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Tag Archives: Jeremiah

  • Answer Envy

    Posted on May 17, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen

    "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV)

    Do you ever envy God's answers to someone else's prayers?

    I recall the twinges of pain that shot through my heart each time I would open my mailbox discovering yet another baby shower invitation. As a young bride longing to become a mother, the joy of my positive pregnancy test was shattered a few months later when I suffered a miscarriage. And, although I was genuinely thrilled for my friends who were pregnant, I was also heartbroken that it wasn't my name on those pale pink or baby blue invites.

    I call this answer envy. It is that "poor me" mentality that creeps into my heart when God answers someone else's prayers more quickly than mine. Or when His answer seems to be a "no," or at least a "not right now."

    I've had my fair share of answer envy outbreaks over the years, at all stages of life.

    As a child, I was envious of the kids who came from two-parent homes while I resided in a family torn apart by divorce. No matter how hard I folded my little hands and prayed to God, my daddy didn't come back to us.

    In high school, it was other girls' good looks, cute clothes or even cuter boyfriends that I longed for. Instead, I was granted average looks and wore hand-me-down fashions. And, as sports editor of our school paper, although I was every guy's pal, I was usually nobody's gal.

    In college, I envied those whose prayers for a knight in shining armor (complete with a diamond ring) were answered while I remained single.

    My heart was filled with questions. God, why did my daddy leave? Where's my knight? Why don't I have a baby to hold? When will it be my turn?

    Over the years I've discovered the cure for answer envy isn't always easy. Rather than stay stuck in disappointment, I must play an active role in my healing.

    What I need is a shift in perspective. When I call out to God with my questions as encouraged in Jeremiah 33:3, I must trust He will keep His word. He will tell me "great and unsearchable things" that I do not know. Sometimes those things He provides are the answers to my request. However, do you know what those great and unsearchable things more often are? They are the reasons He seems not to be answering my original request!

    While God is generous to answer my requests, I also need to ask myself some questions. Questions like, "What is my Creator trying to teach me that I might never learn if He were to suddenly pluck me out of this situation?" Or, "What character qualities is He trying to grow in me? Patience, trust, compassion, contentment?"

    Not available in quick microwave form, the cure for answer envy has to be cultivated moment by moment.

    We must believe that God will answer. He will clearly say "yes," "no," or "not right now." He is able, ready and willing to answer our prayers—here is the catch—as He sees fit and to grow us to be more like His Son in the process.

    Sometimes we'll have a long stay in God's waiting room. Having been there myself, I now know this to be true: I must not merely seek the answer to my prayer. Instead, I must seek a deeper relationship with the answer Giver.

    Dear Lord, thank You for Your perfect plans ... Your perfect timing ... and the perfect way Your development happens in my times of waiting. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    If you have trouble trusting God's timing and try to "fix things" yourself instead, check out Karen's latest book LET. IT. GO. How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith.

    Follow us on Facebook.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Think back on a prayer request or two from your past where God seemed not to be answering. What else did you learn about Him as you waited for His reply?

    List out personal prayer requests you currently have. As you continue walking through life in the next few months, next to your requests, chronicle all of the peripheral blessings that come from the waiting.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 38:15, " But for you, O LORD, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer." (ESV)

    Romans 8:25, "But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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


  • Self-Deception

    Posted on February 1, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12

     

    Self-deception is the worst kind of dishonesty because it is so convincing. Subtly it convenes our mind and emotions to ally around a lie. For example, self-deception whispers into the ear of our heart, “You are so smart and capable,” but it forgets to include Christ’s influence in its instruction. Then we wander down a prayerless path, forged in our own strength, only to discover we missed God’s best by a mile.

     

    In reality, we are only as prosperous as our Lord allows. He makes our path straight and successful as He defines success. “I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths” (Proverbs 4:11). To which voice do you adhere—your own or your Savior’s? Perhaps His plan is for you to make less money and have more family time. Maybe you turn down this promotion and trust Him for a better one in a different season.

     

    “The pride of your heart has deceived you” (Obadiah 1:3).

     

    We can talk ourselves into anything, especially as it relates to money. I can easily justify a new house, car, kitchen, furniture, floors, or grill. But do I really need to upgrade or just repair what I have? How can the Lord trust me with something newer if I have not been a good steward of what He has already given me? Trustworthy people can be trusted with more, but the untrustworthy lose opportunities. Thus manage well your present possessions.

     

    Self-deceivers are self-destroyers; so avoid self-delusion by being accountable. Give others permission to ask you uncomfortable, even hard, questions. Better to be embarrassed sooner than humiliated later. Humility invites the inspection of loving friends into our lives. You do much better when others provide loving accountability.

     

    “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be” (Jeremiah 17:9 msg).

     

    Prayer: Am I transparent with my money and motives? What do God and godly advisors think?

     

    Related Readings: Psalm 1:6; Isaiah 59:8; Matthew 7:13–14; Galatians 6:3

     

    Post/Tweet today: Self deception convenes our mind and emotions to ally around a lie. #lie

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Word From God

    Posted on December 20, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “For no word from God will ever fail.” Luke 1:37

     

    God’s word never returns void and because of the Spirit’s inspiration, it is always successful. Mary and Elizabeth received a word from the Lord that He had blessed them with very special children. Sons who would represent their heavenly Father with a servant spirit and who would boldly proclaim the word of God. Yes, the Bible communicates Christ’s words in a transformational way, but Scripture requires respect. 

    Do you read the Bible for information or inspiration? Is your goal to study the Word, learn facts about God, or to know God? If you are a serious student of Scripture you will encounter Christ in your search for truth. The word of God is a hammer that chisels pride from your heart, a fire that brands truth into your brain, and a sword that slices ego from your soul. Watch for a word from God, for it will lead you to success.

    “Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces? Jeremiah 23:29

    Moreover, as you take time to meditate on God’s word, it begins to marinate your mind with wise thinking. Beyond your personal interaction in prayer and study, make sure you are engaged with a small group of Christ followers who will challenge and sharpen your thinking. Life change results from a clear understanding of why you believe what you believe. Yes, ask your heavenly Father to fill your mind with what really matters to Him.

    Do you have a word from God for a major decision you are facing? If not, wait until you do, and then validate your thinking with other godly advisors. If you do, then proceed in the power of the Holy Spirit and trust the Lord with the results. It may not make sense in the short run, but you can trust Him in the long run. God’s word always wins out!

    “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

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, engraft Your word in my heart so I grow to know You better.

    Related Readings: Luke 11:28; Acts 12:24; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:9

    Post/Tweet today: Watch out for a word from God for it will lead you to success. #success

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    Order our new book: Seeking Daily the Heart of God, vol. II... http://bit.ly/Tv6y9a

  • 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

  • God of Hope

    Posted on November 26, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

     

    I struggle with consistently placing my hope in God alone. I say He is my support, but then I add a secular safety net as a back up to my belief in Jesus. So, my prayer is to hope in God without any worldly props. When He is the sole focus of my faith then trust in Him trumps any whispering idols in the temporal. Christ’s hope is all I need to persevere though pain, change and challenges. His hope anchors my soul in His unchanging grace.

    There are many gods who offer fleeting hope. The god of more money offers financial hope. The god of bigger government offers entitlement hope. The god of blind loyalty offers relational hope. The god of harder work offers security hope. However, all hope not founded on God is false and disappoints. Hope in heaven gives peace on earth. And any earthly competitor for the Lord’s hope is powerless. God’s hope generates real joy! 

    “Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the skies themselves send down showers? No, it is you, LORD our God. Therefore our hope is in you, for you are the one who does all this.” Jeremiah 14:22

    Is your hope in God conditional or unconditional? Is it merely words or the conviction of your heart? You know your hope is all in with the Almighty when your life overflows with the power of the Holy Spirit. Bad news only emboldens you to look for the Lord’s creative solutions to sticky situations. You hand over people out of your control over to Christ’s control. Your focus on heavenly hope silences howls from the hounds of hell.

    Therefore, hope in God, the Savior of your soul. He is your sole provider who needs no supplementary support. Intensified belief in Jesus is your back up plan. Thus, you embrace hope—an unchanging attribute of God. He is the object and author of your hope. Joy comes from being justified by Jesus. His peace produces perseverance. When Christ’s hope has its way—He shows you the way. Open hope’s door; it hinges on God!

    “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, my hope is in You—not the competing hopes of this world.

    Related Readings: Psalm 43:5, 62:5; Micah 7:7; Ephesians 2:12; Titus 1:2, 2:13

    Post/Tweet this today: Hand people out of your control over to Christ’s control. #hope

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Refreshers Are Refreshed

    Posted on September 27, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25).

     

    What does it mean to be refreshed? It is to be made fresh, to revive, to enliven, to invigorate, to rejuvenate, to energize, to restore, to recharge, or to revitalize. A meager cup of lukewarm coffee comes alive with a satisfying taste when mixed with freshly brewed beans. A lukewarm life is warmed and encouraged when refreshed with words of encouragement and acts of kindness. Everyone we meet becomes a candidate for refreshment. 

    Our faith cools down when Christ seems silent and circumstances continue to crumble, but a sincere prayer from a righteous friend warmly restores our confidence. Our hope feels deferred in the face of disappointment and rejection, but we are energized by the acceptance and love of a community of believers in Jesus. Hope loves company. Seek refreshment from your Savior and His followers. Be refreshed so you can refresh others.

    “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint” (Jeremiah 31:25).

    When your parched soul has been watered by dew from heaven, you can lead others to the Lord’s watering hole. People are frantically feeling robbed by insensitive institutions and greedy governments, but we can reconnect them to their generous God. Jesus gives us an abundant life to be shared with others who are absent of abundance. “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10 NKJV).

    Lastly, your refreshment reciprocates refreshment. When you refresh another financially, you are refreshed by faith and fulfillment. When you refresh another emotionally, you are refreshed by peace and contentment. When you refresh another spiritually, you are refreshed by the grace and love of God. Are you in need of refreshment? If so, receive Christ’s full cup of joy. Drink often with the Lord so you can generously refresh friends.

    “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8).

    Prayer: How can I stay in a routine of refreshment so that I in turn can refresh others?

    Related Readings: Ruth 2:14; Psalm 41:1; Matthew 25:34–35; 2 Corinthians 9:6–7

    Post/Tweet: Hope loves company, so seek refreshment from your Savior. Be refreshed so you can refresh others. #refresh

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

  • Question and Answers with Nick Vujicic

    Posted on August 22, 2012 by Family Christian


    Being unstoppable is about believing and achieving. It’s about having faith in yourself, your talents and your purpose and, most of all, in God’s great love and His divine plan for your life.

    Millions around the world recognize the smiling face and inspirational message of Nick Vujicic. Despite being born without arms or legs, Nick’s challenges have not kept him from enjoying great adventures, a fulfilling and meaningful career, and loving relationships. Nick has overcome trials and hardships by focusing on the promises that he was created for a unique and specific purpose, that his life has value and is a gift to others, and that no matter the despair and hard times in life, God is always present. Nick credits his success in life to the power that is unleashed when faith takes action.

    Nick took some time out of his busy schedule to do a little Q&A with us.

    FC - You came to Christ at a young age; have you ever felt despondent enough (as a Christian) to consider taking your own life?

     

    Nick - I gave my life to Jesus at age fifteen when I read in the Bible that Jesus knew that the works of God would be displayed through the blind man in John 9.  However, before having faith in Jesus, I was angry at God and blamed Him for my lack of limbs and the fact He didn't seem to care. I thought He’d forgotten me or wasn't real at all was because He didn't answer me when I asked with much faith for limbs miraculously. Neither did He answer me when I asked why He had done this.  Because of being bullied at school, experiencing a lot of negative attention, feeling like I was a burden to my parents, and not seeing a right future, I attempted to commit suicide by drowning myself in a bath tub.  As I was in the process, the thought of leaving my parents with much grief helped me to not go through with the suicide.  It was by God's grace that I am still here, and I can hear the words ring true in Jeremiah 29: 11-14.

    FC - What advice can you offer to other people who are mentally or physically disabled, and feel like their life is "over" and worthless?

    Nick - Any negative lies and thoughts that come in are not from God if the statements are not in-sync with the Word, the heart of God.  Every day, we must pray that the Lord guards our hearts and minds as we battle with principalities and powers of darkness.  We have the truth.  Remind yourself of the truth of your identity, purpose and destiny in Christ.  Put on the full armor of God.  Ask God for the gift of faith to believe every loving word of the Bible and the discipline to have time in worship or prayer or reading of the Scriptures to further the growth of your faith.  Take one day at a time.  We all have a fear of being lonely.  Some have been abandoned, but Jesus is with you.  Trust Him, and if you don't know Him, seek Him.

    Nick

    FC - Describe an average day for Nick? How long it takes to get ready in the mornings?

    Nick - As a teenager, I wanted to prove to myself that I could be independent, and it would take me an hour to get ready, brush my teeth, go to the restroom, shower and dress myself.  These days I like to focus on what gives me more joy and save my energy for the things that are truly rewarding after proving to myself that I could be independent.  So, I have caregivers who take care of me and get me ready especially when traveling.

    FC - How did you meet your wife?

    Nick - My wife Kanae and I fell in love at the top of a Bell Tower in McKinney, Texas at the "Adriatica.” The fully story is in my book, but it was at a night where I only spoke to 16 people, and we watched the Butterfly Circus. I shared about the ministry's goals and heart in reaching the world.  Fireworks were in our minds and hearts when our eyes connected that night... and for the rest of the story, get the book.

    FC - What qualities or characteristics attracted you to her? Do you plan to have children soon?

    Nick - She is my best friend, and I adore her.  She has unimaginable grace, love, patience and meekness.  She is such a focused and gentle giver.  We are hoping to have children in a few years, but you never know what the Lord wants.

    FC - Where do you live/attend church?

    Nick - With living in Southern California but traveling quite a lot over the years, it has been difficult to find a home church that we truly see our children growing up in long term.  But we genuinely enjoy the fellowship of the Apostolic Christian Church in Pasadena and love their hearts in valuing the family-style congregation.

    FC - You minister around the world to children, churches and businessmen. What message is on your heart at the moment?

    Nick - In such a world and generation, there is so much information and entertainment and vicious pressure to be someone you're not yet or to get something you don't have yet. The message to preach is the truth. To know our true worth, knowing that we are all loved, and we are here for a greater purpose.

    FC - Tell us about your book - what inspired you to write it, what do you hope it will achieve, who is it for?

    Nick - Before writing Unstoppable, I personally went through two major life-changing experiences that I learned so much in and through.  I went through a personal crisis in December 2010. Then I met my wife and started courting her at the end of 2010.  That's why I wrote Unstoppable. I love how God lets us go through difficult challenges to help each other and encourage one another.   I want to communicate a message of hope and love that continues to evolve as I walk closer to Jesus.

    Bonus: Check out Nick on a recent sky diving excursion.

    Pick up Nick's other book title, Life Without Limits, by clicking here.

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