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Tag Archives: Luke

  • Thankful for the Extraordinary

    Posted on November 27, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. Luke 10:21, NKJV

    Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit and full of joy over God’s revelation of truth. His joy exploded in thanksgiving to His Heavenly Father. Knowledge of The Holy is hidden from the intellectually proud, but is revealed to the humble in heart. Self proclaimed sages could not see what babies in the faith came to understand: Jesus Christ was the son of God. Prophets and Kings longed to see and hear from the Messiah, but the meek disciples were the first to experience their Savior Jesus. It is an extraordinary gift to see with eternal eyes what the Lord has for those who love Him.

    We pinch ourselves knowing through the Holy Spirit we can know God. Our Heavenly Father is available to show us Himself and to reveal to us His will and His ways. What conceited scholars miss, we can receive through a humble and contrite heart. Our Lord chose us to champion His truth, because our human credentials are very modest compared to the surpassing glory of our Savior Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit reveals to us what we need to know for today’s decisions.
    Like a sovereign King has control over a country, the Spirit is sovereign over truth’s revelation.

    He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— the Lord God Almighty is his name. Amos 4:13

    Joy wells up in our hearts and explodes into thanksgiving when we recall the revelation of God. His Spirit convicted us of our need to repent of our sin and receive Christ and His love as the payment of our sin. We rejoice knowing our name is written in heaven. It is an extraordinary blessing to have the assurance of eternal life with the Lord and with all those who love Him. Indeed, we thank our Father for the privilege and opportunity to learn how to walk with Jesus and invite others to know Him. We are Christ’s channel to reveal grace and truth to needy souls.

    How can you express gratitude to God for the forgiveness of your sins? What are some evidences of the joy of the Lord in your life? Praise and thanksgiving to the Almighty are fruits of your joyful heart. You thank Him when you see the smile on the face of a loved one stricken by a stroke, who unable to speak, can hum hymns and tear up at the reading of God’s word. Oh yes, the revelation of Jesus Christ is extraordinary to those with an eye on their eternal dwelling!

    For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Corinthians 5:1

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the extraordinary revelation of Your son Jesus Christ.

    Related Readings: Daniel 2:22, 28; John 1:18; 21 Corinthians 1:26-29; 1 Peter 1:10-12; Revelation 20:12

    Post/Tweet this today: Knowledge of The Holy is hidden from the intellectually proud, but is revealed to the humble in heart. #thankful

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

  • Thankful for the Ordinary

    Posted on November 26, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    When he [Jesus] was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him. Luke 24:30-31

    The eyes of Christ’s two hosts were opened to His presence when they saw His grateful heart. The Holy Spirit revealed the gift of the Son through the expression of gratitude for God’s gifts. Yes, we grow in our likeness of Jesus when we thank God for the small things in life. His rising sun that brightens the tops of shaded trees with autumn’s yellow leaves. Light rain that hums to sleep a whiny baby. A carpet of green grass for children to run, skip and laugh on. A blanket of snow that calms the soul. Ordinary blessings of God are extraordinary in their scope and significance.

    Yes, we are compelled to give thanks to our Heavenly Father for His everyday provision. It may be the moment by moment opportunity to fill our lungs with God’s oxygen or the meals He routinely provides to fill our stomach. Ordinary, daily blessings from Jesus give us the privilege to slow down and say thank you. Perhaps gratitude for a spouse’s support, a child’s love, a parent’s laughter or a friend’s faith. Neighbors who smile make us smile with genuine thankfulness. Our gratitude for the Lord’s ordinary gifts overflow our reservoir of faith. Joy fills our emotional cup.

    Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits. Psalm 103:1-2, NKJV

    How do you regularly express gratitude to God for your job? What are some ways you can say thank you to your coworkers? Maybe a simple thank you or a written note of appreciation. Offer to be responsible for a friend’s tasks, so they can take off a day. Show gratitude with a gift of cash, so an employee can take their spouse to dinner or pay down a school loan. Gratitude goes a long way in helping people face another day. Yes, be available to sit with the sick and serve them.

    Lastly, be bold when you break bread to pray a sincere blessing of thanksgiving for the Lord’s provision. Mix it up at meal time and ask each person around the table to share one thing they are thankful to God for. Make a list of the Lord’s blessings you can refer to when you have a bad day. Look for Christ’s gifts in your ordinary, everyday life. Brag on Jesus to others who may need Jesus. Respectfully and humbly, declare what good things God has given you to enjoy today!

    Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:3-5, NKJV

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible, ordinary gifts You give me every day.

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 8:3; Nehemiah 12:47; Psalm 68:19; Acts 2:47; Hebrews 3:13

    Post/Tweet this today: Gratitude goes a long way to help people face another day. #thankfulfortheordinary

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

  • Remember Thank You

    Posted on November 23, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “One of them, 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).

    A culture of entitlement is slow to say thank you, but the grateful are honored to express appreciation. Ungrateful people expect, even demand, good things with no gratitude in return. But grateful men and women are humbled and give God the glory for His blessings. The most gratefulness comes from those who least expect the Lord’s lavish love. It is the mercy of God that heals our heart and causes us to exclaim, “Praise the Lord!”

    Is it your regular routine to sincerely thank God for His healing power? Do you bow at the feet of Jesus when the body of a friend or family member was cured by God’s work through the miracle of modern medicine? Have you celebrated Christ’s blessing of keeping your body whole from a debilitating disease? Humility is a thank you waiting to happen.

    Listen to David’s prayer for healing, “Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are in agony” (Psalm 6:2). You can pray boldly for your physical healing. Pray depending on God, and with great faith ask the Great Physician to bring His healing power on your body. Your Creator understands how to bring wholeness to His creation. It is not a question of if He can, but if He will.

    However, whether He heals in this life or in the life to come, give Him thanks. “Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:17–18). Furthermore, gratitude to God expresses gratitude to people. Make it a goal to write a thank you note before you cash the check. Look a friend in the eye and express your thankfulness for his or her friendship. Show your gratitude to your server with a generous gratuity. Appreciate others and you invite appreciation into your life and work.

    Mostly, thank the Lord Jesus Christ for His death on the cross for your sin and salvation. Jesus came from living with sinners to die for sinners. “The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me’” (1 Corinthians 11:23–24).

    Do I thank God often for His incredible gift of grace and forgiveness? Do I thank Him during the bad times as well as the good times? Am I quick to appreciate others?

    Post/Tweet today: A culture of entitlement is slow to say thank you, but the grateful are quick to express appreciation. #rememberthankyou

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

  • Adjusting Our Holiday Focus

    Posted on November 20, 2013 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie

    "But the Lord said to her, 'My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.'" Luke 10:41-42 (NLT)

    As I stared at the hard wood floor covered in shattered ornaments and tangled lights, tears welled up in my eyes.

    The frustration over my fallen Christmas tree had pushed me to the breaking point. This was not the first time my decorated tree had crashed to the floor that week. It was the fourth.

    After a fun day of picking out a tree, my family brought it home and secured the tree in a stand. When the last ornament was hung, we turned on the sparkling lights and stepped back to gaze at our accomplishment.

    We cherished that moment . . . and cherished it again after the second round of decorating. But when the tree fell a third time and the surviving ornaments were sparse, the task of decorating became a chore. So when I heard the tree crash in the middle of the night, for the fourth time, I loudly vowed to never have a Christmas tree again.

    My Christmas joy had been replaced with frustration and a small dose of anger. I'd become consumed with winning the battle with this tree and decorating my house for upcoming guests. Before I knew it, my focus was no longer on what was really important.

    In Luke 10:41-42, Jesus told Martha that she'd lost her focus on what matters most: spending time with the Lord. Martha was so bent on planning the perfect dinner party and completing her tasks, she was too distracted to take time to enjoy the company of Jesus.

    Her pursuit of perfection left her frustrated with her sister Mary's lack of help to make things "just so."

    When Martha voiced her irritation to Jesus, He gently reminded her that she was worried about aspects that didn't matter. "But the Lord said to her, 'My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about'" (vs. 41). Jesus wasn't bothered with how fancy dinner was, or how clean her kitchen was, or if she had a perfectly decorated home. What really mattered to Jesus was Martha seeking Him.

    This season—when our focus should be gratitude and on the birth of Jesus—we can get easily distracted by other details. Gifts to buy and how much they will cost. Social outings and what to wear. Decorating our homes (inside and outdoors). Cooking and cleaning to prepare for guests or parties.

    It's easy to get swept up in many things and forget to stay connected with, and focused on, the one thing that really matters.

    Just as busyness, cooking, and cleaning pulled Martha's focus away from Jesus, the same can happen to us in the fast pace of the holidays. Whether basting the perfect turkey or re-decorating an unstable Christmas tree, if we allow it, there is plenty to distract us and lure us away from the one thing that matters most.

    Might we make a commitment to adjust our focus this holiday season? Let's slow down, pare down, and sit down with the Lord each day as we set our thoughts on being thankful. And remind our hearts to be blessed by the birth of our Savior, instead of being stressed over the season.

    Dear Lord, I tend to get stressed during the holidays. Help me stay focused on You, and not get distracted or frustrated this season. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:

    Have you allowed a particular frustration or disappointment to pull your focus away from Jesus?

    What holiday plans or activities might you need to adjust to stay focused on Jesus, and not seasonal busyness?

    Power Verse:
    Colossians 3:2, "Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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

  • Persistence Pays Off

    Posted on November 14, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” Luke 18:1-5

    Has rejection caused you to give up on an opportunity or a person? Are you tired of trying to do the right thing, without experiencing positive results? It is precisely at this point of frustration and fear that God calls us to persevere in prayer and continue to graciously engage individuals and circumstances. Those who give up—give up on God.

    Like an oscillating fan your faith may waver back and forth between confidence and uncertainty, so hit the button of belief and stay focused on the Lord. Go forward by faith to love an estranged relationship—call the company who went with a competitor and see how you might still serve them—reach out until your requests are not ignored anymore.

    A faithful man or woman in the hands of God has the attention of heaven and earth. When you are on His assignment, rejection has to first go through Almighty God’s agenda. It's not the individual full of energy at the outset who outlasts others, it’s the wise ones who conserve their vigor over the long haul—strengthened by their Savior’s stamina.

    The fortitude of faith is what forges great relationships and gets long-term results. Anyone can start a race with excitement and anticipation, but few are the runners who climb the hills, overcome the adversity of the elements and finish the course. You may not be the fastest—you may not finish first—but by God’s grace you will finish well.

    Most of all stay persistent in prayer. Respond to God as the violin responds to the bow of the master. The Lord makes beautiful music on the strings of a life surrendered to Him. Persist through the pain of rejection and to the pressures of responsibility—all the while remaining in an attitude of prayer. Persistent prayer to Jesus produces His best outcome. Persistence pays off when you are prepared to move forward on behalf of your Master.

    “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

    Prayer: What relationship or opportunity calls for my focused attention and persistence?

    Related Readings: Numbers 14:38; Daniel 6:10; Acts 20:22-25; Romans 2:7

    Post/Tweet today: Fortitude of faith is what forges great relationships and gets long-term results. #persistencepaysoff

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

  • Finish Well

    Posted on November 2, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’”    Luke 14:28-30

    To finish well is to plan well; to plan well is to understand the cost of commitment. The commitment to follow Christ is not an added luxury but standard equipment for the Christian. To plan to finish well is to plan to follow Christ daily in humility and sacrifice. To finish well tomorrow means you finish well today. Finishing well does not imply a perfect life, but it does require a submitted life. This is a life that is under the authority of Jesus Christ; so finishing well is all about the life of a committed disciple of Christ. You can start the Christian life ablaze with the fire of your salvation, fresh and contagious for Christ.
    However, if the fuel of understanding and applying God’s Word is not added to your initial enthusiasm, you will burn out. You will not finish well. People may even observe, “I thought you were a Christian. Didn’t you used to attend church?” Finishing well is about joining with God to accomplish His will. Thus, finishing well is a building process. It is daily discerning God’s best, and then following Him wholeheartedly. Finishing well is a process that over time begins to take shape. Your faithfulness gives you credibility to invest in others what you have learned. You share with them what works and what doesn’t work, out of brokenness. You are more likely to finish well when you are pouring yourself into others, as it provides accountability.
    Now you may have sons-in-law who are looking to you for leadership. You are one of their role models. Don’t take this lightly. Your children and grandchildren will greatly benefit from your finishing well. It is imperative to pace yourself by God’s grace; so stay in the race until you make it to heaven. Spectators are not needed for this life, only for the life to come. Finish well by becoming wiser today than you were yesterday. Love and forgive more today than you have in the past. This is the essence of finishing well. It is becoming more like Jesus in your attitude and actions. This race of righteousness sweats out our sinful acts. Unrighteous anger is replaced by patience. Fear is replaced by trust. Pride is replaced by humility, and addictions are replaced by love. Be encouraged. If you are growing in Christ and building a life of obedience, you are finishing well.
    Lastly, you can finish well in spite of a soiled track record. God loves to take your false starts or your backsliding ways and place you on the road to finishing well. Stop today, turn from yourself, and turn to Christ. It is never too late to finish well. The wreckage from your past may still haunt you at times. But forget what is behind, pressing forward for the higher calling in Christ. He is your new reason for living. He is your life. He propels you forward to finish well. For His sake you will finish well, for your family’s sake you will finish well, for the sake of others you will finish well. By God’s grace, plan to finish well, and you will.
    The Bible says, “After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10).

    Post/Tweet: Finishing well does not imply a perfect life, but it does require a life submitted to God.  #finishwell

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

  • Due Diligence

    Posted on October 27, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.  Luke 1:3-4

    Simply put, due diligence is a process of gathering the facts. It is designed to validate assumptions and expose wrong thinking. Due diligence is necessary for wise decision-making. You go through due diligence when you buy a house. You explore comparable home prices in the neighborhood to affirm or deny the asking price of the house for sale. A home inspector is probably hired to check out the nooks and crannies. He is an objective third party that looks for roof leaks, foundation damage, electrical hazards, safe plumbing, and the overall sound structure of the home. His or her harvesting of information is vital to the final decision of the home purchaser.

    In some ways, you apply due diligence to a prospective husband or wife. You observe his attitude toward his parents. You look for love and respect. The same can be said for their reverence of God. Are they submitted to Christ and in love with Him? First impressions may be positive, but more is required to be a wise decision-maker. Due diligence can take time, depending on the complexity of the issue or the deal. When hiring someone, you look at past career success and the opinions of references. A credit check reveals a lot about the responsible—or irresponsible—handling of money. Purchasing a business requires a lengthy process of poring over financial audits, researching market trends, interviewing employees and customers, and defining the criteria needed to value the enterprise. Due diligence is required in all levels of life to be a wise steward. So what has been the extent of your due diligence on God?
    God deserves a thorough investigation, and your intellectual integrity requires a due diligence on God. Then you can have peace of mind knowing you objectively examined all the facts that relate to God. You may read books written by former atheists, such as C.S. Lewis, that document their struggles with truth and lies surrounding God. Their life experiences become a road map for your own search. More importantly however, is to read and research the Bible. Let the Scriptures stand alone. Do not depend on the conjecture and assumptions of others who may or may not be objective in their evaluation of Holy Scripture.

    Read the Bible with an open mind and ask God to speak to your heart through His Word. Yes, use sound rules of interpretation such as context and cultural implications. It is necessary to understand the immediate audience for whom the Bible was intended, but consider Scripture’s timelessness. What applied yesterday, often applies today. The commands and principles of the Bible transcend civilizations and centuries.
    In your due diligence of the Bible, explore the prophecies of the Old Testament. Consider the predictions that occurred hundreds of years before Christ and were fulfilled with mind-boggling accuracy. His place of birth, His method of death, and His provision of salvation are all embedded in the text. Study closely the life of Christ; begin your due diligence in the book of John. Jesus claimed to be God and the only way to God. If that is true, then it holds life-altering implications. Do not let the bias of another lead you down the path of least resistance. Your due diligence may very well lead you into a divine encounter.

    The Bible says, “For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways…”
    (Isaiah 58:2a).

    Post/Tweet: Intellectual integrity requires a thorough due diligence on God. #doesGodexist

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

  • Approachable Jesus

    Posted on October 18, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Another time Jesus was praying, and when He finished, one of His disciples approached Him. Teacher, would You teach us Your way of prayer? John taught his disciples his way of prayer, and we’re hoping You’ll do the same. Luke 11:1, The Voice

    Jesus is approachable to all who desire His company. God did not create the earth like a watch, winding it up and then stepping back to let it run without His intervention. No, the Lord is personal and approachable. He invites His children to ask honest questions on how to pray, how to love, how to forgive and how to give. Yes, He loves to engage and instruct in His ways. Jesus moves the mind with clear teaching and He captures the heart with riveting and relevant stories.

    A disciple who walked with Jesus on earth struggled with his prayers to heaven. He watched Jesus pray, but the student still needed some direction in how to pray. So, even today as we grow in our faith, we still need the Holy Spirit to reveal to us the ways of God. We are disciples who sincerely want to know how to live for the Lord. He is not shy in showing us what to say and how to serve. Just as we love giving to our children, God loves to give His Spirit to all who ask.

    At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” 1 Kings 3:5

    Are you approachable? Do others feel the freedom to seek your counsel and ideas? When people see the fruit of your character they want to ask you about how you live life. As you lovingly lead others, learners will want to know why you lead so unselfishly. Questions are your opportunity to point people back to the Lord’s love for you and your reciprocal approach to leading others. Tell stories of your struggles to lead in love and how you grew in grace over time. Invite questions.

    Approachability is the outcome of acceptance. When your children, grandchildren, friends and co-workers know you accept them for who they are, they will want to know who you are. Your unconditional acceptance of someone is an invitation to love them for Jesus' sake. Lastly, approach the Lord often with your fears, dreams and desires. He delights in your prayers and He unleashes His Spirit to all who call on His name. Humbly approach Him and expect to be loved!

    Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for receiving me just as I am and answering my questions around my struggles.

    Related Readings: Exodus 20:21; Ephesians 2:18, 3:12; Hebrews 7:19; 1 John 4:17, 5:14

    Post/Tweet today: Jesus moves the mind with clear teaching. He captures the heart with relevant stories. #approachableJesus

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

  • Give What You Need

    Posted on October 18, 2013 by Nicki Koziarz

    Nicki

    "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38 (NIV 1984)

    Last week we were out of milk, so I headed to the store with my party of five.

    Even though we were in a time crunch, I wanted to make the most of our trip and pick up a few other things. Our family divided up—my husband went to the row of toilet paper, our oldest daughter walked off to get bread, our middle daughter headed out for fruit, and the youngest one, Kennedy Grace, trekked to the milk fridge with me.

    Everyone quickly got what they needed and met back at the register—except my husband. At the self-checkout with my three girls, I scanned our items thinking Kris would be there any second. But he wasn't. As the line behind me quickly grew long and impatient, I wondered if I should cancel my order and step out of line.

    But time was short and we were already running late. So in this unnerving moment, I instructed my youngest daughter to run and get the toilet paper from her daddy. She took off, found my husband, and secured the rolls under her arm. But, on her way back to the self-checkout, a sparkly cereal display distracted her.

    In a calm, yet firm voice, I made sure my daughter heard me. "Kennedy Grace, come here right now please."

    Now, she figured the fastest way to get that toilet paper to me was to slide it down the aisle. Without hesitation, she whooshed the package right to me.

    The people standing behind me thought my daughter's idea was quite amusing. Everyone except one woman.

    As Kennedy Grace giggled, jumped and bounced her way to the register, I knew this wasn't the time or place to have a teachable moment, so I just muttered quietly for her to calm down.

    That one woman, feeling it was a good time to teach my daughter a lesson, said to me, "Well, isn't she something?"

    I didn't want to get into a hot confrontational mess, so I ignored her and bagged my items.

    But then she asked Kennedy Grace, "Why are you acting up so much?"

    Kennedy replied, "I'm just tired."

    And then the woman responded with a statement no stressed-out-momma needs to hear, "Well maybe your mom should put you to bed earlier."

    What did she just say? Unh-huh. I gulped and took a deep breath, ready to blurt out something sassy.

    But in the midst of this chaos, in the midst of this tension, I felt the presence of God hold me back with this thought, give her what you need most.

    Say what, God? I need to give this woman a piece of my mind, is what my soul screamed.

    But it was true. I need a lot of grace these days. Grace. Grace. Grace.

    So, I said nothing. I extended grace. I smiled, grabbed Kennedy's hand and walked out of the grocery store, challenged by the thought of Luke 6:38 "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

    I make a lot of mistakes. I forget about important things. And I too have judged stressed-out mommas in the grocery store with misbehaving children. But Scripture tells us that when we give to others what we need, something very freeing happens: We receive what we need too.

    When we offer emotional generosity to others, we create the atmosphere for God to do something powerful in us and through us. I don't always want to give others what I need. My initial reaction is often to give others what I think they deserve.

    A quick comeback.
    A nasty look.
    An unforgiving heart.

    But none of these things have ever brought me anything I needed.

    As I continue to live this verse in Luke out, I'm focusing on other's needs and reacting based on them, not myself.

    But next time we need milk, I'm going to the grocery store, alone.

    Jesus, help me give to others the things I need. Make me emotionally generous and able to bless in the midst of a conflicting mess. Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Write down three things your soul needs. Is it joy? Hope? Love? Friendship?

    Ask God for the opportunity to give it away and see what happens.

    Power Verse:
    Philippians 1:27, "Whatever happens conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel." (NIV 1984)

    © 2013 by Nicki Koziarz. All rights reserved.

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

  • "Harmless" Little Lies?

    Posted on October 16, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much." (Luke 16:10 NIV)

    My job was overwhelming, yet I was desperate to appear competent. As a young college graduate, I was grateful for the position. But over time, both the company and my work level grew to the point where I was drowning. And, as I fell further behind, I began to give misleading responses to my boss.

    My employer was very hands-on and often called me into her office for an update on my projects. I dreaded those meetings, knowing she'd be displeased with my lack of progress. And that is when the lies started: "Yes, that project is coming along nicely." "I'm almost finished." "Just waiting for a few more pieces of information."

    After our meetings, I'd rush back to my desk and frantically try to make my progress match the inaccurate response I'd just given. Over time, the lies and truth became jumbled. I'd crossed a line of personal integrity that nagged at the edges of my conscience, but not enough to make a change. Until one day my boss gave me another request: to lie for her.

    She hadn't gotten something done, and asked me to lie to someone else. This wasn't right. She hadn't even started the project. And now I was supposed to cover for her? It was as if God made me do a 180 and stare at the line of integrity I had already crossed.

    I'd compromised my character one half-truth, one excuse, one rationalization at a time. But no more. I had some decisions to make. Would integrity be a mask I put on at church and took off at work? Was my career more important than my character?

    Those were heavy questions for a young woman. But they were necessary. God used this situation to help shape the person He wanted me to be.

    Knowing I could lose my job, with humility and respect I told my boss I couldn't, no I wouldn't, lie for her. Amazingly, she didn't fire me. With a huff and a sigh, she accepted my decision.

    While I wasn't up to confessing all my lies to her, I did confess them to God. And I made a commitment that day to honesty, no matter how personally difficult it was.

    God cares about what may seem like harmless little lies: "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much" (Luke 16:10).

    God was watching me then, and He's watching me now. Which is why every word I speak is important. Choosing truth is hard, especially when it reveals a weakness. Yet with God's help, I'm making progress to become the woman of integrity He's called me to be.

    Dear Lord, You are the source of all truth. Forgive me for the times I've been deceptive in order to manipulate the opinions of others. I want to be a woman who is filled with Your truth. Help me to uncover whatever stands in the way of becoming that woman. In Jesus' name, Amen.

    Remember
    Choosing to live without a shadow of dishonesty will establish you as a trustworthy woman before God and others.

    Reflect
    Is there an area of your life where you are less than 100 percent honest? If so, confess that to God in prayer. What little decisions of integrity can you make to help strengthen your character?

    Respond
    Keep a pad of paper and pen with you today and make a tick-mark every time you are not 100 percent honest. Confess these instances to the Lord at the end of the day, and ask Him to use this exercise as a reminder to always strive to speak the truth (in love).

    Power Verses
    2 Corinthians 8:21; 1 Peter 2:12

    Taken from Encouragement for Today: Devotions for Everyday Living by Renee Swope, Lysa TerKeurst and Samantha Evilsizer and the Proverbs 31 Ministries Team. © 2013 Proverbs 31 Ministries. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.

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

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