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Tag Archives: Psalm

  • Busy for God

    Posted on October 30, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:40-42

     

    Busyness can breed a bad attitude. It creates an expectation that everyone should be involved in hyper activity for the Lord.
    Unfortunately, what started out as sincere service for Jesus becomes a demanding spirit cloaked in spiritual slogans. The graceless pace of a busy person is worried and upset at God that more people don’t have their same sense of urgency. Because busyness has no mental, emotional or spiritual margin it misses the Lord’s bigger priority of prayer. It’s tired. 

    It is not what we do for God that matters most—what matters most is what God does through us. If we lunge through life we hit and miss finding Jesus, but if we sit at His feet with patient expectations we can hear His voice. Desperation is required around our being not our doing. Christ doesn’t call us to neglect our health, our family and our friends in the name of good activities. Thus, we discover God’s best if we slow down and add excess margin to our schedule.

    “The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” Psalm 119:130

    Indeed, you will have seasons of stress, but not to the point of chronic anger. Adversity is your opportunity to engage in a deeper level of intimacy with the Lord and your loved ones. People are not the problem—problem solving begins by looking in the mirror. You may have to make the choice to modify your calendar. By faith postpone or cancel important, but unnecessary engagements. If you plan not to attend, the Spirit will direct someone else to stand in the gap. All are blessed!

    Therefore, abandon yourself first to Christ and He will lead you into His works of service. It is much better to go deeper with a few whom you really get to know and who really get to know you, than to spend your life not knowing anyone and being known by no one. Truly knowing God begins with being with Jesus. Once you sit at His feet, you are able to look up to His face. Be still and His Spirit will fill you with wisdom and peace. Yes, grace travels at a sustainable pace!

    “God looks down from heaven on all mankind?to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.” Psalm 53:2

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, protect me from busyness and lead me into a pace filled with grace.

    Related Readings: 2 Chronicles 15:2; Psalm 27:4, 100:3; Philippians 3:13-14; 2 Peter 3:8-9

    Post/Tweet: Busyness breeds bad expectations, but grace travels at a sustainable pace. #grace

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry


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

  • Wait for Gods Answer

    Posted on October 28, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    I wait for you, O Lord; you will answer, O Lord my God. Psalm 38:15

     

    God’s answer is not always immediate. Our heavenly Father may not be forthcoming in His answer to prayer. We wait in our pain, and there seems to be no relief. We wait in our confusion, and our circumstances seem to become more complicated. We wait for wisdom on how to harness our child’s energy for God, and we find ourselves wanting. Their rebellion seems to compound as they distance themselves from Christ. We wait and wonder what we need to do at work. Indeed, answers from the Almighty may be absent for now, but the faithful wait. We wait for God’s answer because He is the source of our sanity and our security. His goal is to give us everything we need in His timing and in His way. He is not without compassion. He cares immensely by answering our prayers and giving creative solutions to our questions. Pray to Him. 

    We commit ourselves to Christ because we know He judges righteously. He can be trusted. He is not withholding His answer for His pleasure. In fact, He may have already answered and we have avoided hearing Him. Our activity can be a roadblock to hearing God. You may need to slow down and stop trying to fix the faults of others. Instead, slow down and be with your Savior. Seek His face and fear Him. Seek the Lord and love Him. It is in the quantity time of being with Jesus that we learn how to invest quality time in doing for Jesus. His answers may not come instantly, but they come over time. They come when we are ready to listen to His wisdom and apply it to our life. God doesn’t speak freely to those He can’t trust. But to the trustworthy He pours out His truth. Those who steward truth well are candidates to receive more insight into God’s ways.

    Our patience allows God to possess our soul. Hope in the Almighty’s intervention and the power of prayer are what bring peace to a soul plagued by pain. It is in our adversity that the voice of the Almighty is near and clear. We just need to listen, really listen. The earwax of anger may be blocking the hearing canals of our heart. The water of worry may stop up our soul’s capacity to hear Christ. The pain that racks our body may be distracting us from discerning the Lord’s instruction. Whatever may be blocking our communication with Christ we need to give over to Him. We can trust Him, so wait and listen to Him.

    Do not settle for anything less than the Almighty’s answer. Look for the Lord’s leading in His word and among godly counsel. You will find the richest solace in waiting for His wisdom. Why settle for the scraps of a quick solution when you can have the gold of God’s solid strategy? Take your team and/or family through a process of discovering God’s game plan. It takes more time and trust, but it bears the fruit of God’s best. Christ’s answer is often compelling and creative. Rest in the refuge of His omniscience. Do not allow your soul to be tossed back and forth while you anxiously await an answer. Use this time of waiting to grow in your understanding of God. His answer is really worth the wait. Don’t run ahead impatiently. He works while we wait. He expands our faith while we wait. Listen intently, discern, and obey. Obedience unleashes answers. Obedience leads to opportunities. Stay faithful and patient. The Almighty will answer.

    Taken from Reading #27 in the 90-day devotional book, “Seeking God in the Psalms”…  http://bit.ly/InvUdR

    Post/Tweet this today: We wait for God’s answer for He is the source of sanity and security. #wait

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry

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

  • Dealing With Disappointment

    Posted on October 24, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.” Isaiah 49:23

     

    Everyone deals with disappointment—some more than others. These let downs vary in scope: another year of no raises at work, a friend’s forgetfulness, a lost opportunity, a teenager’s poor choices, a missed deadline, a relative’s financial woes, a boss’s oversight, an injured body or unexpected dental work. In this world troubles abound, but in Christ His peace is profound. Yes, disappointment is a fact that forces us to make appointments with Jesus. He doesn’t disappoint.

    Moreover, disappointments left unattended lead to disobedience. The hole in our heart is meant to grow our dependency on God. He brings wholeness and holiness to a lacerated soul. The Lord heals hurt feelings when we offer forgiveness. Yes, disappointment feeds selfishness when we don’t get our way. So be wise, if your frustration replaces your faith you can lose patience and respect. Allow your trust in Jesus to trump testy relationships. Adjust your expectations to His concerns.

    “My soul, wait silently for God alone,?For my expectation is from Him.” Psalm 62:5, NKJV 

    Appointments with God help us to deal with disappointment. He gives us rest when we are restless. He gives us calm when there is calamity. He gives us peace when there is chaos. He gives us trust when there is distrust. But how do we respond to those who disappoint us? We see them as our Heavenly Father sees them—sheep in need of a shepherd. Friends falter, so will we judge them from a distance or love them up close and personal? Disappointment is cause to care.

    What is your greatest disappointment? Is it you? Have you appropriated God’s forgiveness and have you forgiven yourself in Christ? Regret is like a large rock on your chest—it is a burden you are not meant to bear. By God’s grace open up to a trusted friend about your past embarrassments—even shameful behavior. Let another’s love cover your disappointment in yourself like a warm blanket on an exposed body. By faith, accept your Savior’s acceptance.

    “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, take my disappointments and grow my love and obedience to You.

    Related Readings: Job 6:20; Psalm 5:3, 22:5; John 6:60-71; 2 Corinthians 8:5; James 1:6-8

    Post/Tweet: In this world troubles abound, but in Christ His peace is profound. #peace

    Download the free Wisdom Hunters app… http://bit.ly/OVrYb9


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Psalm, Galatians, Isaiah, Disappointment

  • In His Own Words - a conversation with Michael Vick

    Posted on October 23, 2012 by John van der Veen

    With his new autobiography Finally Free Michael Vick opens up about his past, controversy and a brighter future ahead. We caught up recently to meet a little bit of the man behind the cleats.

    Family Christian: Michael, can you start by giving us a synopsis of your childhood?

    Michael Vick: My childhood consisted of pretty much a little bit of everything. Almost like any other kid. A lot of ups and downs. Situations that occurred – where you have to think through. Some you do, some you don’t. [I got] a lot of spankings, a lot of learning, and a lot of football games that I played at a young age. A lot of trophies and relationships that I was able to build.

    As a kid, I always set my sights on doing the right thing. [My goal was to] make my mom proud. Before I did anything, I always thought about her.

    FC: As you look back at your childhood, would you it was a good one?

    Michael: Yeah. Looking back at my childhood, I would say that I had great childhood. You know a lot of things that I went through shaped and molded me into the person that I was. Growing up into a young man there were times that it was tough. My mom and dad faced difficulties that reflected on us as kids. We managed to keep the faith and pull it through. My mom was the rock of our family. Her faith is through the roof… like out of this world. Even when we were going through trying times, she was always somewhere praying. Even talking to her now, she is always telling me that God has answered so many of her prayers… prayers that He answered while I was in prison.

    FC: Fast forward from your childhood, you obviously at some point started getting an interest in football. Was that something that was born instinctively within you or was that as a result of family members or people in your neighborhood? How did you start experiencing the desire for football, then recognizing your own talent?

    Michael: When I was six years old, my grandmother was a Washington Redskins fan. She always watched the Redskins on Sundays. So I used to sit and watch the games with her. Then I would go outside and play the same type of football with my friends. Even though we didn’t have pads on, we still played aggressive-style football. I tried to emulate everything that I had seen on TV. Which, I think, [plays] into the player that I have become. That and [eventually] a lot of coaching and great people [who came] into my life. When I was younger, I thought it was one of the best games ever created.

    FC: You obviously played it in high school, as well as college. Did you have a good time playing football in college? Was it that a good experience for you?

    Michael: Yes. College football was a great experience, because I knew I was one step away from a accomplishing my lifetime goal; making in to the NFL. When I played, I had so much confidence, belief in myself and a higher power, I was able to just enjoy it. I wasn’t out worrying about having great stats. So putting up tremendous numbers just kind of happened. And I think because I enjoyed it so much was the reason why I was able to go number 1. Because I had a great time playing football.

    FC: You then signed with the Atlanta Falcons and had a great career with them – about 5 years. What were some of the highlights that you had with being with them?

    Michael: Some of my greatest highlights were from the playoff game against Green Bay. Beating them for the first time, when they had never lost a playoff game. Obviously playing in an NFC Championship game in which I took them to 2004, which was a great milestone for me at such a young age in my career.

    All of the relationships that I was able to make – Roddy White, Michael Jenkins, Jim Mora, who was a great coach. Dan Reeves. The people that I was able to meet while I was there. Anybody that I left out – they know who they are. Just a lot of great people. More than anything, I still have those relationships.

    FC: And then it all came crashing down in 2007.

    Michael: Yeah.

    FC: Are you okay talking a bit about that time?

    Michael and Tony Dungy

    Michael: It’s okay. In 2007, I was convicted of a crime that I was involved in. And everything kind of came crashing down. I lost everything. I was put into prison. I didn’t have any money. My family didn’t have any money.

    All I could do was depend on God, my Higher Power – and to keep

    the faith. My faith was through the roof. I just felt like something was going to happen. Especially while I was praying. That’s when I grew closer to God, and the things that I needed the most. [To move] away from disobedience.

    FC: So is that when you met Tony Dungy?

    Michael: I met Coach Dungy one time in 2005. But [it was] really when he came out to visit me during my prison sentence [that we got to know each other]. We just sat and talked for a long time. Shared a lot of life experiences together. He just told me that he believed in me. He told me that my future was bright. I may not be able to see it, but that he had faith in me. That’s where we made that connection. I do appreciate Coach Dungy so much to this day.

    FC: Michael, where was God in all of your life up to that point? In your childhood, you talked about…

    Michael: He was always there.

    FC: He was always there.

    Michael: I always knew that I had to have a form of obedience, a form of belief in God and the Holy Spirit. When I was in high school, I slept with the Bible under my pillow, I talked about that in my book – because I believed that the only way that I could get there with all the adversity and controversy that I was facing then as a black quarterback… that I needed to do something different. I felt like I just had to have a great deal of faith. A great deal of understanding and to comprehend by doing the right things.

    During all that – the only answer I could come up with was “put my faith in God.” Still to this day, I find myself doing it. I did it this morning. I am doing it right now. I’ll be doing it Sunday before the game. So on and so forth for the rest of my life.

    Michael ministers to people in prison.

    FC: Is there a particular Scripture that you have in mind that continually comes back to you? That you find a lot of encouragement from?

    Michael: Psalms 23. You know Scripture.. Everyone pretty much knows there is so much merit to it. It gives you confidence, plus it gives you strength. It gives you faith in yourself. Belief in yourself. And whatever you are about to endure, you can always walk through it with confidence if you read that Scripture before it. Off the top of your head, you can just rehearse it in your mind. It puts you in a different mindset.

    FC: As you look over your life, your past and your present, and obviously on into the future, without stating the obvious Michael, you are a famous person. There are thousands, if not millions of kids and adults that certainly look to you, some with a critical eye and some with fondness. What do you hope that people would know about Michael Vick above everything else?

    Michael: I want people to know that I was true to my faith and that I was true to myself. When things weren’t going so well, I acknowledged it, and I accepted it. I believe that change can come and that it happened. I couldn’t have done it without God... and I’ve got to give all the glory and thanks to Him.

    So I just hope that everybody sees that I am changed person. That it’s my faith that really got me through it. It was me believing that something was really going to happen. For that next day. Or the next day. Or the next day. Whether it was just me changing my mindset, or life was changing, or my financial situation changing. My living situation. Or the situation with my family. It all came to fruition – and it was all because of my faith.

    FC: What do you think of the upcoming season?

    Michael: I’m excited about the upcoming season. I think it will be one that we will all remember. I have been doing a lot of work and preparation. I believe in myself. I believe in my team. And I know that we can kick this off.


    This post was posted in Books, Interviews and was tagged with Featured, Psalm, Michael Vick, Tony Dungy, Football, Prison

  • Enjoy Great Peace

    Posted on October 21, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. Psalm 37:11

     

    Meekness is a bridge to blessing. It is an attitude God honors with the enjoyment of His great peace. Meekness meanders, moving in and out of the halls of heaven. It sets us up to be served by our Savior. Meekness is the manner by which our Master can move us forward in His will. Our meekness transports us toward absolute surrender and obedience to God. It is the meek who tend to trust God. It is the meek who most want to faithfully follow Jesus. Indeed, meekness is most like Jesus. Jesus said of Himself, “I am meek…” (Matthew 11:29, KJV). It is here, with meek Jesus, that we find rest for our souls. However, meek does not mean we are weak; on the contrary, we are strong in our Savior.

    Meekness is a conduit for what Christ has for us. He has an inheritance for His children. What is His is ours. He owns the land and all that is within its expanse. We see His quiet white clouds cover the mountaintops like soft sheets. As the sun rises, its warmth pulls back the submissive sheets of cloud cover and introduces us to the day. He has given us His earth for our great enjoyment. It is on the side of the green mountain of His creation that we sit quietly and contemplate Christ. His peace prods our pride to be still and know Him. He hushes our hurried spirit to be silent before Providence. A silent tongue often exhibits a wise head and a holy heart. We have His earth to enjoy now and to inherit in eternity. The meek understand this priceless privilege. They enjoy great peace. 

    Even as we suffer, we topple tribulations with trust in Jesus while we rest in His great peace. Christ’s consolations carry us along the way. His peace is a platform for His faithfulness to perform. As if watching an engaging drama on stage or in film, we wait until the end for the plot to fully unfold. If we jump to conclusions or draw premature assumptions, we may get caught up in bad beliefs or false fears. So life is a stage where God’s great drama plays out. We are not to fret over what seems to be fearful or a forgone conclusion. God’s plot is still unfolding by faith. His will is being revealed. His cast of characters is still in development. While His plot thickens, we trust. Until the end, enjoy His great peace.

    We may not have an abundance of stuff, but we have great peace. It is better to do stuff with our Savior than to have stuff without Him. He is our wisdom when we face complex circumstances. He is the one to whom we cling during a crisis. We silence our murmuring so that we can be silent before Him. It is in silence before our Savior that His great peace saturates our soul. It engulfs our edginess with eternal assurance. On earth we may seem deprived of some things from an  enjoyment aspect. But, there is coming a day where this accursed earth will be no more, and we will enjoy the benefits of His new earth without sin, sickness, or sorrow. We will inherit the land of our Lord. In the meantime, go to God for His great peace. Like a river of love, it attends to our soul with soothing security and peace. Enjoy God’s great peace in Christ. Fret not, but have faith in Him. He seeks the meek.

    Taken from Reading #26 in the 90-day devotional book, “Seeking God in the Psalms”…  http://bit.ly/InvUdR

    Post/Tweet this today: Even as we suffer, we topple tribulations with trust in Jesus. #trust

    Download the free Wisdom Hunters app… http://bit.ly/OVrYb9


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

  • Profitable Patience

    Posted on October 20, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14

     

    Life is normally lived waiting. We wait in lines; a teenager waits for his or her next birthday; we wait for job promotions; we wait for news from the doctor; we wait for the next meal; we wait for our future spouse; we wait for a lawsuit to be settled; we wait for a meeting to conclude; we wait for those who have yet to keep their commitment. Every time we turn around we have an opportunity to wait. Why wait? Because most of the time, it’s what’s best and most beneficial. A vegetable gardener is a prisoner to waiting, but this is an asset, not a liability. A tomato is much tastier when it is red, large, and juicy, rather than green, small, and hard. The smart gardener will wait for the vegetables to ripen, though he will nurture the soil along the way and keep the weeds out.

    There is a waiting cycle that must be completed before there is worthwhile fruit. If you didn’t have to wait, you may have been satisfied with how things have always been done. Now you have the opportunity to think differently. Maybe there are other people or resources that can contribute to your project or plan. So, when things do not go as planned, see it as an opportunity to improve the plan. Or providing help to another may be the very thing, as waiting is a lesson in loving others in spite of themselves; even providing valued assistance during this parenthesis in your own life. 

    Most importantly, learn how to wait for the Lord. What a valuable asset to wait upon. The Lord God Almighty is worth the wait. It is worth waiting for His joy, because it comes to uplift you, and bring a smile to your face; it is worth waiting for His peace that calms your soul, and allows you to sleep at night; it is worth waiting for His wisdom that provides discernment in the middle of conflicting options; it is worth waiting for His strength that propels you through adversity and gives you confidence and perseverance for life’s journey; it is worth waiting for His hope that lifts you up and out of your despair and depression.

    People camp out to see a rock star, or pay big bucks to meet the President; so waiting on God should be a cinch. Waiting is being fundamentally patient with God. He is running the universe, He knows what is going on, and He knows what is best for you. He knows. He knows. He knows. You can trust Him in your waiting. Use this sabbatical-like time to get to know your heavenly Father more intimately. Use this time to love your family and others, like no other time in your life. Allow Him to mold your character so that others will comment to themselves that you are somehow different. You are different because you have been with Jesus. Waiting is not just a passage to God’s blessing. It is God’s blessing. Wait for the Lord, because He is worth the wait. The Bible says, “I wait for you, O LORD; you will answer, O Lord my God” (Psalm 38:15).

    Taken from October 20th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God”… http://bit.ly/InvUdR

    Post/Tweet: Waiting is not just a passage to God’s blessing. It is God’s blessing. #wait

    Download the free Wisdom Hunters app… http://bit.ly/OVrYb9


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

  • Gift of Leadership

    Posted on October 18, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “If it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:8

     

    Gifted leaders are first and foremost good followers of God. They recognize the Gift Giver as their authority, so they do not lord over others—rather they submit themselves to the Lord. Because the leader respects Christ, he or she respects those they lead. Because they love the Lord, they love their team. Because they serve Jesus, they serve those who serve with them. Yes, a gifted leader is able to influence and educate a group toward an agreed upon goal. Leaders have followers.

    Are you called to lead but feel inferior? If so, seek your confidence in Christ. Go to the Resourceful One for reassurance. Resistance does not mean you are a bad leader; on the contrary it may be a validation that you are moving in the right direction. Indeed, some struggle in getting on the bandwagon of change—it threatens their security. So stay the course and lead prayerfully, patiently and lovingly. Trust the Spirit’s small voice that affirms your actions—God is with you.

    “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:9-12

    You know you have the gift of leadership if you can see the big picture and inspire others toward that God-given vision. You understand the sequence of steps required to reach the objectives. You perceive potential problems and are courageous and wise to make adjustments. You motivate the team to embrace transitions as necessary to stay relevant. You create a culture of accountability with real-time updates. No one wants to let anyone down in the execution process.

    Your gift of leadership is a weighty responsibility, but you are not alone. Almighty God is your “go to” for humility, holiness and wisdom. God gives you what you need to accomplish what He wants. Furthermore, use your leadership role to invest in other emerging leaders. It is harder to grow leaders than it is to lead. Therefore, be intentional and prayerful to train up faithful men and women who will train others. You steward your leadership best by birthing other leaders!

    “And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.” Psalm 78:72

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me, so that in humility I can lead others in Your ways.

    Related Readings: Exodus 32:21; 1 Samuel 18:16; Isaiah 48:21; 1 Timothy 6:11-12; 1 Corinthians 1:10

    Post/Tweet: God gives us what we need to accomplish what He needs. #leadership

    Know your gift? Get a free “Spiritual Gifts Assessment” http://bit.ly/P4FYlw


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Psalm, Romans, Leadership

  • Forget About It

    Posted on October 16, 2012 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more." Hebrews 8:12 (ESV)

    In the midst of a heated conflict do you ever get historical?

    Not hysterical, as in acting totally out-of-control ... but historical. As in bringing up the past; reliving and rehashing former wrongdoings and offenses.

    "You'll never change!"
    "You're acting just like you did when ..."
    "There you go again. You always ..."

    I do this to others. But mostly I do this to myself.

    At times I have trouble remembering the name of the person I just met or where I put my cell phone. However, I'm keenly adept at remembering my sins from the past. Or the shame and guilt they carry with them as ammunition to target my heart and make me feel defeated. I can recount my sins as easily as I can say the alphabet.

    Oftentimes forgiving myself sometimes feels like it's impossible to do.

    When it comes to God however, we don't have to fear He will bring up our past sins and use them against us, throwing them in our face and refusing to forgive. In today's key verse, God says, "For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more." (Hebrews 8:12 ESV)

    This verse reminds me of a story of a man who claimed to have dreams where God regularly visited him and they talked together. He shared this with his pastor who doubted whether this was actually true. So the pastor issued a challenge to prove whether or not the man's claims were valid.

    "The next time God visits you," he instructed the man, "ask Him to tell you the worst sin I've ever committed." Since this pastor had a wild background he was certain there were a lot of sins lurking there from which God could choose.

    Later when the pastor saw the man again, he asked him, "Well, did God visit with you again?" The man replied, "Yes, He sure did."

    "Okay then, tell me, what did He say was the worst sin I ever committed?"

    The man responded, "I asked and God looked straight at me and simply stated, 'Hmmm ... I don't remember.'"

    In God's Word we are told, "He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west." (Psalm 103:12 NLT) And, as today's verse says, He not only removes sins, He forgets them!

    His ability to forget is His way of giving us a new start. He hits the refresh button on our lives and enables us to start over, no mater what grievous wrongs we've committed. Or how often we've committed them.

    We must simply confess our sins to Him. He is faithful to forgive our wrongdoings and hit the restart button of our heart, giving us a fresh beginning.

    Perhaps it is time we "forget about it" - just like God does. If He chooses not to remember our sins, why do we keep shaming and blaming ourselves for them?

    Let's pray for the ability to forget and live like the holy and forgiven people God says we are when we bring our sins to Him. Instead of remembering our history, let's focus on the history of Jesus' death on the cross and His forgiveness and forgetfulness . . . of our sins.

    Dear Lord, help me grasp the truth that You do not remember my sins. Thank You for not only forgiving my sins, but for forgetting them as well. May I live as a new creation, holy and blameless as I seek to serve You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    If you liked this devotion, check out Karen's new book LET. IT. GO. How to Stop Running the Show & Start Walking in Faith. It will enable you to control what you should and trust God with what you can't.

    Confessions of an Adulterous Christian Woman by Lyndell Hetrick Holtz

    Reflect and Respond:
    What sins in your past or present do you tend to beat yourself up over? Make a list of them on a piece of paper.

    Now, read today's key verse again and then tear up the list and throw it in the trash. Promise yourself that, since God doesn't bring up the sins anymore, you won't either.

    Write out the verse to post in a prominent place for those times when you are tempted to shame yourself again. Memorize it if you must!

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 103:2-4, "My soul, praise the Lord, and do not forget all His benefits. He forgives all your sin; He heals all your diseases. He redeems your life from the Pit; He crowns you with faithful love and compassion." (HCSB)

    © 2012 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Psalm, Hebrews, Karen Ehman

  • Asking the Wrong Question - Sharon Jaynes

    Posted on October 9, 2012 by Family Christian

    Sharon Jaynes

    Could it be that we have made our relationship with God far too difficult? We strive so hard to draw closer to the heart of God. And all the while, God’s outstretched hand is reaching to draw us in. Another translation of Psalm 46:10 reads, “Cease striving and know that I am God” (nasb).

    Cease striving

    For over a half of a century, I had been striving, pursuing, and seeking God. And like a cat chasing its tail, I had been going in circles. Circling in the wilderness with the Israelites, if you will. Saved from slavery, for sure. Headed to my own personal Promised Land, hopefully. But somehow stuck in the wilderness, wandering, ever circling but not quite reaching Jordan’s shore.

    And I am not alone. Statistics show that one of the top desires of Christians is to grow closer to God.2 During a recent poll, 65 percent of churchgoers said they were declining or on a plateau in their spiritual growth.3 On the other hand, Peter wrote: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). We have everything we need to experience the evergrowing, continually maturing, abundant life. So why aren’t we? Why are most of us languishing on the desert plateaus of mediocrity and complacency? Why are most of us satisfied munching on the predigested truths of teachers rather than pulling up to the banquet table and feasting with God at a table set for two?

    “God, what do you really want from me?”

    I’ve pondered that question since the genesis of my relationship with Christ. Perhaps you have too. When you boil down all the water from the diluted soup of questions men and women have simmered in their hearts through the centuries, this is the one question left in the pot. And somehow we feel that if we could answer that one question, we would discover why that glory ache persists and how to satisfy our yearning.

    I had asked the question a thousand times, but on that one frosty January morning, I got quiet enough to listen. And then, in the stillness, He showed me that I and my busy sisters have been asking the wrong question.

    Rather than ask God what He wants from us, we need to ask Him what He wants for us.

    I meditated on Acts 17:28 throughout the following year, after the day God whetted my appetite with the possibilities wrapped up in those ten little words. I came to realize that what He wants for us is to sense His presence, experience His love, and delight in intimate relationship as we live and move and have our being in sacred union with Him. And when we do, He opens our eyes to His glory all around and the ache for something more is soothed.

    Glory Defined

    Have you ever wondered why you were created? You were created for God’s glory and to glorify God (Isaiah 43:7), because it pleased Him to do so (Ephesians 1:5). The concept of glory can be a difficult idea to wrap our human minds around. It seems so otherworldly. We can catch glimpses of its meaning throughout Scripture, but then like a shooting star that appears for just a moment, it quickly slips away into the vast expanse of God’s infinite wisdom. But let’s see what we can know about this bigger-than-life word.

    In the Old Testament, the most common Hebrew word for “glory” is kābod, meaning “weight, honor, or esteem.” The Bible associates God’s glory with how He manifests Himself or makes His presence known. Some theologians refer to these as theophanies. He made His presence known in a consuming fire (Exodus 24:16–17), a moving cloud (Exodus 13:21), and a still small voice

    (1 Kings 19:12). His glory is reflected in creation (Psalm 19:1) and in His sovereign control of history (Acts 17:26). His glory is made known through the life of simple human beings like you and me.

    The same concept of God’s glory is in the New Testament in the Greek word doxa, which means “glory, honor, and splendor.” John wrote, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” ( John 1:14). After Jesus’ first miracle, turning the water into wine, John wrote:

    “This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him” ( John 2:11). In Hebrews 1:3, the writer reveals this about Jesus: “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.”

    The verb form,“to glorify,” is doxazo, and primarily means “to magnify, extol, praise, to ascribe honor to God, acknowledging Him as to His being, attributes and acts,”4 i.e., His glory. It is the revelation and manifestation of all that He has and is. When we glorify God, we are giving a display or manifestation—or a reflection—of His character. To magnify God is to make Him easy to see. Jesus said that the disciples would glorify God when they bore fruit (John 15:8). Through their actions, they would point others to God and make Him easy to see.

    God’s glory is how He makes Himself known. It is almost incomprehensible to think that He would choose mere human beings to accomplish such a task. But as Scripture tells us, we were created in His image (Genesis 1:26) and as a display of His glory (Isaiah 43:7). You were created to make God recognizable to others—to show others what God is like. He makes Himself recognizable to us and through us. The glory of any created thing is when it is fully fulfilling the purpose for which it was created…and that includes you and me.

    Glory is a big word—a weighty word. In this book we are going to zoom in on one aspect of glory—how God makes Himself known in your life as you live and move and have your being in Him.

    Can you remember a time when you sensed God’s presence and you were absolutely sure it was Him? Perhaps it was when you first believed, or maybe it happened just yesterday. You may have felt an overwhelming sense of His love, received an answer to prayer, felt an inexplicable peace, or witnessed a miracle. But when it happened…oh, when it happened…you knew you had encountered the Divine. The moment came and went, and you were awestruck. Do you remember it? That was God making Himself known to you personally. I call that a sudden glory—an intimate moment with your Creator, the Lover of your soul, a genuine “inloveness,” a glimpse of heaven.

    To illustrate what I mean by this, consider how Sheldon Vanauken, author of A Severe Mercy, describes the moment he knew he was in love with his wife, Davy:

    One who has never been in love might mistake either infatuation or a mixture of affection and sexual attraction for being in love. But when the “real thing” happens, there is no doubt. A man in the jungle at night, as someone said, may suppose a hyena’s growl to be a lion’s; but when he hears the lion’s growl, he knows [full] well it’s a lion. So with the genuine inloveness. So with Davy and me. A sudden glory.

    I have been in the jungle and heard the lion’s roar. I knew full well it was Him. So with the genuine inloveness. So with Jesus and me. A sudden glory. Time and time again.

    All throughout our lives, I dare say, throughout our days, we will experience a sudden glory in unpredictable moments. Or, at least we could.

    A friend shared a moment of sudden glory in her life:

    Life was hard after my divorce. With no child support and only a part-time job for income, there were days when I didn’t know how I would put dinner on the table for myself and my four children. I often had to choose between buying groceries or paying the electric bill. On one such day, I walked to the mailbox praying I wouldn’t find another cut-off notice from the utility company. Thankfully there was nothing of the sort. Instead I found an envelope that had no return address, and inside it was a note that read, “Jesus loves you.” Tucked behind the note was a grocery store gift card for an amount that would buy groceries for at least a week.

    In that moment I felt as if God had wrapped His arms around me and whispered to my heart, “I see you. I love you. I care.” His presence was suddenly so real that all I could do was stand there and cry.

    These moments are the salve for the glory ache. They are the manna moments to stay the hunger until we finally reach heaven’s home. Do you yearn for those glory moments? Well, guess what. God longs to give them to you even more than you yearn for them!

    Excerpted from A Sudden Glory by Sharon Jaynes Copyright © 2012 by Sharon Jaynes. 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.

    Could it be that we have made our relationship with God far too difficult? We strive so hard to draw closer to the heart of God. And all the while, God’s outstretched hand is reaching to draw us in. Another translation of Psalm 46:10 reads, “Cease striving and know that I am God” (nasb). Cease striving.

    For over a half of a century, I had been striving, pursuing, and seeking God. And like a cat chasing its tail, I had been going in circles. Circling in the wilderness with the Israelites, if you will. Saved from slavery, for sure. Headed to my own personal Promised Land, hopefully. But somehow stuck in the wilderness, wandering, ever circling but not quite reaching Jordan’s shore.

    And I am not alone. Statistics show that one of the top desires of Christians is to grow closer to God.2 During a recent poll, 65 percent of churchgoers said they were declining or on a plateau in their spiritual growth.3 On the other hand, Peter wrote: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). We have everything we need to experience the evergrowing, continually maturing, abundant life. So why aren’t we? Why are most of us languishing on the desert plateaus of mediocrity and complacency? Why are most of us satisfied munching on the predigested truths of teachers rather than pulling up to the banquet table and feasting with God at a table set for two?

    “God, what do you really want from me?”

    I’ve pondered that question since the genesis of my relationship with Christ. Perhaps you have too. When you boil down all the water from the diluted soup of questions men and women have simmered in their hearts through the centuries, this is the one question left in the pot. And somehow we feel that if we could answer that one question, we would discover why that glory ache persists and how to satisfy our yearning.

    I had asked the question a thousand times, but on that one frosty January morning, I got quiet enough to listen. And then, in the stillness, He showed me that I and my busy sisters have been asking the wrong question.

    Rather than ask God what He wants from us, we need to ask Him what He wants for us.

    I meditated on Acts 17:28 throughout the following year, after the day God whetted my appetite with the possibilities wrapped up in those ten little words. I came to realize that what He wants for us is to sense His presence, experience His love, and delight in intimate relationship as we live and move and have our being in sacred union with Him. And when we do, He opens our eyes to His glory all around and the ache for something more is soothed.

    Glory Defined

    Have you ever wondered why you were created? You were created for God’s glory and to glorify God (Isaiah 43:7), because it pleased Him to do so (Ephesians 1:5). The concept of glory can be a difficult idea to wrap our human minds around. It seems so otherworldly. We can catch glimpses of its meaning throughout Scripture, but then like a shooting star that appears for just a moment, it quickly slips away into the vast expanse of God’s infinite wisdom. But let’s see what we can know about this bigger-than-life word.

    In the Old Testament, the most common Hebrew word for “glory” is kābod, meaning “weight, honor, or esteem.” The Bible associates God’s glory with how He manifests Himself or makes His presence known. Some theologians refer to these as theophanies. He made His presence known in a consuming fire (Exodus 24:16–17), a moving cloud (Exodus 13:21), and a still small voice

    (1 Kings 19:12). His glory is reflected in creation (Psalm 19:1) and in His sovereign control of history (Acts 17:26). His glory is made known through the life of simple human beings like you and me.

    The same concept of God’s glory is in the New Testament in the Greek word doxa, which means “glory, honor, and splendor.” John wrote, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” ( John 1:14). After Jesus’s first miracle, turning the water into wine, John wrote:

    “This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him” ( John 2:11). In Hebrews 1:3, the writer reveals this about Jesus: “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.”

    The verb form,“to glorify,” is doxazo, and primarily means “to magnify, extol, praise, to ascribe honor to God, acknowledging Him as to His being, attributes and acts,”4 i.e., His glory. It is the revelation and manifestation of all that He has and is. When we glorify God, we are giving a display or manifestation—or a reflection—of His character. To magnify God is to make Him easy to see. Jesus said that the disciples would glorify God when they bore fruit (John 15:8). Through their actions, they would point others to God and make Him easy to see.

    God’s glory is how He makes Himself known. It is almost incomprehensible to think that He would choose mere human beings to accomplish such a task. But as Scripture tells us, we were created in His image (Genesis 1:26) and as a display of His glory (Isaiah 43:7). You were created to make God recognizable to others—to show others what God is like. He makes Himself recognizable to us and through us. The glory of any created thing is when it is fully fulfilling the purpose for which it was created…and that includes you and me.

    Glory is a big word—a weighty word. In this book we are going to zoom in on one aspect of glory—how God makes Himself known in your life as you live and move and have your being in Him.

    Can you remember a time when you sensed God’s presence and you were absolutely sure it was Him? Perhaps it was when you first believed, or maybe it happened just yesterday. You may have felt an overwhelming sense of His love, received an answer to prayer, felt an inexplicable peace, or witnessed a miracle. But when it happened…oh, when it happened…you knew you had encountered the Divine. The moment came and went, and you were awestruck. Do you remember it? That was God making Himself known to you personally. I call that a sudden glory—an intimate moment with your Creator, the Lover of your soul, a genuine “inloveness,” a glimpse of heaven.

    To illustrate what I mean by this, consider how Sheldon Vanauken, author of A Severe Mercy, describes the moment he knew he was in love with his wife, Davy:

    One who has never been in love might mistake either infatuation or a mixture of affection and sexual attraction for being in love. But when the “real thing” happens, there is no doubt. A man in the jungle at night, as someone said, may suppose a hyena’s growl to be a lion’s; but when he hears the lion’s growl, he knows [full] well it’s a lion. So with the genuine inloveness. So with Davy and me. A sudden glory.6

    I have been in the jungle and heard the lion’s roar. I knew full well it was Him. So with the genuine inloveness. So with Jesus and me. A sudden glory. Time and time again.

    All throughout our lives, I dare say, throughout our days, we will experience a sudden glory in unpredictable moments. Or, at least we could.

    A friend shared a moment of sudden glory in her life:

    Life was hard after my divorce. With no child support and only a part-time job for income, there were days when I didn’t know how I would put dinner on the table for myself and my four children. I often had to choose between buying groceries or paying the electric bill. On one such day, I walked to the mailbox praying I wouldn’t find another cut-off notice from the utility company. Thankfully there was nothing of the sort. Instead I found an envelope that had no return address, and inside it was a note that read, “Jesus loves you.” Tucked behind the note was a grocery store gift card for an amount that would buy groceries for at least a week.

    In that moment I felt as if God had wrapped His arms around me and whispered to my heart, “I see you. I love you. I care.” His presence was suddenly so real that all I could do was stand there and cry.

    These moments are the salve for the glory ache. They are the manna moments to stay the hunger until we finally reach heaven’s home. Do you yearn for those glory moments? Well, guess what. God longs to give them to you even more than you yearn for them!

    Excerpted from A Sudden Glory by Sharon Jaynes Copyright © 2012 by Sharon Jaynes. 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.


    This post was posted in Books and was tagged with Featured, Psalm, 2 Peter, Sharon Jaynes, Questions

  • Gossip

    Posted on October 9, 2012 by Nicki Koziarz

    Nicki Koziarz

    "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14 (NIV 1984)

    We hadn't seen each other in a few weeks so I was excited to catch up on my friend's life. Arriving at the restaurant we hugged, took our seats, and ordered some sweet tea. Immediately, we started talking about what had been going on in our lives and dug into a discussion about the previous month's events.

    Just a few minutes into our catch-up session, a person's name {who I didn't care for} came up. My friend told me a story that made me dislike this person even more. I then told my friend a story about this same person that made her dislike them more too.

    And so our conversation went ...

    When I left the restaurant, there was a sick feeling inside me. My thoughts wandered through our conversation and I felt deeply convicted it'd been nothing but idle talk.

    The crazy thing was, in the midst of the conversation, I didn't even realize what was happening. I thought I was just catching up with an old friend. But the reality is, I was gossiping.

    I wish I could tell you this eye-opening moment changed me and I never spoke badly of someone again. But I am a woman who consistently finds herself in need of God's grace, mercy and forgiveness.

    Today's key verse, Psalm 19:14, has been helpful for me to remember how God desires my heart and words to be filled with things that honor Him.

    Scripture is teaching me so much about my words. I'm learning I am accountable to God for them (Matt. 12:36). I see by guarding my words, I can keep myself from a lot of problems (Prov. 21:23). And I'm understanding how I have the ability to speak life or death through the words I use (Prov. 18:21).

    As I've been allowing these Truths to shape my character, I've begun to understand how my slip-ups (sin) move me further away from God. One of the greatest deceptions of sin is that we often don't realize what we've done until it's too late.

    But thankfully God is always willing to forgive us and empower us to become stronger in Him.

    So how should we handle conversations like these?

    Preventing gossip is one of the greatest ways to not get caught up in it. Some days I have to consciously say to myself, "I don't want to dishonor anyone with my words today." I've asked God to make me aware of conversations that don't bring honor. "A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly." (Prov. 12:23 NIV 1984)

    Another way we can handle gossip-centered conversations is by ignoring them. Just because we've heard the latest juicy scoop doesn't mean we have to continue to spread it. "A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret." (Prov. 11:13 NIV)

    Lastly, confronting the friend who we're gossiping about is important. If we have an issue with someone, we should go directly to that person. It takes more courage to confront someone than it does to ignore him or her, or talk about them behind their back. If something's bothering us, we should deal with it with the right person. "If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over." (Matt. 18:15 NIV)

    I'm still working through this. I felt horrible for how my conversation went that day at the restaurant. But, I'm challenged to prevent, ignore or confront conversations like these. I want my words and my heart to be pleasing to God.

    Dear Lord, as I continue to work out my word-struggles with You, thank You for Your grace, mercy and forgiveness. Please help me to keep these Truths close to my soul so I can better represent You with my words each day. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Visit Nicki's blog today for 10 ways to speak life to someone today.

    Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst

    30 Days to Taming Your Tongue by Deborah Smith Pegues

    Reflect and Respond:
    Do you have a friend you easily gossip with? Why not share this devotion with her today and commit to hold each other accountable to prevent, ignore or confront?

    Why do you think gossip is such a struggle? Leave a comment today and let's discuss this.

    Power Verse:
    Proverbs 18:21, "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Nicki Koziarz. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


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

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