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Tag Archives: Psalm

  • The Best Approach with a Frenemy

    Posted on June 30, 2014 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie Miles

    "The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? Yes, the LORD is for me; he will help me. I will look in triumph at those who hate me." Psalm 118:6-7 (NLT)

    Day after day, month after month, the hurtful behavior continued. The longer it went on, the stronger my emotions grew.

    Someone who'd been a friend to my daughter had somehow become an enemy. Not an enemy with physical strength, but rather one armed with the power to injure through hurtful words, lies and gossip while manipulating others to do the same. Each day presented a new conflict, inducing heightened feelings of rejection, isolation and lowered self-esteem.

    We reported the issue to the appropriate people, but despite many attempts, nothing changed. We felt hopeless. When yet another situation sent my daughter home from school in tears, I felt my hostility and frustration bubbling to the surface, and knew I was faced with choices about my own behavior.

    I could fuel my daughter's anger by reminding her of all the reasons she had a right to be mad, causing both of us to grow more bitter.

    I could allow hostility to become a stronghold in my heart and refuse to forgive.

    I could talk to my friends and family about the situation, soliciting their support.

    I could cry buckets of tears, although that wouldn't dry the tears of my daughter.

    Unfortunately I did a little of all that, because nothing hurts a mom's heart more than when her child's heart is broken or her spirit is crushed. But eventually, I grew weary of my emotions holding me hostage and turned to prayer instead of pouting.

    I prayed daily for God to give us both the strength to continue trusting His purpose for my daughter's pain. I asked God to help me see those involved through His eyes, instead of my own — which were tainted with anger and concern for my own child. I prayed for Him to intervene and give us hope, peace and the comfort that only He could provide. I also prayed for God to help me forgive, when nothing in me wanted to.

    As I sat down and prayed with my daughter, we discussed these words from Psalm 118:6-7a, "The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? Yes, the LORD is for me; he will help me."

    I reminded her (and myself) of the truth of the Psalmists words, that regardless of what anyone said or did, God still was on her side. I wanted her to know eventually this difficult season would pass, but in the meantime she could find strength and courage in Christ. A tear fell as she promised to try and remember God would be with her every step of the way.

    Even in the face of suffering and heartache, the Psalmist chose not to fear but instead focus on the favor of God, trusting He would protect and prevail over his difficult situation. He remained calm, confident and focused on God, intentionally choosing to fight his enemies with faith. As a mom, I knew our faith was the best choice for us as well.

    We knew we couldn't force anyone to alter the way they treat others. Only God can change a heart. But we could choose to trust God and approach this situation the best way possible — through the eyes of faith.

    Lord, I know You see our children and what they are going through. Help me to know how to speak truth into their lives, and help us have strength and courage to continue trusting You are bigger than our conflicts. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Editor's Note: If you or someone you love is facing a bullying situation, please report it immediately to someone in authority and make sure you or your loved ones are safe.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Proverbs 18:10, "The name of the LORD is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe." (NLT)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    If your child is hurting due to a similar situation, which have you been doing more: praying or pouting?

    If you struggle with negative emotions stemming from concern over your child's situation, write a prayer to God seeking His strength. Ask God for help to push past feelings, focus on faith and discern how best to handle the problem.

    © 2014 by Tracie Miles. 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 Psalm

  • God is Not Mad at You

    Posted on June 27, 2014 by Julie Gilles

    Julie K. Gillies

    "The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and abounding in mercy and loving-kindness." Psalm 145:8 (AMP)

     

    It never took us kids long to figure out that our dad was angry. He'd bite his bottom lip, then ball up both of his hands into fists. In nanoseconds, all five of us would escape out the back door, where we hung out in our 10-acre, wooded back yard until the eruption was over.

    Unfortunately, many times we didn't make it out the back door fast enough.

    So years later, after I became a believer, the concept of a kind, loving heavenly Father was hard for me to grasp. The words my pastor spoke sounded wonderful, but deep down I couldn't escape a vague sense of God's anger directed toward me.

    Even when I read my Bible, the words often sounded angry to my ears. And every time I failed, messed up or fell short, I felt myself the target of God's anger.

    And I failed, messed up and fell short all the time.

    Initially I didn't understand that my background skewed my perception. It was as if the atmosphere of anger in my childhood home had warped my brain cells, and my experience blocked the truth of who and how God really was.

    Truth began seeping in after a conversation with a friend. I shared, through hot tears, that I desperately wanted to please God, but it felt like He was always angry with me. My friend said, "God is not angry with you, Julie. He loves you, and He understands you."

    This truth was the beginning of a massive boulder of a lie dislodging from my heart.

    For the first time it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, it was possible God wasn't angry with me. But things didn't change overnight. For me, it was a gradual unfolding, a slow process as I grew to know and understand God's loving character more intimately.

    When I stumbled upon today's key verse, tears stung my eyes again, but this time in a good way: "The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and abounding in mercy and loving-kindness" (AMP).

    The fact that God is slow to anger, that He offers forgiveness when I confess my failures and that He does not hold my shortcomings against me in fierce anger, revolutionized not only my brain, but my heart.

    As if that were not awesome enough, that same verse declares that God is abounding in mercy and loving-kindness toward us. The word abounding means "to be present in large numbers or in great quantity; to be fully supplied or filled." As I meditated on this verse and dared to believe God's truth, the massive boulder that had lodged in my heart as a child slowly began to move.

    In reality, God is nothing like my past experience had shaped Him to be.

    He is our gracious heavenly Father who loves and accepts us as we are, patiently bearing with us, teaching and guiding us as we grow and mature in Christ. He is not mad at me, and He is not mad at you. God is for us, not against us (Romans 8:31). He has good plans for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11), and He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).

    Sometimes our past experiences shape us in ways we don't fully understand. But through the power of the Holy Spirit, God reshapes us, transforming our hearts and minds as only He can. Though it often takes time, God's truth can work its way deeply into our hearts and completely dislodge boulders of lies. And oh, how He loves to roll away the stones!

    God, where boulders of inaccurate perceptions are lodged in my heart, please remove them and bring truth. I am thankful that instead of regarding me in fierce anger, You forgive and patiently lead and guide me. I'm so grateful that You are slow to anger. You are a loving, gracious heavenly Father, and I adore You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Jeremiah 31:3, "God told them, 'I've never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love!'" (MSG)

    Romans 8:31, "What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?" (NLT)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Do you seem to sense that God is angry with you? Ask Him to enable you to hear His gentle, loving, true voice. Ask Him to give you an accurate perception of who He truly is.

    Write down Jeremiah 31:3 and read it to yourself several times daily this week. Know that the same God who will never quit loving you is not angry at you!

    © 2014 by Julie K. Gillies. 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 Psalm

  • Intelligent Design

    Posted on June 22, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. Psalm 147:4-5

    God is the intelligence behind the design of all creation. The creation of space is His design. Every galaxy, universe, star, planet, meteor, and asteroid is a result of His intricate design. He designed the craters on the moon so we could compare it to cheese. He designed the rings around Saturn so we could marvel at its majestic beauty. The tilt of the earth’s axis He designed to sustain life, but not spin out of control. He positioned the sun at just the right distance from Earth so it would warm, but not destroy. He knew all the planets’ gravitational pull toward the sun would be needed to orchestrate one big simultaneous swirl. Every flickering light in the sky, the Big Dipper, Little Dipper, and the North Star, are all embedded in the intelligence of His design.

    Intelligent design is rational and logical. The Lord’s intelligence is astounding and all encompassing. It cannot be measured or completely understood, but it can be adored and praised. His intelligent design is a facilitator of faith in Him. Intelligent design is an act of the Almighty,  more proof of His profound power and might. The pure snow-capped peaks of the highest mountains point in praise toward their divine designer in heaven. Their rugged stone faces are a reminder of the rock solid dependability of your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Anyone who has ever scaled an Everest-like mountain, knows the intimacy and exhilaration of caressing the rugged face of God.

    When you engage with the intelligence behind the design of creation, you begin to dance with its creator, for intelligent design is not meant to be an end in itself. It is not just a lot of impressive scientific facts and statistics, but  is His coming-out party that complements His visit to earth in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. Indeed, Jesus was enamored with the intelligence of His father’s design as a metaphor for life. He spoke of the birds of the air, the lilies of the valley, and the stature of man. He described the Holy Spirit as a calm and unseeing wind. The new birth was contrasted with physical birth.

    Above all else, Jesus was the “Word” in the beginning with God, installing intelligent design throughout all creation (John 1:1-3). Intelligent design is God’s invitation to faith. Anyone serious about his religion and equally serious about intellectual honesty, will trawl the depths of God’s design. The sincere search for truth will most likely lead them to Christ. Sincere seekers of a Savior through science will not be disappointed, but amazed, by engaging with the Creator Himself. Use intelligent design to galvanize your faith and give your evangelistic effort credibility. The truly intelligent invite Jesus Christ in as the interior designer of their soul. His outward and inward design is matchless and magnificent.

    Post/Tweet today:. The Lord’s intelligence is astounding and all encompassing. His intelligent design is a facilitator of faith in Him. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.


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

  • Faithful Heavenly Father

    Posted on June 15, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. Psalm 68:5

    Most people long for a faithful father who will feed them when they are hungry, love them when they are lonely, and care for them when they are crying. They long for a dad who will listen to them when they wonder, encourage them when they are discouraged, and discipline them when they do wrong. They are eager for a father who takes time for the trivial, extends wisdom in the middle of worry, and prays to understand God’s will. God placed within you a desire to be loved by your father. Some fathers do well at being a faithful father and others do not. Some are extremely successful, and others fail miserably. Fortunately, God is your model of a faithful father. Your heavenly Father fills the gaps left by your earthly father; He is your faithful Father.

    Your heavenly Father deserves your respect and commands your love. He says to pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name...” (Matthew 6:9). He is a father who is totally trustworthy. You never have to doubt God’s word. What He says He means, and what He means He does. Your Father in heaven will not let you down on earth. Now, sometimes it doesn’t feel as if He’s faithful. There are times you don’t have answers for the questions that gnaw at your heart and confuse your mind. It may be that He is speaking but you are not listening. It may be that He is silent because He wants to grow your trust in Him. He will tell you what to do, in time, so while you wait, become better.

    Your faithful Father in heaven is the Father of Truth. Jesus is truth (John 14:6). Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). He acts as if he is interested in your life so he can destroy your life. He uses you for his interests. Therefore, reject the lies of the devil, and embrace the truth of the Lord. When you left the dark side of unbelief, you renounced your father, the devil, and embraced your heavenly Father through Christ. Be a lifetime learner of faithful fathering. Each season of fathering is different. What worked in the last stage of your child’s life needs to be adapted for the next stage.

    By faith, be flexible. As infants, they need your gentle touch. As children, they need your patient instruction. As teenagers, they need your example of love and forgiveness— someone has to be the mature one (1 Corinthians 13:11). As adults, they need your wisdom and friendship. In all seasons, they need your time and trust. Above all else, look to your heavenly Father as the baseline for your behavior. Being a faithful father does not mean perfection, but it does mean you depend on the Perfect One. You lean on the Lord for His loving care, so you can extend the same. Because of your faithful heavenly Father, you can be a faithful earthly father. Invite Him to love you and lead you into faithfulness.

    Prayer: How can I regularly receive the love and affirmation of my heavenly Father, so I can do the same for my children and grandchildren?

    Related Readings: Matthew 5:16; 7:11; 18:10-35; John 12:28; James 1:17

    Post/Tweet today: Our heavenly Father fills the gaps left by our earthly father; He is our faithful Father. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.


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

  • Man of Prayer

    Posted on June 14, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer.  Psalm 109:4

    A man of prayer prays. It is his first line of defense and his most effective offensive strategy. Prayer is not an afterthought for a man of prayer; it is not a last ditch engagement with the eternal, but is the first thing to come to mind. Prayer is not just a demonstration of discipline and determination, but a desperate dependence on God. It is conversing with Christ,  not just asking God for goodies and guarantees. The man of prayer enters into intimacy with the Almighty. He realizes that God is in control and  His wisdom is needed for life and work. Prayer precludes pain by providing patience. It forecasts disaster by giving warning. It discerns clumsy and destructive decisions by cultivating understanding and discernment.

    A man of prayer avoids self-inflicted problems because he prays first. Prayer is medicine for the sick and refreshment for the soul. Prayer may be the best gift you can give someone. You may not have silver and gold to give, but you can give prayer (Acts 3:6). A man of prayer does not talk about praying, with a simple, “I’ll pray for you.” On the contrary, with a seriousness of purpose and responsibility, he stops what he is doing and lifts to heaven the concerns of the one requesting prayer. As you hear him pray, a peace and calm overcome you. It is encouragement from on high. His is not a stale prayer but fresh, because the man of prayer has been in prayer. A man of prayer prays for his spouse and for the spouses of his children. He leads his wife in prayer. He keeps his logical mind in check by checking in with Christ.

    Start by getting on your knees for five minutes each morning. Prayerful posture is important to a man of prayer. His stature is humble and dependent. Therefore, humble yourself daily before your heavenly Father. Lay face down on the floor, if necessary. Then get up and consider making a prayer list. However, do not sell yourself short by feeling unqualified to be a man of prayer. This role is not reserved for the super righteous. It is for adulterers, liars, and murderers like David (Psalm 51). A man of prayer is still a man in recovery from sin. Sin does not cease to hound the man who prays, but it drives him to pray; then sin’s influence is stunted in the face of the man of prayer. It is hard to sin while you pray. There is accountability to God that bolsters the man of prayer in his everyday life.

    Indeed, there is a direct correlation between prayer and purposeful living. “Man of Prayer” is not a title that comes with a badge to flaunt. Instead, it is a discreet lifestyle of continual prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17). It becomes a habit of life, like eating and sleeping. Prayer, for a man of prayer, is not an elective. It is a required course. It is core curriculum. Moreover, the man of prayer cannot be pigeonholed as to his behavior and speech. He comes in all shapes and sizes, depending on his God-given temperament. He is humorous and humble; He is loud and he is quiet; He is spontaneous and he is methodical; He is creative and he is concrete; He is eloquent and he is simple. However, there is one thing he is not: He is neither proud nor arrogant. People are his pleasure and heaven is his home, where he checks in often. Jesus is his “go-to man.”

    Worship, thanksgiving, praise, and adoration permeate the prayers of a man of prayer. A man of prayer prays.

    Post/Tweet today: Prayer, for a man of prayer, is not an elective. It is a required course. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.


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

  • Thank You, Dad

    Posted on June 13, 2014 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling." Psalm 68:5 (NIV)

    Moments after I stopped by my parents' house, my dad clutched his chest.

    Knowing the hospital was close, my mom and I helped him to the car. I pressed hard on the gas pedal, keeping an eye on the man who reclined in the passenger seat as I raced toward the nearby emergency room.

    The news was not good. Doctors said his heart was badly damaged, and open-heart surgery was the only option.

    Doctors scheduled the procedure for the next day. Since I lived in another city, I drove home to gather my things before returning the next morning for a long stay.

    The sun crept over the horizon as I drove westward to be with my parents during my dad's surgery. Visits were strictly limited, and my time with my dad was to be an hour before he would go in to the operating room.

    When I arrived, a nurse informed me that my dad wasn't in his room.

    I rushed up the stairs to the surgical floor waiting room. "They took him back a half hour ago, Suzie," my brother said. "It happened so quickly we just barely got to see him." I buried my head in my brother's chest and wept.

    My dad was in surgery with his chest split open ... and I didn't get to say thank you.

    Thank you for taking the place of our biological father who should have loved those tiny girls but for whatever reason didn't.

    Thank you for taking two little girls who didn't have a father and making them your own.

    Thank you for never seeing us in a different light than my brothers and sister who were born later.

    Thank you for rejoicing that you won the prize another failed to claim.

    When I was younger I didn't always appreciate this gift. I loved the man I called Dad, but often wondered about the other one. Did I look like him? Where was he? Did he think of me? What might it be like if I had my biological father in my life?

    As an adult, and as a parent, I saw it differently. Being a dad isn't always tied to DNA.

    One man was there at my conception, but another took the more difficult path. He went to work every day. He showed up at events. He disciplined and loved me, watched me graduate and marry. He took the name "Papaw" as he embraced my children.

    I know not every woman who grew up without a biological father's love has this type of experience. But all of us can know the love of God as our heavenly Father.

    Psalm 68:5 describes God as "a father to the fatherless." It's a theme woven throughout Scripture from beginning to end. Our God loves orphans and rescues the abandoned. This is a work close to His heart.

    Later that evening, after Dad's surgery, I sat in the shadows with the rhythmic swish of the respirator the only sound in the room. I silently offered up gratitude.

    First, because my dad had made it through the surgery.

    Second, because this man partnered with God's heartbeat when he stepped in to love two little girls without a daddy.

    I leaned over the bed and whispered the words I could no longer hold back: "Thank you, Dad."

    And thank You, God, for loving me with a perfect Father's love.

    Dear Lord, thank You for loving me as a Heavenly Father. Thank You for bringing people into my life who partnered with You in that love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Matthew 25:35-36, "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me." (ESV)

    James 2:15-17, "Dear friends, do you think you'll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it?" (The Message)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    We can get so busy, or even focused on what we don't have, that we neglect to love others as God loves us. How might you love someone today with God's love?

    This Sunday is Father's Day in America, and we know not everyone has a strong example of a father. However, many of us have experienced unconditional love from someone older and wiser. How can you show appreciation? One way is to say thank you. Write a note (don't wait!) to say thank you to one person who showed you the love of a father.

    © 2014 by Suzie Eller. 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 Psalm

  • Lord, I Don't Know What to Do

    Posted on June 11, 2014 by Leah DiPascal

    Leah Dipascal

    "Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow." Psalm 25:4 (NLT)

    Do you ever feel like you're going in circles and not making any progress? At least not the kind of progress you were expecting.

    Are the constant appeals of our world pulling you in a million different ways, causing you to question if you're headed in the right direction?

    If you're like me, you have plans and dreams you want to fulfill. But life is confusing at times. And most days it seems like you're just surviving instead of living out those dreams or accomplishing your goals.

    Numerous distractions.

    Too many choices.

    Endless interruptions.

    There have been days I've felt like one foot was fixed to the floor, while my other foot scurried in every direction. Expending a lot of energy and mental fatigue, but going nowhere. Can you relate?

    Wouldn't it be awesome to wake up every morning and be assured you're on the right path towards your goals? To know with certainty that you're headed in the right direction? To feel confident with each step, without constantly questioning yourself?

    Too many times I've second-guessed a decision I was confident about. I want so desperately to follow God's will that I'll pray, but then feel uncertain, not wanting to make a wrong move. I wonder: Maybe this isn't what I'm supposed to be doing. Maybe this isn't part of God's plan for my life.

    As I've wrestled with indecision and insecurity, I've sought God's Word for help. A few months ago, I found a priceless nugget of truth in the Bible. It addresses our desire for guidance and shows us what to do when we need clear direction.

    King David composed these words in a beautiful psalm, tucked within the pages of the Old Testament:

    "Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you" (Psalm 25:4-5).

    These verses reveal David's humble and teachable heart. He wanted to be guided by God and led by His truth. David knew God was his Savior and placed all his hope in the One who created the right path for him.

    We find the answers to David's request for guidance only a few short passages away. Promises we can claim for our own lives:

    "The LORD is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray. He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way. The LORD leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all who keep his covenant and obey his demands" (Psalm 25:8-10, NLT).

    Based on these verses, when our hearts are humble and truly seeking God's will, we can be confident of this:

    1. God will always show us what is right for us.
    2. When we get sidetracked, God will direct us back to the right path.
    3. We are not alone. God leads and teaches us along the way.
    4. God leads those who obey Him with unfailing love and faithfulness.

    If you're unsure about some things in your life, don't wait another day to figure it out on your own. Ensure your heart is in the right place of humility, and then ask God to help you. Once you've asked, trust that God is directing you.

    If you know you've gotten on the wrong path, seek God for direction instead of looking to the world for answers. As you take steps to follow and obey God's voice, He will lovingly show you the way.

    Months ago I asked the Lord to etch these verses onto my heart and mind, so I'd always have them with me — especially on days when I feel like I'm going in circles and lacking direction.

    Today, I'm praying these verses over you.

    Dear Lord, help my friend come to You when she's in need of direction. Remind her that the world can't offer what she deeply longs for, nor does it hold her future, but You certainly do. Thank You for guiding her today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Psalm 32:8, "The LORD says, 'I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.'" (NLT)

    Psalm 90:17, "Let the favor of the LORD our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!" (ESV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    What area in your life is lacking direction: marriage, parenting, career, health?

    Find three Scripture verses (relating to that particular area) and personalize them into a prayer as you go to God for guidance.

    © 2014 by Leah DiPascal. 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 Psalm

  • Intimacy through Brokenness

    Posted on June 8, 2014 by Family Christian

    Boyd Bailey

    The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

    Intimacy with God goes hand in hand with your brokenness. Your desire for intimacy with your heavenly Father will be accompanied by brokenness, as it escorts you into intimacy with eternal God. It is your date with destiny. A broken and contrite heart delivers intimacy with the Almighty. Do not despise your broken condition. Rather, delight in its opportunity for intimacy. You long to know Jesus in the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering (Philippians 3:10). These prayers were not in vain. Your brokenness is answered prayer. The answer may not be exactly what you expected. You may have anticipated a smoother route, a paved road free of bumps or potholes. But the path of personal and intimate relationship with Christ is not always easy.

    Most of the time, intimacy requires difficulty. It is at this point of pressure and discomfort that some people disembark the train of intimacy. It is much easier to talk about an intimate relationship with Christ than it is to arrive at this point through brokenness. However, this is an exercise in convenience. It is like placing a “Do not disturb” sign on the door of our life, in place of the “Clean up my room” invitation. Brokenness is inviting God to come in and cleanse your life. He stands at the door of our heart and knocks (Revelation 3:20). When you invite Christ into your broken life, He comes in. Intimacy is then unleashed on His terms, not yours. It is only when you surrender in total desperation and total dependency on God that you experience authentic intimacy.

    Intimacy with God through brokenness is not unlike what you experience in relationships with people. Hardships and brokenness are meant to grow you closer to other people. A crisis will either drive you further away from someone or closer together. God’s best for you is to make you relationally stronger with one another during a season of brokenness. But brokenness is not a one-time phenomenon. It is an ongoing part of the committed Christian’s life. It’s not as if you swallow this hard pill one time and are then set for a lifetime of intimacy with God. Once God has marked you with brokenness, you are positioned for Him to build on this firm foundation. He will still use mini brokenness throughout your life. These regular occurrences are bricks of brokenness connected together by the cement of His grace.

    Over time, a life of brokenness becomes a stalwart structure of sanctification designed by God. Your brokenness is meant for your betterment. Indeed, you are much better when you experience a defining moment of brokenness. It deserves your embrace, rather than your rejection. If you fight brokenness, you delay God’s best. You circumvent intimacy with Christ if you bypass brokenness. Focus your energies on changing yourself, not your circumstances. Christ will handle the circumstances while you adjust your attitude. A life of brokenness is an invitation to intimacy. His closeness and salvation are worth this time of brokenness. Don’t buck brokenness. Instead, rely on Him and get to know Him at this deeper level of intimacy. You are much better broken because brokenness leads to intimacy with God.

    Post/Tweet today: A broken and contrite heart leads to intimacy with the Almighty. #wisdomhunter

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.


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

  • Am I Devoted to God?

    Posted on June 2, 2014 by Micca Campbell

    Micca Campbell

    "Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you." Psalm 73:25 (NIV)

    I long to be fully devoted to God, but it amazes me how far things can get out of line when I'm not paying attention.

    In weak moments, I can spend money on myself that I've saved to give away. I've sat halfway through a sitcom before realizing I'm laughing at things contrary to the will of God.

    Bad habits quickly gain the upper hand when I neglect to address them daily. Worse yet, a passion for self-indulgence can sometimes trump my devotion to God.

    Perhaps you can relate. If we aren't careful, it's easy to let worldly desires become obsessions, redirecting our love and devotion away from God.

    When I give more devotion to anything or anyone other than God, I'm being unfaithful. Why? Because I belong to God and He deserves my whole heart.

    Yet one of the most amazing things about our great God is no matter how unfaithful we are, God is never unfaithful to us. He is wholly devoted to His children, holding nothing back.

    Not love.

    Not forgiveness.

    Not mercy.

    Not provision, protection or His presence.

    Not even His Son.

    Our heavenly Father, by example, models devotion for us. Take another look. God is totally devoted to you. The question is, "Are you totally devoted to Him?"

    You already know my devotion isn't always what it should be. However, giving in to worldly passions isn't the only thing that exposes my lack of devotion. Holding back parts of myself from God is a sure sign of a divided heart.

    I tend to withhold my time, adoration, dedication, honesty and gratitude. Yet without full surrender on my part, I'll never become fully devoted to God. It's only when God means more to me than anything or anyone on earth that my heart will be fully devoted to Him alone. Then I can state our key verse with passion:

    "Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you" (Psalm 73:25).

    Our key verse is attributed to a music director of King David named Asaph. And from this verse, it's obvious nothing meant more to him than God. Asaph knew God was far more excellent than any object on earth.

    God is our peace and joy. He is our salvation and security. He is our daily portion and strength. Nothing of earth's wealth, honor or fame comes close to God. Even in heaven there is nothing more superb than He. For that reason, Asaph proclaims, "earth has nothing I desire besides you."

    When you and I are able to say those very words and mean them, our devotion for God will shine. But that's not all. There are benefits to being fully devoted to God.

    A devoted heart draws near to God and experiences His presence throughout the day. A fully surrendered heart calls us to fellowship with Christ so that His power can equip us to carry out His plans. Devotion allows us to adore Him for who He is: a God who withholds nothing from His children.

    A love like that reminds me of the lyrics from an old hymn penned by Isaac Watts: "Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all."

    May the Holy Spirit stir our hearts until we can say, "There is nothing I desire besides you, Lord."

    Dear Lord, I'm so grateful for your immeasurable devotion to me. Work in me until I'm completely devoted to you. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    2 Chronicles 16:9a, "For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    A devoted heart is a surrendered heart.

    What keeps you from being fully devoted to God? Could it be worldly desires? Perhaps you're holding back a part of yourself. Identify what it is and write a prayer surrendering it to God today.

    © 2014 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Influential Grandparents

    Posted on May 20, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. Psalm 145:4

    Grandparents have a significant role of influence in the lives of their grandchildren. Second only to the parents’ is an opportunity to lead their precious little ones toward a discovery of the Lord’s ways. Love qualifies us, while imagination inspires us. The one sentence job description for grandmothers and grandfathers is to influence them while leading the next generation to love God and people. We commend the works of God to our grandchildren so they learn to fear God.

    Gray hair does not guarantee wisdom, but it is indicative of a life that may have experienced lean times and perhaps prosperous days. Yes, bumps along life’s path prepares us to prepare our grandchildren. Setbacks and successes are the Lord’s crucible to purify our character. As we grow older and our hearing begins to falter, we must learn to listen better, speaking wise words like, “What we give away in life, we keep forever--what we keep in life, we have for a brief moment.”

    Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life” (Proverbs 16:31).

    Children and youth need our undivided attention and unhurried presence. We are a rock of unrivaled acceptance for them to run to. BiBi and Pop’s home is a haven of rest, an arena to be understood. We have the privilege of knowing them in a unique way--a way they have yet to understand themselves. We give them permission to be themselves. We compliment the inner and outer beauty of our granddaughters. We build up our grandson’s confidence to be a man of character with stellar skills. In their search for security, they see us as trusted confidants.

    Furthermore, make sure you are intentional in spending time with your grandparents. You may or may not have many occasions left to love them, learn from them, and be loved by them. You honor your parents when you honor your grandparents with your presence. Holiday trips may be an inconvenience, but nothing compares to their influence in your life, nurturing growth similar to a sprawling vineyard. If you take time for them to invest in you now, the seeds of their speech and the fertilizer of their faith will bear fruit throughout your life. Embrace and be embraced by the elderly.

    Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent” (Psalm 71:9).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me opportunities of quantity time to become a trusted confidant for my grandchildren.

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 4:9; Psalm 92:14-15; Isaiah 46:4; 2 Timothy 1:5; Titus 2:1-5

    Post/Tweet today:. Our one sentence job description as grandparents is to influence the next generation to love God and people. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.


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

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