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User Archives: Glynnis Whitwer

  • Is God's Strength Still Available for Me?

    Posted on July 17, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "'Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.' And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said." 2 Chronicles 32:7-8 (NIV)

    Strength is an appealing characteristic. Strong wills. Strong arms. Strong jaws. Strong emotions. We admire them all.

    We love movies with strong heroes.
    We watch sports with strong athletes.
    We look up to strong leaders.

    Yet it's easy to compare our own motivations, muscles and minds with others who appear strong, and feel quite insignificant and weak in the comparison. We whisper things in our hearts that no one hears. Things like:

    If only I were that strong ...
    ... I'd say no to the temptations that no one sees.
    ... I'd follow my dream to change careers.
    ... I'd go to college.
    ... I'd be the mother or employee I KNOW I could be.

    Then reality washes over us like a splash of ice water, waking us from our daydream with an unpleasant start. Back to our weaknesses that seem destined to chain us to a resigned life. Bad habits, damaged relationships, unfulfilled dreams ... that's my life ... our despairing hearts sigh.

    Oh how I know those thoughts. For most of my life, I've battled feeling weak in certain areas, while strong in others. And my inconsistencies frustrate me. I could be brave when facing a huge project at work, but the thought of sharing my faith with my unbelieving father made me feel weak. I feel strong saying no to many obvious sins, but then weak when I don't say no to over-eating in the privacy of my home.

    And then I read stories like the one told of Hezekiah, king of Judah in 2 Chronicles 32. The story is worth reading in its entirety, but verses 7 and 8 speak truth that's worth repeating today: "'Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.' And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said."

    It's so easy for me to forget there is a source of strength available to me every moment of every day. It's free of charge. There is no "closed" sign in the window of heaven. And I don't get a recording when I call for help.

    For those who have chosen to follow Jesus, God's strength is available. That doesn't mean tomorrow I'll be able to run a marathon; it's not that kind of strength. But as I ponder the type of strength God promises, a clue is found in the word "confidence." Confidence not in myself, but in God's ability to effectively deal with any challenge I'm currently facing.

    As I've learned to turn to God for His strength, I've experienced the courage to press on in situations when my flesh wants to give up. I've experienced hope when relationships seem dead. I've experienced peace when fear threatens to overtake me.

    We serve a God of unlimited power, and yet it's so easy to forget and rely on our own imperfect strength. What if we accepted that God's life-changing power was really for us? What kind of difference would that make in our lives?

    Let's make this personal. What kind of difference would it make if you truly believed God's power was available ... to you?

    Heavenly Father, thank You for being my strength and power. So often I feel weak and inadequate. Thank You for reminding me that I don't have to do life on my own. Help me to look to You first when I need help, and not myself. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Take time today to read about God's immeasurable strength in His Word. Pick up your copy of the new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women. The Proverbs 31 team has written 366 devotions to unpack Scripture with you.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Most of us don't face war, but we do face battles every day that seem insurmountable. What "battles" do you face?

    If you believed with all your heart that God's power was available to you today, what would do differently? What would you attempt?

    Power Verses:
    Isaiah 40:31, "... but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (NIV)

    Psalm18:2, "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." (NIV)

    © 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 Chronicles

  • A Gentle Touch

    Posted on July 2, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, 'I am willing; be cleansed'" Mark 1:41 (NASB)

    The labor and delivery of my second child was fast. In fact, within two hours after the first inkling of pain, I was in the hospital being prepped for delivery. The intense pain surprised and overwhelmed me. Because of the rapid progression, I had no pain relief.

    With my husband's hand squeezed in my left one, I looked into the face of the young nurse standing at my right, coaching me through the delivery. After an excruciating contraction, I asked, "Will you hold my hand?" She smiled and grabbed hold of my right hand while another wave of pain radiated through my body.

    It sounded pitiful and needy to ask someone to hold my hand, but at that moment I needed her strength.

    There have been other times I've needed to hold someone's hand. The first time I went snorkeling, I thought I was going to pass out I was hyperventilating so badly. I held my husband's hand on my left and my son's hand on my right until I could control my breathing and enjoy the incredible sights.

    Hiking up Angel's Landing in Zion National Park, I held someone's hand when I wasn't grasping on to rocks.

    I've held my mother's hand and my sisters' hands as we've walked through the pain of losing loved ones.

    There's something about physical touch that brings comfort and stability in an uncertain world. The New Testament is filled with stories of Jesus touching those around Him. He laid His hands on women who had been scorned, children who were dancing at His feet and lepers ashamed of their faces.

    In this world of virtual relationships, conversations managed via electronic devices and fear of inappropriate touch, I wonder if we are losing our physical connections to each other. And yet God designed us to need touch. In fact, it is critical to our health-both emotional and physical. Babies need touch for their brains to develop and children need touch for their emotions to develop. Experts say appropriate touch has a profound effect on the brain's programming and re-programming.

    Perhaps it's time to become more intentional about offering loving and appropriate touch to others. We all need it, but often find it's awkward to accept and offer. My immediate family is very comfortable with touch, as my children have grown up with lots of physical affection. But I have to be intentional about reaching out to others in gentle and creative ways.

    I have discovered reading the New Testament that the first believers were very affectionate with each other. In fact, at the end of Acts 20, we read that all the believers embraced and kissed Paul as he was leaving for a journey. They were also encouraged to greet each other with a holy kiss.

    While I realize not everyone is ready to be touched with such intimacy, I am challenged to bring healthy touch into my relationships in greater measure. Whether it's a hug, pat on the head, stroke on the arm, or a holy kiss, touch is needed in our society. Maybe if we brought more healthy touch into our relationships, people wouldn't be driven to seek it in inappropriate ways.

    For whatever reason, God designed us to need the physical touch of others. The next time you are at church, a family get-together or out with friends, challenge yourself to offer healthy touch to two or three people, especially those seniors in your midst. Become the person who offers a hug, rather than waiting for one.

    Dear Lord, I know You designed us to need the touch of other people. It's not always easy to admit we need someone to hold our hand, or give us a hug. Help me to be more aware of the needs of those around me and to offer gentle touch in natural ways. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Study different Scriptures where Jesus reached out and touched someone in the NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women. We've sprinkled 366 devotions, written by our team, throughout this Bible to help encourage you.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What are some reasons you refrain from offering a gentle touch to others?

    How can you emulate Jesus' care for others, as seen in Scripture?

    Power Verses:
    Matthew 19:14-15, "But Jesus said, 'Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.' And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left." (NLT)

    1 Peter 5:14, "Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ." (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 Mark

  • There's Power in His Words

    Posted on June 26, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "'Let the prophet who has a dream recount the dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?' declares the LORD. 'Is not my word like fire,' declares the LORD, 'and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?'" Jeremiah 23:28-29 (NIV)

    "Glynnis, what do you think I should do?"

    Wrapping my hands around my coffee cup, I leaned back in my chair, took a sip and struck what I believed was a wise pose.

    On the outside, I was composed ... I crossed my legs and rocked back, looking at my friend intently.

    But on the inside ... oh that was a different story. On the inside, I was giddy. Someone wanted my opinion! Oh what joy that brought to the heart of this always-wanting-to-be-right girl. Gathering my thoughts, I took a deep breath and proceeded to unload what surely were words that would change her life!

    Her response was under-whelming.

    I expected to hear something like, "Wow! I hadn't thought of that. Thank you so much. I'm definitely going to take your advice."

    All I got back, "Hmmm ... okay."

    Insecurity bothered me for days. I second-guessed everything I'd said, wondering if somehow I'd offended her or came across as bossy or judgmental. I'd so carefully crafted each sentence, that I couldn't imagine where I'd gone wrong.

    I spent many years wanting to be the one people came to for questions. To be acknowledged. To have all the answers. And yet time and time again, my advice fell on deaf ears. Unless someone else gave the exact same advice I did a few days later. Then everyone thought it was brilliant. Awesome.

    Receiving this type of response bugged me for years. Until I realized God was using it to teach me a lesson. God needed to uncover a heart attitude behind my actions. Rather than pointing people to God's Word, I consistently pointed them to my words. And my words don't have the power to change lives like God's.

    As a young Christian, I knew God's Word was important. Reading the Bible became a central part of my life. But there were many years where it was more routine than life-changing. I read it because that's what "good" Christians did.

    My faith took a drastic leap forward when I realized God's Word had power when I believed it and acted on it. It had power because it was truth. It had power because it had the weight of heaven behind it.

    One of the first lessons God taught me was from James 1:5-6, where James tells of the importance of not doubting when we ask for wisdom: "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind" (NIV).

    I realized I doubted all the time. One day I decided to take God at His Word and stop doubting He would answer my prayers for wisdom. When I asked for direction, I trusted that my gut instinct was from God ... so long as it wasn't against His Word. The more I addressed doubt, the more my confidence grew that I was hearing from God. And the more I saw God move in my life.

    The power of God's Word changed my life drastically when I chose to believe and act on it. And while I still like to be asked for advice, now I point people in the direction of God's Words more than mine. The response is always life-changing.

    Heavenly Father, You are the source of true power and wisdom. Forgive me for all the times I've looked to myself for strength. I want to be a woman whose life is testimony to the power of Your Word to transform and renew. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    To read God's life-changing Word for yourself, purchase the new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible, which is on sale for 20% off now through July 5! Reading the Word is the best investment you'll ever make in your spiritual growth.

    Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    Why do you think God made sure His words and the story of His people were written down?

    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)

    Matthew 7:24-25, "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had it's foundation on the rock." (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 Jeremiah

  • When the Pressure Crushes You

    Posted on June 11, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself ... But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead." 2 Corinthians 1:8b, 9b (NIV)

    It seemed pressure came from every direction. It was unrelenting. Financial pressures brought worry. Children issues brought frustration. And an overloaded schedule kept me up at night. It got so bad I wanted to have a bonfire with all my to-do lists and make s'mores.

    Being a naturally self-sufficient person, my instincts led me to work harder. How could I make more money? What new parenting technique would make this child behave? If I pulled an all-nighter could I knock my emails down to a manageable number?

    I picked up the pace. Buckled down. Slept less. Instituted logical consequences for my child. And re-wrote my to-do lists. I was determined to pull myself together. After all, that's who I am ... at least that's who I was.

    In the past, my Lone Ranger attempts at managing circumstances worked. But not this time.

    Debts mounted. My child's problems increased. And consequently, I fell further behind. The pressure just kept increasing instead of going away.

    Never in my life had circumstances been so overwhelmingly beyond my control. I was surrounded by things I couldn't whip into shape, including my own emotions. I felt like such a failure, and was so ashamed that I couldn't manage the assignments God had given me. Finally, with no solutions in sight, I broke down before God, crying out in desperation, certain He'd be as disappointed with me as I was.

    After all, I was the girl He was supposed to be able to count on. I was the dependable one. And here I was falling apart.

    With my emotions a tangled mess, I poured out all my fears, weakness, and insecurities to God. Even my prayers seemed jumbled and incoherent. And in the midst of my tears, I declared "I can't even pray right!" Never had I needed God more. Well, to be honest, never had I really needed God.

    In the aftermath of my breakdown, something started to change in me. It was subtle, kind of like the dawn, when pitch black moments start to take shape.

    My self-sufficiency was slipping, being replaced by God-dependency. Peace snuck in where I didn't expect it. Circumstances didn't change, but my understanding did. God never needed to depend on me ... rather I was to depend on Him.

    Although I'd been a Christian for many years, and loved and followed God with what I thought was all my heart, it seemed I'd held something back. In the midst of that pressure-cooker time, I realized believing in God isn't the same as trusting Him. God used pressure that felt crushing to lead me to dependence that felt freeing.

    Recently I read a passage in 1 Corinthians that perfectly summarized what God taught me during that time: "We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself ... But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us" (vv. 8b, 9b-10)

    Pressure in life is never easy. But God can use it to take our faith deeper if we let Him. It started for me by admitting my insufficiency, and realizing God wasn't disappointed by that confession. In fact, He invites me to need Him.

    Heavenly Father, please forgive me for all the times I've said "I don't need You" through my actions. I admit I can't manage my life alone, and need Your help. Thank You for being all-sufficient and all-powerful and loving me enough to never shame me for what I can't manage. I love You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

    Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try Hard Life by Emily Freeman

    For daily encouragement, join our Facebook community.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What is your typical reaction when facing a problem?

    If you knew without a doubt that God would help in your time of need, how would that change things for you?

    Power Verses:
    2 Corinthians 4:8-9, "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." (NIV)

    Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (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 Corinthians

  • 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

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