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Tag Archives: Proverbs

  • Avoid the Angry

    Posted on June 23, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared. Proverbs 22:24-25

    Avoid the angry, and do not make friends with those easily angered. They are undependable and hard to get along with. You cannot predict what an angry person will do next. They may lie, lash out, sulk, blame, or even kill if their rage is left unchecked. The source of their anger may be as simple as not getting their way, or it may be a string of broken expectations all the way back to a wounded childhood. Your role is not to fix them or to be their therapist.

    However, the times you do have to associate with them can be an opportunity for you to model peace and calm. But be very careful; do not become like them. Their impatient ways may become your impatient ways. Their rude tendencies may become your rude tendencies. Their sarcasm may become your sarcasm. Their blowups may become your blowups. Yes, the angry can change, but real change will only occur as God heals their heart.

    Unless forgiveness penetrates an angry heart, it is destined to remain the same. Hard and stubborn is a heart driven by anger. Unless anger is gently unwound by grace and love, it may unleash its furor suddenly or may constantly simmer just beneath the surface. You may be the object of someone’s anger simply because you happen to be around them when they snap. They are a product of stuffed emotions.

    Some angry people are hard to avoid because you live with them. What now? You certainly pray for and with them. Pray earnestly for the angry person you live with to allow him or her to experience God’s love. The heavenly Father can squeeze out the venom of vengeance with His holy hugs. The love and acceptance of God can flush out foul language and faithless living. To be loved by God is to not remain angry, for the Lord’s love and anger cannot coexist. Unconditional love that is received melts the heart of anger.

    Be very careful to avoid business partnerships with the chronically angry. You will regret a relationship like that, and you will be angry with yourself for aligning with the angry. Even engaging with employees, vendors, and customers who are steeped in their anger is not healthy. God will provide more pleasant clients or staff. Cut loose those who linger, stew, and obsess over little things. It’s not worth it. They will never be satisfied with your service or your sincere encouragement.

    People driven by anger are never content; nothing you do will make them happy. Their anger may subside momentarily, but you will remain on pins and needles, waiting for them to erupt at any moment. In addition, angry children need to learn how to bring their hurts to their heavenly Father in prayer. Unprocessed hurt feelings will fester into anger. Help them to talk about why they have feelings of anger. What makes them mad at themselves? Unresolved anger is a time bomb waiting to explode.

    If you’re the one who’s angry, a safe environment to talk through your heated emotions is a great place to start on the path to peace. Channel your anger into proper passions that are sanctified by your Savior. Be angry at sin, while forgiving yourself and others. Avoid the angry, and release your own anger within to your heavenly Father above. Friendship with the angry creates angst with God. Friendship with the forgiven—and healed—promotes peace with God. Go with peace.

    Post/Tweet: Unless forgiveness penetrates an angry heart, it is destined to remain the same. #forgiveness

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


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

  • Wisdom Walk

    Posted on June 22, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm” (Proverbs 13:20).

    With whom do you walk (figuratively or literally) through life who offers you wisdom? Do you walk with your father or father-in-law, or mother or mother-in-law? When you walk with them are you slow to speak and quick to listen? Indeed, wisdom comes to those who listen more and talk less. Wisdom is a product of the people who pour into you.

    Your wisdom walk may be over the phone with a mentor who lives in another city or a neighbor across the street who, by God’s grace, has already raised God-fearing children. Look around you and learn from those wise ones the Lord has placed in your life. Pray for a “Paul” who can be your spiritual instructor. “Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church” (1 Corinthians 4:17).

    No one is ever too old or too wise to need a regular wisdom walk. Perhaps you take the time to walk with your spouse after dinner or a co-worker during the lunch hour. Vacations are ideal to walk with a wise family member. Walk while the brilliant sun arises or a majestic sunset kisses the horizon. A wisdom walk allows your soul to catch up with the hectic pace of your body. Indeed, walk with the wise, and you will grow wise.

    Talk about topics that are relevant to your season of life. Maybe it is insight into parenting a teenager, financial management, decision making, how to love and respect your spouse, books to read, or devotion to Christ. Ask your wise walkers what mistakes they made and how you can learn from them. Listen to their ideas, process them in prayer, and apply them to your life. Otherwise, unused wisdom becomes fodder for foolishness!

    Above all, have wisdom walks with almighty God. Unlike Adam and Eve, learn to live in the intimacy of the moment with your heavenly Father. “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8). Walk with Jesus, and you will become much the wiser. Keep Christ your closest companion.

    Prayer: Who are wise people in my life with whom I can enjoy regular wisdom walks? What does it look like for me to have wisdom walks with my heavenly Father?

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 8:7; Jeremiah 7:23; Luke 6:13–17; 1 Corinthians 15:33

    Post/Tweet: Wisdom comes to those who listen more and talk less. #wisdom

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


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

  • Clashing with Others

    Posted on June 17, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found..." Proverbs 10:12-13a (ESV)

    My husband and I often joke about what would have happened in our college-courting days if we had sent our profiles to an online match-making website. We are pretty sure that instead of pairing us, the computer screen would have blinked DO NOT DATE!! TOTALLY NOT COMPATIBLE!

    We're a lot like the two candlestick holders on the dresser in our bedroom. While both are crafted from solid brass with similar round bases, the rest of each holder couldn't be more different.

    One is straight and streamlined, more functional than fancy. That candlestick holder has tall, strong lines. The second is designed with a touch of flair. It has two strands of brass that whirl and swirl from top to bottom in a "look at me" manner.

    I found the candlesticks at different yard sales. While their styles aren't the same, somehow this eclectic pair is an interesting match. And more importantly, they're a visual reminder to my husband and me of our marriage.

    My husband is the first candlestick. No frills. Straight-forward. Only about function. I am the second one. Crazy. All over the map. All about fun. While we both are "forged from brass" in that we are followers of Christ with the same spiritual foundation, pair our opposite-ends-of-the-spectrum personalities together and disaster could ensue.

    Beyond the normal male/female differences, we have a lot in our personalities that cause friction and sometimes (mostly from me) snapping and harsh words.

    Mismatched personalities in marriage, parenting or in work or friendship situations, can cause frustration, anger and at times, wounded feelings.

    Someone who is not wired as we are, does not think like we do and who makes decisions and carries out actions we would never dream of, can rub us the wrong way. It causes our feathers to ruffle and not-so-nice thoughts enter our brains.

    Usually, if dealing with a non-family member, we manage to keep our composure and tame our tongues to avoid saying anything we might regret. With our children or spouses however, sometimes we open the floodgates and spew cutting comments, nasty words, criticisms and awful accusations. My husband and I call it "throwing flesh balls." At that point, we no longer "walk by the Spirit" but "gratify the desires of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16 NIV).

    If I allow it, my flesh likes to be satisfied and nothing satisfies it more than a good ol' verbal assault on my thinks-and-acts-so-differently-from-me husband.

    There's a different way God calls me to respond though. Proverbs 10:12-13a provides direction for how we should handle conflicts that arise from trying to mesh two differing personality types. "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found ..." (ESV).

    Love is key to wise responses in a relationship. Because we love God, and others, we should seek to understand when we clash. And ask God for wisdom when we don't understand. We should love intentionally. Not necessarily in an "ushy-gushy, touchy-feely" way, but in an "I am going to choose to react gently and behave kindly because that is what God is asking me to do" sort of way.

    Cementing this thinking in our minds will help us to respond with God's love and biblical truth. Especially when faced with someone who thinks and acts differently than us.

    Will you join me in purposing to stop stirring up strife when it comes to someone in your life? And to choose to love and understand them? Especially when they are oil while you are water. Yes, even your spouse.

    Dear Lord, grant me the ability to speak kindly, respond gently and at times, to hold my tongue. I want my actions and reactions to please and reflect You and Your love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    The NIV Real Life Devotional Bible for Women with devotions by the Proverbs 31 team.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What is the driving force behind your words when you spew anger? Wanting to be right or to be heard? Anger, selfishness, or pride? Take time to formulate a loving, understanding, and godly reaction for the next time you clash with someone.

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 15:1, "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (ESV)

    John 13:34-35, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Karen Ehman. 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 Proverbs

  • Friendly Makes Friends

    Posted on June 12, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24, NKJV

    A friendly person is fun to be around. They are upbeat and look for the best in those they meet. Yes, friendly can come on too strong, but those with relational understanding are sensitive to not go too far too fast. Indeed, a friendly person makes you feel at ease and gives you unspoken permission to be yourself. You feel safe to share your feelings with those who feel what you feel. Friendliness adds emotional energy to the conversation and encouragement to the heart.

    Furthermore, your friendly spirit qualifies you to make friends. Friends want to be around friends who have the capacity to listen and love. Are you the giver or taker in your friendships? How can you be intentional to invest in those the Lord has put in your life? Perhaps you pray by name for the children of your friends or keep their children, so the parents can enjoy a 24 hour respite. Friendly takes the risk to make friends and follows with steps to retain friends. Friends care!

    An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends. Proverbs 18:1

    A bond of trust and loyalty grows between two friends who try to out serve each other. However, if giving only goes one way,  over time the giver may grow weary in their solo service. Perhaps your Heavenly Father is calling you to fewer, more fulfilling friendships. He wants you to ratchet back your relationships to a manageable number. Who needs you to go deeper in this season of friendship? Pray for your friend and be emotionally available to enter into their world.

    Most importantly, lock arms with the Lord Jesus in your growing friendship with Him. Your maturing friendship with Christ will develop your capacity to love and care for your friends. Friendship with deity brings reality to relationships on earth. Ask your friend to bow and pray with you to your mutual friend Jesus. Friends who pray together replace conflict with resolution and anger with joy. Confidants can be closer than blood relatives through the blood of Jesus!

    A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:7

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray Your Spirit will grow a spirit of friendliness in my heart.

    Related Readings: Exodus 33:11; Psalm 109:4; Proverbs 12:26; Acts 19:31, 24:23; 3 John 1:1

    Post/Tweet today: We feel safe to share our feelings with those who feel what we feel. #feelings

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


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

  • Don't Kick the Anthill

    Posted on June 6, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception." Proverbs 14:8 (NIV)

    I stood at the dirt mound watching ants. They were busy. I was not.

    The afternoon had been slow for me. Several of my friends had been invited to the community pool. Another friend was at camp for the week. Even my last resort, the pigtailed aggravation that lived in the apartment below, was busy. "She's napping," her mom had informed me.

    I walked away thinking, She's six years old. Only two years younger than me and she still takes naps? That's the awfullest thing a mom could do to her child. And this is the awfullest afternoon ever.

    I sat on the swing of the little playground behind our apartment complex. I scuffed the toes of my red sneakers, making lines in the dirt as I moved slowly back and forth. If a child could have died from boredom, I felt quite terminal at that moment.

    Then I spotted the anthill.

    I walked over and stood there. Just about the time I was thinking about how lucky all those ants were to have so many friends, I heard a scratchy little voice call out to me.

    "I bet you won't stick your foot through that anthill." Pigtail girl had woken up from her afternoon slumber. And for heaven's sake I would not, could not, be shamed by a girl who still took naps.

    I knew in my mind I shouldn't kick the anthill. I knew in my heart I shouldn't kick the anthill. And I knew deep down in my soul I shouldn't kick the anthill. Every part of me knew I should walk away from the anthill.

    But some silly part of my mouth betrayed me.

    "Yes I will!" I declared as I kicked my foot into the middle of ant Hades.

    It didn't take long to feel as if someone had lit 1,000 needles on fire and stabbed me mercilessly.

    Since that day I haven't kicked an anthill. At least not in the literal sense.

    But I have gotten myself into situations where I invited trouble into my life that just didn't need to be there. Especially in the area of saying yes to something I absolutely should say no to.

    I will know in my mind I should say no. I will know in my heart I should say no. I will know deep down in my soul I should say no.

    But then my mouth will betray me, "Yes, of course I will do that."

    And then?

    The sting of the three D's comes ...

    Dread — As I write yet another thing on my schedule, I feel the weight of overload.

    Disappointment — In order to make this happen, I will disappoint someone.

    Drama — Dread and disappointment will ratchet my emotions to a tipping point. A tipping point that's not healthy for me or those with whom I do life.

    Here's what I'm trying to preach to myself: Just because I can do something doesn't mean I should do it.

    I kicked the anthill that day for three reasons ... I thought it proved I was something. I thought it would impress nap girl. And I didn't think through the cost beforehand.

    Proverbs 14:8 says, "The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways." As a little girl on the playground, I was neither wise nor prudent. Thankfully I know now that God's wisdom is readily available.

    I've learned that if I pause before making an impulsive choice, and ask God what to do, He will answer. In fact, He's given me some questions to ask myself that help me determine whether something is an assignment from Him or an anthill that will get me into trouble.

    Before saying yes to one more thing on my schedule, I ask myself:

    Am I trying to prove something?

    Am I trying to impress someone?

    Have I thought through the cost of saying yes?

    It's not bad to say yes to opportunities. But we really should give thought to our ways and consider whether this is an assignment or an anthill.

    Take the assignment if it's yours. But don't kick the anthills.

    Dear Lord, I'm asking for Your guidance as I discern assignments from anthills. Thank You for Your direction. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    For more daily encouragement, visit our Facebook page.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Write down the three questions above. Then, the next time you're tempted to add something to your calendar, process your decision through those questions.

    Power Verse:
    Isaiah 30:21, "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'" (NIV)

    © 2013 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 Proverbs

  • The Prescription Everyone Needs

    Posted on May 24, 2013 by Lynn Cowell

    Lynn Cowell

    "My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye." Proverbs 7:1-2 (NIV)

    Constantly churning and aching, the pain in my daughter's stomach just wouldn't go away. From the time she was small she complained, but her doctor didn't seem to have a permanent solution.

    After years of discomfort and searching for answers, we finally found a doctor who was able to pinpoint the problem: my daughter's body was sensitive to the foods she was eating. Even though her friends could eat anything, she couldn't correctly process common, everyday items. Sadly, what she was taking in and storing in her system was working against her, instead of working for her.

    Based on the doctor's advice, my daughter completely changed the foods she eats. But that wasn't enough to maintain a pain-free body. She also was prescribed supplements to her diet daily. These build up a storehouse of helpful nutrients that keep my daughter's body healthy and whole. She's a new girl!

    Like the daily supplements my daughter takes to build her up on the inside, the Bible tells us to do the same with God's Word. Proverbs 7:1 instructs us to "... keep my words and store up my commands within you."

    One of the meanings for the word "commands" in the original Hebrew language is "prescription." My daughter needed a prescription of supplements; often we need one as well. Our hearts and minds have messages and thoughts coursing through them that have the potential to harm. These untrue messages are working against us, and we need God's Word as the healing prescription.

    Here are just a few of His prescriptions that bring healing to me:

    For low self-worth: Take Psalm 45:11, You are enthralling to Me!

    For rejection: You are Mine, two times a day (Song of Solomon 6:3).

    A messy life: You are perfect to Me, at breakfast, lunch and dinner (Song of Solomon 4:7).

    When we store up God's commands and truths within us, we can access them quickly to take and combat ailments. He encourages us to not simply apply them like a quick ointment to a wound, but to "keep" His words. Cling to them and be secured by them.

    Proverbs 7:2 contains the benefit to keeping God's words and storing up His commands within us. "Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye." God promises that as we cling to and are secured by His Word, we will live. He will make us alive - preserve, refresh and rebuild our soul. I love how one of my study Bibles puts it: "Man gains life from God's words. Life is completely related to the Word of God" (Old Testament Lexical Aid Hebrew-Greek Bible).

    Not only does God's Word heal today, it can prevent future ailments. His truth is our daily supplement, building us up so we can stand strong against those things that come to attack our mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.

    Whether you need healing or preventive measures, be intentional today to take God's Word as your prescription and store it deep within your heart.

    Dear Lord, I am making a choice today to take Your prescription; giving my heart and body exactly what I need for my well-being today. Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Help a teen girl in your life learn to keep and store up God's Word every day with Lynn Cowell's book Devotions for a Revolutionary Year - 365 Days of Jesus' Radical Love for You.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    What ailment is your heart struggling with today?

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 4:20-21, "My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight; keep them within your heart." (NIV)

    Proverbs 2:1, 5, "My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you ... then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lynn Cowell. 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 Proverbs

  • Worth the Effort

    Posted on May 14, 2013 by Lynn Cowell

    Lynn Cowell

    "The purposes of a person's heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out." Proverbs 20:5 (NIV)

    There are two kinds of young women who live in my house. One speaks her mind freely; you don't have to guess where she stands or how she feels. The other is more reserved, holding her emotions and words in check.

    Neither one is right or wrong. Both are deep thinkers and deep feelers. Yet my girls couldn't be more different when it comes to how their thoughts and emotions are expressed. With one, I have a sense of her constant pulse as she daily shares her joys and struggles. With the other ... well, as my mother used to say about my father, "Still waters run deep."

    The writer of Proverbs 20:5 encourages us to make the effort to "draw out" people. As I have found with my daughter, there is much beauty and young wisdom in the deep well of her heart. And while it takes extra work to tap into that low-lying spring, it is often rewarded.

    In a culture where our conversations are often capped at 140 characters on Twitter or summed up in 2-3 sentences on Facebook or text messaging, real conversation may be in jeopardy. The days of front porches and Sunday dinners seem to be all but gone. Yet God's Word tells us a person's heart is deep waters-not something simple and concise that can be summed up short and sweet.

    Whether it is with our daughters, neighbors or girlfriends, we need unhurried moments to draw from each other's hearts. We need time to listen to the wisdom and work God is accomplishing in another's life. These types of conversations usually don't develop in a quick greeting of "How are you?" as we're moving from one task to another. But more often, they are in the intentional moments when we purpose to listen.

    In the original Hebrew language of the Old Testament, "purposes" in this verse means advice, counsel, and plans. Many times, when we take time to listen, we can discover plans our friend has tucked away in her heart. Sometimes it will mean realizing her hidden hope of visiting prisoners and sharing the Gospel with them. Or you might discover your child is reading the Bible on her own as she shares a verse she found.

    Drawing out others or engaging in purposeful conversation also helps us gain insight, wisdom, hope and encouragement when we listen to all God is doing in their heart. We can receive advice and counsel simply by listening to one of His children.

    Stop right now and look at your calendar. Pick a time—tonight, tomorrow or this weekend, and invite someone dear to you to spend time together. Whether it is your daughter whose life spins in and out of your home, or that girlfriend you haven't had coffee with in months, be intentional. Send her a text, give her a call, just make sure to make time. And to listen to the deep waters of her heart.

    Jesus, help me to slow down today, and listen. I need to be present in the present and intentional in investing in others by listening. Make me one who draws others out. Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Help a teen girl in your life learn to fill that deep well in her heart with Lynn's book Devotions for a Revolutionary Year - 365 Days of Jesus' Radical Love for You.

    Follow us on Facebook.

    Reflect and Respond:
    When was the last time you had a heart-to-heart with someone you love? How can you be more purposeful and make this a habit?

    Think back to a time someone asked you to share what God was doing in your life. How did that make you feel? Excited, joyful, loved?

    Power Verse:
    Proverbs 18:4, "The words of the mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lynn Cowell. 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 Proverbs

  • The Boomerang of Blessing

    Posted on April 15, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed." Proverbs11:25 (NLT)

    I tried my best to smile for the camera in the grocery store. Tears welled up in my eyes and cascaded down my cheeks, dragging my mascara along for the ride. I had one toddler on my hip and a baby on the way, a pressing concern when our only income was from my husband who was paid straight commission. Some weeks he earned money; others brought no paycheck at all.

    That day in the store, my budget was so tight my dollars squeaked! As a result, I had to remove a few items from the conveyer belt as I watched the total mount. As I paid for my order, the cashier handed me a scratch-off card from the store's current promotion. Customers could get money off of their order by matching dollar amounts revealed on the card.

    I used a dime to rub away the shiny silver coating, revealing a $10 match! Smiling, I handed the clerk the card and asked for the "can't afford them" items back. "Sure!" she replied. "Now, do you want to use the remainder of your prize today or on another trip?"

    My puzzled look must have clued her in. "What?" I questioned. She then showed me I'd actually won $100! A manager quickly snapped my picture to display alongside the other smiling winners on the store's wall. Only in my photo, my smile was saturated with grateful mascara-smudged tears.

    During those lean days God always took care of us, often through generous people in our lives: groceries left anonymously on our porch, cash in an envelope tucked under our windshield after church, and hand-me-down clothes from an acquaintance who wanted to share her children's outgrown clothes.

    We learned to live frugally during that time, and yet God also challenged us to give. As we did, we found ourselves blessed. Sometimes monetarily. Always spiritually.

    Nowadays, although at times our family experiences layoffs due to the nature of my husband's employment, we are in a place where we can more consistently be the "bless-er" and not just the ones being blessed. What a thrill it is to treat, secretly pay, or stealthily provide as we ourselves become spiritually blessed and ultimately God—the giver of all things—is glorified. As Proverbs 11:25 states, "The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed" (NLT).

    Will you willingly contribute to God's work and also to others, refreshing them as God also refreshes you? What we have—both our money and possessions—all belongs to God. When we give, we receive. The boomerang of blessing comes right back around.

    How might you seek to display generosity toward someone today? You just might make their day. Or perhaps, even make their mascara run.

    Dear Lord, teach me to treat all I have as Yours. May I give willingly and cheerfully as I seek to be a blessing to those in my life who might need a helping hand. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    If you want to learn to increase your faith and trust in God, check out Karen's new book and DVD curriculum LET. IT. GO. How to Stop Running the Show & Start Walking in Faith.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Name a time when you were blessed by someone's generosity, whether in person or anonymously. How did it make you feel to be the recipient of their kindness?

    Do you know someone who is currently in financial need? Bless them this week with either money or needed items.

    Power Verses:
    2 Corinthians 9:7, "Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver." (HCSB)

    Matthew 6:3-4, "But when you give to the poor, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." (HCSB)

    © 2013 by Karen Ehman. 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 Proverbs

  • Power Creates Pretense

    Posted on April 12, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Many curry favor with a ruler, and everyone is the friend of a man who gives gifts.” Proverbs 19:6

     

    Do you act differently when you are in the presence of power? Are you able to be yourself and not become pretentious because of someone’s position? Leaders need people around them who will tell them what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. If you are intimidated or awestruck by wealth and stature,  you will tend not to tell the truth for fear of rejection or punishment. Bold believers bow down to no one but the Lord God.

     

    Fake followers of Jesus are in it for what others can do for them. Faith is replaced with favors. Receiving is valued over giving; self-service is sought  over sacrifice. Casual Christianity is an affront to Almighty God, because it creates an inauthentic culture. If there is no confrontation or hard discussion, then life is being lived in a bubble of denial and disillusionment. Someone needs to speak up and be real.

     

    Leaders can preclude pretense by deflecting any air of superiority. Your transparency over loss and disappointment gives the team permission to express their anxieties. Take  time to confess your struggles and inability to trust Christ at times. People in positions of influence have an obligation to invite honest evaluation. When was the last time you asked your family or team how you can serve them? What disappoints them?

     

    Lastly, are you willing to lose a friend for the sake of being real? Genuine grace-filled followers of God are like gold. They are valuable, and wise leaders seek to retain them for their honesty and no-nonsense counsel. Do I have secure people around me who will tell me the truth? Do I honor honesty and appreciate authenticity? Loyalty longs to be around a friend who only seeks favor from the Lord Jesus Christ.

     

    “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father help me to stay true to You and myself in the presence of power.

    Related Readings: 1 Kings 14:6; Jeremiah 3:10; Philippians 2:20; 1 Peter 1:7

     

    Post/Tweet today: We need people around us who will tell us what we need to hear, not what we want to hear. #accountability

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

     

     


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

  • Building Your Child's Faith

    Posted on April 12, 2013 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy Blight

    "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6 (NIV 1984)

    As we stood in the parking lot outside my daughter's dorm, waves of grief washed over me. Lauren hugged her daddy and then her brother. Finally, I held her for what seemed an eternity ... no words, just tears.

    When we began the drive home, I prayed for her, just as I had every day for the last 18 years. I knew it was time for the next phase of God's plan for her life. But the ache in my heart was deep.

    As time passed, I learned to accept, and even embrace, our new normal. I enjoyed the extra time I got to spend with my husband and son.

    But I couldn't get used to not encouraging Lauren in her faith face-to-face. We sent her to college with a Bible and a devotional book. But when she lived at home, we did these activities together. In the mornings, we read a devotion and I prayed with her most every day, from the time she was born till the day she packed her bags to move out.

    Questions filled my mind. Without me, who would do this for her? Would she do it on her own? What if she turned away from her faith we'd been building for so long?

    My questions prompted me to pray very specifically. I prayed for Lauren to make her faith her own, as I'd been training her to do all these years. I asked the Lord to work in her life in very real and personal ways, just like the times I'd pointed out for her to notice in her childhood. I prayed for His Spirit to stir her heart to read her devotional book each day, and I pleaded with Him to meet her in the pages of His Word.

    God answered my prayers in a way only He can do. Lauren had been studying for her economics exam for days. She was worried she would fail because she'd been struggling with some of the concepts. My daughter texted me and a few good friends to pray. I wrote her back my prayer and a verse the Lord laid on my heart, Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths" (ESV). As it was sending, I prayed for Him to use this verse to encourage her and give her confidence as she walked into her exam.

    I woke up the next morning to find this text from my girl:

    "I opened my devotional and today's truth was Proverbs 3:5, exactly the verse you gave me!! ENCOURAGEMENT."

    God taught me such a powerful lesson that morning. My role as a parent is to pray for and with my children and to model, to the best of my ability, what it means to be a godly woman. I was not perfect and often missed the mark. But when we do those two things, God fills in the rest. I only have them at home to teach, guide and train in God's Word for a short 18 years. But they are His for all their lives.

    God showed me through a few minutes of texting that Lauren's faith was still building. On her own, she asked for prayer (which meant she too was praying), and she was reading her devotional book with no prompting from home.

    If you have kids at home, pray for them, read God's Word with them and rest in knowing God is with them. You are building a firm foundation. You are paving a pathway that will lead them in the direction they should go.

    Dear Lord, help me to train my children in the way they should go. Through the power of Your Holy Spirit, lead me as I lead them. Draw each of us closer to You as we walk together in faith. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    Read Lamentations 2:19. Prayerfully ask the Lord how you can pray for the children in your life.

    If you are a parent or grandparent, pray specifically for one of your children. Ask God for wisdom to guide you on how to pray and share with that child you are praying for him or her.

    Power Verse:
    Lamentations 2:19a, "Rise up during the night and cry out. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to him in prayer, pleading for your children." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Wendy Blight. 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 Proverbs, Children

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