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User Archives: Sharon Glasgow

  • Re-Routing Negative Thoughts

    Posted on November 18, 2014 by Sharon Glasgow

    SHARON GLASGOW

    "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things." Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

    The screaming and fighting in the back seat were brutal! It was a fight to the death. As I tried to break it up, the car swerved off the road. Semi-trucks were passing me, going 80 miles an hour, as I pulled over to stop the fight.

    A few weeks ago, I drove through the beautiful Appalachian Mountains and picked up our newest family members — a Royal Palm Turkey and a Red Bourbon Turkey. They were not happy about being confined to a cage or being stuck next to each other. Hence, the deadly fight in my back seat. The Red Bourbon tried to cure his displeasure by lashing out in anger. He was on a mission to kill, literally. He hopped on top of the Royal Palm and went for the neck!

    I called my husband in a panic. His advice? "Re-route their thinking; it's stuck. Scream and hit the cage." I followed his instructions and the fighting stopped for 10 minutes. Then it started again. I had to yell, bang on the cage and clap my hands to break up a few more fights until both turkeys finally settled down for good. We all made it home alive, and now they're best friends.

    As I thought about the turkeys' stuck thinking, I could sense the Lord say to my heart: You are no different.

    Ouch! When my circumstances aren't what I want, my thinking gets stuck, too. Just that morning on my way to get the turkeys, I was alarmed to find the car was on empty and worse yet — I had no money in my purse. And I had left the house with no margin in my schedule to stop for gas or return home for money.

    Yet without any money, I had no choice but to return home, which made me late. Worse, I had planned to drop my daughter at the airport and she missed her flight. I was not happy and boy did my family hear about it!

    We all struggle with negative thinking at times; it's a common battle. And that's why it's important to recognize negative thought patterns and learn how to re-route them. The good news is we can have control over what we think.

    When we're down, sad or hopeless, let's take inventory of our thoughts. When we find ourselves jumping to conclusions, doling out guilt trips on others or replaying arguments in our mind, let's consciously change our thinking. When I get in a funk, often it's because I've focused too much on what's bad. The apostle Paul advises us in our key verse, Philippians 4:8, to think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.

    The next time you're fighting negative thoughts, "rattle your cage" by remembering you have the mind of Christ. Take each negative thought captive and replace it with what Paul describes in our key verse. Scripture promises that when we align our thoughts with God's, His peace, which passes all understanding, will keep our hearts and mind through Christ Jesus.

    Lord, give me Your ability to bring every thought captive. Help me to refute negative thoughts with truth. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    2 Corinthians 10:4-5, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ." (NKJV)

    1 Corinthians 2:14-16, "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For 'who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?' But we have the mind of Christ." (NKJV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Take inventory of your thoughts for a whole day. Each time a negative thought repeats in your mind, re-route it with truth found in God's Word. Place our key verse near you in a familiar spot to remind you of where to focus your thoughts.

    © 2014 by Sharon Glasgow. 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

  • Shut the Door on Anger

    Posted on September 15, 2014 by Sharon Glasgow

    Sharon Glasgow

    "'In your anger do not sin': Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." Ephesians 4:26-27 (NIV)

    I was alone downstairs in my home — at least I thought I was, until noises from the cellar startled me. From the corner of my eye, I saw something move. Taking a big gulp, I looked up to see eyes staring at me from the cellar door. Fear gripped me, and I screamed for my husband.

    Peering out from behind Dale, I could see a long snake hanging firmly from the top of the door. Dale grabbed it and pulled it off. I watched from on top of the table as he juggled the snake's weight toward the front door and flung it outside.

    With a sigh of relief, I gathered myself and sat back down to work. Ellie, my youngest daughter, came into the kitchen a few minutes later and pointed at the same door. "Mom, there's another one." Swallowing hard, I turned to see she was right.

    We've lived in our home for 20 years and never had a snake indoors before then. It turned out Dale accidentally left the crawl space door under the house open in the fall. The snakes saw it as a welcome sign and took up residence. Once winter was over, they decided to go exploring. Thankfully, we haven't seen another snake in the house since.

    That night, as I thought about that open crawl space door, Ephesians 4:26-27 came to mind: "'In your anger do not sin': Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold."

    The open door in my house was much like the foothold referred to in that passage. A foothold in our lives is an open door of opportunity Satan uses to gain access.

    Scripture cautions us to guard the door of our hearts because Satan is always looking for a way in (1 Peter 5:8).

    Many times we don't realize he's gotten a foothold until anger and anxiety stare us in the eyes and say: Here I am, now what are you gonna do about it? We can choose to ignore it, be afraid of it or engage in a battle that will define our lives.

    A good starting point is to take a look at our thoughts and emotions. Is there someone we harbor resentment toward? A situation we replay over and over in our mind, causing untold anxiety? A wound that is still sore, years later?

    These are indicators of unresolved anger — anger that has been carried from one day to the next to the next, maybe even for a lifetime. The enemy uses these open doors to come between us and God, tear apart relationships and hurt our Christian witness (John 13:35).

    To avoid these destructive conditions, Scripture tells us to quickly get rid of anger so the enemy has no foothold. I don't know about you, but I don't want to live with snakes in my home or an enemy in my life. So how do we close the open doors?

    • Trust God to be your defender. Holding a grudge sets us up to think our anger will avenge the wrong against us. But it doesn't; only God can do that (Romans 12:19).

    • Even if you never receive an apology, forgive anyway. Ephesians 4:32 says, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you" (NIV). This verse helps me to recall God's great forgiveness for my own sin.

    • If possible, follow the prescription of reconciliation in Matthew 18:15-17.

    • Desire for God to be glorified more than you long to be justified (1 Peter 2:12).

    Imagine what my house would be like if we left the door open. I wouldn't want to live there! Every now and then I double-check the crawl space door, just to be sure it's closed. And I double-check my heart for any footholds of anger.

    Lord, please help me be aware of open doors and to close them through trust, reconciliation, forgiveness and honor. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    James 1:19b-20, "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)

    1 Peter 5:8, "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Are you holding on to any anger or grudges? Ask God to forgive you and heal your heart.

    Do you need to ask someone for forgiveness for your actions? Can you do that today?

    © 2014 by Sharon Glasgow. 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

  • Losing This Battle is Not an Option

    Posted on May 2, 2014 by Sharon Glasgow

    Sharon Glasgow

    "My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in." Proverbs 3:11-12 (NIV)

    By the time our daughter Heather turned 2, all my prideful pre-parenting thoughts had come back to me. How many times had I unfairly judged another mama and promised myself my kids would never act like that?

    You know that behavior: flailing around in their mother's arms, pitching a fit on the grocery store floor or throwing a tantrum in line at the movies. However, my daughter's strong will was unrelenting. She tried my patience constantly ... and often acted like that.

    I'll never forget one particularly difficult night. It had been a long grueling day of battles, and it was bedtime. (Praise God for bedtime.) Heather had hurt her baby sister, so I told her to apologize. She refused.

    Everything in me wanted to just put Heather to bed, but I knew I couldn't let this go. So in a stern voice, I told her, "Go to your room and I'll meet you there." Thankfully, she obeyed and walked to her bedroom.

    I thought a battle had been avoided ... until she looked back at me with that iron will glaring. She stood there with one foot in the room and one foot in the hall.

    "Get in your room, Heather." My tone meant business, but she wouldn't budge. I thought to myself, I'm just too stinking tired for this.

    At that point, I remembered Proverbs 3:11-12, a verse I memorized before Heather was born: "My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in."

    As I weighed my choices, the Lord spoke to me through that verse. And I knew He was saying: Losing this battle is not an option. I took a deep breath and decided no matter how long it took, I would not allow Heather's disobedient will to triumph over my exhaustion. I loved her too much.

    She finally sat down, half in the room, half out. And I joined her in the hall. We stayed there for hours that night. I wasn't mad, just determined. My daughter would know after this night that her mama means what she says. There was no TV. No toys. Not even a scrap of paper to draw on.

    While she sat, I folded laundry, paid a few bills and made my grocery list — in between asking if she wanted to apologize. Her eyes were getting heavy, and I knew she wanted to win the battle, but I remained firm.

    Finally, three hours after her bedtime she apologized to her sister and to me. I kissed her goodnight as I tucked her in bed; she hugged me and smiled like I was the greatest mom in the world. All was good in our home, at least for that night.

    That wasn't our last battle. But over time they became fewer and fewer as I consistently disciplined my children, just like the Lord disciplines those He loves. Why? Because He longs for us to be wise, to avoid making harmful mistakes and to grow in His grace. That's what I want for my five daughters.

    I spent a lot of time in prayer and sitting in doorways as my girls grew up. Each one was different from the other, each requiring a different form of discipline. They're grown up now, and I'm delighted to say that Heather and her sisters love the Lord and walk in His ways.

    I love my children and know they are worth all the time invested in the disciplining. Even the many long, sleepless nights.

    Lord, I need You more than ever. I need Your strength, wisdom and leading to raise my children up in the way they should go. Help me! I feel inadequate most days. I know that through You I can do all things. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Raising children takes a lot of mental, spiritual and physical bandwidth. Are there things in your schedule you could delete that would give you greater ability to parent well?

    Are you consistent in disciplining? Do you follow through with the rules? Do you discipline in love? Write a list of things you need to work on to be the parent God calls you to be.

    Power Verse:
    Proverbs 29:17, "Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Sharon Glasgow. 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

  • Overcome by Love

    Posted on April 18, 2014 by Sharon Glasgow

    Sharon Glasgow

    "I will celebrate before the LORD. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes." 2 Samuel 6:21b-22a (NIV)

    Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something zip by me. What was that? A minute later, I saw it again. Someone was running up and down the side aisle of the church.

    Joyful voices filled the church that Easter Sunday morning as we sang, "What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus,"*

    Although I tried to focus on the words of the song, my thoughts were distracted by the runner. I looked inquisitively at the woman next to me, hoping for an explanation.

    She whispered an answer to my unspoken question: "He was a drug addict. A couple of months ago he surrendered his life to Christ and is now free from his addiction. He's overcome by love for Jesus!"

    About that time an elderly woman and man started to dance with him. They were his grandparents. For years, this couple had steadfastly prayed for their grandson.

    Watching this freed man and his joyful grandparents worshipping reminded me of King David returning to Jerusalem. David explodes with love for his Lord. He couldn't contain his awe and gratitude for all God had done for him: winning a huge battle, restoring the ark of the Lord and appointing him king. Coming down the road, everyone could see "King David leaping and dancing before the LORD" (2 Samuel 6:16 NIV).

    Stories of people being overcome by love for God are awesome. But there is one example of love that tops them all: the gift of the cross. I know John 3:16 is a familiar verse to most of us and can be easy to skim. But let's read it again with the view of God's love for us.

    "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (NIV)

    The young man and his grandparents probably gave up some self-consciousness to display their love for the Lord through dance. In our key verse, we learn that King David admitted he let go of pride to show his love through worship: "I will celebrate before the LORD. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes" (2 Samuel 6:21b-22a). He sacrificed his dignity for the Lord.

    And God the Father sacrificed a most precious gift, His Son, Jesus. And Jesus surrendered His very life for us!

    Why? They were overcome by love.

    As a mama of five daughters, I'm hit hard by the depth of God's love to offer His Son in our place. It seems impossible for me to even think about giving up my children for the sake of someone else. Let alone sacrificing my own life!

    Yet out of unfathomable love, God sent Jesus to death on a cross to pay our debt of sin. By this sacrifice, Jesus secured eternal life for those who surrender their lives to Him. That truth makes my heart overcome by love!

    When we're overcome by love for God, the way we show that will look different for everyone. For some, it's quietly praising the Lord in their hearts. For others, it is worshipping at the top of their lungs or dancing in the aisles.

    However you express your praise to God, take a moment to reflect on all the Lord has done in your life and give thanks for His overcoming love. You may just find your toes tapping and your feet moving!

    Lord, thank You for sacrificing everything for me, for sending Your only Son to die on a cross for my sins. Thank You for loving me and offering me eternal life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Today is Good Friday. As you consider what God has done for you, what can you sacrifice to show your love for Him? Time visiting the lonely? Clothes to give to the less fortunate? Food to share with the hungry? Determine today what you will give and put a plan in place to follow through.

    Are you so overcome by God's love that you are willing to tell others about it, even if you're self-conscious?

    Power Verses:
    1 John 4:10, "In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (ESV)

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

    *Nothing but the Blood written by Robert Lowry, 1876.

    © 2014 by Sharon Glasgow. 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 Samuel

  • Hope for When You Feel Hard Pressed

    Posted on March 12, 2014 by Sharon Glasgow

    Sharon Glasgow

    "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 (NIV)

    We watched as our only working vehicle was hoisted onto the back of a tow truck. How would we manage without it?

    In an attempt to be wise with our money, we had chosen the cheapest place around to fix the car. But week after week passed and the car wasn't finished.

    Finally the repair shop called. Hope and relief faded instantly when the mechanic said, "No, your car isn't ready." He told me we needed to come and pay more because there was a leak. I was perplexed, as there hadn't been a leak prior to us taking it there.

    As we pulled into the parking lot, I was shocked to see the car! The leak was the least of the new problems. Three of the four windows were gone or broken! Our car had been vandalized, and the shop didn't have insurance to cover it. How? What? Why? No!

    Our trouble doubled when we learned our insurance deductible was higher than the cost of the new windows. Needing a working vehicle desperately, we ordered and paid for the windows out of pocket. Obviously, with the delays and windows, that repair shop was no longer cheap!

    To top it off, the guys from the glass shop called. They'd never had this happen, but each window they ordered for us arrived broken!

    These costly frustrations and time delays aggravated me to say the least. Everything in me felt like falling apart. Instead, I pressed pause before that could happen and tried to find perspective.

    The only way I know to find any perspective when facing hardships is to view them in light of God's Word. When trials come, and they will, it helps me to confront them with truth from Scripture. Without this perspective, it's hard to triumph over feelings of despair, anger and worry.

    God's Word reminds us that nothing surprises God, and nothing can overcome Him. A good place to turn for truth is our key verse today, 2 Corinthians 4:7-9:

    "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."

    The "treasure in jars of clay" referred to is the Word of God stored within us. The truth we find and believe in the pages of our Bibles gives us the perspective, hope and encouragement we need when we feel pressed, perplexed, persecuted and struck down.

    I definitely could have felt pressed, perplexed, persecuted and struck down with all that happened. Not having a vehicle to get my family around was hard. Health issues and mounting medical bills compounded the situation. But using God's Word as my perspective reminded me that God is my provider (Matthew 6:26), and I shouldn't worry (Philippians 4:6-7). Trusting in His truths gave me freedom from despair.

    We eventually got our car back — working and with all the windows — along with a pretty big bill. But we didn't have the stress and frustration, thanks to trusting in God and His Word.

    Life will always have seasons where we are hard pressed on every side. Yet in the crushing moments, God's all-surpassing power will prevail. What a comfort to know that truth in the middle of trying times. In the midst of despair, let's combat trials with Scripture. When we do, we are triumphant!

    Lord, open my eyes that I may see the wondrous things in Your Word while I'm in the middle of my trials. Help me to see Your glory and power. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Write down the things that are making you feel hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted and struck down.

    Now, find a Bible verse that speaks truth to those specific situations. Write the verses next to your situation and leave space to record how God provides.

    Power Verse:
    James 1:12, "Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Sharon Glasgow. 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

  • When the Storms Rage and the Winds Blow

    Posted on February 26, 2014 by Sharon Glasgow

    Sharon Glasgow

    "... we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul ..." Hebrews 6:18b-19a (ESV)

    The howling, frigid wind whipped and beat the house mercilessly. The old spruce tree bent and screeched against the siding so loudly I couldn't go back to sleep.

    The ferocious storm raging outdoors matched the fierceness of the ones that had been buffeting my family for months. Storm after storm had hit us with no breathing room in between. Our son-in-law's heart surgery. My father-in-law's cancer diagnosis. Our daughter totaled one of our cars. Our only other car broke down. My husband's lingering kidney stone. Bills piling higher and higher. And the list went on ...

    My heart was tossed back and forth. Would our son-in-law's heart condition improve? Could my father-in-law's strength hold up through treatment? Worry battered my weary soul against the rocks of reality. What if Dale needed surgery? How would we pay off this mounting debt

    I lay awake pleading with the Lord for safety, reprieve and encouragement. Not from the storm outside my window, but from the one in my heart.

    Perhaps my pleading was similar to what Jesus' disciples did when they were in a boat and a windstorm suddenly came on the lake. As the boat filled with water, they wondered why Jesus continued to sleep and didn't respond to the raging storm as quickly as they wanted.

    The disciples feared the potential outcome of the storm. They pleaded with Jesus to help them — and He did (Luke 8:24, ESV).

    He calmed the storm and then asked, "Where is your faith?" (Luke 8:25a, ESV).

    I felt that same desperation that night as I called for Jesus' help with a questioning heart: Why? Why does it have to be so hard Jesus? The storms have been unrelenting. Instead of an answer, I sensed a question in return: Where is your faith?

    The question prompted an honest assessment of where I'd been putting my trust. The depth of my worry revealed I'd misplaced it. When the storms rage and the winds blow, and they will, my faith needs to be in Jesus, not the outcome of my circumstances.

    Hebrews 6:18a-19b tells us "... we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul ..."

    If we compare ourselves to a ship and the hardships of life to storms, then hope is the anchor that keeps us from being shipwrecked. But an anchor is dependent on two things: the cable that tethers it to the ship, and the solid ground.

    The cable connecting us to hope is faith ... an assurance of Jesus' love, goodness and power. Our faith believes He still speaks to storms and with a word, can calm them. Faith is being confident that His promises will carry us through this life safely into an eternity spent with Him. Now that's hopeful!

    And the ground to which our anchors need to be fixed? That is Jesus. He is firm and unchanging. As the waves rise and the winds howl, sometimes it's tempting to pull away from Him, especially when we ask, Why? But storms are opportunities to dig deeper in to our relationship with Jesus through reading and memorizing Scripture, and praying to and worshipping Him.

    The storms will rage, and the winds will blow. But to believe in the middle of it all, to have faith that leads to hope in Jesus, that's the secret to riding out the storms in life.

    Today, if circumstances and worry are tossing you about, cast your anchor of hope into Jesus and pray for the faith to believe His promises are true. He is powerful enough to calm your storms and keep you safe.

    Lord, help keep my eyes on You in the middle of the strongest storms. Increase my faith in You, in eternal things and be my hope. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What causes you to lose hope in the storms of life? Ask a few friends or family members to share with you about a difficult time that Jesus brought them through.

    Find a Bible verse to memorize that encourages your faith in Jesus.

    Power Verse:
    Hebrews 11:1, "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." (NLT)

    © 2014 by Sharon Glasgow. 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 Hebrews

  • When the Dog Eats Your Company's Dinner

    Posted on January 8, 2014 by Sharon Glasgow

    Sharon Glasgow

    "If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 4:11b (NIV)

    I prayed weeks for this dinner. The couple we invited needed Jesus. I wanted to roll out the red carpet and treat them like royalty; God knew they needed a big dose of His love.

    But time got away from me—cleaning the house, making the dessert and all. I still had to run to the store to get the filet mignons. I know they're expensive, but I wasn't going to spare any cost for my guests—it would be a feast!

    I sat the grocery bags inside the front door and headed back out to light the fire in the grill. Our company would be there in less than half an hour! I ran back inside and reached for the steaks, only to pull out an empty package. Puzzled, I pulled out the other packages, all empty. What in the world??

    About that time my dog walked around the corner with his head cowered. He wouldn't look at me but took off to hide behind the couch. I followed him and didn't find a trace of a steak—just one shamefaced dog. He had done this kind of thing before, eaten entire pizzas, cakes, and whole plates of fried chicken without a crumb left. Yep, "guilty" was written all over his face.

    As I stood there shaking my head, I heard knocking at my front door. Our guests were early! Thankfully I remembered a chicken and dumpling casserole in the freezer. I turned the oven on and popped it in, then excused myself to the restroom, closed the door and prayed, remembering the words of 1 Peter 4:11b, "If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen" (NIV).

    "Jesus, help me. Help me get over my own expectations of what tonight would look like. I've asked You for weeks to lavish this couple with Your love. You don't need steaks to do that. Come and fill this place with Your presence. Give me Your ability to love and serve. Help me love like You do. Give me words to speak and Your strength to do it. I give this night to You. May it glorify You. Thank You Jesus."

    As I walked back to join my visitors, I realized once again hospitality isn't about the perfect meal, beautiful decorations, a clean house, or our hostess skills—it's about loving people the way Jesus loves them—wholeheartedly. When people feel loved, they don't care what you feed them or what your house looks like.

    That night turned out to be absolutely wonderful. Not because the chicken and dumplings tasted good. Or because my living room was tidy. But because God's love is powerful.

    When we take our eyes off of ourselves and focus on loving our guests, it takes the stress out of entertaining. Even when we feel inadequate, Jesus gives us His ability to love others when we ask Him. It's not about our efforts; it's about Him.

    Dear Lord, help me to invite others to my house. Keep my heart focused on loving people and not on my home or my cooking skills. Use me for Your glory. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources


    Reflect and Respond:
    What hinders you from inviting guests to your home?

    How can you show love to someone this week through your home or homemaking talents?

    Power Verse:
    2 Corinthians 12:9a, "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness...'" (NIV)

    © 2014 by Sharon Glasgow. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 1 Peter

  • In the Midst of Dirty Dishes

    Posted on October 14, 2013 by Sharon Glasgow

    Sharon Glasgow

    "Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: ... whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 4:9–11 ESV)

    She and her husband had been missionaries for over sixty years and led countless people to Christ. Now she was in her eighties and still serving. My friend Sheli and I were honored to stay with her for a week to minister alongside her.

    After traveling thirty hours to her home in Takamatsu, Japan, we arrived late in the evening. She ushered us into her kitchen for a hearty meal, then prayed for us before we all went to bed. When the sun was barely up the next morning, we feasted on an enormous breakfast in her tiny kitchen.

    The kitchen was crowded, her appliances old and worn, dishes piled high in the sink from her lavish food preparation—yet the atmosphere felt entirely like home. As she and her husband read Scripture and encouraged us, tears welled up in my eyes, the love of Christ enveloped us; it overwhelmed me.

    Immediately after breakfast, she began cooking again, this time for 100 women. She'd rented a banquet hall and invited friends, telling them an American would be speaking and there would be food. We cooked, set up tables for the luncheon, and then I was ushered to the front to speak. Her objective in hosting the event was to build a bridge in hopes that those who came for lunch would come back again for church on Sunday. Many did!

    While driving home after the lunch, she told me she'd invited a large group to the house for dinner that night. I couldn't imagine how we could clean up the mess we'd left behind and simultaneously prepare another meal. How would we get it all done? She didn't seem concerned. Instead, she was fueled by the energy of what the Lord had done at the luncheon.

    There have been times I've worried more about my kitchen than how I can serve others. I fret over the size and messiness. But I was inspired as I watched this woman who had no concerns about the dirty pots in her sink. She didn't let an unswept floor keep her from ministering. She set the table beautifully and welcomed her guests. She and her husband prayed and read Scripture. Hearts melted.

    Years have passed since that week in Japan and I think of her whenever I have company. Over the course of her life, she has ministered to thousands in her home, and many have come to know Jesus there. Her ministry has nothing to do with a spotless kitchen. In fact, her kitchen was a mess. But whenever God opens a window of opportunity, she seizes it.

    I want my service to be like that described by the apostle Peter, grounded "in the strength that God supplies." I want to long for people to know Jesus more than I long for the perfect kitchen.

    God cares more about what's happening among the people in our kitchen than He cares about the state of it. My missionary friend taught me that it is possible to share God's love, demonstrate His character, and offer hospitality, even in the midst of dirty dishes.

    Dear Lord, show me ways to serve through the resources You've given me. Help me care more about people than things like dirty dishes. In Jesus' name, Amen.

    Remember
    Your kitchen is a perfect place to show hospitality. Don't wait for it to be perfect to invite guests. God will supply the ability you need to minister in your kitchen, and He will be glorified.

    Reflect
    Would you be willing to invite people to stay for dinner if they dropped by unannounced—even if your kitchen were a mess? Why or why not?

    Respond
    Can you think of a one person, family, or neighbor who doesn't know Jesus that you could invite for dinner? Make a call and get it on the calendar.

    Power Verses
    Proverbs 31:15; Proverbs 31:25–27

    Taken from Encouragement for Today: Devotions for Everyday Living by Renee Swope, Lysa TerKeurst and Samantha Evilsizer and the Proverbs 31 Ministries Team. © 2013 Proverbs 31 Ministries. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 1 Peter

  • Hidden Hardships Behind Closed Doors

    Posted on August 28, 2013 by Sharon Glasgow

    Sharon Glasgow

    "On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul." Psalm 138:3 (NASB)

    Hidden behind the door of many homes is the reality of hardship. A devastated home isn't always apparent on first impressions, is it?

    Take Susanna Wesley's life for instance. A quick glance reveals she was married to a preacher in the late 1600s. They had 10 children, two of which grew up to bring tens of thousands of people to Christ: John and Charles Wesley. Sounds like a sweet story, doesn't it?

    But if we look behind the door of her home, hard conditions were the norm. Her husband, Sam, couldn't (or wouldn't) manage their finances well. They disagreed on everything from money to politics. This couple actually had 19 children; sadly, nine died in infancy. Sam left Susanna for long periods of time—sometimes over something as simple as an argument—leaving the duty of raising their children to her alone.

    One of their children was unable to walk. Another couldn't talk until the age of six. Susanna herself was desperately sick most of her life. Their home burned to the ground twice; everything they owned crumbled to ashes. One of her daughters became pregnant out of wedlock. They had no money for food or necessities. Sam even went to debtor's prison.

    Long before Susanna had an inkling of how difficult her married life would be, she made the Lord a promise. When she was young, Susanna committed that for every hour she spent in entertainment, she would give the same amount of time to Him in prayer and in the Word.

    Taking care of the house and raising so many kids made this commitment nearly impossible to fulfill. She had no time for either entertainment or long hours in prayer! This wife and mother worked the gardens, milked the cow, schooled the children and managed the entire house herself.

    It would have been understandable if Susanna reneged on her promise to the Lord. But she didn't. Instead, she gave the Lord two hours a day in prayer!

    As you can imagine with 10 kids, she struggled to find a quiet place to get away with God. So she advised her children that when her apron was over her head, that meant she was in prayer and couldn't be disturbed.

    Susanna was devoted to her walk with Christ, praying for her children, and growing in the knowledge of the Word ... no matter how hard life was.

    This dedicated woman's story may have never been known to anyone but the Lord and her children, except for the fact that her example greatly inspired two of her sons. They both said that their mom influenced them more than any other person.

    John and Charles Wesley became powerhouses for the glory of the Lord. John preached to nearly a million people in the 1700s. He brought revival everywhere he traveled and taught the Word of God! Charles wrote over 9000 hymns, many of which we still sing today.

    In the middle of great hardships, Susanna consistently tapped into her source of strength. She connected intentionally with the Lord every day. It's amazing how her choices influenced not only her family, but also countless individuals, families and worshippers over the years.

    Hidden behind the door of my home, I want my children to see a mom who prays, no matter how busy I am or how hard my circumstances. I'm going to continue letting Susanna's example influence me. How about you?

    Dear Lord, I need Your wisdom, peace and strength. Help me to rely on You and not myself. In Jesus' Name, amen.

    Related Resources:


    A Life That Says Welcome: Simple Ways to Open Your Heart and Home to Others by Karen Ehman

    Reflect and Respond:
    How much time are you spending with Jesus every day in prayer and in the Word?

    Make a plan for how you can increase your time with Him. When your kids grow up, how will they describe how you handled hardships?

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 31:28a, "Her children arise up, and call her blessed ..." (KJV)

    1 Chronicles 16:11, "Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually." (KJV)

    © 2013 by Sharon Glasgow. 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 Psalm

  • Extravagant Love

    Posted on July 24, 2013 by Sharon Glasgow

    Sharon Glasgow

    "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:17 (NIV)

    I was SO mad, I thought I would explode! The contents of that explosion would have been hazardous to anyone in my path—namely, my husband Dale!

    Anger was emanating from every pore of my being. What was he thinking? How could he not see the obvious? The more these thoughts swirled in my head, the madder I got. And he didn't seem to care about my feelings either! He just looked at me. That was it! I decided to pack up the kids and leave.

    And (the nerve of him) he didn't even ask where I was going! Apparently, the suitcases said it all. I stormed out.

    Oh, boy. Those were the days many years ago. I'm glad that was then and this is now. My husband said and did a lot of things I didn't understand. It was like we were from two different planets with totally opposite brain and emotional functions.

    All marriages will struggle at some point. Crisis in a marriage has the potential to make or break a marriage. It's tempting to harbor hurt, retaliate with spiteful words and focus on your spouse's faults. But experience has taught me those things do not add up to marital bliss.

    After being gone from Dale for 24 hours, I couldn't stand it any longer. I came home and we made up. Because this wasn't something I wanted to become a pattern, I decided to look carefully at my actions and change the way I loved my husband.

    Turns out there were things I could do differently. Through a lot of prayer and focused choices, I found there were several key things that radically changed my marriage for the better: an attitude of oneness, extravagant acts of love and turning intimacy into a flame of passion, not duty.

    I didn't always feel like doing these three things. As a matter of a fact, many days I didn't have any desire to do them. I knew I needed to draw love out of a deeper well than my own. So I kept Colossians 3:12-17 close at hand and followed it as a way to love Dale. These verses describe a sacrificial and extravagant love, showing compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

    They also encourage us to show love in the name of Jesus, which is a way to honor Him. That was my focus as I re-trained my thought pattern not to emphasize the negatives or the momentary stresses. But instead, to keep my eyes on God. It got easier, knowing that by loving my husband well, I was pleasing God.

    I've seen many struggling marriages ignite with passion when one spouse pours out extravagant love on the other. Sadly, I've also seen times when it didn't work. In those instances, we can take heart in knowing that Christ rewards us for how we live our lives wholeheartedly for Him. You may not be rewarded on earth, but you will be in heaven.

    Extravagant love can transform an ordinary marriage into an extraordinary one, induce greater love, ignite intimacy, help us live above our weaknesses and spend less time quarreling. For over twenty years, I've been putting Colossians 3 love into action in my marriage. From watching the movie my husband picks even when I don't like it, to saying "yes" instead of "I have a headache," to caring for him when he's sick, every little act of love adds up to a big reward. It blesses my husband and honors God!

    Jesus, help me love my husband extravagantly! Sharpen my marriage into a beautiful display of Your glory! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Ask the Lord for His help and for His love to overwhelm you so you can love like Colossians 3 tells us to.

    Journal what He is speaking to your heart today and continue on this course to victory.

    Power Verse:
    Colossians 3:12-14, 17, "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. ... And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Sharon Glasgow. 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 Colossians

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