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Tag Archives: Matthew

  • God is With Us

    Posted on December 24, 2014 by Micca Campbell

    MICCA CAMPBELL

    MICCA CAMPBELL

    "'The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means 'God with us').'" Matthew 1:23 (NIV)

    I woke to the cooing of my 8-month-old son in need of a dry diaper and a bottle. By the time I got to his room, I was fully awake to my reality. It was Christmas morning. Sigh. I had dreaded the arrival of this day.

    It was the first Christmas after my husband's death.

    Most of my days consisted of loneliness and grief. I knew facing the holidays would be worse. I felt so alone.

    My heart was joyless. There was no one to wish a Merry Christmas. No gifts to open. No celebration. For me, it was just another ordinary day of going through the motions. I'd care for my son and try to survive the grief and loneliness.

    Have you ever been this lonely? Your situation may not be like mine, but I do know during difficult times God often feels distant. Uncaring. Unresponsive. Unaware. And yet, Psalm 139:7 challenged my feelings that Christmas Day.

    "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?" (NIV)

    The Psalmist was clear. God is everywhere. There is nowhere I can go that God is not already there.

    As I pondered this truth, hope began to rise in my heart. I am never alone because God is with me in every situation, good or bad.

    Isn't this the message of Christmas — God is with us? Isn't this the essence of our faith — God is with us?

    Perhaps this is what inspired Matthew to write our key verse: "'The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel' (which means, 'God with us.')" (Matthew 1:23).

    That name, Immanuel, holds great significance for you and me.

    This Name tells us Christ didn't come that holy night to say "well done." He didn't come to pat us on the back or encourage us for just a time. He came to stay. God came to dwell among us and to reside within us forever.

    Sure, God has always been with us, but this truth took on a whole new meaning when Jesus was born. The astounding truth of Christmas is that God put on human flesh and became one of us. A babe, lying in a manger, was proof He had come and His name was the message. God is with us in human formImmanuel became one of us and suffered as we suffer so that He might understand our pain. So that He might know how to comfort and help us.

    That's not all. This baby Jesus didn't come only to walk among us. He came to deliver us and set us right with God. The coming of Jesus meant God the Father had now sent His Son to deliver the world from sin.

    What does this mean for you and me? It means no matter the challenge, you are not alone. Whatever your need — deliverance, strength, hope — Immanuel is present. He is not some far-off God. He is right there beside you this very moment.

    My days grew brighter as I looked for God's company amidst my pain. Eventually, I no longer trudged through ordinary days because my extraordinary God met me at my point of need. The secret is this. The more I learned to acknowledge His presence, the more of His presence I experienced. You can, too.

    No matter where you are this Christmas Eve, you are not alone.

    You may feel alone. It may appear that you are alone. But Christ is there with you. He sees you. He understands. And He can help you.

    Tomorrow can be different. You can celebrate Christmas morn with new joy because He — God Himself — has come to be with you. In His magnificent company, though you may be down and out, you are not without. You are not without His love or His all-sufficient strength. You are not without His safety. You are not without His care or provision. And you are not without His presence.

    This is the best news of all. Immanuel, God is with us!

    Lord, Thank You for your promised presence. I can move forward in faith knowing You are with me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Hebrews 13:5b, " ... because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'" (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    How will you respond to the Christ child this Christmas?

    © 2014 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.

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

     


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

  • You're Shining for Jesus Wherever You Are

    Posted on December 3, 2014 by Holley Gerth

    HOLLEY GERTH

    "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

    The news headlines drifted in from the living room as I sat at my desk. The story of yet another tragedy contrasted so sharply with what I was writing that I stopped, sighed and leaned back in my chair. A sense of despair washed over me.

    "Lord," I silently prayed, "is there anything I can do about the darkness in this world? It seems so overwhelming."

    I sensed a gentle whisper within my heart replying, "The only way to get rid of the darkness is to add more light."

    Darkness is the absence of light. Trying to go after it directly is like chasing your shadow. You can't bag it up and throw it away. Only light is powerful enough to make the darkness disappear. During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus made it clear that we are the light of the world. We are called to shine. But the light we share is not our own.

    From the very beginning of creation, God has been the source of light both spiritually and literally. Genesis 1:2b-3 says, "Darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light" (NIV).

    Imagine a world full of darkness. Then with four small words, light blazes forth. Every living thing in our world relies on light for its existence — plants, animals and people. The God who brought light to the world also brings it to our lives. As 2 Corinthians 4:6a says, "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts" (NIV).

    The best part of all is that we don't have to be like the light bulb that said, "I have to find a way to shine!" The light bulb went to a self-help meeting to learn about its inner capacity for light. It read books about how to get brighter. Each morning the light bulb would get up and recite positive affirmations. "I am a light bulb. I believe in myself. I will shine!" But nothing happened.

    Eventually the light bulb became weary and discouraged. It began to doubt who it was and what it could do. It almost burned out completely. Fortunately, one day the light bulb was carefully placed in a fixture. Light burst forth and filled the room. The light bulb finally understood. The key was not to try harder but to plug into the source.

    Trying to shine on our own can be exhausting. Instead, we're simply called to be closely connected to God and remain in Him. When we do, His light pours forth through us in powerful, brilliant ways that change the world. The ways we shine might not make the news, but they make even more of a difference than we can see.

    Lord, thank You for being the light within us so we can shine brightly for the world around us. When it seems darkness is crowding in, use us to make a difference. We ask that You will help us share Your love, joy and peace — especially this time of year. You are the hope we need and the One light that will never burn out, be overcome or fade away. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Daniel 12:3, "Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever." (NIV)

    Isaiah 60:20, "Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end." (NIV)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    The Everlasting Light Collection from DaySpring provides beautiful and inspirational items that will help you share your faith and brighten the lives of those you love.

    Holley Gerth is the best-selling author of several books, a certified life coach and speaker. She has written more than 2,000 cards for DaySpring and is a cofounder of (in)courage.me. You can find more encouragement from Holley at www.holleygerth.com.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Whose life can you brighten in a simple way wherever you are today?

    © 2014 by Holley Gerth. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks DaySpring for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

    Click here to view our policy on 3rd party links.

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

     


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

  • Burned Out on Religion

    Posted on November 5, 2014 by Kerri Weems

    KERRI WEEMS

    "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)

    Tired. Worn out. Burned out on religion. All of those words described the state I found myself in just over three years ago. After being in full-time ministry for more than 12 years, I was so frustrated, frazzled and numb on the inside I was ready to quit! Nobody, not even my husband, knew how I was feeling.

    I was living a double life, in a way, but I was tired of the charade. I didn't want to fake it anymore ... I just wanted to let it go. The funny thing is, letting it all go was just exactly what I did. Only, I didn't let go by walking away from it all. I let go by learning to lean into God's grace.

    Jesus' invitation to let Him set the pace of our lives seems tailor-made to fit this generation of weary souls, even though He spoke these words two millennia ago. Recover your life ... real rest ... unforced ... free and light living. This lifestyle of unbroken fellowship with Jesus is the goal of the rhythms of grace. Rhythms of grace are God's divine tempo for your life. It's not about what we do or don't do. It's about Who is setting our pace.

    Think for a moment about rhythm and our most basic response to it: movement. I have a few playlists on my iPod that I listen to when I'm working out. There are different kinds of music for different kinds of movement.

    When I engage in the slow and sustained movements of stretching, I listen to ethereal tunes or piano instrumentals. But when it comes to cardio workouts, that won't do. I need energy! So I pump my favorite Christian hip hop artist into my headphones. Why? Because the rhythm makes me move. How I move — the speed, the motion, the duration — is a response to the beat I am hearing.

    The rhythm of the music sets my workout pace, but when it comes to the pace of my life, I have to ask, Who is setting the rhythm? The answer depends on who has access to my ears, mind and heart in that moment.

    People have different responses when it comes to dealing with the demands of life. Some people hop on the hamster wheel and keep going faster and faster, as if they can outrun the stress or even run away from it. Some people feel so helpless they just stop moving altogether. Others ignore problems hoping they will somehow go away.

    I understand each of those reactions — and I have experienced them plenty of times! Somewhere between the hamster wheel and the full stop, there is a perfect pace — a rhythm that's a custom fit for your life and the leg of the race you are running right now. This perfect pace is God's rhythm of grace for your life, His perfect tempo.

    Scripture encourages us to "run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1, NASB). Our Father's desire for all of His daughters is that we go the full distance of our life's race — and not just so we can crawl exhausted across the finish line. He wants us to enjoy the race and come to the end with our heads held high, a smile on our faces and our arms lifted in a double fist-punch! Reaching that moment, dear friend, begins with keeping time with God's perfect tempo for your life.

    Dear Heavenly Father, Help me tune into Your voice above all others. I want to move to Your rhythm and at Your pace so I can finish the race You have marked out for me with joy and wholeness. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    John 14:27, "My peace is the legacy I leave to you. I don't give gifts like those of this world. Do not let your heart be troubled or fearful." (VOICE)

    2 Corinthians 12:9, "... and finally He said to me, 'My grace is enough to cover and sustain you. My power is made perfect in weakness.' So ask me about my thorn, inquire about my weaknesses, and I will gladly go on and on — I would rather stake my claim in these and have the power of the Anointed One at home within me." (VOICE)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    What tempo is playing the loudest in your ears right now? How would you describe your "movements" in response to that pace?

    © 2014 by Kerri Weems. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Zondervan Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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


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

  • Lord, Unrush Me

    Posted on September 22, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa Terkeurst

    "'But what about you?' he asked. 'Who do you say I am?' Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.'" (Matthew 16:15-16, NIV)

    Ever felt like you've set your life to the rhythm of rush? Me too.

    Sometimes it takes stepping out of the rush to see things. Recently, I went to the Holy Land. It was a trip I'd longed to take for years. But as the day to leave marched closer and closer, I wished I'd scheduled it later — another time, a time when life didn't feel so busy.

    Exhaustion gnawed deep places in my heart, demanding me to slow down. But how? I've made my decisions and now my decisions have made me. Me — this shell of a woman caught in the rush of endless demands.

    But the trip was booked, so I went. And I'm forever glad I did. In the Holy Land, busy took a break from chasing me. This trip forced me to "unrush," and I discovered I like who I am so much better when I'm not set to the wrong rhythm.

    I also learned more about Jesus. His life. His decisions. His lessons.

    And do you know what the most impactful lesson was for me personally? Jesus never rushed. He set His life to the rhythm of connection and compassion. With great intentionality Jesus stayed unrushed. This is what I want.

    This is what I was longing for but didn't know it. Like Jesus, I must unrush my pace for connection and compassion to take place.

    As I walked many of the same places Jesus walked, I was struck profoundly by this. He knew pressure. He knew stress. People pulled at Him everywhere He went. Crowds demanded sermons. Individuals begged for healing. The disciples wanted leadership. Friends wanted time with Him. The religious rulers wanted answers. There was an entire world to save with such limited time.

    Yet, He didn't rush. He talked with the woman at the well. He reached out His hand, making contact, and healed the leper. He felt the touch of the woman with the issue of blood and stopped for her. Do you see it? Connection and compassion were central to every interaction.

    And then for those with whom Jesus was the closest? That's when He was the most unrushed.

    While I was in the Holy Land, I visited the site that's recorded in Matthew 16:13-20. In the shadow of a pagan temple hustling with unspeakable acts and human sacrifices, Jesus asked His disciples just who they really thought He was. Then He pointed and said, "I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it," (NKJV). He connected truth with Peter's calling. He compassionately assured Peter that the church would prevail.

    I'm sure Peter recalled this conversation many, many times.

    It must have given him the courage to become one of the most pivotal church leaders in history. And he had this conversation to remember, because Jesus wasn't too busy to have it. When I was in Israel, I learned the Lord walked three days to get to this one spot where He made this point with Peter.

    It would seem Jesus was unrushed so He could be incredibly intentional and laser-focused on connection and compassion.

    If I were reading this right now, I would probably think, "That's great you went to the Holy Land and it helped unrush you, but I can't do that right now." I understand. So, let this truth from Jesus' life come to you.

    It's not the location that changed me.

    It was the revelation.

    Jesus didn't rush, so neither should I.

    Today, let's pray this very simple three-word prayer that we so desperately need: "Lord, unrush me."

    Father God, these three words are the echo of my soul. Lord, show me how to slow down and leave that sacred space for relationships. I want to follow Your example of staying focused on connection and compassion. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Hebrews 10:24-25, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    What do you need to do to protect and strengthen the fabric of your relationships? How can you get help to divide up your responsibilities and have healthy time with the people who matter most to you?

    Connecting with those we love is like soul food. Write down three or four people close to you who might benefit from some relational time with you in the next week. Then be intentional with a phone call, email or text message to them.

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • The Two Most Powerful Words

    Posted on August 14, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa Terkeurst

    "And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.'" Matthew 3:17 (NIV)

    Not too long ago, I stood at the sink trying to ease the stabbing feeling of stress. I had so much pulling at me.

    I found myself rushing my husband in conversation. Rushing my kids out the door. Rushing to the next thing and then the next. Rushing to make dinner and then rushing my people through dinner.

    I had set my life to the rhythm of rush.

    Exhaustion gnawed deep places in my heart, demanding me to slow down. But how? I've made my decisions and now my decisions have made me. Me — this shell of a woman caught in the rush of endless demands.

    Have you ever felt this same way? I suspect most of us have.

    I'm starting to realize the two most powerful words are yes and no. How I use them determines how I set my schedule.

    How I set my schedule determines how I live my life.

    How I live my life determines how I spend my soul.

    When I think about my decisions in light of spending my soul, it gives gravity to choosing more wisely. Each and every thing I say yes to sets the pace of my life.

    After all, when a woman lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule, she'll ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul. An overwhelmed schedule leads to an underwhelmed soul — a soul with a full calendar but no time to really engage in life.

    If you've found yourself caught in a stressful pace recently, I understand. I think so much of why my schedule gets overloaded is because I'm afraid of missing out or not measuring up.

    One quick look at social media, and it feels like everyone else is able to live at a breakneck pace with a smile. Their kids are accomplishing more than my kids. Their business pursuits seem more important than mine do. Their marriage seems more romantic. Their home is cleaner. And they even have time to invite dinner guests over to eat food from their garden. Huh?

    It's interesting to me the timing of God's words to Jesus in Matthew 3:17: "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

    At that point, Jesus hadn't yet performed miracles, led the masses or gone to the cross. Yet, God was pleased with Jesus before all of those accomplishments.

    His Father was establishing Jesus' identity before He started His activities. Jesus heard God, believed God and remained unrushed. In Christ, God has given us a new identity (Romans 6:4). But, unlike Christ, we forget.

    We fill our days and our lives with so much activity that the only way to keep up with it all is to rush. And I'm discovering that the source of much of the stress in my life is this constant need to keep up. But what if I'm chasing the wrong desire?

    Do I really want my life to look more like others? Or to look more like God's best for me?

    God's best for me means engaging with life and the people in it. God's best for me means noticing divine invitations and feeling the freedom to say yes — a Best Yes to the Lord's assignments.

    If I really want an unrushed life, I must underwhelm my schedule so God has room to overwhelm my soul.

    Today, we must stand moment-by-moment in the reality of our identity before we resume our activity. Grasp this truth and rub it in deep: "You are my daughter, whom I love; with whom I am well pleased."

    Well pleased because of who you are, not because of what you do. Well pleased because of an unfathomable, unconditional love that's not earned, but simply given.

    Dear Lord, unrush me as I set my schedule today. I want to step out of the rush so I can embrace Your best for me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Romans 6:4, "We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Ask yourself these questions: Do I really want my life to look more like other people's? Or to look more like God's best for me?

    Honestly assess your answer and pray that the Lord would show you how to pursue His plan.

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • His Eye is on the Sparrow

    Posted on August 13, 2014 by Family Christian

    Kelly Minter

    "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" Matthew 6:25-26 (NIV)

    When I moved to Nashville years ago in pursuit of a music career, I never imagined I would land here. Here, on the Amazon River, where the day starts when the sun rises, and morning comes early.

    The complexity of the jungle sent my head spinning — the fact that all this grows and thrives without Wall Street, smartphones and us! I felt appropriately small. I couldn't get over the countless symbiotic relationships: this creature surviving off that tree, relying on that seed, transported by those birds. It was astounding how everything hung in this delicate balance, how in the beautiful and mysterious words of Colossians 1:17b, in Christ "all things hold together."

    Often I think I'm the one holding things together. I get busy with appointments, planning dinner, waiting to hear if a friend's news from the doctor is hopeful. I fall into this mentality that keeping all these plates spinning is life, while the jungle life appeared so effortless.

    The gentle and imposing stature of the jungle convicted and humbled me, as I crunched atop its brush and beneath its canopy.

    How much more, God seemed to be saying, do I care for you if I care for the birds who have no barns, the flowers who needn't spin nor toil for their splendor? In Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, He points to His custody of nature, proving if He cares for the tiniest of creatures, certainly we don't have to worry about what we're going to eat or drink or wear, because He knows our needs.

    I don't rely on this truth enough, since food, garments and shelter are readily available where I come from — at least for most people. I knew God called His people to meet the needs of the poor, to tangibly demonstrate He knows their needs and intently cares to meet them. I believed this, but what I didn't know was how personal it would feel.

    While there, I visited a village school in Chita. With about 20 children ages 3 to 10 in the room, our program included singing, a puppet show and Bible story.

    When asked if anyone would like to come up for prayer, a 4-year-old boy named Yan leaped from his chair. Yan turned back to grab his mother's wrist, dragging her forward. "We need a house," he said matter-of-factly.

    I bowed my head, realizing I'd never prayed for God to provide someone with a house before. Sure, I'd prayed with friends to "find a house," but what I meant was they'd find a good house in a solid school district with low taxes ... maybe near a swimming pool, good church and a park. I didn't actually mean find a house.

    When it was time to say good-bye to the villagers in Chita, there stood Yan alone on the shore. I hated to leave that little boy. As the wind blew across my skin and the banks thick with trees moved past us, I was lulled into reflection.

    A 4-year-old boy taught me something about dependence and prayer, and the jungle itself had also spoken. Walking through the rainforest was like walking through a cathedral.

    There was something holy about encountering creation the way the psalmist speaks of the heavens declaring God's glory, breathing out utterances that reach to the ends of the earth. Here I was, at the ends of the earth, and He was still there. And His eye was on the sparrow ... a little sparrow named Yan, and a slightly bigger sparrow named Kelly.

    Dear Heavenly Father, I proclaim You as my Provider. Worry, striving and fretting are not from You, because You care for my every need. Please give me the grace to trust You with all that's weighing on my mind and heavy on my heart. When my anxiety becomes overwhelming, give me the peace of Christ that transcends my understanding. Thank You for promising to never leave me nor forsake me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Matthew 7:7, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (NIV)

    Colossians 1:17, "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Pinpoint a present worry or concern, then meditate on the key verses of Matthew 6:25-26. What truth speaks to your current anxiety?

    We read in Colossians 1:17 that Christ holds all things together. What practical steps can you take to entrust your concerns to His Almighty care?

    © 2014 by Kelly Minter. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks David C. Cook for their sponsorship of today's devotion. Author photo compliments of Brooke Boling.

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


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

  • Our Providing Father

    Posted on July 2, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Give us today our daily bread. Matthew 6:11

    Our heavenly Father is our provider. He gives us each day what we need. It is in the moment that He gives, so we can be content with His provision. Daily bread may not be as exciting as His future provision toward a big idea. However, each day He supplies one link in His caring chain that binds our hearts to His. If we take for granted His day by day care, we grow discontent or worse, demanding. Humility doesn’t assume daily bread, so it asks God in grateful dependence.

    Daily bread is a daily reminder of Who provides the most basic necessities in our lives. The air we breathe, the rain that moistens the soil and the sun that warms our faces are all life giving blessings from the Lord. We ask for daily bread, because we need the reminder of the source of our provision--the Bread of Life--Jesus. He who created a beautiful world from chaos brings beauty to our chaotic lives. Our daily bread from heaven feeds our body and satisfies our soul.

    "Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread” (Proverbs 30:8).

    Since pride struggles to ask for anything and busyness forgets to ask, how can we remember to ask our heavenly Father for His daily provision? A grateful prayer before a meal is a good beginning. Perhaps we pray with bowed heads, “Heavenly Father, I am extremely grateful for this meal You have provided for the nourishment of my body and soul. You are my generous and loving provider. Thank You in Jesus' name, amen.” Daily bread deserves daily gratitude to God.

    Our heavenly Father’s provisional daily bread may be the slightly soiled ‘hand me down’ clothes from a friend’s older child. It could be a neighbor’s used piece of furniture left on the curbside to be taken away. Or, He may provide a shiny new car or piece of jewelry. However our Father in heaven provides for our needs, even wants--we praise Him for His faithfulness. When we ask for daily bread we learn to trust Him with a little, so we are prepared to trust Him with a lot.

    “Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant” (Jonah 4:6).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I trust You for my daily bread and I am extremely grateful for Your abundant provision.

    Related Readings: Genesis 22:8, 14; 2 Kings 13:5; Psalm 65:9, 68:10; 1 Timothy 6:17; 1 Peter 4:11

    Post/Tweet today:.. When we ask for daily bread we learn to trust God with a little, so we are prepared to trust Him with a lot. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved. www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • Our Purposeful Father

    Posted on July 1, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Bring about Your kingdom. Manifest Your will here on earth, as it is manifest in heaven. Matthew 6:10, The Voice

    Almighty God is intentional in building His kingdom on earth. Unseen by the naked eye of  natural man, the Lord is at work behind the scenes facilitating spiritual outcomes. Earthly kings build their kingdoms, but ultimately it is the kingdom of heaven that reigns. So, to be on the right side of history (His Story), we align with what God is doing by prayer. We submit to His reign in our hearts, so His Kingdom comes within us before it manifests itself out to the world.

    What are the purposes of our heavenly Father? How can our lives line up with what the Lord wants? We know our heavenly Father’s major purpose is growing our love relationship with Him. He is our King who loves us, His citizens, so we can grow to love and accept His gracious governance of our lives. Our king Jesus died for us, so by His resurrection power, we die for Him. Yes, we pray for His love to rule our hearts and motivate our words and deeds.

    “Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him” (James 2:5)?

    The love of the Lord is an attractive advertisement to a lost and confused world. They see love and they wonder, 'Why?'. Why do we take the time to listen to a person’s story and enter into their life? Why do we give expertise and cash to help alleviate suffering and help create opportunities? Love is God’s greatest command, so we model for others our joyful privilege to love and be loved by the Lord. Yes, the kingdom of God is built on the love of God. God’s will is manifest on earth every time we love in Jesus' name. His kingdom of love defeats the kingdom of hate.

    Therefore, the more complete we become in Christ, the more the Kingdom of Heaven manifests itself in our lives. We usher in His dominion every time we pray for His will to be done down here, like it is up there. For example, oneness of heart with the Lord means we refrain from having to have the last word. Unity of soul with God means we are content to grow in our character above needing the praise of our peers. Alignment with the Almighty’s agenda supports the advancement of His Kingdom and the retreat of our own. We either pray our kingdom come or His Kingdom come, amen!

    “Giving joyful thanks to the Father,who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdomof the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:12-14).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray for Your Kingdom to come into my life, so Your Kingdom can be manifest in the kingdoms of this world.

    Related Readings: Luke 17:21; Acts 26:18; Ephesians 5:20; 2 Peter 1:11

    Post/Tweet today:.. Oneness of heart with the Lord’s heart means refraining from having to have the last word. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved. www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • Our Holy Father

    Posted on June 27, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Pray, therefore, like this: Our Father Who is in heaven, hallowed (kept holy) be Your name. Matthew 6:9, The Amplified Bible

    The holiness of our heavenly Father cannot be completely comprehended by the human mind. His purity burns so brightly, it lights up the eyes of our faith. The dross of our sinful deeds melts in the presence of His pure character. Just as Moses took cover in the cleft of the rock as God passed by, so we take shelter in the refuge of our Savior Jesus to be able to handle the glory of our great God. His name is above all names, not to be spoken in vain, but evoked in humble adoration.

    His Holiness--our Father in heaven, is to be feared. We surrender to our Sovereign Lord. We bow on hallowed ground in His presence. To a small degree, the respect we show those buried in a national cemetery is likened to our honor and approach of our heavenly Father in prayer. We are not rushed into rote prayers, but in reverent repentance, we first come clean in confession of our sins in the presence of perfection. We seek Him alone in worship, none other is worthy of our radical devotion.

    “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earthis full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3).

    Our heavenly Father’s holiness is not a standard, but the standard of sinless perfection. Though we will never achieve perfection in this life, His Holy Spirit continues to perfect our faith and character to become more like Christ’s. As children of the Holy One we are set apart to be holy as He is holy. However, be careful not to fall into the ‘holier than thou’ attitude trap. Sin is never comfortable in the presence of purity. We are only a channel for the Spirit to convict the hearts of those we love on behalf of Jesus. Thus, we pray for His holiness to shine through us.

    Therefore, we pray the prayer of Jesus when we keep holy the name of our heavenly Father. We are friends with Jesus and we partner with the Holy Spirit, but we are submissive children of our Father, the Most High--our great and glorious God. We bow now in individual preparation for the day after our death when we pray with all in glorious acclamation. Can you taste and see His holy aura in your reverent worship of your heavenly Father? In prayer, by faith, esteem His holy name!

    “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I bow down in the glory of Your holiness. Break my heart for what breaks Yours.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 52:13; Daniel 7:14; Acts 2:33; 1 Peter 1:15-16

    Post/Tweet today: Our heavenly Father’s holiness is not a standard, but the standard of sinless perfection. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved. www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • Our Heavenly Father

    Posted on June 26, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Your prayers, rather, should be simple, like this: Our Father in heaven, let Your name remain holy. Matthew 6:9, The Voice

    Our prayers are directed to our heavenly Father. It is out of a community of believers that we are able to confidently petition ‘our’ Father in heaven. The prayer of Jesus was inclusive of His disciples and all who would follow Him. Indeed, we do not pray only as individual followers of Christ, but as the Body of Christ. Our heavenly Father is able to commune with all who come to Him in relationship, repentance and renewal. God is an engaged Father to all who trust Him.

    Furthermore, we cry out in prayer to our loving heavenly Father. His love is what comforts our hearts and enlightens our minds. His love lingers long, as we long for His compassion and care. The love of our Lord is like the vast sea in its ability transport us like a ship from a shore of sin to a shore of salvation, from a port of pain to a port of peace, and from a harbor of hell to a harbor of heaven. Our heavenly Father loves us where we are and draws us where He is, for our good.

    “Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me” (Psalm 66:20).

    Our heavenly Father is also the giver of all wisdom. He is generous with His gifts from heaven above for what we need on earth below. Hallelujah, our Father does not leave us to flounder in confusion, but He has given us a course of action based on His character. His Spirit offers direction in a decision. He brings clarity to what’s best long term, not just what’s expedient in the short term. He discerns how to best relate in a challenging relationship. He gives forgiveness, understanding and patience to stay involved. Yes, our Father’s wisdom is counter to the culture.

    Just as any good and loving Father disciplines his children, so our heavenly Father reminds us of what’s right. When we feel the gentle correction of our Father, we are wise to change immediately and not require a more severe scenario. Yes, His discipline is meant to deter us from destructive behavior and protect us from painful outcomes. Distant dads do not care about correction, only those who are close, interested and involved. God disciplines us because He loves us. Our Father is in heaven, but He walks with us on earth. We pray to our ever faithful Father!

    “Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief” (Psalm 143:1).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, what a joy to seek Your loving kindness and faithful love in focused prayer.

    Related Readings: Psalm 32:6, 42:8; Isaiah 55:6; Luke 11:13; Romans 12:12; Ephesians 1:17

    Post/Tweet today: Our heavenly Father loves us where we are and draws us where He is, for our good. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved. www.wisdomhunters.com


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

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