8b, "And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?" (NAS).

    Today when I am tempted to whine as I compare my life with someone I perceive has an easier one, I remember Joseph, the slave-by-force. I want to emulate his attitude, be spiritually free, and walk in the ways of God.

    It also prompts me to remember that today forced slavery still exists; women and children are forced into the sex-trafficking trade every day. These precious ones sit in atrocious circumstances due to no fault or choice of their own.

    We enjoy simple freedoms they never get to experience. Unless ... we band together, purposing to do something about this awful practice. Could we dare to get our eyes off of our sometimes minor problems and spend time doing justice, acting kindly and humbly walking with God to help free these slaves?

    No matter our circumstances, it's never too late to be free. Our God-honoring attitude that comes from a shift in perspective can help us find spiritual freedom. And our intentional actions can help others imprisoned in slavery find freedom, physically, spiritually and emotionally.

    Dear Lord, help me take my eyes off of my circumstances and fix them solely upon You and Your plan so I can find true spiritual freedom and offer freedom to others. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Priceless: A Novel on the Edge of the World by Tom Davis

     

     

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    When you can't change the circumstances, how might you change your attitude, bringing it in line with Scripture?

    Power Verse:
    Romans 8:28, "We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose." (HCSB)

    © 2013 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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

  • A Godly Legacy

    Posted on June 14, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “When Jacob had finished giving instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.” Genesis 49:33

    Jacob gave his dying instructions to his sons as they waited at his beside. They lingered there out of love and respect. They had observed his life. And though not perfect by far, it was a life of overall faithfulness to God. The sons of the father wanted to receive his blessing and they were proud of the legacy left to them, a legacy of faithfulness to God.

    What legacy will you leave? If you died today, how would you be remembered? These are important questions for your children’s sake. Maybe your parents did not leave you a godly heritage. Nevertheless, you have a wonderful opportunity to start a new tradition, one based on the principles of Scripture. Lord willing, your legacy will start a godly lineage that will reach across the future for generations to come. Yes, your name will probably be forgotten, but what you stand for will be held in high esteem for all to remember.

    Perhaps you can start by documenting your family vision and mission. Write down outcomes you are praying for related to your family. Pray that your parental example of character compels your children to walk with Christ. Hold the Bible in such high regard that its commands and principles are lived out in love and obedience. Love your children with acceptance, discipline, training, and kindness. Follow the ways of God, and your children will see and secure a clear path of purpose to pursue.

    Moreover, consider a family credo that defines what you value as a family. Character traits like humility, hard work, community, forgiveness, communication, and relationship. Weave these beliefs throughout the language and behavior of your family. Challenge each child to be intoxicated by Scripture, so much so that God’s word is on their breath and seen through their behavior. Slow down and be intentional in legacy building. Then your children and your children's children are more apt to love Christ.

    “But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children” (Psalm 103:17).

    Prayer: Do I live life with legacy in mind, and do I uniquely and fully bless each child?

    Related Readings: Daniel 10:19; Joshua 24:27-29; Luke 2:29; Hebrews 11:13-22

    Post/Tweet today: Follow the ways of God, and your children will see and secure a clear path of purpose to pursue. #modeltheway

    Taken from Reading #3 in Wisdom for Fathers, click here: http://www.wisdomhunters.com/bookstore_category/books/

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

  • What Tempts You?

    Posted on May 21, 2013 by Van Walton

    Van

    "... But if you refuse to do what is right, watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master." Genesis 4:7b (NLT)

    My friend Wendy brought her children and their friends to my house for several hours of play in the backyard pool. Wendy and I chatted while the children entertained themselves.

    Young Griffin played for a while, but then his curious mind led him away from the pool. He wasn't interested in the games the other children wanted to play. Following his heart, he crept out of the pool and found purpose strolling around the yard.

    For a few minutes he handed branches to my husband who was doing yard work. Then he picked up a rake. In no time he began to change the landscape to create a little "home" for my dog. First he cleared a path, then he piled leaves creating a soft bed. Finally, he set stones in place creating a protected space for the food dish and water bowl.

    What an industrious boy! He amazed me with his vision, strength, and positive attitude. I wanted him to come live with me - surely his presence would keep the atmosphere in my home lively. I remember thinking, "What a good boy!"

    When he completed his project he asked, "Would you like to see what I did?" In single-file we followed him, listening attentively as he pointed out each accomplished task.

    Then I spotted it. I never expected to find what I stumbled upon while admiring my newly landscaped yard. My delighted heart turned to dread, for there surrounding all of Griffin's hard work ... was poison ivy! My stomach flip-flopped.

    Without suspecting, Griffin had walked through a bed of nasty plants. Never mind that he was involved in good works or that he had done nothing wrong. He hadn't purposefully stepped into a dangerous place. It just so happened that the vine had crawled along the ground, hid under dead leaves and climbed tree trunks, all the while camouflaged by other clingy vegetation.

    I grabbed Wendy and told her to get Griffin into the tub. Mixing a concoction we hoped would bring relief from days of dreadful itching, we doused that innocent boy. We rid him of any residue that might leave its painful mark.

    The encounter with the poison ivy reminded me that we step out each day with a plan to accomplish goals. We may set out to do good things, to change the world, and to serve others. But Scripture warns us we must be on our guard.

    Genesis 4:7b tells us sin crouches outside our door, waiting to trip us up, grab hold of us and spread its poison all over our best-laid plans.

    We need to recognize what potential sin lurks around us. You could bring dinner to a friend who just had a baby and see how her husband dotes on her. Envy pounces on you and takes hold of your heart. Or maybe you invite a co-worker who has been down to lunch. Your innocent conversation turns to gossip about other office members.

    Even a minor brush with sin can leave its poisonous mark. That's why we have to be on guard and control sin before it controls us.

    To get rid of the poison ivy in my yard I took the best approach. I tore it out of the ground by its roots. The same is true for sin. Even with the best intentions, sin hurts us. The good news is, whether we brush up against it accidentally or intentionally step into it, God offers an effective means of healing. We can bring our injured hearts to Him, confess our part in the sin, and ask Him to rid us of the toxins.

    Thankfully, God is the best "gardener" when it comes to keeping our hearts safe. No matter what "poison ivy" lurks, He's ready with a remedy of His wisdom when we ask for it. And His forgiveness for when temptation turns to sin.

    Dear Lord, You have taught me many lessons about sin. I know its seriousness, and how it prowls around seeking to destroy me. I know first-hand how easily we can fall prey to its creepy deception. Please forgive my sins and give me the wisdom to recognize sin ahead of time and flee. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Reading and memorizing Scripture is a great deterrent from sin. The Proverbs 31 Ministries' team has unpacked verses through devotions interspersed throughout the new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Soldiers prepare for the enemy by learning their foe's tactics. Take time to recognize the schemes of the enemy.

    In what areas does Satan tempt you and into what sins do you easily fall?

    Power Verses:
    2 Corinthians 7:1b, "... let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." (NASB)

    Titus 2:14, "He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Van Walton. All rights reserved.

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

  • Work Struggles

    Posted on May 3, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. Genesis 3:17

    Work, many times, is work. Painful toil is a consequence of what happened in the beginning—God cursed the ground because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. Labor became laborious; instead of paradise in the sinless Garden of Eden there was blood, sweat and tears mingled with sin. Work is not meant to be ease, but intense effort.

    “So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken” (Genesis 3:23).

    Is your work a struggle? Are you in one of the most stressful seasons of your career? If so, God doesn’t waste pain. It’s in your discomfort that He comforts and in your unease that He gives courage. If the Lord has your attention in an environment out of your control, stay true to what you can do and leave the results with God. In stress seek Jesus. “So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:20).

    Furthermore, see work as worship to Almighty God; a sacrifice of service you lay before Himfor the Holy Spirit to ignite with power and effectiveness. Lift your heart and head in humility; present your hands and feet by faith—all for God’s glory. Silently sing in sincere worship while you work. Worshipful music does for the ears what the Sistine Chapel does for the eyes—it's lovely to listen to for the glory of our Savior Jesus Christ.

    Lastly, look at your work as a testament to excellence on behalf of Jesus. Your ministry is your work and your work is your ministry. Monday through Saturday are not secular days of service, but a Christian’s sacred obligation to model their faith with first rate work. Perhaps you facilitate a Bible study at lunch, or before or after hours. Your outstanding effort in the enterprise earns you the right to prayerfully and graciously share your faith.

    So—when job security is jittery and insecure—exhibit  God's peace  in the form of calm contentment and patient perseverance. Work struggles are the scenario where others can see you act out what you say you believe. Perhaps your bold belief during adverse work conditions activates believers and leads unbelievers to begin their belief in Christ.

    “Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you” (1 Thessalonians 2:9).

     

    Prayer: Do struggles at work lead me to worship my Savior Jesus and model excellent work?

     

    Related Readings: Ecclesiastes 8:15; 2 Corinthians 11:26-31; Revelation 9:19-20

     

    Post/Tweet today: Our ministry is our work and our work is our ministry. #work

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Overcoming Criticism

    Posted on January 18, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.” 1 Samuel 17:28

    Criticism will come to committed followers of Christ. Anyone who does anything for Jesus is vulnerable to correction, even criticism. Criticism can be caustic and unjust, flowing from another’s jealous or angry heart. Or criticism can be constructive and just, coming from another’s genuine desire for clarity and understanding. In either case, there is at least a nugget of truth that is an opportunity for character development. The humble learn wise lessons from vocalized concerns.

    In David’s case his brother did not have a category for David’s military involvement, so Eliab  angrily rebuked him as being irresponsible, naive and wicked. Some relatives will only remember us as a rebellious and/or immature teenager, instead of as adults seeking to be a man or woman of God. We are wise to not wrestle with other’s expectations that are stuck in the past. It’s not our responsibility to change a mind that is made up. Let God redeem resentment.

    “Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him.” Genesis 27:41

    Are you crushed by the critical spirit of your spouse? Has criticism at work worn you down? If so, go to your heavenly Father for help. Ask Him to examine your heart for  any unseemly motives and to enlighten your mind on  how your thinking needs to change. By God’s grace, balance being overly sensitive and shutting down any inkling of inquiry into your ideas and actions. Forgive harsh critics as having their own issues with God--He can handle their heart.

    Furthermore, protect yourself from a critical spirit. Don’t justify your negative attitude toward another because of their hurtful words. After attempting to communicate with a critic, be respectful,  then move on with how the Lord is leading you. By faith, outlast the loudest objectors and over time they will quiet down. Wisdom is proven right by its actions, so the fruit of your character becomes a commercial for Christ. Overcome criticism by faithfulness to God.

    “Though you probe my heart, though you examine me at night and test me, you will find that I have planned no evil; my mouth has not transgressed.” Psalm 17:3

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me learn from critics and protect me from being critical.

    Related Readings: Psalm 131:1; Proverbs 15:1, 18:19; Acts 5:17-18; 1 Timothy 5:1

    Post/Tweet today: Forgive harsh critics as having their own issues with God--He can handle their heart. #criticism

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Remembering

    Posted on December 26, 2012 by Samantha Evilsizer

    Samantha

    "Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old." Psalm 25:6 (NIV)

    I sometimes struggle to see how God's Word applies to me and my life. Especially when I've been waiting a long time for some prayers to be answered. For hearts of loved ones to fully turn to Jesus. For manna to rain from heaven.

    The funny thing about waiting is it can be all-consuming. It inhales my attention, chews my focus and swallows my thoughts, leaving me in a place of uncertainty and doubt. I forget God's power to fulfill my hopes for prayers answered. Its then, when I can't see how He's going to bring things to pass, I have to rely on His faithfulness in the past.

    Remembering God's faithfulness in other's lives in Scripture, reminds us of His faithfulness in our own.

    When the waters rise, you've waited long for rescue and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Genesis 8:1*: But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.

    When dust and debris threaten to replace passions, dreams and callings and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Genesis 9:15: I will remember my covenant between me and you.

    When the pitter-patter of little feet is silent and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Genesis 30:22: Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive.

    When fear, worry, doubt and anxiety enslave and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Exodus 2:23a, 24a, 25b: During that long period...The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out...God heard their groaning and he remembered... and was concerned about them.

    When you can't sleep and restlessness sets in, remember... Psalm 63:6-7: On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.

    When guilt consumes and you fear God will never forget your sins, remember... Isaiah 43:25: I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.

    When all hope is lost, remember... Luke 24:6a-7: He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you...'The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'

    When your marriage comes back from the brink of despair, remember... Deuteronomy 8:2: Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness.

    When dreams come true and you're thriving in your calling, remember... 1 Chronicles 16:12a, 15: Remember the wonders he has done... He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations...

    Recalling these accounts in Scripture helps me remember His goodness in my own life. When I can't see how He is moving on my behalf, I choose to remember that He promises to be just as present and faithful to me and you today as He was for others in the past.

    When joy surrounds. When sorrow clobbers. When all's right in our world. When the bottom drops out. When we feel loved and cherished. When we feel abandoned and alone, let's remember... They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer. (Psalm 78:35)

    Dear Lord, Your love and Your grace never fail. Please help me remember this today and always. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp

    Share God's faithfulness to those in need by supporting a child through World Vision.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Remember times God has been faithful to you. Recount those out loud today.

    Focus on the everyday miracles that remind us of God's faithfulness like waking up and breathing.

    Great is thy faithfulness, O God my father
    There is no shadow of turning with Thee
    Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
    As Thou hast been, Thou for ever will be
    Great is thy faithfulness, Great is thy faithfulness
    Morning by morning new mercies I see
    All I have needed thy hand hath provided
    Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.
    ~Thomas Chisolm

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 143:5, "I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done." (NIV)

    Jeremiah 31:34b, "I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (ESV)

    *All verses NIV

    © 2012 by Samantha Reed. All rights reserved.

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

  • Pray About That

    Posted on December 8, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Pray that the LORD your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do” (Jeremiah 42:3).

     

    There is wisdom in praying about “that,” whatever “that” may mean. It may mean waiting on marriage because one parent has yet to bless the engagement. “That” could represent a check in your spirit over a business deal or an additional financial obligation. Praying about “that” is the Lord’s way to protect, preserve, and provide for His children.

    What are you currently facing that needs your prayerful attention? Perhaps it is a career transition—pray about that, consider changing churches—pray about that, tempted to quit school—pray about that, or weigh an opportunity to volunteer—pray about that. Prayerfully ask, “What does the Lord want for my life and what is best for His kingdom?” 

    “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:12–13).

    It is in the discipline of waiting that we discern the best course of action. Consider cloistering yourself with Christ for twenty-four hours just to listen and learn. It is rare that prayer is a waste of time; indeed, it saves time. When you pray about “that,” you allow the Holy Spirit to tap on the brakes of your busy life. Slow down and listen to Him.

    Prayer positions you to be productive in the ways of God. Abraham’s senior servant experienced this. “Then he prayed, ‘LORD, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham’” (Genesis 24:12).

    When you, your family, your church, your company, or your ministry prays about “that,” you receive liability insurance for your life from the Lord. Where He leads, He commits to provide. Where He reroutes, He creates the necessary resources. Where He shuts doors, He opens another with greater kingdom possibilities. So pray about that knot in your stomach, and watch Him free you in effective service for your Savior Jesus.

    “Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man” (Nehemiah 1:11).

    Prayer: What am I facing that needs my patient prayers? Whom can I engage to pray with me?

    Related Readings: Ezra 8:23; Daniel 9:20; Luke 22:40–46; Acts 4:23–31

    Taken from the December 9th reading in the new 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God” vol. 2... http://bit.ly/Tv6y9a

    Post/Tweet: Prayer positions you to be productive in the ways of God. #prayer

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Found Hope

    Posted on November 27, 2012 by Nicki Koziarz

    Nicki

    "For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." Romans 15:4 (NASB)

    We were out of options. The day the Sherriff's car pulled into our driveway, I knew what was coming. After a series of unfortunate events, things had gone from bad to worse to hopeless.

    Her friendly, official, sheriff smile did nothing to relieve the emotional discomfort of this dreadful moment. The neighbors peeked through their blinds to see what was happening.

    As she handed me the papers, I took them with tears in my eyes.

    Looking at the baby in my arms and toddler peeking out from behind me, this kind woman genuinely said, "I'm sorry."

    "Thank you," I whispered, as I slowly closed the door.

    I sat down on our stairs and read through the official documents. Elaborate lawyer terms, forceful sounding laws I didn't understand, and words bolded in dark ink conveyed the dreadful news; "You must vacate the premises within thirty days."

    Foreclosure.

    It was unwanted and unavoidable. It felt shameful and embarrassing. And the foreclosure of our home was an aching process of letting go.

    The carefully painted mustard-yellow walls: I would miss them so much. How would I survive without the daily afternoon play dates with my neighbor and her children? And what about all those hot dog dinners my husband and I ate to save pennies to buy this sweet home?

    So much was about to be taken from us. Just like that.

    I didn't understand why God would allow us to walk this humbling road. We had trusted Him, why hadn't He provided?

    Any hope I had left in God faded fast. It wasn't something I could muster back up on my own. No, I needed others to fill the gap for me.

    In scripture Paul wrote, "For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." (Romans 15:4 NASB)

    I learned during this devastating season, when our hearts become grounds of broken dreams, we may need to turn to the hope others have found.

    The Bible holds deep historical roots of hope waiting for us to uncover.

    We can find hope because ...

    Abraham and Sarah found hope by believing while it seemed impossible for them to get pregnant, it was possible for God. (Genesis 15, 17-18)

    We can find hope because ...

    Ruth and Naomi found hope by moving their lives forward after losing their family. (Ruth 3)

    We can find hope because ...

    Mary and Martha found hope when they saw Jesus could do anything, including raising their brother from the dead. (John 11)

    As I closed the door to our home for the last time, I accepted this place of brokenness. But I also made a choice to find hope no matter what.

    I found hope through the eyes of wonder my daughters had as they explored our new rental house. I found hope when my mom helped me unpack our boxes and organize toys. I found hope when my husband's heart drew closer to mine through this difficult experience.

    Hope is at the core of who we are as followers of Jesus. As we allow hope to flow into us, it will flow through us even in the most difficult circumstances.

    If you feel hopeless in this season of your life, will you look back at those who had hope in Scripture to give you courage to have hope for your future? Hope, it heals our broken dreams.

    Dear Lord, thank You for the hope You give us to heal the broken places in our lives. May we have the strength to find hope in all the places that feel hopeless today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    If you are feeling hopeless, reach out to someone and ask her to share a time where God has given hope.

    What is an area in your life you are seeking hope from God? Leave a comment today and let's share our hope struggles.

    Power Verses:
    1 Peter 1:3, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." (NIV)

    Romans 5:5, "And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." (NIV 1984)

    © 2012 by Nicki Koziarz. All rights reserved.

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

  • Tired of Waiting

    Posted on November 23, 2012 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie

    "Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them." Genesis 25:26b (NIV)

    Do you ever get tired of waiting on God to answer your prayers? I do.

    I get tired of saying the same old prayer day after day, month after month, year after year. Tired of telling God about the same old problems still going on. Tired of hearing myself pray about the same old issues, leading me to wonder if God is as tired of hearing my prayer requests as I am of praying them.

    Recently I bowed my head and admitted to God that I was simply tired of praying and waiting.

    In a heavy state of emotional exhaustion, I turned to my Bible. I hoped a few verses would jump straight into my heart and give me patience. That day I read about when Isaac's wife Rebekah gave birth to twin sons. One sentence in particular caught my eye and God used it to speak hope into my soul.

    Genesis 25:26 tells us that Isaac was sixty years old when his twins were born; a simple Bible fact, yet profoundly meaningful to me on that specific day.

    You see, Isaac had waited patiently for the Lord to provide the perfect wife. He was forty years old when he married Rebekah. That means Isaac waited twenty years for Rebekah to bear children!

    He was a man of great patience who waited on God. And eventually his patient faith was rewarded.

    In Genesis 25:21a we see that "Isaac pleaded with the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was unable to have children." (NLT) He earnestly and strongly prayed about their desires to have kids. He did not half-heartedly ask God for a son, he pleaded! He begged. He poured his heart out.

    He trusted that God would provide and continued to pray the same desperate prayer for a son, day after day, month after month, year after year.

    Isaac never gave up hope that his Lord could make the impossible, possible. And after twenty years, God gave him a son.

    Are you tired of the wait? Tired of pleading with God just like Isaac? It may take twenty years for God to answer, or it may only take twenty minutes. But today, let's find comfort in remembering Isaac's patient faith and take hope in believing that God is not tired of hearing our prayers.

    Dear Lord, please help me have patience and faith while I wait to hear from You. Help me live in excited anticipation for the day when I will see how You answer my prayers. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Stressed-Less Living: Finding God's Peace In Your Chaotic World by Tracie Miles

    Reflect and Respond:
    Consider prayers that have not been answered, but which you have not prayed about lately. Ask God to give you a renewed hope about those desires and faithfully wait on His timing.

    Have you stopped praying about something because you've grown tired of waiting on God?

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 27:14, "Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." (NIV)

    Isaiah 40:31, "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (KJV)

    © 2012 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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

  • Diligence Rules

    Posted on October 2, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor” (Proverbs 12:24).

     

    How hard do you work, or do you hardly work? God said to Adam, “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food” (Genesis 3:17, 19). And He explained to Moses, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work” (Exodus 20:9–10).

    Has our culture become accustomed to receiving good things without great effort? Who is entitled to influence without being industrious? Perhaps there is a dearth of diligence that has depressed people and economies. Laziness leads to the control of others, while honest labor is given opportunities and advancement. Do not despair in your diligence for you are set for success. Mind your business meticulously, and you will enjoy the business.

    “Now the man Jeroboam was a valiant warrior, and when Solomon saw that the young man was industrious, he appointed him over all the forced labor of the house of Joseph” (1 Kings 11:28 NASB).

    Indeed, intense industry leads to preferment. Your faithfulness to your work is not going unnoticed. Your diligence is a distinctive that separates you from the average or lazy laborer. Security comes with this level of service. Promotion follows performance that produces the right results the right way. Be an industrious example others seek to emulate.

    Lastly, the Lord blesses hands that are hard at work. He smiles when He sees your service exceeds expectations. You go the extra mile to make sure others are cared for as you would like to be treated. God knows, because of your thoroughness on the job and your integrity in its execution, you can be trusted with more.

    “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17).

    Prayer: Lord, what task do You desire that I diligently complete before beginning another?

    Related Readings: 1 Kings 12:20; Proverbs 10:4; Romans 12:8; 1 Timothy 4:15

    Post/Tweet: Promotion follows performance that produces the right results the right way. #diligence

    Get free eBook “Infusion” by inviting 5 friends to Wisdom Hunters http://bit.ly/PEbaBJ

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