• Store Locator

Author Archives: Family Christian

  • Find Your Brave

    Find Your Brave by Holly Wagner

    “She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.” Proverbs 31:15 (ESV)

    When my daughter, Paris, was in middle school, we participated in the school’s mandatory science fair. The teacher’s instructions stated that parents were not to help their children. I was elated; I had already graduated from middle school and felt no desire to do another science project.

    Paris was interested in horses, so she chose to build a papier-mâché horse. And it did vaguely resemble a horse — except it leaned significantly to the left, and we’re still not sure why.

    I helped her carry her project to the fair and was interested in seeing all the other sixth grade projects. After we set up Paris’ display, I looked around the room and saw some amazing projects, including a giant set of lungs that breathed and a map of the United States that lit up according to how much power each city used.

    I looked back at Paris’ leaning horse and quickly realized that either some parents cheated, or we had somehow ended up at a university science fair!

    After I reassured Paris that her project was interesting, I began to walk around the room, mainly to give myself time to forgive all those cheater parents. As I perused the submissions, I encountered the most amazing project: a miniature re-creation of the Biosphere 2, which I’m not so sure was built by a sixth grader. But I’m not bitter.

    In 1991, eight scientists lived for two years in an artificial environment in Oracle, Ariz., called Biosphere 2.

    Inside the 3-acre closed system was a small ocean, a rain forest, a desert and a savanna grassland. The scientists produced every kind of weather pattern except wind. Eventually the lack of wind caused the tree trunks to weaken and bend over. It’s the pressure of wind that strengthens tree trunks and allows them to hold up their own weight.

    As I stared at that project and thought about the lessons from the Biosphere 2, I realized something important about life. Like it or not, we have to admit that weathering storms builds our strength. So as much as I hate challenges, I think we need them. Proverbs 31 tells us why.

    At first, I was rather put off by Proverbs 31:15, the verse that challenges us to rise “while it is yet night.” But I believe that verse has less to do with the time of day we get up and everything to do with being women who rise up when chaos and heartbreak and calamity abound. In the darkest hour, she rises.

    On a personal level, perhaps your world is shaking. Maybe cancer has struck your family, or a loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol. Perhaps divorce has torn apart your home. At times it seems there has never been more pain, disease, famine and heartbreak than now, and yet God has entrusted you and me with this moment in history!

    When everything around us is in the midst of chaos, when our own world is quaking, we are to be “the she” who rises. She does not wilt; she does not complain; she does not blame. She finds her brave, and she rises.

    She actually grows stronger in the midst of dark times when it seems the whole world is trembling. God is looking for a company of women who will find their brave and rise in the midst of any and every challenge — and then be a force for good to help others find their brave.

    We do not have to remain stuck in our trials! We grow through them, and as daughters of the King, we can rise in the midst of dark, shaking moments.

    Lord, You know the trouble I face today. I need Your strength to face it bravely and be a woman who helps others be brave as well. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” (ESV) Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (ESV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: What is the most recent storm you’ve experienced? How might God be using that storm to make you stronger? How can you be a woman who “rises” when trouble and heartache come?

    © 2016 by Holly Wagner. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks WaterBrook Multnomah for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

    Click here to view our policy on 3rd party links.

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

  • Slow Down and Listen

    Slow Down and Listen by Jill Hoven

    “Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” Psalm 46:10 (NLT)

    The words “Be still” will now forever remind me of my mom.

    “We’re home and fine,” I quickly called to tell her one day. I was always rushing. She simply wanted confirmation we had arrived home safely, but it felt unnecessary to call her.

    Slow down; be patient, whispered a small voice in my mind. I pushed it aside, hung up the phone and rushed my toddlers to bed.

    “Just one more thing?” Mom asked as I was leaving her hospital room, a few months later.

    Pay attention; listen, whispered the still small voice.

    I understood and returned to her bedside as she shared important information with me. She wanted to ensure I knew this before her procedure the next day, in case something went wrong.

    “Everything will be fine, Mom,” I reassured her while wondering if it would be. It wasn’t. Over the next few days, complications of a rare disease and a series of small strokes stole Mom’s short-term memory.

    “Where are you going?” Mom asked me about a year later, as I sat down next to her bed to give us both manicures. She couldn’t remember a necessary work party I was attending later, even though I’d already told her a few times. My heart still broke when she couldn’t remember things, but it didn’t really matter anymore. I wanted her nails to look nice for her upcoming funeral, but it was honestly just an excuse to be with her.

    Be still; be present, whispered the still small voice.

    Mom also couldn’t remember she was dying, which was a blessing. So we chatted about the party as I filed, buffed and polished. It was to be our last conversation.

    A week later, peering down at those lovingly manicured nails in her casket, I whispered to the still small voice, Now what?

    “Be still and know,” came the reply. I knew God’s presence. He carried me through the year of Mom’s whirlwind illness and death. He would continue to carry me through the next year of grief and searching. But being still was difficult.

    I move quickly and always have. I rush to be on time, get things done and hurry to the next agenda item. This rushing often serves me well but also causes missed moments. I see this now.

    God gently used my hardest days to teach me this lesson.

    Slow down. Be patient. Pay attention. Listen. Be still. Be present.

    His whispers to me then are what I teach others now. God directed me to a new path when I was quiet and still enough to listen. He’s continually teaching me.

    Me? The girl who rushes? God asked me to help people with memory issues. Me? The one who’s always gone fast? I must now slow down and be patient. Me. The one who finds it difficult to stop moving … is learning to be still.

    God is all around us. He speaks in His creation, a child’s laughter, a friend’s comfort or a hushed whisper. I always knew His presence but wasn’t always listening. God allows people, situations and things in our lives for reasons we may never understand. But He never leaves us; He is always present.

    Understanding His presence and being still enough to sense it are two different things. I needed to slow down and quiet myself long enough to fully hear Him.

    He’s been speaking my whole life. His inaudible whispers to my soul, the sense of what to do, say or not say — these were always present. But in my haste, I often failed to see or hear them. Making time, slowing down and putting God first has helped me hear His voice more clearly. I now know Him more and encourage others to as well. Hearing His whispers has led me to new adventures I could never have known on my own. But first, I needed to be still.

    Do you sense His presence and still small voice? Pay attention. Slow down. Be still and know.

    Dear Lord, we know Your presence is ever present with us. Equip our hearts and minds to be still and know this in the depths of our soul. Help us to hear and follow Your voice alone. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: John 10:27, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (NLT) Hebrews 12:25, “Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven!” (NLT)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: What is one way to adjust your day to ensure you hear God speaking to you?

    What would change in your life if you were to slow down, be still and listen to God today?

    © 2016 by Jill Hoven. All rights reserved.

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

  • 4 Cozy Ways to Decorate Your Home for Fall

    Set your dining room table with festive dishes that remind you just how blessed you truly are.

    As the seasons change from summer to fall, we enter into a time of thanksgiving and reflection; thanking God for all that He has blessed us with this year. We open our homes to family and friends and share in the joys and blessings of the season together. Prepare your home for harvest by creating a warm and welcoming space with these fall decorating ideas.

    Freshen Up Your Front Porch Swap out your summer flowers for more seasonal plants by adding mums to your flowerpots. Consider hanging an autumn wreath on the door or displaying pumpkins, squash and corn stalks on your porch to create a festive look and feel.

    Decorate Your Dining Room Table Craft a centerpiece by placing textured fabrics in a basket and filling it with squash, leaves and acorns. Trade in your every day dishes for festive plates, platters and mugs with inspirational messages that remind you just how blessed you truly are.

    Light Candles Take advantage of the shorter days by lighting candles in the evening. Not only do they look pretty, they make your home smell wonderful. Place them in several rooms throughout the house to create a cozy ambiance.

    Set Aside a Quiet Space Transform an area of your home into a cozy reading corner. Use this space to cuddle up with your devotions and spend some time getting into God’s Word. Lay out a throw blanket and some fluffy pillows to kick up the comfort level.

    Incorporating even one of these ideas will make your home feel warm and cozy for fall so pick your favorite and get started. Need an excuse to decorate? We’re offering 25% Off Harvest Gifts, including wall art and dining products, now through October 13.

    How do you prepare your home for the harvest season? Share your favorite fall decorating tips in the comments below.

  • What Mud Puddles Can Teach Us About True Friends

    What Mud Puddles Can Teach Us About True Friends by Alicia Bruxvoort

    “A true friend loves regardless of the situation, and a real brother exists to share the tough times.” Proverbs 17:17 (VOICE)

    I sat in my mini-van in her driveway and agonized over what I would say if she answered the door.

    I hadn't planned to stop as I passed her house on my way to the grocery store, but something my friend said the day before kept running through my head like a doleful echo.

    We’d been sitting on the edge of the sandbox at the park, our young ones building castles at our feet, when she’d mentioned a personal struggle that threatened to steal her hope.

    She masqueraded her vulnerability with a flimsy giggle, but the tears pooling in her eyes bore silent testimony to her pain.

    I hadn’t known what to say, so I’d pressed right through the moment with a one-armed hug and an empathetic nod, and we quickly shifted our conversation to something more comfortable — books we’d read and upcoming church events, potty training woes and soccer schedules.

    But then a verse showed up in my daily devotion before I raced out the door. And a clamp of conviction squeezed my heart in a quiet knowing.

    “A true friend loves regardless of the situation, and a real brother exists to share the tough times” (Proverbs 17:17).

    So there I sat in her driveway, idling in uncertainty and wishing I knew what to do.

    What if I knocked on the door and messed it all up? After all, I wasn’t a psychologist or a pastor, a doctor or a counselor. I was just a sleep-deprived mom with struggles of her own.

    I was about to shift my van into reverse and ignore the nudge in my soul, when I remembered a simple conversation I'd had with my 8-year-old daughter.

    Hannah had come home from second grade with a bloodstain on her sleeve and a splotch of dried-up mud on her backside.

    The story spilled from her lips between bites of apple slices and Goldfish crackers: “Grace got hurt at recess today. She scraped her knee on the cement when she tripped on the kickball and fell in a puddle.”

    I’d swallowed a giggle, as I tried to picture the clumsy scene.

    “So you took her to the nurse?” I’d asked as I attempted to fill in the gaps.

    “No,” Hannah replied with a humble shrug. “Grace’s leg hurt too bad to walk. But the fastest boy in second grade said he’d run and get the teacher for help. So I just sat with her until the teacher came.”

    “In the mud puddle?” I’d retorted with an incredulous laugh.

    “Yeah …” Hannah had replied with a quiet sigh. “I think she just needed a friend to be with her while she waited.”

    I’d wrapped my daughter in a proud hug and vowed to remember what my puddle-percher already knew.

    When we have nothing to give, we can give ourselves.

    When we can't fix the problem, we can offer our presence.

    When we can't heal a hurt, we can hold a hand.

    When we can't find the words, we can render our with-ness.

    I stared once more at my friend’s front door and then dropped my head in prayer. Lord, show me what to do. When I opened my eyes, I noticed a dried splotch of chocolate milk splattered across the knee of my well-worn jeans.

    The splatter was a battle scar from our hurried breakfast chaos, but in that moment on the driveway, the unsightly blotch of chocolate bore an uncanny resemblance to a murky brown mud puddle.

    So, I took a cue from a second grader who understands friendship a little better than her mama, slipped out of the van and walked up the front sidewalk. I rang the doorbell and waited with nothing to offer but my stain-splattered self and my humble gift of with-ness.

    Because sometimes more than Band-Aids or Bible verses, more than rescue or repair, our struggling friends just need someone who is willing to sit with them in the muck.

    Dear God, give me courage to offer the gift of my presence to a friend in need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Proverbs 18:24, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (NIV)

    John 15:14, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” (NLT)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: Spend some time with a friend who needs the gift of your presence this week.

    If you are in a “mud puddle” season, invite Jesus to be the friend in your mess. Read Matthew 1:23 and savor the meaning of His Name.

    © 2016 by Alicia Bruxvoort. All rights reserved.

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

  • Don’t Let This Heartbreak Destroy You

    Don’t Let This Heartbreak Destroy You by Lysa TerKeurst

    “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

    There’s a line from the prayer my father-in-law prayed over us at our wedding that I think of quite often: “Lord, give them enough hurts to keep them human and enough failures to keep their hands clenched tightly in Yours.”

    There were many other lines of blessing in the prayer, but this part made me tilt my head, heavy with sprayed-up curls and a homemade veil.

    My face flushed at the realization I’d forgotten to cross that part out.

    I’d seen the prayer beforehand. It was all typed out. But in the rush of everything, I’d forgotten. And now, we had essentially asked God for heartbreak. At our wedding. Awesome.

    But Art’s dad is a man of wisdom. And I’m thankful he didn’t take it upon himself to strike that part.

    I couldn’t have understood the prayer on that day full of white tulle, giddy whispers of love and my 3-year-old sister singing “Happy Birthday” during the lighting of the unity candle. But as life has unfolded, I now very much understand the beauty of those lines.

    Our life could have been very self-focused. Our marriage. Our home. Our kids. Our plans. Our life.

    But God wanted so much more from us. He didn’t bring us together simply to build a life that would make us happy. He brought us together to be partners in the purpose He assigned. Our own strength would not have prepared us for kingdom assignments. It probably would have crippled us with selfishness and pride.

    Heartbreak is a part of life.

    It’s certainly been a part of different seasons of my marriage. And though every single hurt seemed like an exposure of weakness in our relationship, it actually brought out a strength we couldn’t have gotten any other way. The breaking of us has actually been the making of us ... the God-strengthened us He could use.

    I don’t know what kind of heartbreak you are walking through right now, sweet friend.

    Maybe your marriage didn’t remain standing under the weight of life. Maybe you’ve never been married, but you long to be. Please don’t get stuck thinking these truths are only for couples.

    Married or not, do not let the heartbreak you’ve experienced be wasted. God is still with you. His promises still stand. Soak in His truths and let them seep into the deepest places of your heart rubbed raw with uncertainty.

    Don’t let what breaks your heart destroy your life.

    Hold fast to Jesus and remember: This breaking of you will be the making of you. A new you. A stronger you. Strengthened not with the pride of perfection, but with the sweet grace of one who knows an intimate closeness with her Lord.

    And don’t miss out on the hope God offers in our key verse: “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit,” (Psalm 34:18).

    Using the original language for this verse, you could read it like this: The Lord draws near to the one who’s had her heart shattered and delivers her from exposed grief to victory.

    He draws you near despite the sharp evidence of your grieving heart. The anger. The deep disappointment and disillusionment. The questions of why you, and why now? The comparisons that make you feel as though God loves other people more. How could He let this happen? The cussing and banging your fist on the steering wheel. The shame and anguish. All of these are shards of being shattered.

    God isn’t afraid of your sharp edges that may seem quite risky to others. He doesn’t pull back. He pulls you close. His love and grace covers your exposed grief. And step-by-step He leads you to a new place of victory.

    Father God, thank You for the way You tenderly minister to the shattered places in my heart. I’m so grateful You are able to use every heartbreak in my life for good. I am choosing to believe today that You are leading me to a place of strength and victory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Psalm 34:17, “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: Are you currently walking through a season of heartbreak? How could God actually use it to strengthen you?

    © 2016 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • He Never Gives Up

    He Never Gives Up by Lynn Cowell

    “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

    The crunching of the gravel ceased as our van rolled to a complete stop. We had traveled from a swarming, heavily populated city in India to find the number of people had decreased, but the poverty had only increased.

    Before that morning, I thought I was prepared for what we would see; our guide shared a video detailing the environment with us the night before. I soon learned a camera could not capture, nor is the human heart made to take in, the suffering we saw before us.

    A handful of families made their home together, living as rag-pickers. Each day, their work consisted of going to the dump and pulling out anything of value — plastic, cardboard, fabric. After a full day’s work, they’d redeem their collections, earning approximately a dollar a day.

    You would expect to see despair on the faces of those whose daily lives seem so dismal. Yet as the villagers emerged from their tarp-covered tent homes to greet us, not even the 110-degree temperature was enough to wilt their warm welcome. The children came first, extending their darling hands and dressed in vibrant shades of pinks, purples and whites.

    Though our language was a barrier, our smiles connected us. They’d been expecting us.

    Once inside the makeshift home, we were ushered to seats of honor with garlands of flowers placed upon our necks as these beautiful people expressed their gladness for our arrival. After offering a power-filled prayer of praise, the leader began songs of joyful worship, turning the dark, dingy shelter into a sanctuary. Louder and louder, the people clapped and sang praises to God for His goodness to them. Their glimmering eyes shone brightly; hope and gladness poured out.

    While these are the poorest of the poor in India, the outcast and rejected of their culture, these people are not without hope. They’re on a new path, taking them to a new place.

    This journey out of darkness and into life began when a man named Raju came to know Christ as his savior. From there, he became a student in a literacy class offered by Mission India. Besides teaching Raju to read, write and calculate, this class taught him more of the new life Jesus died to bring him.

    Raju didn’t keep this to himself. After completing his course, he became a literacy teacher and then a church planter.

    Raju has become an advocate for his village. With this new confidence, he helped his village obtain a well, land rights and food rations. He is passing on his new knowledge.

    The villagers are also learning to read and write and even more importantly, aout the salvation Jesus offers. They are growing daily in their relationship with Jesus through the literacy classes and church.

    As we watched these beautiful people singing praises to Jesus, our Mission India leader asked, “Would any one like to give a word of encouragement?” Philippians 1:3-6 immediately came to my mind and I asked to share. “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (NIV).

    Culture has shouted to these precious people: You are not wanted. Your life doesn’t matter. You are not welcome. In contrast, Christ says to us all: You are wanted. Your lives do matter. You are welcome.

    Once Jesus begins His work in our lives, He never gives up on us. He loves us, encouraging us to reach our fullest potential, no matter where we live or what others say about us.

    We are partners together in sharing the Gospel, the Good News of the new life Christ offers each and every one of us. He will not stop working this good work in us, and He will never stop working in the lives of our new family members in India as well.

    Lord, no matter where we live or how different our circumstances, we are brothers and sisters in Christ, and family supports each other. May we do all we can — not only to share from what we have been given, but to help the Good News of Your new life reach the unreached. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Philippians 1:9-11, “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God.” (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: Like these people in India, have there been times in your life when you have felt like an outcast?

    How can a relationship with Jesus bring healing to this hurt?

    © 2016 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

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

  • Praying Like a Drunk Woman

    Praying Like a Drunk Woman by Dannah Gresh

    “In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly.” 1 Samuel 1:10 (NIV)

    I once lobbed a meatloaf at my husband’s head in front of my children.

    Having just returned home after a few days away, I found laundry looming over my head like Mount Everest and a family who’d existed primarily on Fruit Loops for the extended weekend. It was one of those “emotionally wealthy” times of the month for me. And my family was emotionally needy.

    I decided to bake a cheese-stuffed, bacon-wrapped, barbecue-laden meatloaf to make all things right in the world. The first bite was almost to my mouth when my husband did the unthinkable — he mentioned the laundry. The meatloaf went flying, and there was no taking it back.

    That’s when I noticed the fear in my children’s sweet eyes. (Proof to you, I hope, that I don’t often throw meatloaf or any other items — food or otherwise.) I did what any woman would do: I ran to the bathroom.

    I wept bitterly. I was embarrassed by what I’d done and fearful it would ensure my children spent hours on a psychiatrist’s sofa.

    As I began to pray frantically, my husband opened the door on his white-hot mess of a wife who was praying so hard she looked insane. He offered me his hand as if he were asking me to dance. When I accepted, he led me back to the kitchen table, pulled out my chair and seated me like a princess. He then delivered a comedy routine that to this day I say deserves to be on late night television, making this memory one of our family’s funniest. (Prayer answered!)

    I’m not the only woman to cry out to God in a prayer that makes her look half-crazy. Today’s key verse describes a woman who did the same.

    “In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly” (1 Samuel 1:10, emphasis added).

    Hannah, a mother whose name makes it into the Bible, poured out her soul-breaking pleadings to God in such a way that she looked not just crazy, but drunk.

    Eli, the priest, notices her.

    This was a day and age of pretense and sophistication — not spontaneous, unveiled expression. The behavior of a woman in public was especially guarded.

    But not for this woman.

    The fear of man had fallen from her in her desperation.

    The Bible says Hannah was praying so hard, her mouth was moving, but no sound came out. Distraught emotion distorts her expression.

    Eli, the man of God, concludes: This woman has had too much wine.

    “How long are you going to stay drunk?” he wrongfully challenges in 1 Samuel 1:14a (NIV).

    Hannah claims she’s only drunk with the desire to be a mother.

    And the man of God sees. As clearly as he sees the wet tears on her face, he sees the heart behind the guttural pleadings erupting from her soul.

    “Eli answered, ‘Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him,’” (1 Samuel 1:17, NIV).

    And the peace comes. “She said, ‘May your servant find favor in your eyes.’ Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast,” (1 Samuel 1:18, NIV).

    As I read the account of Hannah earlier this year, I felt a prayer of my own leap out from within me. I wrote it in the margin of my Bible: “Lord, make me drunk with prayer!”

    I prayed what was really in my heart — the good, the bad, the ugly. After all, God already knew it was in there.

    And you know what? It works. I feel peace after I pray like that. My problems aren’t always solved, but my heart is quieted. Maybe when the Bible says to “cast your cares” on God in Psalm 55:22, this is what it’s talking about.

    Some people might misread and misunderstand you when you pray as fervently as Hannah did. But isn’t that the point of prayer? Isn’t prayer the tool of an audaciously optimistic woman? One whose faith rises above what her eyes tell her to be true? If prayer makes us anything, it should be radical.

    Dear friend, God already knows what’s going on in your heart — the good, the bad, the ugly. Why not just pour it out?

    Lord, I haven’t been bringing myself to You honestly. You know what’s inside of me and where the bitterness and anxiety rest. Please help me to pray like I mean it today, free of all pretense. I’ll trust You to sort it out. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: Take 5 minutes today and get really honest with God about what creates fear, anxiety and bitterness in you as a woman. Then let your anxieties and fears burst forth in prayer.

    © 2016 by Dannah Gresh. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Harvest House Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

    Click here to view our policy on 3rd party links.

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

  • It’s Taking Too Long

    It’s Taking Too Long by Wendy Pope

    When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land.” Exodus 13:17a (NLT)

    Maggie and her husband, James, prayed their son would become a godly man, work hard for honest wages and someday lead a family of his own.

    But Caleb had a different idea about how his life would be, and he wanted to live by his terms.

    Though his parents offered grace and godly guidance, Caleb refused to obey their guidelines. As the head of their home, James told his son he could no longer live there. With a broken heart, Maggie supported her husband’s leadership and watched her son pack his bags.

    For the next five years, she prayed. For five years, she waited. For five years, she carried his Bible in her purse.

    We often interpret our seasons of wait as inconvenient, an interruption on the way to the ultimate outcome. Might I suggest we view our wait as an intermission, rather than an interruption? Maggie’s intermission started the day the locks were changed.

    Thankfully, Maggie used her intermission as a time of refreshment and connection with the Lord. She spent time with Him in Bible study and prayer. She invested in her relationship with her husband.

    Maggie’s commitment to the Lord deepened, and she began to trust Him more than she did before her son left. She determined not to view her wait as an interruption but to serve the Lord by teaching young married women how to love and respect their husbands. As she grew in her relationship with God, her commitment to pray for Caleb never waned.

    In our key verse, the Israelites are headed for a pause. "When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land” (Exodus 13:17a).

    God knew there was a shorter route. He also knew the Israelites’ propensity to run back to the familiar places of sin and to their lives without devotion to Him. This longer route, this intermission, gave the Israelites the opportunity to learn to trust and obey God. Through the pause, they would learn that a daily dependency on God is the only way to truly live.

    Are you stuck in a holding pattern? Ask God to reveal any area of rebellion. The Lord is close by to forgive our sins and provide all we need to enjoy the freedom of His presence and the fullness of His plans.

    Lord, I know there are times when I grumble and complain about the path my life is taking. I know You are with me, even in the intermissions of life. Search and examine my heart today. I want to experience You each day as I learn to trust You and find joy in obeying Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    P.S. During her intermission, Maggie fully lived her renewed relationship with God and faithfully prayed for her prodigal son. One day, out of the blue, she received the text that said, “I’ve packed my bags. I’m ready to come home and follow the Lord.” Life after her pause hasn’t been perfect, but watching her son grow in his faith, fall more in love with his heavenly Father (while working in harmony, side-by-side with his earthly father) has made her every minute of her wait worthwhile.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Luke 11:28, “He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.’” (NIV) Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: Are you in an intermission? Pray today’s prayer and patiently wait as God reveals His answer.

    Seek out an accountability partner who will speak truth in love to you. Sometimes we have blind spots to sin in our own lives and need others to help refine us.

    © 2016 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

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

  • How to Write a Christian Thank You Card in 5 Simple Steps

    In a world where texts, tweets and emojis dominate our interactions, a handwritten thank you note goes a long way. Maybe a neighbor went out of their way to run an errand for you, maybe you received a thoughtful gift in the mail or maybe you want to express your gratitude to a close friend. Whatever the case may be, rediscover the art of a thank you card in five simple steps.

    Lead With Gratitude Begin by thanking the recipient for their thoughtfulness. Don’t feel pressured to come up with an elaborate greeting. Something as simple as “thank you so much for the gift” or “I appreciate your time” is all it takes.

    Spell Out Specifics Include details about what you are grateful for. If you received a gift, let them know how you’ve used it. If you got a gift card, tell them what you’re planning to buy. If someone blessed you with a comforting shoulder during a difficult time, put into words how it made you feel.

    Include a Bible Verse There are several scriptures about thanks and gratitude. Let the recipient know what a blessing they are by including a meaningful Bible verse in your note. Ephesians 1:16 NIV is a great place to start: I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

    Make It Meaningful Mention something going on in their life, either exciting or challenging, and let them know you are thinking about and praying for them. This extra step lets them know you value the relationship and are tuned into their needs and feelings.

    Reaffirm Your Thanks While it may seem repetitive, end by reiterating your thankfulness. Make sure to change up how you phrase it though. Appreciation, gratitude and gratefulness are just a few other ways to say thank you.

    While your words are what truly count, it doesn’t hurt to write them in a beautifully crafted card. Browse Christian cards for every occasion or stop by a store near you and experience our full selection of greeting cards that show your friends and family just how much you care.

    What personal touches do you add to your thank you cards?

  • The Promise of a Less-Hectic Life

    The Promise of a Less-Hectic Life by Glynnis Whitwer

    “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 (ESV)

    For years I took pride in being overly busy.

    Between the needs of family, work, home and church my days were filled to overflowing. Although my schedule was chaotic and I was nuts, I preferred to think of myself as a “highly productive person.” Friends would ask, “How do you manage all you do?” And I’d respond with a humble-brag, “I guess I’m just wired that way.”

    My heart did a little pitter-patter at the recognition of my work, at their respect of my achievements. I hungered for that type of response; it fueled me to keep pressing on.

    But in the quiet of my day, my to-do list whispered another truth. The truth that glares at me and says I haven’t done it all. I knew this truth but chose to avoid it. It was easier to find excuses and place blame because, after all, I was “really busy.”

    My friends don’t see that side of me. They have the advantage of seeing all I get done; not what’s left undone. But I do.

    Perhaps you know this feeling too. No matter how much you accomplish, what bothers you most is what you didn’t finish. That long list of to-do’s (whether it’s on paper or just rolling around in your mind) keeps you up at night.

    A lot of undone work includes mundane, everyday tasks like cleaning up, making a menu for the week or paying bills.

    But there’s more. There are the dreams we cannot touch. Vacations we don’t plan. Time we want to be intentional with those we love, including God, but can’t seem to manage.

    A few years ago I thought I was having a panic attack. I sat on my couch feeling a heavy weight on my chest. It was hard to breathe, and anxiety simmered, but there was no apparent threat. However, looming deadlines, a demanding home business, part-time work and mounting emails beckoned while five kids wondered, When will dinner be ready … and are there any clean socks?

    My life felt out-of-control. I was burned out from having too much to do, and always feeling behind. The fear of disappointing someone chased me constantly. I was busy, but simply didn’t know how to stop the endless cycle.

    Turns out I didn’t have an anxiety problem. I had an over-commitment problem.

    In order to start making changes, I had to honestly face some hard things about myself. My hunger for significance drove me to take on more than I could handle. But the satisfaction of completing a task was momentary and shallow, leaving me with a hectic life and a hollow soul.

    Before I could live the less-hectic life I desperately longed for, I had to address the root issue of my heart’s need. And part of that was identifying the lie that drove me to overwork.

    Jesus promised an abundant life, but also told us there is an enemy plotting our downfall: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

    And our enemy, “the thief,” is also a liar, always twisting the truth. So while Jesus promised an abundant life, Satan spins it so we think that life is found in an abundance of activity and commitments. Only too late do we realize that life steals from us what’s best … room to breathe, focus and space in our schedules to fulfill our God-given priorities.

    The abundant life Jesus offers isn’t filled with to-do’s. Tasks satisfy from the outside in, never reaching the core of who we are. Jesus’ satisfies from the inside out, as we experience the depth of His love, purpose and peace.

    It took a year of trimming my responsibilities before I experienced the abundant life Jesus promised. I’ve discovered that doing less actually makes me feel more significant when I’m not seeking achievements to fill my heart.

    Jesus promises a less-hectic life, and it’s a promise He can fulfill when we look to Him to fill our days, instead of an endless to-do list.

    Heavenly Father, You never assigned me to live a hectic, harried life. A life found in You isn’t characterized by checks on a list, but in an abundance of love and joy. Help me find my significance in You alone, and live a less-hectic life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Psalm 29:11, “May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace!” (ESV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: Is there something you’ve been putting off, that you really should be doing? What’s the real reason you haven’t done it?

    © 2016 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

Items 51 to 60 of 1202 total

…to look after orphans and widows in their distress. James 1:27
Loading... Loading...