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User Archives: Glynnis Whitwer

  • Sometimes God Doesn't Choose the "Perfect" Girl for the Job

    Posted on June 25, 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. 'Go, look over the land,' he said, 'especially Jericho.' So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there." Joshua 2:1 (NIV)

     

    I used to believe if God needed something important done, He would ask someone who had it all together. You know those women. They never yell at their kids or have an emotional meltdown in the craft store over which tie-die kit to buy. They know what they're having for dinner each night and come to Bible study with their homework done.

    If God is going to assign an important job to someone, it's going to be a woman like that. A "good church girl." Right?

    That's what I thought until I read the story of Rahab in the book of Joshua. It gave me hope that sometimes the best woman for God's job doesn't have a perfect life or a perfect faith.

    In fact, Rahab's story tells me sometimes God chooses women with rough resumes, gritty pasts and dauntless attitudes to get a hard job done. Which is why God chose Rahab when He needed a brave and bold person to protect His warriors.

    Rahab was a prostitute who lived within the walls of the city of Jericho. Jericho was a great city, except for the fact that God told the Israelites to conquer it.

    The people who lived in Jericho weren't following God, but they had heard of Him and how He helped the Israelites win many battles. When the residents of Jericho learned the Israelites were camped outside their city, they were rightly concerned.

    As part of the reconnaissance, Joshua, the leader of the Israelites, sent two spies into the city. The Bible seems to indicate they made a beeline into an unusual place of refuge: Rahab's home.

    Now why would God direct them to the house of a woman? And one who didn't have the best reputation?

    There are many reasons why God might have chosen this particular woman to help the spies. But the one that strikes the deepest chord in my heart is that other people might have underestimated Rahab's potential based on her past and present circumstances. But not God.

    Rahab had guts and grit. When the spies arrived, instead of quivering in fear, Rahab thought fast and hid them on her roof. Then she redirected the king's men, making a way of escape for the spies.

    God could have chosen someone with a perfect pedigree to help. But on that day, inside the walls of the city, facing warrior spies in danger, none were available.

    Rahab, however, was in the perfect position, with the perfect disposition, to do the most good. And God must have seen something tender in the heart of this life-hardened woman and knew He could trust her.

    I love this about God. When God looked at Rahab, He didn't see her profession or her past. He saw her potential.

    And in spite of the challenges and choices of her life, He knew there was a part of Rahab's heart that was open to Him. And Rahab did not disappoint.

    The story ends with the spies escaping and God destroying the city of Jericho and everyone in it — except for Rahab and her family.

    I'm so glad Rahab didn't send the spies away, explaining that she didn't have the best track record with men. Instead, she used her smart, quick mind to devise a plan. She used her boldness to defy the king's men. She drew from her bravery to protect her family. She risked greatly, and it paid off.

    Rahab's story tells me that although I might list all the reasons why God wouldn't use me, God prefers I take my personality, my experiences, even the parts of me that seem less-than-pleasant and give them to Him ... every part of me.

    It doesn't mean He's going to leave me as I am; God is always refining me. But in His hands, my mess has meaning.

    Have you ever stamped "disqualified" on yourself due to your personality or something in your past or present? If so, I pray Rahab's story encourages you. God has a plan, and He wants you, in all your uniqueness, to make it happen.

    Sometimes God doesn't choose the "perfect" girl for the job ... and I'm so glad He doesn't.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for looking deeper than what others see, and for seeing my potential. Please help me trust that You want me just as I am and have a plan to use me in Your kingdom. Help me to trust You and Your plan for my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    I Samuel 16:7, "But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.'" (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    What good characteristics did Rahab have, based on what we can tell from her story in Joshua 2?

    Many times we disqualify ourselves based on our wrong choices, or the flaws we see in our personalities. As God looks at you through His lens of love and potential, what does He see?

    © 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer. 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 Joshua

  • You're Stronger Than You Think

    Posted on May 20, 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone." 1 Thessalonians 5:14 (NIV)

    The first day of class, the exercise leader replaced the lighter weights I'd chosen with heavier ones. I tried to hide my skepticism as he said, "You're stronger than you think!"

    I shook my head in disbelief as he moved on to assess the next participant. No, I thought. I'm weaker than you think!

    It had been a few years since I'd been in an exercise class, and my confidence level was low. Never an athlete, I couldn't even do one push-up. And my legs felt like rubber bands after the first set of "warm-ups."

    I'd signed up for the early morning class out of determination to do things differently. It wasn't at all where I wanted to be at 5:30 a.m. two mornings a week, but earlier in the year, God challenged me to break out of my comfort zone.

    As I struggled to lift the heavier weights, I decided to glance at the women next to me. Normally when exercising I keep my head down and just try to survive. But that day I looked closer at my classmates. Some were older and spoke of grandchildren. Some looked like they were struggling too. I overheard one say she'd had a knee replacement.

    Hmmm ... if they can do this, certainly I can, too. Maybe I could try another class or two before quitting.

    The next class we all showed up, finding connection points over sore muscles. We laughed as we struggled to get off the mat. One said how hard it had been to walk up the stairs. I agreed.

    Maybe I wasn't the only one feeling weak. Somehow the idea encouraged me.

    Each morning, the thought of those other ladies showing up and rubbing sleep from their eyes motivated me to lace on my tennis shoes and head to the gym. Little by little, I felt more comfortable admitting my weakness, even laughing about it.

    In one particularly hard class, as I was the last one struggling to finish sit-ups, I heard a voice from my left, "You go, girl!" Something bold rose up in me at those words, and I thought, I can do this! Determination surged through me as I finished the last few sit-ups to the counts of my classmates.

    My positive attitude surprised me. Where did that come from? Although I was getting stronger physically, that wasn't the only area gaining strength. The encouragement from my classmates was making me stronger mentally, too.

    The first class, I wanted to keep to myself and hide my pain. But as the weeks progressed, the more I shared my struggles, the more others could speak into them. Their words encouraged me. Their presence reassured me I wasn't alone. Once again, God was teaching me how good it is to let others know I'm not perfect.

    This has been a problem for me all my life. I'd much rather be the one obeying our key verse from 1 Thessalonians 5:14: "And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone."

    I like being the one who warns, encourages and helps. I'm not so good at being patient, but otherwise I'm pretty good at obeying this verse. But for God's plan to be fully realized in the church at Thessalonica and in our lives today, at some point we need to be on the receiving end of this verse.

    This is the beauty of the body of Christ. God designed a loving check-and-balance system to deepen our faith and relationships. But in order for it to work, we have to accept being warned, encouraged and helped — allowing others to see our frailties.

    Unfortunately, there's a fierce and faulty independent streak in my thinking that fights being on the receiving end of help. My default approach is to hide my weaknesses, fears and insecurities, which opens a crack for unhealthy pride to sneak in.

    And yet what freedom there is in simply admitting: I can be a mess at times. When I acknowledge that, others can pray for me. They can encourage me. It's a double blessing of God's strength and that of others.

    God needs me to learn this truth. Admitting I need help breaks down my pride. It humbles me, which softens God's heart toward me. And it allows others to be obedient in caring for me.

    So, am I stronger than I think I am? Apparently so. But the best way to discover my strength is to admit my weakness.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for bringing friends into my life who help me grow stronger. Forgive me for the sinful pride that has kept others from getting too close. Help me to understand it doesn't make me weaker to admit my weaknesses. In fact, it opens me to get stronger. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Acts 15:40-41, "... but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Is it hard for you to share your struggles with others? What holds you back from being more open?

    Commit to telling one friend about a worry, fear or weak area of your life. Ask her to pray for you.

    © 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer. 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 1 Thessalonians

  • If You Really Loved Me, You Would ...

    Posted on April 14, 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8 (NIV)

    How could he do this to me?

    My mind raced as the digital numbers on the clock read 1:25 a.m. Then 2:15 a.m. I rolled on my other side, away from the clock's red glow, with the hope of finding sleep before my alarm rang in a few short hours. But racing thoughts made sleep impossible.

    Earlier that day, I'd learned about some bad choices my son made and then we'd had an argument. This news rattled my confidence as a mother and caused all kinds of questioning thoughts to keep me awake. Was I losing my son? Was he going down the wrong path for good? What did I do wrong?

    Somehow, during my middle-of-the-night mental rant, I worked myself to a dangerous place: I doubted my son's love for me.

    After all, my sleepy brain reasoned, if he really loved me, he would never have done what he did. He knew I wouldn't approve, and yet he still made that choice. How could he?

    After that thought had planted itself in my brain, my heart felt vulnerable and in need of protection. Something in my mind whispered, "take cover" and walls started to rise around my heart.

    It wasn't the first time I've wanted to retreat from what felt like rejection. Unfortunately, I tend to expect people I love to behave in ways I would ... to make choices I would. Or at the very least, to seek my advice and adapt their decisions based on my feedback. When that doesn't happen, I sometimes translate it as a lack of love.

    In those difficult moments, it seems safer to close off parts of my heart when I feel rejected or not validated. But I've learned that's a very lonely way to live. And it's far from the way God wants me to love.

    I've struggled with this kind of reaction for years, yet God continually challenges me to stop playing it safe. Loving others isn't easy. God didn't call me to play defense when it comes to love; He called me to play offense.

    In fact, God modeled this type of love by showing it to me first.

    Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Here's what this verse means to me:

    While I was making choices that would hurt God's heart, He sent His son, Jesus, for me.

    While I was rejecting God's ways, His Son was nailed to a cross for me.

    While I was choosing selfish ease and comfort over obedience, Jesus died on that cross for me.

    For me! And for you! We are women who don't always make good choices. We are far from perfect. We're messy, risky and difficult to love sometimes. And yet God chooses to go on the offensive to show us His love.

    My bad choices are just as hurtful to God as my son's bad choices were to me. Yet not once has God tried to place guilt on me by saying, "If you really loved Me, you wouldn't have done that."

    In fact, God did just the opposite. When God was justified to condemn me for my willful, selfish choices, He chose to remove my guilt rather than place more on me.

    Oh how this truth brings me to my knees! How can I place such heavy expectations on others when God doesn't place them on me? How can I withhold even an ounce of love to make a point, when I make so many wrong choices of my own?

    That night, I confessed my selfish thoughts to God and asked Him to help me be bold enough to be a woman of grace, not guilt. To be a mother who models His love and not my oh-so-flawed version.

    The next morning I embraced my son before he left for school. I spoke no words of condemnation, nor did I remind him of his choices. I texted him mid-morning: "I love you." He texted back the same.

    Later, my son walked in the kitchen. "Hey, Mom, can I talk to you?"

    We sat in the living room while he admitted how wrong his choices had been. Regret lay heavy; he was sorry. In fact, he was making a change going forward and was thankful for my love.

    Not every situation works out that well. But in this instance, I'm thanking God for His quick intervention in my heart and my son's.

    Loving others is messy, and I sure don't do it as well as God. But with His strength, I'll keep trying. It's definitely worth the risk.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me in spite of my wrong thoughts, words and deeds. Help me to love others in spite of theirs and hopefully turn their hearts toward You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you withheld love from someone who has hurt you? How has it affected your relationship?

    What is one thing you can do this week to demonstrate love to that person?

    Power Verse:
    Romans 2:4, "Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?" (NASB)

    © 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer. 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 Romans

  • I Really Should Have More Fun

    Posted on March 21, 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." John 15:11-12 (NIV)

    Why is it so hard for me to stop working and just have fun?

    Other people have no trouble doing this. They look for any reason to drop the dust rags, ditch the dirty laundry, turn off the computer, and head to the park! Or the movies. Or a hike. Laughing all the way.

    I wish I were more like that.

    Couldn't the personality tests I've taken throughout the years just once show a different result? But alas, they always confirm what my family knows too well: I'm the responsible, serious one. The one who picks up cups and plates at someone else's party. And watches the clock at events to ensure they're on schedule. I'm the one who wants to make sure we get all the work done first — before any fun begins.

    Only the work is never done. When I finish one task, another sits waiting for me. There's always something more to do. As a result, I experience false guilt. All the time.

    Every strength has a good and bad side. The good side of being responsible is, well, I'm responsible. If I say I'm going to do something, you can be fairly sure it will get done.

    The bad side of being responsible is feeling like the weight of the world rests on me. It makes a girl crazy worrying about assignments that are hers — and even those that aren't. It's hard to relax. My heart can get resentful when others aren't carrying the weight of the world with me. How do they have so much time to not work?!

    The reality? Not every assignment is mine to do. To assume responsibility for more than is mine speaks of a lack of trust ... in God to do His job ... or in others to do theirs.

    I'm pretty sure this all-work-no-play routine wasn't the life Jesus intended me to live as one of His disciples. Carrying the weight of burdens that aren't mine to carry. Choosing to interact with a computer screen rather than being with people.

    The Bible values hard work, but Jesus' message is clear: Love God. Love people.

    In John 15:11-12, Jesus said, "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."

    Jesus, with more to do in His three years of active ministry than I'll have in a lifetime, focused on His main assignment — to love people. Sometimes that meant teaching them. Or serving them. Yet other times it meant just hanging out. Enjoying dinner with friends. Celebrating at a wedding party. Welcoming children. These fun times weren't empty of significance. Rather they were filled with value as Jesus showed love in a different way.

    We love God and others when we work. And when we have fun.

    This is a truth I need to apply to my life more often. My idea of loving others is often shown by serving them. But some people feel loved when I simply spend time with them. And for some, that time needs to be a little less task-oriented and a lot more laughter-filled.

    That's my challenge. To be intentional about having fun. To initiate getting together with others. To say yes when invited. To stretch outside my comfort zone. And to relax about the details.

    Work will always be there — but the people might not be.

    God has a pretty good handle on managing the world. I can leave that job to Him while I grab a loved one and make a lasting memory instead of checking something off my to-do list.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for creating us to laugh. Thank You for putting in us the desire to enjoy life. Help me learn to relax and show love to others without worrying about the details. Forgive me for putting work before someone who needed my time and attention. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Is it hard for you to have fun? What holds you back?

    Think of one fun activity you can do with someone this week. Make a call, send a text or email, and extend the invitation.

    Power Verses:
    John 2:1-2, "On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. (NIV)

    Colossians 1:17, "He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer. 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 John

  • Reviving an Abandoned Dream

    Posted on March 3, 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think." Ephesians 3:20 (NLT)

    I sat on the couch during small group, dabbed the tears dripping down my face, and hoped the others wouldn't notice my emotional response to the message.

    While watching a DVD teaching about God-given dreams, a tender, hidden spot in my heart was coming to life. It was uncomfortable. Scary, in fact. I wanted to move toward it and away at the same time.

    The teaching wasn't on nighttime dreams, but rather those dreams that often start in childhood when anything seemed possible. And we were unhindered by the realities of genetics or abilities. We were sure to be ballerinas or fashion models, ignoring the fact that we couldn't do the splits, or that our height/weight ratio might be less than desirable for the runway.

    Personally, I imagined the day my favorite band would invite me on stage. Hairbrush in hand, I practiced my moves and vocal range preparing for my big break.

    That day at small group, the dream fueling my simmering emotions wasn't the desire to sing. For years another dream had been stirring in my heart, a dream that had been dampened by doubts and the logistics of adulthood. My dream was to write.

    Pain and excitement mixed as I allowed the dream to come to life, much like a foot that's fallen asleep when the blood flow returns. Doubt whispered around every thought. Was this dream from God or me? Did I have anything worth saying?

    My heart felt vulnerable every time I pondered the idea. If I told someone my dream, would they give voice to the litany of taunts in my head? I wondered. And yet the more I prayed, the more convinced I became that God was asking me to write for Him. When I finally accepted that truth, my attitude changed. Writing wasn't just an interesting idea, it was an assignment.

    I wish I could say I immediately started writing. But I didn't.

    Tucking the dream in my heart, I procrastinated. For months. Which turned into years. Thinking about my dream was much easier than acting on it, because it was going to take a lot of work and sacrifice. And there was always a handy excuse.

    Until one Sunday, my pastor opened prayer time with these words: "God has asked some of you to do something and you haven't done it yet."

    The Holy Spirit was playing the drums on my heart as I shifted from foot to foot. There was no question; God was calling my name. A flood of people headed to the front alongside me to address their own abandoned assignments.

    My pastor's challenge was what I needed to shift from a passive to an active approach in my writing. To move from disobedience to obedience. To step into an unfamiliar world believing that if God had called me to it, He wouldn't abandon me.

    God often gives directions through dreams. Yet, those can be the hardest to embrace because they seem too big for us to accomplish on our own. And sometimes they seem downright selfish. So we let them drift away.

    But dreams are also how God increases our faith. When we step into active obedience of an audacious assignment, we see God move and do things only He can do. Our key verse shows that God has the power to accomplish any dream He gives us: "Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20, NLT).

    It was 10 years ago when I embraced my dream as an assignment, and God has shown His power time and time again. There are still doubts and barriers to overcome, but my faith has grown each time God proves Himself faithful.

    Did God put a dream in your heart years ago? Maybe your dream was to adopt a child or go on a mission trip. Maybe it was to open your home to neighbors or lead teens at church. At the time your dream seemed too big or came with too many barriers. Now it's a hazy memory.

    May I offer the same challenge my pastor gave years ago? God has asked some of you to do something and you haven't done it yet. Will today be your day to accept your assignment?

    Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me a dream to serve You and others through my gifts and talents. Help me see this dream as an assignment from You, and I ask for Your power to help me take the next step. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What dream has God put in your heart that you know is an assignment?

    What next step can you take to obey God's calling on your life?

    Power Verse:
    Mark 9:23, "'"If you can"?' said Jesus. 'Everything is possible for one who believes.'" (NIV)

    © 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer. 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 Ephesians

  • I Don't Do Fancy

    Posted on February 4, 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God." 1 John 4:7 (NIV)

    I'm not a spontaneous or particularly fancy person. Some people I know are, and their creativity amazes me. They whip up a gourmet dinner from leftovers in the fridge and what's in the cabinet. They create craft projects out of dried macaroni, spray paint and shoe boxes. They can think of birthday party games, favors and food that leave the celebrant feeling like a million bucks.

    Not me. Ask my kids.

    I'm thankful four out of five have summer birthdays and we have a pool! Cut up a watermelon, order pizza and voila!

    It's not that I didn't care. Or that I didn't want to do more. But for so many years in my early parenting, I was overwhelmed with managing a job, home and very active children. Plus I believed my celebrations had to look a certain way. Since I didn't possess many creative skills, I always felt like a party-failure.

    It was years later I realized most people don't really remember all the whoopla of a big party. There might be some shock-and-awe at first, but when the streamers fall and the balloons droop, people are more apt to remember moments inside those events. For example, at my 8th grade graduation, the only memory I have is of my older sister fixing my hair. Granted it was a long time ago, but her loving gesture meant the world to me.

    People just want to feel loved. Remembered. Noticed. Valued.

    That's how we were designed. God created us with a heart and soul to receive His love, so we could share it with others. In fact, loving God and each other is our highest calling. The Bible says it this way, "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God" (1 John 4:7).

    Jesus said this, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you" (John 15:12, NIV). The New Testament shows that Jesus loved His disciples by spending time with them, and caring about them deeply. He didn't need anything fancy to show His love.

    Fancy's not wrong. Some people show their love through their creativity. And I applaud them. But for those of us who walk out of a craft store crying because we can't figure out which tie-die kit to buy, maybe a simpler option is more our style.

    Maybe for some of us, we need to remove the self-imposed unrealistic expectations. Maybe we need to focus more on showing love rather than having our centerpieces match what we saw on Pinterest.

    I've learned that it's often the little things that speak love to my friends and family. It's sitting outside at that summer pool party and watching the silly jumps off the diving board. It's abandoning the dishes to play a board game. It's an impromptu potluck dinner with friends on paper plates.

    While I'll still try to make things pretty and creative, it's not my focus. My goal every day is to show love to my friends and family somehow. I may not always accomplish that goal with perfection, but I can come closer to it with God's help than I'll ever be able to pull off a spectacular birthday party.

    Heavenly Father, forgive me for the times I've gotten so worried about how my dinner or gathering looks that I've neglected what matters most to You. Open my eyes to ways I can show Your love to others, making them feel valued. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Remember a special event where someone made you feel loved. What did that person do?

    What can you do this week to show someone you care deeply for them?

    Power Verse:
    Romans 13:8, "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law." (NIV)

    John 15:12, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer. 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 1 John

  • Things Have Got to Be Different This Year

    Posted on January 22, 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, 'Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.' Simon answered, 'Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.' When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break." Luke 5:4-6 (NIV)

    "Something's got to change!"

    Have you ever said that in January? I sure have.

    It's usually when I'm frustrated with myself for something I'm not doing. For example, my broken-record complaints focus on the same three things: losing weight, better managing my work load, and spending more time with people I love.

    It's not for lack of trying my situations don't change; I work hard. But recently it dawned on me that I keep trying the same things in varying measures. I tried adding five minutes to my elliptical routine, and spent more time on my emails. Results: clothes still tight, inbox still overflowing. Time with family? I'm not sure more trips to the grocery store together qualify.

    The problem isn't my effort; it's my approach. Something has to change.

    There's a story in the Bible where Jesus told a disciple to change his approach. It happened at the very beginning of Jesus' ministry, as He was identifying and calling His disciples.

    In Luke 5, Jesus borrowed the boat of the fisherman called Simon Peter to teach the people on the shore. When He finished teaching, Jesus told Simon to put the boat in deep water and let down the nets.

    Simon surely was skeptical. Can't you see him raising his eyebrows as he looks at Jesus then at the water? He explains he's been fishing all night and hasn't caught anything. What he doesn't say, but might have thought is: Day isn't the best time to fish. Besides, all these people on the shore have probably scared them away. And no disrespect intended Jesus, but you are a carpenter/preacher—I am a fisherman. I might know a little something about fishing.

    But to Simon's credit he obeys Jesus' unusual request to fish differently. The Scripture records they caught so many fish the nets began to break.

    This story challenges my status quo. It's a call to change my approach to problem solving. If I want things to be different this year, I must do things differently.

    For me, like Simon Peter, this starts with listening to and obeying the voice of Jesus for new directions.

    This is hard for a routine-loving girl like me. I'm not a fan of different because it often feels uncomfortable. I prefer to keep things the way they are ... except that doesn't always work.

    So I prayed about these three areas in my life, and asked God to show me a fresh approach for each. Being a faithful God, He gave me some options to shake up my routines.

    1. Rather than go to the gym at night and stick with the elliptical machine, He asked me to go in the morning and incorporate strength training. So I signed up for a morning exercise class at church.

    2. Rather than try to manage my emails by spending more time on them, I'm unsubscribing to every list. I'll visit websites and blogs on my schedule.

    3. Realizing I've become too inward focused, I've made a list of special days, activities, and places I want to go where I can invite others to join me.

    That day on the lake, Jesus invited Simon Peter to go into the deep waters—a place Simon had been many times before. But under Jesus' direction and with a new approach, Simon saw amazing results.

    Can the same be true for me? For you? As we start 2014, may we become women who listen for the voice of Jesus as He speaks new ways into old habits. May we raise our faces to the fresh wind of the Holy Spirit. And may we trust Jesus as He takes us in to deep waters, where under His direction, we'll see amazing results.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for being a God of new things. You have called me in to new life with You, and Your ways are higher than mine. Help me see those areas of my life that need a breath of the newness of Your Spirit. I want to be a woman who sets aside her comfort and routine to fish in deep waters with You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What problem have you been trying to solve in your life by using the same approach as always?

    Pray and ask God to show you one thing you can do differently starting today.

    Power Verse:
    Luke 6:46, "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" (NIV)

    © 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer. 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 Luke

  • He Sees You Right Where You Are

    Posted on December 17, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified." Luke 2:8-9 (NIV)

    It's interesting who the Bible records as the first to hear the good news of Jesus' birth. It wasn't a king. Or a religious leader. Or a rich man. It wasn't to anyone in the center of attention and importance. It was to shepherds. Dirty, smelly shepherds.

    It's also notable that it wasn't broadcast in the day. It wasn't announced with trumpets on the temple steps as hundreds crowded to offer sacrifices. Or proclaimed in the marketplace in the middle of a busy day. It was night, in quiet isolation.

    The fields weren't where important people visited. Especially not at night. And that night the dark field was covered with sleeping sheep and tired shepherds. Just them. Outside the world's notice. Men performing a wearying task at a wearying hour.

    Of all the ways and to all the people and at all the times God could have announced His Son's birth, He chose this way, these people, and this time of night.

    Luke 2:8-9 tells us, "And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified." (NIV) God saw those shepherds right where they were that night. He noticed their work; He noticed them. And He had a message of hope they desperately needed to hear.

    It's a message I've needed to hear many times. I've needed to know that God saw me in the dark. When I've felt alone. And in need of a message of hope.

    As a young mom there were many nights I held crying babies, wondering if I'd ever feel normal again. Would I ever get to sleep through the night, wear clothes without baby drool, or have an adult conversation?

    I've worked late, worried over finances, and wondered when help would come. Did God see me working so hard? Did He see me wrestling with problems or how tired I was?

    The message to the shepherds tells us God does see our hard work and long nights. And He doesn't sleep. He doesn't prefer those in authority. He doesn't leave us alone. And He has a message of hope for each of us.

    I see you, rocking your crying baby at 2 a.m., doubting you'll ever sleep again.

    I see you, up late studying while the rest of your classmates have fun.

    I see you, pacing the floor wondering when your teen will get home.

    I see you, working an extra shift to help pay the bills.

    I see you, sleeping on the couch fearing your marriage can't be repaired.

    I see you, sitting with a friend who received the worst news of her life that day.

    To you, the news of the angels to the shepherds is yours as well.

    Behold ... pacing mother, hardworking student, worrying wife ... to you is given "good news that will cause great joy for all the people." (Luke 2:10 NIV)

    To you ... exhausted mommy, anxious sister, steadfast friend ... "a Savior has been born ... he is the Messiah, the Lord." (Luke 2:11 NIV)

    It was no mistake God sent His angels to the dark fields and to the humble shepherds that night. He sent a message of good news to those who desperately needed to hear it.

    Today, in your place of darkness, isolation, weariness ... God sees you and sends the same message: A Savior has been born for YOU.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for caring about those who feel alone, forgotten, and weary. I confess I feel like that some times. Thank You for seeing my needs and sending Jesus to be the answer to all of them. In His Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Do you ever wonder if God sees you? Trust that He does and spend some time in prayer today.

    Besides the reasons mentioned in the devotion, why else might God have chosen to announce His Good News to the shepherds?

    Power Verses:
    John 10:11, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." (NIV)

    Psalm 121:3, "He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber ..." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. 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 Luke

  • I Don't Want to Miss This Moment

    Posted on December 9, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness." Proverbs 14:22 (NIV)

    Do you ever find yourself daydreaming about the wonderful ways you'll celebrate the next special day on the calendar?

    That usually happens for me when I go on Pinterest and see beautiful photos of food, crafts, decorations, and gifts. I imagine myself taking time to create the little extra touches that turn ordinary days into memorable ones. But then I look around me and the reality of an over-crowded life squashes my dreams.

    There have been too many special days that whooshed by me, leaving me with regret and wishing I'd stopped and enjoyed more moments. Too many times I should have paused to do good for someone.

    Increasingly I sense God asking me to be more intentional with my days. Maybe it's because of many years that are a blur now. As I look into the faces of children growing up too quickly, of parents aging, of friends packing to move, I often want time to stop so I can breathe in the holiness of the days God has given.

    Remember this moment, my heart whispers. Remember what this feels like.

    It's too common for me to look back and wish the simple moments had been celebrated more. That there'd been a few more pauses. More times when I'd said "you matter" with my actions.

    Not the big flashy moments. Not the expensive trips. But the humble quiet times that declare what we treasure. Our values. What makes us us. The everyday moments are the ones treasured in the hearts of those we love.

    Some women excel at these special moments. They turn from their computers and whip up an experience that leaves everyone feeling loved. Not me. Although I love special times, I'm not spontaneous.

    How do these moments happen for me? I have to plan for them. Not the moments themselves, but the opportunity for them to happen.

    Proverbs 14:22 shows us the importance of planning: "But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness." This verse inspires me to plan good things for those dear to me. And in doing so, we will experience God's love and faithfulness in greater measure. What a great promise from God's Word.

    Christmas is an ideal time for me to put this into practice. If I'm not careful, December can pass me by without any special notice. I might get something done, but it will be obligatory rather than a celebration of Christ's birth and a time to show His love.

    So this month I'm working on a plan. It's not set in stone, but it is a list of things that are important to my family and me.

    For example, my husband wants to cook a special breakfast treat called scrapple, a Pennsylvania Dutch sausage his father made. I'd like to read Advent devotions as a family to ponder the meaning of Christmas. My plan also includes opportunities to spend time as a family and reach out to others.

    So I'll pencil ideas in my spiral notebook, write out shopping lists, and research dates and times to add events and phone calls with friends. Planning to do good takes time, but I've learned when I plan my priorities, they get done.

    This month I'm taking some time to schedule what matters most ‐ time honoring God and remembering His gift, time with those I love, and time sharing God's blessings with others. And in January, I'll start planning again.

    Heavenly Father, You model intentional love. You planned to send Jesus to earth and You planned a way for me to live with You forever. Help me to plan the same intentional love to those I care about. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What's one thing you want to do this month? Write it on your calendar and to-do list.

    Do you resist planning? Why do you think that is?

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 90:12, "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • The Sacrifice of Thanks-sharing

    Posted on November 18, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." Hebrews 13:15-16 (NASB)

    Enough. That's what I have. Really, more than enough.

    More than enough clothes in my closet. Food in my fridge. Shoes spread on the floor. Cans in the cupboard.

    My children have books, warm jackets, tennis shoes, pencils, and opportunities for more. I have clean sheets, soft pillows, a kitchen table, and indoor plumbing.

    My husband and I have never taken our provisions for granted. Every day we are thankful for the blessings of our home and family. Yet eight years ago we were increasingly aware of what Luke 12:48b tells us, "When someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required." (NLT) We felt an obligation to do something more with our blessings.

    So in 2005 our family of five put a plan in place to share what we had. We had enough home, enough time, and enough love. Our gratitude to God for His blessings couldn't be kept to ourselves any more. We started with some rearranging. Two of our three sons moved furniture around so they could share a room, Then we bought two little white beds, pink curtains, and some dolls. I bought matching calico comforters and guessed at sizes of dresses.

    After months of planning to share what we had, two little orphaned sisters stepped off a plane gripping the hands of their new daddy and walked into our hearts and homes.

    They wore "African suits" bought from the place of their birth, brightly colored dresses that hung on tiny bodies. So proud they were to own their first new pieces of clothing, wanting to greet their new family in their best. As we wrapped our arms around these little girls, our family of five became seven.

    As weeks turned into months, and typical family issues mingled with trauma from our daughters' pasts, we learned God's call to share isn't always easy. Oh, at first it was great, before the first blush of excitement wore off. But the magnitude of sharing our lives with two wounded little girls was harder than we ever imagined.

    When worry about the future threatened to overwhelm me, God quietly reminded me that He didn't ask me to have the answers. That's His job. My job is just to share what He has given me–my love, my home, my life–with two not-so-little girls now who call me Mama. With a heart of thankfulness, and an open hand of generosity. That's all He's asking me. That's what blesses Him.

    God's Word confirms what pleases Him. Hebrews 13:15-16 teaches us that we must link thanksgiving with sharing. But it also says it will be a sacrifice: "Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." (NASB)

    As we walk together as a family, we continue to learn that showing thanks to God involves sharing, and sharing involves sacrifice. God still calls us to share out of our abundance, and it still involves sacrifice. But when we share our lives, our homes, our money, our hearts, our skills, and our time as an outpouring of thanksgiving, God is pleased.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for Your generosity with me. I don't deserve Your favor, and my heart overflows with thanksgiving. Help me to show my gratitude through words and actions that are pleasing in Your sight. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    At this season of Thanksgiving, what can you share with someone else?

    Do you struggle with sharing what you have? Consider if God is calling you to a deeper trust in Him as your provider.

    Power Verse:
    1 Timothy 6:18, "Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. 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 Hebrews, Thanksgiving

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