Tag Archives: Genesis

3 Ways to Press Through Unanswered Prayer

LYSA TERKEURST

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20 (NIV)

I opened the anonymous letter and my heart sank. It was from another mom who wanted to make sure I had a list of all the ways one of my daughters was falling short. There in black and white she listed my daughter’s mistakes, shortcomings and frailties.

And then just to make sure I took her nameless letter seriously, she informed me she’d be sending a copy to my pastor.

My initial reaction was figure out who sent this so I could call her. Talk this through face-to-face. Assure her my husband and I were not only aware of some struggles my daughter was having but also working diligently to help her course-correct.

But as I reread the letter, I discerned it wasn’t sent from a place of love for my family or a heart that wanted to help.

From the language she used and the fact that there wasn’t a way to contact her, it was obvious she didn’t send it because she wanted the best for my daughter.

I sat on the edge of my bed and cried.

It’s so hard to have someone attack you in an area that’s already rubbed raw with hardship. Her letter was like a bullet straight to my heart.

However, it was also a wake-up call to get more intentional in praying for my daughter. I thought about her struggles a lot. I talked about her struggles. I worried about her struggles.

But thinking about, talking about and worrying about something is not the same as praying about it.

I determined to turn this letter that felt like a bullet into a blessing by using it as a catalyst to ramp up my prayer life.

Through my tears I cried out to the Lord, “I will not sacrifice Your grace for my child on the altar of people’s opinions. Of course I want my daughter to walk the straight and narrow path of great choices. But I trust You Lord to write her testimony. My main goal for her is not behavior modification but total heart transformation. I want her to want You, Lord, and Your best for her life. Give me the courage to not just pray about my daughter, but to pray her all the way through this.”

Praying her through the ups and downs wasn’t easy. There were days I wondered if God was even hearing my prayers.

It’s tough to pray someone all the way through a messy, hard, complicated situation and not see answers. Maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you are there now.

Can I speak hope into your heart with 3 ways to press through unanswered prayers?

1. Know with confidence God hears your prayers.

1 John 5:14 reminds us, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (NIV).

2. Trust that prayer makes a difference, even when you don’t see the difference.

It may take a while for you to see God answer your prayers. But don’t miss an “in the meantime answer” you can receive right away. Philippians 4: 6-7 reminds us of the immediate answer to every prayer: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Did you catch it? It’s the peace of God that will guard your heart and mind in the process while you’re waiting for God to reveal His answer to your request. When you pray, you can trust you are doing your part and God will certainly do His part.

3. Tell fear it has no place in this conversation.

These prayers are your gateway to feel an assurance you don’t see yet. But fear will beg you to focus on the problem more than God’s promises. Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (NIV).

It’s been a year and a half since I got that hard letter that prompted more frequent prayers for my daughter … that bullet that turned into a blessing. I recently visited her at college and could hardly believe my eyes.

She’s a completely different girl.

At one point during our time together, I asked her, “What finally made following Jesus wholeheartedly click for you?” She said, “Mom, I’ve made friends who love Jesus. I saw a joy in them that I wanted. So, I started doing what they do even when I didn’t want to. At first I thought getting up to do devotions was unrealistic, prayer meetings were boring, and listening to praise music, excessive. But as I kept doing these things, the Lord started changing my thought patterns. And when I started thinking about life from the standpoint of truth, I had so much more joy.”

She then paused and said words I’ve longed to hear and prayed to hear for so long, “Mom, I’ve just completely fallen in love with Jesus.”

I can hardly type those words without crying.

I pray this infuses your heart with hope to keep praying. I pray you believe God can take the things others intended to harm you or the ones you love, and use them for good to accomplish His purposes as today’s key verse reminds us.

I need a visual reminder of these truths. And I’m wondering if you do too. This month Proverbs 31 Ministries has partnered with Fashion and Compassion to create beautiful jewelry using repurposed bullets from Ethiopia. Our hope is that when we wear one of the From Bullets to Blessings pieces, you and I can be reminded to pray with deep assurance that God hears us and will bring good from this in His time.

And if you want my team and me to pray alongside you, visit my blog by clicking here and leave a comment about what you are believing for in prayer today.

Dear Lord, only You can turn what was meant for evil into good. I thank You in advance for all that You’re going to do in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Reread the three truths Lysa talked about. Then, choose one that you’re going to hold on to this week.

© 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

 

Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place?

Micca Campbell

“When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep.” Genesis 28:11 (NIV)

I sat in disbelief as my doctor explained the results of my ultrasound. “There’s a large cyst with tentacles that has consumed your left ovary,” she explained. “We need to schedule surgery as soon as possible. In my expert opinion, there’s a 70% chance you may have ovarian cancer.”

While my body felt numb, my mind raced with unanswered questions: What does this mean for me and my family? How will I get through this?

I felt completely alone and helpless. With no good choice in sight, I was between a rock and a hard place, with no way out.

Have you ever found yourself there, stuck without options? Maybe you’re there now. It’s a difficult, lonely, hurting place. For me, it’s a familiar place. I was there when my first husband died, when finances were insufficient and as my health faltered.

During that time of waiting for surgery, I found comfort in Jacob’s story. Tucked in the book of Genesis, Jacob found himself in a difficult place. He had stolen the family’s inheritance from his brother, Esau. Once Esau realized what Jacob had done, he was out to get him. Literally. So Jacob had no choice but to leave home.

Our key verse explains that Jacob had a full day of travel, and “When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep” (Genesis 28:11).

I find it remarkable that Jacob was able to lay his head on a stone and go to sleep after he had been uprooted and was running for his life. Jacob was out of his comfort zone. He was in a hard, cold place instead of his warm, comfortable bed.

When cancer was likely, I had a restless night of tossing and turning. It was challenging for me to lay my concerns down on a soft pillow and go to sleep, but not for Jacob. He took a stone and put it under his head and slept. How? How could Jacob sleep unless his security was found in something other than his ability to outrun his pursuers?

Perhaps Jacob knew a Rock that was more than a solid mineral. Maybe Jacob saw his rock as the Rock of Ages. How else could he lay his head and all his fears on a rock if it were not God the Rock as described in Psalm 18:2?

“The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (NIV)

What an amazing truth: God is our Rock!

This means when you and I find ourselves “between a rock and a hard place,” we can transform that experience from being stuck between a rock to resting on the Rock.

After reading about Jacob, I decided to change my perspective. Instead of viewing my position as being between a rock and a hard place, I envisioned myself resting on Christ the Rock and leaving all my cares there.

On the day of my surgery, I was at peace. The nurses noticed my calm disposition. I was resting on my Rock.

When the surgery was over, I awoke to good news. The cyst was benign! I’m thankful it turned out well. But even if it hadn’t, I would still find peace and rest in my Rock.

Friend, I hope when you feel yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place, you’ll see it as Christ the Rock. Then you can lay down your head and find rest in that hard place.

Dear Lord, thank You for being my Rock, my shield, safety and salvation in troubled times. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Corinthians 10:4, “[All] drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.” (NIV)

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Do you feel stuck today? How can you view your rock as God the Rock and rest in Him?

The Psalms contain words of encouragement for those who feel trapped. Read Psalm 91 and other chapters to learn of God’s faithfulness.

© 2014 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.

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

When Your Life Feels Like a Mess

Renee Swope

“But while Joseph was there in prison, the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.” Genesis 39: 20b-21 (NIV)

Do you ever feel like your days are filled with one messy relationship and situation after another? During those times, it’s easy to label my circumstances and myself as “a mess,” then wonder how God could ever use me, or my experiences, for good.

To protect my heart from discouragement, I often ask God to remind me of times when He has worked in ways I couldn’t have imagined, in my life and the lives of others. Recently He reminded me of Joseph’s story (Genesis 37-50). It reads like a series of very unfortunate events!

Imagine being beaten and thrown into a pit, sold as a slave and then relocated to a foreign country where you are falsely accused of a crime you didn’t commit and banished to die in prison. And to make matters worse, what if your siblings had initiated this evil against you?

That’s only the beginning of what happened to Joseph.

Looking behind the scenes of stories like his helps me see how God specializes in using messes to transform people into masterpieces of His grace. That’s exactly what He did here:

“[Joseph’s brothers] saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him … they stripped him of his robe … and they threw him into a pit” (Genesis 37:18, 23b–24, ESV).

Joseph was then taken to Egypt where he was sold as a slave to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh. Could things get worse? They did when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him, and despite Joseph resisting her advances, she accused him of attempting to rape her:

” … she called to the men of her household and said to them, ‘See, he has brought among us a Hebrew to laugh at us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. And as soon as he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried out, he left his garment beside me and fled and got out of the house.'”

“As soon as his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him … his anger was kindled. And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison …” (Genesis 39:14-15, 19-20a).

In Potiphar’s house, Joseph learned servant leadership and integrity; in prison, Joseph learned forgiveness, wisdom and patience. He had been wronged multiple times, yet he experienced God’s guidance through the darkness that helped Joseph get out of prison:

“And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. … And whatever he did, the LORD made it succeed” (Genesis 39:22-23, ESV).

In a messy pit, the house of Potiphar and a cold dark prison, God prepared Joseph for the amazing future and role he would play in rescuing God’s people and eventually bringing his family back together.

Through it all, Joseph stayed close to God and allowed his difficult circumstances to make him more dependent on the Lord. And in turn, God molded Joseph’s character into a great and godly leader — who was humble, loving, forgiving, patient and wise.

Friend, you might feel like you’re in a pit right now just like Joseph was, but don’t despise the mess you’re in — God is doing some behind-the-scenes work. He is preparing to unleash His limitless power in and through you!

Dear Lord, thank You for reminding me that You are always with me, just like You were with Joseph. When I face hard circumstances, I want to lean in and depend on You for wisdom, patience and grace. In all these things, I will remember that I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Romans 8:37, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (NIV)

REFLECT AND RESPOND:

Do you ever look at the messiness of your circumstances and feel discouragement or even despair? Although Joseph had every reason to be depressed, he chose not to be by looking beyond where he was, to what God was doing.

Read Joseph’s story in Genesis 37-50 and make a list of ways God used messes and difficulties to transform Joseph’s life for His glory.

© 2014 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

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

Influential Wife

Boyd Bailey

Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. Genesis 21:12

Listen to your wife; she can be God’s voice of wisdom and/or His heavenly sandpaper. Especially when you are in distress over a decision, she can bring perspective and calm to the situation. If you are tempted to make a dumb decision, she is there to remind you of your convictions. She is built-in accountability, even when you do not want to hear her voice. It may rub you the wrong way, but this irritation is how the Lord gets your attention.

Why does God frequently speak through your wife? One reason is that she has your best interest in mind. You became one in marriage; as your decisions go, so go your marriage and family. She wants you to be successful because your success or failure is a reflection of your relationship with her. Furthermore, she wants you to make wise decisions because she loves you. “Love…rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6).

Still it is sometimes hard to listen to your wife, even when you know it is God’s desire, and the benefit it provides is obvious. Perhaps you question her motive, or her way of communicating is overbearing. If it is a question of motive, ask her why she is suggesting her advice. If her method of communication is harsh or untimely, address this with her, but still receive the truth. Suggest to her how and when to speak the truth in love.

You benefit by making wiser decisions, and she benefits by becoming a better communicator of truth. Value her objectivity, as she intuitively knows if someone or some situation does not feel right. God gives her uncanny discernment. So wives, share in love and in a timely fashion; and husbands, listen intently and respectfully with an eye toward implementation.

Are you listening to learn from your lover? “It [love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:7).

Prayer: What wisdom is my wife imparting that I need to heed and follow?

Related Readings: 1 Samuel 8:7–9; Isaiah 46:10; Romans 9:7–8; Hebrews 11:17–18

Taken from the February 15th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 2”

Post/Tweet today: Truth may rub us the wrong way, but this irritation is how the Lord gets our attention. #influentialwife

© 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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

The Lord Will Provide

Wendy Blight

“On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” Genesis 22:14b (NLT)

Every time I flew, for days preceding each trip, anxiety welled up within me. I couldn’t sleep and I suffered with stomachaches, headaches, and a racing heart.

As traveling for work increased, so did the flying. I arrived exhausted. I knew I couldn’t continue living with this fear. I tried to justify this fear as different from other life-altering fears. But it wasn’t. Fear is fear, no matter the cause.

After one particularly difficult flight, I decided that was it! I was tired of this battle, so I purposed in my heart to do something.

I had battled and overcome fear in the past, but under different circumstances. So I once again called upon God to help me. This time I prayed to God by one of His great names, Yahweh Yireh, which means “the LORD will provide.” Praying to Yahweh Yireh reminded me that God saw my situation and could provide for my needs.

Yahweh Yireh, I know You are with me when I fly. Your name tells me You know what I need, and You promise to provide it. I ask You and trust You to provide what I need to overcome my fear of flying.

Step by step, He provided just what I needed to lead me to a place of freedom. I felt His gentle reassurance in my heart. I am right here, my child. I am your Yahweh Yireh. Remember the story of my servant, Abraham.

I turned to Genesis 22 to refresh my memory. In verse 14 I read, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” (NLT) You see, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, the one God promised to provide and did.

Without hesitation, Abraham took steps towards obeying God. He purposed in his heart to do the unthinkable because God asked him to. He trusted God to make a way to provide for the promise He had made. Even when Isaac asked his father where the sacrificial lamb was, Abraham exhibited great faith with his words: the Lord will provide. He then laid his son on the altar.

Just as Abraham drew back the knife to sacrifice his son, the Angel of the LORD intervened. And in that moment, Abraham spotted a ram.

God had provided a sacrifice.

God did the same for me. What Abraham faced is on a totally different level than my fear of flying. But Scripture teaches us that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is the same God He was back then with Abraham as He is in the present with me. He met me on each and every flight in ways that only He could do. He knew what I needed and provided it.

He divinely placed me next to pilots who explained the science of turbulence and the mechanics of planes. On one flight, I even sat next to an astronaut! Thank goodness I’m not flying into outer space, I thought! A friend began coming along with me who provided a comforting hand to hold … or squeeze with all my might, depending upon the flight!

With each trip, I grew more and more at peace. I found verses to pray when I flew. Memorizing and praying these truly helped me overcome my fear.

What provision do you need from Yahweh Yireh today? Peace, financial wisdom, confidence, good health? Just as He provided for me, He will provide for you. Go to Him in prayer.

I no longer dread traveling and sleep soundly the night before my flights. And most of all, I trust that Yahweh Yireh has His eyes on me and will provide what I need to bring me peace.

Yahweh Yireh, You are the Lord who will provide. I invite You to intervene in my circumstances today. Be ever present in my heart and my life and provide everything I need to overcome my fear. Amen.

Reflect and Respond:
Where do you need God’s provision in your life?

Write a prayer that boldly asks Yahweh Yireh to provide for that need.

Power Verses:
Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

© 2013 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

Will You Share Your Story?

Lysa TerKeurst

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20 (NIV)

Whenever I’ve stepped out to do something I felt God calling me to do, the voices of criticism and condemnation have been there to greet me. Early on in ministry the voices were loud and cruel. “You’ll never be a speaker.” “You are not wanted.” “Look at you. Do you really think God could use someone like you?”

Sometimes I measured myself against other people. “She’s so clever. She’s so educated. She’s so connected. Who am I compared to all that?” Gradually, I shrank back. I pulled away. I put up a front of perfection with carefully crafted words and a house and kids that looked just right.

Polished on the outside, yet completely undone on the inside.

Eventually the Lord called my bluff. I was simultaneously going through the books Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and Victory Over the Darkness by Neil Anderson. Often tears streamed from my eyes while attempting to get through the lessons. But one day it was more than just tears. It was sobs pouring from a chest so heavy with burdens I thought I might literally break apart.

Down on my face, I asked God to speak to me. What I heard in reply was one simple, life-changing question: Will you share your story?

“Yes, I will share my story. The good parts that are safe and tidy and acceptable.”

But safe and tidy and acceptable were not what God was looking for. He wanted the impossible.

Absolutely impossible … in my strength.

God met every one of my arguments with scriptures about relying not on my strength, but on His.

He untangled my need for approval with the challenge to live for an audience of One. He helped me see where the voices of doubt were coming from and challenged me to consider the source. And, quite simply, God kept whispering He loved me over and over again.

The first time I shared my story was an act of absolute obedience. I kept my head down and my guard up. I expected the ladies listening to stone me … especially when I got to the part about my abortion. The shame of childhood abuse and rejection was nothing compared to the shame of my choice to abort my child.

I’d wept over that choice.

I’d repented.

I’d gone to God hundreds of times and asked for forgiveness.

I’d laid it down every time there was an altar call.

But nothing brought the redemption that day brought. As I shook at that podium, I shared exactly what God asked me to.

And then the miracle happened.

When I finished and dared to look up, tear-stained faces were looking back at me. Mouths were whispering, “Me too. Me too.”

In that moment, I finally understood the meaning behind Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Seeing God use the very thing that made me feel utterly worthless to help others changed everything. I was finally breaking free from Satan’s chains of shame and could see his lies for what they were. In that moment, I felt victorious—not in my own power, but in the Lord’s strength and ability to use all things for good.

My saying yes to God gave others the courage to say yes to Him as well. Burdens were lifted. Lives were changed. Hidden secrets were touched by grace. It’s a beautiful thing when women say yes to God. In what way is He calling you to say yes?

Dear Lord, thank You for making the impossible, possible. Thank You for taking every event in my life and using it for good. You are worthy to be praised. I want to follow Your plan for my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Reflect and Respond:
What has God placed on your heart to share with others?

Be intentional in encouraging someone with a compliment, positive note, or text message today. The Lord wants to use our words in our own lives, as well others’.

Power Verse:
Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)

Taken from What Happens When Women Say Yes to God Devotional © Copyright 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. Published by Harvest House Publishers. Eugene, OR. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

© 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

Forgetful Friends

Boyd Bailey

“The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him” (Genesis 40:23).

Sometimes friends forget. They forget birthdays, anniversaries, commitments, and what is important to their friends. The forgetfulness of friends facilitates frustration and disappointment. After all, some of these friends have been past recipients of your help and encouragement. You have been there for them during their days of discouragement. Now when the tables have turned and you are in need, they do not seem to be near.

Maybe they are too busy with life, maybe they are buried in their own troubles, or maybe they have simply forgotten you. Unfortunately, some friendships are tentative and unpredictable. When adversity strikes, you are able to filter out false friends from forever friends. Fair-weather friends will fly in and out of your life. Some friendships are expedient for the moment while others compound in loyalty and love as the years pass.

However, be careful not to place expectations on your friends. Expectations increase the chances for disappointment. Friends will let you down if you hold lofty expectations over them. If your friends feel the pressure to perform a certain way, they will push back in fear or resentment. Friendships are meant for release—not control.

Companions are a gift from Christ. Steward them well so you can be trusted with more. It is tempting to take our friends for granted, especially long-term friendships, because they are low maintenance and tend to get the least attention. But, in reality, even old friends need nurturing. They need a phone call, a visit, or written correspondence. They need time. Friendships grow or atrophy, but care and attention fertilize a friendship.

Moreover, make it a goal for your spouse to become your best friend. You and your spouse sleep and eat together. You raise children together. You manage the home together. You budget money together. You hurt together. You laugh together. You vacation together. You are growing old together. Since you spend so much time “doing life” together, it is imperative you fortify your friendship. You are not just tolerating each other for the children’s sake. Your goal is to become best friends, so when the children move out, you are not bored and relationally bankrupt. Fun friendships are intentional.

The marriage relationship is a friendship not to forget. If you ignore this friend, you will wake up one day with regrets. Remember your spouse’s birthday, your anniversary, and all those little things that make him or her feel special. When you remember a friend, you honor a friend. When you remember a friend, you feed a friendship. Friendships fatigue for lack of attention. Remember a friend today. Remind this friend how special he or she is to you and to God. Love this friend, and expect nothing in return. Be a friend and you will have friends.

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24 nkjv).

Prayer: Am I a friend worthy of friendship? What friend do I need to love and encourage?

Related Readings: 1 Samuel 20:42; Job 16:20–21; Proverbs 27:10; John 15:13–15

Post/Tweet: Some friendships are expedient for the moment, while others compound in loyalty and love as the years pass. #forgetfulfriends

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

God’s Favor

Boyd Bailey

“When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned.” Genesis 39:3-4

The Lord’s favor rests on His followers who remain faithful to Him. It is humbling to know that God extends wisdom and grace to those who go hard after Him. Though someone is separated from loved ones by a long distance, the Lord is nearby to impart His calming presence. Rest assured Jesus brings success to souls who submit to His will.

Moreover, favor with God leads to favor with man. A heart connection on earth takes place when there has been a heart connection in heaven. People of influence are on the look out for those whom they can trust. It is not a small thing to delegate management and leadership responsibilities—hence those with character are entrusted with more.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” (Luke 16:10).

Therefore, stay faithful in your responsibilities as a servant leader at work and home. It’s a joyful attitude in the middle of junk that Jesus blesses. Your boss may be unreasonable, your spouse insensitive or your child disrespectful, but the Lord and discerning people see your humble heart and will reward you with respect, rest and responsibility.

What are you to do when God prospers you and your family? What are His eternal expectations? Certainly the Lord looks for His glory to be revealed through a life that reflects praise and thanksgiving. When we smash the idols of materialism, sex and power replacing them with modest living, love and service—people want to know why. Questions about our “peculiar” lifestyle are meant to point people to Jesus.

“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Peter 2:11-12).

So, instead of seeking the world’s favor—submit to God’s authority—and His favor will follow. Blessings become bountiful in a life that longs to love the Lord and people. As the moon is a reflection of the sun’s light, be a reflection of the Son’s light—you will illuminate the Lord’s ways to worldly wisdom and to wayward souls. The Lord is on the look out to extend His blessings on those who fear Him, trust Jesus and love people.

“The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord” (Acts 11:21).

Prayer: Am I in a position of humble obedience and trust, so I can experience the favor of God?

Related Readings: 1 Chronicles 28:19; Isaiah 62:3; Luke 1:66; 1 John 2:8-10

Post/Tweet today: Instead of seeking the world’s favor, submit to God’s authority and His favor will follow. #God’sfavor

Related Resources
Billy Graham – The Reason for My Hope: Salvation

In The Reason for My Hope, Graham presents the core message that has guided his life and calling for more than 70 years. Filled with new stories and timeless truth, he once again calls the world back to its spiritual priority as only he can.

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

Grandparent’s Blessing

Boyd Bailey

“They are the sons God has given me here,” Joseph said to his father. Then Israel said, “Bring them to me so I may bless them.”    Genesis 48:9

God’s gift to grandchildren is their grandparents’ blessing. It is significant for grandsons and granddaughters to receive this grand blessing. Grandchildren are certainly a blessing; who can argue this? Their smiles bless. So does their laughter. Their creative and passionate conversations bless. Their infant coos and twinkling eyes, their honesty and love, their trust and imagination all bless. Grandchildren are a blessing without a whole lot of effort. The minute they showed up, they blessed.  Grandchildren are a grand gift from God, but there is more to the grand blessing of grandchildren. They are created by God to be blessed by their grandparents, so not only are they a blessing to their grandparents, they are to be blessed by their grandparents.

That blessing is critical to the spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being of children. There is a greater family purpose beyond their immediate relationship with mom and dad. This is more easily understood in an agrarian society where the family is close and connected. They are close in proximity and have aligned passions around work, play, home, and church. Grandparents are nearby to bless with kind words and understanding ears. They model good money management and teach their grandchildren everything from how to whittle rough sticks of wood into smooth works of art, to how to eat peanuts from a soft drink bottle. They bless you without your even knowing that you’re being blessed. Therefore, position your family to interact and engage with their grandparents. Visit them often. Invite them over at holidays and on the spur of the moment. Create environments for your children in which they can be blessed by their grandparents. They are not competition, but agents of Almighty God. Do not deny them the opportunity to be blessed and to bless.

The blessings of confidence, courage, and candor come from being around grandparents who care. The few grandparents who couldn’t care less may eventually come around because God created them to care. Don’t give up on them, but keep praying for their care to awaken from its selfish slumber. Give them a chance, for Christ created grandkids to be objects of their grandparents’ affection and blessing. Encourage your children to visit the home of your parents, and trust God to unleash His blessing through your parents. Their unconditional love makes your child a better son or daughter and you, a better parent.

Grandparents, bless your grandchildren with a legacy of love for God and people. Do not become the center of attention; instead lead them to fall in love with Jesus. God will live in your grandbabies beyond your life. Bless them with Bible reading and prayer. Bless them with worship at church. Bless them with stories and adventure. Bless them with generosity. Bless them with obedience to God. Bless them with a life worth emulating. Grandchildren are not complete without the blessing of their grandparents. You invest in eternity when you bless your grandchildren.

The Bible says, “The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old” (Proverbs 20:29).

Post/Tweet: Create environments for your children in which they can be blessed by their grandparents. #grandparentsblessing

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

Fruit of Pain

Boyd Bailey

Someone may be chastened on a bed of pain with constant distress in their bones, so that their body finds food repulsive and their soul loathes the choicest meal… Yet if there is an angel at their side, a messenger, one out of a thousand, sent to tell them how to be upright… let their flesh be renewed like a child’s.. Job 33:19-20, 23, 25.

A variety of fruits can be produced out of pain. One is the clear understanding of what breaks the heart of God. Sin may surface through the sift of suffering that invites genuine contrition, confession and repentance. Pain can be a symptom of a wound, self inflicted or inflicted from an unfair situation or an insensitive person. So, whether sin has entered the heart from the inside or out, it requires attention or it will erode the soul. Distress that draws us to God purifies our heart.

Another fruit of pain is instruction from the Lord. It is an opportunity for God to instruct His children in a better way. A human being on his back is much more teachable than an individual running to and fro in frantic activity. We look up to heaven when we lie down face up, leveled by the forces of physical and/or emotional upheaval. Yes, our loving Heavenly Father whispers intimate instruction to His loved ones who listen to His voice. Pain gives insight into God.

Jesus said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’ Matthew 26:38

Our Heavenly Father’s comfort is yet another outcome of suffering under the yoke of pain. As we cry out in desperate dependence on Him He assures us of His presence. It may be our Savior’s silent reassurance: His speaking through another sincere saint, His  calming us with a change in circumstance or soothing our soul with Scripture. The Lord is not limited in His long arm of care and comfort. Our pain is His opportunity to apply His healing balm of love.

Above all, see pain as a pass through for the grace of God in your life. Your challenges become a conduit to care for other hurting hearts. Your energy is not consumed by your cares alone, but out of the depths of personal hurt you are able to bring the spirit of your sympathizing Savior Jesus to others. You consume the fruit of pain with your hungry heart and by faith your fruitful spirit feeds others who feel out of favor with God. Thus, out of your pain invite the Spirit to cleanse your heart, learn from the Lord’s instruction, enjoy Christ’s sweet comfort and comfort other hurting hearts.

He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the Lord has cursed. Genesis 5:29

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for meeting me in my pain with Your conviction, Your instruction and Your comfort. Use me to comfort others with Christ’s love.

Related Readings: 2 Chronicles 6:29; Job 6:10; Psalm 38:6-8, 69:29; Hebrews 12:11; 1 Peter 2:19

Post/Tweet today: Invite the Spirit to cleanse your heart,  and comfort other hurting hearts. #freedup

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