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Tag Archives: Luke

  • Stop Doing

    Posted on January 7, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42

    American culture is plagued by hyperactivity without productivity. We think being busy equals importance or a frantic pace is a path to success. Like a pack mule loaded down with an overabundance of supplies, we pack our calendar to the breaking point. We play mind games with ourselves that busyness is what’s best for our family, but the real outcomes are: relational emptiness, health challenges and irritable emotions. We even justify being over active for Jesus.

    Perhaps a wiser start to the year is a stop doing list. As Jesus instructed Martha, we need to take an inventory of our activities and ask what is really needed. What has served its purpose for a season, but is now unnecessary, even an obstacle to what’s best? Let go of emotional attachments and embrace margin for meaningful relationships. Is it time to stop a sports program, a long commute or a tired volunteer role? Become better with contemplation and strategic availability.

    When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Matthew 18:18

    It takes courage to take the route trafficked infrequently, but the ride is less stressful and more enjoyable. Avoid going where everyone else is going, nowhere fast. A fast track is too fast when it starves our faith. We find ourselves with very little left over time for prayer, Bible study, worship and community. Give what’s important first priority on the calendar. Worry works itself out of a job when we work out our bodies, feed our minds, heal our emotions and rest our souls.

    By faith stop doing something each week or month that has passed its prime time. Be patient to not rush and fill a gap in your calendar with crowded appointments. Blocks of discretionary time give you availability for spontaneous service. Yes, take a step back from the myopic trees bunched together, so you can see the imaginative forest of faith. Anyone can be busy, some can be productive, but few walk by faith and watch God do more. So, stop doing good to do better.

    One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. Psalm 27:4

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the faith to let go of the good, so I can enjoy Your best.

    Related Readings: Psalm 61:4; Matthew 6:25-34; Luke 8:41-43; Philippians 3:13

    Post/Tweet today: Let go of emotional attachments and embrace margin for meaningful relationships. #stopdoing

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

  • The God Moment that Changes Everything

    Posted on January 7, 2014 by Kyle Idleman

    Kyle

    "When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!'" Luke 15:17 (NIV)

    Not long ago, one of my daughters set my phone alarm tone to match that of her favorite animal. It's labeled "Horses Neighing." It should be called "Death by Stampede." At 5:30 in the morning my alarm went off and I shot straight up, wide-awake, a stampede charging through my bedroom.

    While changing it back to my standard alarm, I noticed a wide array of other options. Some of the sounds wouldn't do anything to get me up, like the one labeled "Harp." It trills a soft melody, and just listening to it makes me sleepy.

    The most effective alarm ringtone for me is labeled "Old Car Horn." Think in terms of a house alarm that you can hear on the other side of the neighborhood. Now imagine that you are sleeping inside the speaker. It's highly effective. And the great thing is this alarm has a unique backup system that's almost fail proof – my wife.

    But here's what I've discovered: the effectiveness of any alarm is in direct correlation to how much you don't want to hear it. In other words, until your desire not to hear the alarm outweighs your desire to keep sleeping—you're not going to wake up.

    Similarly, a sudden awakening takes place when God finally gets our attention. The alarm sounds, and this time we hear it. We immediately become aware of our present circumstances and the reality that something must change.

    The Prodigal Son experienced this in Luke 15. After taking his inheritance money from his father, wasting it and reduced to feeding pigs, the Bible tells us the son, "came to his senses ..."

    At this point the son sat straight up and suddenly realized what his life had become. When he ran away, he'd never thought his journey would have that ending. But now life had his attention, and he knew things had to change.

    Have you ever had a moment like this? The Holy Spirit opens your eyes, and you see something that you had somehow missed before. You have a startling realization that changes everything.

    You realize you've been trying to live out the Christian life from your own power and strength rather than out of the power of the Holy Spirit.

    You realize you weren't actually following Jesus; you were just following a list of rules and rituals.

    You realize you spent so much of your life wrestling with guilt and shame, because you thought being good enough would save you.

    And then suddenly you realize a truth. That truth has always been true, but for some reason, you just didn't see it before. Like the Prodigal Son, it was the right time and the right place, and finally realization woke you up and brought you to your senses. AHA!

    This is an "AHA" moment, and within the parable of the Prodigal Son, I discovered there are three ingredients that are present in every AHA experience.

    1. A Sudden Awakening
    2. Brutal Honesty
    3. Immediate Action

    If there is an awakening and honesty, but no action, then AHA doesn't happen. If there is awakening and action, but honesty is overlooked, AHA will be short-lived.

    But when God's Word and the Holy Spirit bring these three things together in your life, you will experience AHA—a God-given moment that changes everything.

    Today if you are finally hearing the alarm and realizing you are far from your Heavenly Father, know you can turn to Him. Luke 15 shows us that God is a loving Father who is merciful, gracious, and caring. No matter how far we wander from God, He wants to do more than just help us—He wants to save us. And it starts with AHA.

    Dear Lord, help me to see the areas of my life that need transformation. Please give me a genuine Awakening, help me to be Honest with myself, and be with me as I take Action. Jesus, I surrender my life to you, and I thank You for the work You're doing in my life! In Jesus' Holy Name I pray. Amen.

    Related Resources:


    Reflect and Respond:
    Search your heart. Consider the areas of your life that need transformation. Identify one area that needs to change.

    Create action steps that will help you change the situation. Pray for God's strength. Then take action!

    Power Verse:
    John 6:35: "Then Jesus declared, 'I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.'" (NIV)

    © 2014 by Kyle Idleman. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks David C. Cook for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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

  • God-Size Goals

    Posted on January 2, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with men is possible with God”. Luke 18:27

    God-size goals are meant to challenge our thinking and further our faith. These Holy Spirit inspired ‘big ideas’ are crafted by our Creator to spur us on to good works and transformational living. God-sized goals make us uncomfortable at times. They are not guaranteed to happen, but they position us to pray more and believe in God better.

    It is through prayerful planning and implementation that gigantic goals move from mere possibility to a more sure probability. Huge objectives are a hedge against mediocrity, and a prod toward perfection. God-sized goals are given to govern your thinking, and determine your time, so you are intentional and focused on His big picture. Otherwise, you can drift around without a rudder of reality, destined to disappointment.

    Best of all God-sized goals get you to God. It is prayer and planning with significant progress that moves you from the realm of possibility to the place of probability. In most cases it is one man or woman’s passion and focus that proves catalytic to the creation and execution of the goals. The leader looks failure in the eye and extinguishes it by faith, wisdom, and hard work, which are all wrapped around a skilled and unified team.

    Christ-centered possibilities, way outweigh man-centered probabilities. Perhaps you need to get away in solitude for several days, and ask your Savior to sear your soul with His goals. Think out of the box of small belief, for the Lord is unlimited in His abilities and resources. God-sized goals arrest your attention, adjust your attitude and accelerate your actions.

    So, prayerfully set great goals, and He will grow your character in the process, while influencing others for His glory. Trust Him to teach you the way; to show you with eyes of faith way beyond the bounds of your experience, for His plan will prevail. The Bible says, “I know you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).

    Prayer: What goal is God giving me that I need to accept by faith, and work hard towards its accomplishment?

    Related Readings: Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:17; Matthew 19:26; Ephesians 1:19-20

    Post/Tweet today: Christ-centered possibilities, way outweigh man-centered probabilities. #Godsizegoals

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

  • A Light in the Dark

    Posted on December 25, 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer

    Samantha

    "I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!" Luke 2:30-32 (NLT)

    "Don't get out of the car by yourself. Just honk when you get here and I'll come out."

    As I drove down the darkening street I questioned the wisdom of the 13-year-old who had just given me those instructions. Maybe one of the other youth group leaders should have come with me. Wouldn't honking alert the drug dealers in the neighborhood that Jake had warned me about?

    Turns out I didn't get an answer to my question. Approaching his house, I squinted in the dim evening light. The silhouette of Jake throwing a football in the air was fading against the night sky.

    Christmas carols escaped from my rolled down car window. Songs of the Christ child's birth and God's glory in the highest. Lyrics proclaiming that salvation had come—for me, for Jake, his neighbors, the world.

    "Hey buddy. How are ya?" Such a lame question in light of all he'd seen. His father in a jail cell just a few months prior. His father overdosed in his bed last week. His father in a casket three days earlier.

    Jake helped me carry the pizzas I'd brought over for his family. Couches brimmed with aunts and uncles; chairs overflowed with young cousins vying for a spot to sit. His mom, Norma, and several friends surrounded the kitchen table. Many had come long distances, weary travellers searching for peace.

    These pizzas would ease their hunger, but not their hurt. They wouldn't be truly comforted until they found what they were looking for: a light in the darkness of their grief.

    That dismal day as the television flickered in the living room ... as Norma declared she was moving out of that memory-laden house ... as Jake talked about playing football in a different school district ... I prayed, Lord please let them see You.

    My heart understood some of their hurt. I've been the one to receive meals. I've made plans to escape the memories and grief. And I've set my sights on what I wished would rescue me from painful circumstances.

    Maybe you've longed for that kind of help too? Eagerly looked for a light in the darkness? There was a man, Simeon, in Luke chapter 2 who had the great joy of pronouncing that help had come.

    Let's look at Simeon's amazing proclamation: "At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord's Messiah. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,

    'Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!'" (Luke 2:25-32 NLT)

    Simeon knew that true help, true salvation, wouldn't come through anything or anyone other than Jesus Christ.

    That day standing in Jake's living room, I knew the same thing. No matter how many meals were delivered, or whether or not they moved to a new school or neighborhood, without the hope of Christ, they'd always be looking for something else to be their hope, their light. The same is true for me, for you.

    Simeon was a man of singular passion: to see the Christ Child with his own eyes and God's glory revealed. He knew that Jesus' birth meant salvation had come for those who would trust in Him and the work He would do when He died on the cross. His whole life would illuminate God's love to a desperate world. For those who believe that He is the Son of God and our risen Savior, we have the hope of eternal life spent with God and peace and joy here on earth.

    On this day when we celebrate Jesus' coming to earth, let's really focus on Him. He is our hope in despairing situations. And a joyful light to brighten even the darkest circumstances.

    Jesus, You alone are the hope the world needs. Thank You for coming from heaven to earth, from King to servant, from God to babe. Give me a singular passion to see You. Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    When your hope dips low, pray for help in re-focusing on the great gift of Jesus and who God is.

    Power Verses:
    Isaiah 9:6, "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

    © 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Night Before Christmas

    Posted on December 24, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.” Luke 2:4-5

    It was the night before Christmas and Jesus, who was from the line of David, was to be born in the city of David. He was coming, not as a King, but as a Savior to shepherd the souls of hurting humanity. In God’s eyes His Son had always been and always would be. But to mankind the birth of Jesus was the defining moment in history (His story!). Calendars began to divide time: BC (before Christ) to AD (Anno Domini: in the year of our Lord).

    In a similar way we define our conversion to Jesus as a new birth into His kingdom. The calendar of our soul is clearly categorized as before Christ and after Christ. The night before our new birth we were lost in our sins. But at the daybreak of our faith we stepped into the light of forgiveness and were saved from our sins. Indeed, Jesus was born into the world to seek and to save the lost. He was born, so we could be born again!

    “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10
    Have you made room for your Lord Jesus at the inn of your soul or is He in the hay barn of your heart? The world’s activities are loud, busy and demanding. It’s easy to drift under their demands and forget the words of our Lord, “Follow Me.” Yes, once the excitement of your new found faith wears off the world can wear you down. So, be intentional as humble shepherds and wise men to search out your Savior. Give Him gifts of gratitude.

    Like Joseph, be responsible in care of the mundane: be compliant to the government, know the condition of your family, identify their needs and give them security. Indeed, it’s out of your every day obedience to Christ’s commands that He births faith, hope and love. Your heavenly Father takes care of you, as you take care of His business. Christmas Eve is a celebration of Christ’s entrance on earth and the joy He brings to all who believe!

    “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” Isaiah 12:3

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for Christ’s birth and for my new birth of faith.

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 20:7; Isaiah 9:6; Daniel 6:4;  John 4:14, 7:42

    Post/Tweet today: Jesus was born so we could be born again. #Christmas

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

  • Modest Means

    Posted on December 23, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “She gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” Luke 2:7

    Jesus came into the world in a modest manger with parents who had modest means. Mary and Joseph were long on love but short on financial resources. But in God’s economy, a family first needs faith in their Provider and not in the provision. A family who prays together has a higher probability of staying together. A home rich in relational depth experiences true riches. Modest financial means can liberate one’s love for the Lord.

    You may receive a cool reception from those who feel superior because of their self proclaimed social status. Some look down on the work of your hands for their hands have not been soiled by sweat and physical labor. Pride breeds a smug countenance while humility births a kind and compassionate face. Indeed, modesty makes room for humility.

    “But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of.” 1 Corinthians 12:19, The Message

    Are you a little embarrassed that you don’t have the cutest clothes, the coolest car or the most decorated home? Don’t let the “comparison trap” trap you into not trusting God for His game plan and His good things. You may seem ordinary by the world’s standards, but your life surrendered to your Savior has extraordinary potential. Give Him all you have.

    Maybe you are newly married or you know a newlywed couple. This modest season is a prime time to learn contentment in Christ and how to serve Him and others unselfishly. Give over to the Lord your modest means and He will multiply it for His glory. Your limited time He redeems with creative opportunities, your humble finances He stretches beyond a strict budget and your rich relationships He makes richer. Dedicate your modest means to your Master Jesus, like a soft rain, He will refresh dry hearts.

    “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.” Luke 16:10

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, take my modest means and multiply them for Your glory.

    Related Readings: Exodus 16:17; Proverbs 16:8; Luke 19:17; 1 Corinthians 12:23

    Post/Tweet today: A home rich in relational depth experiences true riches. #true riches

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

  • Expecting a Baby

    Posted on December 21, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “He [Joseph] went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:5–7).

    An expecting wife needs extra sensitivity and a strong, supportive husband. She is emotionally vulnerable and physically overwhelmed at times. As with Mary, there may be some uncertainty of the ultimate outcome, but she trusts the Lord to care for her and her baby. The circumstances are challenging when you are away from the comforts of home and its familiar feel. Pregnancy is a transition that requires trust in the Lord.

    Husbands, your expecting wife needs you to step up like Joseph and provide leadership. This is not the time to lose faith or become frightened. Perfect love casts out fear; so overcome any apprehension with the Christlike love that dwells in your mind and heart. See pregnancy as a prayerful process to accomplish the plan of almighty God, as expecting moms and dads can expect great things from Him. Hannah and her husband Elkanah gave God the glory for the blessing of their son Samuel.

    “Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, ‘Because I asked the Lord for him’” (1 Samuel 1:19–20).

    Furthermore, a husband’s leadership needs to provide protection for his wife. Accompany her, as Joseph did, to new places and people who might take advantage of your sweet-spirited spouse. It makes your woman feel safe and secure when you buffer her from bad people or strangers with unseemly motives. Stay with her, and see her through stressful situations, like family members who can be awkward and insensitive toward your bride.

    Intervene and defend your wife if your children, parents, or siblings show disrespect, however subtle it might be. God made you one flesh in marriage; so if she is offended, you are offended. Of course, prayerfully confront all parties in a spirit of grace and humility, but with clarity. An expecting wife is beautiful to behold as she brings forth an innocent infant woven in her womb by God. Be there for her labor of love for the Lord and for His gift of a precious little one to love. Mary gave God the glory for her baby Jesus!

    “The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:23).

    Prayer: Whom can I support and pray for who is expecting a baby? How can I thank my heavenly Father for His gift of baby Jesus to me and to mankind?

    Related Readings: Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2; John 16:21; 1 John 4:18

    Post/Tweet today: An expecting wife is beautiful as she brings forth an innocent infant woven in her womb by God. #expectingababy

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

  • He Sees You Right Where You Are

    Posted on December 17, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified." Luke 2:8-9 (NIV)

    It's interesting who the Bible records as the first to hear the good news of Jesus' birth. It wasn't a king. Or a religious leader. Or a rich man. It wasn't to anyone in the center of attention and importance. It was to shepherds. Dirty, smelly shepherds.

    It's also notable that it wasn't broadcast in the day. It wasn't announced with trumpets on the temple steps as hundreds crowded to offer sacrifices. Or proclaimed in the marketplace in the middle of a busy day. It was night, in quiet isolation.

    The fields weren't where important people visited. Especially not at night. And that night the dark field was covered with sleeping sheep and tired shepherds. Just them. Outside the world's notice. Men performing a wearying task at a wearying hour.

    Of all the ways and to all the people and at all the times God could have announced His Son's birth, He chose this way, these people, and this time of night.

    Luke 2:8-9 tells us, "And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified." (NIV) God saw those shepherds right where they were that night. He noticed their work; He noticed them. And He had a message of hope they desperately needed to hear.

    It's a message I've needed to hear many times. I've needed to know that God saw me in the dark. When I've felt alone. And in need of a message of hope.

    As a young mom there were many nights I held crying babies, wondering if I'd ever feel normal again. Would I ever get to sleep through the night, wear clothes without baby drool, or have an adult conversation?

    I've worked late, worried over finances, and wondered when help would come. Did God see me working so hard? Did He see me wrestling with problems or how tired I was?

    The message to the shepherds tells us God does see our hard work and long nights. And He doesn't sleep. He doesn't prefer those in authority. He doesn't leave us alone. And He has a message of hope for each of us.

    I see you, rocking your crying baby at 2 a.m., doubting you'll ever sleep again.

    I see you, up late studying while the rest of your classmates have fun.

    I see you, pacing the floor wondering when your teen will get home.

    I see you, working an extra shift to help pay the bills.

    I see you, sleeping on the couch fearing your marriage can't be repaired.

    I see you, sitting with a friend who received the worst news of her life that day.

    To you, the news of the angels to the shepherds is yours as well.

    Behold ... pacing mother, hardworking student, worrying wife ... to you is given "good news that will cause great joy for all the people." (Luke 2:10 NIV)

    To you ... exhausted mommy, anxious sister, steadfast friend ... "a Savior has been born ... he is the Messiah, the Lord." (Luke 2:11 NIV)

    It was no mistake God sent His angels to the dark fields and to the humble shepherds that night. He sent a message of good news to those who desperately needed to hear it.

    Today, in your place of darkness, isolation, weariness ... God sees you and sends the same message: A Savior has been born for YOU.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for caring about those who feel alone, forgotten, and weary. I confess I feel like that some times. Thank You for seeing my needs and sending Jesus to be the answer to all of them. In His Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Do you ever wonder if God sees you? Trust that He does and spend some time in prayer today.

    Besides the reasons mentioned in the devotion, why else might God have chosen to announce His Good News to the shepherds?

    Power Verses:
    John 10:11, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." (NIV)

    Psalm 121:3, "He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber ..." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • The Most Important Christmas Choice

    Posted on December 4, 2013 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie

    "Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.'" Luke 2:13-14 (NLT)

    Tis' the season to be merry... and stressed. Although it should be a season of peace, this month can often make us feel more tangled up inside than a messy string of Christmas lights.

    Some people dread the hustle, bustle, and emotional rustle this time of year brings, knowing that irritability, loneliness, or depression will threaten. While there are others who may love the Christmas season, but worry, busyness, family conflicts, and unmet expectations take their toll.

    In either case, we have a decision. We can choose to get bogged down with stress or we can choose to bow down in worship.

    Scripture gives us a beautiful picture of praise in Luke 2:13-14. When Jesus was born, an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds sharing the good news. Then many other angels joined together and praised God.

    "Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.'" (NLT)

    That's not the only place the Bible records angels worshipping the Lord. In Hebrews 1:6 it says, "And when he brought his supreme Son into the world, God said, 'Let all of God's angels worship him.'" (NLT) And Revelation 5:11-12a says, "Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. And they sang in a mighty chorus." (NLT)

    Angels serve as role models of worship. They bow down before Jesus. They shout with incredible joy as they sing songs of praise. Through worship, angels spread the news of God's glory and exhibit holy reverence. Angels intentionally and deliberately spend time praising God.

    Keeping Christ in Christmas is more than just a cliché. It is an intentional act of worship. It requires a heart of adoration, much like the angels had. When Jesus is the focus of our holiday, we're centered on His love, peace, and joy.

    This prompts us to be His hands and feet to others in need. When worship fills our hearts, it leaves little room for aggravation in long lines at the store. We focus on what Christmas is truly about—the amazing gift of a Savior—rather than stressing out over buying the perfect presents. We exhibit grace to someone when we'd rather do otherwise. Worship turns our attention to giving thanks to Jesus for all He has done, rather than letting stress strip His joy from our hearts.

    And it might even mean joining in with the heavenly chorus to sing praises to Him, even if we can't carry a tune!

    The holidays can bring a flurry of heightened emotions and can often result in an unhealthy level of stress which can prevent us from engaging in worship and praising the One we are supposed to be celebrating.

    There will be lots of choices to be made during the month of December: where to serve, what gifts to buy, and how many events to attend. The most important choice we can make is to worship and sing praises to our Lord. For His gift. For His love. For His peace.

    And when our hearts are at peace, our holidays can be too.

    Lord, I choose to intentionally worship and praise You during this Christmas season. Help me stay focused on You and Your goodness. Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Pick a praise song that you will commit to sing to the Lord this Christmas season as a way to intentionally focus on worshipping Him.

    How have you allowed the emotions of the season to distract you from worship?

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 148:2, "Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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

  • Little Is Much

    Posted on November 30, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “‘Truly I tell you,’ he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on’” (Luke 21:3–4).

    Little becomes much when the Lord is factored into the equation. He takes a little money and multiplies ministries. He receives a little faith and moves mountains and heals sick bodies. He applies a little forgiveness and restores relationships. He blesses a little sacrifice from leadership and saves a business. Christ takes a little courage and fulfills a grand vision. Thus, do not despise your small contribution. It makes a huge difference.

    Jesus exhorted His disciples regarding the potential of a little faith: “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20).

    You may be the only person at work or in your extended family who stands up for Christian values. It is tempting to ease into the status quo and blend in with a complacent culture. However, with humility and love, stay the course of unselfish service, and you will see Christ work. Exceptions become exceptional with eternal favor and persistence.

    “One of them [a leper], when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan” (Luke 17:15–16).

    Do the right thing, even if the majority does not take seriously the Lord’s expectations. Your quiet service is not unnoticed by Jesus. Keep thanking God when others take Him for granted. Persevere in your prayer closet when it seems like prayerless people are progressing. Remain faithful in gift giving, especially when money is tight and uncertain.

    A little is much when you lay it at the altar of obedience and the Holy Spirit’s fire ignites it for God’s glory. So lay before the Lord your gifts, talents, and faith, and watch Him forge you into a faithful disciple of Jesus. Lay your plan before almighty God, and trust Him to lead you through a prayerful process of implementation and adjustment. A little faith and obedience go a long way in God’s game plan.

    Joshua brought his army to Jericho expecting a brutal battle, but the Lord simply had him march around the wall and worship! “When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city” (Joshua 6:20).

    Prayer: Have I laid before the Lord my little faith for Him to multiply and grow for His glory?

    Post/Tweet today: Little is much when laid on the altar of obedience and ignited by the Holy Spirit’s fire. #littleismuch

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

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