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Daily Devotion

  • When You're a Run-Away Bride

    Posted on June 14, 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer

    Samantha

    "I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people." Psalm 116:14 (NIV)

    As soon as the opening prayer ended, I knew I had to leave my wedding. Whispering a quick apology, I turned and ran.

    My patent leather shoes burned rubber, leaving my soon-to-be groom in a cloud of confusion at the altar. Fast down the aisle where my father and I had just walked. Past the curious wedding guests. Straight to the powder room where my purse and coat were waiting.

    I breathed a sigh of relief. There they were, my written vows, forgotten in the excitement of preparations.

    I hurried back to Joshua waiting patiently for me at the altar. Facing the man I loved, we exchanged our vows.

    It's not every day that a girl makes a lifelong commitment like that. But it is every day I get to carry one out. Not just to my husband, but to my God.

    Sadly, although I made a vow to follow God years ago, there've been times when I've left my vows behind. I've been a run-away bride, leaving Jesus and my commitment to Him in the dust as I took off for what I thought were greener pastures.

    The whole time, He waited patiently. Waited for me to return and say, "I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people" (Psalm 116:14).

    We can run all our lives, but we're never truly settled until we make and keep a lifelong pledge to the One to whom our heart truly belongs. In Him, we have all good things, including the gift of love—God's love.

    As I read my marriage vows out loud at my wedding, I realized they were vows my heart needed to make to Christ as well. So I took the promises I made to my earthly husband, and re-addressed them to Jesus, as a covenant with my Savior, to record my heart's vows to Him:

    There really is no place like home. I've come to know this with great certainty as my love for You, Jesus, has grown. You're my favorite place to be. That's because You are where I am most at home ... You are where my heart is settled, comforted and loved.

    I vow to always keep You as my home base. To never stray emotionally, physically, or in my thoughts.

    I vow to keep You as the center of my home. To seek You every day with all my heart, mind and soul, and to serve You with all that's within me.

    I vow to keep my home clean from doubt, strife and unnecessary cares, and will fill it with believing the best about You, humility, and prayerfulness.

    I vow to willingly submit to You as head of my life, to lean on You, and not be stubborn. And to allow You to serve me.

    I vow to stay healthy and keep active, inviting You into my everyday activities.

    I vow to dream and plan and pray for my future with You.

    I vow to love mercy, act justly, and to walk humbly with You.

    I vow to let You know every day just how very much I love and honor You. And to thank You for all the wonderful things about You that make You ... YOU!

    If home is where the heart is, then my heart will always be with You.

    I don't know where you stand with God right now ... how near or far you are. But I know from experience, the further away you are, the more lost you will feel. Today, let's run to Christ—and make or renew our vows to Him.

    Lord, You alone are worthy of all my heart, soul, mind. Please help me keep my vows to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Scripture is the best thing to read to reignite your relationship with God. The new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women is a great way to start.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Consider your relationship with God. Do you take it as seriously as a marriage covenant? Write your vows to Him today.

    Power Verses:
    Joel 2:12-13, "'Yet even now,' declares the LORD, 'Return to Me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping and mourning; And rend your heart and not your garments.' Now return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness And relenting of evil." (NAS)

    Ephesian 5:25-27, "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Sibling Rivalry

    Posted on June 13, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.” Exodus 37:3-4.

    Do you outwardly favor one of your children over another? Have you used a phrase like, “I wish you were more like your sister, she always gets an A on her tests?” If so, you are in danger of creating an environment that fosters rivalry between your children. Sad is a child who thinks they have to live up to a sister or brother’s unreachable standard.

    Jealousy jabs at the heart and causes a child to react angrily toward the  object of their parent’s affection. Since they don’t feel like they measure up, they try to discredit the favored sibling or they create chaos to draw attention to themselves. It is disheartening to see even grown children remain in a state of fierce competition. Cruelty needs to be replaced with calmness—and anger with forgiveness, patience and love.

    “Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy? Better is open rebuke than hidden love” (Proverbs 27:4-5).

    Is there chronic conflict between your children? Is it to the point that they are becoming a poor testimony to the model of Christ’s caring approach to relationships? If so, consider creating boundaries in the home that help prevent disrespectful—even mean behavior. Start early on and instill disciplinary actions for disrespect, dishonesty and disobedience.

    Perhaps you are one of the few Christians in your family and other family members treat you as suspect or strange. If so, prayerfully use your position of integrity to invest unconditional love and acceptance into their lives. Serve them unselfishly and forgive their insults expressed by their insecure attitudes and actions. You know better and they don’t.

    “Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace” (Acts 7:9-10).

    Eventually you may be in a position to crush or care for your siblings—it is of course God’s will that you extend compassion and forgiveness toward them. When those who should love you the most treat you unfairly—forgive them—and model the gracious way or our Lord Jesus Christ. God chose your family for you to influence them for Him.

    “But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them” (Genesis 50:19-21).

    Prayer: How can I embrace and celebrate the accomplishments of my siblings?

    Related Readings: Job 42:11; Luke 14:26; Acts 13:45; 2 Corinthians 12:20

    Post/Tweet today: Sad is a child who thinks they have to live up to a sibling’s unattainable standard. #rivalary

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

  • A Restless, Unsettled Heart

    Posted on June 13, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land." Psalm 143:6 (NIV)

    A few years ago, I sat with a beautiful young woman as tears streamed down her face. Six months before our meeting, her world was full. A loving husband, a healthy toddler, fun friends, and a new home.

    But part of her heart felt restless, unsettled, a little empty. She couldn't put her finger on it. She tried talking to friends, but they laughed it off as something that would pass.

    Only the feeling didn't pass.

    She felt detached from her husband and disappointed that his love didn't fulfill her. Why couldn't he make her feel loved? She'd always thought of marriage as the ultimate love. He was going to be the one to right her wrongs and fill up her insecurities, or so she thought.

    Questions bombarded her ... What is wrong with him? Why doesn't he say what he's supposed to say? Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm not pretty enough, witty enough, good enough?

    Then one day she met a man who said things she'd longed to hear her husband say. He made her feel pretty and witty. Soon, she rationalized that she'd never really loved her husband. She convinced herself she'd made a mistake marrying so young. That this new man was her true love.

    She fell into his arms. A web of lies was spun. The thrill of new romance clouded every decision.

    She had not wanted to come to the women's retreat. She knew it might make her feel guilty, and she was past guilty feelings. She was just waiting for the right time to leave her husband and start over with the real love of her life.

    But her friends had started to grow suspicious of her pulling away. So, to appease them, she went.

    Over the course of the weekend, the walls she'd so carefully constructed to keep everyone at a distance and her secret hidden started to crumble. By Saturday night, she sat down with me and confessed it all.

    She desperately wanted to know how I felt so full of God's love. She'd never known that kind of relationship with Him. She now recognized it wasn't the love of another man her heart craved; it was the love of God.

    I think this is true for many of us. We spend years chasing things we think will make us feel loved. But everything this world offers is temporary. Everything. And will leave our souls dry, crying out to God, "I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land" (Psalm 143:6).

    The kind of love our souls crave is lasting, eternal. And only God can fill up our hearts with that kind of love.

    Chasing love outside the will of God invites so much into our lives that is the exact opposite of love. First Corinthians 13:4-8 is a picture of God's perfect love. It is patient and kind. It does not envy ... it is not self-seeking ... it does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth ... it always protects and perseveres. Love never fails.

    This is not a description of what is inherently ours when we fall in love with a person. It's a description of God's love.

    Because our souls were designed for God's fulfilling love, if we aren't staying closely connected to Him, our hearts will start to feel empty. Restless. Unfulfilled. Parched.

    Let us never think we are beyond being tempted. If we're honest, we're only a few bad decisions away from the same mess my friend is untangling herself from.

    The kind of love our souls crave will never be found in the things of this world. Lasting, satisfying love will only be found when we stop chasing others or possessions, and thirst for the things of God.

    Dear Lord, please help me see my marriage for the sacred gift that it is. Help me to remain faithful in a way that honors You and brings joy to our home. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    If you're looking to strengthen the connection and communication in your relationship, don't miss Lysa TerKeurst's marriage books, Capture Her Heart for husbands and Capture His Heart for wives.

    Reflect and Respond:
    If someone seems appealing enough to draw your heart away from the truth of God, will you pray about asking another godly woman for help?

    What step do you need to take to remove that temptation from your heart, mind, and soul?

    Power Verse:
    Ephesians 1:4, "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Friendly Makes Friends

    Posted on June 12, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24, NKJV

    A friendly person is fun to be around. They are upbeat and look for the best in those they meet. Yes, friendly can come on too strong, but those with relational understanding are sensitive to not go too far too fast. Indeed, a friendly person makes you feel at ease and gives you unspoken permission to be yourself. You feel safe to share your feelings with those who feel what you feel. Friendliness adds emotional energy to the conversation and encouragement to the heart.

    Furthermore, your friendly spirit qualifies you to make friends. Friends want to be around friends who have the capacity to listen and love. Are you the giver or taker in your friendships? How can you be intentional to invest in those the Lord has put in your life? Perhaps you pray by name for the children of your friends or keep their children, so the parents can enjoy a 24 hour respite. Friendly takes the risk to make friends and follows with steps to retain friends. Friends care!

    An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends. Proverbs 18:1

    A bond of trust and loyalty grows between two friends who try to out serve each other. However, if giving only goes one way,  over time the giver may grow weary in their solo service. Perhaps your Heavenly Father is calling you to fewer, more fulfilling friendships. He wants you to ratchet back your relationships to a manageable number. Who needs you to go deeper in this season of friendship? Pray for your friend and be emotionally available to enter into their world.

    Most importantly, lock arms with the Lord Jesus in your growing friendship with Him. Your maturing friendship with Christ will develop your capacity to love and care for your friends. Friendship with deity brings reality to relationships on earth. Ask your friend to bow and pray with you to your mutual friend Jesus. Friends who pray together replace conflict with resolution and anger with joy. Confidants can be closer than blood relatives through the blood of Jesus!

    A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:7

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray Your Spirit will grow a spirit of friendliness in my heart.

    Related Readings: Exodus 33:11; Psalm 109:4; Proverbs 12:26; Acts 19:31, 24:23; 3 John 1:1

    Post/Tweet today: We feel safe to share our feelings with those who feel what we feel. #feelings

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

  • A Better Way Than My Own

    Posted on June 12, 2013 by Van Walton

    Van

    "The LORD will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don't abandon me, for you made me." Psalm 138:8 (NLT)

    When I was five years old, my mother took me to kindergarten in the middle of the school year. She prepared me for my new adventure by promising fun and many new friends. Fighting tug-of-war emotions, anticipation pulling against apprehension, I entered the room full of children.

    While acclimating to my new environment, I decided to speed up the making-a-lot-of-friends process. Eager to be accepted, I couldn't wait to be noticed and included. I devised an interesting plan that would have every kindergartener eating out of my hand, literally.

    Each morning before recess, students lined up in front of the school store to buy mid-morning snacks. Noticing that donuts were the treat of choice, my mind whirred.

    That afternoon, alone in the back seat with my mother's purse, my plan began to hatch. My little hand slipped into her wallet and pulled out a dollar. Surely that was enough to buy everyone a donut.

    The next day, exploding with eagerness, I pushed my way to the front of the line. Handing my dollar up to an open hand I said, "A bag of donuts, please."

    "Are you sure little girl? A bag full? That's a lot. No one ever buys that many donuts!"

    I nodded my head. "Yes, one for everyone in my class and one for Teacher."

    Slowly the treasured bag of donuts slipped over the side of the counter.

    Yes!

    Stepping aside, I announced, "My treat!"

    Mouths dropped. Eyes flew open. Little hands extended. Classmates surrounded me, the instant celebrity.

    I felt good! Just as planned. Now, I had friends.

    After school, when my mom walked into class to pick me up, my teacher asked everyone to thank her. The look of surprise on my mother's face exposed me. My secret was out.

    I was a criminal. A thief. I had stolen money from my mother!

    How had a perfectly well-planned strategy gone so wrong?

    The Bible is full of stories of people who devised seemingly good plans. In too many circumstances strategies were flawed—like mine. In other situations people wisely relied on God.

    Psalm 138:8 says that God will work out His plans for my life. I don't have to manipulate, plot and devise.

    Regardless of my desperate circumstances, anxiety, or longing, there is a better way than my own. One popular Bible story encourages me to pray and then wait on the Lord.

    Moses' mother and his sister, Miriam, expected that God would protect baby Moses when they put him in a basket and sent it down the Nile River, hoping to hide him from a murderous ruler.

    Miriam watched the baby float away, all the while waiting for God to take control of the desperate situation. His sister's faith was rewarded by an amazing turn of events and his mother's trust in God paved the way for a Hebrew slave to become an Egyptian ruler (Exodus 2:1-10). This would not have happened without Moses' mother's and sister's patience and dependence on God.

    It's easy to rush to fix our own circumstances—contriving for the outcome we desire. But too often, in so doing, we tangle ourselves into ever-growing webs and create trouble or chaos. Let's learn from Moses' wise family by following their pattern:

    Expecting God to act.
    Waiting for God to deliver.
    Trusting that God's timing is best.

    I don't know what spurs you on to contrive, manipulate or plot. If you are like me, any circumstance where you find yourself out of control, desperate or confused will tempt you to scheme.

    Let's determine today to believe this truth, "The LORD will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don't abandon me, for you made me" (Psalm 138:8). And rest in His promises, committing to trusting God whenever tempted to influence our uncomfortable conditions.

    Lord God, I know You will work out Your plans for my life, but I need help to believe in the midst of desperate circumstances. In Jesus' Name, I ask You to give me strength to accept Your timing and Your ways during this unsettling time in my life. Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Let.It.Go. - How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking by Faith by Karen Ehman

    Reflect and Respond:
    What circumstances have brought on emotions that drive you to devise your own plans? How did that work for you?

    Next time you are tempted to fix a problem, stop. Ask God for wisdom and seek counsel from a trusted friend.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 94:11, "The LORD knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile." (NIV)

    Proverbs 19:21, "Many plans are in a man's heart, but the counsel of the LORD will stand." (NASB)

    © 2013 by Van Walton. All rights reserved.

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

  • The Lord’s Requirements

    Posted on June 11, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

     

    God has expectations for His children: justice, mercy and humility are three of His requirements. These are not electives for the student of God’s Word, but three virtuous attributes that are required. Furthermore, the Lord does not ask His followers to behave in any fashion that He has not already modeled before them.

     

    He acts justly, He loves mercy and He walks humbly. He does not expect any behavior from His followers that He has not already exhibited. His justice is sure, right, and fair. His mercy is fresh, deep, and everlasting. His humility is authentic, tranquil, and service oriented. Jesus came to earth from heaven to give us a picture of God’s glory.

     

    We worship an awesome God who has shown us the way. Look at the life of Jesus and He exemplifies this trinity of character traits. He was a man who despised injustice and He confronted unfairness with passion. Jesus was a man on a mission of mercy. He could not wait to extend His grace to some unsuspecting and undeserving soul.

     

    He served humanity's worst with humility. He did not condone sin, nor was He condescending towards those caught in their sin. He spoke with conviction laced with glory to God,in real life application. He was a man of humility. “Gentle and humble” (Matthew 11:29) are the only two recorded words in scripture that Jesus used to describe Himself. God has modeled the way for us. He does not require what He does not do.

     

    For Christ followers, He is your life. As you walk with Him that realization becomes more apparent. You cannot walk with God and not change, as you become like the one you walk with. When you walk with the Lord you begin to grow in justice, mercy and humility. When you walk with God you are transformed into the image of His son Jesus.

     

    “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Romans 8:29).

     

    So what does it mean to walk with God? First, you quit striving in your own strength. Slow down and prayerfully channel that same energy heavenward. By faith trust God to work out the people and circumstances beyond your control. This is a walk of faith.

    Secondly, as you walk with Him listen to His voice and enjoy His presence.

     

    His voice is reassuring and His presence is calming. Justice, mercy and humility will come as you walk with your heavenly father. Walking with God meets His requirements, as He provides what He requires. Isn’t this just like our gracious God? Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. His requirements are rewarding and good!

     

    Prayer: Do I have a humble walk with the Lord that exhibits mercy, love and justice?

     

    Related Readings: Genesis 5:22-24; Joshua 22:5; Luke 24:1-35; 1 John 1:7

     

    Post/Tweet today: We cannot walk with God and not change, as we become like the one we walk with. #walkwithGod

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • When the Pressure Crushes You

    Posted on June 11, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself ... But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead." 2 Corinthians 1:8b, 9b (NIV)

    It seemed pressure came from every direction. It was unrelenting. Financial pressures brought worry. Children issues brought frustration. And an overloaded schedule kept me up at night. It got so bad I wanted to have a bonfire with all my to-do lists and make s'mores.

    Being a naturally self-sufficient person, my instincts led me to work harder. How could I make more money? What new parenting technique would make this child behave? If I pulled an all-nighter could I knock my emails down to a manageable number?

    I picked up the pace. Buckled down. Slept less. Instituted logical consequences for my child. And re-wrote my to-do lists. I was determined to pull myself together. After all, that's who I am ... at least that's who I was.

    In the past, my Lone Ranger attempts at managing circumstances worked. But not this time.

    Debts mounted. My child's problems increased. And consequently, I fell further behind. The pressure just kept increasing instead of going away.

    Never in my life had circumstances been so overwhelmingly beyond my control. I was surrounded by things I couldn't whip into shape, including my own emotions. I felt like such a failure, and was so ashamed that I couldn't manage the assignments God had given me. Finally, with no solutions in sight, I broke down before God, crying out in desperation, certain He'd be as disappointed with me as I was.

    After all, I was the girl He was supposed to be able to count on. I was the dependable one. And here I was falling apart.

    With my emotions a tangled mess, I poured out all my fears, weakness, and insecurities to God. Even my prayers seemed jumbled and incoherent. And in the midst of my tears, I declared "I can't even pray right!" Never had I needed God more. Well, to be honest, never had I really needed God.

    In the aftermath of my breakdown, something started to change in me. It was subtle, kind of like the dawn, when pitch black moments start to take shape.

    My self-sufficiency was slipping, being replaced by God-dependency. Peace snuck in where I didn't expect it. Circumstances didn't change, but my understanding did. God never needed to depend on me ... rather I was to depend on Him.

    Although I'd been a Christian for many years, and loved and followed God with what I thought was all my heart, it seemed I'd held something back. In the midst of that pressure-cooker time, I realized believing in God isn't the same as trusting Him. God used pressure that felt crushing to lead me to dependence that felt freeing.

    Recently I read a passage in 1 Corinthians that perfectly summarized what God taught me during that time: "We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself ... But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us" (vv. 8b, 9b-10)

    Pressure in life is never easy. But God can use it to take our faith deeper if we let Him. It started for me by admitting my insufficiency, and realizing God wasn't disappointed by that confession. In fact, He invites me to need Him.

    Heavenly Father, please forgive me for all the times I've said "I don't need You" through my actions. I admit I can't manage my life alone, and need Your help. Thank You for being all-sufficient and all-powerful and loving me enough to never shame me for what I can't manage. I love You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

    Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try Hard Life by Emily Freeman

    For daily encouragement, join our Facebook community.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What is your typical reaction when facing a problem?

    If you knew without a doubt that God would help in your time of need, how would that change things for you?

    Power Verses:
    2 Corinthians 4:8-9, "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." (NIV)

    Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Result of Worry

    Posted on June 10, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:27

     

    The results of worry aren’t redeeming, productive, nor helpful. Worry doesn’t assist today and it only complicates tomorrow. Its ultimate sideways energy  sidetracks us from our Heavenly Father’s loving comfort. Worry is a dark alley in a loud, confused city. It's an untrodden trail off the beaten path of God’s will. Worry has a way of putting a wrench into the works of Christ. It's a subtle and not so subtle way to place our efforts ahead of God’s. Worry leads to a victim mindset.

     

    Worry can become a self fulfilling prophecy. Yes, we can work ourselves into a frantic state of self reliance, so much so that we begin to believe and live out lies. We predict the worst case scenario is imminent and then we act in ways that move us in that direction. We simmer in self pity, talking like a victim, then we become a victim. Worry whispers statements like, “What if you lose your job?”, “What if you have a disease?”, “What if he/she leaves you?” Worry’s results wreak havoc.

     

    Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15

    Praise the Lord there are remedies to worry! Shifting our focus from self to our Savior is a foolproof way for faith to preempt false thinking. Self is like a jealous lover who wants to be the center of attention, but Christ alone deserves this highest status of affection. When our idols of security, money, control and comfort bow to Jesus, worry runs away rejected. Worship embraces hope as courage for the heart. Courage and hope are fraternal twins that birth in us a living faith.

    Furthermore, the Lord sustains you when you cast your cares on Him. Your humility in confessing your ongoing need for Christ leads to spiritual sustainability. Healthy soul care requires you to invite your Heavenly Father to care for your anxious heart and nervous emotions. Submission to Sovereign God precludes a position for your pride to perch. Yes, Jesus’ spoken word in Scripture soothes your soul and brings peace to your war of worry. The result of trust is peace and calm.

    Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I bow in humility to You, trusting You with my cares and concerns.

     

    Related Readings: Psalm 55:22; Proverbs 12:25; Philippians 4:6-7; Hebrews 13:5-6

     

    Post/Tweet today: Worry is sideways energy that sidetracks us from our Heavenly Father’s loving comfort. #worry

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • But Then I Let Go

    Posted on June 10, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie

    "But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles." Isaiah 40:31a (NIV)

    I used to have a fear of heights. I think it has something to do with the fact that my dad held my little brother over the Grand Canyon when he was three, and I was 10. I completely panicked, thinking my brother would tumble over the side and be gone forever.

    Regardless of how it arrived, the fear was real.

    My son bought a zip lining package for two on sale so I could put a checkmark on my bucket list next to "get over fear of heights." When we arrived, I noticed several towers, zigzagging zip lines and people harnessed in a series of straps and buckles. My heart immediately went into overdrive when we were asked to climb a moderately high tower.

    The higher I climbed, the more my brain informed me that I was afraid. Yet I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. Up, up, up!

    My son flew from one tower to the next with ease. Then I stepped up. The platform was tiny. One inch in front of me there was nothing between me and the ground, hundreds of feet below.

    I put my gloved hands on the zip line. Everything in me was screaming to turn around and go back to solid ground. But then I let go ...

    .... and it was exhilarating.

    I soared through the air and slid in semi-smoothly to the tower where my son fist-pumped in the air with a "Way to go, Mom!"

    I wish my fear of heights was the only challenge I've ever faced, but sometimes God asks me to do something that seems just as impossible. That happens when He leads me into the harder parts of my faith.

    That looks different for all of us, but for me it was to forgive those who had hurt me in my past. God was nudging me to soar, but in order to do that I had to let go and trust that He knew what was ahead.

    Perhaps His request goes against how we feel, or it just doesn't feel possible in the natural. But when we choose zip line faith, we learn to release or overcome things that might otherwise keep us trapped.

    Is zip line faith (going down the harder paths of obedience) easy? No, it might challenge you. It might take you way outside your comfort zone. It might even cause you to fall down a few times as you practice. But you do grow through it, sometimes in surprising ways.

    A few weeks after my zip lining experience I was in a high-rise hotel. I stepped out on to the balcony because I heard music below. Peering over the edge, I watched a wedding in process.

    And then it hit me. I wasn't afraid!

    Before I zip lined, I couldn't have stood near the edge of the balcony, and I definitely wouldn't have peered over to the scene beneath. Stepping off that ledge and soaring to the next tower helped me to overcome a fear I thought was too big to conquer.

    Maybe I'm not ready to bungee jump ... yet. But my zip line experience showed me that my fears, though valid, didn't have the power to hold me back forever.

    Whatever God is speaking into your heart today, are you willing to climb up, up, up as you follow Him into the harder (and freeing!) parts of zip line faith?

    Dear Jesus, my heart longs to soar. Thank You in advance for walking with me through the tougher parts of my faith, and for dancing in celebration with me as I climb over that mountain to soar to the other side! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible with devos from the Proverbs 31 Ministries team, including Suzie Eller.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Write down the one thing you feel God is asking you to do.

    1. Does it line up with Scripture?
    2. What is your greatest fear about this assignment?
    3. What might you gain if you take a step of faith?

    Power Verses:
    Ephesians 3:16, "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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

  • God Bless You

    Posted on June 9, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24–26).

    We have the opportunity to regularly encourage others with an admonishment for the Lord to bless them. This is the power of the spoken word. You can build up another by conferring upon them the favor of God. What a simple way to sincerely wish upon another the Lord’s best with a kind “God bless you.” We are not to say it glibly or  out of habit, but with deep feeling and a genuine desire for God’s commendation.

    We can also pray God’s protection on others: their health, their travels, and their relationships. In any situation of uncertainty and/or danger, we can ask God to “keep them.” Or maybe there are those who are in dire need of experiencing the fullness of God’s grace. They are tired of “trying to live” the Christian life and need a fresh “baptism” of God’s graciousness. You can see it in the hardness of their countenance or in the fatigue of their droopy posture. They are lacking in energy and drive. They need an outpouring of grace.

    “May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples” (Genesis 28:3).

    God’s grace is a safe environment to recover from rejection and hurt or to gain strength for the journey. Grace is inviting and invigorating. It is cool water for a thirsty soul. Life saps grace from our hearts while intimacy with Jesus infuses grace into our being. You can be a grace killer or a grace giver. People will flock to you because of your graciousness or avoid you like the plague because of your gracelessness.

    The secret to giving God’s grace is receiving God’s grace. Each day ask God to renew your grace quota, filling your grace tank so you can bestow grace on others. What a joy to extend grace to the ungracious and to receive grace from the greatest grace giver, Jesus. Furthermore, our benediction and admonishment to others can be for them to experience God’s peace. Once you discover peace with God, you have the peace of God.

    His peace can lie dormant in our hearts, or it can flourish like kudzu on a hot summer day. Be a peacemaker. Yes, you can win the argument, but you may lose the relationship. Why not bless with peace rather than curse with contention? When you bless others, you too enjoy the blessings of God.

    “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9).

    Prayer: How can I boldly bestow the Lord’s blessing? I want to receive His blessing so I can be a blessing.

    Post/Tweet: A soul’s hunger for God is an innate appetite that only He can satisfy. #satisfied

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

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