• ABOUT
    Did you know?
    All of our earnings go to Christian charities.
    Click to learn more about us!
  • SHOP
    View the latest sales and promotions going on now!
    When you shop, you give.
  • GIVE
    See our latest Giving Challenge.
  • GROW
    Our blog shares devotionals, interviews, contests & more—all to help you grow in your faith.

  • Clearance

Author Archives: Wendy Pope

  • It's Okay if We Don't Understand the Whole Bible

    Posted on December 5, 2014 by Wendy Pope

    WENDY

    "The LORD our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them." Deuteronomy 29:29a (NLT)

    Read the Bible? The whole thing? From cover to cover? Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy? I've heard they're hard. Do I have to read the Old Testament? Jesus wasn't even born then. What if I don't understand everything?

    These concerns plagued me as I sensed God nudging me to read the entire Bible. I'd grown up in the church and attended Sunday School and mid-week Bible study every week. But the thought of reading the whole Bible intimidated me. My greatest fears were failure to finish and not being able to understand what I read.

    To ease my anxiety, I went to my local Christian bookstore with this thought: If I'm going to read the whole Bible, certainly I need a new Bible.

    I previewed various types of Bibles in an array of colors, styles and formats. It seemed like hours had passed. And just when I was about to give up, I pulled the One Year Chronological Bible from the shelf.

    The format intrigued me. Short readings. An easy-to-follow daily plan. An attractive cover. The best part to me was knowing I would read the Bible in the order the events occurred. Yes! This is the Bible for me.

    That year I read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. I stumbled some, but I also learned a lot. I learned Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy really are difficult to read. They are full of laws, actual numbers and more laws. But through those books and the rest of the Old Testament, I learned to really appreciate the wonderful sacrifice Jesus made for me (because there's no way any human on the planet could keep all of those laws). And, I learned it's okay if I don't understand the whole Bible.

    What a relief! You see, I thought a Christian should be able to understand the Bible completely. And because I didn't, I thought something must be wrong with me.

    Truth is, we're not meant to understand everything in the Bible the first time we read it. If we were, we could read it once and put it on our shelf.

    The Bible is unlike any other book. Hebrews describes God's Word as living and active (Hebrews 4:12). It is meant to help us live life. Therefore, it's necessary to have it as a part of our daily living.

    Our key verse says, "The LORD our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them." God reveals the truths He wants us to understand when He feels we are ready to understand and apply them.

    When we don't understand something, it doesn't mean we are less of a Christian or not as smart as another. God, in His infinite wisdom, keeps some things hidden from us until just the right time.

    With this truth in mind I set out to read the Bible one day at a time. Now many years later, I've read the Bible in its entirety year after year. Not because I'm a super Christian, but because my first reading of the entire Bible taught me that amazing truth ... and I wanted more.

    What about you? Have you ever thought about reading the entire Bible but were too intimidated to get started? If so, now is your chance. Let's be women who read God's Book. I promise it will be a life-changer.

    Dear Lord, thank You for giving us Your Word to help us through life. Give me the desire to read the Bible every day. Will You teach me Your truths and keep me from becoming overwhelmed with what I don't understand? In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Psalm 141:11, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I may not sin against you." (NIV)

    Psalm 119:105, "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (KJV)

    2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    What intimidates you most about reading through the Bible? What good might come if you let God reveal more of His truth in your life?

    Take those things to God in prayer and ask Him to help you.

    © 2014 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

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

  • Stop and Pray

    Posted on November 17, 2014 by Wendy Pope

    WENDY

    "Then I prayed to the God of heaven ..." Nehemiah 2:4b (NIV)

    We were always in the car going to this counselor or that doctor. Regardless of the interventions, my son's grades continued to slip. Every weekly report said the same thing: disorganized, unfocused and unable to follow class rules.

    What had I done wrong? I should have read to him more. I should have waited one more year to start him in school. Too many questions and not enough answers. Mentally and physically, I was exhausted.

    One day faded into the next. I was tired of moving forward only to run into another obstacle impeding my progress. I was tired of expelling my energies trying to make a difference.

    During these difficult days, my friends directed me to Scripture. They prayed for me. They reminded me to pray. However, when I bowed my head to pray, the weight of my circumstances was heavy. I was just too tired. Maybe you can relate.

    I remembered a man in the Bible who faced challenging circumstances. His name was Nehemiah and he ran into one obstacle after another. He expelled all his energy each day trying to make a difference, but regardless of his efforts, he still faced opposition. Unlike me, this man was not too tired to pray.

    Nehemiah accompanied God's people, the Israelites, back to Jerusalem after they'd been held captivity in Babylon. He was motivated to help his people rebuild the ancient Jewish capital that had been destroyed (2 Chronicles 36:15-21).

    Having the favor of the king and God's presence on his side, one would assume the assignment would have been easier. However, two government officials made it their personal business to undermine the rebuilding progress. Nehemiah responded to each insult and obstacle the same way: He prayed.

    In order to revive their spirits, restore their energy and continue building, Nehemiah and the Israelites found they needed to stop and pray often! When the insults began, they prayed. When their enemies placed an obstacle in front of them, they prayed. Yes, through powerful and persistent prayer, Nehemiah and company defeated their enemies by rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem in record time.

    Let's sum up Nehemiah's prayer with a simple, easy to remember acronym: SAP (Stop And Pray). Interestingly enough, this acronym is found in the dictionary and when used as a noun can be defined as energy and vitality. For greater impact, we can unpack the word further. Just as the sap of a tree brings health, sap means the power to live and grow.

    Nehemiah had the right idea. By making prayer his priority, he discovered it was enough to revive his spirit and restore the mental and physical energy needed to overcome every challenge he faced.

    Are you facing a challenge? Do you feel too tired to pray? Let's allow the power of prayer to revive our spirits, and restore our physical and mental vigor. No matter what the obstacle, SAP. Each time an insult comes your way, SAP. You will have the energy needed to defeat your enemy and persevere with greater strength than you ever thought possible.

    Dear Lord, through the power of prayer, today's challenge can be tomorrow's victory. Help me SAP when adversity comes my way. Thank You for prayer and the power I receive when I turn to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Ephesians 3:20, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us." (NIV)

    Romans 8:26-27, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God's people in accordance with the will of God." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Write the acronym SAP and its meaning (energy and vitality) on several note cards. Place them in your home, car, work and Bible.

    © 2014 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

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

  • Who's Texting Me this Late?

    Posted on September 29, 2014 by Wendy Pope

    WENDY

    "Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere." Ephesians 6:18 (NLT)

    I got the phone call no woman wants to get. "Mrs. Pope, this is your doctor's office calling in reference to your mammogram. We need to schedule a diagnostic exam."

    (Insert gasp, followed by silence.)

    Fear filled my body and what-if thoughts consumed my mind: What if the diagnostic exam showed cancer? What if I have to have chemotherapy? What if? What if? What if?

    The day finally arrived. My husband, Scott, who was driving me to the appointment, came home a little later from work than I had hoped. Then my nephew showed up to help with a project and needed some instructions, which took up even more of our limited time.

    My heart pounded as we wheeled out of the driveway. We were going to be late. Scott drove fast to try to make up for the time we lost. While I appreciated his effort, it only added to my already heightened anxiety. With each passing moment I became more fretful. It was obvious, I needed prayer.

    I sent this text message to a friend, "I need prayer now. I will explain later."

    Meg's reply was instant, "Praying now Wendy."

    Fast-forward several weeks.

    My phone chimed signaling a new message. I glanced at the clock. Who is messaging me this late?

    "I just wanted to let you know that I was praying for you."

    Two weeks had passed and I'd gotten the all clear from my doctor, but amazingly Meg was still praying for me.

    "Thanks Meg. I'm still praying for your prayer request too," I texted back.

    She thanked me for being one of her prayer warriors.

    "That's what we do. We are Jesus girls," I replied.

    Today's key verse encourages us to pray at all times and on every occasion. At first glance such a suggestion may seem overwhelming, but Paul was simply saying: pray prayer upon prayer. Whether we pray individually or in a group, aloud or silently, kneeling or standing, pray.

    The prayer doesn't have to be fancy with big church words like thee and thou. Paul's message is just pray.

    Prayer connects our heart with another's in a way we can't explain. Through prayer, we share in the weight of the burden and are able to sympathize with circumstances the person is facing. Our hearts join together in prayer and create an inexplicable bond of love.

    Prayer invites God into the situation. As we pray, our faith grows. Our growing faith moves God to act on our behalf and work all things together for our good.

    Prayer also unites our heart with God. This unique union prompts and enables us to follow Paul's instruction concerning prayer.

    Just pray — that's what Jesus girls do.

    When the text comes late at night — we pray.

    When a friend calls, we don't question — we pray.

    We pray in groups, in pairs and individually. We pray for each other. We pray for our country. We pray for our leaders. We pray for the unsaved and for the saved. We pray for our churches. We pray for our pastors. We pray at all times and on every occasion. We pray prayers upon prayers.

    That's what Jesus girls do.

    How are you today? Perhaps you need prayer, or maybe you are one who can offer to pray. Will you meet me over on my blog today? Let's keep it simple. No questions asked. No explanations needed. I know some Jesus girls who would love to pray for you.

    Dear Lord, I know You just want me to pray. You don't need to hear big church words. You just want me to pray. Prompt me Lord; I will pray. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Psalms 55:17, "Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice." (KJV)

    Hebrews 4:16, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (KJV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Has someone asked you for prayer recently? Pray prayers upon prayers for them. If you feel led, contact them to let them know that you are praying, or ask for an update.

    Do you need prayer? Don't be afraid to call, email or text a friend to ask them to pray. That's what Jesus girls do!

    © 2014 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

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

  • It's Just Girlfriends Talking

    Posted on March 24, 2014 by Wendy Pope

    Wendy

    "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

    My mouth has always gotten me in trouble. You might say I am "quick to speak, slow to think." Apparently, the filter between my brain and my mouth doesn't always work well.

    I don't mean to hurt anyone. I mean, it's not really "gossip." That's wrong, I know. But this is only harmless sharing ... really. I'm concerned and share those concerns. It's just girlfriends talking. Right?

    The danger of "just girlfriends talking" hit hard after recalling a recent conversation with a friend after church. After speaking my mind, I realized the woman we were chatting about was very close to where the conversation took place. Panic and a sick feeling stirred in my stomach. Questions raced through my mind:

    Did she hear us?

    How should I act when I see her?

    What kind of excuse can I make up for why we were talking about her?

    Words from Ephesians 4:29 rushed into my mind as conviction filled my heart: "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

    Nothing in that conversation had been helpful in building up the topic of our conversation. Not one word spoken brought benefit to anyone who listened. Our conversation was truly gossip — casual, unconstrained talk.

    That potentially-damaging conversation made me realize once again the power of my words. I can use them to hurt or to help.

    I'm committed to making a change with my words. Oh how different my conversations are when I use the acronym "T.H.I.N.K." before saying anything. This helps me determine if I should speak or keep silent. Are my words:

    T: True?
    H: Helpful?
    I: Inspiring?
    N: Necessary?
    K: Kind?

    I love to talk. But sometimes my careless chatter has hurt others, and my loose lips have left me full of regret. However, God's Word and the T.H.I.N.K. acronym help me to use my words wisely. They help me know when to press pause so I can walk away from a conversation without any regrets.

    Will you join me in becoming more than just a girlfriend talking? Will you challenge yourself to T.H.I.N.K. before you speak and to use your words to benefit as well as to build up others?

    Dear Lord, You gave us one mouth and two ears for a reason. Help me think before I speak. I want to be a wise woman and use my words to help, heal, honor, benefit and build up those who listen. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Put to memory T.H.I.N.K. How can this acronym benefit your relationships?

    Is there a recent conversation you regret? Consider if you need to apologize for any hurtful words.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 141:3, "Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips." (NIV)

    James 1:26, "Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

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

  • Creative Reminders to Pray

    Posted on February 11, 2014 by Wendy Pope

    Wendy

    "I will pray morning, noon, and night, pleading aloud with God; and he will hear and answer." Psalm 55:17 (TLB)

    Why is it so easy to remember every word to my favorite 80's songs, but so hard to remember to pray for others?

    There have been many times when I've told a friend, "Yes, I will pray for you." Then time goes by and that promise slips my mind. Guilt fills my heart as days later I remember the forgotten prayer request.

    My heart's desire is to pray with purpose for each person and every need because I know God listens. The psalmist knew this too, and wrote these words in Psalm 55:17, "I will pray morning, noon, and night, pleading aloud with God; and he will hear and answer."

    That's my intention too. Unfortunately, life's busy schedule and my dwindling memory keep me from praying the way I want to.

    So I asked the Lord to help me in this area. And He answered that prayer in an unusual way.

    For some strange reason, I have the uncanny ability to remember the make and model of my friends' cars. God used this ability to help me generate prayer prompters. Seeing the make and model of a friend's car prompts me to pray for them.

    But God didn't stop there. He also showed me how to use other prayer prompters besides cars. Maybe my list will help you generate your own prayer prompts.

    • A red Honda minivan: Renee Swope and family (She used to drive one)
    • When my ears ring: Lysa TerKeurst (She had some damage to one ear)
    • Leopard print: Lisa Allen (She loves leopard print)
    • Purple, especially pens: Sharon Sloan (She loves purple)
    • Fog or low lying clouds: Kristi Butler (We call low lying clouds the glory of the Lord)
    Wonderful, Merciful Savior: My former pastor (It is one of his favorite songs)

    There are many ways we can remember to pray. Enter prayer requests as an appointment on your phone with an alarm to remind you. Write names and requests on a calendar to pray on specific days for specific people. Keep a notebook with you and record prayer requests.

    Prayer prompts make it easier to pray morning, noon and night as the psalmist did. We can use red minivans or reminders on the calendar. Whenever the Holy Spirit prompts us to pray, God will hear and answer. Our prayers don't have to be long, with big and lofty words. We just have to remember and pray with a sincere heart.

    Dear Lord, I know that You hear and answer prayers morning, noon and night. Help me to be faithful to pray. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Think of one person you want to pray for faithfully. Ask God for a prayer prompt for this person.

    Purchase a spiral notebook to keep as a prayer journal. Ask God to help you fill it.

    Power Verses:
    1 Thessalonians 5:17, "Pray without ceasing." (ESV)

    James 5:16b, "The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with." (The Message)

    © 2014 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

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

  • The Power of Assumptions

    Posted on December 6, 2013 by Wendy Pope

    Wendy

    "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

    The assumption battle is one I have fought most of my life. I've questioned friends' motives, assuming they were against me. To avoid being hurt, I've detached from relationships with no valid reasons.

    Perhaps you've fought the same battle?

    Your friend didn't sit with you in Bible study like she usually does; she must be upset with you, so you avoid her at your weekly meetings. Another friend is invited to several parties you aren't; obviously the two of you are drifting apart, so you don't reach out any more. Your sister hasn't responded to your text and phone messages; she must have found another friend in whom to confide, so you stop calling her.

    It's easy to assume others are upset, have "more important" friends, or are too busy for us when their behavior changes. Anger and hurt can well up in our hearts and we may pull away from friendships in order to protect ourselves. There is a danger in assumptions: they can destroy relationships.

    Before we know it, even without proof, what we assume becomes our truth. Our misguided feelings lead to misguided thoughts, which cause misguided responses. The result: ruined relationships.

    Living under the havoc of assumptions isn't the way God intended it though. Second Timothy 1:7 tells us, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (NKJV). Looking at the last part of this verse, we see God gives us the ability to think, reason, and understand.

    Through Christ, we have a mind that is well balanced and considers things in context. Our sound mind is stronger than our feelings, but we have to give our thoughts time to catch up with our emotions. A good way to do this is to pause and think clearly about the conclusions we've made.

    When an assumption rears its ugly head, simply take a moment to ask if this assumption is consistent with your friend's normal behavior. If it isn't, this would be a good time to ask a few more questions: Is my friend okay? Have I done anything to hurt her? How can I pray for her? Do I believe the best before assuming the worst?

    Repeat the pause until the assumption passes. The result: positive relationships.

    Ruined relationships can be prevented and assumptions can be put to rest when we stop and focus on our thoughts. God has blessed us with a sound mind to surrender to the truth and not allow our imaginations to run wild.

    Before the power of assumptions ruins a relationship in your life, pause. Settle your emotions and consider what you know to be true about your friend. Take a moment to pray for her and plan how to reach out to her. She might just be struggling with her own assumptions that you could help her clear up!

    Dear Lord, thank You for empowering me to overpower assumptions. I commit to believe the best before assuming the worst, and to not allow my emotions to jump to conclusions. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What power have assumptions had on your life?

    Reach out and make an attempt to reconcile with someone with whom you made an assumption.

    Power Verses:
    2 Corinthians 10:5, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (NIV)

    Philippians 2:4, "Don't be concerned only about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others." (GW)

    © 2013 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

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

  • Accepting Forgiveness

    Posted on October 30, 2013 by Wendy Pope

    Wendy

    "Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit." Psalm 32:2 (NIV 1984)

    Many years were spent regretting sins from my past. These sins had hurt others and me. Day after day I would replay my decisions. Two decades later, the sting of past sin still had a hold on me.

    God had forgiven me; I'd told Him about my sin and asked Him to pardon me. So why couldn't I accept the freedom of His forgiveness?

    I wanted so badly to believe I was the person David mentions in Psalm 32:2, "Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit." Yet I struggled with accepting that God's grace could erase my sin, wiping it away as if it never happened.

    This can be a hard thing to accept for many of us. It sounds all well and good, but in reality, the weight of sin makes it difficult to believe a perfect God can forgive us.

    Yet, His Word assures us that God does not count our sin against us. So how can we live in this truth?

    The first step is to acknowledge our sin: to ourselves and to God. This opens up the door for honest conversations with the Lord and helps us stop hiding from the fear of being found out.

    The next step is to fill our hearts and minds with truth. Throughout the Bible, God teaches how an unaccepting heart can be changed and softened to accept His forgiveness. The following verses are truth from a loving God who longs to transform our lives through the grace of His forgiveness.

    My God doesn't condemn. "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1 (NIV)

    My master is grace, not sin. "For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace." Romans 6:14 (NIV 1984)

    My Savior Jesus has set me free, therefore I am free. "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:36 (NIV)

    My old is gone; because of Jesus Christ I am new. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV 1984)

    Are you lugging a load of sin that God has already forgiven? Are you ready to stop living in shame, shackled by regret? Life is too short to exchange the freedom of grace for the bondage of unbelief.

    Today, allow God to wash the hurt and regret from past sins away with the transforming power of His truth. And let's pray for an accepting heart that lives in the freedom of God's grace and forgiveness.

    Dear Lord, by faith I accept Your forgiveness and refuse to be a slave to sin You've already forgiven. Today, I confess and move on! I commit to believe Your transforming truths to live fully and freely in Your grace. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Reflect and Respond:
    "Do you struggle accepting God's forgiveness? Spend time talking with God and ask for help to accept His forgiveness.

    Use index cards to make several copies of the transforming truths above. Place a copy in your purse, car, Bible, desk, and other places you often go. Read them as long as it takes to experience the blessed life David speaks of in Psalm 32:2.

    Power Verses:
    Isaiah 1:18. "'Come now, let us reason together,' says the LORD. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.'" (NIV 1984)

    Isaiah 43:25, "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more." (NIV 1984)

    Matthew 19:26, "Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'" (NIV)

    © 2013 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

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

  • A Word for the Weary

    Posted on September 23, 2013 by Wendy Pope

    Wendy

    "The Sovereign LORD has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed." Isaiah 50:4 (NIV)

    I was not a happy person.

    I was struggling in my faith and failing to be the woman God called me to be. My responses to life's hiccups were harsh. My words to loved ones were rude. My disposition toward others was judgmental.

    It was during this period in my life when I was introduced to Isaiah 50:4, "The Sovereign LORD has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed" (NIV). My heart was gripped when I read the word weary. I remember thinking, I'm weary. I need sustaining.

    The sustaining part of the verse sounded soothing and comforting; however, the morning wakeup call felt obtrusive and demanding. Why couldn't I receive a sustaining word later in the day? Though I didn't want to wake up earlier, it was the only way I could spend time with God in my full schedule. And I did want my life to be different, so I thought, Why not? Things can't get any worse.

    I picked a time and a place to pray and read my Bible. The sun would rise and I would too, grumbling ... a lot! But day after day, I dragged myself out of bed, marched up the stairs, sat in the same place I called my "Jesus chair" and whined about getting out of my snuggly covers. Our morning meetings were rote and ridged, nothing like what I expected when my weary heart was first gripped by that verse in Isaiah.

    I couldn't help but wonder, Why aren't the issues in my life being resolved? When is the Lord going to fix all the people in my life? What good is this quiet time thing anyway?

    Even though I was frustrated, I was determined. So I continued to roll out of bed, put on my robe and sit in my Jesus chair with my Bible and devotion book. Little by little my heart softened. There was less complaining and more contentment. My ears began to listen like one being instructed, just like the verse in Isaiah says.

    Over time, God's Word took root in my heart, and I experienced its sustaining power. My weariness started to subside as I turned my focus from it to the presence of God. In the morning, I greeted my family with a smile and cheerful disposition. Moments of panic were now met with peaceful words. Unforeseen schedule changes were calmly resolved. If the day didn't go as planned, I could still praise.

    Are you looking for a word to sustain your weary soul? Are you desperate enough to dedicate time each day in God's Word? For me, it has to be in the morning, in my Jesus chair, before the rush of emails, carpool and work demands.

    Perhaps your Jesus chair is the front seat of your car with your Bible during your daughter's ballet class. Maybe your Jesus chair is at your desk with a devotional book as you eat lunch and pray.

    You see, it really doesn't matter where or when you meet with God, it only matters that you spend time together each day. His Word is our sustaining power. We can't live life without it!

    Pull up a Jesus chair. Grab your Bible and maybe a devotional book. Then listen like one being taught. He has much to say.

    Dear Lord, I am desperate and need a word to sustain my weary soul. I am willing to commit time in Your Word each day. Help me sit still and listen like one being taught. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Follow us on Facebook:


    Reflect and Respond:
    Pick a Jesus chair where you will spend time with Him each day.

    Write a prayer of commitment to God. Tuck the prayer in your Bible where you can pray it often.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 46:10a, "Be still I know that I am God." (NLT)

    Matthew 11:28, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

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

  • Quiet My Soul

    Posted on August 16, 2013 by Wendy Pope

    Wendy

    "But I have stilled and quieted my soul." Psalm 131:2a (NIV 1984)

    I'm a talker ... I always have been. When report cards came home, my parents never expected anything better than a C beside the word "conduct." One of my elementary school teachers politely called me "very social." Most were more blunt: "Wendy talks too much. She could learn more if she would talk less."

    Unfortunately, old habits die hard. I brought this trait of talking too much into the time I set aside each day to spend alone with God. I often fill my "quiet time" with my words ... lots and lots of words. I wonder if sometimes the Father looks to the Son and says, "I can't get a word in edge-wise with this girl! She could learn more if she would talk less."

    No, silence wasn't easy for this girl who likes to gab. Rather than waiting for God to speak to me, I wanted to tell Him what I thought would be good solutions to my problems. To-do lists ran through my head, instead of peace and quiet. It was easy to go on and on about the dusty shelves and piles of toys. But sit and listen? That felt unnatural, so I resisted and kept talking.

    I shared this uneasiness with God, knowing silence and stillness were things I needed to practice. During these times I felt God's gentle encouragement: Shhh ... be still. It's okay to be silent. You don't have to say a word.

    God was clearly trying to teach me something. His direction to be quiet was about more than resting my mouth-it was about resting my heart. I understood this when I read Psalm 131:2, "But I have stilled and quieted my soul." God wanted me to understand true rest ... His rest.

    As with anything, practice makes perfect. With great intention, I slowed my 90-mile-an-hour thoughts and parked them during my alone time with the Lord. Sometimes this required me writing out my to-do list prior to our time together. Or re-adjusting my priorities. Vacuuming was not as important as listening to God. Many times my thoughts would rev up, and I'd be talking without even realizing it! But I'd rein them back in and start over.

    My spirit felt renewed and at peace. In silence and stillness, I sensed God's direction for my day, peace for my circumstances and the soul-rest I needed.

    As we fill the reservoirs of our souls with true refreshment from God, we learn to relax as we experience real peace and rest that only comes from the silence and stillness of being with Him. We carry this refreshment with us as we face the challenges of our day.

    Do you have the gift of gab like me? Do you find it challenging to sit quietly with God? Ask Him to help you practice and enjoy silence and stillness. Your soul will find refreshing peace. God's rest is exactly what our restless souls need.

    Dear Lord, my soul is having a hard time being still. I lay down my resistance to silence and ask for your help to spend time in silence with You every day. I praise You in advance for what You are going to say to me in the silence. I thank You for the rest only You can give. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    What Happens When Young Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst and Hope TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    What keeps you from silencing your soul during quiet times with God?

    For five days spend five minutes in silence with God. Open the time of silence by repeating today's key verse, "But I have stilled and quieted my soul" (Psalm 131:2a). Keep a journal of your time with Him.

    Power Verses:
    Matthew 11:28-30, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." (MSG)

    Ecclesiastes 3:7b, "... a time to be silent and a time to speak." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

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

  • Moments Like These

    Posted on August 7, 2013 by Wendy Pope

    Wendy

    "Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name." Hebrews 13:15 (ESV)

    My eyes caught hers as I was leaving the room. The somber look on her face revealed her heavy heart. I gave her a questioning look to which she simply shook her head "no." We'd been praying for her to receive some good news, a "yes" to an opportunity she'd been working hard to get. The call had come; she'd been denied.

    I recognized her pain. Its name: rejection. Like my friend, I waited for a similar call, only to be turned down too.

    Perhaps you have met the unwelcome intruder, rejection, as well.

    You work hard to earn a promotion, only to be over-looked. You aim to be a loving wife, yet your husband still leaves. Well-intended friends assure us with words like, "God's plans and timing are perfect." With great compassion they tell us, "Keep trusting God." But sometimes, when rejection hits hard, we need a boost to our trust. We need something when we're in the pit. Moments like these are made for praise.

    Praise heals brokenness in a way words alone cannot. When we praise through our pain, God supernaturally empowers us to do what seems impossible: rise above our circumstances. Our praise redirects our focus on Him rather than our rejection, and reminds us that God always welcomes us into His presence.

    Praising God is easy when life is full of happiness and success. However, when we're dealing with rejection, praising God can be difficult; it can feel like a sacrifice. It's not necessarily easy to offer a heart of thanks when we feel like we don't have much to be grateful for. However, the writer of Hebrews advises us to "continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips" (Hebrews 13:15b). Just like fruit is sweet and pleasing to our taste, praise is sweet and pleasing to the Lord.

    Praising through the pain (and if we're honest, sometimes through the self-pity) seems to take strength we don't have to give. But the author of Hebrews 13:15 tells us our ability to praise in hard moments comes through Jesus.

    As we tap into His power, our sacrifice of praise will generate more strength to praise, which will generate more praise. It is a beautiful cycle! Praise lifts our eyes from the rejection and sets it on all we have in Jesus: peace, comfort and acceptance.

    Later that week I texted my friend to see how she was doing. She'd taken time alone for praise and the pain of my friend's rejection had begun to ease. Did her troubles disappear? Was her rejection turned into acceptance? No. But her sorrow was turned to joy as she focused on praise, that was sweet and pleasing to her Lord.

    Dear Lord, thank You for supplying all I need all the time. You even give me strength to praise. What an awesome God You are! Help me to remember the truth I learned today when rejection comes. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    What is your typical response when dealing with rejection?

    Today, sit alone and praise the LORD. Praise until praise generates more praise.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 7:17, "I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High."

    Psalm 21:13, "Be exalted, O LORD, in Your strength! We will sing and praise Your power."

    © 2013 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

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

  • Items 1 to 10 of 16 total

    Page:
    1. 1
    2. 2
    Helping you find, grow, share and celebrate your faith
    Who doesn't love free shipping!? At Family Christian, you can qualify TWO ways:

    1. To your door (just $50 minimum)*

    No coupon required! Simply add $50 worth of merchandise to your cart and select the "Free Shipping" option under "Shipping Method." Easy as pie.

    * Valid on merchandise totaling $50 or more before taxes. Please keep in mind this is valid on domestic ground shipping to addresses within the U.S. only, not valid toward international delivery. Additional charges apply for express shipping. Terms subject to change without notice.

    2. To your store (no minimum order required!)*

    At checkout, select "Ship to your local Family Christian store" and enter your zip code to find our closest location. Not sure if there is a Family Christian nearby? Find your local store now.

    * Valid on select merchandise only
    Loading... Loading...