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User Archives: Lysa TerKeurst

  • 6 Prayers to Pray the Week After Easter

    Posted on April 21, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "The angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: "He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him." Now I have told you.'" Matthew 28:5-7 (NIV)

    I don't think Easter is quite done with me yet.

    I know what glorious things this Holy Day says to the world at large.

    But what does Jesus want me to know, to think about, to wrestle through at this time of year? This season of new beginnings.

    So, I'm lingering here a bit longer.

    I feel like the girl who wears the same outfit to school two days in a row. Easter is done now. Time to put it back in the closet. Only for me it isn't. I want to wear it again today, tomorrow and many more tomorrows.

    After all, Easter is no longer a ritual to me. It's a revelation. A time where Jesus splits my soul along the fault line of a scar deep within: I was an unwanted child to my birth dad.

    Unwanted.

    But to Jesus ... I was wanted so much that He gave His life for me. It feels so personal. Even though I know God so loved the world, He gave His son, it becomes very individual if we let it.

    Be personal.

    With Jesus.

    Yes.

    So, in the midst of a world putting Easter away, might we let it sit with us for just a bit more?

    I keep my Bible open to the place where the angel spoke to the women at the tomb. And I tangle my thoughts around His words from Matthew 28 as six prayers emerge ...

    "Do not be afraid," - God, I hand over to You those things that make me so afraid. Resurrect the parts of my faith squelched by fear.

    "I know that you are looking for Jesus," - God, when my soul is searching, help me know the answer to every longing can be found in You.

    "He has risen," - God, the fact that Jesus is risen should lift my head, my heart and my attitude. Help me to live today as if I really believe this with every part of my life.

    "just as he said," - Jesus, You keep Your promises. Help me live as though I believe that with every part of me. Help me trust You more, obey You more and resemble You more.

    "Come and see," - Jesus, You had the angels invite the women in to see for themselves that You had risen. You invite me into these personal revelations every day. Forgive me for sometimes rushing about and forgetting to come and see for myself ... You, Your Word, Your insights.

    "Then go quickly and tell his disciples," - Jesus, I don't want to be a secret keeper with my faith. I want to be a bold and gracious truth proclaimer. For You. With You. Because of You. Me, the unwanted girl whom You loved, redeemed and wanted.

    In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Yes, let this miraculous Easter be personal. And prayerful. And linger a bit longer.

    Dear Lord, I want to let Your Truth sink deep down into my heart and soul today. Help me stay focused on You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Find Matthew 28 in your Bible and read through that chapter in its entirety. What verse sticks out to you?

    Take that verse and write it down or speak it out loud in prayer. Let God's Truth sink deep down into your heart and soul.

    Power Verse:
    1 John 3:16a, "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. 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

  • The Unsaved Christian

    Posted on April 17, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.'" Matthew 15:8-9 (NIV)

    God wants us to have a relationship with Him. But what does this really mean?

    A few years ago, I met a woman at a conference where I was speaking. I didn't know many details about her life, but I did learn she'd been going to church for a long time.

    And she'd been serving, giving and doing all the right church stuff.

    But something was missing.

    "I never could quite put my finger on it until I heard your message," she whispered. "I never knew what it really meant to have a relationship with Jesus. But hearing you explain it, something clicked. I walked forward today. I gave my heart to Jesus."

    I wondered, What part of that day caused the profound click in her soul?

    Of course, it was the Holy Spirit moving ... somehow in the midst of my sharing the broken places of my life, things came together in hers.

    It got me thinking about us doing life together here through this daily devotion. Each day, we spend a few minutes together over the Internet learning how to navigate life as Jesus' girls. But all that talk is for nothing if our hearts stay far away from Jesus.

    It's not about momentary motivation to make it through today.

    It's not about spiffy quotes to ponder and put into practice.

    It's not about relationship tactics and turnkey solutions.

    It's not about bite-size pieces of peace to make life a little more manageable.

    It's not about making our lives look and feel a little better.

    It has to be about Jesus. And drawing our hearts into His reality. His grace. His love. His hope. His forgiveness. And most of all, the free gift of salvation because of Him.

    Have you ever felt like you couldn't put your finger on what was missing? Maybe you bounce from one religious activity to the next, but your heart feels far from God? Oh, sweet sister, can we chat?

    God doesn't want us to have a religion. A religion is where we follow rules hoping to do life right, and serve God out of duty because we think we have to.

    God wants us to have a relationship. A relationship where we follow Him. A relationship where we serve God not out of duty, but out of delight because we've realized who we are in Him. A relationship where our obedience is born out of love.

    For years, I went to church to get a little "God goodness" in my life. But it was like putting fresh paint on rotting wood. I was living just like those talked about in Matthew 15:8-9, "'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.'"

    I realized I didn't need to be just following the rules ... I needed to be following Jesus. God Himself.

    I didn't need a little "God goodness" to rub off on me ... I needed God to invade the deepest parts in me.

    So, I knelt down in the midst of my messy, chaotic, confused life and started a relationship with Him by simply saying, "Yes."

    Yes, I am a sinner in need of a Savior.

    Yes, I acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Son of God, sent to die on a cross and resurrected on the third day to save me from my sins.

    Yes, I want Jesus to be the Lord and Master of my life.

    Yes, I am now and forever will be a forgiven and saved child of the Almighty God.

    Yes, I will follow Jesus today, tomorrow and every other day I'm blessed with life on this earth.

    Let me quiet the voice of Satan screaming to resist this process. He wants to trip us up by whispering how we won't be able to live this out perfectly. Jesus has never ever asked us to be perfect. He simply wants us perfectly surrendered. I often pray, "Oh Jesus, I am such a mess, but I am Yours. Show me ... help me ... forgive me ... reassure me ... and pour Your tender mercy upon me."

    And He does.

    And He always will.

    My imperfections are safely resting in the reality of His perfection.

    And I simply press on by continuing to say yes moment by imperfect moment ... day by imperfect day.

    Dear Lord, I am such a mess, but I am Yours. Show me ... help me ... forgive me ... reassure me ... and pour Your tender mercy upon me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    In this devotion, Lysa said, "So, I knelt down in the midst of my messy, chaotic, confused life and started a relationship with Him by simply saying, 'Yes.'"

    Think of simple ways you can say yes to God today. How would that look? What would change in how you live your life?

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 53:2, "God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. 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

  • The Day I Lost My Smile

    Posted on April 10, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." Proverbs 31:25 (NIV)

    I looked at my schedule and an overwhelming sense of dread started creeping into my heart. "What's wrong with me? Why am I always running late, running behind, and running after my people who all seem to compound this issue?"

    Because time refused to stand still while I pondered, it was necessary to jump right into task mode. There were lunches to pack, permission forms to sign, and tangles that needed gathering up into ponytails. I put one foot in front of the other and kicked into automatic, mentally crossing off one thing after another on my morning routine checklist.

    I gathered up backpacks and lunchboxes and started announcing from the front door that we had to leave right this minute. And then I said it again. And then I yelled it in a tone that finally got my kids to appear. I quickly checked to make sure we didn't repeat yesterday's mistake of letting one leave with no shoes on. Then I marched out of the house while tossing out a stern reminder to please shut the door quickly so the dog didn't get out.

    But the dog did get out.

    As I slipped the car in drive, the dog darted right out in front of me causing me to simultaneously slam on the brakes and spill both cups of orange juice I had gingerly perched between my purse and the little stacks of toast.

    I jumped out to usher the dog back into the house and let hot tears just have their way. The green numbers of the dashboard clock seemed to simultaneously mock and remind me I had no time to sit and cry it all out.

    I handed my kids their soggy toast and in a rare moment of silence, they took it without protest.

    We pulled into the carpool line at school and I stared at the long line of cars ahead of me. I imagined all the wonderful smiling mothers who were doing this better than me. They probably had organized systems for packing lunches the night before and making sure their kids kept up with their shoes. They probably did family devotions each morning, ate breakfast at the table, and sang songs all the way to school.

    I compared all that to the realities of my morning and came to one heart-sinking conclusion: "I stink at this."

    Almost at that exact moment my phone buzzed with a text message from a friend: "I had a really hard morning with my kids today. I'd love to have coffee some time and learn how you do it all so well."

    I couldn't believe it. I half sighed and half chuckled at the irony.

    I turned around to my kids in the back and said, "Hey guys, I'm really sorry Mommy was such a grump this morning. I think I misplaced my smile. So I just want you to know while you're at school today I'm going to do everything I can to find it."

    After I dropped them off, I called that friend and told her what a gift it was to get her text.

    I shared with her. She shared with me.

    Together, we brainstormed better ways to prepare for these morning pitfalls we both kept finding ourselves in.

    Together, we gave ourselves the permission to admit how hard motherhood can sometimes be and that it's okay to feel caught off guard by the endless demands.

    Together, we listed reasons to be so very thankful.

    Together, we found strength.

    Together, we regained our sense of dignity.

    And it wasn't too long until we both found ourselves laughing together.

    It reminds me of our key verse, Proverbs 31:25, "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." But sometimes it takes a friend to bring us back to the place where we can live this verse.

    We need each other. The key word that day I processed life with my friend and gained a better perspective was, "together." It's such a powerful word and the exact reason I wrote this devotion today.

    You are not alone.

    Oh, how easy it is to lose our smiles and forget to laugh at the craziness of our lives. I need reminders. Just recently, I bought a necklace with a gold pendant that reads, "She laughs." (See below in related resources for more information.) When I see the reflection of this necklace in the mirror I remember laughing is one of the best ways to show those I love that I enjoy them and I like doing life with them. What a gift for them to have memories of me laughing.

    I imagine, though the circumstances might be different for you, you know that place where I was. And maybe you need a reminder to laugh too. We all have times where we feel like failures. We feel like others are doing life so much better. We feel so very alone in our struggles and issues and chaotic emotions. And we look up one day and feel like it was a lifetime ago since we laughed.

    So, I slip this little devotion into your life and whisper, you're not alone. You're doing this so much better than you think you are. God has entrusted you with your life, your loved ones, your unique challenges because you are perfectly equipped for it all.

    Just don't lose your smile. And if you run into me today looking a little worn out, might you remind me of this as well?

    Dear Lord, help me not to lose my smile today. I want to find my joy in You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What friend can you share your struggles with today?

    Choose someone you can be honest with, and determine to encourage each other through meeting for coffee, praying for each other, and sending text messages throughout the week.

    Power Verse:
    Ecclesiastes 4:12, "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • If You're Feeling Overlooked and Unappreciated...

    Posted on April 3, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: 'I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.'" Acts 13:22 (NIV)

    Sometimes I wake up in the morning feeling a little grumpy. Time to do it all again. I'll buy food that gets eaten. I'll wash clothes that get dirty again. I'll sweep floors that will be littered with crumbs an hour later.

    Is there more to all this than just doing the tasks of everyday life?

    Before I jumped into the normal routine this morning, I sat with Jesus. And I found some big truths as I read my Bible and took a little glance into David's life. Despite how others saw him, his own tendency to sin, and lack of position in his own family, David had the sweet reassurance of God. And that was enough.

    Overlooked by everyone else. Handpicked by God.

    To his older brothers, David was a pest. To his father, Jesse, he was just the youngest son. To onlookers, he was just a shepherd boy. But to God, David was the one destined to be king. And not just any king. He was from the bloodline from which Jesus would come.

    Overlooked by everyone else. Handpicked by God.

    Even the way David was anointed to be the future king is a telling story. In 1 Samuel 16, God tells Samuel that He has rejected Saul as king and chosen one of Jesse's sons to be the replacement.

    Think of the list of qualifications that must have run through Samuel's mind for such a position: tall, smart, articulate, brave, groomed, well-mannered, a natural-born leader. Samuel saw some of these characteristics in Eliab, David's brother. "But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his outward appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7, NIV 1984).

    Overlooked by everyone else. Handpicked by God.

    Samuel had Jesse line up all of his sons before him. All of them were to be considered. Yet, Jesse didn't call David in from tending sheep. Was this an oversight? An assumption? A judgment call? A deliberate choice?

    Overlooked by everyone else. Handpicked by God.

    Samuel passes on each of Jesse's sons and then asks, "Are these all the sons you have?" I imagine Jesse with a quizzical expression replying, "There is still the youngest ... He is tending the sheep." (1 Samuel 16:11, NIV) Surely one who spends his time taking care of animals is not the one to take care of a nation.

    Overlooked by everyone else. Handpicked by God.

    As soon as Samuel saw David, he knew he was the one. David was anointed to become king. But he was not immediately ushered to the throne. It would be many years before David was recognized by the world. So, where did he go after being anointed as king? To a refining school? A government academy? Military training? Nope.

    He went back out to the fields and continued to shepherd his flock. A king doing lowly tasks. A king whose character was being refined in the fields of everyday life to prepare him for his calling.

    How like us. In the midst of smelly laundry, dirty dishes, snotty noses, misplaced keys, overdue library books, bills, and that birthday gift that still needs to be mailed to Grandma – there is training there. There is character building. There is attitude shaping. There is soul defining. All of which must take place for us to become what God intends.

    Do you ever feel overlooked by the world? Take heart – we are handpicked by God.

    I am not just doing tasks. I am building a legacy. I am shaping God's Kingdom. I am in the process of not only discovering my calling but that of my family as well. And I don't know about you, but it sure does make me look at my everyday tasks (yes, even the smelly laundry) in a whole different light.

    Dear Lord, I'm grateful that even when I feel overlooked, I can rest in the fact that I am handpicked by You. Help me to live my life for an audience of One. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What tasks have you viewed as mundane or pointless?

    Determine to change your perspective on those tasks today. When you're feeling discouraged speak these words out loud: "I am handpicked and called by God. This is my assignment today from Him and I'm choosing to see how important it is!"

    Power Verse:
    1 Corinthians 15:58b, "Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort." (MSG)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. 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 Acts

  • How Much Will This Choice Really Cost Me?

    Posted on March 27, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "... in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes." 2 Corinthians 2:11 (NIV)

    A few years ago I sat at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) with my daughter Ashley while an officer told her the importance of good choices. Ashley was getting her learner's permit and entering the scary world of teenage drivers.

    "We've had 320 teens killed this year in fatal car accidents so we want to do everything possible to keep you safe," the officer said sternly as she highlighted for Ashley all the many rules for new drivers. Then she suggested signing a contract with her parents incorporating these rules.

    I've never wanted to hug a DMV officer. But, it was all I could do not to reach across the desk and throw my arms around her. For you see, my husband and I had already created a driving contract that we've made each of our teenagers sign.

    I'm sure our kids have thought our contract was a bit over the top. After all, none of their friends have had to sign such a document with their parents. So, it was good to hear another adult speak truth into the life of my child.

    And what I loved most about the officer's sermonette on safe driving was her emphasis on the cost of wrong choices.

    How I wish we could all see the cost of our choices as clearly as a price tag on items in a store. If I know how much something is going to cost me, I make much wiser choices. But we have an enemy who schemes against us to keep the cost of dumb decisions concealed until it's too late.

    Satan wants to defeat, discourage and destroy our families. His attacks are not just willy-nilly attempts to trip us up or knock us down. He wants to take us out.

    That's why, as parents, we've got to boldly fight for our families. We must get intentional with teaching our kids to think through their choices. And we must get intentional about modeling good choices as well.

    Do you know why Satan's tactics are called schemes in 2 Corinthians 2:11? A scheme is a plan, design or program of action. Satan's schemes are well-crafted plans specifically targeted to do three things:

    1. Increase your desire for something outside the will of God.
    2. Make you think giving in to a weakness is no big deal.
    3. Minimize your ability to think through the consequences of falling to this temptation.

    Satan is a master of keeping that cost hidden until it's too late.

    Sweet sisters, this is something worth thinking about. And it is something worth talking about with our kids. Consider age-appropriate examples of how costly wrong choices can be. Be real, raw and bold as you walk them through different scenarios of temptations they might face.

    That DMV officer was certainly bold in her explanation of the cost when a teen driver gets distracted by their iPod, cell phone or friends acting silly. Hearing her explain to my daughter how costly others' poor choices have been made these "rules" seem more like life-saving gifts.

    Think how different life might be if we all paused and asked ourselves this crucial question: How much will this choice really cost me? If we teach ourselves and our kids nothing else this week than to ask this one question, we will have invested wisely. So, so very wisely.

    Dear Lord, I am reminded that boldly following You is so much better than any short-term experience that's not pleasing to You. Give me Your eyes so that I can see temptation and its many different faces. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Think of a current situation in your life that requires a decision from you. Have you taken the time to consider the cost?

    Have you taken the time to help a friend, child or spouse think through considering the cost of their choices?

    Power Verses:
    John 10:10, "'The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.'" (NIV)

    Isaiah 30:21, "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'" (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. 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

  • Five Prayers for Your Daughter

    Posted on March 19, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "'... so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.'" Isaiah 55:11 (ESV)

    There is something I've come to realize I need to guard against as a mom. I sometimes want to be God in my kids' lives.

    I want to write their stories.

    I want to set the course for their futures.

    I want to determine what's best for them.

    I want to prevent them from ever being hurt.

    I want to be their provider and protector.

    And I want to be the one to set anyone straight who messes with my kids.

    Can you relate on any level? I think most moms can. We love these people God has entrusted to us more than we ever knew possible. And despite all the infant-stage sleepless nights, toddler tantrums, tween eye rolling, and the teen decisions that break our hearts slap in two ... they are ours. To love. To lead. To launch.

    And we want to make it all good.

    But then things happen so beyond our control we eventually have to face the reality that we aren't God. And we can't operate as if we are.

    So what do we do with that gap where our mommy capabilities end and trusting God begins? Where my kids are concerned, I want to trust God with everything beyond my control. But it's so scary. It feels so risky.

    And scary and risky are two words we moms don't want as part of our kids' lives.

    So, how do we deepen our trust in God? How do we make peace with the limits of what we can and cannot protect our children from? What do we do with the risky and scary feelings that can make a mom lose sleep at best and feel crazed with fear at worst?

    We must fill that gap with the only thing that bridges the space between our limitations and our trust in God: prayer.

    I know, I know. That answer can sound like such a cliché Christian answer. Typical. Too hyper-spiritual. Not the answer we want sometimes.

    But prayer is the only possibility with real possibility.

    Yesterday, my friend Brooke McGlothlin wrote a devotion about scriptural prayers for boys (see related resources listed below). It inspired me to write some specific scriptural prayers for our girls.

    Here are five powerful prayers to help you fight for the heart of your daughter:

    1. Let her learn early in life that to obey You, God, is the best way to the life her heart truly desires (1 Samuel 15:22).

    2. May she find comfort in Your ability, God, to reach her, hold her and rescue her (2 Samuel 22:17-18).

    3. Let her find confidence in You, God, even when hard times come and she doesn't know what to do, by keeping her eyes fixed on You (2 Chronicles 20:12).

    4. May she keep herself under control and not give full vent to people and situations that anger her (Proverbs 29:11).

    5. Let her walk in the security of Your assigned worth to her. Give her a strong work ethic and health to accomplish all her tasks. Give her a heart that desires to extend her hand to those in need. Protect her for the right husband, a man of respect and godly honor. And let her be a woman of joy and laughter whose Christ-centered character is what makes her most beautiful (Proverbs 31).

    I've prayed these prayers, and I've seen amazingly powerful things happen in the lives of my daughters.

    I can still fret and worry and want to mess with anyone who messes with my girls.

    My girls still make mistakes, cross lines and give the principal reasons to call me.

    But where would we be if the power of the One who answers our prayers wasn't in the mix of our lives?

    And what might these prayers be working out for my daughters' futures that I won't see for years to come? Yes, prayer is the only possibility with real possibility. And that brings me to the place where I can finally say ... "Hello, my name is Mom. Not God."

    Dear Lord, I know that Your Word does not return void and I'm believing great things for my daughter today. May we both grow in our relationship with You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Choose one of the Scriptures mentioned above and write it down on a notecard. Place that notecard where you will see it every day (your bathroom mirror, your desk at work, etc.) and pray the Scripture out loud for the next week. When you pray the Word of God, you pray the will of God!

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. 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 Isaiah

  • Three Questions You Must Ask Before Reacting

    Posted on March 13, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)

    My heart raced when I saw the number pop up on my phone. Nothing in me wanted to have this conversation. I was beyond aggravated. Hurt. Angry. And tired of being misunderstood.

    I answered the call with two goals in mind — to prove how right I was and how wrong the other person was.

    How do you think that conversation went?

    Not well.

    This conflict happened over five years ago so the rush of emotion has dissipated, and I can see more clearly how wrong my approach was.

    I learned from that conflict. Hopefully, I learn something from every conflict — especially how to have better reactions. I'm so far from being in a place where I can shine my halo.

    But I'm getting better.

    While my initial thoughts when a conflict arises are usually those same old "I'll show you" thoughts, I've progressed by not letting those leak into my reactions.

    How?

    By asking myself three questions:

    1. What part of this issue can I own and apologize for?

    There are always two sides to every issue. And no side is perfectly right or all the way wrong.

    If I make peace with the part I need to own and apologize for before the conversation, there's a greater chance I'll stay calm in the conversation. Our key verse, Proverbs 15:1, is a verse I've memorized and recall often, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."

    2. How can I soften my heart toward this person so I honor them despite how they react?

    This one is hard. Really hard. But I know hurt people hurt people.

    Usually the person with whom I'm having a conflict has some kind of past or current hurt in their life feeding this issue. Chances are that hurt doesn't have anything to do with me but is adding to their emotional response in this conflict.

    Softening my heart is easier if I can sympathize with the hurt I can't see. If I can duck below my pride, honor will be my reward. Proverbs 29:23 reminds us, "Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor" (NIV).

    3. If I knew this conversation was being recorded and then shared with people I greatly respect, how would this change my reaction?

    What if I showed up to church this week and my pastor directed everyone to watch the screen for an example of a bad reaction? And then my face appeared. Have. Mercy. I. Would. Surely. Faint.

    While it is highly unlikely that our conversation would be recorded and viewed, it is very likely others are watching our reaction. Children. Co-workers. Friends. But here's the one that really grabs my heart – my Jesus is very much present. Philippians 4:5 reminds us, "Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near" (NIV).

    Every conflict has variables that must be considered. Some conflicts have escalated to the point where professionals must be asked to help. Be mindful and prayerful about this.

    But for the everyday conflicts we all have, these questions are good to consider. If we control our reactions in the short-term, we don't have to live with "reaction regret" in the long-term!

    Dear Lord, I'm inviting You into my reactions today as I realign my perspective. Help me to use words and choose actions that honor You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Which of Lysa's three questions resonates with you the most?

    Write down the accompanying Bible verse Lysa provided. Then, write three action steps you can take the next time you are faced with conflict that will implement the teaching in this verse.

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 18:21, "Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit — you choose." (MSG)

    James 1:19-20, "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

     


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

  • Don't Say You'll Pray for Me

    Posted on March 6, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Proverbs 25:11 (NIV 1984)

    I've been convicted about empty statements. These are words I say to make a conversation a little more comfortable in the moment. But do I really mean what I say?

    Empty statements can also be little promises that give a needed lift to someone. Yet without a plan to actually keep that promise, do I really intend to keep it?

    It's not that these statements are wrong, bad or ill-intentioned. But they are empty at best and potentially hurtful at worst. People in my life deserve better than that.

    I want to be a woman who exemplifies God's Word by keeping my word.

    The Bible is clear that our words matter; our words carry weight. Proverbs 25:11 says, "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Our words can be gifts.

    But if we speak words with no follow-through, they can be hurtful. It's like holding out a gift but refusing to give it.

    Here are three empty statements I want to stop saying if I don't have a plan for follow-through:

    1. I'm praying for you.

    Obviously, I do want to pray for people. And sometimes when I say this, I have great follow-through. But other times I forget.

    A great intention doesn't make for a great prayer.

    So, I need to pray for that person right then and there, or I need to keep a journal in my purse to write down prayer requests.

    2. Let's get together sometime.

    Either I need to pull out my calendar and schedule time with someone or be honest about my current time constraints. The people-pleaser in me struggles with this.

    When people say this to me without any follow-through, it hurts. While I can't change what others say to me, I can make a heart policy to not do this to others.

    3. I'm good, how are you?

    Understandably, sometimes this is the right, polite statement to say when I'm quickly greeting someone. But I will also say this to others with whom I really should be more open and honest.

    I'm reluctant sometimes to let even close friends know needs bubbling below my "I'm good" statements.

    If I will be braver to open up, it will give my friends permission to do the same.

    So, there they are. My three empty statements and my convictions to do a better job of saying what I mean and meaning what I say.

    Let's commit to being women who keep our word. Right now. Today. Not only will it strengthen our friendships but it will make our relationship with the Lord more authentic as we live out His Word.

    Dear Lord, thank You for convicting me about using empty statements. My words can be powerful tools and I want to use them for Your purposes. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Which one of the three empty statements resonates with you the most? (Keep a prayer journal in your purse, schedule a specific time to get together with someone or open up with how you're honestly feeling.)

    This week, make it a point to put action into place when using that statement.

    Power Verses:
    1 John 3:18a, "My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love." (MSG)

    James 1:23-25, "Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it — not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it — they will be blessed in what they do." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • I'm Scared to Pray Boldly

    Posted on February 27, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." James 5:16b (NIV)

    I have to admit I'm sometimes scared to pray boldly.

    It's not at all that I don't believe God can do anything. I absolutely do. I'm a wild-about-Jesus girl. Wild in my willingness. Wild in my obedience. Wild in my adventures with God.

    After all, I think Jesus would rather rein in a wild stallion than kick a dead mule any day of the week.

    So, my hesitation isn't rooted in any kind of doubt about God. It's more rooted in doubts about myself and my ability to absolutely discern the will of God. The reality is sometimes God chooses not to do things. And if His will is no, while I am boldly praying for a yes, it makes me feel out of step with God.

    Can you relate?

    I so desperately want to stay in the will of God that I find myself praying with clauses sometimes, like: God please heal my friend, but if it's Your will to take her, I will trust You.

    I wonder why I don't just boldly pray: God, please heal my friend. And then stand confidently knowing my prayers were not in vain no matter what the outcome.

    The reality is, my prayers don't change God. But I am convinced prayer changes me. Praying boldly boots me out of that stale place of religious habit into authentic connection with God Himself.

    Prayer opens my spiritual eyes to see things I can't see on my own. And I'm convinced prayer matters. Prayers are powerful and effective if prayed from the position of a righteous heart (James 5:16).

    So, prayer does make a difference — a life-changing, mind-blowing, earth-rattling difference. We don't need to know how. We don't need to know when. We just need to kneel confidently and know the tremors of a simple Jesus girl's prayers extend far wide and far high and far deep.

    Letting that absolute truth slosh over into my soul snuffs out the flickers of hesitation. It bends my stiff knees. And it ignites a fresh, bold and even more wild fire within. Not bold as in bossy and demanding. But bold as in I love my Jesus with all my heart, so why would I offer anything less than an ignited prayer life?

    Jesus speaks specifically about igniting our prayer lives in Matthew 6, verses 6-8, "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him" (NIV).

    So let's ask. And ask again. Not so that we can cause God to move, rather so that we can position our souls to be able to see our sweet Jesus move in any which way He pleases.

    Dear Lord, I'm so grateful for the opportunity to bring all of my worries and cares to You. Thank You for providing me with exactly what I need. I trust that You have my best interest in mind today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    How have you been praying lately? In boldness or in timidity? Why?

    Write down three bold prayers you would like to pray today. Pray them again tomorrow. And again the next day. Pray them for the next month even. And know with full assurance that the tremors of your prayers will extend far wide and far high and far deep. Pray and wait for God to respond.

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 145:18, "The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. 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 James

  • A Grace Place

    Posted on February 20, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)

    "Does God ever get tired of my issues?"

    I've asked myself this question many times throughout my lifelong struggle with emotional eating.

    Over the course of my journey, I've whined to God, gotten mad at God and often ignored God. And I've worried I was going to use up all my grace with God.

    I felt He would be justified to say, "Enough! Go away. I'm tired of your issues. Figure it out for yourself!" That is, until I read again the "first story" of God's grace with fresh eyes.

    We often think of God's grace beginning at the cross. But as I read through the Scripture from the point of view of someone struggling with food issues, I saw a revelation of God's grace right from the start in Genesis.

    Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating from the forbidden tree and ushered sin in to the world. God handed down the consequences of their actions, which included banishment from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). They must have believed they had pushed past the boundaries of God's grace. After all, He was sending them out of the garden.

    Whenever I've read that story, I thought they had to leave paradise because God was punishing them. God was disappointed in them. God was giving them what they deserved. But I was wrong. Their relocation was not a place of abandonment — it was a place of grace.

    You see, there were two special trees in the Garden of Eden. One was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; this was the one with the forbidden fruit. The other was the tree of life. This was the one that gave Adam and Eve perpetual life — no diseases, no death, no sagging body parts. (Okay I'm not sure about that last benefit, but I'm banking on this reality in heaven.)

    Anyhow. When they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, sin entered in. Sin corrupted everything. And at that point, it was God's absolute love and most tender mercy that ushered Adam and Eve out of the garden. Not His anger or retaliation. They had to leave.

    If they'd been allowed to stay, they would have kept eating from the tree of life and lived forever, wallowing in sin. Wallowing in all the brokenness sin brings with it: disease, fear, heartbreak, separation from God.

    An unending life of shame and sin would have been their fate.

    God couldn't stand that for the people He loved. So, His love made them leave and allowed them to die. So that they could experience the resurrected life His Son would one day provide.

    Brokenness to redemption.

    God did not run out of grace at the dawn of humankind. And He will not run out of grace for you or for me. He does not want us to ever stay in a perpetual state of sin and despair. We were not created with a food struggle or physical cravings because God is angry at us. It is because He loves us so much that He allows our struggle with food to be a physical indication of a spiritual situation.

    God is asking for us to go to a new place as well — and it is a place of grace!

    Receive grace and let it wash away all shame and guilt from every unhealthy choice you've ever regretted and fretted over. Yes, there is work to do and progress to be made, but we will walk from here with a clean slate.

    This grace and the unfathomable depth of God's love settle me. Breathes hope into my dread. And trust into my doubts.

    So when I stumble along on this journey, I know this grace is there for me, and I will come running back. And once again, it will give me a soft place to land.

    Dear Lord, thank You for Your grace. Help me to rely on You in the midst of my struggle today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What issues are you tired of battling?

    Bring them all to God in gut-honest prayers. Soak in the truths of His grace found in our key verse and power verse today.

    Power Verse:
    2 Timothy 2:1, "You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus," (ESV)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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


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

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