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User Archives: Glynnis Whitwer

  • Birth, Behavior or Bloodline

    Posted on May 27, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called 'uncircumcised' by those who call themselves 'the circumcision' (which is done in the body by human hands)—remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ." Ephesians 2:11-13 (NIV)

    Some days I'm pleased with who I am. Some days I've really got it together. I start the day with some quiet time with just me and God. Normal morning hassles getting three kids ready don't bother me. Throughout the day I'm confident in my decisions and abilities.

    Other days I exhaust and frustrate myself, especially when I'm not quite so pleasant. Annoyance starts with the first step out of bed if I've overslept, or woken up too early thinking about all I have to do. Graciousness evaporates as I allow life's demands to dictate my mood. Insecurities prompt defensiveness. Doubt overshadows faith.

    One day I'm smiling and kind; the next day I'm scowling and grouchy. So which is the real me?

    We can all struggle with wondering who we really are, especially when we fall short of who we really want to be. And when the answer seems to be different day-by-day, it's easy to give up even trying to change ... to be a better person.

    To settle this question, I've had to dig deep. For I believe God wants me to know the answer. Knowing who I really am in God's eyes is a game changer. It changes my motivations, which changes my goals and inspires me to be consistent in who I am and how I act. God's truth about my identity serves as a filter for the world's lies and the judgment of others. It protects my heart from damage.

    So where do we find this definition?

    Are we defined by our birth? Are we who our parents are? Do their professional and personal successes or failures define us? Does it matter where we are born or to whom? Two of my children were born in an African war zone. Is that who they are?

    Or are we defined by our behavior? For years I defined myself by achieving success and accomplishing tasks. The more checks to the left of the items on my to-do list, the better I felt.

    There's a problem with both of these definitions. The first is out of my control. I have no say about where I was born or to whom. And it can give me a false sense of entitlement or discouragement. The second is undependable at best. Sometimes circumstances are out of control too. And even when my behavior is in my control, I can react from my human yuck-filled side.

    Thankfully, there is another way to define ourselves. It's found in our bloodline as a child of God. A lineage that was bought for us through the death of Jesus as Ephesians 2 tells us. "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ."

    His sacrifice defines who we really are: Loved. Chosen. Treasured. Ransomed. Forgiven. Worth it. When I accept and believe these definitions for myself, I'm inspired to change. I believe it's possible.

    Thankfully, we didn't have to be born in the "right" place, or behave "just so" to get this new identity. It's not based on our checkbook, scale or what our friends think of us. We receive it when we accept Christ as our Savior.

    Birth, behavior or bloodline? I know which one truly defines me. Do you?

    Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to die for me, so that our relationship could be reconciled. Help me to remember that it's in Your bloodline that I find my true identify. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Follow us on Pinterest for inspiring images. Click here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    How would you act differently if your identity were found in Jesus' bloodline? If you truly knew you are loved, chosen, accepted?

    Power Verses:
    1 Timothy 2:5-6a, "For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people." (NIV)

    Romans 3:23-25a, "... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith." (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 Ephesians

  • Whatever Happens, Here's What You Should Do

    Posted on April 29, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ." Philippians 1:27a (NIV)

    I felt completely justified to blow it.

    Look up inconvenienced, worried, nervous, annoyed and rushed in the dictionary and that's where you would have found me a few weeks ago. So when one more issue got added to my day, I lost it. And the worst part was I thought I'd earned the right to let off steam.

    It started with my husband asking for a favor. He had bought two trucks for his company and needed me to drive across town with him and drive one of them back. Since we live in a large metropolitan area, that meant a one-hour drive each way.

    However, the only available window of time that afternoon was sandwiched between four different things I had to do. In two and a half hours we had one son getting out of high school (who had to go with us) and another one needing to be picked up from college (which is also across town), our youngest daughter having to be picked up after that (which is near home), then the high schooler had a practice.

    Since I live this crazy chauffeur-life every day, it was up to me to schedule this cross-town trip and get everyone—and two trucks—picked up on time.

    Of course everything takes longer than you think it will. Not only were we initially running late, but then the man with the trucks was late. This meant I was going to be late getting everyone picked up. Watching the clock, I felt the passing minutes squeeze like a vice grip.

    Realizing there was no way I could do it all, I changed plans and sent the high school boy to pick up the college boy and then head back and get himself to practice. I would wait for the truck and then get our daughter.

    Now, this may have your head spinning, but it sounded easy in my mind.

    However, those two teenage boys got very confused with the change of plans. They weren't sure what they were supposed to do, despite what I thought were pretty simple instructions.

    Thirty minutes later they called me frustrated and annoyed. Unfortunately, I was also frustrated and annoyed trying to drive a HUGE diesel truck across town. With a right side mirror that I couldn't adjust. On a busy freeway. In the middle of rush hour traffic. Realizing I would be late picking up my daughter.

    College son: "Mom! What is going on?!? Why is Robbie picking me up and not you? Are we supposed to go get some trucks? Robbie doesn't know what's going on!!" the college boy snapped.

    And in that moment, the stress of the afternoon had built, and I let it explode, feeling very justified.

    Me: "Seriously? Seriously?!? You are frustrated? Well, let me tell you about being frustrated! ... (I'm sure you can imagine the rest).

    I hung up the phone angry.

    And then I remembered a verse I'd read that morning. Right there on the freeway, God made Philippians 1:27 very relevant:

    Whatever happens ... (like an errand taking longer, rush hour, annoyed teenagers, a side mirror that doesn't work, three kids to usher around town)

    Conduct yourself ... (You mean, control myself God? Keep things in perspective?)

    In a manner worthy ... (in such a way that shows who I really am, what I believe, what I value ...)

    of the gospel of Christ (and Whom I represent).

    Before I had a chance to call my son, he called me. I rushed to apologize. So did he. Thanks to God's Word in my heart leading me to ask for forgiveness, we ended our disagreement on the side that is worthy of the Word and the God Whom we serve, rather than the angry resentful side.

    Philippians 1:27. What a powerful Scripture this has been to me. Just thinking "whatever happens" keeps me in check. Because the interesting thing about that word "whatever" is it means "whatever."

    I'm not sure what you're facing right now ... whatever pressures, deadlines, carpools, boss, spouse or bills surround you. But I do know we each have a choice how we will respond. So take a deep breath and remember to walk in a manner worthy of Whom you represent.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for your patience towards me when I blow it. Your grace and kindness make me want to show that to others. Help me remember that I represent You in all I do and say. In Jesus Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst will help you deal with those moments when you want to lose it.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Under what circumstances are you most likely to react badly?

    What can you do to prepare for those moments so your reaction represents the Gospel of Christ?

    Power Verses:
    Ephesians 4:1-2, "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." (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 Philippians

  • Are You Ready to Go?

    Posted on April 25, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming." 1 Peter 1:13 (NIV)

    The Whitwer house has two beloved dogs - Kona and Sammie. First thing in the morning, or after being gone, the sight of them makes me smile. But although they both delight me, they are very different.

    Kona is a husky with a quirky personality. She pulls like she's in front of a sled, plays catch with herself and "talks back" when corrected. Sammie is a German shepherd who patrols the backyard perimeter, embraces her role as protector and has a serious personality.

    And while I adore both dogs, only one of them gets to go in car with me each morning when I take the kids to school. Perhaps I should try and describe typical mornings as we gather backpacks, purses and lunch bags:

    • Sammie sits and watches, head tilted, aware of patterns of preparation. Kona is asleep under the bed.

    • Sammie's ears perk up when I grab the car keys. Kona is sprawled on her back, head hanging off the edge of the couch.

    • Sammie watches my face, waiting for the "let's go" nod. Kona is in the backyard watching birds.

    So every morning, Sammie goes on an adventure with me. We pass bikers and women jogging. We see other doggies driving with their masters. If dogs could smile, mine would be grinning from ear-to-ear! She is thrilled with our outings and looks forward to the next one. And so do I.

    As I consider my two canine companions, I wonder if this same dynamic doesn't happen between God and us.

    We each have our own quirks, idiosyncrasies and tendencies. And yet we are equally loved and treasured because our Creator uniquely designed us just as we are.

    However, there are differences when God is looking to call someone into a place of service. The one who is alert and ready ... the one who is listening for the Master's voice ... the one who is watching for the Master's movement ... that is the one who is invited to go on an adventure.

    I've been both at times. I've been consumed with my own comfort at time. Hesitant and (when I'm honest) uninterested in being used. At other times I've mismanaged my time and energy so that I'm overwhelmed and exhausted, and miss God's invitation to join Him.

    Yet when my eyes are open, and my heart is saying "pick me, pick me," it's amazing how I see God move.

    For so many years I wondered does God really see me, can He use me, does He even want to? Now I realize the answer was "yes" all along. He was waiting for me to be watching for His "let's go" nod.

    Ready to go? Or ready to relax? Loved equally. But used differently. Which one are you?

    Dear Lord, thank You for inviting me to join You in Your work in the world. You have designed me in a unique way, specifically for Your pleasure and purpose. Help me to be alert and ready, watching for the signs that You are on the move. I want to join You wherever You go. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Do you want to be used by God but feel overwhelmed with life? You might enjoy I Used to Be So Organized by Glynnis Whitwer.

    What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you ever been certain that God asked you to do something? How did you respond?

    How would you describe yourself when it comes to being aware of God's movement in your life – alert or unaware? What can you do to be more aware of what God might be doing?

    Power Verses:
    Isaiah 6:8, "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'" (NIV)

    Luke 12:35-36, "Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him." (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 1 Peter

  • How to Leave a Legacy

    Posted on April 10, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also." 2 Timothy 1:5 (NIV)

    Tod's family went to church faithfully. That's what they had always done. But once inside the brick walls of their home, the story was different. There the masks came off, and Tod and his little brother lived with the painful reality of their parents' bad choices. Living a double life became the norm for Tod, and he learned early that Christianity was something you put on with your church clothes.

    Summer, however, brought more than relief from school, homework, and the daily routine of life. Summer brought with it a short break from living in the craziness of his family, because summer meant time at his grandparent's home.

    Grandma and Grandpa Whitwer were humble people. They served alongside each other as ministers, sacrificially laying down their lives to travel from church to church in many different states. They served well into their retirement years, and never gave up ministering to others.

    Throughout the years they saw the pain of their son's choices, choices that drastically affected the lives of their grandchildren. But there was little they could do to intervene. At least it was little in the eyes of the world.

    What they were able to do had a lasting impact on Tod. Quietly and consistently, they showed their grandson love. Their never-wavering faith was an anchor. Their unconditional love was like water to a thirsty child. Their integrity was a light on a hill to a lost boy. Amel and Elise Whitwer gave hope to a young boy; hope that there was more to God and to this life than what he knew. Moreover, Tod learned that Christianity was something you lived out every day, not just on Sundays.

    Through the faith of two humble people, my husband and I learned that God's most effective influence often comes in quiet ways. God can change a life, and a generation of lives, using gentle, consistent, sincere people who love and serve Him.

    The faith of a godly woman ... the faith of a God-fearing man .... it changed my husband's life. It changed my life. And it is changing our children's lives. Never underestimate the power of faith, and a godly legacy, to make an impact over generations.

    Note from Author: Before Tod's parents passed away, we were blessed to see both of them receive healing and restoration, to God and to their families.

    Dear Lord, thank You for the model of faith You have given me through the lives of previous generations. Help me to honor those people who love and honor You. Like them, I long to be a woman who creates a legacy of faith to those who will follow in my footsteps. Help me be the woman You want me to be. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    The most impactful life-changer is the Bible! That's why we're excited about our brand new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women, full of God's truth and our devotions throughout.

    Reflect and Respond:
    If your grandparents are still alive, take the time to write them a letter, or call them. If you are a grandparent, write your grandchildren a letter.

    Think of an older woman who has been a model of Christian faith. What are some of her most memorable characteristics?

    What can you do now to become a woman of faith who will leave a legacy?

    Power Verses:
    Isaiah 55:11, "... so is my word that goes out from my mouth; It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." (NIV)

    Daniel 4:34b, "His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation." (NIV)

    Deuteronomy 7:9, "Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands." (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 2 Timothy

  • Suffer with Me Awhile

    Posted on March 29, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "Then he said to them, 'My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.'" Matthew 26:38 (NIV)

    I dipped my piece of torn bread in the cup of dark purple juice and placed it in my mouth. I tasted the ripeness of the fruit and savored the texture of the bread. "I will remember, Lord." I spoke the words in my head, silently thanking Jesus for the sacrifice He made for me on the cross.

    Within a minute, the aftertaste of the juice distracted my communion meditation. It was more bitter than usual and I thought about taking a sip of something else to remove the flavor from my mouth. Should I grab my coffee, or some water?

    Immediately, the Lord spoke to my heart: "Suffer with Me awhile."

    Sadness filled my heart as I realized how quickly I wanted to remove the unpleasant taste ... how fast my thoughts drifted from the suffering of Christ to my own comfort. And I wondered how many times my self-focus had led me away from obedience in the hard places of life.

    The Bible tells of three disciples who also chose comfort over obedience. On the night of His betrayal, Jesus asked Peter, James and John to watch and wait for Him while He prayed. During the time when our Lord was "overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," His closest friends couldn't keep awake. Three times Jesus returned to find them sleeping.

    For those disciples, it was sleep that drew them from Christ's request to keep watch with Him. What is it for me? What keeps me from obeying Jesus' requests? Oh, the easy ones I have no problem with. It's the ones that infringe on my comfort that I wrestle with.

    Someday, we'll get to enjoy heaven and all its perfection. But for now, the work God calls us to do here on earth is often uncomfortable, physically tiring and emotionally draining. Some days it's downright dirty and difficult.

    While my flesh would prefer a cushy assignment, I don't want to shake the nail-scarred hands of Jesus—the hands that touched lepers, the hands that stroked the head of a broken sinful woman—with hands that have never gotten dirty with life.

    During this time before Easter, consider what sacrifices the Lord might be asking of you. Perhaps it's serving in an area at church that's difficult, reaching out to an unfriendly neighbor, or mending a damaged relationship. Or maybe it's getting less sleep in order to wake up and spend time with Him through prayer and reading Scripture.

    Moving from serving in comfort, to serving in sacrifice, builds spiritual character and maturity. But more than that, our hearts unite with Christ as a suffering servant.

    Jesus asked us to carry our cross daily. Before we can truly appreciate what happened on the cross 2000 years ago, or the resurrection that happened on Easter, we need to deny ourselves and follow Jesus wherever He leads. And stay awake while we do.

    Heavenly Father, You are faithful and awesome. Forgive me when I disobey Your requests to sacrifice my own comfort. I ask for a heart like Yours that sees beyond the surface of this life, a heart that sees the work that needs to be done from an eternal perspective. Please give me courage and boldness to become a steadfast servant, pleasing in Your sight. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Find new boldness in serving Christ by getting to know Him through Scripture. Proverbs 31 Ministries' team included 366 devotions to study the Word with you in our new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women. Pick up your copy here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Why would Jesus have asked Peter, James and John to watch with Him while He prayed?

    Is there something that Jesus has asked you to do that you haven't done? Define what that is and take a first step toward it today.

    Power Verses:
    Luke 9:23-24, "Then He said to them all: 'If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it.'" (NIV)

    Phillipians 1:29, "For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have." (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 Matthew, Suffering

  • Fueled or Filled?

    Posted on February 25, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:9-10 (NIV)

     

    As a mother of three little boys my life was full ... full with tiny people loving me, following me, needing me. I was never alone ... and yet on so many days I felt empty.

    My schedule was full of responsibilities as I tried to manage a part-time job, church leadership, and clutter and laundry at home that seemed insurmountable. Yet in spite of an overflowing to-do list, I felt empty.

    There was a hunger for significance that days filled with people and activity could never meet. Rather than turning to the One who could speak meaning and purpose into my heart, I desperately tried to reclaim the life I had before children ... the me I was before children ... but it was always outside my grasp.

    I know others feel this way too. Our lives can be filled with people, projects, jobs, and fancy planners or apps to manage them all, and we can still be empty on the inside. Our hearts cry in quiet despair ... is there more to life than this?

    But this was NEVER God's plan. God created us to be filled by Him. Without Him we can feel full but still be empty. Here's an example of what I mean.

    I drive a Suburban. It's a workhorse of a vehicle, bought when we needed to carry three growing and athletic boys with all their equipment. Although it's over 10 years old, it still works great when it's got fuel.

    But what would happen if one day I decided to fill my car up from the garden hose? It's right by my driveway. I could just unwind the hose, open my gas tank and turn her on. Can you imagine how much money I would save? And I would save so much time!

    If I filled my car with water, and just left it in the driveway, you'd think I was ready to go. Now what would happen if I tried to take a road trip?

    Sometimes, we try to do as women, don't we? We look really good on the outside. And we may even feel full. But what we are filled with will not sustain us. In fact, if we go very far, we will break down.

    Here's the problem we need to be aware of. We have an enemy who tries to convince us we are full. John 10:9-10 says, "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

    This enemy has been convincing us for thousands of years that God can't fully meet our heart cries. Rather than turning to God to access His unlimited storehouse of wisdom, direction, comfort, and provision, we turn to idols. We seek to fill our God-hunger with what's tangible. Sight replaces faith and it's easy to forget our personal God.

    Although I loved and served God during those hard years, I forgot He was personal enough to fuel my empty heart with meaning and purpose. When a move across country stripped my life from all responsibilities outside my home, I was desperate enough to cry out to God rather than fill my days again with more to do.

    When He finally had my attention, God stepped in to the gap to reveal Himself in a personal way. My heart was finally being fueled, and in a way that satisfied rather than left me hungry.

    I've lived life both ways - filled but empty, and fueled and content. Interestingly my life is still full with people who need me, clutter and laundry that still need to be managed and work and church responsibilities. But the emptiness is gone. God is the source of true fullness that never leaves me wanting.

    Related Resources:

    I Used to Be So Organized by Glynnis Whitwer is a unique combination of biblical encouragement and practical advice to help avoid the busyness that fills but not fuels.

    If the clutter and laundry and everything else is overwhelming and pulling you away from God, Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst will encourage and spur you on.

    Reflect and Respond:
    In what specific ways are you fueling from the "garden hose" and not from the God? Ask Him to forgive you for turning to other things to satisfy you.

    Pause in this moment to connect with God. Pray for Him to fill you with His wisdom, direction, comfort, and provision.

    Power Verses:
    Isaiah 58:11, "The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." (NIV)

    Matthew 6:33, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Remind Me Who I Am

    Posted on February 6, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him." John 13:23 (NIV)

    As a freshman in high school, a boy gave me the nickname "hips." Although I was thin, my shape wasn't popular like the models of that time. And from that point on I was keenly and uncomfortably aware that I didn't have a "desirable" figure.

    The name "hips" stuck in my mind for years, as I labeled myself un-athletic and uncoordinated. It didn't help that I got hit in the head at softball tryouts and was in the first cuts from the volleyball and basketball teams. I did get called back for a dancing spot in the school play, but went to the auditions in Levis 501 straight leg jeans. Not exactly sure what I was thinking that day ...

    Un-athletic isn't the only label I've given myself over the years. Some have been positive, others negative. Some based on fact, yet others based on emotion. The way I describe myself has a powerful effect on how I see myself ... on my self-worth, value and choices.

    The New Testament tells of a disciple of Jesus who had an interesting definition for himself, one that seemed to impact his life as well. In the book of John, one of the disciples is described this way: the one whom Jesus loved.

    Interestingly, this description is only found in the book of John, and scholars believe John the Apostle, the author of the book, was referring to himself.

    For years, I assumed this was a title the other disciples gave John. Perhaps they believed Jesus loved John more than the others. That wouldn't be uncommon, as siblings tend to have an unspoken understanding of one child being favored. But what if this title, this label, wasn't given by the others?

    Recently it hit me that this identity - one loved by Jesus - was how John described himself.

    John was confident of Jesus' love, and this had a powerful effect on how he lived his life. He didn't fear man's threats as he stood at the base of the cross, caring for Jesus' mother. Nor when he was among the first at the tomb, possibly facing bewildered and angry Roman soldiers. After the resurrection, John fearlessly preached the Good News alongside the others, and faced persecution and imprisonment. John's confidence of Jesus' love emboldened him.

    As I thought of all the descriptions I've given myself over the years, I realized that this one might be the most life-changing for me. It's one thing to identify myself as a Christian, as if it's a set of beliefs I adhere to. It's quite another to place myself in the "inner circle" because of Jesus' love for me. There's something that seems slightly presumptuous about that, and so it's safer to skirt on the edges of this relationship I have with Christ.

    And yet when I dare to admit the possibility that Jesus might love me as much as He loved John ... and that I too could call myself the one whom Jesus loves ... this knowledge changes who I am.

    I'm invited to His inner circle, today. The only thing that has ever held me back is me - and my faulty definitions of myself.

    Today, dear friend, this same identity is available to you. You are the disciple Jesus loves. Can you claim that for yourself? This life-changing identity is waiting for you to accept it.

    Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me unconditionally. Thank You for inviting me in to Your inner circle. May this truth embroider itself on my heart. And may I walk in faith, strengthened by Your love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

    I Used to Be So Organized by Glynnis Whitwer

    Reflect and Respond:
    What labels have you accepted as true for yourself?

    How would your life be different if you believed you were the disciple Jesus loves?

    Power Verses:
    Ephesians 5:1-2, "Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (NIV)

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

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Who Controls What?

    Posted on January 21, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control." Proverbs 25:28 (NIV)

    Ask me why my attempts at losing weight haven't been successful and I can give you a list of reasons: It was a stressful summer, I hit a "golden" number on my birthday, how could I say no to the scrumptious food on vacation? And the "best" one (the one that garnered the most sympathy) - I couldn't exercise due to a minor medical procedure on my legs.

    But the bottom line is this: I lack self-control in this area of my life.

    I know what I should do. Or more accurately, I know what I should NOT do. And yet when faced with a temptation, I give in. Rather than choose a modest portion size, I justify a second helping. Or I set myself up by not anticipating my weakness and buying Little Debbie Swiss Rolls thinking I'll only eat half of one. Oh, how I deceive myself.

    The ability to control my own choices is a God-given gift. And yet it's one I misuse some times. Sadly rather than controlling myself, I choose to try to control other things. And end up losing control of myself.

    Here was God's original plan: He controls the world. We control ourselves.

    That's a great plan when you think it through objectively. God's got unlimited resources, unlimited wisdom, and unlimited power. He should be in charge of the world with that resume.

    That's not what happened though. Many generations ago, in a garden with some fruit that was off-limits, we decided we didn't like that plan. In fact, we decided it was our job to control the world. After all, we have to live in it, right? Shouldn't we make the rules? Plus, we really should make sure others stay in line too. My what a big job we have trying to corral everyone! It's exhausting.

    So the more we focus on God's job (controlling the world and other people) the less we do our job (controlling ourselves).

    I love today's Scripture verse from Proverbs 25:28, "Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control." (NIV) This gives me a mental image of an unprotected treasure. So when an enemy tries to attack, there is no defense.

    As I apply that to my life, I can see where the enemy sneaks in through my lack of self-control. Especially when I start my excuses. Whether it's excuses for over-eating, not managing my home well or over-committing myself, without self-control I'm like a bombarded city. The more I focus on what I can't control, the less I'm able to manage what I can control.

    Thankfully, God has a plan in place to help us with this issue. He sent His Holy Spirit to live in us. Galatians 5:22-24 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." (NIV)

    As we start a new year, I'm taking a fresh look at what I can control and what I can't. I'm acknowledging my need of God's help, but I'm also acknowledging my responsibility. Thankfully I can release the load of trying to control others, because on most days, I'm as much as I can handle.

    Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of free-will and self control. Forgive me when I misuse those gifts. Help me to seek Your Spirit for more self control in my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Does your life feel out of control? I Used to Be So Organized by Glynnis Whitwer can help bring order to your schedule and home.

    Let.It.Go. How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith by Karen Ehman

    Reflect and Respond:
    In what areas of your life do you have the least amount of self-control?

    Think through one of those areas and consider how you have misplaced your ability to control yourself with trying to control something or someone else.

    Power Verses:
    Titus 2:4-5, "Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." (NIV)

    Galatians 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • God, I Don't Understand

    Posted on January 7, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

    God, I don't understand why my friend has cancer again. She's a young wife and mom. She loves You and her family. Why, Lord?

    Have you ever asked God a question like that? I sure have. In fact, there's lots I don't understand about what happens here on earth. Like why people fight wars for power, leaving innocent children like my two little adopted daughters with life-long scars, inside and out. Like why people cheat and betray each other. And why hard working, honest men and women can't find jobs.

    My list of questions is quite long. And when I focus on the "whys" of life, frustration and fear crowd out faith. It's not wrong to ask God hard questions. He doesn't seem to mind. However, when we don't resolve the seemingly unanswered ones, our faith can get shaken.

    The hard truth is, many times we won't get answers to our "why" questions. And yet we believe we deserve them. Maybe it's because we can answer most questions using Google in under 10 seconds. Do we think God should be just as fast and on demand? Perhaps we are obsessed with trying to understand what we don't need to.

    On a recent airline flight, God used a moment of fear to give me insight into this issue. It had been years since I'd been afraid of flying, so it surprised me. I'm not a pilot, nor do I understand physics or aeronautics. So when the plane took an odd bump, my stomach jumped as well.

    Immediately God brought Proverbs 3:5 to mind: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." With that Word of truth, something shifted inside my heart and mind. I didn't have to know the "why" to have peace. I just had to know "Who" ... and He is completely trustworthy.

    The whys of life can consume me, because I want to know answers. All the time. To big questions and little ones. Like why there is war. And why someone put an empty carton of milk back in the refrigerator. But that's just not always possible. The truth is, my understanding is human, frail, and woefully limited. It's hampered by emotion and colored by fear. It's also incomplete. On the other hand, God's wisdom and knowledge is perfect.

    God doesn't need to explain everything to me. It's hard to accept, but true. I'm learning that I have a choice when I don't get a satisfactory answer to why something happened. I can choose to allow frustration to grow into distrust, or to submit my need to know why.

    I still don't understand lots of what happens here on the earth. But I do know God can be trusted. And when I don't get an answer that makes sense to me, it's an opportunity to gracefully submit my limited understanding to God, and lean on Him.

    Dear Lord, I praise You for being all-knowing. There is nothing that escapes Your eyes. Right now I'm facing some things that don't make sense. And when I lean on my own understanding, I feel shaky. Help me to submit my questions to You, and trust that You have everything under control. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Let. It. Go.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith by Karen Ehman

    I Used to Be So Organized by Glynnis Whitwer

    Reflect and Respond:
    How do you tend to react when you don't get answers to your questions from people around you? From God?

    How has God proved Himself faithful in the past in your life? Remind yourself of these times when you feel your faith shaking.

    Power Verses:
    Isaiah 55:8-9, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (NIV)

    Proverbs 28:26, "He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe." (NIV 1984)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Hurry is a Heart Condition

    Posted on December 31, 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "Let all that you do be done in love." 1 Corinthians 16:14 (NASB)

    Hurry had a tight hold on me.

    When my children were young, you would have found me rushing from one task to another, usually pushing or dragging a frustrated child. I was either in high gear, or crashing in the aftermath of the frenzy ... often holding back tears, and berating myself for not being able to get it together.

    It was an exhausting way to live. But an inner drive to achieve fueled the fury of my days. Refusing to admit I couldn't do it all, I tried to keep up the same pre-child schedule. Sadly, everyone in my family paid the price, especially my little boys who weren't genetically wired to sit quietly and color while Mommy attended a meeting.

    During that time, "hurry up or we'll be late" was commonly heard, yelled from the kitchen or hissed while we scurried into the back row at church. There was too much to do, in too little time. Life was blurry with hurry.

    Sadly, I thought everyone lived like this. That was until I read about hurry sickness in The Life You've Always Wanted by John Ortberg. My heart was skewered when I read one of the symptoms is a diminished capacity to love. My children could have told you I had a problem. Only it wasn't hurry sickness, it was hurry addiction.

    I didn't want to be that woman who rushed through life. I didn't want my children to look back and say, "Wow, Mom got a lot done!" I wanted them to be convinced, thoroughly and utterly, of my love for them. And not just my children, but my husband, parents, sisters, and so on.

    The Bible is clear that loving others is critical. And not just in public. First Corinthians 16:14 says, "Let all that you do be done in love" (NASB). Which means when I'm trying to get out the door in the morning, or finishing up a project before a deadline. God clearly was telling me to slow down, and prioritize the person in front of me rather than the task on my to-do list.

    Eliminating hurry from my life took years of hard work. I had to choose to walk and talk slower. I had to eliminate responsibilities from my life, and plan ahead. Most importantly, I had to deal with the hidden issues that motivated me to hurry.

    In the process, I learned hurry is not a required byproduct of one type of lifestyle. We can't point our fingers at anyone and say, "Look sister, here's your problem – you need to quit _______."

    The truth is, a homeschooling mom can be more hurried than an executive. And a retired person can be more hurried than a working mom of five. Hurry is a condition of our hearts. It's the result of following my to-do list, rather than God's. And loving those around me is always on God's to-do list.

    Hurry has different roots. For some it's procrastination. For others it's people-pleasing. For me it was a need to prove I still had it, even though my life had been slowed down by the blessings of children. Whatever the root, the result is the same: a rushed woman who doesn't make time to show love to those around her.

    You'll still find me hurrying at times. Especially when my husband or children spontaneously invite me away from my work to spend time with them. But now I'm hurrying to love, not to finish a task. And that makes all the difference.

    Dear Lord, thank You for patiently showing love to me. You always have time for me. Help me to give that same gift to those around me. Please show me the root of my own hurry issues. I want to be more like You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    For more practical help on managing your days, you might enjoy I Used to Be So Organized by Glynnis Whitwer.

    A Confident Heart by Renee Swope can help you deal with some of the heart issues causing hurry sickness.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What times of the day, or situations, cause you to hurry?

    Besides a diminished capacity to love, what other negative side effects does hurry sickness cause?

    Power Verses:
    Galatians 5:13, "You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love." (NIV)

    John 13:34-35, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 1 Corinthians, John Ortberg

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