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Author Archives: Wendy Blight

  • The Lord Will Provide

    Posted on November 26, 2013 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy

    "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." Genesis 22:14b (NLT)

    Every time I flew, for days preceding each trip, anxiety welled up within me. I couldn't sleep and I suffered with stomachaches, headaches, and a racing heart.

    As traveling for work increased, so did the flying. I arrived exhausted. I knew I couldn't continue living with this fear. I tried to justify this fear as different from other life-altering fears. But it wasn't. Fear is fear, no matter the cause.

    After one particularly difficult flight, I decided that was it! I was tired of this battle, so I purposed in my heart to do something.

    I had battled and overcome fear in the past, but under different circumstances. So I once again called upon God to help me. This time I prayed to God by one of His great names, Yahweh Yireh, which means "the LORD will provide." Praying to Yahweh Yireh reminded me that God saw my situation and could provide for my needs.

    Yahweh Yireh, I know You are with me when I fly. Your name tells me You know what I need, and You promise to provide it. I ask You and trust You to provide what I need to overcome my fear of flying.

    Step by step, He provided just what I needed to lead me to a place of freedom. I felt His gentle reassurance in my heart. I am right here, my child. I am your Yahweh Yireh. Remember the story of my servant, Abraham.

    I turned to Genesis 22 to refresh my memory. In verse 14 I read, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." (NLT) You see, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, the one God promised to provide and did.

    Without hesitation, Abraham took steps towards obeying God. He purposed in his heart to do the unthinkable because God asked him to. He trusted God to make a way to provide for the promise He had made. Even when Isaac asked his father where the sacrificial lamb was, Abraham exhibited great faith with his words: the Lord will provide. He then laid his son on the altar.

    Just as Abraham drew back the knife to sacrifice his son, the Angel of the LORD intervened. And in that moment, Abraham spotted a ram.

    God had provided a sacrifice.

    God did the same for me. What Abraham faced is on a totally different level than my fear of flying. But Scripture teaches us that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is the same God He was back then with Abraham as He is in the present with me. He met me on each and every flight in ways that only He could do. He knew what I needed and provided it.

    He divinely placed me next to pilots who explained the science of turbulence and the mechanics of planes. On one flight, I even sat next to an astronaut! Thank goodness I'm not flying into outer space, I thought! A friend began coming along with me who provided a comforting hand to hold ... or squeeze with all my might, depending upon the flight!

    With each trip, I grew more and more at peace. I found verses to pray when I flew. Memorizing and praying these truly helped me overcome my fear.

    What provision do you need from Yahweh Yireh today? Peace, financial wisdom, confidence, good health? Just as He provided for me, He will provide for you. Go to Him in prayer.

    I no longer dread traveling and sleep soundly the night before my flights. And most of all, I trust that Yahweh Yireh has His eyes on me and will provide what I need to bring me peace.

    Yahweh Yireh, You are the Lord who will provide. I invite You to intervene in my circumstances today. Be ever present in my heart and my life and provide everything I need to overcome my fear. Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Where do you need God's provision in your life?

    Write a prayer that boldly asks Yahweh Yireh to provide for that need.

    Power Verses:
    Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

  • The Bitter Root

    Posted on October 29, 2013 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy

    "See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." (Hebrews 12:15 NIV)

    How dare she ask this of me?

    I reread her email, which only fueled my fury. Rather than reply immediately, I decided to forward the note to my husband for his advice. Any words I would've written to her at that moment would not have been kind.

    Bitterness took root as I typed a note to my husband, spewing out my frustration. When I finished, I reviewed my message with great satisfaction. I'd expressed myself well to a safe person. Then I pressed send.

    In that moment, I glanced at the "to" box. I was horrified when I realized I'd hit "reply" instead of "forward." My heart sank. All my hurtful words and anger were now en route to her, not my husband.

    I felt sick. What should I do? I picked up the phone and called my husband at work. We both agreed I needed to email her, explain what happened, and ask forgiveness. It was the hardest email I've ever written.

    Her gracious response astounded me. She thanked me for my apology and closed her response with these words, "I forgive you, so let's just put this behind us." Her words of forgiveness melted the bitterness that had consumed my heart just an hour before. I'm sure she was hurt. My words were harsh. Yet she chose to overlook and pardon my offense.

    It's easy to forget that we have choices when we're offended. We can surrender our hurt or hold on to our hurt. We can extend grace or harbor bitterness.

    Bitterness is like poison that infects our lives. The author of Hebrews compares bitterness to a root that overtakes our hearts and causes trouble in many other areas of our lives (Hebrews 12:15). Although our feelings of bitterness, anger, and resentment may seem justified, they are not. Instead, they're hurtful and destructive—to ourselves as well as to the person who hurt us.

    God's Word teaches us to forgive and instructs us not to let the sun go down while we're angry. When we do, we give the devil a place to work in our hearts and relationships. Instead of allowing the enemy room to plant relational weeds between us, my friend chose forgiveness, extended grace, and prevented a bitter root from taking hold.

    She became a living example of the apostle Paul's words to the believers at Ephesus: "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you" (Ephesians 4:32). Her wise example helped me move beyond my anger. My friend's gracious decision modeled humility. Her choice to forgive salvaged our friendship and changed how I react toward others who offend me. From that day forward, I've prayed that God's grace would flow through me, leaving no room for bitter roots.

    Dear Lord, search my heart. See if there is any bitterness in me. Lead me to forgiveness. Enable me through the power of Your Holy Spirit to let go of all bitterness and to extend Your amazing grace. In Jesus' name, Amen.

    Related Resources


    Remember
    Choosing forgiveness is the only way to prevent a bitter root from taking root in your heart and growing.

    Reflect
    Is there someone against whom you harbor unforgiveness? What is it that keeps you from being able to forgive this person?

    Respond
    Review the verses shared in this devotion. Prayerfully ask God what your next step is with this person. Ask Him to equip you to take that first step, and then take it.

    Power Verses
    Colossians 3:13; Romans 12:9

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

  • Where Can I Find JOY?

    Posted on October 15, 2013 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy

    "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy." James 1:2 (NLT)

    My daughter's journey with scoliosis was a heart-breaking time for me as a mother. There were days I couldn't see past Lauren's extreme physical pain and my wondering heart questioned, why hasn't God healed her yet?

    Through those years, I struggled. I felt empty ... void of hope ... void of joy. I knew what God's Word said about joy: "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy" (James 1:2 NLT). But in the midst of Lauren's circumstances, her broken heart and wounded body, it was hard to follow that command.

    How could I obey this scripture and find joy when someone I loved was in such pain? God graciously answered the cry of my heart by revealing to me these three words ... Jesus Only You.

    I noticed the first letter of each of those words spelled J O Y. And it clicked with me. Jesus is our joy!

    When God says in James 1:2 to consider trials as opportunities for joy, He's not talking about the joy found in earthly things. Circumstances turning out how we desire, possessions and positions, and even good health only offer happiness. They are temporary. What God longs for us to have is deep, lasting joy found in Jesus.

    The King James Version says we are to "count it all joy" when we walk through trials. This word "count" means "evaluate."

    When trials come, we must evaluate them in light of God's truths and promises. It's not the trial itself we consider a joy. Rather, it's the results that will come from the trial that we consider pure joy.

    This involves trusting that God is actively working for our good even in the midst of painful circumstances. And as we trust Him, we will find an inner gladness rooted not in our circumstances, but in the reality of the living God who transcends our circumstances.

    After years of praying, asking God to heal my daughter, He did. It still hurts to remember the excruciating pain Lauren suffered. But God was and is faithful. God didn't heal my girl in the miraculous way I was expecting. Instead, she endured a seven-hour surgery to place two rods in her spine. She missed nearly six weeks of school and labored through months of relearning how to sit and walk and move. She had to quit competitive cheerleading. But in and through that time, God did a new thing.

    Looking back, I can see how He held us up, deepened Lauren's faith, and drew our family closer to each other. In real and personal ways, God showed us His tender, loving care. And He taught me the meaning of true J O Y.

    Jesus alone is the source of our joy.

    When discouragement comes and you feel you cannot take one more step, remember these three words, Jesus Only You!

    Jesus came so that I . . . so that you . . . can experience His joy fully and completely in us through any and all circumstances.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for Jesus. Thank You for the joy that is ours in Him. Every time our thoughts turn to our hurt, cause our pain to bring us back to J O Y . . . Jesus Only You. We ask this in the Name of Jesus, amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What does it mean to be filled with the joy of the Lord?

    What keeps you from receiving the fullness of His Joy? Memorize and personalize James 1:2 so that you can recall it the next time you walk through a difficult trial and feel the absence of joy.

    Power Verses:
    Galatians 5:22, "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness." (NLT)

    Nehemiah 8:10b, " Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

  • Fear in the Dark

    Posted on September 16, 2013 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy

    "... all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land." Exodus 14:21b (NIV)

    God seemed distant and I felt completely alone after I was physically and sexually assaulted at knifepoint in my early 20s. For years after the attack, I lived cocooned in a prison of despair and hopelessness, fear hounding me. Finally, after years of searching for help and believing there was nowhere else to turn, I fell on my knees before God and poured out my tears, anger and questions to Him.

    During that very dark time, God lead me to the story of the Israelites' escape from slavery in Egypt. Initially, Pharaoh agreed to let God's people go, but soon after they left, Pharaoh changed his mind. He pursued them with 600 of his best chariots and terrified the Israelites. Can you imagine their fear?

    They cried out to their leader, Moses. Even though Moses reminded the people of God's promise that He would deliver them, the circumstances barreling toward them said otherwise. Their reality included Pharaoh's finest soldiers hot on their heels, and the colossal Red Sea blocking their escape. God's people had no idea the miracle awaiting them.

    When they reached the Red Sea, Moses stretched his hand over the water. Scripture says, "... all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land" (Exodus 14:21b). Because it was dark, the Israelites couldn't quite see the full picture of what God was doing.

    In the black of night, the Lord tirelessly worked on behalf of His children to deliver them, just as He had promised.

    It was as if the words of this story leapt off the pages of Scripture and into my desolate heart. Although the Israelites could not see or hear God, He was moving in the midst of their darkness. I too could not "see" or "feel" God, but He was at work around me in invisible ways—present and active on my behalf to carry me through.

    The dark is a very scary place to be. Whether it's the darkness of our fears or circumstances pressing in, we have two choices as to how to respond. We can take matters into our own hands, turning to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain, seeking advice or reading the latest self-help book, never knowing if any of them is the way to healing and wholeness. Or we can look to God. We can pray and open His Word, knowing He guarantees healing and wholeness.

    For years I tried the first approach to deal with my darkness. Yet each attempt to help myself failed. It was only when I turned to God, crying out for His help, that things started to change.

    Would you like to experience God's help for yourself? Ask. The Lord promises, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV). Like He was for the Israelites, God is there for us. And He is always working on our behalf, even when we can't see or feel Him.

    Today, if you are in the darkness ... if your circumstances are threatening to consume you ... if you feel utterly defeated ... seek the Lord. Ask Him to rescue you and remember this, He is there ... parting your "Red Sea."

    Dear Heavenly Father, it's so difficult to walk through darkness. You feel so far away. I feel so alone. Thank You for the promise that You will never leave me or forsake me, and that there is nothing in all creation that will ever separate me from the love I have in You and in Your Son. Walk ever so closely with me during this darkness, Lord. Speak to me. Give me hope. In Jesus' Name, amen.

    Related Resources:


    Reflect and Respond:
    Sometimes God allows difficult circumstances to do a mighty transformational work in our lives. How would viewing your difficult circumstances as part of His refining process help you trust Him and change your perspective?

    Power Verses:
    1 John 1:5b, "God is light; in him there is no darkness at all." (NIV)

    Romans 8:38-39, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

  • Overlooking an Offense

    Posted on July 31, 2013 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy

    "A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense." Proverbs 19:11 (NIV 1984)

    What did she mean by that? Why does she always hurt my feelings? Why does she treat me that way? I didn't realize these words played through my head on a continual basis until my daughter pointed it out.

    She ended many of our conversations with, "Why do you get your feelings hurt so easily?" Or, "Mom, you're so sensitive."

    At first, her words angered me. But over time, I began to hear what she was saying.

    For years, I allowed people's words to hurt my feelings. In turn, I harbored anger for those words. The anger took root. Satan fed the words to me over and over again. I re-played them in my mind. Each time the anger grew deeper roots.

    Listening to a sermon in church, I would think, "I wish ______ was here. She really needs to hear this!" Of course, the sermon by-passed my heart all together.

    Without realizing it, the words of others consumed my thoughts and focus and stole my time. About this time, God called me to teach a Bible study on the book of Proverbs. I spent days and weeks absorbed in this amazing book of wisdom.

    One afternoon, this verse leapt off the page and into my heart, "A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense" (Proverbs 19:11). I had a choice. Up until then, I heard people's words, jumped to a conclusion and chose to be offended.

    But through His Word, God gently corrected me. I sensed Him saying that I can choose to look past people's words and not receive them with an offended heart. I discovered that I needed to LISTEN objectively and ask: What is driving their words? Do they have a valid point? Do they have a deep hurt? Or do they need something I am not giving?

    The responsibility was on me to stop the words from taking root in my heart. When I accepted this, my attitude changed. Yes, it took time, and I am a work in progress. But now when someone speaks a hurtful word, I check it before letting it take residence in my mind. I hear the words, recognize my issue, and speak Truth over my heart. I literally say, "It is to my glory to not receive this as an offense."

    Everyone wins because I don't ruin the rest of the day by pouting, making it all about me, or soaking in self-pity. Each time I make this choice, I sense God is pleased as I honor Him by choosing NOT to be offended.

    Heavenly Father, thank You that I am created in Your image. Thank You that I find my identity in You. Thank You that it is only Your Word and Your opinion that matter. Lord, give me Your ears to hear. Help me not to be easily offended and easily angered. Help me lay down any offenses to which I am currently holding. Let me live in the freedom of Your love and forgiveness. Help me live not in my flesh, but supernaturally in the fullness and freshness of Your Spirit. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness by Suzanne Eller

    Reflect and Respond:
    Read 1 John 1:8-10 and reflect on its meaning in relation to this devotion.

    Over the next week, listen to your conversations and note if you are easily offended.

    Power Verses:
    Ephesians 4:26-27, "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." (NIV 1984)

    Ephesians 4:32, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (NIV 1984)

    © 2013 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

  • Resurrection Life

    Posted on June 19, 2013 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy

    "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20 (NIV)

    I grew up in a family that lacked patience. It was a running joke in my maternal family: "The Capkas have no patience." I accepted it as normal and continued the tradition in my own family.

    The problem is, it made for a very unhappy home. I had a short fuse with my husband and our kids. I often spoke words I regretted the moment they left my lips. Tempers flared between my daughter and me, and I saw her following in my footsteps, believing the lie I believed: we have no patience.

    But as I studied my Bible, I began to understand the truth about my impatience. I didn't have to accept the fact that it ran in my family. You see, Galatians 2:20 tells us when we surrender our lives to Christ, the way we were dies and is replaced by the way He calls us to be. God changes us from the inside out! His Word tells us our old (dead) ways are gone and the new (alive) ways can take over!

    Transformation comes. Because Christ lives in me, I do have patience. I don't have to be that impatient mom who spews out unkind words when things don't go my way. Even though I was raised in a family where I learned an impatient attitude, I have within me God's power to hold my tongue, to think before I speak, to speak truth in love. It's the very same power that raised Lazarus from the dead and parted the Red Sea. That's the power that lives in you and me!

    I call it "Resurrection Life."

    The reality of Christ living in me—Resurrection Life—first changed my heart and then my home.

    If you have believed similar lies about who you are, hear these words and never forget them:

    Resurrection Life means...

    You are unconditionally loved.

    You are completely forgiven.

    You are fully redeemed.

    You are a new creation.

    You are totally transformed from the inside out.

    This Holy Spirit transformation is real. God's Word tells us that we are "more than conquerors" through Christ who loves us (Romans 8:37). Our new "living" self conquers our old "dead" self.

    So where we used to join in the gossip, now we turn the conversation around. Where we used to lie to get out of a commitment, now we just say, "No." Where we used to lose our temper and speak unkind words, now we stop, listen and then speak truth in love. Where we, though married, used to harmlessly flirt with other men, we now set boundaries with other men that are honoring to our husbands.

    Psalm 139 tells us we are "fearfully and wonderfully made." Sin corrupted that creation, but the good news is that Jesus' work on the cross returns to us the power to live in the fullness of how we were originally made. Free from sin.

    Walk confidently in the newness of Resurrection Life!

    Father, thank You that Christ lives in me! May I know deep in my heart that I am a new creation, transformed from the inside out. Help me to live in the fullness of the incredible gift of the indwelling power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in Jesus' Name. Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner by Wendy Blight

    Reflect and Respond:
    How would things change if you truly believed you are a new creation and live in the power of God's Holy Spirit living in you?

    Read the following verses: Ephesians 1:4, Psalm 103:3, Galatians 3:13, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 2:10. What do they speak to your heart?

    Power Verse:
    2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (NIV)

    © 2013 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

  • Learn to Rest

    Posted on May 8, 2013 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy

    "He restores my soul." Psalm 23:3a (ESV)

    My words poured through frustrated tears. "I try to be so organized. Every night I make a 'to do' list. I wake up in the morning furiously giving my best to complete every task. There are never enough hours in my day to get them all done. I wake up the next day to do it all over again, only this time, the unfinished tasks from yesterday's list carry over to today's. I'm so tired!"

    My dear friend and mentor calmly interrupted, "Wendy, you must learn to rest."

    Taking a deep breath, I whispered, "Is resting something I have to learn?"

    "Yes," she said firmly, "you must learn to rest."

    "Okay," I told her. "I'll go to bed earlier and when I feel super tired, I'll take a short nap."

    Back then I thought the cure to my weariness would come from resting my tired body and delaying my duties for a time with a catnap. But that wasn't what she meant. My friend knew there was a difference between being physically tired and needing to catch up on some zzz's, and being worn out in our hearts, minds and souls.

    The truth is, we aren't weary simply because our schedules are full. We are weary because our spirits are depleted. Within each one of us resides a soul that desperately needs renewal and restoration, something an overloaded schedule doesn't always allow.

    It's easy to hide our exhausted souls. On the outside we may appear well-organized, emotionally stable, and put together. But on the inside we are often hopelessly overwhelmed and completely stressed out. The remedy for our weariness will not be found in a nap, but in God alone.

    In the Old Testament, Psalm 23 speaks of God as our Shepherd. That passage says our Shepherd "restores" our souls. When I looked a bit deeper into the original meaning of "restore," I learned so much more about God's promise to bring life back to my tired soul.

    The Hebrew word "restore" in Psalm 23 is shuwb. It's a word most often translated "to return or go back." It speaks of God's people returning to Him and means "movement back to the point of departure." The use of the word "restore" implies we must return to God to receive our restoration.

    In the New Testament in John 10:14, Jesus tells us He is our "Good Shepherd." This is from the Greek word poimen. It literally means "shepherd," referring to one who guides, guards, and provides for his flock. When we return to our Shepherd, Jesus, He will guard us, guide us and provide for our every need.

    Our Good Shepherd can only restore our souls when we turn our hearts and our minds away from the noise and busyness of the world back to Him. Sitting alone with the Lord leads us to peace and gives us the strength we need to move forward.

    Do you need restoration? Take this little test.

    Does every word your husband speak irritate you?

    Does every errand you have to run for your kids breed resentment?

    Does every morning bring feelings of stress and anxiety?

    If you answered yes to one or all of these questions, you are running on empty, operating out of your own depleted resources.

    Learn to rest.

    Return to your Good Shepherd.

    Invite Him to restore your soul.

    Receive a fresh filling of His love, mercy and grace.

    When you do, He will replace your weariness with strength, your resentment with thanksgiving, your irritability with patience, and your anxiety with peace.

    The Lord is waiting.

    Meet with Him. He will refresh and renew you, enabling you to go out into the world to serve your family and friends filled with a newfound sense of His peace, love, and joy.

    Dear Lord, help me be still before You. Give me the rest only You can give. Renew and restore my weary heart. Fill me to overflowing. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner by Wendy teaches you how to have a quiet time and grow deeper in your walk with God.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you neglected spending time alone with God? For the next seven days, return to your Good Shepherd. Open Psalm 23, read a portion of the passage each of the seven days, and invite the Lord to refresh and restore your soul.

    Power Verses:
    Jeremiah 6:16, "This is what the LORD says: 'Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls...'" (NIV)

    Psalm 62:5, "Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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


  • Building Your Child's Faith

    Posted on April 12, 2013 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy

    "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6 (NIV 1984)

    As we stood in the parking lot outside my daughter's dorm, waves of grief washed over me. Lauren hugged her daddy and then her brother. Finally, I held her for what seemed an eternity ... no words, just tears.

    When we began the drive home, I prayed for her, just as I had every day for the last 18 years. I knew it was time for the next phase of God's plan for her life. But the ache in my heart was deep.

    As time passed, I learned to accept, and even embrace, our new normal. I enjoyed the extra time I got to spend with my husband and son.

    But I couldn't get used to not encouraging Lauren in her faith face-to-face. We sent her to college with a Bible and a devotional book. But when she lived at home, we did these activities together. In the mornings, we read a devotion and I prayed with her most every day, from the time she was born till the day she packed her bags to move out.

    Questions filled my mind. Without me, who would do this for her? Would she do it on her own? What if she turned away from her faith we'd been building for so long?

    My questions prompted me to pray very specifically. I prayed for Lauren to make her faith her own, as I'd been training her to do all these years. I asked the Lord to work in her life in very real and personal ways, just like the times I'd pointed out for her to notice in her childhood. I prayed for His Spirit to stir her heart to read her devotional book each day, and I pleaded with Him to meet her in the pages of His Word.

    God answered my prayers in a way only He can do. Lauren had been studying for her economics exam for days. She was worried she would fail because she'd been struggling with some of the concepts. My daughter texted me and a few good friends to pray. I wrote her back my prayer and a verse the Lord laid on my heart, Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths" (ESV). As it was sending, I prayed for Him to use this verse to encourage her and give her confidence as she walked into her exam.

    I woke up the next morning to find this text from my girl:

    "I opened my devotional and today's truth was Proverbs 3:5, exactly the verse you gave me!! ENCOURAGEMENT."

    God taught me such a powerful lesson that morning. My role as a parent is to pray for and with my children and to model, to the best of my ability, what it means to be a godly woman. I was not perfect and often missed the mark. But when we do those two things, God fills in the rest. I only have them at home to teach, guide and train in God's Word for a short 18 years. But they are His for all their lives.

    God showed me through a few minutes of texting that Lauren's faith was still building. On her own, she asked for prayer (which meant she too was praying), and she was reading her devotional book with no prompting from home.

    If you have kids at home, pray for them, read God's Word with them and rest in knowing God is with them. You are building a firm foundation. You are paving a pathway that will lead them in the direction they should go.

    Dear Lord, help me to train my children in the way they should go. Through the power of Your Holy Spirit, lead me as I lead them. Draw each of us closer to You as we walk together in faith. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    Read Lamentations 2:19. Prayerfully ask the Lord how you can pray for the children in your life.

    If you are a parent or grandparent, pray specifically for one of your children. Ask God for wisdom to guide you on how to pray and share with that child you are praying for him or her.

    Power Verse:
    Lamentations 2:19a, "Rise up during the night and cry out. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to him in prayer, pleading for your children." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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


  • Standing Apart from Everyone Else

    Posted on March 22, 2013 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy

    "You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own." Leviticus 20:26 (NIV 1984)

    Our daughter got the call ... the invitation she had been waiting for. It was the party everyone wanted to go to and she'd been invited!

    She was so excited. However, one step remained: securing her parents' permission. She knew it would be difficult. But she was sure once she explained the significance of the invitation, we would say "yes."

    We did not.

    "Everyone else is going. I will be the only one not there. It's not fair!" To which, we firmly replied, "We are not like everyone else. There will be no parental supervision. You absolutely may not go."

    This happened often throughout our daughter's middle and high school years. And because she could not always do what everyone else did, she often felt left out.

    As her parents, we were establishing boundaries and limits. Our actions, though hard at times, taught her a powerful biblical truth: Because we don't belong to everyone else, we don't live like everyone else.

    We belong to Someone else; we belong to God.

    Because we are His, God has set us apart to be different. He does not want us to squeeze into the mold set by everyone else.

    This struggle has existed for thousands of years. Israel desperately tried to fit in with the nations around them. They wanted to be like everyone else. But God refused to allow this. He set Israel apart to be a holy nation. He established boundaries for His children just as we do for our children.

    In Leviticus 20:26, God commanded Israel, "You are to be holy to me, because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own" (NIV 1984). God set Israel apart to intentionally distinguish them from everyone else.

    God did not do this to punish the Israelites or deprive them. Just the opposite. He specifically chose them for good. Being set apart not only was a privilege but also carried with it amazing blessings, far more than they could ever imagine.

    Keeping that in mind, it's exciting to know God calls us to be holy too. He calls us into a personal and intimate relationship. And when we say "yes," we receive good gifts just as the Israelites did. God gives us a fresh start with Him ... a new life where our past is wiped clean. God sees us through the eyes of His Son, Jesus. We are no longer like everyone else. God sets us apart to live a new life in Him.

    My husband and I make those same hard choices for ourselves. A few years ago we stepped out of a dinner club. We felt uncomfortable with the direction the group was taking. It wasn't easy being left out of some fun parties. The night of those events, I missed being with everyone else. I felt what my daughter felt.

    You and I may have to make the same hard choices. We may not be able to watch certain movies with our friends on Girl's Night. Or we may have to speak up on an issue close to God's heart, causing us to stand out, rather than fit in.

    What I have learned through making the hard choices is they come with a great reward: enjoying the pleasure of our heavenly Father.

    We belong to the Creator of heaven and earth. He created us in His image and loves us with an everlasting love. Today, let's be set apart from others and set apart for HIM by making some hard choices so we may live in the fullness of all He has for us.

    Dear Lord, thank You for choosing me and setting me apart to live for You. Keep me from wanting to be like "everyone else." In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Write down one choice you can make today to say "no" to everyone else and "yes" to God. Take an action step toward making that happen.

    Read 1 Peter 1:15-16. What does it look like in your life to be holy?

    Power Verses:
    1 Peter 1:15-16, "But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy.'" (NIV 1984)

    2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, and the new has come!" (NIV 1984)

    © 2013 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

  • How Do I Know If I'm Called

    Posted on February 1, 2013 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy

    "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

    I stood at the sink and gazed out the window. In that moment, the Lord impressed the strangest words on my heart: "Wendy, your house will become a house of prayer and teaching."

    The thought of opening my heart and home to share Jesus was not even a blip on my radar screen. I did not know a soul in this new town and had no idea what God meant by those words. Was He really calling me to teach and pray for women?

    As I sought God's will for that time in my life, He led me to Ephesians 2:10: "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." It was the start of God confirming His calling in my life at that time.

    Here are some steps the Lord showed me to know I was hearing Him correctly:

    Humble your heart before the Lord.
    Humility is necessary for a teachable heart. To discover our calling, we must set aside our agendas and surrender to God's. We cannot have a predetermined plan and then invite God to complete it. We need to ask, "What are You calling me to do right here and now?"

    Examine your life experiences and current circumstances.
    God uses life experiences (family, education, vocation, spiritual gifts, trials, etc.) to mold, train, and equip us. Sometimes what we want to hide - the horrible trials we want to forget - are the very things God wants to use the most.

    We all suffer trials. Sometimes we surrender and lean on God. When we do, we come out the other side victorious and God is glorified. Nothing is worthless. Everything has value. God uses it all to shape us for our calling.

    Apply your gifts, talents and abilities.
    Gifts and abilities will give you the strongest indication of what your calling is. God will match your calling with your capabilities. He equips those He calls.

    In determining your calling, look at your gifts:

    • What are your strengths?
    • What brings out your passion?
    • How do people respond when you act in your giftedness?

    Read, study and pray God's Word.
    As we seek God's calling, He will direct our steps and confirm what He says. The most common way He does this is through His Word. He can also use avenues like pastors, friends, and Bible studies to direct us, or even things in the culture around us.

    Trust in God's timing and in His answer.
    God will lead you to do things that require you to TRUST in Him. They will always be perfectly orchestrated and timed to display His honor and glory.

    The more you need God to do a task, the more you will rely on Him. If you feel rushed, unorganized, and lack inner peace, these are signs you are not in His will or it is not in His timing.

    As I opened my home for my first Bible study, joy and amazement filled my heart as the women came through the door one by one. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I remembered God's Word to me that first day in my kitchen. "Wendy, your house will become a house of prayer and teaching."

    What has He told you that you are called to do?

    Father in heaven, thank You that You have good plans for us. You know our every need, deepest desires, and hurting places. Lord, as we seek to know You and the calling You have on us more, would You open the eyes of our heart to see the wonderful things You have planned? In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Replace any lack of self-confidence with lasting God-confidence with A Confident Heart by Renee Swope!

    Reflect and Respond:
    Humble your heart before the Lord.
    Examine your life experiences and current circumstances.
    Apply your gifts, talents and abilities.
    Read, study and pray God's Word.
    Trust in God's timing and in His answer.

    Power Verse:
    Philippians 1:6, "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." (NLT)

    © 2013 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

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