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Daily Devotion

  • Condemning Thoughts

    Posted on September 10, 2013 by Melissa Taylor

    Melissa Taylor

    "He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." John 8:44b (NIV)

    Do you ever question if you are good enough? Are you more likely to dwell on what's wrong with you than what's right?

    One day I realized I was scrutinizing myself to find out what my problem was. The more I picked myself apart, the more it dawned on me another voice was egging me on: the voice of the enemy, Satan. As I listened to his lies, they zapped my sense of worth and security.

    For a long time, I didn't recognize the enemy for who he was. The negative thoughts and deceitful suggestions simply sounded like my own voice.

    The Bible opens with a serpent slithering into the lives of Adam and Eve. This snake is also known as Satan, and he filled their heads with lies they believed. Lies which separated them from God. From the start, Satan’s goal has been to trick and deceive. John 8:44b tells us "He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." This liar also tempted Jesus. He was always ready though, with the Word of God, to defeat the evil one.

    We too can have this weapon in our arsenal. As we fill our hearts and minds with Truth, we can defeat the lies we tell ourselves, and the lies Satan whispers in our thoughts.

    When I compare my negative thoughts to God's Word, the differences amaze me:

    My thoughts: I want to give up.
    God's Word: Be committed (Philippians 4:13, Galatians 6:9).

    My thoughts: I'll feel lost.
    God's Word: He watches my paths and establishes my ways (Proverbs 5:21, 4:26).

    My thoughts: No one loves me.
    God's Word: He loves me more than life (John 3:16).

    My thoughts: I'm ugly.
    God's Word: I'm wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

    My thoughts: I'm all alone and no one understands me.
    God's Word: He will never leave me. He has plans for my life (Deuteronomy 31:6, Jeremiah 29:11).

    My thoughts: I'm just not good enough.
    God's Word: I was created in His image (Genesis 1:26).

    When the enemy tries to slither in with false accusations, we must be ready to combat him with what God's Word says about us. To get started, evaluate your thoughts and pray for wisdom to distinguish the voice of the enemy.

    Condemning thoughts that steal your confidence of who you are in Christ aren't from God. Let's commit today to renew our minds with the Word of God each day, and replace those worn-out, deceitful lies with truth.

    Dear Lord, thank You for Your life-giving truth. Please fill me with Your Word so that I can live in freedom and confidence! In Jesus' Name, amen.

    Related Resources:
    Billy Graham - The Reason for My Hope: Salvation

    In The Reason for My Hope, Graham presents the core message that has guided his life and calling for more than 70 years. Filled with new stories and timeless truth, he once again calls the world back to its spiritual priority as only he can.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are your thoughts reflective of who God's Word says you are?

    If not, what one or two things will you begin to change based on the verses above?

    Power Verses:
    Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (NIV)

    Romans 8:1, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Melissa Taylor. 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 John

  • What Counts?

    Posted on September 9, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Keeping God’s commands is what counts. 1 Corinthians 7:19

    What counts in the Kingdom of God? What counts most in the Kingdom is obeying King Jesus. He has all authority and power to do what’s right and just. He never rules unrighteously or unwisely, so wise are we to submit to His Lordship and His reign over our lives. The starting and ending point for a follower of Christ is to keep His commands. Obedience is evidence of our love for Him. Our spiritual linage is established by knowing and doing the Word of God. He counts!

    Your life counts when you do what counts to Christ. Thus, when you invest time in prayer, you do what counts. When you hear, understand and apply Holy Scripture, you do what counts. When you help a helpless child, you do what counts. When you sacrifice for your family, you do what counts. When you work as unto the Lord, you do what counts. When you are grateful and generous, you do what counts. When you lovingly share the gospel of God, you do what counts!

    Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother. Mark 3:35

    What counts is not your denominational label, but who you are as a new creation in Christ. Institutions can expect more than is required by the Lord, so discern what He is saying before you add additional obligations. What counts is how your service for God flows from your devotion to God. Yes, your inner character development means much more than outward religious rituals. Do what counts to God and He will make your life count to the utmost.

    Do you feel your life counts for something significant? In Christ you are incredibly valuable! You count because you are counted among those called by God. You count because you are a new creation in Christ. You count because you are a daughter or son of your Heavenly Father. You count because you can count your many blessings. You count because Jesus died on the cross for your sins. You count because Christ is coming back for you to reign with Him in glory!

    What counts is the new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule. Galatians 6:15-16

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, keep me focused on what counts to You, so I can count for You.

    Related Readings: Exodus 20:1-17; Mark 12:28-34; Matthew 28:16-20; Luke 11:28

    Post/Tweet today: Do what counts to God and He will make your life count to the utmost. #dowhatcounts

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 1 Corinthians

  • Imprisoned by Shame

    Posted on September 9, 2013 by Julie Gilles

    Julie Gillies

    "But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high." Psalm 3:3 (NIV)

    They were only boots. On their own, boots are good. They are functional, sturdy, insulated. But that day they were an embarrassment, the last resort of a 7th-grade girl whose only pair of shoes was soaked. I couldn't walk through the foot-high snow to the bus stop without the boots.

    Maneuvering my dad's huge size 11 boots with my size six feet was a clumsy effort. Slide, slide, lift. Slide, slide, lift. My cheeks burned as I climbed the school bus steps, desperately hoping no one would notice. When the bus dropped us off in front of the junior high, I slide-slide-rushed inside and immediately pulled off the boots. In my stocking feet, I raced through the dirty snow accumulating on the hallway floors, eager to stow the humiliating footwear in my locker.

    All day long friends and teachers glanced at my wet socks and asked why I was walking around without shoes in the dead of winter. "My shoes are soaked," I told them, which was true. I didn't mention that they were at home, or that I'd worn the humiliating oversized boots that belonged to my dad.

    My heart was imprisoned in shame that day at the age of 12. And the shame only multiplied with constant hunger pangs, my parent's ongoing violent fights, and being left in charge of my four siblings more often than was wise.

    As I stepped into young adulthood, shame followed closely. I tried to push it away with other things and tragically sought love and attention from men, believing their affections could somehow make up the deficit of dignity I felt.

    On my own at 17, I was determined to earn my way, determined never to borrow from my neighbors, and determined to have a full pantry. I worked hard and bought lots of nice shoes to line my closet and heart. And I obsessively filled my cupboards with every food I had been denied much of my life.

    No matter what I did, shame clung to my heart and tainted my perception. I believed others saw me as less-than because deep down, that's how I felt about myself. I struggled to overcome the embarrassment from my childhood, but it refused to let me go. Though I was no longer in my shameful past, my shameful past was still in me.

    And then I met Jesus, and He gently began working in my heart. Slowly, through praying for myself, He began a transforming work in me.

    It wasn't an easy or instant process. When I was afraid to believe He could make me whole, He said, "Anyone who believes in [me] will never be put to shame" (Romans 10:11 NIV). When the wardrobe of my heart felt stained and embarrassed, He said, "[You are] clothed with dignity" (Proverbs 31:25 NIV). When I felt condemned by my past sinful choices, He said, "Then neither do I condemn you ... Go now and leave your life of sin" (John 8:11 NIV).

    As my relationship with Jesus grew, it struck me that He treated me with the dignity and honor my soul longed for. As I continued to pray for myself, His exquisite love covered my shameful past and made me feel beautiful. Cherished. Unashamed. Free.

    The mortified young girl who wore her dad's boots to school now walks unfettered with the One her soul loves. As I continue to pray for myself, He continues His transforming work. And now, instead of defining myself by shame and embarrassment, I cling to the truth that Jesus treasures, esteems, and beautifully clothes me.

    Dear Lord, You know the shame and embarrassment of my past, both from what happened to me and through my own choices. Please bring the healing and transformation that only You can. Thank You that in Christ I am cherished, unashamed and free. In the Name of Jesus, amen.

    Related Resources:
    Billy Graham - The Reason for My Hope: Salvation

    In The Reason for My Hope, Graham presents the core message that has guided his life and calling for more than 70 years. Filled with new stories and timeless truth, he once again calls the world back to its spiritual priority as only he can.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Is your heart imprisoned by shame, guilt, or fear? Pray, forgive your offender, and ask God to bring healing and freedom to you both.

    Power Verse:
    Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Julie Gillies. 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 Psalm, Shame

  • Stay Focused

    Posted on September 8, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.”
    John 17:4

    Focus is the fuel to productivity and frees you to stay on task. Focus facilitates God’s will, and  has the ability to bring intensity to a situation, problem, or opportunity. There is a sense of urgency that pushes out distraction and brings clarity back to the matter at hand. Focused individuals understand that some things naturally drift out of focus, so they intentionally refocus. “Mission drift” ensues when the leader becomes distracted and unfocused as well-meaning activities can distract the team or the individual from the original purpose.
    The opposite of focusing on a task is to ignore or disregard it. We lose focus when we lose interest or assess a lower value to a person or opportunity. We lose focus when something else more attractive draws us away, and like a moth to a flame we can get burned if we are not careful. We are forever fighting to stay focused because of bad distractions and good attractions. But we don’t have to remain unfocused or get focused on the wrong things. When we stay laser beam-focused on the Lord, important things become priority and our minds become centered on Christ.
    We focus all the time. We may not focus on our most important options, but we focus. We focus on sports. We focus on having fun. We focus on finances. We focus on fitness. We focus on frustrations. Indeed, your mind and your heart tend to follow your focus. Your life aligns around where you focus, so by God’s grace stay focused on Him and His will for your life. Focused faith goes a long way toward experiencing God’s very best. Focused intensity on the Almighty’s agenda leverages His plan for your life. Focus brings freedom to do His will without reservation; so stay focused on the one thing He has called you to do and you will be amazed at the results. Become an expert in your field.
    Above all else, become an intensely focused person of faith and character. Your character determines your credibility with people. Your influence grows as your character grows; so stay focused on becoming more like Jesus. Laugh more and complain less. Relax more and worry less. Pray more and talk less. Give more and control less. One idea is to focus on your family. Focus more intently on your family than you do your work or your hobbies. Put a puzzle together, take scuba diving lessons, plan a family reunion, organize a trip, or take care of a pet. Intentionally focus on your family now while you have the opportunity and while they are interested. Your children deserve your intense focus. They will be gone soon, so zero in on them. Finally, focus on God in prayer. Prayer brings into focus what matters most.
    Prayer dismisses distractions and invites priorities. Jesus says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

    Post/Tweet: Our character determines our credibility with people. #belikeJesus

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with John

  • Get Up

    Posted on September 7, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. ‘Get up,’ he said. ‘Don’t be afraid.’ When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus” (Matthew 17:6–8).

    The world can get us down, but God gets us up. The cares of this world can choke out our motivation to move forward, but Christ is close-by to release the pressure and resuscitate our resolve. What has you down? Is it finances, faith, family, foes? Is it a deal gone south or a relationship that has gone awry? Whatever has you down, the Lord can lift you up!

    “But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head” (Psalm 3:3).

    We bow down in humility and reverence to almighty God so we can get up, full of grace, to go on our way in quiet confidence. It is humble worship and praise that brings us back to the foot of the cross in gratitude to God for the gift of His only Son Jesus. We kneel at the cross overwhelmed by the forgiveness of our Savior Jesus, and we get up to forgive.

    “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself” (John 12:32).

    If fear has you down, get up and walk by faith. If regret has you down, get up and go make restitution. If a relationship has you down, get up and initiate interest. If your job has you down, get up and go after excellence. If misunderstanding has you down, get up and clarify your concerns. If life in general has you down, get up and live a life for God.

    Jesus gently admonishes us to lift our eyes off our circumstances and onto Him. So first get up and go to God in trusting determination. Ask Him for directions, and He will lead you in the way you should go. How do you get to your next destination in life? Ask the Lord. How do you solve your most pressing problem? Ask the dispenser of wisdom, holy God. It is from your humble posture in the low place that He lifts you up to see His face.

    “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (James 4:10).

    Prayer: How can I humble myself before God? Where does He want me to get up and go?

    Related Readings: 1 Samuel 2:8; Psalm 30:1; Psalm 145:14; Luke 22:46; Acts 22:16; Acts 26:16

    Post/Tweet: The cares of this world can choke out our motivation, but Christ is close by to resuscitate our resolve. #Christresuscitates

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Matthew

  • Better Together

    Posted on September 6, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

    The flesh tends to roam alone with a false sense of security, but the Spirit knows the value of walking with like-minded friends and resting in Christ’s security. Even a lion, the respected King of the jungle, needs other lions to watch his back. Money may create a bubble of comfort, but genuine camaraderie cannot be bought with cash. Believers in Jesus are better together, they thrive holistically where intimacy is alive. Humility trusts in another to be better together.

    We are all better together. God’s divine math calculates one plus one equals ten on His scale of effectiveness. Your management skill set needs the complementary skill of leadership, and vice-versa. Your gift of encouragement is balanced by the gift of prophecy. Your ability to innovate requires someone who can implement. Your generosity needs a trusted budget planner. Your comfort and nurture is stronger when supported by disciplined accountability. Two trumps one!

    The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. Genesis 2:18

    An American dream may be autonomy, but the Lord’s plan is community. If we strive for self containment, we miss blessing others and being blessed. Engagement and integration with another requires prayerful intentionality. For example, at work we ask a team member how we can support their project; at home we use our strengths to cover another family member's weaknesses. Wise living rejects a silo approach to relationships but embraces the common good.

    Pride makes you feel like you are bulletproof, in need of no one; but all fall down. Pity those who have no one to pick them up, but what a joy to journey through life with ones who watch out for you. Your faith stays warm when insulated by faithful friends. Most of all, you are truly better together with God. Trust in Jesus Christ guarantees you are never, ever alone. He walks with you, He talks with you and you are complete in Him. Yes, you are better together, forever!

    And surely I [Jesus] am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I need You; we are better together, just as my faith flourishes within a community of Your faithful followers.

    Related Readings: 2 Samuel 10:11; Mark 10:8; Acts 2:44; Philippians 2:1; 2 Timothy 2:20

    Post/Tweet today: Believers in Jesus are better together, they thrive where intimacy is alive. #bettertogether

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Ecclesiastes

  • A New Way to Process Conflict

    Posted on September 6, 2013 by Amy Carroll

    Amy Carroll

    "When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly." Proverbs 31:26 (MSG)

    It was like we were speaking two different languages. Even though my friend and I were both talking in English, we couldn't seem to understand each other. I started the conversation with the assumption we would see things the same way, but emotions rose, opinions conflicted, and wounds were inflicted. How did we get to that frustrated place?

    After cooling off, I called a wise, truth-telling friend. I told her the basic outline of the conversation, trying to keep it neutral. Finally I asked, "What do you think went wrong?"

    She astutely turned the question back to me. "What could you have done differently?"

    Initially, I couldn't think of one thing. After all, the conflict wasn't my fault! But then I took some time to reflect, and God began to soften my heart, revealing my part in the conflict.

    I had called my friend during an extremely busy time in her life with a suggestion that would have added to her overloaded schedule. Instead of being sensitive, I pushed and pushed my own agenda. As our emotions escalated, my defensiveness increased, making my responses sharp.

    The friend I had called for advice gently prodded, "How could you have listened more carefully? Would truly listening have made you more compassionate? How could you have responded with more grace?"

    For the rest of the afternoon, God etched a new way of interacting in hard situations on my heart. This is the truth He carved: Listen with compassion. Speak with grace.

    Listen with Compassion. Years ago my pastor shared an invaluable method for re-adjusting his attitude when dealing with conflict. He asks, is this behavior consistent with the person's general character?

    Wow! If I had applied that question in the conversation with my friend, I would have remembered her kindness, her servant’s heart, and her calm nature. Then, I might have wondered what was changing her normal response. Compassion would have flooded my heart toward her and the stress she was under. My heart would have been positioned to serve her, rather than insisting on my own way.

    At its core, listening with compassion is simply obeying the biblical commands to die to ourselves (John 12:24-25) and to consider others more highly than ourselves (Philippians 2:3).

    Speak with Grace. Proverbs 15:1 says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" (NIV). There is no downside to a gentle, grace-filled answer. I'm embarrassed to admit that I've often viewed responding this way as losing or giving in. That's simply not true. Needed truths can be told in kind and gentle ways. Just think about how my wise friend treated me when I sought her advice.

    Before I called my friend to ask for forgiveness and clear up the misunderstanding, I prayed for a Jesus-sized dose of compassion and grace.

    Since then, I've been rehearsing "Listen with Compassion - Speak with Grace" over and over in my mind. Last week I had a chance to put it into practice when I received a difficult email. My first response was defensiveness, but then I started to repeat my new way of processing until I could hear the needs in the email with compassion and respond with grace.

    I love how God gave me the chance to practice what He had taught me after I had time to take a breath, pause, rehearse my new motto and then respond. Life and relationships are filled with conflict, so I have no doubt I'll have a chance to practice again. Next time, I'm praying I'll be ready!

    Dear Lord, sometimes it seems like conflict pops up out of nowhere. One minute the conversation is going fine and before I know it, hurtful words are being said. Please help me listen and respond as You would. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Reflect and Respond:
    Who are you focused on during a hard conversation? Are you trying to understand the person speaking or already working on your defense?

    If you feel yourself becoming defensive, make yourself pause and put yourself in the other person's shoes.

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 17:27, "A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered." (NLT)

    Proverbs 18:15, "The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; for the ears of the wise seek it out." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Amy Carroll. 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

  • Relational Equity

    Posted on September 5, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:9-10

    Relational equity is the trust and goodwill we build up over time with those we love. The goal of other centered people is to make more relational deposits than withdraws. They serve more than they are served. They love more than they are loved. They honor more than they are honored. They care more than they receive care. They give more than they take. They generate emotional energy more than they withdraw emotional energy. They pray more than they request prayer.

    Yes, when we honor another above ourselves we grow our relational equity. When we are devoted to one another in love we develop our relational equity. But, what happens when we overdraw our relational equity? How are we to correct our misaligned expectations? There are two options. Either we make additional relational deposits by speaking their love language or they forgive our debt of love. Ideally, both of these options can by God’s grace, occur together.

    Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 1 Peter 1:22

    Genuine affection flows freely like an underground spring regularly refreshes a lake or pond. Thus, quietly but deliberately look for ways to sow seeds of service into those the Lord brings into your life's path. Be a blessing in small things like reaching out to encourage a child of your adult friend. Lead them in Bible study. Perhaps you pray for a person who seems alone in their singleness. Pray for them to feel the camaraderie of Christ and the closeness of a community.

    Your deep heartfelt love is determined to love like Jesus loves. He loves: Sacrificially, yes. Sensitively, yes. Sacredly, yes. Sincerely, yes. Soothingly, yes. Secretly, yes. With a servant-spirit, yes! Indeed, the love of the Lord builds up relational equity in all who surrender to His heart of affection. The relational equity of Jesus is eternal. Because His love is everlasting, He never runs out of compassion for people. Thus, your devotion to Christ creates unending relational equity.

    Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, use me to invest in people with relational equity that points them to You.

    Related Readings: Psalm 133:1; John 13:34, 15:12; Philippians 2:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 John 4:10

    Post/Tweet today: Relational equity is the trust and goodwill we build up over time with those we love. #relationalequity

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Romans

  • A Different Kind of School Year

    Posted on September 5, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)

    As we get back into the routine of a new school year, I'm making a commitment: no more unglued mama mornings. I want our mornings to go better this year with less frustration, yelling, and chaos.

    This idea developed last spring when we had a string of really hard mornings.

    One day, as I pulled up to the school, the atmosphere inside the car was thick with tension. Not wanting the last words spoken to my daughter to be harsh, I tried to change the course of our conversation. "Sweetheart, I love you. I'm sorry we had a rough morning."

    "We always have rough mornings," she shot back before slamming the car door.

    Nothing quite makes a mom feel more successful than a little dialogue like that.

    As I rubbed the stabbing feeling in my chest, I thought, Something has got to change. Each day I promise myself I won't yell at the kids. But each morning something triggers me and I lose it.

    Ever been there?

    It's not like we wake up in the mood to get frustrated with our people, right? I usually wake up in a good mood. But then the stress of getting everyone ready and out the door on time makes the crazy creep in.

    This one can't find her shoes. That one needs a report printed and we have no ink. The bread for sandwiches is still at the grocery store because I forgot to buy it the day before. And to top it all off, I don't have any cash to give the kids so they can buy lunch at school.

    The whining. The complaining. The feeling that I can't ever get it together. It all escalates and sends me over the edge.

    I want this school year to be different. I want to be like Ephesians 4:22-24 describes: "made new in the attitude of my mind." The Greek word for "made new" is kaino. One of its definitions is uncommon. I want to be an uncommon calm in the midst of chaos and an example of peace for my kids. For that to happen, I came up with a plan:

    Tell the world to wait. When I wake up, my mind is like a dry sponge. What I soak up first will saturate me most deeply. If I don't want to be consumed with the stresses of my day, I must put the world on hold to soak up what will renew my mind—God's Word.

    Remember I'm managing blessings. If I want my attitude to be made new, I must keep things in perspective. While my frustrations seem big, things like lost shoes and less than perfect lunches aren't big problems. They are small aggravations that come with managing blessings.

    Let my kids own their irresponsibilities. My kids' irresponsibilities will not become my emergencies. I need to communicate my expectations so they know they're going to have to own the consequences of their choices. For example, if they wait until the last minute to print their report and the printer doesn't have any ink, they'll have to print it at school or turn it in late. Either way, I can't own this situation and let it throw me into frantic, fix-it mode. I can let the consequences of my kids' choices scream, so I don't have to.

    All of this is going to take some intentionality, and I doubt I'll do it perfectly. But I'm excited about trying. I'm excited to "put on my new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Which is another way of saying, I'm excited to have less unglued mama mornings and more peace this school year.

    Dear Lord, thank You for the grace You give. I don't want to live in the same pattern of coming unglued anymore. Help me put these principles into practice. In Jesus' Name, amen.

    Related Resources:

    Reflect and Respond:
    Which of the following action points can you put into practice?
    1. Tell the world to wait.
    2. Remember you're managing blessings.
    3. Let your kids own their irresponsibilities.

    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 Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Practice Hospitality

    Posted on September 4, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:13

    The needs of those around us can be overwhelming: sick children, aging parents, unemployed friends, prodigal teenagers and acquaintances crushed under the weight of financial pressures. Their needs are like a noose around their neck, ready to choke out their joy and peace. If we are not intentional in helping others, we may do nothing. We hold back when we feel like we can’t do something for everyone. Everyone’s responsibility becomes no one’s responsibility. So love one.

    Yes, it's better to do for one what we wish we could do for everyone. As the wise woman on her walk along the seashore picked up one marooned starfish and tossed it back into the ocean, she rescued and refreshed one. She saved one life and trusted other caring souls to do the same. Thus we nurture one infant’s life who may become a mayor, missionary or medical professional. We tutor one troubled teen who finds forgiveness in a loving relationship with Jesus. Hospitality cares.

    Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us. 2 Kings 4:10

    Hospitality can be a simple, small, practical room filled with warmth and love. Let your guest set the schedule that serves them best, but be there as a silent supporter. Certainly, if they want to engage in conversation, do so with discretion and discernment. The ability to make one person feel loved and at home is priceless compared to doing nothing for the needy multitude. Your model of hospitality inspires even introverts to open their home as a sanctuary for their Savior.

    Lastly, look to the Lord’s people for a place to stay. Better to be in the presence of people who care for you than alone in a hotel hounded by sin’s allure. You save money, you bless others and you protect your testimony when you free a friend to practice hospitality in your honor. Because it is more blessed to give than receive, you allow others to be blessed when you accept their invitation to stay with them. Christian’s care for their own. Hospitality is heaven’s gentle hand!

    Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:9

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, show me who I can share Your love with by opening up my home and offering hospitality.

    Related Readings: Job 31:32; Matthew 10:41; Acts 20:35; 1 Timothy 3:2, 5:10; Hebrews 13:2

    Post/Tweet today: Better to do for one what we wish we could do for everyone. #praciticehospitality

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Romans

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