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Tag Archives: Numbers

  • Power of the Path

    Posted on June 30, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    I [the angel of the Lord] have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. Numbers 22:32 b

    The path you choose is the path you use. It may be a path of pride or a path of humility. The path may stimulate purity or impurity. It could be a path of wisdom or a path of foolishness. The path may be one of cooperation or a path of independence. Your path may be family friendly, or hostile to the health of your home. Watch the path of success as it can easily veer down the path of lost accountability. The path you choose is the path you use. So, be very wise about the choices you make. Make sure the path you traverse meanders through the woods of God’s will. Your path is a picture of overlaid choices. One after another, your daily decisions carve out a well beaten path. But do not be deceived, every path leads somewhere.

    "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it" (Matthew 7:13-14). Your current path is not insignificant. If it is a path of preparation, then prepare well. A well prepared path paves the way for opportunity. This is the path of patient preparation. The more you prepare the wider this path becomes. The less you prepare the more narrow it becomes. The path of preparation may seem long and onerous at times, but be patient.

    Your faithfulness now will bolster your influence later. The path of preparation requires persevering patience. Travel this path with focused attention. Enjoy the ride, for these may be the simplest days of your life. The path of preparation is the strong foundation of any excellent and eternally significant endeavor.

    Another path to walk wisely upon is the path of personal intimacy with God. It is easy to overlook this path because of familiarity or busyness. But without a worn out path to God, you will wear out. It is a path that requires discipline, but the fruit of your faith’s exercise will serve you throughout life. When you walk the path of intimacy with God, He fills you with His peace, security and hope. It is not a path of quick fixes, rather one of trust and endurance.

    Traveling a path without God is like walking in the country on a moonless night or, running blindfolded through a city during the day. In either case there is a lot of activity, but it is filled with fear, confusion, misdirection and eventual hurt. Indeed, the path of God is not without pain or uncertainty. But as you travel on His path you are filled with His presence.

    As you travel with God, be ever mindful of His guardrails of grace, love and law. They are there for your protection. They keep you from straying off His path of kingdom purpose. The worldly road most traveled is reckless compared to the less traveled path of heaven’s security. Choose daily the wise path of confession and consultation with your creator. The path of obedience to God leads to peace with God.

    "Show me your ways, lord, teach me your paths" (Psalm 25:4).

    Prayer: Am I on the proper path to fulfill the Lord's purposes for my life?

    Related Readings: Proverbs 2:15; Psalm 119:35; Luke 1:79; Acts 2:28

    Post/Tweet today:. Our faithfulness now will bolster our influence later. The path of preparation requires persevering patience. #wisdomhunters

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

  • Management by Objectives

    Posted on May 24, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Aaron and his sons are to go into the sanctuary and assign to each man his work and what he is to carry. Numbers 4:19

    God believes in delegation and follow through. He expects leaders to manage. This is the right and responsible thing to do. If a job is to be done well, you as the leader, have to be a part of the process. Effective managers make expectations crystal clear. Clarity comes through repetition, hands on explanation, written instructions, and follow-up. It is important for team members to understand from different perspectives, how their role is critical in accomplishing the overall vision. Inspect the results you expect from them.

    On-the-job training is also important so team members have the opportunity to watch you or someone else, complete the work with excellence. This gives the trainee an opportunity to ask questions and interact with the trainer. Avoid the temptation to hurry and not be thorough in hands-on training. Ineffective training costs you in the long run. It costs you time, money, frustration, and personnel turnover. So how can you, as a manager, grow and improve your management skills? How can you be a good example for the team?

    First of all, make sure you are managed well. Invite your supervisor or board of directors to hold you accountable. You have a much better chance to manage well if you are managed well. Then have regular performance reviews. We perform better when others are watching. The review needs to be relational, specific, and results focused. Next, walk around among your team. Seek to understand each person’s role and what is expected, taking the time to follow up with tasks you have delegated. Follow through with your commitments, and you will maintain your moral authority to manage. Effective leaders manage in person, not in isolation. A recluse is a poor manager.

    Lastly, challenge the management process. Do the systems of your enterprise facilitate or stifle management? In other words, do you get the proper data needed to evaluate a person or situation, or are you guessing and making assumptions not based on facts? Excellent managers produce processes that move toward the best results.

    “Paul instructed Timothy in this way, ‘Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others’” (2 Timothy 2:1–2 nlt).

    Prayer: How can I become a more effective manger and empower our team to manage well?

    Related Readings: Exodus 18:17–26; Exodus 39:32; Matthew 28:19–20; Acts 6:1–7

    Post/Tweet today: Effective leaders manage in person, not in isolation. A recluse is a poor manager. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • Lioness Arising from Lisa Bevere

    Posted on January 24, 2014 by Family Christian

    Lisa

    Awaken a Lioness
    Nature is made to conspire with spirit to emancipate us. —RALPH WALDO EMERSON

    The year was 1994, and it was a night like any other in that season of my life. I had tumbled into bed later than I should have after a desperate attempt at putting my house in order. As a pregnant mother of three sons, I slept deeply in those days. I would shut my eyes and fall right to sleep, only to be roused by the sound of an alarm, children, or late-morning sunlight streaming into my room. But this night I fell asleep and woke at dawn, shaken to my core.

    In the predawn hours I’d experienced a vivid and unusual dream. Actually, to call it a dream makes it sound as though it came to me in the form of sleep or shadow; this imagery did not. I dream regularly, but not at this level of intensity. In my world of sleep, I found myself vibrantly awake. Before me was a scene set in another place and time. I sensed I no longer walked the pathways of earth. I stood in some heavenly realm, a place of illumination, without glare.

    Radiant light was everywhere and appeared to come from everything. There was no mist or shadow, only glorious color. These saturated hues of living color were comprised of shades so concentrated that I am without earthly reference to name them. The pigments were layered and multidimensional. For some reason I best remember the tones of purple (but not quite our purple) and blue (yet unlike ours). There were no edges, sides, or upper border, yet the backdrop of color enwrapped what it showcased—an elevated platform of flawless, cream-colored stone, and on this platform reclined a golden lioness.
    She was feline perfection—majestic, powerful, and richly textured. She didn’t move, but there was no doubt in my mind that she was alive—far more alive than any earthbound animal I’d seen in motion. Her head was erect but not tense, and her forelegs stretched out in front of her. Her fur and eyes gleamed golden. Beneath her flawless, tawny coat, I could see every curve of her perfectly formed muscles. This stunning, still lioness was far more substantial, vivid, and vibrant than any of the lionesses that now walk our earth. I couldn’t help thinking I beheld a heavenly prototype. Etched on the front of the flawless pillar platform were both a word and a roman numeral: Numbers XXIII.

    In contrast with this lioness, my form felt transparent, insignificant, and strangely out of place. I felt detached from my body and unaware of being pregnant. I knew I was there to behold and see, to keenly observe—and in doing so, to learn something unrealized. I sensed an urgency to grasp the weight of the imagery. Even though I was alone with a lioness, I felt no alarm or threat. I felt only wide-eyed wonder, as though by seeing, my spirit was being enlarged and connected. I absorbed all I could of what was around me. My focus shifted, and I looked into the eyes of the lioness.

    As I did, I heard a voice somewhere behind me announce: With the birth of this son,you will awaken a lioness.
    In a blur of golden light, majesty, and wonder, it was over. The next thing I knew, it was morning, and I was fully awake. All my senses were in a state of high alert, not out of fear as much as out of shock. What had I just witnessed? As time has passed, I have come to believe our earth is the time tethered, shadowed form or partial revelation of what is original, timeless, and whole in heaven.

    RISE UP LIKE A LIONESS
    As I lay in the gray of dawn, wide awake, heart racing, and body trembling, I sensed God had sent me this vision of a lioness to reveal something I would have easily missed in the day-to-day. He had my full attention. I was listening with every sense engaged. My room seemed faded and hollow, a stark contrast to the world of color I’d just left. The morning sounds of earth were muffled compared to the clarion voice in the otherworldly place. I paused, afraid to move and lose the last remnants of the vision. I closed my eyes. Yes, it was all there—the lioness, the platform, the inscription, the backdrop, and the voice.

    Time passed, my heart slowed, my body calmed, and I opened my eyes. Curious about the inscription on the front of the platform, I reached out and drew my Bible into bed with me. I wondered, was there a connection with a literal chapter or verse? If so, what did Numbers 23 hold? As I flipped through the pages, my heart sank when I noted the translator’s heading and discovered the passage was an oracle of Balaam. I knew he was an accurate, but dishonorable, prophet. I read on, not sensing much of anything until I came to verse 19.

    “God is not a man, so he does not lie.
    He is not human, so he does not change his mind.
    Has he ever spoken and failed to act?
    Has he ever promised and not carried it through?
    Listen, I received a command to bless;
    God has blessed, and I cannot reverse it!
    No misfortune is in his plan for Jacob;
    no trouble is in store for Israel.
    For the LORD their God is with them;
    he has been proclaimed their king.
    God brought them out of Egypt;
    for them he is as strong as a wild ox.
    No curse can touch Jacob;
    no magic has any power against Israel.
    For now it will be said of Jacob,
    “What wonders God has done for Israel!” (Numbers 23:19–23, NLT)

    These words contain so much about the faithfulness of God. His promises are sure and certain, and his blessings are irreversible. Because of God’s faithfulness, Israel had a future secure and free from the tainted and twisted effects of witchcraft or curses. All this was reassuring, but the next verse was riveting.

    These people rise up like a lioness, like a majestic lion rousing itself. They refuse to rest until they have feasted on prey, drinking the blood of the slaughtered! (Numbers 23:24, NLT)

    Trembling, I reread the fierce words printed on the fragile page: rise up
    like a lioness, like a majestic lion rousing itself. The raw imagery hit me. I could
    see it: a lion and his lioness, rising up out of the grass. As they rose, the dynamics of the plain changed from peaceful to electric. Every living creature sensed the lions’ change of posture and watched attentively. The golden ones were awake, stretching, testing the air, surveying their domain, ready to make their move. Perhaps they were hungry. Maybe they were agitated by the presence of an enemy who had violated the marked boundaries of their territory, and it was time to make their presence known.

    Once they were up, tensions would be high until their movements ceased. If the lions were restless, there’d be no rest for the other creatures until the lions had fought or feasted, then resettled. With their rising, I sensed a stirring of their strength in my spirit as well. Who isn’t awed and captivated when a lion or lioness rises and moves out from its resting place? It is a wonder to behold. But what was this to me? How could I possibly be connected to any of this wild, golden might? While the imagery thrilled me, it also repelled me. I liked the idea of lionesses napping in the sun as their young frolicked, but images of the hunt and kill frightened and even disgusted me. When I watched National Geographic or Wild Kingdom, I averted my eyes as the big cats took down impalas and zebras. As these thoughts flashed through my mind, I recalled the words of the night vision: “With the birth of this son, you will awaken a lioness.” What could this mean? I saw no connection between the powerful, fearless lioness and the large, pregnant woman who lay in my bed. To say I was a lioness was laughable. I was a tofu-eating, borderline vegan, not a bloodthirsty predator. I was terrified by almost everything outside my control and intimidated by the majority of the people I met. I found strong, dominant women especially frightening.

    My pregnancy had been somewhat of a reprieve. In an impassioned moment of prayer a few months before my son’s conception, I’d laid aside all my protests and told God, “Okay, okay! I’m yours. Have your way in my life! I’ll do anything you want. I’ll even talk to women if you want me to.” Though at the time I had no idea what I might say. When I became pregnant, I figured all bets were off. I imagined the commission and my compliance had been a test of sorts—like Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac. Perhaps I’d get bonus points for being willing and I’d never have to follow through on my pledge. But with this vision, it appeared my pre-pregnancy deal still stood. And what was this about a son?

    Throughout my pregnancy I’d assumed I was carrying a daughter. Everyone I came in contact with told me I was having a girl. No one had mentioned the possibility of a boy. I was the only one who harbored the secret hope for another son. I shook my head in disbelief. If any of this was true and I was about to morph into a lioness of sorts, then surely someone else would see this impending transformation as well. This vision was going to require some serious secondary confirmation.

    LOOKING FOR AFFIRMATION
    A few weeks passed, and a woman evangelist I had immense respect for came into town. Here was my chance! She’d invited another pregnant friend and me to join her for lunch. My friend was an exceptional businesswoman who’d experienced a radical conversion and was shaking her region of Asia with the gospel. Perhaps the lioness vision was for her…I decided to casually bring up the idea over lunch and watch her reaction.

    Our lunch date fell on a gorgeous, sunny day in Winter Park, Florida. After the three of us roamed the streets for a while, I finally plopped my pregnant self down for lunch and wondered how I could introduce the lioness into our girlfriend-shopping conversation. Later as we ate, my opening came. My friend told us she was expecting a girl, and the evangelist said she was excited about the prospect of me having a daughter as well. “But what if it’s another boy?” I asked. She was aghast that I would even raise such a possibility. After all, she reasoned, I had three sons, and John needed a girl to dote on. Right then I decided to relay the story of the lioness and the proclamation of a son. I’m not certain what I said made sense. Actually, I know it didn’t. After all, I was far from convinced myself. I knew the vision was real, but in my nervousness I still discounted my connection with the lioness imagery. I kept talking, trying to process my encounter, but how could I expect them to understand when I was confused? My ramblings reflected on their concerned faces. Realizing I had hit an impasse, I stopped abruptly. There was a long pause in the awkward aftermath as the minister looked doubtfully at me and then asked, “When is your baby due?” “October tenth,” I answered sheepishly, relieved to say something that made sense. Leaning back, she shook her head and said with confidence, “No, no, you could not possibly be a lioness by then.”

    I wanted to yell, “I agree!” but feeling slightly ridiculous, I merely nodded. On one level I felt relief and on the other slightly annoyed, definitely embarrassed, and possibly insulted. What did she mean I couldn’t be a lioness by then? It was only springtime, and October was more than five months away! After all, how long could this lioness transformation take? Why had I shared my vision anyway? I should have waited until I found out if I was carrying a son. She sensed my confusion and explained, “There is still too much stuff in you that God needs to work out…You will not be free by October.”

    Well, there you go. Even though I didn’t like the woman’s bluntness, I agreed with her assessment. Slowly the conversation returned to its previously normal rhythm as I closed my mouth and allowed my thoughts to turn inward. She had only voiced what she saw obviously reflected in me. I was plagued by doubt and insecurity on many levels. Even my husband, John, was constantly saying to me, “It must be so hard to live in your mind, Lisa, with so many worries and fears crowding in on you.” He was right. And it was getting harder and harder all the time. I was tired of being a long term restoration project.

    NO MORE EXCUSES
    For years I’d been making excuses for myself. I was a cancer survivor and a stay-at-home mom with a dysfunctional past, who just wanted to survive her preschool children. Was it possible that God thought I was destined for more? Was something powerful and slightly fierce waiting to be awakened inside me? Maybe I’d wear courage well. After all, hadn’t I been adventurous when I was young? There was a time when my dream job ideas ranged between assassin and astronaut.

    Yes, I wanted to recover some of the strength I’d forfeited while trying to fit in as a pastor’s wife and a nice Christian woman. I was ready to stretch a bit and rise up in strength and beauty. I was tired of being thought of as weak and whiny. I was tired of revisiting the pain of my past. I was up for a challenge. I loved that my husband was passionate and strong, but I was tired of hiding behind him. Tired of wearying my mind with so many things that didn’t matter. Tired of pretending. Maybe the vision of a lioness was just what I needed! Rather than nice and safe, I was ready to be seen as slightly fierce and definitely focused.

    I drove home after lunch that day, gripping the steering wheel more tightly than necessary. I was willing to try on this lioness vibe in the relative safety of my Honda Civic. I rolled down the windows and bounced to the latest in contemporary Christian music, and I let the wind rather than the air conditioning shake my “mane.” It all seems a bit silly now (especially since lionesses don’t have manes). Through my cat-shaped Ray-Ban lenses, I saw my frizzy, highlighted hair in the side-view mirror…Wait, do I see wild lioness gold in those tresses? Not ready by October? Ha! I’ll show you! I’m a lioness! Somehow through the combination of my lunch faux pas, my friend’s blunt assessment, and a series of other unrelated events, an interesting transformation began to take shape. It was as though a gauntlet had been thrown down and a challenge had been issued. With the birth of my son Arden Christopher (his name means “fiery, determined, anointed one”), something within me shifted. Even though another child meant more of a mother load, I became a focused daughter. You see, like many other mothers, my God-connected self had been strained. I was almost at the point of drowning in my day-to-day life. I was so caught up with my ever-expanding and increasingly demanding to-do list, I’d forgotten who I was. I was full of self-doubt. My life was small, self-centered, isolated, petty, safe, and ineffective. I remembered my name, whom I was married to, and who my kids were, but what I did and who I was responsible for overshadowed my sense of being God’s daughter.

    As I paused, God began to whisper strength to me and to call me by another name. To everyone else I had a name that was attached to a job description. I was mother to my children, wife to my husband, pastor’s wife to the congregation, but to God Most High I was simply daughter. As I focused on just being his and what all that meant, life and strength flowed into my days, and rest entered my soul. My heart enlarged. After Arden’s birth, I began to step out of the shadow of my insecurities, fears, comfort zone, and failures and began to reach out to others. I wrote my first book, Out of Control and Loving It!, while nursing Arden. Writing this book opened up another world to me.

    Suddenly I was out speaking to women across our nation who were hungry for authenticity. In response to their hurt and hunger and the glaring need for healthy female connections, I wrote more books. Time passed, we moved from our home in sunny, hot, and humid Florida to another home in sunny, cold, and dry Colorado. The move to Colorado drew our family indoors and around the table more. It also positioned us to weather many transitions. A few times over the next decade (almost too few to note), I was singled out or called a lioness. I would just smile, content that I was no longer a frightened, timid, domestic cat. I imagined the lioness story was over and my personal transformation almost complete. But I was wrong.

    IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU, LISA
    In the fall of 2007, the lioness visited me again. I was one of many women ministering at a women’s conference in the stunning land of New Zealand. This event was so well attended that the host church had to do two back-to back conferences to accommodate all the women.

    The first conference was held at the church, and the second was held in an Auckland arena. We had finished conference number one and were at the arena for conference number two. The sessions had begun. The ministers were able, compassionate, faithful stewards of the Word. But for some unknown reason, I felt troubled during the afternoon break. It wasn’t that I felt pressured to prepare—I would be duplicating what I had said in the first conference. Still, I felt an urgency to pray before my session. It was as though there was some sort of resistance. I knew it was not from the attendees, who had chosen to be there, nor from any of the speakers or the host church. We were all of one heart and had come ready to worship, preach, and encourage the women. But there was something else in the mix. Perhaps God was trying to get my attention. I had to get alone and sort my way through it, so I headed off to my hotel room, which overlooked the Auckland harbor. I paced my room, stretching my arms out toward the harbor, praying for God’s direction and insight and singing along with the music on my iPod, “Shout unto God with a voice of triumph.” To position my heart, I began to thank God for various things he was doing in my life. I had just completed the final edits on my Nurture manuscript and began to thank God that the writing and editing process was over. For me, writing a book is like going through labor, so my prayer went something like, Thank you, God. It is finished! I exalted, I don’t want to write again anytime soon! Suddenly I sensed God speak to my spirit. I am sorry you feel that way…because I need you to write again. What? God needed me?

    He went on. I am releasing strategies from heaven. They will be found in my Word. You will not have all of these strategies by any means, but you will have a measure of them. You must write and record what I speak to you so that when my daughters gather, there will be a whole picture. If you do not bring your piece of the puzzle, the picture will not be complete.

    Suddenly the lioness was again before me. As I beheld her in all her strength and fierce beauty, I heard the Voice say, I said with the birth of your son, you would awaken a lioness. I did not say you were the lioness.
    Immediately I saw how limited, silly, and human my perspective had been. The Voice went on to say, Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and it is time his bride awakens a lioness. Study the ways and aspects of the lioness. Then I heard the first strategy: Lionesses hunt together.

    I was taken aback. Was what I was hearing even scriptural? What could all this mean? Women were beginning to get used to the idea that there is power in femininity and value in their capacity to nurture. Now God was telling me to call them lionesses? How did this fit in? I wondered, Could it be God wants to awaken something fierce and wildwithin his women?

    Numbers 23 came before me once again, and I saw in it a charge for Christian women to rise up. Right then and there I set my heart to study the lioness and to search out the parallels for God’s daughters. I’ve spent the last two years researching, observing, and writing about lionesses. Initially I thought of making connections between women and lionesses only on a literary level—without sharing the vision God gave me—but as time passed, I realized this vision was not meant to remain mine alone. I was not shown the lioness because I am favored or special. Nor did I experience this imagery because I am highly visionary. I was shown this because God knew one day I’d be someone with a voice.

    Time and time again as I have spoken the phrase “you will awaken a lioness,” I have literally seen it impact women. Sometimes they respond with quiet tears as something within them is watered. At other times they gasp as though they’ve breathed in the revelation and realized it is okay to be beautiful and fierce. I believe the response has been so overwhelmingly positive because, just as there is a lamb of sorts hidden within, there is also a lioness within every one of God’s daughters. And it is time she awakens.

    When I think of a lioness, a smile plays along my mouth. I throw back my shoulders and stand a bit straighter. More than any other creature, the lioness makes me proud to be a female. There is no doubting her strength. I also imagine there is no creature that makes a man prouder to be a male than the lion. The lion is the king of the jungle, and there is no question about who is the queen.

    LOOK…AND LEARN
    This isn’t the first time God has pointed us back to the simplicity of creation to restore our perspective. Jesus admonishes us to consider the flowers and to learn from them that God will clothe and care for us (see Matthew 6:28; Luke 12:27). Likewise, the heavenly realms declare God’s glory and make an open show of his righteousness (see Psalm 19:1; Psalm 50:6). The heavens declare His righteousness, And all the peoples see His glory. (Psalm 97:6, NKJV)

    The wild, fierce beauty of creation is but a window that offers a glimpse of the God who created us. We need to throw open this window and allow God’s untamed, limitless beauty to awaken a heavenly awe within us. As we open our eyes to the wonder of creation, it arouses a God-yearning. Our spirit will respond to what it sees. Creation declares, “There is more! More than what you see. More than what you hear. More than mere human mortality. There is the Immortal God who is seated on high.”

    Jesus our Christ came as the Lamb slain before the foundations of the earth, but the book of Revelation also reveals him as a Lion: But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:5, NLT)
    He is both our Lion and our Lamb. I wonder, could there be a combination of two more contrasting images? The Message version says this lion of Judah “can rip through the seven seals.” John, the author of Revelation, wept because after a search of all of heaven, earth, and even the underworld, not one was found worthy to tear open the seven seals and begin the progressive reveal. Then the elder nearest John encouraged him to look, for there was a revelation of a Lion in our Lamb. He alone is worthy and initiates this work of unsealing. A rip or tear is a violent release. I am immediately reminded of the thick curtain of separation in the temple as it was ripped or rent in two (see Mark 15:38).

    The tear began at the highest place and ended at the lowest. I love this, for our God is always tearing asunder that which would hinder or separate any of us from all of him. In the divinely mysterious book of Revelation, this act of unsealing the scrolls of heaven sets things in motion on earth. Even now I sense God longing to unseal and reveal a portion of Himself to and in every one of us. If not, why would he have written this dramatic end of our earth story if it did not contain a revelation for each of us? I believe we are invited again not to despair or to weep but to lift up our eyes, look, and truly see.

    Our earth echoes the revelations and wisdom of heaven. How amazing that our heavenly Father designed his creation to open our hearts. Each plant, animal, element, and landscape says, “Arise and be all you were created to be.” According to Job, nature has the potential to teach us. God sets out the entire creation as a science classroom, using birds and beasts to teach wisdom. (Job 35:11) The wonder of God’s love and the extent to which he will go to impart his wisdom to us is almost too vast to grasp. But we should not be surprised by this. He is, after all, the Creator, who declares:

    Every creature in the forest is mine,
    the wild animals on all the mountains.
    I know every mountain bird by name;
    the scampering field mice are my friends.
    If I get hungry, do you think I’d tell you?
    All creation and its bounty are mine. (Psalm 50:10–12)

    We isolate ourselves from the creatures of the earth, but God knows them by name. Do we imagine that he cares nothing for his creation? He fashioned creation for himself. Nature has much to reveal about its Creator, if we will but listen to it. In Proverbs we are charged, “You lazy fool, look at an ant. Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two” (6:6). I believe God is asking us to do something similar now. He is asking us to look at the lioness and to learn. He invites us: Daughters, look at the lioness. Watch her closely. Let her awaken your untamed nature, your fierce beauty, and your unbridled strength so you can rise up and be the courageous women I have called you to be.
    How does a lioness reveal strength and courage in women? And how can women rise up like the lioness? Each of us will have our unique response, but this glimpse of lioness characteristics may give you insight. In the following chapters, we’ll look at several reasons a lioness arises from her leisurely repose in the African sun:

    She rises to gather strength.
    She rises to greet and groom others.
    She rises to hunt.
    She rises alongside other lionesses.
    She rises to move the young to safety.
    She rises to confront enemies that threaten the pride.
    She rises to walk with her king.

    I have come to see the lioness as a picture of how every daughter of the Most High can embrace her strength, develop courage, and effect change in her world. Is there a lioness hidden within you? It is my prayer that by the time you finish this book, you’ll have your answer, and with that answer something fierce, beautiful, and wild will be awakened in you.


    Excerpted from Lioness Arising by Lisa Bevere Copyright © 2013 by Lisa Bevere. Excerpted by permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

  • Giant Opportunities

    Posted on January 1, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “The Lord said to Moses, "Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites… Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it." But the men who had gone up with him said, "We can't attack those people; they are stronger than we are." Numbers 13:1a, 30-31

    As we face life, we can be overwhelmed by its giant obstacles, or be inspired by its giant opportunities. Challenges and uncertainty tend to corrode our confidence. It is in the face of the unknown that we can move forward by faith, or backward in disbelief. What giant obstacles are you facing? How can your obstacles be converted into opportunities? Obstacles are stepping stones for obedient feet to follow.

    Therefore, with aggressive patience, stay focused and you will eventually see some obstacles dissolve, and others transformed into treasures. Maybe a financial giant is looming large as an intimidating obstacle. If so, stay true to your integrity by not selectively suspending your core values for much needed results. Instead, remain faithful to wise stewardship and honesty, and the right results will follow at the right time. Trust God to use scary giants for His glory.

    God orchestrates giant opportunities for His greater good. He told Moses that He was giving His children the promised land; all they had to do was show up and receive His gift. Giant opportunities do require faith, planning, perseverance and hard work, as the reward of obedience and trust in the Lord is enough. So how are you facing the giants in your life; as obstacles or opportunities?

    Leaders look and pray for opportunities, and then explore them with energy and enthusiasm. Your relentless leadership inspires your family, friends and work associates to remain faithful and not freak out. Therefore, take the land of opportunity the Lord has given you. Difficult days and economic challenges are greater opportunities for God to get the glory. So be aggressive, increase your efforts, pound heaven in prayer and by faith receive what your Savior Jesus has already given you. Go after the giant opportunities with gusto and by grace.

    The Bible says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, NASB).

    Prayer: What giant obstacle can I trust God with to become an opportunity?

    Related Readings: Joshua 14:6-8; Isaiah 41:10-16; Romans 8:31-37; Hebrews 11:33

    Post/Tweet today: It is in the face of the unknown that we can move forward by faith, or backward in disbelief. #giantopportunities

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

  • God Bless You

    Posted on June 9, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24–26).

    We have the opportunity to regularly encourage others with an admonishment for the Lord to bless them. This is the power of the spoken word. You can build up another by conferring upon them the favor of God. What a simple way to sincerely wish upon another the Lord’s best with a kind “God bless you.” We are not to say it glibly or  out of habit, but with deep feeling and a genuine desire for God’s commendation.

    We can also pray God’s protection on others: their health, their travels, and their relationships. In any situation of uncertainty and/or danger, we can ask God to “keep them.” Or maybe there are those who are in dire need of experiencing the fullness of God’s grace. They are tired of “trying to live” the Christian life and need a fresh “baptism” of God’s graciousness. You can see it in the hardness of their countenance or in the fatigue of their droopy posture. They are lacking in energy and drive. They need an outpouring of grace.

    “May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples” (Genesis 28:3).

    God’s grace is a safe environment to recover from rejection and hurt or to gain strength for the journey. Grace is inviting and invigorating. It is cool water for a thirsty soul. Life saps grace from our hearts while intimacy with Jesus infuses grace into our being. You can be a grace killer or a grace giver. People will flock to you because of your graciousness or avoid you like the plague because of your gracelessness.

    The secret to giving God’s grace is receiving God’s grace. Each day ask God to renew your grace quota, filling your grace tank so you can bestow grace on others. What a joy to extend grace to the ungracious and to receive grace from the greatest grace giver, Jesus. Furthermore, our benediction and admonishment to others can be for them to experience God’s peace. Once you discover peace with God, you have the peace of God.

    His peace can lie dormant in our hearts, or it can flourish like kudzu on a hot summer day. Be a peacemaker. Yes, you can win the argument, but you may lose the relationship. Why not bless with peace rather than curse with contention? When you bless others, you too enjoy the blessings of God.

    “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9).

    Prayer: How can I boldly bestow the Lord’s blessing? I want to receive His blessing so I can be a blessing.

    Post/Tweet: A soul’s hunger for God is an innate appetite that only He can satisfy. #satisfied

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

  • Trust Enough

    Posted on May 25, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them’” (Numbers 20:12).

     

    A mature and robust trust in God can open the door of opportunity, while a flippant, immature, or irreverent trust can slam shut the door of opportunity. I have to ask myself an honest question: “Do I trust God with my whole heart or only when it is convenient?” There is such a thing as not trusting in God enough to honor Him as holy. How can I make sure I trust in God enough? I can say I trust God, but do I really mean it?

     

    Do I, deep in my heart of hearts, trust Him? Do I really trust Him with my job, my boyfriend or girlfriend, my future, my health, and my finances? If my trust is contingent on how I think things should go, then I really do not trust God. My trust has to be unconditional, good or bad, pretty or ugly. I will trust Him, even when I disagree or I am confused with my circumstances. Sometimes God tests you to authenticate your trust.

     

    “Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant” (2 Samuel 7:28).

     

    He wants you to know if He is sufficient or if you find Him lacking. The test is for your benefit because He already knows if you trust Him enough. You may be failing, just passing, average, or an honor student in God’s school of faith. Are you convinced that you trust in God enough? Or is yours still an infant faith wrapped in insecurity?

     

    Moving to the next level of trust is not always easy, but it is necessary for the maturing follower of Christ. The easy part is becoming a Christian; the hard part is being a Christian. This happens over time as God tests our trust to grow us up in Him. We can complain, or we can thank Him that He cares so much He does not want our trust to remain raw and disfigured. He is all about developing us into dedicated disciples of Jesus.

     

    Even enemies of Jesus recognized His total trust in His heavenly Father. “He trusts in God” (Matthew 27:43).

     

    Prayer: Is my trust wholly dependent on the Lord alone plus nothing else?

     

    Related Readings: Psalm 37:3–5; Isaiah 12:2; John 14:1; Titus 3:8

     

    Post/Tweet: The easy part is becoming a Christian; the hard part is being a Christian. #Christian

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Do Your Best

    Posted on March 20, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land. Numbers 13:20

    Do your best and trust God with the rest. Your best in the hands of your Heavenly Father is all He needs to get done what’s needed. He can bless less than your best, but normally His favor rests on your best efforts. His blessing stays with those who remain trustworthy stewards of their time, gifts and skills. As you are faithful with what you have, the Lord may very well expand your capacity. Excellent stewardship is a low risk investment with a high return probability.

    Are you in school? If so, do your best in your studies, so you develop a disciplined mind,  managing well your parent’s money. Are you a writer? If so, do your best to write when you don’t feel like writing,  trusting you can break through any writer’s block. Are your parents alive? If so, seek out a relationship of love and honor. Children who care for their parents model for their children how to become compassionate caregivers. Do your best and trust God with the rest.

    Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

    Commit your free time to becoming better at what you are called to be and do. Perhaps you take an online class that is a survey of the Old or New Testaments. Teach or lead, so you are more accountable to model what you tell others to do. Maybe you serve the mentally challenged and the physically handicapped in ways that make them feel special and beloved by their Heavenly Father. Do your best with the time you have and trust God with the rest that needs to get done.

    Most of all concentrate on being your very best for Christ. In your thoughts, think on things that are lovely, wholesome, true, noble and without shame. With your eyes, watch images that feed your spirit with good and starve your flesh from bad. Read books and experience films that ignite your imagination with big God ideas  that deepen your love for humanity. Listen to music that lifts your spirits and leads your spirit in worship. Do your best to become His very best!

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6, NKJV

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I am committed to do my best and to trust You with the rest.

    Related Readings: Jeremiah 42:3; Proverbs 16:3; Ephesians 1:13; 2 Timothy 4:9; Titus 3:12

    Post/Tweet today: Do your best with the time you have and trust God with the rest that needs to get done. #doyourbest

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Promise Land Spirit

    Posted on January 3, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.” Numbers 14:24

     

    Naysayers suffer the spirit of defeat, while those who take God at His word enter into the promised land of spiritual victory. The giants in the land are made much larger with fear inflicted by Satan’s figments of the imagination. However, those led by the Spirit move forward by faith in search of God-size opportunities. There is no time for the devil’s drama, only determination to trust the Lord. The fulfillment of big ideas flow from a heart wholly committed to Christ. 

    The fearful majority become experts in eloquently explaining why you can’t accomplish extraordinary results with your ordinary faith. Their reasons resound from what man says, not what God has promised. If you listen to faithless voices you will lose faith, however, your confidence to continue overflows in obedience to the Holy Spirit’s leadership. Your eyes of faith are not flawed for God gives you 20/20 vision to see His possibilities. Yes, trust in His promises!

    “Do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” Numbers 14:9

    If we disbelieve in the promise of God we forfeit the benefit of God. Disbelief leads to disobedience which is rebellion against the Lord. However, when we hid God’s promises in our hearts we can’t help but boldly follow Christ into the unknown. He promises peace that overcomes fear, so we are peaceful. He promises favor with our enemies, so we are trustful. He promises grace in our weakness, so we are energized to work. God’s promises give courage!

    Is the Lord larger than your looming obstacles? Can Christ provide the relational and financial capital for your next big thing for Him? Yes and Yes! Your heavenly Father is waiting to give you advantages and open doors for His glory. Your character and willingness to serve and not sell yourself is a sword of sincerity in the Spirit’s hand. Once He gives you access into the promised land of opportunity, continue in humility. Fulfill His will and receive what He has promised.

    “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:36

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, use me to go boldly to places You promised are good.

    Related Readings: Joshua 14:8; Psalm 37:11; Acts 2:39; Hebrews 11:17; James 2:5

    Post/Tweet today: Fulfill His will and receive what He has promised. #promises

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Grateful For Leaders

    Posted on November 21, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude.” Acts 24:2-3

     

    Leaders appreciate receiving appreciation. Often they experience isolation that comes with their role and responsibilities. A genuine thank you goes a long way in energizing their will to lead. Ungrateful or insensitive followers challenge the faith of a leader’s good faith. But those who take the time to express their gratitude to those they follow bring honor and encouragement to their leader. Leaders are not to be worshiped, but thanked. 

    How do you express gratitude to your boss, pastor, teacher or coach? Do you have a systematic process to thank those who may serve in thankless roles? Perhaps God would have you become the source for fulfilling the prayers of those who labor in the Lord’s work. How refreshing and practical it is to buy a meal, clothes or a weekend away for your Pastor and his wife. Your tangible appreciation may make the difference in a leader continuing to fight the good fight. Leaders need the support of other friends in Christ.

    “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.” Hebrews 13:17

    Gratitude for the human heart is like gasoline to an automobile’s engine. A fellow leader may be out of gas and in need of your sincere appreciation. What if you prayed for a leader in your life once a week for 12 weeks? It could be the President of a nation or the President of your local Parent Teacher’s Association. Look for leaders who need a prayer. School principals need a pal. Speak a kind word for they normally hear only negative concerns.

    Furthermore, express your gratitude to God for the godly leaders in your life. If may be your wife, husband, mayor, governor, president, business associate or missionary overseas. Pray to the Lord for them to feel His presence and power in their leadership role. Pray they will walk in the humility and wisdom of Jesus. Leaders need to feel the Lord’s love and approval. A leader appreciated by the Almighty is positioned to lead with love.

    “So the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of leadership, and lay your hand on him. Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence.” Numbers 27:18-19

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, how can I be grateful for those leaders in my life?

    Related Readings: Acts 11:30; Ephesians 1:15-23; I Timothy 5:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:12

    Post/Tweet this today: A leader appreciated by God is empowered to lead with love.

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

  • Angry Obedience

    Posted on August 25, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “Moses said to them, “Listen you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron,  “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelite's, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” Numbers 20:10b-12

     

    Angry obedience is better than no obedience, but it is not the best obedience. It has its positive results and it has its negative consequences. It does get results, but does so at the expense of dishonoring God and people. It’s like a frustrated husband who lashes out at his wife, yet says that he loves her because he provides her food, a home, a car, and clothes. The facts of his provision are true, but there is something ominous about the omission of love and respect in the tone of his defense. In this angry reaction, God is not glorified and self becomes the center of attention. Anger drives this type of response.

    It may be anger from the grumbling of ungrateful people; it may be anger at others whose capacity for work and activity does not meet your expectations; it may be anger for always having to be responsible for irresponsible people; it may be anger at oneself for not preparing others to do their own planning and implementation. Obeying God is more than going through the right motions. It is going through the right motions with an attitude that acknowledges Him as the source of provision and trust. Anger puts the self-control of the Holy Spirit into hibernation. We are tempted to get angry with others for their ingratitude, when our own lack of trust in God denies His grace. We get angry when we place too much on others and ourselves; anger limits us.

    However, appropriation of God’s grace infuses graciousness. His grace enables you to trust in the Almighty’s agenda. You can trust Him and rest in His provision, instead of rushing into angry reactions. You can get right results without being driven by anger. Ask God to replace your anger with His understanding. Submit to the control of the Holy Spirit. Your submission to your Savior positions you to walk in humility, not in pride. Those who do not live up to their expectations easily offend prideful people. Humble people, however, are patient and self-controlled. They are as concerned about the means as they are the ends. Unfortunately, at any given moment, anger can push humility out and replace it with pride. It is a Christ-less coup of the heart. You become too driven when you run over relationships. Praise God there is a remedy to anger-driven living.

    The remedy is living at a pace governed by grace. Living without margin pushes out grace and incubates anger. Therefore, create more time for people and prayer. Grace-filled living is more relational and less transactional. Relationally motivated people ask caring questions instead of engaging in angry accusations. Their obedience to God is motivated by their fear of God. This honors Him, which in turn extends love and respect to others. Once you leave your place of prayer, you are still to pray. You pray without ceasing and you ask the Holy Spirit to douse any flittering fires of anger that pride tries to ignite. Stop and discern the Spirit’s prompting to pause in prayer.

    Replace anger with peace and patience. The promised land of more opportunity awaits those whose complete trust in God is their motivation to obey Him. Pray as the Psalmist: “Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart” (Psalm 119:34).

    Taken from August 23th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today: Wisdom and patience lives at a pace governed by grace. #grace

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

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