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Tag Archives: James

  • Truth Applied

    Posted on June 17, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22

    Truth applied makes us fully alive. Indeed, most people know enough truth to live a worthwhile life. They know to be honest and not lie. They know to be content and not covet another person’s house, car, or spouse. They know to be patient and wait on the Lord to do a work of grace in a loved one’s life. They know to take responsibility and not blame someone else. They know to believe Jesus and to trust Him with their life.

    If we know the truth, why do we sometimes struggle with its application? Perhaps we are self-deceived to think the truth of Scripture is needed for someone else, but not for us. Truth is right and good— not just right and good for me to practice, or worse, to think I’m living it out, when I’m not. Feeling good or bad, or being educated doesn’t transform behavior. What alters our actions is an inward change expressed in outward obedience. The wonderful benefit of this practical process is that truth applied makes us fully alive.

    “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

    Truth is like a vaccination—that when administered—prevents you from being infected with foolish living. It is like a life-saving serum applied to sin’s poisonous snakebite—potentially healing you from relational, emotional, physical and spiritual death. There is no downside to honestly gazing into the mirror of truth—assessing your life—better yet inviting godly friends to look with you, and then by God’s grace, applying truth for change.

    “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

    Is there a dark area of your life that needs the bright light of truth to expose it and root it out? Are there bad attitudes and habits you blame on past pain and injustice? If so, lean into the truth and do not be satisfied until truth’s application frees you from mediocre living. Truth applied does make you fully alive—it is a dependable friend who walks with you through wise decision-making. Dismiss dishonest living and invite  freedom in honest living. Ask the Lord to reveal truth to you and empower you to live out the truth.

    “When you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:21-24).

    Prayer: What truth do I need to embrace and celebrate in the transformation of my life?

    Related Readings: Isaiah 1:19; Proverbs 23:22; Acts 6:7; Romans 6:16

    Post/Tweet today: Truth applied makes us fully alive—it is a dependable friend who walks with us through wise decision-making. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.


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

  • Pursuit of Wisdom

    Posted on June 6, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt. James 1:5-6a

    Pursuit. It is what we all experience. We pursue dreams, we pursue jobs, we pursue opportunities, we pursue a husband or a wife, we pursue hobbies, we pursue friends, we pursue adventure, we pursue good health, we pursue success, we pursue significance and we pursue happiness—to name a few of our positive pursuits. Indeed, what we pursue becomes the focus of what we do.

    Pursuit is stated clearly as a priority in the United States Declaration of Independence: “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Over the course of history, the human race as a whole would agree that the pursuit of good things is an inalienable right of individuals. Conversely, we can choose to chase after unhealthy pursuits like: greed, lust, power and pride. Wise pursuits facilitate good outcomes, while foolish pursuits produce bad results.

    “The wise inherit honor, but fools get only shame” (Proverbs 3:35).

    Our pursuits make up who we are, thus it’s important that we pursue the right things. If you were honest, would a pursuit of wisdom make the top ten list of your life pursuits? Ask God if wisdom is His priority for your pursuits. If wisdom is the knowledge of what’s right and the judgment to rightly act on that knowledge, then anyone is capable of learning and applying wisdom. Perhaps—based on the day of the month—you begin by daily reading one of the 31 chapters in Proverbs. God gives wisdom to believing seekers.

    “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength” (1 Corinthians 1:25).

    Does the pursuit of wisdom motivate your actions? Is it a part of your portfolio of pursuits? If not, consider moving it up toward the top of your list. After all, wise-decision making affects all of your other pursuits. It could be argued that a life full of wisdom will lead to the most fulfilling life, but a life void of wisdom sets the stage for foolish living. What we pursue becomes the focus of what we do, so endeavor to seek God’s wisdom.

    “Cynics look high and low for wisdom—and never find it; the open-minded find it right on their doorstep” (Proverbs 14:6, The Message)!

    Prayer: Do I passionately pursue wisdom from God? How can I align my pursuits with His?

    Related Readings: Job 28:27-28; Ecclesiastes 4:13; 10:12; 1 Corinthians 3:18

    Post/Tweet today: What we pursue becomes the focus of what we do. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.


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

  • Maturing in Prayer

    Posted on April 15, 2014 by Stormie Omartian

    Stormie Omartian

    "You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures." James 4:2-3 (NKJV)

    During the first couple of years I walked with the Lord, my prayers went something like this:

    "God, help me get that job."

    "Jesus, please heal my throat."

    "Lord, send enough money to pay these bills."

    "Father, take away my fear."

    It took me a while to realize that those spur-of-the-moment prayers were not accomplishing much. I guess I thought the idea was to do the best I could on my own, and then if I needed a lifeline from God, I grabbed it. The only problem was I needed a lifeline every other minute.

    I loved the Scripture verse that says, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you" (Matthew 7:7, NKJV). I took God at His Word and was asking, seeking and knocking on a pray-as-you-go basis. I also took to heart the verse that says, "... you do not have because you do not ask" (James 4:2b).

    Great! I can easily remedy that, I thought, and proceeded to ask God for everything. But I still wasn't happy, and I didn't see the kind of answered prayer I desired.

    One day as I was reading James 4:2, my eyes were opened to the next verse, "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures" (James 4:3).

    Could it be that the "God give-me-this, do-that, wave-your-magic-wand-here, get-me-out-of-this-mess" kind of praying was not what God desired for my prayer life? In utter frustration I said, "Lord, teach me how I'm supposed to pray."

    He did exactly that!

    I came to understand that prayer is not just asking for things — although that certainly is part of it. Far more importantly, prayer is talking with God. It's getting close to and spending time with the One you love. It's seeking Him first, getting to know Him better, being with Him and waiting in His presence.

    Prayer is acknowledging Him as the source of power upon whom you can depend. It's taking the time to say, Speak to my heart, Lord, and tell me what I need to hear. It's partnering with Him. It's aligning our spirits with His to see that His perfect will is done. It's establishing ourselves and our lives as being connected to God.

    We can't receive God's best for our lives, and we can't push back the things that were never God's will for us, except through prayer. We can't leave our lives to chance. We have to pray about everything all the time, not just when things go wrong.

    We have to pray over anything that concerns us, no matter how big ... "For with God nothing will be impossible" (Luke 1:37, NKJV) ... or how small ... "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered" (Matthew 10:30, NKJV).

    The Bible tells us the basic qualification for prayer: "he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6b NKJV).

    The more you pray, the more you will find to pray about, and the more you'll be led to pray for others.

    Don't allow discouragement over unanswered prayer to cause you to doubt that God heard you. If you have received Jesus and are praying in His name, then God hears you and something is happening whether you see it manifested in your life now or not. In fact, every time you pray, you're advancing God's purposes for you. Without prayer, the full purpose God has for you can't happen.

    Dear Lord, Help me today to draw closer to You, in my words, my thoughts and my deeds. Help me share more of my life with You, and through that, help me discover Your perfect will. In His holy Name I pray, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Looking back in your walk with Christ, how has your prayer life matured? In what ways does it still need to grow?

    Have you ever had a prayer answered? Does this memory help you when facing discouragement over unanswered prayers?

    Power Verse:
    Jeremiah 33:3, "'Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.'" (NKJV)

    © 2014 by Stormie Omartian. 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 James

  • Double Minded

    Posted on April 11, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. James 1:6-8

    Double mindedness comes from doubt. Doubt about being in the right career. Doubt related to investing in the right relationships. Doubt in the Almighty’s ability to handle the circumstances or the people. Chronic doubt is a detriment to faith and hope, because it causes instability and insecurity. Has doubt and double mindedness frozen your faith?

    Do you feel torn between two people? Have your divided loyalties at work created conflict and confusion? Does your lack of conviction cause you to react like a whipsaw to the latest advice? Like a ship without a rudder or sail, you are tossed back and forth by the winds of change and conflict. Without confidence from Christ there is confusion.

    “I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty” (Galatians 5:10).

    Wavering faith is made stable by reassurance from the Lord’s faithfulness. There is nothing distrustful about wisdom from above. You can count on Christ to lead you through the valley of uncertainty, along the upward path of prayer to the mountaintop of trust. Challenges allow you to grow in grace—and live out the advice you give to others.

    So, determine by God’s grace to be single-minded, not double-minded. Your single-minded devotion to Jesus is simple, but powerful. Like the tip of a razor sharp spear, it cuts through the noise of competing voices and allows you to hear from heaven. This humble posture of believing prayer unlocks the Lord’s wisdom and discernment.

    Whatever Jesus says to be—be, and whatever Jesus says to do—do. Do not complicate your conversation with Christ with contingency plans. Rather, simply trust and obey the truth. Do what He says to do today and trust Him with tomorrow. The Lord will handle the little details and the big outcomes—your part is to remain faithful. Wisdom is what He wants you to follow by faith. Single-mindedness is stable and secure in all its ways.

    “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:8-9).

    Prayer: How can I grow in single-minded faith in the Lord? Who needs my focused attention?

    Related Readings: Isaiah 41:29; 50:7; Matthew 6:22-23; 1 Peter 1:13

    Post/Tweet today: Challenges are an opportunity to grow in grace and live out the advice we give others. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • What if I Don't Get Any More Tomorrows?

    Posted on April 11, 2014 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie Miles

    "How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog — it's here a little while, then it's gone." James 4:14 (NLT)

    Before the plane backed away from the gate, the flight attendant warned us: "It's been a rough day in the air. Prepare yourself for tremendous turbulence." Although I wanted to make a mad dash for the door, I simply tightened my seat belt and prayed for safety. Soon, her verbal warning became a reality.

    The plane rocked back and forth, as if it were slamming into walls instead of fluffy clouds. It was a short, but difficult, flight and after several attempts at landing, we were diverted to another airport, adding hours to the trip.

    During this extra time in the air, I did a lot of thinking about what was most important in my life. I didn't really believe we would crash, but I couldn't keep from wondering ... What if the worst happens? What if I don't get any more tomorrows?

    I thought about my loved ones. What were my last words to them? Were they kind or harsh? Were they filled with love, or merely instructions to carry out during my absence? Did I hug everyone and tell them how much they meant to me? If I didn't make it home, had I prepared my children spiritually and emotionally to handle life, trust God and walk in faith? Had I told my husband how much I appreciated him?

    Was there anyone I needed to forgive? Were there people I had been meaning to call or visit but never took the time? Had my priorities and plans been in line with God's will? Had I sought God's insight about everything on my to-do list? Had I done all I could to bring glory to God? Would I be ready to meet Jesus face to face?

    Although my heart knew God was in control, my mind and emotions ran wild as I peered out the oval window at the dark clouds hovering all around us.

    In an effort to ignore the panicked voice over the intercom, I began searching my Bible for scriptures about how God knows the number of our days. The first verse I found was today's key verse.

    In the rest of chapter 4, James reprimands the people for their self-centered living. Their self-indulgent, judgmental and prideful ways caused arguments and quarrels. They were consumed with business profits and neglected to seek God's insight.

    They focused on their personal agendas instead of what actually mattered. They acted as if God didn't exist, or didn't matter, and pursued their own plans. They disregarded God's control over their lives and the number of their days.

    James then wrote these words that spoke truth into my heart, "How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog — it's here a little while, then it's gone" (James 4:14).

    That passage could have been written to me. Sometimes I focus on my own plans, ignoring that only God knows how long He will allow me to carry them out. Other times, I make plans without seeking God's will and get distracted by lesser things, instead of what really matters.

    James wanted his readers to remember God directs us to live with a holy perspective, knowing every breath we take is one more gift from God. We aren't promised any tomorrows, so we need to live today with an eternal perspective.

    I remained calm in the midst of the airborne chaos, but that time of reflection in the bumpy skies served as a great reminder not to take time for granted. I don't want to assume I'll always have another tomorrow, or another chance to love on those I love the most. From now on, I want to include God in my plans and serve Him as best I can.

    Lord, forgive me for focusing on my own plans or neglecting to seek Your insight. Help me to never put off until tomorrow what You want me to do today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What might I need to do today that I've been putting off until tomorrow?

    Have I sought God's insight about my future plans, or wise counsel from a trusted friend?

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 90:12, "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (NIV)

    Proverbs 16:9, "In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Trials Come So That...

    Posted on March 31, 2014 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy Blight

    "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:2-4, NIV, emphasis added)

    [Editor's Note: Today's devotional might serve as a trigger for some. If that's you, we pray this story encourages you and brings you hope. Please see our note at the end for additional resources.]

    Screams from my living room startled me. Walking into the room, I realized the noises came from the television. On the screen, a man viciously attacked a woman. My instinct normally would have been to grab the remote and change the channel. Instead I stood frozen, my eyes locked onto the scene.

    It took me back 26 years to my little college apartment. To the terrifying moment I found an armed, masked man hiding at the top of my stairs. Without warning, I returned to the feelings and fear I felt that day.

    Something was drawing me back to that moment reminding me of where I once had been and how far I had come.

    Watching the violation on the screen was like watching myself all those years ago.

    My mind snapped back to the present reality of the TV show, where the screen now showed the victim returning home to find a crime scene.

    Another flashback. I, too, had arrived home to find investigators everywhere, dusting for prints, bagging and tagging items, and methodically removing my personal belongings one by one. First, physical, replaceable things ... my bathing suit, sheets, comforter, and towel. And then, personal, seemingly irreplaceable things ... my dignity, security, value and self-worth.

    Following the day I was attacked, fear locked me in a prison and held me captive for nearly 15 years.

    But thankfully that day watching that TV show, fear NEVER took hold!

    In the past when those emotions rushed through me, terror came and I ran wherever I could to avoid being alone with the paralyzing fear. But not that day. After turning the TV off, I boldly and confidently marched up my stairs, jumped in the shower and scrubbed off every one of those emotions.

    Afterward, the Lord impressed these words on my heart: Remember My promise. You have persevered, My child. Perseverance is finishing its work!

    God was speaking His own Word to me from today's key verse, James 1:2-4. Sometimes, God allows trials to test our faith. Our trials, though incredibly confusing and painful, initiate a process that teaches perseverance which deepens and matures our faith in a way nothing else can.

    My life is proof. Not only has God healed me from that horrific day many years ago, but He has turned it into a powerful testimony to bring hope to others and point them to Him.

    If you're in the midst of a trial, be encouraged, sweet friend. Our key verse teaches that God promises to mature and complete you through it. He also promises that you will be more than a conqueror through Christ who loves you. Pay attention to those words. Not a mere conqueror...but more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37).

    As God washed these truths over me, He spoke this message into my heart:

    Not only can this trial not separate you from Me, Wendy, but with Me ... if you continue to look to Me and trust Me ... I will use it to mold you into the woman I created you to be. Wendy, you will be more than a conqueror so that I can mature you and use you to encourage and help others.

    Before you read further, reread the paragraph above and replace my name with yours. Let God's promises seep deep into your heart. Your trial has purpose. It forces dependence on God. It tests you. It molds you, eventually creating you into an overcomer, with a powerful testimony.

    Trials come so that God can work in and through them to transform us and then use us to bring hope and healing to His hurting people.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for having a purpose in my trials. Open my eyes to see Your hand at work and give me the courage to persevere so that You can mold me into the woman You created me to be. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are you facing a trial in your own life? What has been your response?

    Spend time reading Romans 8:37 (below) and James 1:2-4 (key verse). What truths do they speak into your trial?

    Power Verse:
    Romans 8:37, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Wendy Blight. 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 James

  • I'm Scared to Pray Boldly

    Posted on February 27, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." James 5:16b (NIV)

    I have to admit I'm sometimes scared to pray boldly.

    It's not at all that I don't believe God can do anything. I absolutely do. I'm a wild-about-Jesus girl. Wild in my willingness. Wild in my obedience. Wild in my adventures with God.

    After all, I think Jesus would rather rein in a wild stallion than kick a dead mule any day of the week.

    So, my hesitation isn't rooted in any kind of doubt about God. It's more rooted in doubts about myself and my ability to absolutely discern the will of God. The reality is sometimes God chooses not to do things. And if His will is no, while I am boldly praying for a yes, it makes me feel out of step with God.

    Can you relate?

    I so desperately want to stay in the will of God that I find myself praying with clauses sometimes, like: God please heal my friend, but if it's Your will to take her, I will trust You.

    I wonder why I don't just boldly pray: God, please heal my friend. And then stand confidently knowing my prayers were not in vain no matter what the outcome.

    The reality is, my prayers don't change God. But I am convinced prayer changes me. Praying boldly boots me out of that stale place of religious habit into authentic connection with God Himself.

    Prayer opens my spiritual eyes to see things I can't see on my own. And I'm convinced prayer matters. Prayers are powerful and effective if prayed from the position of a righteous heart (James 5:16).

    So, prayer does make a difference — a life-changing, mind-blowing, earth-rattling difference. We don't need to know how. We don't need to know when. We just need to kneel confidently and know the tremors of a simple Jesus girl's prayers extend far wide and far high and far deep.

    Letting that absolute truth slosh over into my soul snuffs out the flickers of hesitation. It bends my stiff knees. And it ignites a fresh, bold and even more wild fire within. Not bold as in bossy and demanding. But bold as in I love my Jesus with all my heart, so why would I offer anything less than an ignited prayer life?

    Jesus speaks specifically about igniting our prayer lives in Matthew 6, verses 6-8, "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him" (NIV).

    So let's ask. And ask again. Not so that we can cause God to move, rather so that we can position our souls to be able to see our sweet Jesus move in any which way He pleases.

    Dear Lord, I'm so grateful for the opportunity to bring all of my worries and cares to You. Thank You for providing me with exactly what I need. I trust that You have my best interest in mind today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    How have you been praying lately? In boldness or in timidity? Why?

    Write down three bold prayers you would like to pray today. Pray them again tomorrow. And again the next day. Pray them for the next month even. And know with full assurance that the tremors of your prayers will extend far wide and far high and far deep. Pray and wait for God to respond.

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 145:18, "The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth." (NIV)

    © 2014 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 James

  • Start Doing

    Posted on January 8, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    I will show you my faith by my deeds. James 2:18

    Sometimes the hardest step is to start. It’s like crawling through traffic at rush hour to get going. However, once we take the first step of faith our Heavenly Father takes it from there. He is waiting for us to begin, so He can continue to work through us. So start the letter, book or blog. Begin the conversation, create a budget or put a date on the calendar. Yes, by God’s grace start a business, ministry or family. One step of faith today leads to God working wonders tomorrow.

    What are you waiting on? The perfect timing? A billboard in the sky? A little encouragement? Whatever the obstacle of your delay give it over to God. What the Lord possesses He positions for success. The Holy Spirit opens and closes doors, but He directs an object on the move, absent of inertia. Yes, apathy is an enemy of faith. It holds back good people with over analysis and a worse case scenario belief. So, get going for God’s glory and He will get it done through you.

    By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. Hebrews 11:8

    A loving activism does accompany our faith in Jesus Christ. Love initiates because it is interested in getting involved with time, money and support. It is unloving to sit still and complain without offering solutions to the problems. However, we only take action after the Lord has taken hold of our heart. He molds our motives into just means that lead to enduring ends. So we feed the poor not to feed our guilt, but for Jesus’ sake. Love compels us to do something now to help out.

    Start today for you have no promise of tomorrow. Each moment is a gift with no assurance of your next breath. So seize the moment for your Savior Jesus and He will show you the way. Show up and the Spirit will guide you on the right path of progress. Take the next step by faith and follow Almighty God in His great adventure. Remain in fear and you will miss God’s best, but be free to obey and you will experience His grace. Start doing and watch the Spirit move!

    We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:3

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, by faith I want to start doing what You would have me to do. Give me the courage to take the next step.

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 9:23; Galatians 5:6; Hebrews 11:32-40; James 2:14-26

    Post/Tweet today: The Lord molds our motives into just means that lead to enduring ends. #startdoing

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • Time Capsule

    Posted on November 25, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." James 4:14 (NIV)

    When his mom held out the time capsule at one-year-old Jason's birthday, it seemed like a fun idea.

    "Add one item that represents this year and write a letter to Jason, telling him what you think life will be like 17 years from now." Letters were thoughtfully penned and placed in the time capsule, as well as newly minted coins, a toy car, headlines from the local newspaper, and other items.

    This year Jason turned 18. We were surprised when his mom pulled out the dented can with the faded blue and green blocks on it. Many family members had forgotten about it.

    For the next hour there were tears and laughter as memories came spilling out.

    Tears as Jason's dad read his letter, remembering a young father who hoped he wouldn't make mistakes with his little boy.

    Laughter as older cousins, now adults, read their letters expressing child-like birthday wishes in misspelled words.

    Tears as Jason's mom pulled out three separate letters from grandparents no longer on earth. As she read their words written to her once-little guy, she barely made it through.

    Laughter again as Jason held up a 1995 headline on the price of gas rising. "Man, wouldn't it be great to go back to those good old days!"

    In the midst of the fun, I was reminded of how much and how quickly things can change. I thought about words I want to speak to those I love. By not speaking them, I am acting as if my friends and family (and I) will always be here, taking for granted what is right in front of me.

    The time capsule caused me to take a fresh look at those around me and really apply a lesson found in Scripture. James 4:14 says, "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes" (NIV). In other words, life is fleeting and we're wise to make the most of this very moment, because the next one is not certain.

    I paused at the door as we left the party, resolving that day to say the words in my heart, and say them often. To not miss an opportunity to encourage or say "I love you."

    Not far away, my mom made her way to the car. She turned and waved goodbye.

    You're so beautiful.

    My dad made a wisecrack as he passed by. He turns 80 next year.

    I love you, Dad.

    My sister, strong and lovely. She's had a hard year, but her faith has shined through.

    Do you know you are my best friend?

    My brother, Jason's dad.

    You've turned out to be such a great dad. I'm proud of you.

    My hope is that one day there will be a time capsule of my words tucked away in the hearts of those I love. Words clearly spoken that friends and family can recall when they think of me.

    What about you? Is there someone who needs to hear your sweet words? To know you love them? To hear that you are proud of them?

    Begin your own time capsule of words, depositing encouragement, a kind word, an "I love you" in the heart of a loved one. Don't hesitate to start. Right now is the only moment we're sure to have.

    Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of today. Help me to use my words to encourage and show appreciation to the beautiful friends and family in my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are there words you wished you had spoken in the last 10 years, but didn't? What prevented you from speaking them?

    Take an opportunity to tell a loved one that you love them or speak an encouraging word today.

    Power Verse:
    Job 8:9, "For we are only of yesterday and know nothing, Because our days on earth are as a shadow." (NASB)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Faith in Action

    Posted on November 13, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." James 2:17 (NIV)

    When I was 31 years old I received a diagnosis of breast cancer and affected lymph nodes.

    Three months later I stood in front of a mirror. One breast misshapen from surgery. Twenty extra pounds after a second surgery and early menopause. Skin translucent from chemotherapy meds flowing through my veins.

    I didn't recognize myself. I didn't recognize this new season. Life was uncertain at best, and scary on most days.

    I wanted to be strong for my three babies.

    I wanted to be strong for my husband, who was in protective mode, but also vulnerable as his young wife battled cancer.

    I wanted to be strong for my mom, who snapped pictures when I wasn't looking, to capture memories of the daughter she loved, but feared she'd lose.

    Where was I to find strength?

    In the midst of what often felt like rough seas, my faith in Christ became my anchor. Additionally, God provided people who helped carry my burden.

    Their strength became mine in a hundred small and large ways. How? By putting their faith into action as James 2:17 tells us to do: "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." (NIV)

    Throughout the hard days of my treatment and recovery, I saw this verse lived out over and over.

    A neighbor and his wife mowed our yard every week while I sat through chemo. Many brought groceries. Others cleaned our house. Put gas in our car. Cooked meals.

    This faith in action eased the burden of physical and financial needs I felt I had to carry alone.

    Friends sat in the waiting room with Richard while I was in surgery. They took our children out to eat and brought them treats.

    This faith in action lifted the weight of worry over my beautiful children and husband.

    One friend noted my need for humor in the midst of so much bad news; her attempts at being funny were just the right prescription. Another brought balloons to chemotherapy. I sat with a needle in my vein, bright balloons attached to my chair, and a smile on my face.

    This faith in action bore my weight of sadness as I laughed out loud.

    There are days I pinch myself; it's hard to believe 23 years have passed since then. My "babies" grew up and have given me grandchildren. Richard and I are growing older together.

    Cancer is a word in my past, but faith in action is woven in my present.

    I'll never forget how small acts, piled upon one another, equaled big relief for a family in crisis.

    Sometimes we might think that faith in action is doing big things, and certainly it is; but small actions matter too.

    James 2:17 doesn't diminish the beauty of faith, but rather tells us to put action with it. Action moves your faith from being one of words to life-changing impact on others.

    Right now in your church, across the street, or somewhere in your community there is someone in crisis. Perhaps there's a friend or family member who is sick, grieving, confused or afraid, and you aren't sure what to say, or what to do.

    Take a look at their needs and your means to meet them. Determine what you are able to do, then put your faith into action. Serve up a hearty dose of food, love, laughter, babysitting, or comfort!

    Dear Lord, thank You for showing me someone who needs You. May my faith in action be a blessing today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Reflect and Respond:
    Sometimes when a friend or family member is battling cancer, you might not know what to say. Ask about what mattered to them the day before they were diagnosed with cancer. Family, faith, interests, etc.

    Who do you know in need, and what is one act of kindness that would relieve their burden? Do that today.

    Power Verses:
    Romans 12:13, "When God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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


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

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