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Daily Devotion

  • When You Need Help

    Posted on June 28, 2013 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie Miles

    "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." John 14:26 (ESV)

    Perhaps I was over-confident in my abilities. I thought all I'd need was a little help with the basics. But before the day was over I realized how wrong that thought process was. Especially when the day ended in frustrated tears.

    It was my first time snow skiing, so my friend assured me that when the time came, he would help teach me how to make it down the slopes.

    Somehow that instruction never happened, and before I knew it, my friend was quickly gliding down the freshly fallen snow while I stood gripping my poles and planting my skis deeply into the snow. As I watched him get smaller in the distance, I realized my helper was gone. Suddenly I was faced with a choice: turn back and take off my skis or get down the mountain alone.

    It didn't take long for me to realize I made the wrong choice. Every time I managed to dig myself out of a mound of wet snow, I'd find myself face-first again in a jumble of skis and snowflakes. I was exasperated by my lack of coordination and vowed to never ski again. No matter how many times I tried to do it on my own, I still desperately needed someone to teach me and guide the way.

    My challenging experience on that mountain reminds me of the conversation Jesus had with His disciples before His crucifixion recorded in John chapter 14. Jesus explained that although He had to leave, God would send a Helper, the Holy Spirit, to be with them always. Unlike my ski instructor who bailed on me, the Holy Spirit would never leave them alone.

    Jesus knew the disciples might soon forget all the lessons He'd taught them. That's why He promised the Holy Spirit would remain with them to help them recall all that He had taught. Jesus understood that life would get messy, challenges would arise, persecution would come, and temptation would cross their paths.

    Jesus knew they would need a Helper to make it through the trials of everyday life, and He promised that the Holy Spirit would always be with them to help.

    The Holy Spirit is always ready to help us too, if only we remember to ask. The problem is, it's easy to forget to seek His help, not only in difficult decisions or circumstances, but also in small trials and decisions we face every day.

    In the same way learning to ski requires the help of someone who has already mastered the skill, learning to walk in faith requires the help of the Holy Spirit who equips us to traverse through life by teaching us what we need to know and helping us recall what we have learned.

    After taking a few lessons from a great instructor I finally learned to ski. Now I can make my poles and skis work together to get down the steep hills. I'm thankful for my ski teacher's help.

    But as thankful as I am for those skiing lessons, I'm eternally grateful for the Holy Spirit who helps me navigate my way through life.

    God knew we would need a Helper. And whether we are on the top of a mountain, or in the deepest pit, the Holy Spirit will never leave us alone. We can count on Him to guide us every step of the way.

    Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending us the Holy Spirit to be our Helper. Thank You for always being there for me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Check out our Jesus Calling Twitter feed by clicking here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What is one thing you have been trying to learn or master on your own without seeking God's help?

    Ask the Holy Spirit to be your Helper today in that circumstance. Seek His instruction, guidance and wisdom.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 54:4, "Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul." (NAS)

    Psalm 30:10, "Hear, O LORD, and be gracious to me; O LORD, be my helper." (NAS)

    © 2013 by Tracie Miles. 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

  • Favor With Man

    Posted on June 27, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel. Daniel 1:9

     

    Sometimes the Lord lays on the heart of an unconverted heart the desire to help one of His children. Yes, God can use those unfamiliar with His purposes to carry out His purposes. An automobile soiled by road film can still transport good people safely to their final destination. The Spirit is indiscriminate in who may come under His influence for godly outcomes. He is not limited by the capacity of the righteous and can use the unrighteous to carry out righteous results.

     

    Daniel was surrounded by authorities unsure of Yahweh, but he never lost assurance from Almighty God. Do you find yourself in challenging circumstances? Do you feel like you are alone in your stand for what’s right? If so, look around you and pray for a man or woman who may not embrace your beliefs, but whom God may use to give you support and encouragement. At times, non Christians can be more supportive of God’s work than the fearful religious crowd.

     

    His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. John 9:22

    God may have given you far more favor with man than you realize. Even while you cease from work, His Holy Spirit is at work in the hearts of those in your circle of influence. When you choose to do the right thing, you give courage to others to do the right thing. Your rising tide of trust in Jesus raises the boats of belief with those around you. Expect favor even from enemies. You can trust the Lord with those out of His favor to be moved by the Spirit to show you favor.

    Therefore, look for the Lord to cause your manager to show you favor and compassion. Pray for the Holy Spirit to move over the heart of a person with whom you have differences, so they become reasonable and open to your standard of integrity. Trust God with your unsaved parents who in the past dismissed your devotion to Christ. However, in the future through your loving pursuit, forgiveness and gracious attitude your Heavenly Father can turn your father and mother to Him!

    When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them. Proverbs 16:7

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I trust You will cause those out of Your favor to show me favor.

     

    Related Readings: 1 Samuel 2:26; Proverbs 3:4; Nehemiah 1:11; Luke 2:52; 2 Corinthians 1:11

     

    Post/Tweet today: You can trust the Lord with those out of His favor to be moved by the Spirit to show you favor. #mansfavor

    © 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 Daniel

  • As Weak as Our Strongest Link

    Posted on June 27, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

    One day I tweeted, "We are only as weak as our strongest link." It wasn't a typo. It's something I've been thinking about for a while now.

    Often the Bible talks in counter-intuitive statements. Different than the normal flow. An unexpected rub against the grain.

    To gain, you must give up.

    If someone takes your jacket, give them your shoes too.

    When we are weak, then we are strong.

    Tough stuff. Good stuff. Heart-protecting stuff.

    The minute I start feeling absolutely confident in my own strength is the minute I am desperately weak ... and I don't even realize it.

    The Lord reminded me of this right before I stepped on stage to speak to 4,500 women at a large conference. One minute I was walking backstage to get my microphone on and the next minute I was on the ground with my face pressed into the cement floor.

    My heel had gotten caught in a crack in the floor and that's all it took to bring me down.

    My first thoughts were not spiritual.

    Have mercy, I've probably split my pants wide open and there is no time to change!

    I quickly picked myself up, put on the over-ear microphone, and went on stage. I felt so vulnerable.

    Inside my head I whispered, Lord, I'm not ready. I don't want to speak right now. I want to go crawl in a hole with a mirror so I can check my pants! I tried as discretely as possible to make sure the seams in my pants were in tact.

    My heart drummed wildly in my chest as I prayed, Jesus, I am completely desperate for You.

    And I imagine the Lord thought, Good. She's ready. Now, this is going to be powerful.

    I'd left my strength, confidence and self-sufficiency back on that concrete floor. Next to the crack that tripped me up. And my weakness made room for God's strength to take over.

    My weakness wasn't what could have messed me up that day. It was my strength.

    We are only as weak as our strongest link. Sometimes it's not our weaknesses that leave us vulnerable to attack. It's our strengths. Those places where we feel especially confident, invincible, and quite able. But, as a friend reminded me recently, "Our strengths can become strongholds if we're not careful."

    When Paul pleaded with the Lord to remove the thorn in his flesh—the thing that made Paul feel weak—the Lord did not. Instead, the Lord reminded Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9a NIV).

    Paul took hold of this truth and went on to conclude in verse 10, "For when I am weak, then I am strong" (12:10b NIV). Which leads me to wonder if the opposite is also true ... where I am strong, then I am weak.

    I'm making a conscious effort to stay in tune with what strengths might easily trip me up. Really doing some soul-searching. Praying. Listening for direction and correction. Then, walking in complete faith. Because if we're going to call ourselves people of faith, we must live lives that require faith. For me this means accepting my weaknesses rather than boasting in my strengths.

    Faith is like walking over a bridge, where we cross over from relying on our strength to God's strength. It's a powerful walk to take.

    However, I really wouldn't recommend wearing high-heeled shoes.

    Dear Lord, reveal to me the places where I'm relying on my own power instead of Yours. Show me what strengths could be my biggest weaknesses, God, so that I can learn to serve You better. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    In her book, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, Lysa TerKeurst shares inspiring stories from her own life along with biblical insights as she describes how to discern when God is speaking to you. Click here to purchase your copy!

    Reflect and Respond:
    What strength could easily trip you up today? Ask God to give you spiritual ears to hear any direction or correction He whispers.

    What would it look like to exchange your weakness for God's strength?

    Power Verse:
    Ephesians 6:10, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power." (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 2 Corinthians

  • Ask Permission

    Posted on June 26, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.” Daniel 1:8

     

    Some do what they want now and later ask for forgiveness. Those who work the system to their advantage miss seeing God work out His will in time. Daniel resolved to do the right thing, but he submitted to the lines of authority in his life. A wise reminder: we show respect to a boss, parent, teacher or civic official by seeking permission and not dismissing. Our submissive attitude is an opportunity for the Lord to work in the hearts of those who may not know Jesus.

     

    Whose blessing do you need before you move forward with your idea or decision? How will they feel knowing you took the time to include them in the process? Faith is a function of being comfortable in circumstances that are out of your control. By letting go of having to get something now, you are able to watch the Lord provide something even better later. Moreover, your quiet and compliant spirit is a channel for the Holy Spirit to draw others to Himself.

     

    Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Psalm 37:7

     

    Perhaps your parents have not given you permission to marry at this time, if so, be patient and trust the Lord will change their heart or yours in His timing. Maybe you have a much better way to move forward with a project at work, but your boss is not convinced it is legitimate. Pray and submit to the conventional, but trust God will use your creative solutions as a seed that grows into future changes. The Holy Spirit can convert people and circumstances as you wait on Him!

     

    Above all, make sure your Heavenly Father has signed off on your actions, before you barrel ahead with premature initiatives. Better to receive peace through patient prayer, instead of pain from impatient prayerlessness. Ask the Holy Spirit for permission before you proceed. Silence means wait, not now; no means I have something better in store for you and yes means move forward by faith. Thus, ask for permission now, so you won’t have to ask for forgiveness later.

     

    Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. Romans 13:5

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me courage to ask permission and faith to trust You with the answer.

     

    Related Readings: Nehemiah 2:1-6; Proverbs 3:6; Colossians 1:6; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 2:13

     

    Post/Tweet today: Ask for permission now, so you won’t have to ask for forgiveness later. #respectauthority

    © 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 Daniel

  • There's Power in His Words

    Posted on June 26, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "'Let the prophet who has a dream recount the dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?' declares the LORD. 'Is not my word like fire,' declares the LORD, 'and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?'" Jeremiah 23:28-29 (NIV)

    "Glynnis, what do you think I should do?"

    Wrapping my hands around my coffee cup, I leaned back in my chair, took a sip and struck what I believed was a wise pose.

    On the outside, I was composed ... I crossed my legs and rocked back, looking at my friend intently.

    But on the inside ... oh that was a different story. On the inside, I was giddy. Someone wanted my opinion! Oh what joy that brought to the heart of this always-wanting-to-be-right girl. Gathering my thoughts, I took a deep breath and proceeded to unload what surely were words that would change her life!

    Her response was under-whelming.

    I expected to hear something like, "Wow! I hadn't thought of that. Thank you so much. I'm definitely going to take your advice."

    All I got back, "Hmmm ... okay."

    Insecurity bothered me for days. I second-guessed everything I'd said, wondering if somehow I'd offended her or came across as bossy or judgmental. I'd so carefully crafted each sentence, that I couldn't imagine where I'd gone wrong.

    I spent many years wanting to be the one people came to for questions. To be acknowledged. To have all the answers. And yet time and time again, my advice fell on deaf ears. Unless someone else gave the exact same advice I did a few days later. Then everyone thought it was brilliant. Awesome.

    Receiving this type of response bugged me for years. Until I realized God was using it to teach me a lesson. God needed to uncover a heart attitude behind my actions. Rather than pointing people to God's Word, I consistently pointed them to my words. And my words don't have the power to change lives like God's.

    As a young Christian, I knew God's Word was important. Reading the Bible became a central part of my life. But there were many years where it was more routine than life-changing. I read it because that's what "good" Christians did.

    My faith took a drastic leap forward when I realized God's Word had power when I believed it and acted on it. It had power because it was truth. It had power because it had the weight of heaven behind it.

    One of the first lessons God taught me was from James 1:5-6, where James tells of the importance of not doubting when we ask for wisdom: "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind" (NIV).

    I realized I doubted all the time. One day I decided to take God at His Word and stop doubting He would answer my prayers for wisdom. When I asked for direction, I trusted that my gut instinct was from God ... so long as it wasn't against His Word. The more I addressed doubt, the more my confidence grew that I was hearing from God. And the more I saw God move in my life.

    The power of God's Word changed my life drastically when I chose to believe and act on it. And while I still like to be asked for advice, now I point people in the direction of God's Words more than mine. The response is always life-changing.

    Heavenly Father, You are the source of true power and wisdom. Forgive me for all the times I've looked to myself for strength. I want to be a woman whose life is testimony to the power of Your Word to transform and renew. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    To read God's life-changing Word for yourself, purchase the new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible, which is on sale for 20% off now through July 5! Reading the Word is the best investment you'll ever make in your spiritual growth.

    Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    Why do you think God made sure His words and the story of His people were written down?

    Power Verses:
    Isaiah 55:11, "... so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." (NIV)

    Matthew 7:24-25, "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had it's foundation on the rock." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. 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 Jeremiah

  • Prone to Wander

    Posted on June 25, 2013 by Amy Carroll

    Amy Carroll

    "Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits..." Psalm 103:2 (NIV)

    For years, we owned a dog named BC who was the bane of my existence. He definitely earned his nickname—Houdini. He was a long hound with short legs and truly an escape artist of the highest degree.

    There was no fence high enough and no enclosure secure enough to keep him contained. BC scaled or dug or jumped or schemed his way to freedom outside our yard on a regular basis.

    I think about those days and have to laugh. Because our whole family adored him—despite his wandering heart—we worked and worked to keep him home. We built a fence we believed would protect him from the outside world. My boys played and snuggled with him. BC was fed healthy dog food and yummy snacks. He had balls, toys and a soft dog bed.

    And yet he wandered.

    BC roamed our neighborhood, and sometimes we got reports of him on streets miles away. He always came home eventually (sometimes pursued by the dog catcher), but our family worried about him when he left the safe haven of home.

    How I identify with BC's wandering ways.

    These words from my favorite hymn, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, pierce my heart each time I hear them:

    O to grace how great a debtor
    Daily I'm constrained to be!
    Let Thy goodness, like a fetter
    Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
    Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.
    Prone to leave the God I love.
    Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
    Seal it for Thy courts above. ~Robert Robinson

    God has created a place of safety for me within His Word. His commandments are designed to protect me, not restrict me. God gives me the good gifts of His mercy, grace and forgiveness to remind me to stay near. He pours His love on me and draws me deep into His family, and yet ...

    Sometimes my heart still wanders.

    I ignore His truth and make decisions that launch me outside the safety of His guidelines. I harbor wrong thoughts. I use words that minimize others. These choices and others can take me away from God's heart. And yet He longs to draw me home again.

    The opening verses of Psalm 103 provide a key to keep my wandering heart close to God: "Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits ..." (Psalm 103:1-2 NIV).

    By praising God and rehearsing His benefits, I train my heart to find contentment close to God rather than far from Him.

    When I want to wander, the verses that follow Psalm 103:1-2 list even more reasons to praise and thank God:

    "...who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's" (vv. 3-5 NIV).

    I spent 14 long years chasing BC around our neighborhood. My love for him kept me pursuing him and finding ways to keep him safe in our yard. God's love is the same toward us. Let's join with the Lord in staying in the protective boundary lines He's given us by praising and rehearsing His faithful ways. Doing so will bind our wandering hearts to God and keep us safe in the nurturing places He's created for you and me.

    Lord God, I thank You that You have given us such a long list of benefits for which to praise You. Settle my heart in the safety of Your home with a faithful and content heart. In Jesus' precious Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Scripture is the perfect place to search for the benefits of God. The NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women is also filled with 366 of our devotions. Pick up your copy, now 20% off, by clicking here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Do you fill your heart and mind with the benefits of God that keep you close to His heart, or do you constantly allow your heart to wander from God's safety and care?

    Read Psalm 103 in its entirety and make a list of the benefits of God you find and rehearse them in your mind today.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 16:5-6, "LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance." (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 Psalm

  • Not Too Serious

    Posted on June 24, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Be happy young man while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart. Ecclesiastes 11:9

     

    Sometimes we are guilty of taking ourselves too seriously. We get caught up in our little world of what we have to do, where we have to go and who we have to please. Joy jettisons from our heart because we are driven by a “have to” attitude. Unfortunately for our health and for those who love us we become consumed by our agenda, our desires, our worries, our ideas, our work, our hobbies and our needs. Sadly, our unmet expectations become joy killers with no heart.

     

    How do you know if you are taking yourselves too seriously? Suddenly others become the object of your fury. They don’t seem to take things seriously enough. You erroneously think, “If they would just do what I want and work as hard as me, both of our worlds would be much better off!” You act like the Lord can’t get by without you, however the reverse is true. You can’t get by without Him. So, shed the world from your shoulders. Perhaps on your next vacation you totally disconnect from technology. No phone, email. Try it. Lighten up and let the Lord work for you.

     

    The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. Psalm 103:6

     

    What is the solution for taking ourselves too seriously? Humility. A humble heart is released from the motivation of being the main attraction. When we walk in humility we are content to be behind the scenes and let others receive the attention. Like Jesus and by His Spirit, we empty ourselves of our reputation and expectations and replace them with His. We let go of our work and we let God work. We learn to take ourselves less seriously and the Lord more seriously.

     

    Therefore, enjoy the peace and contentment that accompanies a non acrimonious approach to life. Seek harmony not hostility. Give instead of take. Laugh at yourself and laugh with others over your quirks. Be yourself. Be still. Know God. Joy comes from being with Jesus. So, draft behind where God is working, instead of striving to get your way. Guard your heart from an overly serious state. Invite Christ’s calmness to relax your countenance and return your smile.

     

    Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. Luke 10:21

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the courage to take myself less seriously and You more seriously.

     

    Related Readings: Psalm 19:8, 126:2; Nehemiah 8:10; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; Philemon 1:7

    Post/Tweet today: Let go of your work and let the Lord work. #trust

    © 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

  • I Am Not Alone

    Posted on June 24, 2013 by Whitney Capps

    Whitney Capps

    "Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble." Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NLT)

    I sat at my computer and typed, deleted and then re-typed the same email at least three times. Did I sound too desperate, too needy? Surely things weren't this bad. Maybe I just needed a little perspective. So I stopped and looked around.

    Toys of a million varieties, parts and pieces were scattered across the floor. My 3-year-old and 2-year-old were still in their pajamas. It was nearly 10:30 a.m. and they'd been watching television far longer than any good mother should allow.

    To top it off, my newborn was crying. I'd stuck him in the swing because I just needed a break. I hadn't showered in two days. At least I think it had been two days. I was in a time warp, so who could be sure? I knew I hadn't changed clothes in as many days. My t-shirt and sweatpants were stained with unmentionables.

    Who was I kidding? Things really were this bad.

    I turned back to the computer and typed an honest assessment of the situation. I hit send before my pride vetoed my cry for help. I wasn't going to pretend anymore. I needed to know I wasn't alone.

    If I didn't send a SOS, things would go from bad to worse. So I did what Scripture tells us to do in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 ("Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble") and called out to friends to help me out of this messy, sticky, stinky mess.

    Girlfriends, I am struggling. Life with three boys under four is hard. Ryder is such an easy baby that I feel guilty voicing my weariness. And Cooper and Dylan are just little boys. I don't expect anything to be other than what it is right now. It's just that right now is rather taxing. I know every stage of motherhood is.

    My life is no more difficult than yours. That's why I have started and stopped this email three times. I feel self-indulgent to talk about how parched my soul is. But I'm drowning in diapers, potty-training and milk.

    In a matter of minutes my inbox filled with messages. I had asked my girlfriends to pray for me and pick me up from this pit. These amazing women came through in a big way, sharing some of the funniest stories I've ever heard and offering the kindest commiseration a new mom could want. I felt connected, accepted and loved.

    Hearing their words in my head, I changed diapers, wiped noses and unloaded the dishwasher repeating:

    I am not alone.

    God's grace is sufficient.

    Do the next thing.

    Why hadn't I asked for help sooner? What was I afraid of?

    I knew what it was. I didn't want them to think less of me. Would they see the real me, and still love me? My pride shouted, but my heart trembled.

    In the moments before I sent that email I felt utterly alone. In the days that followed, I realized the fellowship I had gained was totally worth the embarrassment of admitting my fears and failures. As it turned out, these dear women didn't love me less for sharing; they loved me more.

    Through their kind words, my friends did the best thing possible: they lifted my focus from myself and put it on Jesus. I learned not to depend on my own abilities, but to depend on Him.

    Interestingly, I didn't have more confidence as a mom after that day. And I didn't suddenly get to take a shower every day. I realized I am absolutely inadequate. I am sincerely overwhelmed. But my friends reminded me that I'm not alone and my situation isn't unique to me.

    As my friends promised to walk this journey with me, I discovered there's safety in numbers. In the quiet of my head and heart, sometimes the voice of fear and condemnation drowns out God's truth. With a resounding chorus, these girlfriends shouted truth so loudly it couldn't be ignored. It was just what I needed.

    And they didn't care that I hadn't brushed my teeth.

    Lord, thank You for Your encouragement through Your Word and Your Holy Spirit. Thank You too for friendships that lift me up when I'm overwhelmed and down. Amen.

    Related Resources:
    In Always There, you'll find an inspiring combination of real-faith mothering stories and Scriptures that assure you of God's abiding presence, written by Renee Swope, Ann Voskamp and more.

    There's a Green Plastic Monkey in My Purse: And Other Ways Motherhood Changes Us explores the traits and skills of a mother, including humility and patience, from God's perspective.

    Join our Facebook community for daily encouragement.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What makes you hesitate to reach out and share your frustrations?

    If you are not connected with close friends, look for a mom's group at a local church.

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 11:2, "When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Whitney Capps. 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 Ecclesiastes

  • Avoid the Angry

    Posted on June 23, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared. Proverbs 22:24-25

    Avoid the angry, and do not make friends with those easily angered. They are undependable and hard to get along with. You cannot predict what an angry person will do next. They may lie, lash out, sulk, blame, or even kill if their rage is left unchecked. The source of their anger may be as simple as not getting their way, or it may be a string of broken expectations all the way back to a wounded childhood. Your role is not to fix them or to be their therapist.

    However, the times you do have to associate with them can be an opportunity for you to model peace and calm. But be very careful; do not become like them. Their impatient ways may become your impatient ways. Their rude tendencies may become your rude tendencies. Their sarcasm may become your sarcasm. Their blowups may become your blowups. Yes, the angry can change, but real change will only occur as God heals their heart.

    Unless forgiveness penetrates an angry heart, it is destined to remain the same. Hard and stubborn is a heart driven by anger. Unless anger is gently unwound by grace and love, it may unleash its furor suddenly or may constantly simmer just beneath the surface. You may be the object of someone’s anger simply because you happen to be around them when they snap. They are a product of stuffed emotions.

    Some angry people are hard to avoid because you live with them. What now? You certainly pray for and with them. Pray earnestly for the angry person you live with to allow him or her to experience God’s love. The heavenly Father can squeeze out the venom of vengeance with His holy hugs. The love and acceptance of God can flush out foul language and faithless living. To be loved by God is to not remain angry, for the Lord’s love and anger cannot coexist. Unconditional love that is received melts the heart of anger.

    Be very careful to avoid business partnerships with the chronically angry. You will regret a relationship like that, and you will be angry with yourself for aligning with the angry. Even engaging with employees, vendors, and customers who are steeped in their anger is not healthy. God will provide more pleasant clients or staff. Cut loose those who linger, stew, and obsess over little things. It’s not worth it. They will never be satisfied with your service or your sincere encouragement.

    People driven by anger are never content; nothing you do will make them happy. Their anger may subside momentarily, but you will remain on pins and needles, waiting for them to erupt at any moment. In addition, angry children need to learn how to bring their hurts to their heavenly Father in prayer. Unprocessed hurt feelings will fester into anger. Help them to talk about why they have feelings of anger. What makes them mad at themselves? Unresolved anger is a time bomb waiting to explode.

    If you’re the one who’s angry, a safe environment to talk through your heated emotions is a great place to start on the path to peace. Channel your anger into proper passions that are sanctified by your Savior. Be angry at sin, while forgiving yourself and others. Avoid the angry, and release your own anger within to your heavenly Father above. Friendship with the angry creates angst with God. Friendship with the forgiven—and healed—promotes peace with God. Go with peace.

    Post/Tweet: Unless forgiveness penetrates an angry heart, it is destined to remain the same. #forgiveness

    © 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 Proverbs, Anger

  • Wisdom Walk

    Posted on June 22, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm” (Proverbs 13:20).

    With whom do you walk (figuratively or literally) through life who offers you wisdom? Do you walk with your father or father-in-law, or mother or mother-in-law? When you walk with them are you slow to speak and quick to listen? Indeed, wisdom comes to those who listen more and talk less. Wisdom is a product of the people who pour into you.

    Your wisdom walk may be over the phone with a mentor who lives in another city or a neighbor across the street who, by God’s grace, has already raised God-fearing children. Look around you and learn from those wise ones the Lord has placed in your life. Pray for a “Paul” who can be your spiritual instructor. “Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church” (1 Corinthians 4:17).

    No one is ever too old or too wise to need a regular wisdom walk. Perhaps you take the time to walk with your spouse after dinner or a co-worker during the lunch hour. Vacations are ideal to walk with a wise family member. Walk while the brilliant sun arises or a majestic sunset kisses the horizon. A wisdom walk allows your soul to catch up with the hectic pace of your body. Indeed, walk with the wise, and you will grow wise.

    Talk about topics that are relevant to your season of life. Maybe it is insight into parenting a teenager, financial management, decision making, how to love and respect your spouse, books to read, or devotion to Christ. Ask your wise walkers what mistakes they made and how you can learn from them. Listen to their ideas, process them in prayer, and apply them to your life. Otherwise, unused wisdom becomes fodder for foolishness!

    Above all, have wisdom walks with almighty God. Unlike Adam and Eve, learn to live in the intimacy of the moment with your heavenly Father. “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8). Walk with Jesus, and you will become much the wiser. Keep Christ your closest companion.

    Prayer: Who are wise people in my life with whom I can enjoy regular wisdom walks? What does it look like for me to have wisdom walks with my heavenly Father?

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 8:7; Jeremiah 7:23; Luke 6:13–17; 1 Corinthians 15:33

    Post/Tweet: Wisdom comes to those who listen more and talk less. #wisdom

    © 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 Proverbs, Wisdom

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